Tuesday, September 30, 2014

House Renovation Update!

As I've mentioned before, we are in the process of adding on a addition and renovating a house in our current neighborhood. Though this originally was supposed to be done in August, construction didn't actually begin until August...you know...typical setbacks and permit requirements. But I am happy to say that our addition/renovation is up and running and moving along QUICKLY!!

It's amazing how quickly things are happening. Before we knew it, the hole for the addition was dug, the foundation was set, and framing of the new part of the house began!

This picture was taken from my In-Laws back yard. Yep, that IS how close we will be to them! That might sound crazy to some, but luckily my In-laws are really cool, and I'm looking forward to sending the kids out the back door to Oma's and Papa's when I need some help.

 New upstairs hallway (Left) master bedroom/bathroom (top right), and downstairs, new family room and kitchen (bottom right).

The house is projected to be done sometime end of November/early December, and I'll keep you posted as things move along. It's so crazy to think that in a few short (or long) months, we'll be living in our new house. It's also so weird that Natalie will never remember our current house that we've lived in for 3 1/2 years, and where we spent the first year of Natalie's life, (not to mention, the house where Chris has lived since he was about 5 years old!)

I can't wait to turn our new house into our "home"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Giveaway: Mason J.A.R. Apparel Onesie

In Allentown, Pennsylvania there is this amazingly cute children's clothing boutique, called Milk and Honey Kids. My mom frequently shops there now that she is a Grandmother who likes to spoil her Granddaughter. She's gotten Natalie some of the cutest outfits there, and they've become staples of Natalie's wardrobe.

These rompers have become two of my favorites:

Natalie also has three Mason J.A.R. Apparel onesies that my mom purchased from the boutique. I love these! They're great for both day and nighttime, and super comfortable - Natalie told me so. ;) I love that they're made from organic cotton, and I love that these particular ones are sized from 6-12 months (though they come in all different sizes, and in short-sleeved or long-sleeves). I feel like these have fit her for a LONG time - longer than a lot of her other clothing which seem to have a 3-month shelf life!

Each design is hand block printed (which gives a very unique look with each piece). There are a lot of different designs to choose from: elephant, owl, turtle, strawberry, or butterfly, just to name a few. On the back of each onesie is a little mason jar logo, which adds a subtle uniqueness to these that I love! How cute is that?!

I looove putting Natalie in these onesies. They're adorable for daytime, but I feel especially comforted putting them on her to sleep, because of the organic cotton!

My mom met Jessica Ann Russell (JAR), the owner of Mason J.A.R. apparel when she was in the store, and I was extremely touched by the story of how her company came to be. I asked her to share her story with me:
"In 2011 I started Mason J.A.R. Apparel. My own home based business. A dream inspired by my son Mason and my love for fashion and art. The name derived from my son's and an acronym for my own. Hand-printed in Bethlehem, PA.

Mason J.A.R. Apparel creates unique artwork on comfortable organic children's clothes. It's imagery and color palette is influenced by natures own playful images and cultures across the four corners of the earth. When I'm not chasing Mason I am working on developing new designs in my studio.

Art has played a huge role in developing me into the person I am today. I learned block printing when I was just a child, from my father and fellow artist. Over the years I have worked for a variety of print studios, before and after college.

I attended both the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and the School of Visual Arts where I majored in textile design and children's book illustration. After working for years doing visual merchandising I have returned to what I love.

Mason J.A.R. Apparel is dedicated to providing a product that inspires and exposes our littlest of humans to art responsibly. I hope you love our wearable art pieces as much as I love creating them." - Jessica Ann Russel (J.A.R.)

As if that wasn't enough, the gift-packaging option for these puts the cuteness/uniqueness factor over the edge. The gift-package option arrives with the onesie inside a mason jar, and wrapped with twine with the company card. Simply unbelievable. These are the perfect gift for baby showers or the new baby in your life.

Want to win your very own Mason J.A.R. Apparel gift-wrapped, organic cotton onesie for the little one in your life? Enter the giveaway below and one could be yours! Check out MasonJARapparel.com today and pick out your favorite design, then leave me a comment below! There are also multiple other ways to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't want to wait till the giveaway ends on October 12? Mason J.A.R. Apparel is running a special discount just for my readers! Enter promo code: LMBM at checkout to receive 10% off your order.

