July 29, 2011

Favorite Find Friday–Window’s Live Writer

July 29, 2011
When I first started blogging I was so frustrated with blogger.  Composing a blog post was a pain.  I could not use but a few fonts and uploading and editing pictures was a drag!  Then I discovered Windows Live Writer!

First and most importantly WLW (windows live writer) is free and it is simple to use!!  After downloading WLW you can add your blog in 3 simple steps.  Simply go to the home screen then to blog account and click add blog accounts – you will be taken step by step how to add your blog account.
Composing a blog post has never been so simple.  Open WLW and you are ready to go!  If you want to add a photo just click and drag it into your composition. 

Editing a photo is simple too!  Here is a quick tutorial:

Let assume you have a photo that you want to compose a blog post around.  You will click on your photo (see my photo is highlighted)
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Then click on create and then blog post
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Notice how the background matches the back ground of my actual blog.

So for the blog post I want to crop the picture into a square.  So click on the photo and a “Picture Tools” tab appears on the navigation bar.
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Click on the “crop” tool on the far left side of the navigation pane:
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Scroll down to “square” and adjust the picture how you want it.  Press ok and you are ready to go!
You can publish your post right from WLW or you can post a draft to your blog.  You can also schedule your post from WLW, but I prefer to upload a draft and then schedule it using blogger.  You can also preview your blog post in WLW so you can see how it looks before publishing.

Now go download Window’s Live Writer and get to blogging!  You will be so happy you did!

2 comments

July 27, 2011

Nine Years

July 27, 2011
Nine years ago today I married the love of my life.  I could not have imagine the road that the Lord had laid out before us when we starting dating many moons ago.  Chris is honestly my best friend.  There is no one I would rather spend time with than him.  He knows me better than anyone and he loves me in spite of myself!  The past nine years have been wonderful – of course everyday is not bliss, but I would not have wanted to go through the hard times with anyone else.  From being college students with not a worry in the world to now being parents of two toddlers – only the Lord could have known! 

My Christopher is the most selfless person I know and anyone who knows him would completely agree.  He gives so freely and he loves so deeply!  He is the best husband I could ever ask for and the most amazing father to our children!  Daily he makes me want to be a better person!  I feel honored that nine and a half  years ago he knelt on an altar and ask me to be his wife and I am eternally blessed to be able to call him husband!  Thank you Lord for sending this man into my life!  Thank you Christopher for your love and support!  Here’s to nine years and praying the Lord gives us ninety more.

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July 26, 2011

Mom’s Tips Monday Back To School Style!

July 26, 2011
It is so hard for me to believe that August is right around the corner which means it is back to school time for most of the country!  Where I live the city and county both start back next week which I personally find insane!  My Colton will start K3 this year (tear tear) at our local Christian School.  I have been nervous about this since January (I know… I’m crazy!), but the Lord has calmed my heart and now I am super excited for him!

The response to my Mom’s Tips Monday has been tremendous!  I am amazed by all the great tips coming in from so many great women!  With that being said I have decided to do a Mom’s Tips Monday Back to School Edition!  This will be a week long (work week) event with a different subject (back to school related) each day!  As always if I use your tip (I try to use as many as I can) I will feature a link to your blog on that post!!

Here is the plan:


Monday August 1st – Tips on easing the anxiety of and making back to school seamless.

Tuesday August 2nd – Tips on packing a lunch your children will eat (while trying to keep it healthy)

Wednesday August 3rd – Tips on Back to School shopping without breaking the budget!

Thursday August 4th – Tips on getting involved (PTO, Fundraising, Extracurricular Activities, Parent/Teacher Relations) without losing your sanity!

Friday August 5th – Tips on organizing your new family schedule.
If you have a tip you would like to share please send me an email – believingboldly@gmail.com – please put “Moms Tips Monday” in the subject line and be sure to include a link to your blog if you have one!

If you would like to check out some of the previous Mom's Tips Monday post I have listed them below.


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July 25, 2011

Mom’s Tips Mondays–Best Piece of Advice For New Moms

July 25, 2011
It is inevitable, once you are pregnant every person you come across (friend or foe) wants to tell you what is best for you.  I was even lucky enough to receive unsolicited advice from a lady who had never had children or even been pregnant – yeah that did not go over so well! Ha!  On a serious note though the best pieces of advice I have ever received have been from fellow mothers.

