Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Three's Company Too :)

So excited to finally announce on here! I feel like I have been a complete zombie or more accurately a sick, barely functioning zombie for 10 weeks and I am FINALLY through the toughest first trimester of my life. Coupled (tripled?) with the fact that we were mourning a death in our family and I caught a terrible, vicious virus (maybe bacterial infection but we will never know since I couldn't have taken antibiotics anyway) that lasted a whole month. It was very difficult to move from my couch for several weeks and any amount of doing anything requiring any small bit of energy or movement had me feeling like I was hit by a bus. But I'm finally over that virus and (think) I'm finally turning a corner with all the morning sickness. 
So the story behind it all:
For a long time after Blair was born I really didn't think I could have any more kids. It saddened me, as I always wanted one more, but she took so much out of me and I really struggled with the transition from 1 to 2, as it was much, much more challenging than I expected it to be. We moved twice while Blair was a baby, which was stressful, and getting our first, new dream home was and is amazing, but required/s Chris to work more, leaving me home alone much more with both kids. Blair never took to a bottle and she was up nursing every 2-4 hours for almost a year and a half. So Chris could never really help with the nighttime feedings, and the lack of sleep for so long definitely took a toll on me.
But then between 16-18 months we weaned, and I finally got Blair sleeping through the night in her own crib, and the heavy fog I had been carrying around with me for a year and a half somehow just lifted. I spent the summer enjoying that new sense of freedom, of sleep and of being able to leave Blair with a babysitter, of having my body back and not having to nurse her every few hours. I got her on a nap schedule and had 2 hours every afternoon to relish in -- aka do laundry and emails and clean and cook -- (but seriously, all of which are actually enjoyable and deeply gratifying without a baby attached to your hip or nipple). Chris and I resurrected date nights and started seeping in the same bed again. I went to play dates, I hosted play dates, and I began leading a group of women at MOPS at my church every other Friday morning. But after a few months of enjoying that season, the coziness of fall and the holidays set in, and I felt I had the space now that I could fit in another child, and grow our family. I felt like I could do this again and I was ready! Well, in the sense that any of us are ever really ready for a new baby. 
I found out I was pregnant mid-December, before I even missed my period and was completely, utterly, over the moon with thankfulness, excitement and happiness. I waited two whole entire days to tell Chris as I wanted to surprise him in a fun, creative way....which was awesome and I wish took a video of it. It was right before our 5 year anniversary and he made a big stink to me about how he reallllly didn't want me to spend any money on a gift, so I wrapped up the positive pregnancy tests inwrapping paper and a pretty bow and wrote him a super sappy poem. I'll spare you the whole thing, but the last line read:
"So for loving me so well for the past 5 years, I wanted to give you all the presents under the sun,
But I know that's not what you wanted so instead I promise to more joyfully and lovingly serve, You, Landon, & Blair, and our next little bun.
(In the oven). Now open your present :) "
He was in complete disbelief at first and then so, so thrilled. Landon knew the two days before him and was so excited we were finally spilling the beans, dancing and jumping around the kitchen singing, "We're having another baby!! We're having another baby!!"
I felt really great -- completely elated -- for about one-two weeks. And then it set in. The nausea, the vomiting, the dry-heaving, the tiredness that only a pregnant mother with multiple young children can understand., Mostly everything around me just smells horrible and makes me want to throw up....there are smells I never even remembered noticing before that now trigger such a strong visceral reaction it's unbelievable. But all my senses are so enhanced and there have been a few smells, touches, or tastes that have been equally clean flannel sheets on my bed, a heavenly-scented candle, or satisfying a deep craving with delicious, fresh, quality food.
Although mostly, it's really been a rough past 3 months. But at 12 weeks, I'm starting to lose some of the nausea and gaining a little more energy during the day, and I'm so hopeful for an energetic, healthy second and third trimester.
When I think beyond the pregnancy, about another baby and person in our lives, there are so many things I'm afraid of -- Will I actually be able to do this all over again? Will I have enough of me to go around? What will it be like trying to fit in naps while carting Landon and Blair off to all their activities? Will he/she be healthy? Will it be a new baby brother or sister? Will we have enough room in our house? What new challenges will a third child bring to our marriage, to our finances, to our friendships, to our family relationships? Will I be able to give this little one enough, & Landon and Blair everything that they need, when I already feel stretched thin?
But at the same time my mind is harassing me with all these fears and questions, there is something inside of me, it may be my hormones or it may be the Holy Spirit, but it tells me that of all the things I can't do and will never be or be able to do, that I can do this. I can be a mother as many times over as God graces me to be, and that same grace will carry me through the hard, through the sleepless nights and through the juggling demands and through the challenges it has already carried me through before. 
I can do this. We're ready for you, baby Bauman #3. We're ready for the snuggles, the smells, the sounds, and the love, that is going to turn us completely inside out all over again. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bits of Life Lately

