Friday, November 22, 2013

Giveaway Winner Announced!!

Congratulations Thomas Michaud!  
Please send me the address to which you would like your gift certificate emailed!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tinyprints Christmas Cards + Giveaway!

This year I am so excited to order my Christmas cards!  Last year, I ordered from tinyprints for the first time and they turned out beautifully!  The color was great and the designs were by far the trendiest I have come across.   This year, they have added even more options.  Some highlights include:  

  • New trim options for 2013 - Square, rounded, bracket, ticket & scallop trim options.  See below for some of my favorites.  
  • Clear cards!  How amazing is that???
  •  New design styles for 2013 – Contemporary, Classic, Vintage, Full bleed photos, All That Glitters, Bold Expressions, Simply Chic, Woodland Wonder & The New Tradition.  Count on tinyprints to always have the best cards!  
  • They also have matching address labels and envelope liners which I think sound incredible to add that extra touch to our Christmas cards this year! 

Here are some of my favorite options this year.  

I loooove the backing options tinyprints comes up with!  

Reminds me of a Christmas ornament.  Love this one!

Great trim options to choose from this year! 

Love the glitter backing!  A little Christmas glitter!  

This trim option is so cute!  

I always have a hard time shopping for the Grandparents at Christmastime.  Photobooks and calendars are always favorites and tinyprints has so much to offer in this area.  Click here to see more options.  

Click here to see all of the great cards they have this year!  

Open to US residents only.  
If you want to be entered into a giveaway for $50 off your total order + free shipping, please visit tinyprints using this link, choose your favorite card, and leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite one.  All entries must be in no later than Friday 11-22-13 noon (Eastern Time).  I will randomly choose a winner using and post the results later that day.  Good luck!  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tears of a Mother

23 weeks ago was a sad day in our home.  I had received several positive pregnancy tests (because 1 is never enough for me) and we were eagerly looking forward to August when we would welcome a new baby into our home.  It was shortly before Christmas and things were busy and stressful as they usually are during the holiday season.  Kai and I had decided to keep the baby news a secret, but had planned to tell our family on Christmas as a little Christmas surprise.  We had been excitedly talking about names and whether we thought this baby would be a boy or girl.  Early plans were beginning to take shape.  The due date would be just around the time of our anniversary and our first summer baby!  

I woke tired from a particularly stressful day the day before, but excited to pick my mom up from the airport and made my usual first-thing-in-the-morning-bathroom-pee-pit-stop.  Chicago was on my mind as we planned to spend the day with the boys and pick Grammy up from the airport in the evening.  I mentally played through the day's events.  We would visit the kids museum, have a nice dinner out as a family, make a quick stop at Trader Joe’s and Costco, and then watch the big airplanes land while Kai and I witnessed the awe and wonder in our boys’ eyes as they tried to guess the model, place of origin, and carrier of every plane they saw.  Yes, it was going to be a fun day!  Still absorbed in my thoughts, I looked down and saw bright red blood.  

My mind reeled as I tried to come up with an explanation.  Spotting?  This can be normal in pregnancy, right?   I had heard of people who had had such experiences.  It wasn’t everywhere, so that was good, right?  I immediately called out for Kai who heard the obvious worry in my voice and came running in.  The sight of me and the blood quickly registered.  I grabbed another pregnancy test (I buy the cheap dollar store ones, so I always have several on hand).  2 lines.  The positive line was slightly lighter than it had previously been, but was still present.  Pregnant still...  Neither one of us were sure exactly, so we did what comes naturally in medical uncertainty and googled it.  After reading several plausible explanations, we realized the only thing we could do was wait and see.  The pregnancy was still early and there wouldn’t be anything to do if it was a miscarriage.  If it wasn’t, then the bleeding would likely lessen and stop, and everything would continue on as normal.  

Well, it wasn't normal.  The bleeding increased as did the cramping and it was obvious that we were losing our baby.  I cried.  And I cried.  It seemed ridiculous to me as it was still early in the pregnancy and I had always thought that if we ever had a miscarriage early on, I would be able to rationally tell myself that there was something wrong with the baby and this was the natural way of dealing with it, or since I hadn’t ever felt it move it would be less real, or because it was still early, I really hadn’t had the time to bond or get attached.  These were all the things I had told myself.  These were all things that sounded rational to me before.  These were also things that I had uttered to friends who had miscarriages thinking I was being supportive and comforting.  I was wrong.  None of those reasons helped.  The truth of it was, though the pregnancy was still early, it was still real to me and us.  We had accepted that this child would be ours and we had already started planning for it.  In our minds, we had already wondered what it would look like and act like and how we would love it.  Would they have red hair like their Daddy?  We had thought of having 3 boys as well as 2 boys and a girl.  It was new, it was early, but it was real, and the pain from knowing that I was actively losing that child and could do nothing about it was also real.  

I felt weak and ridiculous for crying, like I was being irrational for all of the reasons I had previously told myself.  I wasn’t far enough along to feel the baby move.  I hadn’t had the time to bond with this child, but in retrospect I think the bond between mother and child must be instantaneous.  Imperceptibly, I think a change must happen for women when we see the positive test and realize that “I” has now become plural and a tiny life is taking root and growing inside.  I ached for the loss of a child that would never be.  I also wondered if something was wrong with me for losing this child.  Had I done something wrong?  For all of these things as well as feelings that I can’t adequately put into words, I cried.  We faced the loss.  Thankfully Kai was grieving as well and didn’t make me feel bad for my tears.  He comforted and held me and we faced it together.  