Bringing a baby home for the first time can be the most overwhelming venture of your life so some of my fellow mommy bloggers shared their best pieces of advice for new moms – check out what they had to say and when you get an opportunity hop on over and check out their blogs!
  • The Mommy author of Long Daze Short Years - Everyone - your mom, your mother-in-law, your sister, your best friends, acquaintances, your pediatrician and even strangers on the street - will give you advice.  You may have to listen to what they have to say (as in the case of your doc/mother) but you don't have to take that advice.  Only you know what's best for your baby - everyone else just has an opinion.  (The only possible exception to this might be your husband - it's his baby, too!)
  • Nicole author of The Activity Mom - My advice is Do what works best for your family! There are so many ways to do things and so many people offering their advice and opinions. Just do what works for your family!
  • Mama Roses author of Keep Them Busy!! - 'Go with the flow' my mom had said when I just became a new mom. Didn't believe the least in it. Today I live by it :)!
  • Michele author of Mommy Forward - I tell new moms to line up any help they can (laundry, meals, baby help so they can rest, etc.) and to take their PULSE (see this guest post for details
  • Doreen author of Helping Ronald - Relax, go with your instincts and remember, in the end, they will survive you, promise.
  • Themrs author of A Day In the Life of the Mrs - you will never look back when your children are grown and wish you'd spent more time cleaning or cooking or working, etc. it goes by so fast. enjoy every moment and don't miss it trying to be perfect!
  • Kris author of In the Kitchen with Audrey - The best advice I ever got was from my mother-in-law. She said, "With the pitter patter of little feet come all the words that you must eat." Don't make judgements now, you might change your mind.
  • Holly author of Little Bit of Life - dont stress!  Your baby will teach you everything you need to know! ;)
  • Gena author of Captain Fussybuckets - My best piece of advice is to take all the advice you can get, but don't forget that only you are the mommy, so only you truly know best!!!  Also, don't be afraid to ask for help and don't overdo it.  Last thing, it's good to have a plan, but don't be hung up on doing things "perfectly."  Let yourself know that it's okay to end up having a c-section or for breastfeeding not to work.  I truly believe the idea of "failing" at something is a major cause of PPD
  • Karen author of Karen Dawkins - RELAX!!!! Yes, that is officially my tip.  We worry about our kids like crazy, but they turn out fine. Right now, I'm actually doing a blog series (5 posts in the series) on trusting God with our kids' lives. There's just more joy -- more fun, laughter, and happiness -- when we don't worry!

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July 22, 2011

Favorite Find Friday–“Run Like A Mother”

July 22, 2011
Until I became a mom I was never big on reading.  It just was not a task I enjoyed that much.  When I do read I like to read for the purpose of learning something or gaining some sort of understanding.  I do not read for the luxury of the story – I do not read fiction.  When I found out I was pregnant I started reading pregnancy, birthing, and parenting books.  I enjoy bible studies in book form as well.

Run Like a MotherYesterday I finished my newest book.  It was suggested to me by a fellow mommy blogger who has recently fell in love with running.  Run Like A Mother is a wonderful creation by two moms Dimity McDowell Davis and Sarah Bowen Shea who have both found solitude in lacing up their shoes and hitting the pavement.  I was captivated by the first page when I said to myself, “oh wow I struggle with that too!”.  I found myself saying that a lot through out the book.  I too fight the inner me daily on whether or not to sleep in or get up before 6am and meet my running partner for a good run.  The thing is – you never regret going, but you almost always regret sleeping in!


Run Like a Mother is filled with inspirational as well as practical advice on “how to keep moving without losing your family, job, or sanity”.  The authors talk about inner as well out outer/physical struggles, running attire, tackling race day, dealing with your spouse and children as well as the 3 P’s (Pee, Poo, and Periods)!  Yep, you heard me correctly!  That chapter had me rolling!

The book is sprinkled with quotes and information from other moms who run.  Some of these moms run to stay slim, some run to feel accomplished and some run to simply get away.  Dimity and Sarah helped me to realize that I do not have to run a sub 9 minute mile in order to do a half marathon.  They helped me to see that even though I presently struggle with breaking 28 minutes in a 5k and even though I do not possess that long lean one percent body fat physique that I too am a runner!

