Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Babymoon Retreat + The Birth Hour Podcast


This past month I had the opportunity to be a part of something really special- the very first Babymoon Retreat that just so happened to take place in Sedona, AZ. Sarah is also pregnant (YAY!), so she accompanied me on this adventure. It was neat to have us both there, because we have two very different points of view- she is a first time expectant mama, and obviously this is my third! I wanted to be sure to get Sarah's first-time mama perspective, so you'll be able to read a little write up from her below sharing more about her experience too. I was only able to attend for a couple of days, but the retreat went all week and included everything from childbirth and postpartum education with a doula, one-on-one coaching, activities, prenatal photos, incredible meals, community, and so much more. You can check out the full spectrum over on their website. While at the retreat, I also had the opportunity to be a part of The Birth Hour podcast along with the other attendees (SUCH a fun experience) and you can listen to our episode here.




And here is Sarah's write-up:

Being a first-time mama-to-be, I’m always on the hunt for good information regarding pregnancy. There are so many questions, so many worries that run through my mind on a daily basis that it can sometimes border on insanity. When Danielle asked if I wanted to join her on a retreat in Sedona (one of my very favorite places!) that was centered around all things pregnancy and childbirth, I replied with an eager “Uh, YES!!” and marked my calendar.

I had no idea what to expect from this experience and was definitely a bit nervous that I would feel out of place, since most of the couples on the retreat were much further along than me and I was there on my own for some of the classes. Luckily, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I felt incredibly welcome the whole week and made some really great connections with both the instructors and attending couples.

One of my favorite things about the retreat was the way it was structured. We had several hours each morning to sleep in, explore the resort or laze around before everyone met up for class. There was plenty of free time in the afternoons/evenings as well, which was great because Enchantment has a long list of resort activities to participate in. I ended up doing lots of hiking each day, relaxing at the spa and also got the best massage of my life (all included in the package).

Another noteworthy part of the retreat - the food! They must have made this a big focus because everything they fed us was absolutely amazing. Breakfast and lunch buffets every day before and during classes, along with plenty of surprise treats in between (still missing those chocolate chip cookies!). They also held candle-lit welcome & farewell dinners for the group which were so lovely and a great way to start and end the week!

While the amenities, people and atmosphere were fabulous, the most valuable part of the retreat, for me, was the class-time. I knew I was no expert, but I had no idea just how much I was about to learn. I walked into that conference room on the first day expecting to gather some pretty basic info about my pregnancy and what I got instead, were four days of super intensive, detailed training about every facet of childbirth, breastfeeding, infant and post-partum care. My husband laughed at the amount of notes I jotted down but I really felt that I was receiving a once-in-a-lifetime education and wanted to remember it all!

Our instructor, Stephanie Spitzer-Hanks, was just fantastic. In addition to being a Doula and Lactation Counselor, Stephanie has also spent time as a reverend and chaplain! I have a huge amount of respect for her and even joked about moving to Austin temporarily so that she could be there for my own birth. You can find more info about her through her website revdoula.com.

Thank you Sarah for sharing, and friends, be sure to check out The Babymoon Retreat's website too as they JUST opened up registration for their next retreat, happening this March in Texas. Super exciting!

xoxo

Friday, December 2, 2016

Some Words About Our Now.


How are you? I'm sitting here, it's 8am on Friday morning and I wanted to take a break from working to check in and give a little update. I was going back through my archives the other day and reading all of the pregnancy updates with both boys. It's so fun to see exactly what I looked like and felt like at this exact point in pregnancy with them. This time it's a little different as I've been sharing everything in a paper journal for Olive, so I haven't said too much here. But I think it's time for a proper update.

I was laughing with girlfriends this past Sunday morning at brunch, about just how things might feel easier, then we go and fuck it up again. Totally joking of course, but even with just a 3.5 year age difference between Charlie and Olive, it does feel a bit like starting over. The boys are getting to the point where things are in fact feeling easier. Some days, absolutely not- especially with Charlie being 3- but more days than not I feel like life has started to hum along pretty smoothly somewhere past the toddler stage. It happened quickly- one day I felt like I had to be on high alert with Charlie- don't open that, don't go in there- then suddenly he's this big kid filling up his own water glasses and wanting to cut his own meat.