Baptizing our new godson Johnathan Vincent! 
Smoothie face (favorite recipes here)
Hosting our first MOPS dinner & freezer meal exchange! Each woman came with 4 frozen meals and left with 4 different meals & recipes for their own family (& sanity) PLUS each woman here made one EXTRA frozen meal so that we are able to bless FOUR different new moms with a dinner casserole when they get home from the hospital or in other times of need! Love serving alongside such amazing women and so grateful for that prompting to get involved in the first place :) If you are local and interested in being a part of Willow MOPS you can check it out here!
Twinning in our Sorels
New, meaningful custom made decor for the home inspired by It Is Well by Kristine DiMarco. (Handmade by Kim Art)
The best mornings ��
 Another beautiful hand painted addition to our home, by Ines at BellySketcher

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Smoothie Recipes

Been mostly at home for the past month getting over a nasty virus between everyone and have been making lots of smoothies every morning to help a little. It's been a great way to kick start our vitamin C intake, and they've been feeling very good on our sore throats, and the kids love them too. They're quick and easy to make and all you need is some juice, frozen fruit, and a dollop of yogurt, and there you have it.
Here are two recipes for our two favorites, A Pomegranate Berry Smoothie made with R.W. Knudsen Family's Just Pomegranate Juice, and Strawberry/Banana/Peach/Mango Smoothie made with R.W. Knudsen Family's Peach Mango Juice. We love R.W. Knudsen Juice brand because they stand by wholesome ingredients without any artificial flavors or preservatives - they are made from organic single-fruits, with no added sweeteners and completely sweetened 100% by the juices straight from the fruit, and they taste absolutely delicious. The R.W. Knudsen Family offers over 100 types of equally amazing, natural, organic fruit and vegetable juices, elegant celebratory beverages, bubbly Spritzers, and natural sports drinks, and you can find them now at local grocery stores, Walmart, and Target.

Pomegranate Berry Smoothie: What You Will Need:
- 1 large dollop of plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate juice (R.W. Knudsen Family Just Pomegranate Juice is our favorite)
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 banana

Strawberry/Banana/Peach/Mango Smoothie: What You Will Need:
- 1 large dollop of plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup Peach juice or half peach half mango juice (R.W. Knudsen Family Mango Peach Juice is our favorite)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 banana

Some other optional healthy add in's are a tablespoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon of hemp seeds, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and/or protein powder.

1. Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and process until smooth.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Afterglow

