There is a wonderful restaurant that makes the most divine Crunchy French Toast. Unfortunately the wait is long and well, it isn't in our kitchen. This weekend I came up with a solution that I had to pass on, one that made me wonder why I had failed to try this in the past. I sprinkled some delicious home-made granola, compliments of my sweet friend Jessica, on my pancakes. Added strawberries and a little syrup. The result, easy and AMAZING! In fact just blogging about it makes my mouth water. Anyone else have a wonderful breakfast treat they would like to pass on? We are all ears!

Happy Tuesday!
Just wanted to give everyone a quick heads up as to why we have been MIA and might be only popping in briefly for the next few weeks. Kevin is in the midst of his new schedule of rotations and working. While on the home front there is tons of activity as the To-Do lists have tasks added to them daily and are tackled with the best of intentions each morning. We don't know how long it will be until our sweet son joins us, but are feeling like it potentially could be sooner than later and want to be prepared. Keep popping in though, we will do our best to keep you updated! 
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Just a quick heads up to anyone out there looking for a coupon code or discount code for FREE SHIPPING from one of my favorite companies, My Blankee. Right now they are having a fabulous blowout sale and with the following code you also get free domestic shipping, which save us almost $10!

We received a mini one of these for Baby Love when he was born and he LOVED it, took it everywhere. Even today it is one of his favorite blankets. In searching for similar styles for our sweet second we found that even the cheaper brands were around $30 for a large and $10 for the small security sizes. Especially if you wanted the dots and satin trim, both of which made set My Blankee apart for Baby Love. We found both the lovey and the full size blanket for $40, with free shipping! So for our newest arrival we got these two and are so excited to see how he loves on them!

April (7 month Prego)
Run a 5k (or end of March)
Rowan's 2nd Birthday done and in boxes ready to go
~ About 50% done. Not bad!
Birthing class review
~Moved to May, after classes were done and we could do this together.
Design baby announcements
Finalize Birth plan, distribute
~Done. Made this a little more real! I liked using this website. Quick and easy.
Co-host baby shower for Megan
~So beautiful and fun! See post here for details.
Baby Moon?
~ Not possible with classes, thinking of a fun little trip in the fall with friends instead.
Read: Grace Based Parenting by T. Kimmel
~ Purchased and cracked, but no progress made. Tons of other reading instead though...see below.

Additional Goals Added:
Easter Flash Cards For Rowan
~85% done, still searching for a few of the animals. 
Flash Card Banner for Above Declan's Bed
~ Done and so perfect. See it here.
Be faithful with Bible Study
~Successful. Even if we were late we made it, and 90% of the homework was done on time!
Develop Pinterest Boards
~Loved working on these. A bit of startup, but so worth it in the end.(click on the icon in the sidebar to follow!)
Read: Water for Elephants
~Loved this book. A good reminder to treat our elderly with more respect.
Read: The Sacred Influence
~An incredible book, full of challenges. I read it with some other married ladies and wouldn't recommend an isolated reading. Having others to hold you accountable to what the book was calling out in you is crucial.
Design Mypublisher Books, this last year for us, bring up to date.
~1 of 4 done.Too many great pictures of some really fun activities to fit into 2 books this year.
Happy Monday ?
Blogger was down this weekend, starting I think around Friday, maybe Thursday night. As I found myself getting more agitated by the minute over not knowing when it would be back up and running I realized I need a system for backing up my blogs. I have many blogs that I have written in word, but they don't have the images inset as I usually do that in blogger. Lately however, laziness has popped up its ugly head and many posts are written strictly on blogger.Ugh, just confessing that makes my skin crawl. So I am wondering, fellow bloggers or internet journalers, 
how do YOU organize and backup your blogs? 
Looking forward to your ideas and suggestions!
(Isn't that a great Monday image? Made me laugh out loud!) 

