Thursday, October 15, 2015


This year, today is bittersweet. While I am still among the scores of women who sadly will light a candle on this day, this year I have my sweet baby girl (and son) in my arms while I do so. 

I'm currently at a loss for words. I don't know if it should be words of encouragement, sympathy, or elation. 

I mostly never talk about what I've been through except on this here space. And even then I don't think I've been thorough. I actually think I'm still processing everything-even in the amount of time that has passed I still can't wrap my head around it. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WW: Baby muggin part 2

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

7 years

Today, hubby and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.My husband thinks marriage is calculated in dog years so he'll undoubtedly wish me a happy 49th anniversary. He thinks he's funny. Much like the past 5 years we aren't doing anything spectacular to celebrate. We'll be lucky if we can go to dinner alone. However, I have big plans for our 10th anniversary. I keep telling him that I'd like to get "remarried" in Vegas. I know this would simply equate to a vow renewal but I think the idea of a Vegas wedding is kinda funny for us.

I also want this (for our 10th). I usually don't ask for jewelry (or anything else for that matter) but this is so pretty I couldn't resist.

The year we got married (2008) we attended 3 other weddings and cheered on 2 others from afar. One of my friends from college dubbed this year our 7/11 year (7 years married, 11 years together). I thought that was very clever and immediately thought of Beyonce's 7-11. I tried to get him to act out that scene from the video when Jay-Z tumbles down the hallway. You know- this one....

That cracks me up every single time.  My husband said "no". We have our silly moments but we really need to draw the line at nearly hurting ourselves. Cause my husband tumbling down our hallway would likely end in tragedy. So while I won't have any silly videos to share, I will share a picture from our wedding... one of the best days of my life.

And here's my anniversary tributes from years past (with my parents sprinkled in there too). Happy 7 years babe! Here's to many more!

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Friday, October 9, 2015

5 on Friday: maternity pictures

Remember when I shared my inspiration for maternity photos way back when? I did two sets of maternity pictures (lucky me!). The first shoot was a surprise from my husband and I love love LOVE them! He surprised me during our baby moon and I'll forever hold dear our moments in Bermuda. Here a few:

My second shoot was one that I had planned. I wish I could share them all with you but I only have two digital versions.

I love how all the pictures from each session turned out. Hopefully it doesn't take me forever to have them printed and hung.

Monday, October 5, 2015

9 tips in 9 months

Coming off the heels of my pregnancy, I feel like I have more wisdom regarding those special 9 months. I realize every woman and every pregnancy are different but the fundamentals are still the same. So, I'm sharing what I've learned this time around.

Month 1. I had absolutely no idea I was pregnant at this point. We weren't trying but we weren't preventing. But luckily I was taking a prenatal vitamin- just in case. I skipped days here and there but I was also trying to improve my diet. 

Takeaway tip #1 Even if you are just "seeing what happens" take the vitamin daily!

Month #2. This is the point when I found out I had baby #2 on board. I was committed to taking my prenatal vitamin. And exercising. Unfortunately for me I couldn't keep up with the exercise. I struggled with fatigue and balancing an already busy life of husband, 3 year old, work, and various other obligations. I was also a nervous wreck that this wouldn't last. I used positive pregnancy affirmations and lots of encouraging talks with my husband to get me through this month. 

Takeaway tip #2: stay positive and enjoy every single moment of this beautiful journey that you can. 

Month #3. This is around the time most couples typically make their big announcement to the world. I opted to wait awhile longer due to my history. I just didn't want to deal with the what-if's. My journey is a very personal one and didn't way to deal with thrones of people with questions and whatnot- so I held onto my joy a little longer than most. But if you have no reason to otherwise I'd say shout it from the mountain tops! It's such a happy time in your life why no let it show?!

Takeaway tip #3: Don't be afraid to share your joy! 

Month 4: Things are getting really real now and probably have already begun to show. If you are the type- do a fun photo project to document your pregnancy.  Even if you don't always feel the best do it anyway. It'll be fun and nostalgic to look back on this time and reminisce on how things were before your family expanded. Perhaps you can use it to compare a future pregnancy or your child may want to know what your experience was. It's crazy how much we can forget as time passes on. 

Takeaway tip #4: Document your journey- it'll be fun to look back on later.

Month #5: Plan a getaway! I know the babymoon market is beginning to take off but seriously if you can-do it. Life as you know it is about to change and who knows when your next opponent might be?! It doesn't have to be an extravagant trip oversees. You can do a cute weekend getaway to just about anywhere. Perhaps explore another place within your state of residence, get a hotel room and indulge in room service, or go to a bed and breakfast and just relax. The possibilities are endless!

Takeaway tip #5: Use the "babymoon" as an opportunity to relax and reconnect with your partner. 

