Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gender predictions!

I am almost 15 weeks along now and not knowing the gender is driving me crazy!  Sloan only refers to the baby as a girl and begs me to give her another sister.  She wants to name her Elena and I assume her middle name will be "of Avalor".  When I tell her that the baby could be a boy she gets really upset!!  I would love another girl, I honestly think it would be easier at this point.  We have all the stuff, clothes, and toys.  Sloan and P play so well together, I can totally see another little lady in the mix.  I would love a little boy for Eric though.  He is such a good girl dad, I tell him all the time he was meant to be surrounded by women ;).  But I can totally see him coaching our little mans baseball team someday.  He says he doesn't care what the gender is and I know he won't be disappointed either way.  Neither of us will be, we just want to know the gender so bad!  Will we be an all girl crew or are we throwing a little man into the mix?!

I've been majorly obsessing over the baby's gender.  I've taken ridiculous online quizzes and tried old wives tales, Eric think's I've gone crazy!!  I thought I'd share all of my "findings" so far, just for fun!  I obviously have no idea what the gender is, but it's fun trying to guess!

Chinese gender calendar: it says GIRL (and it did for Sloan and P too)
Carrying high (girl) or low (boy): so far I seem to be carrying high
Baby's heart rate (over 140bpm is a girl, under 140bpm is a boy): baby's heart rate was 178 at nine weeks and 163 at twelve weeks
Skin changes (they say boys make your skin better and girls make your skin worse-think acne): my skin was great until about a week ago.  SO MANY BREAKOUTS :(
Nausea (nausea usually means its a girl, no nausea means it's a boy): I have been SO nauseas, BUT I wasn't nauseous a day with Sloan and she is a girl, so I don't trust this one :)
Cravings- sweets (girl) or salty (boy): Alllll the sweets
Cravings- fruit (girl) or meats and cheese (boy): meats and cheese
Headaches- yes (boy) or no (girl): No headaches
Leg hair (less hair means girl, more hair means boy): I haven't noticed any change so I'm not sure on this one!
Does your husband have more brothers or sister: only a brother
Feet warmer (girl) and colder (boy): warmer
Has dad gained weight (boy) or none at all (girl): He has gained some weight with me!  And he did not gain any weight when I was pregnant with Sloan and P.
Chest has not grown (girl) or it has grown (boy): it has grown
Urine- bright (boy) or dull (girl): dull
Sleep-if you sleep mostly on your left side it's a boy, on your right side it's a girl: right side
Draino test- if it turns green (girl) or blue (boy): blue
Angle of the dangle or the "nub theory"- they say that between 11-14 weeks all baby's have a nub in their private part area.  If the nub points straight out, parallel with the spine it is a girl.  If the nub points at an upward angle, it's a boy:  Based on my 11.5 week ultrasound photo it definitely looks like a boy to me!

There are some other fun tests in this article!

Out of 17 of these "gender predictors", 10 say it's a girl and 6 say it's a boy (and one didn't tell me anything)!  Soooo basically I have NO idea what this baby is!!  I had the most vivid dream I have ever had the night before I found out I was pregnant that I gave birth to a baby boy.  So for the first few weeks of my pregnancy I was absolutely convinced that I was having a boy.  Since then, I have gone back and forth feeling like it's a girl and then a boy and then a girl and then a boy again.

I cannot wait to find out and am so excited to learn the baby's gender in just over a week!  This is (according to Eric) our last baby, so it's even more exciting.  Eep, can't wait to find out!

What do YOU think this baby is??



Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's been awhile since I've done a Friday Favorites post!  Well I guess it's been awhile since I've regularly blogged... working on that!

Eric and I got to sneak away last night and had the BEST date night.  I knew we needed a date night after everything we've been through this past month, I just didn't know how bad we needed it!  Eric's company gave us tickets to see the Blake Shelton concert in their company suite and I think I am officially Blake Shelton's biggest fan.  His concert was amazing!  He is quite the performer too, very charismatic and funny.  We took two of our best friends and had an absolute blast.

So, my very first favorite today is Blake Shelton.  I heart you Blakey, call me.