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but rather borrow it from our children".     -aboriginal proverb (Jessica sent this quote to me and I just had to share it.)

Good Luck!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Happy FRIDAY! I must say, it was good to be back to the old blog this week.
Thank you for continuing to follow along, even though I sometimes flake out! 

I don't want to brag - but I have a pretty amazing giveaway coming up on Monday! 
You won't want to miss it. I think it's the perfect giveaway to get me back into the groove and thank my wonderful readers for sticking with me. 
That's enough suspense. For now, have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Natalie Claire: 10 Months

Name: Natalie Claire

Weight: 20 pounds

Height: 28 inches

Health: Super Healthy, no health problems or concerns.

Sleep: Waking up once a night, anywhere between 4 and 6. For awhile there she was getting up at 6 and not going back to sleep, but for the most part, she will sleep 10-12 hours with one wake-up for a quick feeding. The good thing is, I can get up, change her diaper, feed her and get her back to sleep within 15 minutes now! Teething has not been too much of a problem with sleeping. She did wake up randomly two nights this week at 10pm and 3am, but I haven't had any problem with nursing her back to sleep. I've been very happy and proud that I haven't had to give her any medicine during this teething process. My basic motto when it comes to pain meds right now for her is "no meds during the day, and tylenol at night only if nursing isn't working." I've given her tylenol 3 times since she's been born, and honestly - I regret giving it to her each time, because I don't think she really needed it at all. I think I just couldn't figure out why she was crying so I tried that - and knocking her out with meds because I don't know what's wrong, is not really acceptable to me.

Social: Gymboree is sooooo different now. Natalie jumps to be the first to do any of the activities at Gymboree. I have to physically restrain her to let the other kids go first sometimes. She's super eager, into everything, and all over the place. She likes to try and touch the faces of the other babies there. She's starting to get shy with strangers - she'll smile and then bury her head in my shoulder when she meets someone new.

Diet: Still Exclusively Breast Fed with some meals thrown in there each day. Even with the meals, she's still nursing every 2-3 hours, but nursing sessions are seriously about 5-8 minutes total now, so it's nothing to quick sit down and feed her. She's eating more and more foods and I've been moving more and more to whole pieces of food rather than the purees. I kind of switch back and forth between the two. For someone with no teeth until a few days ago, she handled these foods pretty well! As for the teething situation - I'm not experiencing any pain yet with nursing, but I do feel like she is dangerously walking that line between it not hurting and hurting - I'm definitely a little more braced for potential pain when I nurse now. I so hope I don't have any issues with breastfeeding and teething. I have two more months until my goal of one year...if I can just get to there then I'll asses how much longer I plan to nurse.

Likes: Getting into trouble, being chased, walks, being outside, eating, taking all the books off of her bookshelf, taking a bath.

Dislikes: Anyone trying to look in her mouth, shots (who doesn't?), headbands don't really stay on her anymore also, greek yogurt (we're working on this one!)

There are a ridiculous amount of milestones since my last update in June. In the last 2-3 months Natalie has started:
*Cruising around the furniture
* She says "mamamamamamama" quite often...still working on "dada"
*She eats just about anything now: most fruits and veggies, quinoa, chicken, graham crackers, cheerios. She feeds herself and mostly prefers that to being spoon fed. 
*Two teeth popped through in the past two weeks (and the next two are close behind)
* She just started purposely waving this week
* She prefers not to be caged, so we just have certain barriers placed around our living room. She will find the weakest link in any barrier and will always, always, break free of where she is supposed to be - you can almost literally see the wheels turning in her head she tries to figure it out. Case in point:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Melissa's Bachelorette Party: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Two weekends ago was my sister's bachelorette party. One of her bridesmaids lives in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware which happens to be one of my all-time favorite vacation spots. I have many fond memories of this beach town from family vacations and vacations with my friends growing up. Angela is a girl after my own heart: She had an amazing breakfast ready for us Saturday morning (Blueberry Buckle, egg casserole, fruit salad, and yogurt parfaits!) and made these adorable personalized wine glasses filled with goodies for each of the ladies! - she was quite the hostess!
I arrived to Angela's around dinner-time on Friday - while we prepared for the weekend. The rest of the ladies came pretty late so we just hung out by the fire pit, played a few games, and called it an early-ish night. Not before having some cake though!
Saturday morning, we had a dance teacher come to the house to teach us some line dances.  Melissa and her friends go line-dancing all the time in Pennsylvania, and she wants her bridal party to do a line dance during the wedding - so I wanted to make sure I brushed up (read: learned for the first time) some dances - as did some of her other bridal party members!

