Monday, April 14, 2014

Belly shots.

My due date is now a mere 13 days away. This pregnancy flew by quickly, even for me. Baby still doesn't have a name but that's OK. I am sure we'll be able to make a firm decision once we meet her. Pretty sure, anyhow. The control freak in me is surprisingly feeling pretty relaxed about this.

The other day, I suddenly realized that I'm full term and could pop at any moment. I've never had decent maternity pictures taken and decided now that I have a professional camera and a gorgeous new lens, I would have Dill take some of me in the desert. Just for funsies. Everything's in bloom which makes for gorgeous pictures anyway. I coached him a little here and there and he took care of the rest. Check 'em out!

Ok, I have one more just for kicks and giggles. At one point during the shoot, I switched places with Dill to show him how to point the lens so that the background wouldn't be blown out. This is what ensued.

Such a glowing papa-to-be! I love my silly guy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter round-up.

So, I'm in the final throes of baby-baking and what do you know, Easter falls just one week before my due date this year. If I remember correctly, I had Carson a little over a week before Easter four years ago. And Audrey's birthday is a mere 20 days before Halloween. I'm a boss at this whole planning-babies-around-holidays thing, basically.

If you're like me and haven't actually thought of Easter yet this year (except for to purchase copious amounts of Cadbury Mini Eggs, of course), I have some last-minute ideas that might make you feel a little more festive and less like a Resurrection Day slacker. I warn you, though, they're all just links to other things. So I'm a slacker, too.

Resurrection Eggs Lesson Kit. My mom actually made one of these for me; I can't even take credit for this one. But, I did put together a handy printable for you so you can make your own if you're feeling ambitious! The supplies are fairly easy to come by and assembling a kit doesn't even require a glue gun, much less a sewing machine. In other words, it's Jenna-tested and Jenna-approved crafting.

Easter Printable. This one is a little easier than the first option ... just print, trim and frame. Now you're ready for Easter. You're welcome.

This spectacular video, "He Is Risen." I love me some MoTab and anything arranged by Mack Wilberg is a guaranteed hit in my book. Watch and enjoy!

And BY THE WAY ... the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is performing Handel's Messiah in its entirety on Easter weekend, and you can watch it even if you don't live in Utah. More info here. Please watch it ... Messiah is arguably the most inspired and ingenious musical work in all of history and MoTab is amazing, so it's essentially going to blow your mind. I will definitely be tuning in!

One last thing ... if you want to hear even more MoTab and also learn more about what this "crazy" Mormon girl (that's me!) believes, feel free to stream the semi-annual broadcast of the LDS General Conference. You can find it here, starting tomorrow at 9 AM (10 AM MDT). After last week's inspiring Women's Meeting, I'm really looking forward to what's in store. Join me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday overload.

Every year when March rolls around, I find myself in a panic. In our family, we have three birthdays all within two weeks of each other (Audrey is the Lone Birthday Ranger, waaaaay out in October). Despite this, we still try our best to make each person's special day ... well, special. This means separate cakes or pies, separate parties, separate outings, separate birthday songs ... all of it. I grew up having to share a birthday with my twin brother because hello, we were born on the same day. But my parents did a great job of making us each feel extra-special on our birthdays and giving us individual attention anyway. It meant a lot to me, so I try to do the same for the members of my family.

The new baby will also be born sometime in late April-early May. So basically, March and April are birthday overload season for us and will always be. It is a little stressful, but mostly awesome.

Last week, Dill took Monday off for Carson's 4th birthday and Friday off for his own. It was fun to have him around a lot, especially when the weather is beautiful (have to soak it all up before the wrath of Hades descends upon us in a few weeks).

We traditionally go to Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert for breakfast on our birthdays. If you bring your ID or your kid's birth certificate on the actual birthdate, they give you $10 off your ticket (works at Joe's Real BBQ, too). This is an incredible deal because their menu items are reasonably-priced to begin with. Plus, Joe's is a fast-casual establishment, which means no tip. Their gloriously huge, perfectly soft-yet-crispy Belgian waffle is my absolute favorite, and the berries they put on them are the freshest and most flavorful I've tasted. Add some fresh whipped cream and pure maple syrup ... it's basically heaven. And it only costs $6.99. So, you do the math. FREE CELESTIAL WAFFLES ON YOUR BIRTHDAY!

Little Carson sure enjoyed his birthday waffle. Yum yum.

Dill and I went back for round two on Friday, since that was Dill's actual birthday. And yes, I did get a second waffle. Because why not. Plus I'm now 36 weeks pregnant. I do what I want.

Go big or go home. That's my motto.

Dill's mom watched Carson so we could dine in peace and see Divergent afterward. Good book-to-movie adaptation, I thought. It was entertaining. Though, I always forget how horrible it is to sit in a movie for two and a half hours at 9 months pregnant. Good thing the theater was practically empty because yes, I did eventually lay down across three chairs to get some relief.

Saturday, we had that epic minion party for Carson. It actually did turn out pretty well, all things considered. I made a minion cake that surprisingly looked really cute (I used mason jar rings to make the eyes -- an act of brilliance for my pregnant self). We got a few pies from Village Inn since Dill and his family are pie people. By the way, Lemon Supreme is a magical pie that you must consume at your earliest convenience. Holy crap.

We partied at the park by my parents' house so the kids could roam free and have fun while the adults socialized in the perfect weather. It was great.

The best part was probably the Gru balloon sculpture and minion "balloon buddies," provided by Eileen's Balloons. My grandfather had won a party package from her at a fundraising auction and gave it to us to use for this party. Sadly, though, Eileen was already booked during our party, so she made the balloons in advance and offered to come do a private balloon twisting for us on a different day.