Today I am almost 25 weeks- exactly six months, six days pregnant with Olive. I honestly don't feel pregnant most of the time, which is weird, right, but unless she's moving it's not something that's in the front of my mind. This third pregnancy is different- there's more to do with our family of four, work, school drop off and pick up, cooking meals, fitting in workouts, helping Henry with homework...there isn't much time to sit around and just BE. Even though maybe that's what I should focus on a bit more.

I'm feeling so GOOD though, so happy. To feel this little person inside of me move every day, all day, is the biggest gift. And to be fully aware that this almost surely the last time I will ever feel that sensation is bittersweet for sure, but knowing has also been a wonderful gift. I'm able to acknowledge any bit of sadness I may have about the end of this life phase and move on. And I do think I may be someone who never feels "done," who may always want to have another child and miss the newborn and baby stage, but I'm excited and ready for what's next- raising all of our children and all the excitement of what's on the horizon.

The holidays are officially here and I REFUSE to feel overwhelmed or busy. We have zero obligations and all free weekends, which is a miracle in itself. Holiday parties and school functions of course, but no weekend trips and nothing that pulls us away from home during this special time. It goes by far too fast and I just won't buy into it. And same with gifts- I feel like there is such a pressure to get more, do more, and I won't subscribe to that. The boys will get one or two gifts from their grandparents and then a few special things from us. I strive to keep it all very simple and base the magic and goodness of Christmas around how our house feels- the fun of baking cookies together, the smell of yummy cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, opening stockings before presents (full of little, useful things for each child- socks, new underwear, small treats and books), and the excitement of giving. Toys for Tots, the Giving Tree, that's what we focus on. It's hard though right- all of the commercials, IG posts, it's overwhelming. So early on I set a firm intention to take it slow and be very intentional with our time and how we do things this year. And it feels good.

It's amazing to think about this time next year. Three kids. I can't even wrap my head around it fully- two big brothers, age 4 and 7, and a 9-month old little sister. Life moves so fast though, so as I type this I'm fully aware that before we know it, it'll already be next December and I'll wonder how it came so fast.

I wish all of you a SLOW, happy, peaceful start to your December. Sending lots of love from our home to yours.

xo

*photo by Lauren Ristow- I'll share more from this family session next week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Getting Photos Up on the Walls!


I recently shared a post on Instagram about getting photos off of our harddrive and onto our walls and into albums! It's something that is so important to me and one thing I've been focusing on over the past few months. One of my favorite things to do growing up was look through the many photo albums my Mom had put together, and in this digital age I'm sad to say I don't really have tangible albums for the boys to look at...OR a ton of our photos up on the wall. That's been changing recently though, and when Art.com reached out about partnering up again, I was thrilled. We've worked with them in the past and I've always appreciated their fast shipping, great service, and beautiful products so it was an easy yes.

This year I knew I wanted to collaborate on a few things- some photos for around our home, but also their art-to-canvas option for my father-in-law's Christmas gift (let's hope he isn't reading this!). They have the most amazing Photos To Art option on their website where you can take your pictures and produce all sorts of beautiful pieces, from traditional framed art, canvas, wood mount, acrylic, and more. Plus they come ready to hang so you can feel good that whoever receives your gift will be able to hang it all on their own. It's really such a one-stop gifting shop for so many people in our lives, and outside of this sponsored post I also went ahead and ordered a few items for various friends and family. Prices start at $29.99 and on top of that Art.com always offers major discounts. For example today they have a 45% off sale happening. Absolutely check them out for yourself or for gift-giving...I promise you'll love it.

I'll share what we ordered in an upcoming post, but for now I wanted to share the photos we're using in their Photos To Art service. The second photo is for the canvas, and then we did framing for the other two. It's always hard to choose just a few things, and with our family growing I didn't necessarily want to get a big family photo framed, so we went more with just the boys or the boys and one of us. I figure we'll wait for Olive to get here and take some new family shots, which is exciting to think about.