Ok, moving on.  Are you guys drooling over all of the fun spring clothing and accessories that are being released?  Between my fave small shops and Target, I'm about to go broke.  Too bad it's still absolutely freezing in Oregon and the girls and I won't get to wear any of it for several months.  #Ericletsmovesomewherewarmer #prettyplease #withacherryontop

There are so many cute pajamas for kiddos out right now!  I got these little lemon footie pajamas for P and love them!  I got both girls these bacon and egg pajamas and I cannot get over how cute they are.  I am also eyeing these bunny jammie's for Easter.  Ok last one, your daughter needs this ice cream sleep set in their lives.  And bonus, kidos clothing is 40% off today only at Old Navy with code PLAY.

And since that's such a great discount, I have to share what I picked up for the girls!  I just adore this chambray dress.  You'll see Sloan and Phayre wearing it all spring and summer so act surprised ;).  I also bought these sandals and this jean jacket!  Oh and P had this bubble romper last year and it is the sweetest thing!  I wish she could still wear it!  Don't forget to use code PLAY at checkout.

There are not enough heart eyes in the world for Crew and Lu's new swimsuit line.  I mean gahhhhh I love them so much!  They're being released on February 28th, make sure you go take a peek on their Instagram.  Crossing all my fingers and toes I can snag two!

I'll be honest, I'm not much of a St. Patricks day person.  St. Patties and Thanksgiving always get the shaft in our house.  BUT my children must obviously wear green on March 17th, so I plan on snagging a few items from June and January's drop tonight (at 9pm EST)!  The striped kelly green socks are sooooo good!

And speaking of skipping St. Patricks Day ;) and moving right on to Easter... I neeeeeeed this garland from Hooray Everyday!  Isn't it just the cutest thing ever!  Add that to the ten other things I need from Hooray Everyday!

I really love this gingham top for the ladies and hooray for me there is a maternity version as well!  I have two bins of maternity clothes hiding somewhere in my house or garage and I cannot find them anywhere.  So I have like four things that fit over my growing bump, getting dressed has been super fun!  I've tasked Eric with finding the bins this weekend.  I'm half hoping he can't find them to I have an excuse to buy all new clothes ;).

I'm pretty sure I've shared this recipe before, but I made them for like the hundredth time this week and they were so good I have to share again!  These paleo blueberry scones are amazing with iced coffee, one of my favorite breakfast treats.  I don't follow the paleo diet, but my friend Liz made them like two years ago and I can't stop making them now!

Alright babes that's all I've got for you today!  And it's a good thing because P just started singing, "Mama, mama, maaaaaamaaaaaaaa" from her crib :).  I hope you guys have an awesome weekend!



Monday, February 20, 2017

First trimester recap / Hello Baby Brown #3

I thought I'd do a little recap of my first trimester since most of my first trimester was a secret!  I cannot believe I am already in my second trimester!  I kinda feel like I've already been pregnant for a long time, but the last few weeks have been so busy and exhausting they've really flown by.

I found out I was pregnant when I was only 3 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  I just knew I was pregnant so I tested really early.  As much as I felt pregnant, I was still shocked I got a positive test so early!  We were trying so I knew (and hoped) it was possible that I was pregnant.  My boobs hurt SO bad and I was just feeling really off.  Kinda tired and just not myself.  I also had a few super vivid dreams the two nights before I found out, this happened right before finding out I was pregnant with Sloan and Phayre too.

I felt great for about a week and a half.  As soon as I hit five weeks, I became SO sick.  Nauseous all day and after about a week I started vomiting all throughout the day.  At about six and a half weeks my doctor prescribed Zofran, which took the edge off and kept the vomiting to a minimum.  The major downside was it made me so constipated.  Major TMI, but oh my gosh it was so awful!  Every food and drink I usually liked made me sick and I couldn't even drink water for weeks, it made me so nauseous!

We were definitely in survival mode over here!  Taking care of two toddlers and being so sick is just not fair!  Throwing up on your way to preschool drop off is just not fair!  At my nine week ultrasound my doctor told me to start taking some vitamins during the day and a sleep aid at night.  Within two days I wasn't sick anymore!!!  Such a relief and we started getting back to life as usual (thank goodness!!).

We told Sloan about the baby on Christmas.  She didn't believe us!  She immediately looked at my belly and said, "You are NOT pregnant mommy!!  Your tummy isn't big enough!"  She didn't believe us for a few days and then we overheard her telling Phayre that she was going to have to learn how to be a big girl because she was going to be a big sister!  She quickly became very curious and started asking me lots of questions about the baby.

