Family Pictures

Through my work at the Cincinnati Mom’s Blog, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a mini photo session with a local mom and photography business owner (Allie t. Photography)!  I was super excited to get pictures done since our last set of family photos were about 6 months old (and Ian has changed A LOT since then). I was also excited because we’d get some maternity pictures. This was something I didn’t do when I was pregnant with Ian, but I wish I had! But since I haven’t been diligent about taking belly photos with this baby, I was glad to at least have some nice, professional pictures taken to commemorate my second pregnancy.

I really thoroughly enjoyed the photo shoot. It lasted about 45 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time. And the weather was gorgeous so we managed to do the shoot outside; we ended up with some fantastic pictures!

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I am so glad we did this photo session! Now the hard part is figuring out which ones to get printed and where to hang them. But that at least is a GOOD problem to have! I’ll never be sorry that I have too many wonderful photos from this time in our lives!

37 Weeks…WHAT?!

So I am officially 37 weeks along.  This little girl could literally make her appearance any day now (though I’m kind of hoping she hangs out a bit longer).

Her room is all set up and ready for her (minus her “name art”, which I’m planning to finish in the next few days- it’s almost done, I PROMISE!).  We have clothes and burp cloths and bottles and a car seat and everything else we could need to get her settled in at home.

The only thing that’s weighing on my mind still is… Ian.  Not concern over how he’ll react; I’m sure he’ll be fine.  But what to actually DO with the toddler monster when this baby girl decides she’s ready to get the show started.  With no family nearby (10 hour drive), no regular babysitter (seriously, we have never used a babysitter before), and our close friends/coworkers (who I’m sure would be more than happy to watch Ian) being 45 minutes in the WRONG direction, I’m starting to get just a tad nervous about the uncertainty of this whole birth thing.  So, I’ve been soliciting babysitter recommendations and looking up drop in daycare and even debated looking into care.com to find a reliable on-call nanny.  I’m sure we’ll figure SOMETHING out, but since I don’t have a plan in place just yet, I’m really not too anxious for this baby to get here before May 9…

Here’s a recap of my pregnancy experience/feelings over the last few weeks:
– Still getting occassional heartburn, though my Pepcid AC and my diy Young Living Essential Oil rub (which I shared in this previous post) have both been saving my bacon!
– Having issues sleeping at night… getting comfortable seems to be the main problem.  Normally, once I’m asleep, I’m good- it’s just getting to sleep that is tricky.  Again, my Young Living Lavender Oil seems to be helping with this…when I don’t apply a drop to my wrists and inhale before bed, I really notice a difference.
– I feel like I live in the bathroom.  Seriously, this kid must be snuggling up close with my bladder. No real remedy for that other than to continue to make bathroom trips…
– Lower back pain comes and goes.  Sometimes my back is fine, other times it feels like I need to be stretched and massaged and pulled to get my back to feel better.  I’ve been rubbing some of my Young Living Joy Oil on my lower back, though I’m not sure if that’s really made a huge difference.  I also mixed up an ache oil with Young Living PanAway and Valor oil, but I haven’t had a chance to really use that yet.  So, in the meantime, I’m just dealing.

Other than that, this baby girl is still kicking and moving like crazy, and I continue to feel as if I’m growing exponentially.  But considering all the problems I could be experiencing, I’m counting my blessings and am very thankful that (on the whole) this has been another easy pregnancy.  And, in 3-ish weeks it will all be over (which is surprisingly bittersweet), so there’s always that to keep things in perspective.  Oh gosh, we are excited, anxious, nervous….we’ll be seeing you soon, baby girl!

Happy (belated) Easter!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter yesterday!  I spent the day playing with Ian and Jon and enjoying candy and the other goodies Ian received in his Easter basket.  Easter is such a happy and joyous holiday- and the weather yesterday only served to highlight that fact and put the whole family in a wonderful mood.

It was so fun to see Ian explore his Easter basket and marvel at the items the Easter Bunny delivered.  We didn’t go too crazy, and definitely avoided a huge pile of candy, but he was supremely excited with what he did find: books, hand stamps, bubbles, 2 little water guns, sidewalk chalk, 2 small bags of candy, a chocolate bunny, and “Frozen” (the movie). 