Month #6: Start your baby prep. I actually start my prep a little earlier so I can plan and accommodate unforeseen circumstances. For instance when expecting my son it took me nearly a month to clean out the spare bedroom for his nursery. I didn't realize how much stuff I actually had piled in there. It was our catch all space. But otherwise now is a good time to go ahead and start getting the nursery together. That way you'll have time to make it all come together! 

Takeaway tip #6: Get the nursery together!

Month #7: Get ready for baby's debut. Learn all you can about the labor and delivery process, what to expect, and your options. This will help you to get the most out of baby's debut. But it doesn't stop there- you'll also want to prepare yourself for postpartum changes too. Having the knowledge before hand can make a difference later. 

Takeaway tip #7: Take a childbirth prep course (usually hosted at your local hospital) to get familiar with what to expect. 

Month #8: We opted not to have a baby shower the second time around but for our first- we did. Ideally, someone would be hosting this for you so all you have to do is show up! This is always a fun celebration of your journey into motherhood and your loved ones are likely happy to share in this special time with you. Even if you aren't into cheesy baby shower games there's still fun to be had!

Take away tip #8: Others are likely wanting to share in your joy. Use this as an opportunity to share your impending arrival with your loved ones!

Month #9: The moment you've been preparing for these past nine months is finally here. There is no better moment than meeting your baby for the first time. Enjoy it as much as possible. The birth that you've planned may or may not have happened but don't let that ruin this momentous occasion. Both of my deliveries went better than I anticipated but everyone isn't always as fortunate. If you find yourself delivering in a way you hadn't anticipated- try not to dwell on it. The most important thing is that you and your baby remain safe and healthy. 

Takeaway tip #9: The finish line is oh so sweet. Your life has changed for sure- savor every moment regardless of how your bundle of joy got here.

Bonus: The fourth trimester. A time of foggy bliss. Sleep deprivation, healing, and getting to know your sweet little one hits you like a ton of bricks! It's easier said than done but take it easy! Ease back into your day to day life slowly but surely. You never get these moments back so don't rush it.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

5 reasons why my daughter doesn't have a name

I started this before my daughter was born. Clearly she has a name now but it was tough.

I think my daughter is going to be named baby sister. It's what we've been calling her since we found out she was a girl.

I can't find a name that I feel suits her. I want a really beautiful name, something that makes you go "Oh, that's a pretty name" when you hear it. Something that rolls off the tongue well. I've looked up the translation of the words pretty and beautiful in almost every language known to man but nothing hits me as that's it! Here are two names that fit that bill:

Jalia (say: Ja-lee-uh) means pretty in Swahili- a friend of ours named her daughter Jalia.

Jolie means beauty in French. It was a strong contender but Angelina Jolie ruined it for me.

I didn't want any celebrity affiliations. Which is why Jolie was out. We live in a culture that is celebrity obsessed and I just didn't want her to be associated with any potential negative publicity or long lasting impressions. Think about the image you get when you hear the name Beyonce. I don't want her carrying that around for the rest of her life.

Kendall was really my number one name for about a week. Then that Jenner girl did something else and I was like absolutely not!!! Also, someone in my church has that name.
I also didn't want a name that someone else had. Of course it's nearly impossible to be the only person in the world with a name (unless you make it up completely) but the separation had to be huge for me. This meant no one from our social circle, friends, family, work, etc. I just didn't want to run the risk of the name landing on the social security administrations top 10 girl names of 2105. I just didn't want her to be Jennifer C. I went to school with 3 Ashley's 2 Crystal's (with different spellings) and a boat load of Jennifer's. Clearly those were popular 80's names.
This caused Charli to get the boot. Spelling variations included.
I prefer a family name. My brother, son, husband, and I are named after someone in our family. However, everyone in my family have really old southern names. Nothing would fit with my style and modern variations just weren't cutting it. I also wanted something that she can carry with her for the rest of her life.
However, Olivia got ruled out. Which really broke my heart because it's the number one family name that I loved. My grandfather's name is Oliver and his mom's name was Olivia. Plus my cousin who is like a sister to me is named Olivia. It was a perfect homage- the perfect family name, But all the bandwaggoners ruined that for me. You people suck. 
I also wanted something that would stay with her for years. There are some names that automatically seem old to me (Ethel, Gertrude) and some that are really only for little girls (Molly,
Journey had a really special meaning for us considering all that we went through. But, I felt that it lacked professionalism. Since we aren't loaded with money this little girl will likely need a job at some point and I'd like for her job applications to not get overlooked in the future. 
So, leave your best name suggestions below. Even though this post is old and baby girl is here- we may need the help if we ever have another.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015


Only 3  months left in 2015. Let that sink in.