You can find this book on Amazonor your local Barnes and Noble.  They also have a great blog and a facebook page!  Go check it all out and seriously - buy this book today - you will LOVE IT!!


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July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

July 20, 2011
Can I drive the boat daddy!?
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July 19, 2011

Child Labor

July 19, 2011
I love his picture! 
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As I mentioned before my mother in law has a great garden – well this is my father in laws garden and it is massive!  So massive they require child laborers!  ha ha!  This is Colton and our only niece (for now – we have a niece on the way!) on my husband side – we call her Evey.  Colton and Evey were heading out to help Mamaw/Mooma/Mama Dale (she has many names) pick beans in the garden.
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They went right to picking (beans and each other)….
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“Mom look at my green bean!” …. yummy!  Momma loves fresh green beans!

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July 18, 2011

Simple Moments

July 18, 2011
It’s rare I’m in a photo and it is even more rare that I post one on my blog.  But I just love moments like this with my little miss and I wanted to share it with you!  She is such a snuggly little girl.  This was the 4th of July – we were taking some time out of the sun watching everyone else swim.
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Mom’s Tips Monday–Advice For Brides

July is my anniversary month.  When thinking about first being married I often think about all of the things I wish I had known.  Fortunately, I did (and still do) have a wonderful lady in my life that has been a gracious mentor and has given me priceless advice along the way.  One thing she said to me early on was “never make him choose between his parents and you! – they may “make” him choose, but you never put him in that situation.”  I am sure Chris is appreciative of this piece of advice along with the many others.
Below you will find a slew of wonderful advice from some of my fellow mommy bloggers – check out their tips and their blogs!
  • The Mommy author of Long Daze Short Years - For someone planning a wedding:  The marriage is the important part - the wedding is just one day.  I think if brides-to-be spent as much time every year working on their marriage as they do planning their wedding divorce would be a thing of the past.
  • Mikaila author of And at the end of the day - PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND! Especially when you're mad at him. I have found that this helps me calm down the fastest and helps me be a lot more rational in our discussions.
  • Melissa author of A Heavenly Journey - My Husband's advice: In a conflict, throw water on the fire. Not kerosene.  Another anecdote I've picked up over time: When the argument becomes about who wins or loses, you've both lost.
  • Bonny author of Elephant Tales - Show the same grace to your hubby that Jesus shows to you... you arent perfect, and God is the only one who can change you- the same is true for your husband!
  • Author of Beader Bubbe’s Shop - I will be married 37 years this Dec...and my advice is in one word...respect.  We have had our ups and downs but never go to bed angry; never downgrade each other's families; and never sweat the small stuff....does it bother me that the bathroom sink is a mess after he is done - yes....but he doesnt like that fact I never replace the toilet paper....so we are not perfect, no one is..... and in the scope of things...it's not important.  He is my best friend....and we put each other first before anyone else.....that's what love is about.
  • Helen author of Helen Clyde - I will be married 37 years this Dec...and my advice is in one word...respect.  We have had our ups and downs but never go to bed angry; never downgrade each other's families; and never sweat the small stuff....does it bother me that the bathroom sink is a mess after he is done - yes....but he doesnt like that fact I never replace the toilet paper....so we are not perfect, no one is..... and in the scope of things...it's not important.  He is my best friend....and we put each other first before anyone else.....that's what love is about.
  • Linda -  I have learned to put things into perspective. There are some things in life that are just an inconvenience not a tragedy! Treat him like you would want to be treated!
  • Ruzanne author of Content2Go - For the bride...SURPRISE the groom with something he's never seen/witnessed/heard before. Like SING a song that you know means a lot to your groom. Or if he hasn't seen you dance like mad - a flamenco, interpretative ballet or even polka - just dance! You'll not just be remembered as a bride on that day... you'll be remembered as the bride who ROCKED her wedding :)
  • Kristin author of Live Love Bloom Craft - Find interesting ways to say "I love you".  When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we listened to a radio segment about a couple that made a game out of writing S.H.M.I.L.Y (see how much I love you)  in odd places for the other one to find.  We have done this on and off over the past 9 years and it really does add a bright spot to your day to find that little note in your shoe.... or where ever.
  • Mrs. H author of My Happily Ever After - Do special things for each other *just because* whenever you can.  It doesn't have to be expensive...make welcome home signs when one of you is away, leave love notes, sing songs on each others answering machines, and just do little things to remind each other of your love.  It keeps your love fresh, exciting and fun!
  • Kimberly author of Bates Babies at Play! - Another thing that has helped me BEYOND WORDS is that it's not what you say, but how you say it. My guy is a very good listener but if I raise my voise or start with "You did" he tunes out right away. So, I always try to say "I feel" instead and I always try to start with a compliment instead of the attack. Starting with " It means a lot to me that you care so much about blah blah, however. . . ." Or something along those lines. You get the picture. I tell ya, it WORKS!!
  • Nancy author of The Wedding Queen - Our family does what are called 'warm fuzzies'--those small little things you do for someone just because you care.  Sometimes it's something you buy, often something you do. It's never expensive. I try to incorporate at least one warm fuzzy for my husband daily (more if we're on vacation! LOL)