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He was especially thrilled with the hand stamps and the bubbles, and we spent most of the gorgeous afternoon blowing and catching bubbles outside.

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I also was the reluctant recipient of an assortment of hand stamps.  It was a little ridiculous how excited he was to have HIS VERY OWN hand stamps, but hey- if he’s happy, I’m happy!  And that $3 package of stamps and ink was WELL worth it!

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We also tried our hand at dyeing eggs (via the shaving cream and food coloring method).  It was EXTREMELY messy, and I haven’t cleaned the shaving cream off yet to see how our eggs turned out, but it was a lot of fun.  So even if our eggs have absolutely zero color, I’d still consider it a success.  We got to do a project together that we both really enjoyed.

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Later in the evening, we snuggled up together on the couch and watched “Frozen” while Ian ate some of his chocolate bunny.

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All in all, it was a wonderful Easter. 

How did you spend your Easter?  Does the bunny visit your house or do you have some other tradition(s)?

A Barefoot Books Story Time!

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I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be doing my first Barefoot Books story time this weekend!  If you are in the Cincinnati area and have littles you’re looking to entertain, why not come out and join me (and bring a friend, or two, or more)?  The story time will be targeted to kids under 5, but all ages are more than welcome to attend!  I promise to make it a fun and engaging afternoon.

We’ll get the wiggles and the giggles out as we roar along with “I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur“, practice our counting and animal sounds with “The Gigantic Turnip“, and get our groove on with “The Animal Boogie“.  If we have time, there may also be some other surprise books for us to explore!

I’ll also have some copies of the books we’re reading available for purchase, as well as a selection of other great titles for this age group.  Of course, if I don’t have something on hand, I can always order it for you, or, better yet, you can book a party and get it for free!  Party hosts who commit to a party on Saturday will get a special deal from me, on top of the great incentives provided by Barefoot Books!

I do hope you’ll join me!  Questions?  Ping my Barefoot Books page on Facebook or post a comment here!

Hope to see you there… happy reading!

Oiling… One Week In

It’s been about a week since I received my complete Premium Starter Kit (affectionately called PSK from here on out) from Young Living.  Since then I’ve started dipping my toes into the world of Essential Oils, and I’m learning a lot.

One of the things I love most about being part of Young Living (and maybe it’s just the team of folks above me?  But I’d like to think this is reflective of the company as a whole) is the mantra of education over sales.  Sure, there are people who are part of Young Living to make money (it’s a business- why wouldn’t money making be part of the equation?), and that’s not a bad thing… but I love that there are always an abundance of free classes and workshops available, as well as no shortage of people willing to chime in and provide insight on ways to safely use your oils.  It really is a community of people just looking to help out others and there is no pressure to buy anything.  If you simply want to attend a million Facebook classes about oils, and never buy a single thing, you can.  If you want to go to a make-and-take (which generally does have a small fee) and experiment with the products in a low cost/low risk setting, you can.  And if you do eventually decide to make a purchase (whether that’s something retail through a Young Living member/distributor or by signing up for the PSK), you’ll be met with enthusiastic teammates ready to take your hand and lead you along on your oiling journey.  It is a pretty amazing environment, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.

As I mentioned on the blog previously, there were a lot of reasons why I decided to take the plunge and sign up with Young Living.  And now that I have my PSK, how have I been using my oils?  A lot of ways, actually, but one of the first things I did when I got my kit was put my Young Living diffuser to work in an attempt to support Ian’s respiratory system at night to help promote restful sleep.

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Young Living diffuser in the PSK

I actually really like the Young Living diffuser that came in the PSK- it’s small, lightweight, and super easy to use (plus, it’s attractive).  I set it up in Ian’s bedroom and added 3 drops of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil, 3 drops of Frankincense, and 2 drops of Lavender.  The Melaleuca and Frankincense were to help support his respiratory system, and the Lavender was to help promote restful sleep.  Ian didn’t seem to notice or mind the scent coming from the diffuser (or if he did, he didn’t complain about it).  I can’t say that I found it to be an extremely pleasant smell, although I certainly didn’t find it unpleasant, but if it had the chance of helping Ian, I was all for it- and since it didn’t bother him, I was OK with it.  I’ve since gotten used to the scent and hardly even notice it when I turn on the diffuser.  It really is quite subtle (or at least, I think it is).  My husband, on the other hand, found the scent to be pretty overwhelming and he was not at all a fan- and even now he still doesn’t like it.  I chalk some of this up to personal preference and some to the fact that he’s even more of an essential oil skeptic than I am.  I’m at least willing to give them a shot (I mean, what do I have to lose? Nothing else has helped this cough).  My husband, on the other hand, is pretty staunchly against oils.  He sees them as just another scheme or a pricey placebo, so we’ll have to see some definite and concrete results before his mindset changes (if it ever does).  But, that’s ok… he’s not stopping me from using them; he’s just not convinced they’ll make a difference.  I can live with that.