Shortly after Sloan found out about the baby, she informed us that she too had a baby in her belly.  It's a girl baby and she's due on May 1st (which is coincidentally Sloan's birthday).  Phayre obviously doesn't understand that there's a baby on the way, but she does believe that everyone has a baby in their belly now.  She constantly pulls up our shirts (both mine and Eric's) or her own and says, "BABY!!"

This has definitely been my hardest pregnancy so far, being so sick in my first trimester.  But I am getting to the good part now!  I'm less and less sluggish each day and the baby has even allowed me to start drinking coffee again (here and there, not always).  Now I just neeeeeeed to know the gender because it is seriously killing me not knowing!  I'm just so excited to name the baby and start planning his or her nursery!

Thank you so much again for all of the love and congratulations!!



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grief, grandma kitty, and getting through it all

Hi guys!  I know my life seems like quite the rollercoaster lately and that's because IT IS a rollercoaster right now.  I've had an incredibly hard time knowing how much to communicate through Instagram.  So my posts seem happy and then sad and then happy and then sad again.  The truth is, my emotions really have been bouncing around like that.  I have been incredibly sad.  And angry.  And unable to pull myself together and complete my normal wifely and motherly duties at times.  BUT I am constantly trying to make life feel normal for the girls.  I may cry through my morning shower, but when the girls wake up I do my best to put on a happy face and go about our normal day.

Losing my mother in law has been so unexpected and tragic.  It's not my place to explain what happened, but I will share how we're coping and getting through this.  Her death has affected so many people, but I can only speak for me and my family.  Lot's of you had questions so I'm hoping to answer some today and give a little update on where we're at.

I'm so devastated for my family.  My poor husband has now lost both of his parents.  My daughters have lost their AMAZING grandmother.  The thought of never seeing the girls faces light up when Carrie walks into the room, or hearing P yell, "GAGA!! GAGA!!", or watching the girls play dress up or tea parties with their grandma ever again is crushing.  So much is being taken away from them by losing such an important person in their lives.

Phayre has been talking about her Gaga nonstop.  I have photos of Carrie out everywhere trying to get ready for her service so P is reminded of her a lot.  Luckily P is little and doesn't understand what's going on.  Sloan is two years older and understands that her "Gramma" is gone though.  She is really angry.  She constantly prays to God to take her grandma out of heaven to then begs him to give her back to us.  She's been lashing out and yelling a lot.  It's heartbreaking because I know she's just so confused and heartbroken inside.  When we told Sloan that her grandma had gone to heaven, I gave her a little cat stuffed animal and told her that whenever she was missing her grandma she could squeeze the kitty and her grandma would feel it in heaven.  She named the stuffed animal "grandma kitty" and hasn't parted with it since.  Grandma kitty goes with us in the car and on errands, to school in Sloan's backpack, and Sloan squeezes her each night when she says her prayers and gets tucked into bed.  I wish I could say that it's getting better each day for Sloan, but it's just not yet.  I know that with time it will though.

This week has been so challenging and emotional.  Eric is back at work and his job is being incredibly demanding.  So that leaves me to plan my mother in law's funeral.  I am so happy to do it and really feel honored that I get to plan this celebration of her life.  There are times when I feel so overwhelmed and sad though.  It's been a lot of arrangements, phone calls, and running around.  I have lists all over the house, my diaper bag, and car.  I just want so badly to properly honor such an amazing woman, but feel so overwhelmed sometimes that I become fearful I'm not the adequate person for the job.

I often wonder, "How the hell am I planning a 57 year old woman's funeral?  Why the fuck is this happening to us?  How can Carrie really be gone?  This is NOT FAIR."  I just imagined planning my mother in law's funeral in 30+ years when I had some gray hairs myself.  A life taken too soon is so hard to understand, it's just so heartbreaking.  I've googled "how to plan a funeral" and "how to write an obituary" several times just making sure I'm doing things right and doing everything I should be doing.  It's been A LOT and I have felt really lost at times, but Carrie's two best friends came over last night and helped me with some things and it was so wonderful.  We told stories about Carrie and they really gave me the confidence that I can do this and I'm doing a good job so far.  Thank you Lori and Shelli.