Somehow I only managed 3 posts last month. Whomp, whomp! I certainly expected to have spent more time than that blogging but alas baby duty calls. I'm kind of looking forward to October- with some hesitation of course. It's my last full month of maternity leave as I will return back to work mid November and I am not looking forward to that. I'm loving the time me and my baby girl are sharing together. I remember this exact same feeling with my son.

But I do have a few things to really look forward to. For example, our annual Fall fest. Every year my parents and brother come up for Columbus Day weekend and we go apple and pumpkin picking. We have so much fun every year and everyone always look forward to it. This year my brother gets to stay the whole weekend (the past few years he's only stayed 2 days), and we add my little girl to the mix.

I'm also looking forward to our annual friend's beach vacation. Although it's too cold to get in the water we always manage to still have a good time.

Then we will also be traveling back home two weekends in a row to spend time with family and do all the Jersey things. Which means this weekend is the only weekend we'll be home. Somehow I need to clean the house and switch out the kids summer clothes for cooler weather clothes in 48 hours while I have the extra hands of my husband around.

Here's to a great month ahead!

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Birthday Week: Preserving the memories

I'll be the first to admit- this is not my original idea. This comes from a mama who is absolutely my best mama friend (in my head). She posted this to her IG feed one day and I just knew it was something that I wanted to do. I've had so much success with it I asked her permission to pass it along to you.

Anytime you host a party/celebration or encounter any major event you are likely to

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Birthday Week: Gifts from Everybody!

I don't know about you but I think Birthdays are quite special. I mean not every one gets to have one every year. And who doesn't appreciate special shout out for their birthday?

Although we do not do huge birthday parties every year - I still want my little guy to be able to celebrate in a special way.

I think the person of honor would like to receive some extra's as well. So I thought I would share with you his birthday extras:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hello September


I swear I didn't mean to take a 2 month hiatus yet again. But things have been crazy round here!

I can't say that I'll be around for a while but I'll give it the good old college try. Per usual- due to my unintentional hiatus I have a lot to catch up on. 

I really love the month of September. Mainly because it's my birthday month. Add to that my son's birthday and I'd say September is pretty much perfect! Our birthday's are 5 days apart so over the past 3 years I've dubbed that week 'birthday week'. And in honor of our birthdays I do have a few fun posts in the works... Ok just 2 cause I likely won't have the time to write the rest. 

Lastly, we welcomed our baby girl last month!! We are so smitten with her and adjusting to life with a newborn. If you follow me on the 'gram you've already met her. I hope to be back soon with more pictures. 

I can't even believe we are a family of 4!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

3rd trimester prep

My third trimester began mid May... goodness where did the time go?! As we get closer to D-day, I'd like to get as much as I can situated for baby. Even though we've been through this once before- a lot can change in 3 years. Seriously, this time around I am giving birth in a new state, new health care laws are in affect, and each and every mama, pregnancy, and birth are different. So, today I'm sharing 5 ways to prepare for baby's delivery in your third trimester.

 1. Thanks to the affordable Care Act, most private insurance companies are required to cover the cost of a breast pump. This is huge because when my son was born in 2011- my insurance company did not cover a breast pump. I plan to primarily breast feed initially but would like to keep my baby on breast milk after I can no longer nurse her on demand. Which will require a stored milk supply once she enters daycare. So, I contacted my insurance company and found out the steps I need to take to obtain a breast pump. It was actually quite easy as they use a supplier ( I have 3 to choose from actually) so they are no reimbursement forms, no shopping excursions, essentially a lot of hassle has been taken away. When using a supplier my options are limited but still numerous (if that makes sense) but I kind of like not having the need to stand in front of an array of pumps at the store going eenie-meenie-minie-moe. Ok, I didn't do that last time but I did spend hours on the computer comparing and contrasting pumps.

 2. Birth plan
The hospital where I am delivering requires a birth plan to be submitted for certain patients. I am opting to labor in water so I am included in the 'need a birth plan' population. So, I'm getting that started. I'll be using a fill in the blank form. There are a ton of templates you can find online to use. I seriously need to get cracking on mine and then run it by hubby so that we are all on the same page.

 3. Hospital Classes

We aren't signing up for some of the traditional classes like childbirth, newborn care, or fit & healthy pregnancy because we've done this before, right?!

This time around we did the Sibling class for Buggy which I think will be cute. He's all excited about his new baby sister that's coming and this will further add to it. They are going to go over things like being gentle with baby and even have an arts and crafts project planned to give to baby when they are born! I honestly don't think he will have a problem with the new transition but anything we can do to prepare him, we're going to do!

4. Prenatal yoga

I've been wanting to try my hand at yoga for quite some time. So, I figured now would be a good of time as any! Most yoga studios required you to be in your second trimester to begin. I was three weeks shy of third tri when I start and I really wish I would've done it sooner! It's never too late to start- so if yoga is (or could be) your thing I'd suggest you just go for it!