Having never had a miscarriage, I had no idea how soon you could get pregnant again.  We had wanted this baby, and so we made the decision to not prevent.  4 weeks later, we were surprised to get another positive pregnancy test.  Apparently the first 6 months after a miscarriage you are your most fertile.  The first date of my last “period” which marks the length of our current pregnancy is actually the date of our miscarriage.  It’s bittersweet.  I love that our grief was turned to joy.  I love that the date that brought tears of pain is now the date we use to mark tears of joy.  I am thankful that the child that will never be will also never be forgotten.  I still remember and carry with me the thoughts of what might have been and think now of what will be for our precious little girl on the way.  When I remember, I sometimes fight back the tears that threaten for no conscious or rational reason except that they are the tears of a mother.  

I am now 23 weeks along.  I was scared to be excited in the beginning of this pregnancy fearing that I would lose our baby again.  I think until the first trimester passed, I was holding back a little bit of joy in order prevent myself more pain in the event that we lost the baby.  I have had quite a bit of spotting this time around which caused me wonder if I my fears were being realized, but our little girl already seems to have a strong zest for life and I am so thankful for her constant movement that reminds me she is active and strong.  It seems that because of the loss, it makes me more thankful for each of those strong kicks, rolls, and stretches to assure me all is well.  If all goes as planned and prayed for, in roughly 17 more weeks we will welcome a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  And on that day, as we hold her tiny body in our arms and count every finger and toe, and look into her newborn squinted eyes, I am sure that a part of me will remember the one that was a part of our lives for the briefest time, and I will thank God for them both.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gender Reveal

Since I first found out we were expecting our little one, I have been thinking about having a gender reveal party.  The preparations started about 6-8 weeks ago and I vividly remember staying up late watching the final game of March Madness while cutting out black mustaches and pink lips.  I had so much fun with every aspect of it!  I made the table clothes and runners, the photo props, almost every aspect of decor was homemade, as well as most of the food.  I tried to pace myself throughout the whole process so there wasn’t a crazy rush at the end and thankfully I didn’t get too stressed about it.  

Once the preparations started, I was a little worried about the size of the party.  At first I had planned to invite all of our friends and family, but as the planning continued taking shape, I realized it would be too large a number to handle without a ton of cost and stress, so we decided to keep the guest list very small.  We decided to make it primarily an adult party since I wanted to have a candy table and some fun photo props that I figured a large group of kids would love to devour.  In the end we only invited about 10 couples who lived locally.  

We had planned to have the party outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate.  A few days before the party, we got a cold front making it too chilly for an outdoor party.  Thankfully I had been watching the weather and changed the menu before I did any major shopping.  We moved some of the outdoor furniture inside and rearranged and few things and it worked wonderfully.  Thankfully our group was small or else it would have been a nightmare!!  

I had the ultrasound on Friday (20 weeks) and told the tech I did NOT want to know, but wanted her to seal the results in an envelope for me to take to the balloon shop.  She was fantastic!  She didn’t give any hints either way and I could not read anything in her expression.  Obviously she is experienced at this!  The ballon shop was also amazing.  I took the box in and asked them to open the envelope and not tell me in any way what the results were, but to fill the box accordingly.  They did an amazing job and we honestly had no idea until we opened the box.  It was SUCH fun!!!  

Here are quite a few pictures:  

 Fresh greens with organic edible flowers
 Vegetable Crudites (pronounced krue-dē-tā)

 Simple, fresh decor.  

 Homemade frosted cookies in the shape of either a B or G 
 Fruit Tarts
 Chocolate Mousse Cake (Courtesy of Bit of Swiss Bakery)
This was some of the best cake I've ever had!  No wonder they're so well known!  
 The previously mentioned lips and mustaches
 The candy spread

 The red looking rock candy was actually pink in real life :-) 

 The tassels (in the background) and the pom poms took a little time to make, but were SO easy!  I loved how they turned out!  
 Taking a break before the party guests arrived.  
 Before the hot dishes were set out
 Pink and Blue Lemonade.  Thank you Martha again for another great recipe!  

 Some great friends!  You may recognize them from my half marathon pictures late last year.  

 Vegetarian Meatballs and Vegetable Lasagna
 Male bonding ;-) 
 A few kids came and enjoyed some food! 
Erica and Karin--such beautiful ladies!  
 Janelle and Jamie--an amazing couple!  
 Erica and Stefanie--more gorgeous ladies!  

 Erica and Tom--more great friends!  
 Doug and Melanie--another incredible couple! 
 Tonya--hahahahahaha!!  Seriously, I have laughed out loud every time I look at this picture!!!!  
 Tonya, Erica, Jason, and Chris--a big happy family :-) 
 Krystian and Julie (hahahaha, okay, so Chris just stood in for Krystian who was off flying a helicopter somewhere--thanks Chris and we missed you Krystian! ;-)  
 Erica and Jason--just look at the love!  

 His name is Jasonia... ;-)  

 The final votes before the big reveal...
Thanks Rob for taking all of these balloon pictures!  You did a fantastic job!!  
 The first peek!!!!  PINK!!!!!!!!!  I could hardly believe my eyes!!!!  
 Neither could Kai! 


   Still in total shock!! 
Kasen said this morning, "Mommy, I sure hope those balloons are having a fun time flying where ever they are!"  I love the way his mind works!   

 It was a great time!  We are thrilled to be having a girl!!  I had completely prepared myself for a life of 3 boys and we were excited about that possibility.  I imagined lots of camping and backpacking trips, getting very familiar with creepy crawly things, and being involved with tons of sporting events.  When I saw the pink tops of the balloons, I could hardly believe my eyes and almost cried as my vision for the future rapidly changed shape.  I have all kinds of fun things I am imagining and hoping for 2 boys and a girl, but most importantly, I hope she is healthy and strong because she will need to keep up with her 2 older brothers who will adore her!  

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!!