I can feel these precious moments with our Baby Love just slipping through my fingers. Desperately I am trying to hold on tight and get every last memory out of the moment. The milestones are no longer documented on a monthly basis. We aren't tracking development in a hawk like manner that we did for the first 12 months. Yet now more than ever I am reaching for scraps of paper to write down a memory that I can't bear the thought of losing.
The sentimental poems about leaving the dishes for later because hugs won't always be in abundance in a short period of time, blah blah blah, have always rubbed me the wrong way. In my mind keeping a pleasant and clean home provides a safe and relaxing space for creativity to blossom. Today I realized what my sentimental ode to childhood moments would look like and it explains the reason I am so tired. As my son followed me around the house, periodically asking to be held, I held him tightly. When he rested his head on my shoulder, I cuddled and rocked him. Never did I think that there wasn't time for these acts of love. As he nuzzled into my neck and began to play with my hair I began to make lists. Not of what needed to be done, but of ways to extend our closeness. And now that he is down for a nap I turn the speed up a notch and those dishes still got done. The house is picked up, clothes put away, stroller collapsed. Check, check, check. Because for me, the ability to truly dwell in those moments becomes more natural when I power through his down time. But that is just me. I am sure there are many type A personalities that would relate to my sentiments, and tons of you who wish I would just give it a break. But these moments are so precious, and I simply can't let them escape because part of my mind is elsewhere.

As we walked, no stroller just a genuine stroll, hand in hand to Starbucks. We pointed out the cars and birds, talking about what sounds they make and my breath caught a little in my chest. I heard my heart whispering to capture every element of this moment. I took a long deep breath, memorized the scent of the day. Dwelt on the smallness of his little hand in mine. Took a visual picture of what he was wearing, what I was wearing, what the world around us looked like. In that moment I knew that this scene would never repeat itself again and so I captured it earnestly. It is forever encased in my mind and I know that when I am old and gray I will be able to pull it up and relive every little detail as though it were yesterday. And onward we go, new memories to make and moments begging to be captured. And capture them I will, piece by piece.
Safety is something that always comes up in conversations when people find out we live in the heart of a larger city. When we had Baby Love we discussed in depth different precautions we would and wouldn't be taking. It was our desire to raise a healthy, secure and loving little boy who wasn't afraid of the unknown. One of the tools we used for reaffirming who was in ours, and by proxy his, safety circle was this little look book.
Sassy Look Photo Book
We filled its pages with photos and he started actively looking at, and chewing on, it by 3 months of age. Now approaching two he still loves this tattered and torn little book. We just updated the pictures inside (something we have tried to do every 3 months or so) and he spent all morning carrying it around, pointing out the people and gabbing on and on to the different loved ones. Before visiting with a loved one that he hasn't seen in awhile we will pull out his look book and find their photo. We then talk about fun things he has done with them, something memorable that might be in his memory bank. Maybe they have an animal he loves, or play a certain game with him, or have a special treat waiting upon his arrival. You get the idea, concrete consistent elements. Since we have a tight circle of friends that are like family their images are in their as well. We decided that anyone we would consider in our tight trust circle would be in his book. These are people we want him to trust as we do and so far we seem to be successful. It is exciting to think about making one of these for Baby Declan. Maybe that would be a good weekend project, eh?

So that is one of the ways we have approached safety while raising a baby in the city. We would love any and all of your questions, they fuel many of our posts and are great food for thought!
This year I have a few simple requests for Mother's Day. 
Something gifted.

Something tasted.

His love remembered.

All three of us rested.

A memory made while there were three, before we became four.

What are your wishes for Mother's Day? We hope it is memorable and unique to you.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mommies out there! 
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We are incredibly blessed today, and everyday lately, by the generosity of those who have gifted us with their hand-me-downs. Baby Love was clothed most often by some hand-me-down or another. The items we purchased for him were few and far between. 
Tips and Tricks for utilizing Hand-Me-Downs to their fullest potential:
1. Even if it is stained receive it because you can use it as an undershirt, a layering piece for the bottom layer, extra PJ top or even when your own sweet child gets sick themselves.
2. Think layers. So often the seasonal aspect becomes problematic for moms. If it is a summer button down put a thermal underneath and use it in the dead of winter. If it is long-sleeved, have you considered rolling the sleeves? Using it in the place of a lightweight jacket for the evenings in summer that tend to chill a bit? I have even cut some of the bottoms off of button bottom onesies to make them cute shirts.
3. Show genuine gratitude. It is good for your heart and warms the giver's as well. 
Here is a peek into laundry day this last week. The blues went from 2 large loads to 4 loads comfortably! With a few minor exceptions, we are ready for our sweet son to makes his arrival. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has passed something our way. This journey is more enjoyable because of your thoughtfulness. 
The rhymes were fun,
But when it was done,
Our brain it was empty,
No more rhymes aplenty.
A few of our favorites here we will share,
Although none of them are very rare!