We had a lot of fun learning the wobble, the biker shuffle, 16 step, and two other dances that I can't remember the names of at the moment! 

After the dance class, we went to Seacrets in Ocean City, Maryland (Otherwise known as Jamaica, USA) Here's where I need to give a shout out to Angela's boyfriend, Bryan, who drove us back and forth to places all weekend, picked up pizza for us Saturday night, and put up with a swarm of 9 girls infiltrating his house for the weekend. He was such a champ, and such a big help in making this weekend the success that it was. Angela: He's a keeper!

We drove back to Angela's house blasting music and singing at the top of our lungs like maniacs - which was the highlight of the weekend for me! Back at the house, we rested, ordered some pizza for dinner, and got ready for our night out at the Rusty Rudder for dancing and more fun!

Melissa with each of her girls:


The Rusty Rudder was AWESOME! We had so much fun! The band The Rockets were performing and they were great, cute, and totally got the crowd going. They even had Melissa up on stage with them for one of the songs!

I believe my sister has a bonafide allergy to alcohol - it's the only way to explain what happens to her every. single. time. she drinks. She really didn't over-do it, and was very responsible with her intake on Saturday, but she still didn't feel great at the club so we had to call it an early night - Sheesh and I thought I was going to be the "old-lady mom" who didn't want to stay out too late ;). Back at the house we were able to chill a bit more and play some games before we all went to bed.

Sunday, we ate lunch at The Green Turtle, took a quick (chilly) walk on the beach, and went our separate ways until we all meet up again at the wedding!

This was my first time being away from Natalie for not only one night...but two nights!! Luckily, she had become a much better sleeper in the past two months and it was actually easier to leave her than I thought it would be. I missed her, of course, but I wasn't nervous, or stressed, over leaving her. I knew Chris could handle it, and that even if it was bad - it was only two nights - everyone would live.

So I left Chris with a fridge full of food, and freezer stocked with well over 100 ounces of Breast Milk  - and I peaced out! Chris did an amazing job taking care of Natalie. She slept like a champ for him (better than she does when I'm home!) and I think it really helped him gain confidence in himself as a father, and was a great bonding weekend for him and Natalie. Special props to my Mother-in-Law who also helped tremendously throughout the weekend! I pumped every 3-4 hours throughout the weekend and it really wasn't that bad or difficult to do at all! Melissa's other friend, Ashley, was also pumping that weekend so the girls called us the "pumpkins" every time we'd step out for a few to pump. It was nice to have someone else on the same schedule, and I was surprised that my supply didn't seem to be affected from being away from Natalie. In fact, I pumped way more than I planned for and had to go to Rite Aid Sunday morning to buy another bottle to store milk in!

I had such a good time with all of Melissa's friends, and I can't wait to party with them all again in 2 weeks at the wedding! Let the countdown begin!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Melissa's Bridal Shower

I'm determined to be back to blogging this week! I've missed documenting 2 months of Natalie's life and it's making me depressed! Hopefully there's still some people out there following along, and if not, then there's always my mom and mother-in-law to read this! Natalie is 10 months today, and I have a few great posts lined up this week as I start to get back on track!

But first: The countdown is on till my little sister's wedding on October 4th. If you haven't been following on instagram, I've been busy with her wedding festivities and wanted to update on all the fun-ness! Two weekends ago we had her Bridal Shower. It was held at the same place as mine, Buckeye Tavern in Macungie, PA.

I was pretty happy with how this hat came out. My mom and I decorated a cowboy hat for Melissa to wear with flowers, wheat, and tulle.

It was a great hat and looked so good on her - unfortunately it was HOT (I tried it on and felt 10 degrees warmer in just a few minutes!) so she didn't wear it the whole time. Oh well.