Since I've begun I noticed that my back pain has completely disappeared. I sit in a chair (probably improperly) all day at work and I know the ill effects that can have on you even when you aren't pregnant. We also do poses that is designed to prepare your body for childbirth. I'm not really sue how any of us manage to get into those poses with basketballs for bellies but we do it! Only time will tell if it actually eases the birthing process.

5. Baby names

Boy oh boy (or should I say girl oh girl!) has this been a struggle. I kinda of knew it would be though. I've always known that no matter who my husband was if we were to have a boy there was a 99% chance that he would be named after his father. The only exception would be if I married a guy named Shitthead (pronounced sha-theed) or the likes there of. Someone actually named their child that. But imagine the first day of kindergarten with that name. Or heck- a job resume'! No way. Luckily I loved my husband's first and middle name so that was a no-brainer for me but it took some convincing to get him on board. My brother is named after our father, who is named after our grandfather, and there's a rumor that he is actually named after his father but was never a Jr. The validity of that will never be known because all pertinent parties in that matter is resting in heaven and took that bit of info with them. So, needless to say I felt it would only be right to name our son after his father. It did take a few months to convince him though. I too am named after my mo's sister and I love the fact that both my brother and I have family names. It's just so much more meaningful to me!

Since we never knew the gender of our baby until he was born we did have a girl name lined up. Problem is- we can't use that this time around. The name has become super duper popular and I'm just not that interested in her being a Jennifer S. (any 80's babies out there who had 4 Jennifer's in their class?? no... just me. ok then. FWIW we also had 2 Ashley's and 2 Crystal's too.) I was so in love with that name because it was my grandfather's name who was name after his mother. This sucks.

In this post (which seems eons ago and clearly needs updating) I did share my favorite names for both boys and girls- none of those made the cut. For one, most of them have been taken by someone else (and Disney princess are just too cliche') and the others just don't seems to fit. I think our daughter might leave the hospital unnamed.

Here they are again- just for pretty pictures and reference.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

5 on Friday: maternity pictures inspiration

This is about the third or fourth time that I've done a post with link backs to Pinterest. It's because I can't find the original source of the photos. So instead of just stealing them, I am linking it somewhere with hope that the owner still gets credits. So if you know the source- please let me know!

I don't play around when it comes to capturing life events on "film". Most of the time I have my big girl camera with me and if I don't it's because I've reasoned that I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, protect it, or keep it safe. So I will never likely have it with me on a beach or a boat. Do you know how much damage sand does to a camera?! For the moments where I can't be the photographer (or at least an up to par photographer) I'll enlist a professional. Sometimes that professional happens to be my brother, other time it's a paid for hire person.
Going into most sessions, I have an idea of the shots I'd like to capture. But, I've also learned from past sessions that  in order to accurate describe what I want to capture, words are not sufficient. At least my words aren't. I'm a horrible description. So, this time around I just bought actual example pictures. I've posted one of my inspiration boards to Instagram and here are the top 5 shots I wanted to capture.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hello July!

Alriiight! Let's get this summer started! 
First, I am thrilled to say that I made it another month in this here space. Another whole month! I really like to blog and connect with you guys so I'm very excited that here I am at the beginning of July still plugging along when usually it's about this time that I stop for awhile.

Last moth I was able to keep up with:

And as I predicted we still had a lot to do. Here are some things that likely won't get a recap.

1. We participated in our first 5K fun run/walk. My son likes to run, run, run so this was right up his alley.  It started with a fun run for the kids. The littler ones did a quarter mile and up to age 10 did a half mile. So stinking cute!!!! But we did put him in his stroller for the actual 5K part.  I have been looking forward to this for a while. It's a fundraising event for my son's future school and we were happy to participate. Plus, I've never run a 5K before.

My cousin's 30th birthday. My twin cousin's are like my brothers. They moved across the country at a very young age and we were all sad about it. But that didn't stop us from being so close. It's funny because we were able to maintain our friendship being on opposite ends of the country and we didn't have social media to help us. Every summer they would come back to visit and we couldn't wait. My brother and I would spend all day playing with them and their younger sister. We have some of the best memories. It was the 5 of us every summer. Their girlfriends planned them a nice 30th birthday cruise which was also so much fun.

That is probably the best picture I have from that night. Everything else is fuzzy because of the lighting, movement of the boat, and some family inebriation, lol!

This month I'm hoping to share:
- A recap of Father's Day
- How we spent our babymoon (considering it's been nearly 6 weeks)
- Sharing our visit with Baby girl
- Some maternity pictures!
and fingers crossed: a really fun project that we were invited to participate in. I don't want to jinx it just in case, but I am so over the moon about it (and watch it turns out to not be a big deal, lol!)

Here's to another month of blogging and my last month as a mommy of 1 :)

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