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Ryan Oliver

He’s here!

Baby-Ryan-Arrives

Our sweet boy was born on April 17th at 39 weeks exactly. He surprised us all with a very quick labor! The past few weeks have been a blur of appointments and getting used to life with 2 kiddos. I’m still processing so many parts of his arrival and our postpartum experience- more to come later! For now, I’ll leave you with 3 things that surprised me after delivering:

  1. Olivia’s Size: Our “baby” girl is HUGE compared to her newborn brother. I think that she grew a foot taller and aged 5 years in the span of 1 afternoon. No joke!
  2. My Body: My constant prayer throughout this pregnancy was to carry Ryan to term. I was so incredibly grateful to have made it to Weeks 37-39. What a blessing! After delivering, I also realized how ready I was for this journey to be ending. This duality –desperately wanting to stay pregnant and also wanting my body back– surprised me.
  3. Reality of Beginnings: Transitions and growth phases are challenging! Even when things go perfectly, life can be a complicated, beautiful mess. We are in the thick of navigating curve balls that come with getting started on any journey (breastfeeding challenges, sleep deprivation, sibling jealousy, etc…). Once again, I’m surprised at how accurate this phrase continues to be: “The days are long, but the years are short (Gretchen Rubin).” Time has marched so slowly on the days filed with frequent preschooler meltdowns, endless nursing sessions, and general feelings of overwhelm. At the same time, I’m pinching myself that nearly 3 weeks have already gone by!
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Motivation Monday: Words to Live By #9

Nope, it’s not Monday. Best laid plans to have this post ready last week went askew. It’s been quiet on this blog for several months… Sharing this quote today as a reminder to myself…

Words-to-Live-By-Season-for-Everything

The past couple of months have seemed like a whirlwind! It’s been a season of:

  • Growing Pains: In more than 1 way! Our sweet girl has been testing boundaries and flexing her muscles of independence. She’s also growing physically stronger and taller every day. As for me? I’m so proud that my body has carried a precious human for close to 36 weeks! I’m in awe of how organs rearrange themselves and the body stretches to accommodate a new life. I won’t, however, miss the physical aches and pains of a normal pregnancy!
  • Sweet Moments: It seems like Olivia’s verbal skills have exploded. James remarked the other day, “It’s just a steady stream of dialogue!” I adore hearing her sweet voice and little conversations with her dolls. She gives the BEST hugs- I feel like she squeezes with her whole heart! And, when she spontaneously tells me “I Love You” — well, let’s just say that life doesn’t get any sweeter.
  • Waiting: We are waiting on sweet baby boy. Our wait has been filled with a few hiccups and anxieties. Around 29.5 weeks, our little one gave us a scare that landed me in the triage area of our local hospital. Fortunately, all is well and we are continuing to pray for a healthy, full-term delivery. I am constantly reminding myself to replace my fears with faith.
  • Baby Kicks: This pregnancy has been so different than my first. Baby boy has been so active!
  • Progesterone Shots: I feel fortunate to be working with an amazing team committed to my prenatal and postnatal care. They’ve been monitoring my hormone levels closely due to my history of preterm labor. So far, I’ve had 82 injections (!!!) of progesterone. I have a separate post coming on this ordeal… but, let me tell you, my mama heart goes out to anyone who has had to supplement their hormones with injections. It is not a fun or easy process.
  • Building My Business: Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of really focusing on building my essential oil team and empowering families with natural health options. I absolutely love teaching and sharing practical tips to help support wellness.
  • Designing: I’m still designing for Snap Click Supply Company and love the creative outlet that this position offers. Are you following their Facebook page? I just shared a darling banner, perfect for Easter.
  • Renovating: We’ve tackled 3 (yes, 3!!) fairly large home projects since September. More updates to come about how we built a large kitchen corner storage cabinet, transformed my office, and remodeled the laundry room. My goal for these projects was to create more functional space for our family.

I miss writing and hope to have a more regular voice in this space sometime soon. In the meantime, I’m embracing the season of growth that I’m currently navigating.

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Sweet Summer Memories 2015

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Dearest Olivia,

We’ve had so much fun this summer! Right now, you love playing with play dough, blowing bubbles, chasing the puppies, painting your nails, reading books, and anything to do with water. It’s been an absolute JOY to watch you swim in the pool and lake. I will never forget you leaping off the pool steps with confidence. I won’t lie- my heart did skip a beat! But, I knew your pool vest would hold you above water and seeing the smile on your face was priceless. A favorite pastime in the water? Pouring and scooping, of course! I love watching how your inquisitive mind works- you truly want to understand the why’s behind everything.

I am continually amazed at how your vocabulary has expanded. We are having actual conversations! You are telling me things like “That was delicious!” or “not quite yet” in response to a friendly redirection. You have no problem communicating your preferences!

Looking forward to what the Fall brings!

Love always, Mom

 

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Virginia Bluebells in Bloom

I want to let you in on a secret…

Blooming Virginia Bluebells

… there’s an area at Shaw Nature Reserve that erupts into a sea of gorgeous blooms near the Meramac River.

Shaw Nature Reserve Blooming Bluebells

A carpet of delicate Virginia Bluebells layers the ground– it’s quite unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Virginia Bluebells Shaw Nature Reserve

This beautiful display is only around for a very short window of time. Just the cherry blossom season, its beauty shines brightly and quickly fades as nature reinvents itself.

We went in search of this beautiful display on Easter Sunday. It is quite a trek to get to their location. James checked his phone after our excursion and our hike clocked in at roughly 6 miles… over the bridge, across the prairie, along the wildflower path, and down a steep hill.