Anyway, so far it certainly seems like the diffuser is helping.  The only problem- the diffuser only runs for about 6-8 hours max.  So that means that sometime in the night (generally around 3am), the diffuser would stop and, inevitably, Ian would wake up.  After a few nights of this, I finally decided to just go into his bedroom overnight and refill the diffuser.  But that was really starting to be a pain.  So I set about looking for a longer-running diffuser hoping this might solve the issue.  After endless research and comparing, I decided on this one by Welledia.

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Welledia Effusion Diffuser

It has a 700mL tank and overall the reviews are very positive.  With my Amazon gift cards (and free Prime shipping), it ended up being hardly any out of pocket cost to me… can’t argue with that!  The new diffuser arrived on Saturday, and I used it that night.  I definitely like the look of the Young Living diffuser better, but MAN this one really does run ALL NIGHT LONG (I’m still trying to get the right amount of water in it so I don’t have a ton left over to dump in the morning).  Since using the new diffuser, Ian has slept all night for most nights!  We are definitely seeing an improvement for him.  Last night, for the first time, I tried Thieves and Lavender in the diffuser, and I also loved that combination.  It’s nice to have options so that I can change things up every now and then if I want (or if an oil is running low). This is another nice thing about Essential Oils- there are generally a number of combinations and choices available.  I’ll definitely be using the new diffuser in his room every night from now on, and in a few weeks, I’ll do another update.  I was just pretty excited about our initial results (and my new long lasting diffuser) that I felt compelled to share.  After all, this was one of my main drivers for taking the Essential Oil plunge, and so far I’m not sorry.

Do you use Essential Oils?  How do you use them?  If you haven’t used them, have you ever given it any thought?  Want to learn more?  We always have Essential Oil Facebook classes going on- and they are open to everyone!

You can reach out to me through a blog comment or email, and I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned so far and any other information about Young Living and Essential Oils. I have a ton of resources at my disposal, and I can always find out the answer to your question if I don’t know it myself.  You can also like my team’s Facebook page (Healthier Oil the Thyme) or visit our team’s website to get more information (as well as tips and recipes for your oils).  Happy oiling!

Nursery Update

It’s been a few weeks since I mentioned that I am in the process of refreshing the nursery in preparation for this baby girl (May 9 no longer seems all that far away!).

In that time, I’ve been busy working on a few projects for the room, and I finally have one successfully crossed off my list- baby girl’s crib skirt!! This was a BIG one, and it took me quite a while since I really took my time and wanted it to look nice, but I absolutely love how it turned out.

I knew I wanted to do a ruffled crib skirt this time around (last time, for Ian, I did a box pleat crib skirt, which I really liked and was SUPER easy). There’s just something so fun and girly about ruffles; I knew I had to at least try it.

Finding just the right color of fabric was a bit of a challenge, but I did finally manage to locate just the right shade of deep purple. Thank you, Hobby Lobby!

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I turned to Pinterest for guidance/advice on how to go about creating the crib skirt, and found some really good resources, which I pinned to my Nursery Refresh board. I ended up using Ian’s old box pleat crib skirt as my “base” crib skirt (since I needed something to sew the ruffles onto, and I didn’t feel like spending money on fabric that no one was going to see anyway), and it worked beautifully!

To keep me from getting overwhelmed, I broke the project into manageable steps spread over a few weeks, and tried to limit myself to working on it no more than 2 hours at a time. I find that if I work on something longer than that I get tired or frustrated and start making mistakes.

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I HATE ironing...but unfortunately it is a necessity to get nice, crisp hems and seams

Of course, even with that self-imposed limit, I still made mistakes (what’s a project if you don’t use the seam ripper at least once, right??), but they were much smaller in scale and easier to fix.