I know I've been a little absent here lately, as we all got hit with a terrible virus the day after Christmas, and then Chris' grandmother suddenly passed away on New Year's Day, which left us all extremely saddened and preoccupied in grief and tying up affairs. Although she wasn't my own grandmother by blood, I truly felt like she was. She and I shared a special relationship and I am so grateful for everything I shared with her and learned from her in the 7 years of knowing such an amazing, strong, fiercely loving woman. It has been a hard, grieving time for us all, but amidst the tears and sadness, we've been spending hours upon hours together, creating poster boards filled with pictures of her life, and a video compilation of many, many moments to be played at her funeral. It was as if going through all those past memories with her, seeing all the joyous times, seeing all her love everywhere that trickled down to three whole generations -- it made it a little bit easier. Her life had an epic quality to it, a quintessentially American story, a nostalgic and charmed quality, a life filled with family and music and weekend barbecues with friends and grandchildren. We can't stand in the way of death, but when it comes, we can stand in its face together, and celebrate having loved fiercely and expressively. And that is exactly what we did. 
When her funeral finally came I was a weepy mess the entire time. I couldn't hold too many conversations with people and was mostly trying to catch my breath and composure. When it was my turn to stand up and give a reading, I somehow pulled it together and read the entire thing, smoothly, without choking up once. The second I began walking up to that pulpit, I received a new sense of pride in that moment -- that I was chosen to stand up there in front of all these people she shared life with and play an important role in her service. I was proud to have known her, to have learned from her, to have been a recipient of her overflowing love and affection, to have played a small role in such an extraordinary story. 
My husband posted this on Facebook after her death and I thought he said it best, and wanted to share it here,
"God called my husband's Grandmother home to be with Him on New Years Day - After having spent 94 years on this earth... We were fortunate to have all just shared what she described as a 'perfect Christmas' together only a few days earlier... My grandma was a truly an amazing women ... she drove a car until she was 90 and managed to maintain a social calendar that continuously put mine to shame... She lived alone independently in the same childhood home her children grew up in until her very last moments... They say 'behind every great man is a great women' which was true with her being the loving force behind my incredibly talented Grandfather, but really what she taught us so well is that 'behind every great family is an unstoppable, powerful force of a women'. She was that and so much more everyday during her almost century-long adventure building our family to what it is today... Despite the terrible pain she carried with her after out-living my Grandpa and both her children, my mother and uncle – she continued to find joy in the small moments of life, took so much pride in our ever growing family and the many, many cherished friendships she had - this joy was especially noticeable when she spent time with her great grandchildren sharing the special, gentle love they had for their 'Nana'. We created this video as a memorial to honor my grandmother.... It was played at her funeral and I wanted to share for anyone who was not able to attend or simply is interested in her fantastic story.."

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bits of Our Christmas

Took all her presents into her new teepee 
new pumped up kicks
first pair of Sorel boots courtesy of Mimi & pampa
The infamous Lego train that will take all my days and nights to complete
We had such a great, relaxing, love-filled holiday. Still trying to clean the house and organize as the kids run around playing with all their new beloved toys.... Wishing everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sponsor Feature & Giveaway! LyfeLine Milestones App

During the worst month of the year on our wallets, I am so excited to tell you guys about an amazing new app as well as offer an amazing GIVEAWAY to one of you!
The app is called LyfeLine Milestones and helps you track your baby's developmental progress along the first 2 years of their life. Through this app, you can track your baby's development with the same exact assessment used by pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and learn how to promote your child's growth with activities designed by developmental experts. In this day and age, I think most parents gauge their child's development based on what their friends' babies are doing, by what their parents, in-laws, or other relatives tell them their child should or shouldn't be doing, and through their own research on the internet - oftentimes from uncredited sources. Because of this, many mothers are uninformed, end up comparing their child to others, and simply don't accurately understand and measure their child's development, and they think maybe they are not doing it right (enter our dear friend once again, 'mommy guilt').
I know that as a first time mom with my son, I certainly felt this way when I saw Facebook videos of my friends' two year olds singing and reciting animal noises when my son was not speaking more than two words at all. At that point, we discovered that Landon did in fact have a speech delay and we worked intensely with him for the next 2.5 years with speech pathologists. That is only one of the reasons why I believe in this app so much - because it gives oftentimes completely clueless parents a tool to help them truly understand their child's nature and development based on accredited pediatricians and gives parents thoughtful activities designed by experts to work with them on areas of need. Had this app been around 3 years ago I know I would have benefited a lot from it, and I think it could have helped me see Landon was behind in his speech earlier on, it could have given me tips and ways to work with him on his speech in helpful hands-on ways, and ultimately could have saved a lot of time and money down the road with speech therapy that we only started at age 2.
I still love this app even for my daughter who is actually 'advanced' for her age, because it gives me insightful tips to help with her challenging behavior and tantrums, and also gives age appropriate activities to do with during these winter months indoors. For example, Blair is a very defiant, oftentimes unruly little girl when she doesn't get her way, over some of the most irrational things. When I answered questions about her behavior in this manner, LyfeLine gave me some great feedback, tips, and ideas on how to manage this behavior and show me ways to help her grow out of it.