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July 17, 2011

Sibling Laughter

July 17, 2011
My husband comes from a blended family thus creating a large immediate family.  His dad and stepmother married one another when their children were very young so Chris basically grew up with four siblings.  His brother (by marriage) is 3 1/2 years older than him.  He has 2 sisters (one by marriage and one biological) who are 2 years older than him and then a sister (biological) who is 4 years younger than him – there are currently 5 grandchildren and 1 on the way.  So can you imagine what it is like around the holidays!!?  One night that weekend we fed 25!!
We were all staying at my inlaws on the lake for several days over the 4th of July holiday.  There was bad weather one day so everyone (aside from me and my brother in law) sat around the coffee table in the living room floor and played apples to apples.  Have you every played apples to apples???  It’s a pretty fun game.  Anyway, I sat at the dining room table organizing photos and working on blog posts (in between wrangling 2 toddlers) only to get cracked up at all the commotion this fun little game was causing!
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(This is Chris and our nephew and his oldest sister and brother)
Chris had initially wanted four children.  He mentioned it once totally out of the blue when I was pregnant with Colton.  He did not mention it to me, but to someone else and it totally through me for a loop!  I remember sitting up straight in the couch exclaiming, “four!! … are you out of your mind!  I never agreed to four” … I get a good laugh out of it now.
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I never realized how much he enjoyed growing up with lots of siblings until then… and this moment over the holiday really rang it in for me.  They were having so much fun!  Everyone lives in different cities (his step brother is 4 hours away and his step sister is 7 hours away) and are all in different places in their lives, but nothing can break that sibling love.
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Honestly, it was such a warm moment and I was happy I caught some of the smiles on camera!

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July 16, 2011

My Guys

July 16, 2011
These are my most favorite two guys in the world!
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Mom & Daughter

I love being a momma… and it is so much fun having both a boy and a girl.  Its exciting to think of all the fun Claire and I are going to have together as she gets older – just mommy and Claire… shopping, playing dress up, getting pedicures – doing all that fun girlie stuff together!
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Ahhh… I love this little girl!!

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July 15, 2011

Blog Housekeeping

July 15, 2011

I am doing some "housekeeping" work around my blog and I am starting with (possibly) changing my banner picture, but I need some help choosing!

This is the current photo and honestly it is one of my all time favorite photos.  It is the first real intimate picture of the two of them.

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I love this picture so much too.  I had it blown up and framed and it is above our sofa in the family room.  The first thing I see when I walk in the room is Colton's big smile and my heart immediately melts!

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This picture cracks me up a little - Colton was being so sweet and loving and Claire just was not sure about what was going on... I do think it is a sweet picture though!

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So what do you think?  Stay with my original photo or make the change to the first or second choice!?


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Fantastic Find Friday–Fleurville Diaper bags

I have a bag obsession.  Any kind of bag; handbags, shopping bags and of course diaper bags!  Plenty of cute diaper bags and handbags made into diaper bags have made their way onto my shoulder, but I always seem to go back to the same one over and over.  It is my Fleurville Sling Tote!  A girlfriend bought it as a baby gift when I first had Colton – she bought me one in orange!  I do not have a good picture of my orange, but here is one in blue.
blog picThere are so many reasons to love this tote (tote sounds more sheek than diaper bag… ha ha).  First of all the bag is the perfect size with a ton of compartments, 10 in all and two of which are fleece lined which have helped protect my sunglasses and blackberry from scratches.  One of my favorite features are the O-rings that come with the bag.  These rings are great for attaching your tote to your stroller freeing up your stroller basket and making the tote easily assessable.
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Fleurville bags are made from a laminated fabric so they wipe clean super easy!  I love the interior of my tote too – it is very nice durable fabric.  You also get a wipe container, changing pad, and a messenger strap!  The messenger strap has been very handy.