And in the end, taking my time definitely paid off. The crib skirt is now on the crib and it looks fantastic. I especially love all the colors together- they look so fresh!

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Now I just have a few projects remaining: changing pad cover (which is actually underway), name art (which I started but put on hold to focus on the crib skirt), rocking chair cushions (not yet started), and print outs of book covers for the wall art (also not yet started). I can’t wait until this whole nursery comes together (and of course, we have a baby in it)!

An Oily Mail Day!

At the beginning of March I mentioned that I decided to venture into the world of Essential Oils and join Young Living as a Distributor.

Well, my Premium Starter Kit finally arrived!!

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I am still trying everything out and familiarizing myself with the various oils, but so far I’m loving everything!  And I’m really enjoying researching various oils and how they can help my family.  My favorite reference source (besides my other “oilers”) is the Reference Guide app I have on my phone (which I got for free from my team, Healthier Oil the Thyme).  It’s awesome!

I’ve only had the chance to work with my oils for a few days, so I want to wait a little before sharing any feedback about the oils and how I’ve been using everything, but one thing I have learned… a LITTLE bit of oil goes a LONG way.  The bottles look tiny, and you find yourself thinking that there is no way that one tiny drop of oil will really make a bit of difference- but oh my!  As my husband remarked when I opened a bottle “wow, that’s strong!”… yes, before I had even poured a drop, we could smell the oil.  So I’ve learned to start with just 1 or 2 drops and then add more if necessary.  Definitely a good lesson!

I can’t wait to share with all of you some of the ways I’m using my oils and what results I’ve seen.  It’s definitely going to be a fun adventure!

Nursery Refresh for Baby Girl

Now that Ian has moved out of the nursery and into his “big boy room”, I have been making my plans for turning Ian’s previously “boyish” nursery into something suitable for baby girl.  Ian’s walls were a sage green (they were already that color when we moved in, and I really loved it), and his nursery accent colors were Navy Blue and White.  It was a striking pairing, and I loved the deep, rich Navy paired with the soft sage.  I also loved the Winnie the Pooh mural that was on the wall when we bought the house- something I definitely wanted to keep and even incorporate in the finished nursery design.

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As you can see, his crib skirt, curtains, and changing pad were all Navy blue. His furniture was white (including the fan and the baseboard molding in the room), and the shelves and picture frames I added to the walls were white, too.  His sheets were mostly white, with either sage green patterns or blue patterns.  The “theme” for his nursery was storybook (see the Winnie the Pooh tie in??)- so the artwork on the walls were covers of favorite children’s books (Babar, Curious George, Peter Rabbit, and Paddington Bear), and he had an ABC lamp on his dresser/changing table.

All in all, I loved the look of Ian’s nursery.  It was calming and relaxing, and definitely for a boy, without being over the top.  The only downside to my nursery choices were finding decorations and things to fill it.  For some reason, “storybook” isn’t a particularly common nursery theme, so I had to improvise a bit (hence the printed book covers on the walls).  And, finding baby things in Navy blue was equally challenging.  This led me to make some of the things myself (the crib skirt and curtain tie-backs), but I didn’t mind- I liked putting my own personal touch on his room.

But, now that he’s moved on to his new room (which I wrote about last week), and baby girl will be moving in, it’s time for a refresh.  Time to make this baby boy room into something a bit more tailored to my baby girl.

I have no desire to paint the walls, so baby girl will also have a sage green nursery as her background color and the same Winnie the Pooh mural.  With this in mind, I’ll also be keeping the storybook theme (it’s just so lovely), but I’ll be swapping out the book covers for more traditional girl covers (keeping Babar, but thinking of adding Madeline, Olivia, and Charlotte’s Web). Next was picking an accent color, and it didn’t take me very long to decide.  I knew I wanted a rich, deep purple- like a plum.  I’ll also probably sprinkle grey here and there, but the main color will be the purple.  So here’s my color palatte:

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Of course, finding baby stuff in this deep purple shade is more challenging even than finding it in Navy blue (which, annoyingly, is EVERYWHERE now), so I’m again making the crib skit.  I’m also expecting I’ll have to make the changing pad cover since I’m having zero luck finding the right purple for that.  The only other major project for the nursery will be baby girl’s name art.  I’ve already got it planned out- I just need to execute.

