Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Gender Reveal | Klair Bear Style

We are having a boy! It took two tries yesterday to get him to reveal his gender (the umbilical cord kept getting in the way) but the second attempt was the charm. I am undoubtedly pregnant with a little man.  We have a son! I have a son. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that one. I'm honestly so excited though. And I have to say, it was really fun watching him on the ultrasound. I didn't even mind the fact that it took awhile to discern that he was indeed a he. I just loved watching his tiny movements, seeing his profile, and witnessing his self-soothing technique of keeping both hands by his face. 

Klair is really excited too. Although she told the world in our pregnancy reveal video that she wanted a "girl," she started changing her tune lately and would occasionally tell us she wanted a "boy" or a "brother." At the end of the ultrasound she cried out, "Yaaaaay!"--an exclamation unprovoked by any of us. I think she is genuinely happy to have a little brother on the way, and I can't wait to see my two babies together. 

So now we have some work to do. Is it just me or is it harder to try and find good boy names? I want to name him a good, strong, classic name... and most are taken, or have been stolen by girls. We really need to end that trend... it makes it so much harder for those of us tasked with naming a boy. If the baby had been a girl, our name would have already been chosen--not so with a boy. We have some ideas, but we're divided on what to do. Wish us luck. Also (and I'm not sad about this) we are going to need to buy an entire wardrobe of clothes. Good thing boy clothes are so dang cute! I really am pretty excited about that aspect. 

Oh! And the nursery. That's another thing I'm really stoked about. Pinterest, here I come! 

Also here are some more photos of the big-sister-to-be because I love them. 
I love this girl. And her little brother. And their dad. And all the people in my life who show is much love for my kids. Our baby boy is already so adored.

And, of course, this post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging my love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father who blessed our family with such a beautiful, bright little male soul. A son!

Life is good.

   xoxo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oh, This is Gonna Be a Good Life.

"This could really be a good life. "

I was laying in bed after a heartfelt prayer of gratitude, and this song popped in my head. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I really do have a good life (and then I felt impressed to grab my computer, so the following will be the spontaneous, albeit heartfelt expressions of my mind).

It's not that I haven't realized this before. Daily I am awestruck by the quiet, simple, beautiful moments that I'm blessed to experience. Like a tender embrace from my husband after we've both had a long day. His warmth and reassurance envelops me and eases all my tensions. Or, the quiet moments when I am able to sit and think of the life within me--my child to be--and allow the joy of pregnancy to overtake me. And, truth be told, often times my beautiful moments are much louder--full of songs, animal noises, giggling, and squeals of "that tickles!" from my ever-energetic toddler. Basically, I'm tremendously blessed.

But, as this song entered my mind and began playing (without much thought on my part) I was suddenly taken back to another time in my life. In past posts I've mentioned that my dad died when I was a kid. I was 14 to be exact, and the entirety of my universe came to a screeching halt as I watched his monitors flat line one cold and dreary January morning.

I remember that shortly after his passing someone gave me a blessing. Sadly, I don't remember exactly who it was... likely an uncle or a close neighbor... there was a considerable outpouring of love at the time from many we were close to. The priesthood and blessings from amazing men in my life were a great comfort to me. And, honestly, the surrounding weeks around my dad's death are pretty foggy in my mind... likely due to some unintentional yet very real suppression on my part.  Defense mechanisms of the brain I suppose. Anyway, it's not the vessel through which the blessing came that really matters (although I am grateful to whomever it was that gave it) but the fact that words came from my Father in Heaven. Ultimately that's who I remember speaking to me. They were his words, it was his promise to my aching soul.

I remember being told that despite this pain, I would continue on to live a good, happy life.

The line stood out among the rest, and it has survived the past 11 (almost 12) years and my brain's attempts to erase every memory I have of those days. At the time, I couldn't even begin to imagine a happy life. I was too caught up in the grief and despair of losing one of the most important people in my life. I was a young girl, and I had just lost my daddy. Happiness, and the promise of it, seemed unfathomable. Yet, I clung to those words and the promise inherent within them.