Through all of this pain and sorrow, I have been blown away by the love and support my family has received.  My friends have freaking stepped up and have truly made me feel so lucky in a time that seems so impossible.  Between watching our girls and dropping meals off and all of the cards, flowers, and sweet gestures-It's almost overwhelming how much love we have received.  I am eternally grateful for the friends and family members who have put us under their wings and helped guide and shelter us through this process.  Thank you.

I was really nervous posting what had happened on Instagram.  First of all, I wasn't sure how much was appropriate to share.  This is my mother in laws life, not mine to share.  And secondly, because Instagram is a happy place!  Instagram is like a highlight reel of your life.  You post your favorite photos and moments you never want to forget.  It's hard to share the dark moments, the things you wish so much would just go away.  I have been so surprised (surprised doesn't even seem like a strong enough word!) by how many people have reached out, taken the time to comment that they're keeping my family in their thoughts, and have actually prayed for us.  I am so grateful and feel lovingly wrapped in a community of wonderful women and mothers.  Thank you.

Sharing our pregnancy news this week was kind of crazy timing.  I'll admit, it was a great distraction!  But it didn't last long.  We had always planned on announcing on Valentine's Day knowing that I would be more than 12 weeks along.  When Carrie passed away we decided we should probably wait awhile longer.  The day before Valentine's Day, Eric came home from work and said, "WHOA your belly is getting huge!!  We need to announce before Saturday when we see most of the people we know at my moms service."  I knew he was right, I didn't want our big news to cloud Carrie's special day.  So we went with our original plan and announced.  We received so much love and I feel SO grateful.  It's amazing how many people are cheering for and praying for our family.  We couldn't help but both feel really conflicted though, it was hard to be so happy when we still felt so incredibly sad inside.  We are so excited about this baby and feel so blessed.  We just need time to grieve and work through this loss before we can really express our excitement.  I am so thankful for everyone who has reached out though.  This baby is a blessing and we wanted it so badly, thank you so much.

We did tell Carrie that we were pregnant before she had passed away.  I am so grateful that we were able to tell her and experience her joy.  I also find comfort knowing that she will always be watching over my family.  She was the best grandma ever, so I have no doubt that she'll be the best guardian angel ever.

I tried to answer a lot of questions throughout this update.  Several of you asked how we're getting out and why am I still taking so many photos of the girls while we're going through all of this.  So first of all, I'm learning that everyone grieves much differently and it's important to not judge others while they navigate through this process.  And second, I have a one and a three year old who may feel sad at times, but they are still very much one and three.  Which means that they're busy!  They crave normalcy and it's my job to try my damnedest to provide that for them.  There have been moments where I just want to sit in bed and cry, but I'm a mama first.  We're still getting out, I'm still forcing them to stand there while I their photos (JOKING-I would never force them!!), and I am still making sure that our days have some joy and that I really stop and soak in that joy.  We're all doing our best, all of us who have been affected by this tragedy.

I think that about covers it, I hope I answered your questions!  Basically, buckle up folks because it's going to be an emotional and hormonal rollercoaster for the next little bit.  My mother in law's service is this Saturday and I do look forward to celebrating her life with our loved ones.  She accomplished a lot and touched so many lives in her short 57 years.  Thank you for sticking with me and showing me so much love and support, I appreciate it more than I will ever be able to communicate.



Eric and his mama.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Roses are red, violets are blue, surprise baby number three is due!

Happy Valentines Day and SURPRISE!!  Baby Brown number three is due late this summer!  We are over the moon excited and so happy to finally share our little secret!  We kind of felt like we had to start telling people because I am already very much showing!  So we're either having a giant baby or my uterus is quite the over achiever the third time around!

Baby Brown banner c/o  Hooray Everyday

The baby's official due date is August 25th, 2017!  I found out that I was pregnant a little over a week before Christmas, talk about the best Christmas present ever!  I am twelve weeks along now and finally feeling more like myself.  This has been BY FAR my hardest pregnancy so far.  I was sick for weeks, constantly nauseous and so so much vomiting (yuck tmi, sorry).  I'm still a little tired and I have pretty low energy at times, but I'm no longer sick!

We do not yet know the baby's gender, but will find out in a few weeks.  Eric and I are both leaning towards it being a boy since this pregnancy has been so different than my pregnancies with the girls, but who knows!  We're just so excited for a healthy baby!