Let me know if you plan on framing or creating anything- also keep in mind that December 16th is the last day to order Photos To Art in time for Christmas!

Happy almost-December!

xo

p.s. the first two photos were taken by Lauren Ristow and the third by me.




This post was shared in partnership with Art.com. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fall Break in San Diego


Last month the boys had Fall Break so we packed up the car and made a quick 6-hour drive to San Diego to spend a week at the beach. Side note, before moving to Arizona I had never heard of Fall Break! It still seems like such a weird concept to me, and if you're also unfamiliar, it's a week during October the kids don't have school. I think it might just be a West Coast-ish thing, so correct me if I'm wrong!

Anyway, we chose San Diego because it's close enough to be a quick drive, but also far enough away that it would feel like a vacation! I found the Blue Sea Beach Hotel via Google search, and booked it pretty hastily thanks to an online promotion they had going on. The reviews looked great, and it turned out to be a wonderful, family-friendly choice. It was very affordable- not fancy whatsoever, but clean and RIGHT on the beach. You literally walk outside and you're there. With two kids it was the perfect place to call home for a few days.

We spent most of our time on the beach (see our amazing beach tent here- love this thing and 2,000 perfect Amazon reviews can't be wrong either!), but we also did a few notable things around town:

San Diego Zoo: October is a special month in San Diego, with kids getting in free to many places. The zoo was one of them, so we decided to all go for the first time! We had a wonderful day- we got there when they opened and spend about 5 hours walking around, riding the tour bus, and trying to see it all. The boys really enjoyed it too, and I felt like it was really a day well spent. Their favorite part was seeing the huge elephants, Hank's was the tiger, and mine was the flamingo area! 

The New Children's Museum: this was another free October spot and a total hit with the boys. We arrived right when they opened and had the place to ourselves for the better part of the morning. This is just a quarter or half day activity, but they also have a delightful cafe on site with a ton of healthy snacks and meal options. I would say to give yourself 2.5 hours to do the whole museum. The boys loved it!

We explored La Jolla and Pacific Beach, ate at Taco Surf three times (!!), met up with friends from home, and ended our trip with ice cream and a beautiful sunset on the beach. It was a really special time for the four of us, and made just a bit more special knowing we'll soon be adding a fifth to the mix. It's always nice to kind of freeze things as they are in your mind, and this trip was that for me- possible our last true family of four week-long adventure!

Until next time, San Diego!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Weekend Links

photo of Charlie by Lauren Ristow- I can't wait to get this whole session back next week!

As the long holiday weekend really begins I wanted to share some Weekend Links! We're at my parents' for Thanksgiving this year and it's always the best waking up in my old room. So much fun. I put this list together last night but figured I would post this morning in case any of you have a few moments to yourself to browse and click. There are a ton of fun things to read on this list, as well as some great sales and pre-Black Friday deals happening. Enjoy!

First of all, Shopbop is having a great sale. They have become my go-to over the past couple of years and I always wait until these big sales happen to get some key pieces for my closet. This time around it's another "buy more, get more" sale, where the more you spend the more you save with code GOBIG16. Some of my favorites: these pajama sets (nursing friendly and such great quality), these boots for snow (the BEST), and these cozy scarves make the best presents for friends and family (love the Buffalo plaid). Seriously take a look around- there's so much to love!

Whoa. Huge sales: 40% off everything at J. Crew (love this and this) and Madewell is 25% of everything (love this sweater and these holiday shoes).

Some great Madewell dresses to go along with the sale too: onetwo, and three.

The cutest pajama sets on sale too- 40% off!

Nordstrom is also having a HUGE sale. I just ordered these boots, this sweater (in Mustard), and this dress. I also love these: one and two.

I can't live without my planner (I have one of these from Rifle and LOVE it, on sale too!), so this article definitely resonated with me.

Use code HOLIDAYBOOK to save $10 off a book purchase of $25 of more. I have my eye on this fantastic book for new-mama gifts, and this one for myself.