Now, more than a decade later, I can say with complete and honest transparency that those prophetic words delivered to a little girl in her time of need were true. My life is good. My life is immensely happy! Is it perfect? Of course not. Am I perfect? Heavens no! Far from it. I am flawed. Life is still often quite hard. But, I have the gospel and all of the hope that comes with it. If, even for a moment, I can stop focusing on the trees in front of me and allow myself to take a step back, gain some perspective, and look at the bigger picture... it's enough to render me speechless and utterly humble. The tapestry of my life is being woven with such beautiful, vibrant, happy threads. In these moments of increased vision there is no room for anything but gratitude for the weaver, each piece bound together by His love.

"If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall then I think we'd see the beauty then, we'd stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges, at the beauty told by the fault lines and the soil."- Conor Oberst 

I still have insecurities and fears about the future. It's hard not to in this world. Yet, as our beloved prophet President Monson so eloquently and succinctly put it:


God is good. His gospel--the good news of Christ--is on the earth in its fullness. It gives me strength daily. It affords me the ability to cherish the present, and maintain high hopes for the future. Because of Him, I am able to hold my head up, looking towards the unknown with the utmost certainty that--

"This is gonna be a good life. A good good life."

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Klair's Outfit 
Blazer: Target | Dress: H&M (similar) | Hat: H&M | Boots: Target | Sweater Tights: The Children's Place (Similar)

My Outfit: 
Cardigan: Target | Dress: H&M (similar) | Leggings: Forever 21 | Boots: Pink Blush (They're sold out, here is another pair I love)  

Last Monday we embarked on a family adventure to a nearby pumpkin patch to purchase the orange, seasonal, decorative produce. I told Klair earlier in the day where we would be going, and for the rest of the day she proceeded to inform me very matter-of-factly (and repeatedly) that "we go pumpkin patch!" Her excitement level was off the charts, and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.

It also helped that the pumpkin patch by our house is the coolest ever. Everything was decked out with Halloween decor, play areas for the kids, and their pumpkins were very reasonably priced (comparatively speaking--obviously all pumpkins are ridiculously inflated this time of year). They even had a friendly dog that Klair was able to pet. She was in heaven, and it made me us very happy parents. We loved watching her run around, attempting to pick up giant pumpkins--trying her hardest before giving up and telling us unapologetically "it's heavy." Our choices from the night are now residing on our porch, waiting to be decorated. If Klair thinks they're awesome now, I can't wait to see how she reacts when we paint them next week (we've decided to forgo carving in favor of a more toddler friendly activity).

Oh Klair, my girl you make everything so fun with your bright, happy, ever-enthusiastic personality. I love spending traditions, holidays, and life in general with you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Hot Chocolate Recipe

When I was younger, I made the connection that my name and the title of the third season of the year were the same. With my rather large imagination and ego, I assumed that this had grand implications. Every time I would see a tree with vibrant autumn colors, I would confidently tell people that it was my tree. Naturally, everything related to the season belonged to me. Even though my self-proclaimed ownership of all things fall subsided as I got older and realized my name was simply something my mom thought sounded cute (not the mark of a noble birthright), my love for autumn remains. It's still my favorite season.

Well, fall is in full swing around here and I couldn't be happier. Our porch is covered in pumpkins (a post detailing our pumpkin patch adventure coming soon) I have my autumn wreath on the door, and our Halloween costumes are coming along nicely. Plus, the weather has been splendidly chilly, allowing me to wear my favorite fashions. I'm a happy woman.

With these events in mind, the drink featured above seemed like the appropriate beverage of choice the other night when we had some friends over. Nothing says autumn like pumpkin spice, and the combination with chocolate is quite heavenly. Luckily, for those of you who are strapped for time this particular recipe goes together quickly:

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate
Recipe adapted from The Frugal Navy Wife- makes 4 one cup servings

Ingredients

-1/2 Cup of Pumpkin Puree
-4 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
-4 Tablespoons of Whipping Cream
-1/4 Teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
-1/2 Cup of Hershey Cocoa (add more to taste if desired)
-4 cups of Milk
-Whipped Cream or Marshmallows (or both!) for a topping