It also gives us lots of activities to work on together. For example, Blair loves table top activities like coloring and stickers and all things artistic, so I thought it would be fun to work with her on an area she already shows a lot of interest in. LyfeLine suggested she work on drawing in a circular motion instead of scribbling lines to work on developing her fine motor skills even more. That is just one example of the many activities from a range of categories, including fine motor, gross motor, language, physical, social, and self help. It's really like a personalized Pinterest for your baby with educational and developmental activities for them - none of which require you to go out and spend any money - they only require you and your child and your time, and sometimes household items that you would already have in your home.
We absolutely love this app for so many reasons and are so thrilled to offer one of you your own full year premium subscription -- an $85 value!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway **Giveaway will run for 1 week from today and will officially close at 12:00am cst on 12/20/15.
**Disclosure: I have received a one year premium membership to LyfeLine Milestones to facilitate my review but the review and all opinions contained herein are 100% my own.

Monday, December 7, 2015

CalmFULL Holidays

Well Thanksgiving has come & past and we are somehow already into the second week of December and I'm not quite sure how that happened. I've been seeing constant posts on my newsfeed of adorably dressed families in their professional photos, cutting down their trees, getting their pictures taken with Santa, attending all sorts of zoo lights, Christmas markets, & meeting Santa's reindeer.
So I decided that this past weekend I was going to amp up my holiday game and be the best Christmas Mom yet. I was going to bake Christmas cookies with the kids, situate our Elf on the Shelf into something super clever, and sign us up for the Polar Express train ride Landon's been dying to go on since 2012. We even had a lunch with Santa scheduled on Saturday afternoon, and an adults Christmas party to go to Saturday night - my Christmas ante up & on fire and we were going to get ALL the Christmas things done - heck, I even thought we could go to a Christmas tree farm and get our Christmas card photo done and done.
And then. Thursday I tried to book our Polar Express ride and (of course) it has been booked full SINCE AUGUST. (Who are these parents that even think of such things in August??) But I put it behind me and moved onto my Christmas cookie baking extravaganza. Which turned into me staying up until 11 at night making them by myself. It turns out my kids only want to eat the cookies, not actually help me make them from scratch. Then I drank too much at the Bastille concert on Friday night, and spent my entire Saturday at the doctor's office with a sick crying son instead of meeting Santa like we were supposed to. And then I was still not feeling half alive to make it to our Christmas party that night. Landon ended up with a throat and ear infection, and I'm diffusing my essential oils and blasting my humidifier around Blair 24/7 and crossing my fingers she doesn't turn infectious too.
And then on top of feeling like a Christmas Mom failure, I've been feeling more overwhelmed than ever with holiday shopping for the baby boom that occurred now that all our friends are in our thirties, and a 5 year old of my own who knows the difference between name brands and imposters. To top that all off, we just learned about several necessary repairs on a new sump pump, water system, & dishwasher.
SO my game plan has changed. I decided that maybe we just need to take it easy. I mean, physically...I can't take my kids out to public places when they are hacking up their lungs. And I had a thought that they can still learn about the meaning of Christmas and I can show them the feelings I want to inspire in their hearts all the same. So the next day we cleaned out the basement together and made a pile of old toys and clothes that we no longer need to donate to other children in need this winter. And last night we had my diffuser running with a festive oil, and had a family hot tub night with Christmas music playing in the background. We talked about God and how He sent His only son down to be with us and save us and that is why we celebrate Christmas Day. We talked about how much that means He loves us and wants more than anything to be in a relationship with us and be with us through our lives.
The next morning I woke up to my little boy feeling so much better. He gave me a big hug around my neck and a big kiss on my hand and said, "Mom, you're the bestetst mom ever. I really really love you."
And I realized that even in my failures, at the core of my being, I am enough. And my love is enough for these kids.
And what I want to actually experience this holiday season is not the errands and not the shopping and not the stress of feeling like I have to go to all these Christmas events. & all that craziness is not really even what my kids want to experience either.
When I stop and think about what I care about, all those feelings of being overwhelmed over all those things seem to cease. When I stop and ask myself what I want my kids to experience, what feelings I want to stir up in their hearts when the holiday season is upon us, is to know intimately the love that God has for them. I want them to know and feel the spirit of love and of thoughtful giving to loved ones and complete strangers. And no amount of Christmas-y events we check off a list can achieve that. Especially if it's going to drive me batty and make me sin. So, I'm okay with the fact that we still don't have our perfect Christmas card photo. And I'm okay with not wasting time every night to plot the next Elf on the Shelf prank. I'm okay with giving less extravagant and handmade gifts this year and the kids thoughtful handmade cards to go along with them. I'm okay with laying low with my children and actually spending real time with them to teach them myself about the importance of things, and I feel my own heart get bigger and softer as we do. And I have a feeling that by opting for a more low-key Christmas season this year, I'll end up giving them real, heart-filled memories about this holiday season that they will take with them as they grow older and when they are away at school or maybe living far away from me someday -- that they will always have this feeling of wanting to come home for Christmas, because of the actual loving, joyful, peaceful, calm, & cozy feelings and memories it brings them -- and not because of all the things we have to do tooth and nail to show a Facebook world that we're not atheist and that we do all the damn things, and makes sure to take pictures of it too so you think Amazing Christmas Mom is everything it's hyped up to be.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bits of Life Lately