Sign c/o  Blessed Blondies

Celebrating this new life while mourning the very sudden loss of my wonderful mother in law, Carrie, has been really confusing.  We feel so lucky that we were able to tell her that we were pregnant and experience her joy before she passed away.  She was seriously the BEST grandma ever.  She lived for her sons and grandbabies, so it's hard imagining bringing this sweet baby into the world without her.  But, we're so thankful for this little light in such a dark time.  All of our children will always be reminded of how fiercely their "Gramma"(what Sloan called her) or "Gaga" (what P called her) loved them.

I am excited to document and share this pregnancy through my blog.  As always, thank you for following along!  If you have any questions at all, let me know!  I'll do a little Q and A at some point :).



Girl's dresses c/o  Remie Girl / Girls bows c/o  Loopty Loo Bows / Girls bracelets c/o  Poppy Lane and Co.

Tutus c/o  Trevi Ave Co / Leo's by  June and January / Felt flower headbands by  Fancy Free Finery 

My very sweet and talented friend Lindsey of Lindsey Wiatt Photography took these photos!  Definitely check her out if you're in the Portland, OR area.

Monday, February 6, 2017

How to plan the perfect Valentine's party for your littles!

It's no secret that I love holidays!  I love dressing the girls up in festive clothes, decorating the house, and planning fun activities and art projects.  Kids make holidays so much more fun!!  I love that my girls get so excited about special holiday activities, it makes the extra effort so worth it!

I was thinking about throwing the girls a little Valentines party when I ran across Katie's (from Fancy Free Finery) Valentines Pinterest board.  It was full of great ideas and the most beautiful shades of pink, red, and purple.  My mind started spinning with ideas and I knew I had to pull a little party together.  I started chatting with Katie about the party and she even offered to send each little girl a felt flower headband (she's the best!).

When I plan parties for the girls, I always think about three things first.  1. The theme.  2. The food.  And 3. An activity or craft.  Obviously the theme would be Valentine's Day, but I also wanted to make it super girly since it would be all girls attending.  When I thought about the food, I wanted to make it as festive, fun, and kid friendly as possible.  And you already know that when I plan activities and crafts I always go back to my former teacher ways and make sure that I choose something that is easy, cheap, and involves as little participation from me as possible (I love kid directed art with as little parent or teacher participation as possible)!

I also love to send guests home with some type of favor or party bag to thank them for coming.  For the Valentine's party, a few of my favorite shops sent goodies for each little girl.  The girls felt SO special and were all squealing opening their little gifts, it was so cute!  My favorite items were the Fancy Free Finery headbands, Hooray Everyday necklaces, and Poppy Lane and Co. bracelets.  Definitely three handmade shops you must check out!

I love creating a photo backdrop for parties.  The kids have fun being silly for photos and the photos are always priceless!  For this party I spent about $15 on some honeycomb balls and streamers.  I threw up our felt floral garland to finish it off (it's usually in Sloan's room).  It was super simple and turned out so cute!

I kept the food super simple and kid friendly.  I also made anything and everything I could into hearts!  I bought a set of heart shaped cookie cutters from Michaels and they made making hearts so easy.  I used the largest heart shaped cookie cutter (it was about 3.5 inches tall) for the sandwiches and the smallest cookie cutter (about an inch tall) for the cheese and cucumbers.

The best part about the kids art project was that it was totally free, I used some things that I had leftover from last year!  Each girl got a piece of card stock that was cut into the shape of a heart.  I put some elmers glue on the front of the card and let the girls decorate them with pom pom balls (which were of course Valentines colors)!

The girls (and us moms!) had so much fun and I'm so glad the party came together so well!  It's so special to see my girls growing up with my friends daughters.  We all make pretty cute little girls :).  I love making these memories with Sloan and Phayre, it makes me so thankful that I get to be their mama!  I hope you get some good ideas here and make Valentine's Day extra special for your little one!  Let me know if you have any questions!

And a big giant thank you to Fancy Free Finery, Hooray Everyday, and Poppy Lane and Co. for making these sweet girls feel so extra special!!

You might also like: Phayre's first birthday party.  Full playroom tour here.

And of course... more party photos!

Girls dresses by June and January / Heart Party Hats by Little Blue Olive / Necklaces by Hooray Everyday / Floral garland by Fancy Free Finery.

Sloan's bracelets by Poppy Lane and Co.

I attached little candy hearts to teddy grahams with a dab of frosting, the girls loved them!

Peanutbutter and marshmallow creme sandwiches, yum!


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