Directions 

Whisk all ingredients (except whipped cream and marshmallows) together in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until you reach the desired temperature. (Note: don't let it boil rapidly, this can curdle the milk) Pour the hot chocolate evenly into four mugs and add your desired toppings.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

7 Early Pregnancy Must-Haves for Fall

I'm almost 14 weeks pregnant, and my belly has popped... not to the extent that anyone who doesn't know me would connect the dots, but I can certainly tell. It's a bit of a hard stage to be in because on the one hand I want to declare my pregnancy to the world in excitement, but at the same time I don't really look pregnant to the casual onlooker. I just appear to be a little rounder than usual. So, for me, the flowing/draping/tunic shirts continue. Hence, number one on my list:

1. Oversized flowing/draping/tunic-esque shirts. The one I'm wearing above was actually a thrift store find, but here are links to some I'm currently loving: 

2. Black maternity jeggings from Pink Blush Maternity. I ordered a pair, and when they arrived I couldn't believe how comfortable they are! It's like wearing pajamas... except they look like jeans and they're flattering. Win win win. 

3. Cute scarves. Obviously this isn't exclusive for pregnant women, but if you're in the stage where you don't want to draw attention to your growing waistline then a scarf can help. Plus they're just a fun way to accessorize. Here are some of my favorites: 

4. A spare ring (or two) in bigger sizes for swollen fingers. In my first pregnancy, I didn't have this issue until the last trimester. This time around I've already noticed swelling that comes and goes, and my wedding ring has left marks and sores on my fingers a few times. And, since I can't afford to get a spare diamond ring, a good cz is the next best thing. I have my eye on this Round Halo Cubic Zirconia Ring

5. Comfortable boots. This is another fall necessity for everyone, but when you're pregnant you need to ensure that they are indeed comfortable because feet swell. Everything else already hurts, so the last thing you need is to add feet to your list of woes. I love the Tan Booties I'm wearing above because they are comfy with a slight heel for that elongating/slimming effect. 

6. Maternity tights. Tights are a must-have for fall so that you can transition your favorite skirts into a new season. Regular tights are really uncomfortable on a growing belly. Maternity tights are a must-have if...you know... breathing is a priority. I love this 2 pack of H&M Maternity Tights and these Maroon Merona Brand Tights from Target

7. Lipsticks in fall fall shades. Your body is going through a lot of changes that you don't have much control over. Lipstick is one way you can easily take charge of your look to switch things up... and have fun doing so. Here are a few of my favorites for the season: 
-Classic Red: MAC Matte Red 

What are some of your favorite fall necessities? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

13 Weeks Pregnant | Fashion & Musings

I am officially out of the first trimester! Well, according to some sources. Others say it's 14 weeks, but I'll take the earlier milestone and just go with it. It feels like an accomplishment, or at least that I've conquered a significant portion of the incline on a very long uphill journey. I'm hopeful that in the next week or so this pregnancy will follow my first and I'll start feeling better soon. Keep your fingers crossed. If I end up being one of those women who keeps the morning sickness throughout pregnancy, then this blog is likely to become a very negative space for me to vent all my woes. I've never handled nauseousness very well. I need this to end soon.

Oh well, at least I can comfort myself with new clothes. I just got these black maternity jeans from Pink Blush in the mail and they certainly brightened my day. They are ridiculously soft. It's like wearing pajamas... only they are socially acceptable to wear outside the house. Expect more posts with them. My black and gold jewelry also came from Pink Blush, and the my blue tunic shirt was a thrift store steal. Here is a similar chiffon tunic for an awesome deal. 