The first snow in our new home.
Dying to go out and play
Although they really didn't get too far.
A couple smiling pics before they realized they hate the cold.
Thanksgiving table settings for our first Thanksgiving in our new home...realizing it was exactly one year ago when we found out our offer on our house was accepted and feeling so grateful for the past year here.
And of course the morning after, all the fall decor came down and up went the holiday and tree..... Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are cozying up with their loved ones ❤️

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sponsor Feature:!

Hi guys!! I'm here today to talk about an amazing online company called Some of you may have already heard about them, but maybe don't know just how amazing they are, and some of you may not have known of them so I am so excited to tell you guys about them and hopefully make your registration events and holiday or birthday 'wish lists' a lot easier!
We actually used for Blair's Baby Sprinkle and truly truly loved this site, it is super user-friendly and provided everything I never even knew I needed in a registry. They are essentially an online registry that you can use for any occasion, and through which you can pull items from the web or from any store in the world, and keep everything all in one place. In this day and age, many of us live far away from our friends and relatives, but regardless of proximity, everyone does much of their shopping online, and makes it super easy to share with others, and convenient for gift givers to just click a few clicks on their computer or smart phone instead of having to venture into a store and spend tons of time trying to figure out which exact item(s) are actually on your registry to purchase, and additionally deal with the driving, parking, and lines, oh my!
I also love the fact that you can pull items from as many different stores or online sites as you want. They have some other wonderful features, such as the option to add gift cards to your registry or wish list, as well as give you the ability to see popular items in specific categories of need, the ability to view your registry as a guest, send e-thank you notes, as well as add in a picture of yourself or your children with a personalized message to gift-givers.
As Christmas (ahem, Thanksgiving) is approaching, I'm already getting questions from generous relatives about what my kids want. And it's confusing and hard to remember exactly which Transformer Landon wants, or exactly what types of things Blair is into, or exactly what types of things we would like to have for her. So using for a holiday wish list to share with family and friends is such a great tool. The kids get everything on their list, we don't end up with gifts we don't like or won't use, and people can see as things get purchased and crossed off their lists. I actually just started a separate wish list for myself for things we need for the house because I enjoy this site so much. Since our big move in February, we have this ever-growing list of items we need and want for the house. I'm not publicly sharing my home wish list, but using it more as a checklist for items I need and want, which keeps me in check for when I do go out, because it prevents me from wasting money on things we don't actually need, and also helps me know a good deal when I see one on an item I've had on my list. But most of all, its nice when we have a good month with work and low expenses to just click click click and check off ;)
So for those of you who are preparing for a shower, wedding, or just to keep your own personal electronic 'wish list' for yourself or your kids, please go check out, and thank me later :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2 Years.