Honestly, I could go on and on about the wonderful features of this bag.  Be sure to find your way into a children’s boutique that carries them and check it out for yourself!  When writing this post I learned that Fleurville has been acquired by JJCole so I am not sure when new styles of the tote (I read they are keeping that style in their line) will be available, but you can find the older styles all over the internet – just Google away!  What is your favorite diaper bag?

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July 14, 2011

Blankie Love

July 14, 2011
She loves her blankie!
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My future Musician

Colton has discovered his love for the guitar!  This started when he found one (a play one – Dora the Explorer one to be exact) at my friends house.  He grabbed the guitar, found a little chair and did not want to move until it was time to leave.  Now whenever we visit her house he always says “where's my guitar”.  It cracks me up that he calls it “my guitar”.
Christine hit the jackpot when she found Colton a guitar for his birthday – and it was not a Dora one!  Fifteen minutes after taking it out of the box I was ready to find some ear plugs and I will admit that I have attempted to hide it on occasion!  He loves it though and I love how cute he looks when “playing” it.
Feast your eyes
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on my
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future musician!
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July 13, 2011

A Day At The Park

July 13, 2011
It has been so hot lately making it difficult to get outside, but last week we managed (thanks to Chris being on vacation) to make it to the park before the heat was unbearable.
Colton got on the merry-go-round for the first time and loved riding with Daddy!
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Claire had so much fun too!  She is our fearless child – immediately when we put her down she went to climbing!
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and she loved to slide even if she did “fly” down and land on her bottom!  We were super thankful for the rubber mulch!
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Colton enjoyed climbing up a “rock wall” and walking across the bridge.
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Hopefully we will have some cooler days or at least cooler mornings so we can enjoy some more time at the park!!

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Fruit

Colton loves fruit and always has!  His favorite is by far frozen blueberries or “begees” as Colton likes to call them. 
Here he is around 14 months old enjoying some fresh strawberries…
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And here she is around 14 months old cheesing after enjoying a big bowl of blueberries!
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 Ahhh… I love my babies!

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July 12, 2011

Expressive

July 12, 2011

I have been told often that I have these looks that I give – that I’m expressive with my face without realizing that I am.  There was one instance in particular that I remember.  It was during my sister in law Allison’s wedding weekend.  Ally later pointed out to me that I was looking at the lady like, “ugg! are you serious!”.  After looking through her wedding photos and snapshots other took I realized I do these faces ALL THE TIME!  Normally I’m behind the camera so I do not notice it as often.  When I went through my pictures this morning and ran across this one from last weekend I could not help, but to think of Allison pointing out my many expressive faces.

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To me… this is priceless!