Our dear friend Katie is a leap year baby and as such it is always tricky deciding when to celebrate her. We made wonderful plans for this year but at the last minute, 48 hours before, the weather changed everything! The icy conditions and tempestuous nature of the storm made us nervous to drive to our retreat for the weekend. So at the last minute we pulled it together and adapted, adapted, adapted! I must say that in the end the result was fabulous and we were able to show our sweet friend just how much she means to us!

The theme was beach retreat. I designed the invitations and created all of the rhymes that followed on her clues. I punched holes at the top and threaded Ace Jute Twine 147 through the two holes, tying tightly and then glued a shell at the bottom of the clues. 
<Please don't use without permission!>

We arrived with a breakfast tray of her favorite things and another clue. 

"While the snow may have changed our plans,

And we are sad to not be able to run to the sands..."

She had a massage by an incredible masseuse and was picked up by one of our friends while two of us waited for a table at a wonderful local restaurant that is always PACKED for brunch!

"We hope the massage soothed your soul,
And your appetite is the size of a troll....."
Bringing a little of the beach to the restaurant.
The place mat was the same paper design I made for the invitations, edged with creative scissors.
Impromptu cone made from the same paper.
The flowers were wrapped with  paper towels that had been wet and wrapped in plastic.
Above: The Birthday Girl and Shannon, some of the delicious Brunch items, Caitlin and I. 
Afterwards we returned to her apartment where we had everything laid out for her make up to be done professionally while sipping on wine and nibbling on chocolate.

"After a day of fun and surprises,
That fortunately never required disguises,
We desire to help you primp for what lies ahead
For at 6 O’clock he will arrive it is said
No more can we say about what’s in store,
For to secrecy we have been swore (n),
And rhyme we can’t anymore.<wink>"
To end the evening she was picked up by her boyfriend and we made our adieus. 
Happy Happy Birthday Sweet Katie, You Are Dearly Loved!

Before Easter is too far in the recess' of our memory I thought I would share a little Mommy Moment with you from this last week. 

During nap time on Monday the Easter Candy was sorted and cleaned out. The "good" candy was put into a little bag for us to enjoy and the rest made the trek to the trash can. Included in this was the large chocolate bunny that Baby Love had made ear-less in a matter of minutes on Easter Sunday. It was amazing how fast he gobbled it up and we realized he would have the whole thing devoured before breakfast was on the table if we didn't act fast. So we made a trade for a muffin and put the deaf chocolate bunny up and out of sight. 

Fast forward to Monday, post-nap time. Baby Love gets up and proceeds to clean my floor, crumb by crumb. A new hobby of his that is wonderful. Suddenly he pauses and says loudly in distress "Mommy!". In his depositing of crumbs into the trash he had glimpsed the packaging of the monster bunny and was trying to wedge it through the tiny gap that a child proof lock allows on a door. As he freed the poor dirty chocolate bunny he looks at me with wide sad eyes and says "Nummy?". I would love to say I had a wonderful moment where I soothed him and managed to put the bunny up until a later time when I could get rid of him. But no, that's not what happened. "Oh no! Poor bunny, well he is all dirty because he was napping in the trash. Bummer, we will have to put him back in the trash. Bye Bunny". That is about how it went. Not my proudest moment. Note to self for next year, trash Easter candy deep in the depths of the trash can. Or take it to a secondary location for destruction. 
Have you ever had a mommy moment like mine? Please share! It will make me feel a little better! <wink>