More posts to come as the room comes together- and then there will be the big reveal.  I simply cannot wait!!

Countdown to Baby #2: 9 Weeks to Go

Well I am officially into the single digit-week countdown with baby #2!  Saturday marked 31 weeks of pregnancy with this little girl.  AHHH… I can’t believe we are already here.  Where did the time go?

It’s funny how the concept of time is never constant.  I remember when I was pregnant with Ian feeling like time was absolutely dragging.  I couldn’t wait to meet my little boy and every day felt unbearably long.  And then, of course, he was 10 days overdue, so that didn’t help.

But now, with this new baby, I feel like my time has just evaporated.  Maybe it’s because in addition to work and the pets and the house (everything I had to deal with during my first pregnancy), I also have an extremely lively and rambunctious 2 year old ruling my life.  My evenings and weekends are full of Ian, and I love that- but it also means that time goes skipping along at an incredible pace.  SLOW DOWN, darn it!!

It also means that I’ve had significantly less pre-baby documentation time.  Or maybe I’ve had the time but have just been too tired (er…lazy??) to actually follow through.  With Ian, I took belly pictures every week and tried to jot down a few thoughts each week about how I was feeling and what was happening with my pregnancy.  This time around, I’ve only taken a handful of photos (sorry baby #2- you are not loved any less, I promise!), and I’ve only had the time to jot down just a few fleeting thoughts and feelings.  I feel a little guily, but then I am off doing something else that demands my time and attention and my guilt receeds- at least for a while.

Fortunately, I’ve at least recognized that I’m having this issue.  And that means that when I do have some time to breathe, I’m trying to use it more effectively and efficiently.  I have a nursery to refresh and make ready for a little girl, after all, and that does take time and energy.  I already have it planned out, and I’ve slowly started making progress on the execution.  With 9 weeks to go, I should have plenty of time (if I don’t procrastinate!) to get it all done before this little girl makes her arrival.  So, baby girl, I can’t wait to meet you- but, please, don’t rush.  Please- hang out until your due date (or close to it), so that I can finish getting your room and our lives ready for you.  I still have a lot of things to get done before you get here.

Moving on Up

Ian is now officially out of the nursery and in his new “big boy” room. We started the switch about three weeks ago, after his new twin bed arrived. The bed only took a few hours to put together (mainly, this was due to some issues with a few of the pieces), and I love how it looks. It’s a deep, dark wood with a bookcase headboard and under-bed drawers. We let him pick out the sheets for the bed (he chose sheets from Disney’s Planes), and then that first night we asked him if he wanted to sleep in his old bed (the crib-now-toddler-bed) or his new bed. He chose his new bed, but after we tucked him in, he changed his mind and moved to his old bed. But the next night, he chose his new bed and he’s been sleeping there ever since!

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We’ve slowly moved all of his stuff out of the nursery- his name art, his sound machine, his books, his stuffed animals, etc. We also added a toy organizer to his new room and started filling it with some of his toys from the living room and elsewhere in the house. He loves having toys in his room (the nursery was so small that he really didn’t have any toys in it), and often he’ll wander over to the toy organizer and start playing.

The room still needs a dresser… and some additional decorations, but it’s coming along nicely. I’m planning to do an airplane theme since he loves airplanes. I’m going to decorate the walls with a combination of airplane vinyl decals (which I’m going to cut using my Silhouette Cameo) and airplane artwork. I’ve started collecting ideas and inspiration from Pinterest:

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Decals

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Cute decal and propeller

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Artwork idea

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More artwork ideas

I can’t wait to get some of these projects done so that the room is put together and complete. And, of course, I’ll be sharing the final room with all of you! My goal is to get everything done by the end of March- let’s hope I can make it!

Even without it fully done up and decorated, Ian loves his new room. I wasn’t sure how well he’d take to adjusting to a new room and leaving all his old furniture and stuff behind, but he’s done great! He’ll even point to the crib (which has been changed back into a crib) and tell us “this is for baby sister”, which is so neat. We’re all getting very excited (if not a bit anxious) for this little girl to arrive, so having some projects will definitely help keep me busy and help take my mind off things!

Have you transitioned a kid to a new room (or new bed)? How did it go?