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July 11, 2011

Mom’s Tips Monday–Labor & Delivery Bag Must Haves

July 11, 2011
As a first time mom it is hard to know what all you need to pack in your hospital bag.  Who better to ask than fellow moms!?  A friend told me while pregnant with Colton to be sure to pack my own sanitary napkins – I was forever grateful!  Now I always tell my pregnant friends to do the same.  Also a must have for nursing mom’s is Lanoish Lanolin Cream and start using it immediately after nursing!  Oh yeah, and  your Boppy!  I forgot my Bobby with Colton and was certain not to make the same mistake with Claire.  I ask some fellow mom’s for their tips:
  • Laura author of Families Coping with Infant Stroke - A bathrobe and slippers.  Definite must.
  • Laura author of Doctor’s Corner - Sensible make up and make that bathrobe an extra nice one. My mom was putting on concealer right after I was born because she hated how washed out new moms look like.
  • Author of There’s Just One Mommy - I was thankful for a pair of my favorite "fuzzy" socks to keep my feet warm at the hospital while walking the floors.  A tennis ball or some other "massage" item is nice, too.  Oh, and music!  Listening to some of my favorite music really helped me relax when in labor with our first child.  For dad I had plenty of change for the vending machines and a few snacks.
  • Karen author of Life With Karen - I think it is important to have snacks for the hubby, a book to read for each person, and a puzzle book. It gets incredibly boring sitting there waiting for delivery to happen at times.
  • Gena author of Captain Fussybuckets - Make SURE to take phone, laptop, iPhone, iPad, etc chargers!  And lots and lots of Tucks pads!Don't take a ton of diapers unless you're doing cloth, the hospital provides those.  DO take any cutesy outfits you want Baby to wear.  I don't remember wishing I had brought something during labor.  Maybe gum, but really, my mind was on other things and the nurses were taking good care of me.
  • Esther author of Laugh With Us Blog - Camera is the big one for me!  Smaller size maternity clothes are a must.  At least 99.9 percent of us don't get back into our regular clothes for a while!
  • Author of Quirky Momma - Cayenne pepper dried in pill form - the stuff is marvelous!  It helps you recover so much faster!
  • Dagmar author of Dagmar’s Momsense - Bring your own doula, pillow, exercise ball, and your most comfy socks and sweats!  Or don't bring anything, take a Bradley class, get a midwife, and have the baby at home. That's what I would do if I could do it over again. :)
Share your tips in the comment section below.

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July 9, 2011

Firsts

July 9, 2011
I love “firsts”.  Capturing my children’s “firsts” in film or video is something I always try to do.  When Colton was 13 months old Chris was in China – before Chris left Colton was on the verge of walking.  Part of me did not want Colton to walk until Chris returned home – I wanted us all to celebrate this first together.  While on his overnight trips we usually use Skype to communicate.  One night I had my computer set up in the playroom while Colton played – he heard Chris’ voice and stood up and walked across the room toward the computer.  It was the first time the Colton had walked any distance – we were so elated that Chris was able to see it.
This was their first boat rides!
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And this the first time they were in the sand.  Claire was significantly younger (4 months) than Colton (12 months) when she went to the beach for the first time.  Both enjoyed it very much.
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And of course there is their first birthday mornings!
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I like to document the little first just as much as the big firsts.  Their first trips to the Smokies, Zoo and Aquarium are some of my favorites.  So naturally I was bummed Sunday night when I arrived back at my father in laws after my race to realize that Colton got to see the fireworks for the first time and did so without me.  This may seem totally silly, but I was so bummed that I missed it.  The two years before Colton did not make it for the fireworks because he was younger with an early bedtime – due to a very late nap he was able to stay up later.  My sister in law Amy gave me all the wonderful details of how much he enjoyed the show – were blessed enough to have front row seat on the front porch of my in laws.  Fireworks over the lake is absolutely stunning.  Hopefully I will not miss many more firsts!

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July 8, 2011

Favorite find Friday–Aden & Anais

July 8, 2011

I was fortunate enough to be the winning bidder on a “baby basket” at our local Christian Schools auction when I was a few months pregnant with Claire.  Okay, well honestly pregnancy hormones took over and  I threatened the lives of those who were bidding against me – ha ha!  Seriously though it was a fantastic basket which included a four pack of Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddling blankets.

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I immediately loved the look and feel of these blankets.  Once Claire was born I followed the swaddling instructions and was instantly in love with this new find!  So in love that I had to have some girlie ones!  I searched the internet for the best deal and was excited to find that this boutique brand made a line of blankets to be sold exclusively at Target!  The four pack of Target blankets run about $10.00 cheaper than the ones sold in the boutiques.  I have also been able to find the blankets at a great prices at Albeebaby.com. 

These muslin wraps are Claire’s “go to” blanket.  We have one with us at all times – when she see’s her blanket she snuggles it up to her face and falls fast asleep.  Not only are they great swaddle blankies, but they were my favorite thing to use as a nursing cover.  They are huge, but light weight so you could use them as a cover while nursing, but not have to worry about it becoming stuffy under the cover.

This is Claire on her birthday morning with one of the original blankets that I won in the school auction. And below are some pictures of my little miss and her blankies.

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Above she is snoozing away as a little one with her muslin wraps….

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I also used them as a photo prop and a sunshade…

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Now when  you go to get her out of her crib she wants her blanket to come with her and at any given moment you can see her dragging one of them (we have 9!!) around the house.  My only wish is that I would have discovered these when Colton was a baby!


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