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Welcome baby Paxton

We welcomed baby Paxton Xavier on November 24th at 4:04pm.

He was a whopping 9 lbs 3 oz and almost 22 inches long! Running throughout one's pregnancy and avoiding sweets does not guarantee a small baby. At all! I have no idea where he fit; no wonder my belly and ribs hurt so much in the end.

The first week was full of little sleep, tiny cries, and snuggling that felt surreal and romantic as only newborn hormones can make one feel. Unfortunately the good times were cut short by some pretty serious complications. We're recovering now and I started to feel better in the last couple of days, but I'll share the whole birth story in another post.

We're all in love with our little guy - even big brother, who may be a little bit too into the baby. Uh-oh!

Shopping in the "Tall" Section

As someone who works from home and dresses casually 99% of the time, t-shirts are a wardrobe essential. I hated how shirts always shrank over time, and after two kids I wanted more coverage in the stomach area, not less! One day I ordered some tees from Gap and Old Navy in "tall" on a whim. I'm only 5 foot 2, but I like to wear my t-shirts longer, and they inevitably shrink (a lot). Now I wonder why I didn't do this all along because I vastly prefer the fit of the tall tops. I've added tanks, sweaters, cardigans and tees to my wardrobe in tall sizes, and I will never go back!

Gap is currently running a 40% off sale (with no restrictions) with code WRAP through 12/20 for delivery by 12/24. They're also offering Gap Cash and you can get 2% cash back with ebates. Old Navy is running a 25% off sale with code PRANCER, and you can get 7% cash back with ebates with Christmas Eve delivery for any procrastinators!

I own most of these items in multiple colors because black, white and gray tees are pretty much my uniform. I tend to favor Gap over Old Navy because the material usually tends to be thicker, and when you catch a good sale like this one, Gap can cost less than Old Navy. But I've been wearing Old Navy's vintage v-necks for years, and they're my go-to summer uniform!

Does anyone else shop in the "tall" section?

1) Favorite Long-Sleeve Crew Tee |  2) Favorite Henley  |  3) Essential Rib Tank  |  4) Shimmer Tee  |  5) Turtleneck Tee |  6) Space Dye Fluid Tee  |  7) Cable Knit Sweater  |  8) Boyfriend Cardigan  |  9) vintage v-neck

Iris Is Home! Reflections On Her 6 Weeks In The Hospital...

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Exactly 6 weeks after her birth, at 36 weeks and 2 days, our little Iris was discharged from the hospital. The last 6 weeks evoked that familiar sentiment of something simultaneously flying by and feeling like forever. In reflection, there were many chapters in this brief period of our lives. So many emotional ups and downs, so many lessons learned.

There was the beginning, the birth that all happened so fast, the fear, the shock, the immense gratitude that everything went as well as it possibly could have.

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10 Math Toys for Pre-Schoolers

Drake has always liked numbers, counting and now adding and subtracting. These skills are obviously important as he grows, and I'm glad that he has a keen interest in numbers and math at his young age (since clearly he didn't inherit these traits from his mom). I want him to see math and learning as fun; it might not always be possible, but at his age everything can be exciting. I wanted to find some toys that encouraged math development while still engaging his young pre-school mind. This is what I found:

1) Inchimals - I have been eyeing this toy for some time now, and I think this Christmas Drake might be getting it courtesy of his grandmother. Drake has been very interested in the idea of size and measurement these days; he asks how tall things are and compares his height to things. Inchimals are small rulers with different animals depicted on each one, which of course helps my cause since Drake is 100% animal crazy. I have read reviews where children use the rulers to measure everything, as well as add the rulers together and work on addition.

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Introducing Your Dogs to Your Baby

Oh, dogs and babies. As an expectant parent, it was one of my biggest stresses - how will our dogs do with the baby? How should we introduce the dogs to him? What if they hate each other? What if the dogs love him TOO much?

(Jackson insists on being outside anytime the dogs are!)

We have three dogs and we had a lot of worries when it came to our dogs and bringing a baby home. Our dogs are super spoiled and were our only babies for a long time (we've had our oldest dog for five years), and they were all very used to being our primary focus when we're at home. Lots of cuddles, lots of play time, and they pretty much never got ignored.

Until this little guy joined the family. And then? They had to come to a pretty quick realization that they weren't the most important things in our lives anymore. For the first couple of months with Jackson, it was almost impossible to give them any attention. We were so focused on him and figuring out our new normal that everything else flew out the window. Now that we've settled into a good routine, the dogs get much more love than they were getting, but they still aren't quite as prioritized as they used to be.

When I was pregnant, we were pretty sure we knew exactly how the dogs would react. We discussed it extensively and we figured that we only really had to worry about one of our big dogs who has a lot of anxiety issues, and that the other two would love the baby instantly. We were right about one of the dogs - he immediately fell in love with Jackson and couldn't spend enough time near him. From the day we brought him home, he had to be right next to the person who is holding Jackson, and if Jackson was on the floor, he was down there with him. He loves to lick his face and sleep next to him, and I honestly think he'd sleep in his crib with him at night if we let him.

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DIY Coasters

Several years ago I made a set of these awesome coasters, and I have been so impressed with how they have stood up over time. This year, my church small group has made about 30 sets of these to sell for charity, and since I feel like quite the expert now I thought I would share! Believe it or not these are really easy and inexpensive, but they make an awesome gift for the holidays!

Materials

  • Mod Podge - You don't need a ton of this. If you are only buying it for this project, get the smallest size bottle.
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • 4 inch White Tiles - I purchased these for 16 cents each at Lowes. They can be found in the section with the bathroom tiles.
  • Felt Circles (self sticking dots work great!)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush

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Chatbooks Photobook Review

I kept seeing Chatbooks, a photobook printing service, pop up in my Instagram feed and finally decided to order some for myself. I've been using it for a couple of months now to print my Instagram pictures and wanted to write a review. I love its ease and affordability, and I'd probably never get around to printing pictures otherwise!

I N S T A G R A M  S E R I E S

First you have to download the Chatbooks app (there is no desktop interface). Once it's downloaded, open up the app and decide which of the three types of Chatbooks you'd like to create. If you want to print all your Instagram pictures at once, it's easiest to use the "Instagram Series" feature which will automatically suck all your images into the Chatbooks app. Your pictures appear chronologically and you cannot edit the order. Each book is $6 and 60 pages, and you have the option to purchase them all at once or spread them out. 

Chatbooks is an ongoing printing service -- once you reach 60 images, they send you an email giving you a 3 day window to make any edits to your latest book. You can select a title, the cover photo, delete images, and show/hide captions, locations, date, and time.

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