Shaw Nature Reserve Trail

When we arrived this year, the blooms were just about to burst open. The blossoms were a hit with Olivia since they are purple (her favorite color right now). It was just a bit too early to see them in their full glory. I bet that this weekend (April 11 & 12th) would probably be ideal if the area isn’t under water due to recent thunderstorms.

Spring Adventures 2015

I love discovering local, unique gems like this one. There’s just something magical about this place and event. It almost reminds me of an ephemeral secret garden since it’s off the beaten path and not many people know about it.

Another perk of visiting this time of year? Thousands of daffodil bulbs are in bloom!

Shaw Nature Daffodils

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Monday Motivation: Words to Live By #1

Happy Monday!

State of Mind

How are you greeting this week? Optimistic for all the wonderful adventures ahead? ….Or, are you already feeling pulled down as you consider everything on your enormous growing to-do list?

If so, shake things up and listen to this 4 min meditation by Terri Cole. Wishing you a week where everything falls into place!

 Welcome to Monday Motivation! I hope you enjoy this inspiring quote. For more words to live by, check out the archives. This graphic was created using a gorgeous embellishment from the Rhonna Designs App

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Valentine Gifts & Activities 2015

This year, February 14th was filled with:

… Hearts galore.

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… Quick and easy Valentine gifts. {Don’t you just love this free “Eyes on You” printable from Lil’ Luna? I also dressed up a white picture frame with a pink bow and sparkles.}

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… 5 Sweethearts sporting cute heart glasses. {Olivia’s cousins were in town.}

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… and impromptu tea parties. {Plum tea and pie are Olivia’s fav!}

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All in all, pretty perfect!

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The Best Christmas Present 2014

I might have gotten the best Christmas present ever, this year. I know, I know… that’s a pretty tall claim. But take a look:

DIY Toddler Sticker Book

2 gorgeous sticker books crafted with care by Olivia. My mom watches Olivia during the week and one of their favorite activities is crafting sticker books. The concept is super simple: grab an empty photo album and fill it with stickers! Love that it’s simple, cheap, and FULL of amazing learning opportunities.  All of the designs provide endless prompts for talking about colors, shapes, and so much more. Olivia also gets to practice her fine motor skills (and motor planning/sequencing) as she peels and places the stickers on a page. It’s also a great way to reinforce the process of cleaning up- picking up all the little pieces and taking care of her supplies.

Toddler Sticker Books

Our sticker box is filled with goodies from the dollar bin at Target and old address labels.

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My mom wrapped up 2 completed editions as a present for me, along with a homemade card from my sweet girl. Every time I look at these, I’m amazed at Olivia’s effort, determination, creativity. Thanks, Mom for putting together this keepsake that’s equal parts love and learning.

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Guess what Olivia got for Christmas? 2 new photo albums to fill up!

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Christmas Accordion Album 2015

Over the Holidays, I put together a darling little accordion album from Carina Gardner. This mini scrapbook was the perfect keepsake to hold cherished Christmas pics of Olivia.

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I cut out the digital files using my silhouette machine and added a few design elements: rounded photo corners, red polka dot washi tape borders, sprigs of paper holly, golden stars, and Holiday stickers.

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My favorite element? The back cover hands down. Love the photo and the framing!

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Hello 2015: Welcoming Grace

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It’s been a little quiet around here with the whirlwind of celebrations and chaos commonly known as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Olivia’s Second Birthday. More to come on each of these topics, but for now, I’m savoring the sunshine. It was nearly 60 degrees today- in January!

Did you pick a new One Little Word for 2015? I’m keeping my word from last year, Light. I’m going to continue creating “Light” in my daily life by pursuing my passions, removing unwanted stress, staying in the present moment, and building healthy routines. BUT, I’m also adding another word: Grace. The pairing of Light + Grace together just feels right. 2014 was quite frankly a doozy- an incredible avalanche of deadlines, commitments, and uncertainties. By adding “Grace” to my yearly mantra, I’m going to give myself permission to embrace imperfection in the pursuit of Light.

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Emily Ley couldn’t have said it better: “I will hold myself to a standard of Grace not perfection.” This beautiful saying is now on my home screen as a daily reminder- it’s #16 on her collection of gorgeous FREE phone wallpapers.

I’m dreaming big for 2015- here are a few glimpses of my vision board for this year:

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I couldn’t resist adding a few aqua and gold paper butterflies. Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!

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Lately… September & October 2014

This Fall has been a BLUR. Lately, I’ve been:

…creating works of art with a very talented toddler. Crayons are a big hit these days.

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…traveling to Salt Lake City for an essential oil convention.

… listening to this YouTube by Kid President. They actually aired it at convention during part of a breakout session presentation. This line is a game-changer: “You’re made from love, to be love, and spread love. Love is always louder.” (minute: 2:15)

…reading these articles on Motherhood:

  • 25 Ways to Annoy a Toddler: Oh, my! This one had me laughing! … and I could relate to so many things on the list, especially #19! How about you?
  • 5 Mistakes Moms Make: it all goes back to balance. I just love that first quote graphic from Lena Horne: “It is not the load that breaks you. It’s the way you carry it.” Motherhood is all about finding the right adjustments as you navigate different phases. Love Desiree’s reminder to stop playing the comparison game.
  • Home as a Haven: such a beautiful post and a gentle reminder to cultivate comfort within the walls of your home.

… generally feeling like THIS. Did I mention that this Fall was a blur?!

…taking more photos for The Dating Divas product team. In October, we launched our new exclusive Welcome Home Kit. It contains everything you need for a fun and memorable celebration!… and just wait until you see what we have in store for the Holiday season!

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…celebrating our 5-year anniversary.

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…savoring gorgeous sunsets at the lake.

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…listening to Olivia’s constant stream of chatter these days.

…wishing James, my Mom, my Aunt, and my Grandma very happy birthdays.

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