All maternity fashion aside, what really propels me forward is this little girl. Daily. Multiple times a day. When I'm tempted to succumb to self pity, she smiles at me. Or kisses me. Or demands "Mama, Dance!" so we dance around the kitchen. She is my light, and my constant reminder that what I'm doing will bring me more joy into my life than I can currently fathom. That's what happened with her, and I couldn't be more excited to experience that same pure joy again... only better. Because it will have doubled, and this time I'll be able to see the excitement of a new baby through her eyes too. I'll have another child that I will love as much as her, and she will have the priceless gift of a sibling. Life is good. It's beautiful, like her. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Honey Butter & Homemade Rolls

For us Mormons,  conference weekend took place this past weekend. You may have noticed an increase in posts (or a flood of them depending on how many Mormons you follow) from LDS people with hashtags such as #LDSconf and quotes from #Elder or #Sister so and so. Basically, twice a year (in April and October to be exact) all of the leadership of the church--both male and female--gather in Salt Lake and select speakers address a live congregation and Mormons everywhere. Their talks are broadcast through various media outlets throughout the world, and many members are able to watch in the comfort of their own living rooms. Most notably, the Prophet and his Apostles address believers, giving talks on issues and topics relevant to our current day.

A major belief that sets Mormons apart from other Christians is the idea that, like in times of old, we have a prophet--Thomas S. Monson. He is designated as the head (or President) of the church, and receives direct, modern-day revelation from God. The same organization that Christ created during his mortal ministry--i.e. a prophet, apostles, seventies, etc.-- exists in the Mormon church, and we believe that the heavens are indeed open and that God does speak to his servants. And, General Conference is a specific time designated for us to hear the Lord's words through his chosen vessels.

So, hopefully that helps put things into perspective if you've seen all the Mormon bloggers posting pictures of themselves lounging in their pajamas and talking about how much they love #PresMonson.

If you're curious and interested in viewing any of it for yourself, you can go here to select talks or watch entire sessions.

Like many, we also stayed home and watched conference on our own comfy couch today. And, yesterday I finally bought a bread maker (a purchase I've been wanting to make for awhile now) so while we watched conference I threw some rolls together and literally whipped up some cinnamon pumpkin honey butter to accompany them. The rolls turned out perfectly, and the fall-inspired butter was a wonderful compliment to our cozy Saturday spent indoors.

Even my pickiest of little eaters, Miss Klair Marie, gobbled the rolls and butter up. I was elated to say the least.

So, here are my recipes. The Bread Machine significantly helped the process of making rolls, and the pumpkin butter literally came together in minutes. I felt like a rock star homemaker kind of mom, but my actual effort was pretty minimal--the best possible cooking scenario if you ask me.

Also, this pumpkin honey butter would make an excellent gift for the holidays! Just put it in a mason jar with some cute twine or ribbon and you'll look like a Martha Stewart protege, certainly bringing smiles to the faces of your recipients.

Okay, Recipes:

Perfect Bread Machine Rolls

http://www.food.com/recipe/buttery-bread-machine-rolls-65340

*Note: I live at a high altitude, and this recipe turned out wonderfully

Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter
(this recipe is adapted from The Kitchen McCabe)

Ingredients:

2 sticks of Butter (1 C. or 8 oz.), softened (to soften butter from the fridge microwave for 9-12 seconds)
3/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon (I decreased this to a 1/2 teaspoon, it simply depends on how strong you want the cinnamon flavor to be)
6 tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
4 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Instructions:

1. Beat the softened butter with an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Add the cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon of the pumpkin puree. Beat until well combined. Continue beating, adding 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin puree every 30 seconds.
3. Add the honey and vanilla and beat until thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.

If you're craving something that tastes like fall, this recipe is perfect. Enjoy on rolls, muffins, toast, croissants, bagels, etc.

...

What are some of your favorite recipes for fall? I've recently filled up my Pinterest board with recipes I want to try. Something about the colder weather demands cooking and baking. 
Basically, I'm feeling inspired. 
Expect lots of food posts in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

$350 Nordstrom Gift Card Giveaway


Hello lovelies! Today I am really excited to be co-hosting an amazing giveaway with the gorgeous Lauren of Dressing Dallas and a group of fabulous bloggers. And the prize? $350 dollars to Nordstrom! I'm actually pretty jealous. I really wish I could enter and win this giveaway. The possibilities of what I could spend a chunk of change like that on in Nordstrom is endless...

This giveaway runs for 6 more days, it is open to you international readers, and it's killer awesome. 
Oh and the best part? If you follow my blog and/or social media channels, then you already have entry into this thing. Just click away on the rafflecopter widget to your heart's content and follow some new faces in the process. 

Happy Tuesday! Good luck!