For our first game we did a little ice breaker game. Each person got one or two cards that had an answer and a non-corresponding question. You then had to find the person who had the matching question to your answer and answer to your question.

For example, someone may have gotten a card that said "A: Ruger and Lily.  Q: Where did Melissa and John meet?" So they would  have to find someone who had a question that matched with "Ruger and Lily", which in this case was "What are John and Melissa's dog's names?" and someone else had a card with the answer "Hummels Bar". Once you found a match, that person had to write the answer/question and sign their name on your card.

The second thing we did was the panty poem. I had seen this at a Bridal Shower before and loved it, and it was a big hit! Here's the poem we ready while referring to a clothes-line of various panties hanging on one of the walls.
The bridesmaids have a secret to share 
About our little bride 
She is obsessed with underwear 
And that we cannot hide 

So for our little panty queen 
We gathered up some twine 
And working as a friendly team 
We made a panty line. 

 Melissa, these undies are to last you 
All throughout your life 
And John will be pleased to say 
He has a sexy wife! 

So listen up to hear about 
Your lifelong panty plan
These underwear, we have no doubt 
Will last your whole life span 

The first are for your wedding day 
Of course they are pure white 
We know John will shout, "Hooray!" 
When he sees these on you that night 

The next are for your honeymoon 
They're sexy and all lace 
We hope you'll leave your hotel room 
'Cause Tennessee's a gorgeous place! 

And for your first Christmas 
As you kiss under the mistletoe 
Wear these green little undies 
And you will be sure to glow! 

On Valentine's you'll wear this pair 
Before you hit the bed 
Cuz Cupid's arrow in the air 
Shoots tushies that are red 

After a year has passed you'll face 
Anniversary number one 
With these you'll surely have a blast 
'Cuz leopard's so much fun! 

Then when the time is right for you 
And don't be saying, "Maybe" 
You'll wear your little pink or blue
In honor of your baby 

And when your years of wedding bliss 
Become the big 2-5 
Don't worry - you'll just slip this on 
 To keep the sparks alive 

When finally you're old and gray 
 With these you can't go wrong 
 'Cuz sorry Melissa but at that age 
You just can't wear a thong! 

After that, it was time to eat! We had a full county buffet with chopped ranch salad, pulled pork, salmon ranchero, bbq chicken, corn on the cob, corn bread, baked beans, tomato bisque, and baked potatoes. Everything was really delicious!

After we ate, played the newlywed game. I had asked John for his answers prior to the party and then we played to see how many matched - Melissa got 15 out of 20 correct! Not too bad! I think I picked too easy questions :)

Then it was time to open her wonderful gifts!

And what Bridal shower would be complete without the ribbon hat?

3 of Melissa's Bridesmaids weren't able to make it, but this is Shannon, Me, Melissa and Jess:

The ladies of the family - 3 generations!

The cake was AMAZE-BALLS. Seriously, one of the best cakes I've had in a long time, and I'm so mad I didn't just have my parents bring this cake from PA to Natalie's Baptism because it was So. Much. Better. The Bakery Nook in Egypt, PA has been my mom's "go to" bakery for many years now, and we're always so pleased with their cakes. Marble Cake with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting. Oh...and decorated perfectly for the occasion!

Dragonfly Soaps was back at it again (they've done favors for both my bridal and baby shower and again for this shower - we really can't get enough of these handmade soaps!) Jacqueline, who owns the shop, does such a great job of individualizing each order. We told her what we wanted for these and she came back with something even better than I could have imagined. My sister is about as country as they come, and her fiance used to be a dairy farmer, so the milk n' honey soap with the phrase "Udderly in Love" was perfect for them. On the back is said "He is the milk and she is the honey"

Natalie was very well behaved during the shower, thanks in part to my mother-in-law who pretty much was left in charge of her for the party. (Thanks Judy!)
I was busier with things than I thought I'd be and she was a big help in taking care of Natalie. Natalie peed while she got her diaper changed 2 times during the shower - thank GOODNESS I brought a ton of extra clothes - so it wasn't a problem. Natalie even got her own thank you from Melissa regarding the incident. (p.s. yes - her thank you's have already been sent out!)

Next up: We head to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for her Bachelorette Party!