I have my eye on these caftans for now, and post-delivery. They look so incredibly comfy!

These socks are some of my favorite stocking stuffers for my Mom and sister. I also got a few of these bracelets for them too, all with sale prices. Love!

Okay- onto the NON shopping stuff... ;)

20 of the best holiday movies for kids!

Read this: The ‘Alt-Right’ Is A Hate Movement, And It’s Scarier Than You Think.

The best productivity tips of famous writers.

Did you  enter the IG giveaway I've got going on right now? You can shop my curated list over on Darling Clementine too...then enter! ;)

How I Hosted Thanksgiving in My 195-Square-Foot Apartment.

15 tips for flying with an infant.

I haven't read all of these, and want to!

"Quit Calling Them My Internet Friends."

Some movies on my radar: one and two.

14 beautiful Japanese words.

Vintage Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade photos. I'm loving these!

27 holiday slow cooker recipes. These looks great!

And finally, 25 women and the best advice they've ever given, or received.

xoxo

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dressing the Bump + Fall Boots


Almost six months pregnant and I've really been enjoying finding clothes that work with my pregnant belly this time around. It's so funny how things change as the years go on- I was pregnant with Henry almost seven years ago and not only did I find it hard to find pregnancy-friendly clothing that I actually liked, I was still working as a teacher and covered my tattoos everyday. Tattoo coverage plus bump coverage was not the easiest thing to do, and I remember feeling frustrated a lot. With Charlie it was easier, but I still didn't really embrace just wearing what I already had! This time around though, I think the third time is a charm and it's all kind of seeming easier. OR maybe it's that I have so many more flowy items in my closet already! Whichever it is it's been really fun seeing this baby grow and dress accordingly.

Rack Room Shoes has been a long-time partner of Sometimes Sweet, and I love them for a few reasons- they always have a great Fall boot selection, they have amazing customer service, and their BOGO is insane- they actually have a  "Buy One, Get One Free" starting this Friday that includes 150+ styles so be sure to check it out. They have a ton of the short booties I love for an amazing price, and you can shop using their new app as well. For this special post I picked out two pairs of boots- these gray Franco Fortinis and brown Madden Girls. I like them because either can be worn with jeans or dresses, and each pair is super comfortable. Highly recommend!

I also wanted to share some of my tips for pregnancy dressing. I'm no expert, but here's what I love:

1. Maternity jeans. I think it's SO important to invest in one really nice pair of jeans. I didn't do this the first time around and ended up wearing uncomfortable jeans for almost a year that didn't make me happy at all. With Charlie I spent a little more and got one pair I loved, and then this time I did the same. My most favorite are Paige Maternity jeans, and that's what I have on below.

2. Tunics or short dresses over jeans. A lot of the dresses I have in my closet are just too short to wear on their own with a pregnant belly, but layered over jeans they're just perfect! Long tunics work great too, and this is the easiest and most comfortable thing to wear in my opinion. No inner thigh chafe (pregnancy problems, it's true) and a great way to be able to wear a lot of your closet throughout your pregnancy. See the top I have on below, here.

3. Flowy non-maternity dresses. I hardly like any true maternity clothing- although Hatch is AMAZING- so finding loose dresses is key. The one I'm wearing here in particular is the big winner for me, both before pregnancy and during (after too!). I have this Free People dress in a few colors and just really love it. 

4. If you are going to go the maternity route, one of my favorite places to shop is the maternity section at ASOS. They have some lovely items that don't look "maternity" and are really cute. I love this dressthis dress, and these pants! They also have a lot of great nursing-friendly items too, like this dress.

5. Leggings! Finding the right leggings are key. I've mentioned this in a previous post (and today's IG story!) but I love Lululemon's Align Pant. They're high waisted and super stretchy. Give them a try if you haven't yet found the perfect pair of comfy pants.

I feel like I could go on about this topic but I'll stop here, and share some photos! I had fun snapping these, and I keep thinking about how much I would love to see more pregnancy pictures of my own Mom. Hopefully baby girl loves these too.

xo


This post was shared in partnership with Rack Room Shoes.
 
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