My dearest Blair Bear,

Today you turned 2 years old. It has been two whole years since they placed you on my chest, after 9 months of forming you in my belly, and 9 full hours of labor. The instant I held you and looked at you for the first time, I was in awe. Awe of the miracle of life. That I was chosen to participate in this miracle that I know only God could create.
You may not know this, but you were my rainbow baby. I suffered two miscarriages after Landon and your father and I were devastated for many months. Before the day you were born -- before that moment I held you in my arms, I lived in constant fear that something might happen to you. I did not take one single healthy doctor's visit for granted. Your unborn siblings taught me the fragility of life. The sanctity of it. And allowed me to fully appreciate -- to fully be in awe of your beautiful, miraculous new life. After a long, sad storm -- you were my beautiful, bright rainbow that came from it.
You were my rainbow baby because you came after a miscarriage -- but the past two years you have been my rainbow baby for other reasons as well.
Because you were my second, I thought I knew already what I was getting into, but that might have been the biggest lie I told myself.
You were nothing of what I expected or knew of before, and I felt in many regards a first time mom again learning the ropes as I went. Before you, I always heard other women describe this fantom 'bond' they experienced when breastfeeding that I was never privileged to understand with Landon. But we got to experience it together. And it truly was an indescribable feeling and relationship that we shared. Even though I faced so many challenges I never knew of before, I look back on those 18 months with a deeply nostalgic heart that only another nursing mother would understand.
From the beginning, you couldn't stand to be apart from me and cried and cried and cried and cried unless you were nuzzled in my arms, against my chest, or nursing. Your temperament naturally led to co-sleeping, and you and I co-slept together every night together for 16 months. You nursed every 2 hours through the nights, and although beyond sleep deprived for 16 months long, I experienced a different type of closeness with you that I never experienced before.
But to be honest, I mostly look back on the past two years since you came and let out a deep exhale, because somehow, we actually survived them. They weren't easy. They tested me to a whole new level of patience with having you so attached and simultaneously staying home with and parenting a toddler. It was hard having my parents thousands of miles away and it was hard not having a mother in law around at all. The past two years were hard staying at home. The past two years made me question if I was cut out to have any more kids. The past two years tested my marriage and they drove me crazy with the sibling screaming and fighting. They broke me down into many spouts of tears over lack of sleep, hormone changes, feeling overwhelmed, and generally just not having the time or energy to do anything else, for anyone else or myself.
But in as much as hard as the past two years were, my life truly grew from them, more so than any other 2 year time frame of my life. Every difficulty I faced I discovered was an opportunity to walk deeper into truth, deeper into life, deeper into my marriage, deeper into relationships with new friends, and most importantly, deeper into my relationship with Christ. There is a different level of maturity I think that mothers of more than one child go through, and I thank you for it.
I am reminded by you in every moment that God has already written my story, and even in the hard times, He is right there with me. It was only after experiencing challenging times that I able to recognize true goodness when it came. The quiet nights rocking you to sleep in my arms, your first smiles up at my face, seeing you and your brother play and talk and stick up for one another and love each other. In all these ways you continue to be my living rainbow - you remind me of the truth, you remind me of the beauty and depth to life that can only truly be seen and felt after difficulties. I always hear every mother I know pray (and curse) to one of their children, that they end up having a child just like them. That is definitely only my prayer for you. I pray you are blessed with a child as beautiful, as smart, as sweet, as playful, as fun-loving, as strong-willed, and as bright as you. I pray that someday you get to experience this side of the relationship and know that at one time I was on your end of it with you. And in your teenage years, when maybe you and I aren't as close as we once were, I hope you know that I cried so hard when you were born, and I held you against my chest and I thanked Jesus over and over and over again for giving you to me.
I love you forever, no matter how much you test and challenge me.

Love always,
mumma bear.

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