Look how awesome they are!

Each kid got to take home a minion buddy ... the clear center balloon contained party favors and fluffy confetti. Seriously, the cutest thing. She also made a bunch of swords which were a huge hit. What kid doesn't love to whack people with a balloon sword?

All told, it was an exhausting but fun week. My birthday is on Monday and my bestie MoniQue and I are going to the spa to celebrate. Can't even wait. This pregnant lady needs some pampering!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Nothing bundt new friends and fun!

Saturday before last, I decided that despite my enormously-pregnant (and uncomfortable) state, I was going to attend the local AZ Blogger Meetup function. It was just up the street from me and we'd been informed Nothing Bundt Cakes would be served. Cake of any kind basically has me sold, but these cakes ... they are the stuff of legends. I'm not even kidding. The frosting is amazing, sure, but the cake ... THE CAKE. It's so dense and moist and flavorful and 100 percent delicious. People travel far and wide for these beauties. Locally, you can find them in Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Central Phoenix and Glendale.

Thank you, Nothing Bundt Cakes, for donating two scrumptious and beautiful cakes to our blogger shindig!

Besides the cake, I knew if I hauled my big ol' belly to this party, I'd have some great conversation and meet a bunch of new friendly bloggers, which of course, both happened. I love these people!

Check out our purty floral crowns. The amazing +Chrissy Delacy (left of me in the picture) made my crown for me since I'm a slacker and most uncrafty on top of that. She also made me tons of gorgeous pretties for the new baby. Such a great friend and human being in general.

I took a picture with all the expectant mamas, too. We sat together to eat and shared pregnancy war stories all night. I'm definitely the most ripe of the bunch, as you can see.

Huge thanks to +Chrissy Delacy, +Camille Millecam Whiting, +Kayla Moncur and everyone else involved with this event. It was so much fun to get out, chat with old friends, meet new ones and of course ... eat cake. You guys are amazing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Big boy.

My snuggly, energetic and always-happy little boy is four years old today! The time has gone by so fast since his earthly debut. Four years of non-stop excitement and adventure.

We're celebrating with Super Mario 3D World, Belgian waffles at Joe's Farm Grill, fun at IKEA and a barbeque at Grammy and Pa's house. Saturday will be a Despicable Me minion party of epic proportions.

(Well, as epic as it can get when the party planner is 8 1/2 months pregnant.)

Happiest fourth birthday, little Carson! I love you so much.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm having another little girl!

Today, I am 31 weeks pregnant with my third baby. The past few weeks have brought on some unwelcome pains and aches which I have done my best to avoid, but alas ... late pregnancy always gets the best of me. In other words, I would not consider being pregnant a talent of mine.

I'm trying to focus on the happy aspects of life to get me through the next nine weeks (uh, does that feel incredibly long to anyone else?! Yikes). The first one being I'm going to have another little girl! It's been ages since my last little lass was born, so I'm trying to remember everything fun about it. The best way is to dig up old pictures of my sweet cherub, Audrey. These memories seem like a lifetime ago!

Let's all agree she was the PRETTIEST newborn!

And so photogenic.

I was obsessed with taking pictures of my little beauty and she obliged like a champ.

She even wore silly hats and laughed about it!

She ADORED (and still adores) her daddy.

She had the best cheeks of any baby around.

She wasn't afraid of haute couture.

Once she finally had enough hair, she let us style it so cutely.

She was a little doll!

And it's always fun to have a mini-me.

Now I just need to get the nursery set up and prepare the baby girl clothes for (still-nameless) Baby. Bring on the pink!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Giveaway: Hello, Sweet Love stamped jewelry!


I've told you before I love Valentine's Day (I know that makes me crazy-chick material to some of you) and it's true; I do! Red and pink, cute hearts everywhere, chocolate, lurrrrve ... what's not to enjoy about February 14?

Today, I want to focus on the love aspect of Valentine's Day. Specifically, charity and service. Because that's what this giveaway is all about.

My dear friend Brittani started her company, Hello Sweet Love, in an effort to help those in need. It all began with her little brother Dayne, who suffers from both a brittle bone disease called osteogenesis imperfect as well as spina bifida. She started making and selling her beautiful hand-stamped jewelry to raise funds for his medical procedures, but it branched out from there. She now features a different person every month and the proceeds of her jewelry go to support that person's needs. This is straight from her Web site and explains the purpose of Hello, Sweet Love better than I can:

"Our goal ... is two things. One, to sell beautiful handmade jewelry designed by you at prices that you will love. I have for years wanted a necklace with my children's names on it. I Googled and Googled and tried to find something I could afford on a law school budget (HA!) and was so sad at what I was seeing. So we are offering beautiful jewelry that anyone can afford. So now, I have my necklace and I love it.

"Secondly, why not give back if we can? As previously posted, we mentioned that we would be sponsoring people that are nominated by people that read our blog.  What we do is we design a piece of jewelry specific to the recipient's situation and sell it, giving more that 50 percent of the profits to them!"

It's pretty incredible what Brittani does with her talents. I, too, own one of Brittani's beautiful pieces and I wear it fondly:

Today, I am excited to announce in honor of the Month of Love, I'm giving away one of Brittani's customizable antique heart "Love You Forever" necklaces! Check out this beauty:

This customizable antique heart pendant is 1.5" and comes on a 23" chain.  It is accompanied by a small red bead that is perfect for Valentine's Day.

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below! You MUST Follow my blog with Bloglovin, like my Page on Facebook OR subscribe to me on Google+ to be eligible. Winner will be announced on V-day!

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