Thankful.

10521224_814640229083_323541778447535343_nI took the past week off of social media to really soak up the holiday spirit and spend time with the three little rugrats that I am so thankful for. I realized that sometimes documenting a moment actually takes away from the moment. The timing was perfect and we were able to do a lot of the “little extras”. Those of you who know me know how much I love getting festive for holidays, so we put the tree up early, started listening to Christmas music, and began to really search our hearts for ways that we could make this holiday season different from all the rest.

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As a family we helped Mission of Hope pack meals for Kids Against Hunger. In less than two hours we packed over 100,000 meals that will be sent to Haiti for the kids in Bible schools there.  The kids and I also packed three shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child full of gifts to bless a child in another country and to spread the love of Jesus. I am always looking for ways around this time of year to get the kids involved in serving others. Like having them spend their own allowance to buy toys for the less fortunate, or donating some of their belongings to other kids who would otherwise not get a Christmas present. Our hearts are already so full and we are entering into December with such a joyous spirit. But we as a family want to do more. We are continuing to pray for ways that we can share God’s love this season. Even if it’s something as simple as helping a stranger scrape ice off their windshield, or hot chocolate for the bus driver. I am praying that we keep our eyes focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

With that being said I will probably continue to be a little quieter on social media throughout the holidays. I do love looking back at memories through pictures, but I love investing the memories even more.

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One thing that is also making this holiday season a little less chaotic for me is the fact that I am doing most of my Christmas shopping from small businesses. I love supporting families and other stay-at-home moms and I also love shopping in my pjs. This black friday I will be cuddled up by the fire, sipping coffee, and checking everyone off my list. For fun I thought I’d give you a peek at my shopping list. Oh and most of these wonderful stores are doing something fun for black friday so you’ll have to check them out.

 

 

Aniston-

Bannor Toys State Rattle

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Little Hip Squeaks romper

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Baby Jules Boutique sparkle bow

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Sweet Mama Makes swaddle blanket + burp cloths

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Little Missy Bell rag doll

Breelynd’s Rose crocheted beanie

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Caged bird bracelets

*Don’t forget to check out Kelli Murray’s new kids line Rylee + Cru

Kempton-

Riley Clay Designs shirt

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Shop Maisie Jayne harem pants

Finomenon kids shirt

*Check out Roman + Leo store online

Cohen-

Good seeds shirt

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Kiwi crate subscription

Puzzle People

Brooks-

Inkist Prints Indianapolis skyline watercolor

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Alacart Creations bottle opener

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Strapping Chap Soap Co exfoliating soap

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Riley Clay designs shirt

Mom + Becky-

Naptime Diaries prints

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Friends-

Frame able gold foil cards from Read Between the Lines

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Whats on your list this year? I’d love to hear how you are shopping small. #shopsmall

Quick Halloween Treats

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What you need: Vanilla pudding. Green food coloring. Oreos. clear plastic cups. black marker.

How to make: Mix up vanilla pudding with green food coloring and fill plastic cups halfway up. (the first one I filled 3/4 of the way up and it was way too much pudding for a small kid to finish)

Next crush up oreos to sprinkle on top.

Last draw fun Franky faces

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Ghost or Mummy Cookies

What you need: Nutter butter cookies, white chocolate, and chocolate chips or candy eyes.

How to make: Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. (my favorite chocolate is the Ghirardelli chocolate) be careful not to burn.

Mummy: put chocolate chip eyes on with a little bit of white chocolate and then drizzle white chocolate across the cookie to look like a mummy.

Ghost: Dunk the full cookie in the white chocolate and then apply the eyes. (Add a little bit of crisco to the chocolate to make it thinner and easier to dip).

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Pumpkin Rice Krispie balls:

What you need

  • Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 Bag of Marshmallows
  • Butter
  • Red & yellow food coloring (or natural food coloring)
  • 18-20 tootsie rolls unwrapped
  • Frosting for leaves is powdered sugar, green food coloring, and a little milk (or water).

How to make: First simply follow the rice krispies treats recipe on the back of the box. When your marshmallows are nice and melty add red and yellow purchased or homemade food coloring until you reach a pumpkin orange color.

Next stir the cereal into the marshmallow mixture, rub some butter on the palms of your hands and roll the mixture quickly into balls. I placed more butter on my hands between rolling each ball. Place a tootsie roll in the center of each pumpkin and garnish with frosting leaves.

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With my left over white chocolate I made chocolate covered pretzels, a standard favorite in my household. To make them a little more festive I bought fall colored sprinkles.

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There you go. Four very simple, yet darling halloween treats. It’s not too late to whip up something festive for your kiddos.

Recent Makeup Haul : Drugstore

1Here is a quick video showcasing my recent drugstore makeup haul. Links are provided below. Oh and don’t mind my awkward mumbling or dirty hair….yikes!

 

 

Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb matte lipstick

Wet n Wild Black Orchid lipstick

Revlon Black Cherry Super Lustrous lipstick

Jordana Twist and Shine moisturizing balm stain- Cranberry Crush

Rimmel London Scandaleyes waterproof kohl pencil- 005 Nude

Jordana Fabubrow eyebrow pencil- Taupe

Wet n Wild single shadow- Creme Brulee

Jordana 12 hour liquid eyeliner pencil- Black point

Jordana Fabuliner bold felt tip liquid liner- black

Jordana Best length extreme lengthening mascara- Black

The name game

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We’ve all played it at some point. Searching through books, scouring family names, watching tv with one agenda….find the perfect name. Sure we named our baby dolls when we were young, and probably even came up with names for numerous  unborn children. But when it really comes down to it, naming your sweet precious baby can be hard, fun but hard. Here is a little bit of our journey.

 

Naming boys always seemed to be easy for us. We  like last names for first names because they are unique and strong. With the boys we always had a definite forerunner and a couple names in in the bank. We just had to see what fit them best when they arrived. We named our first son Cohen after watching all four seasons of the O.C. and loving Seth Cohen and the fact that they called him “Cohen”. This was 7 years ago and I still love his name. I’m so glad we went with our gut that many years ago, even before unique names were very popular.  Then 5 years later Kempton came along. Again boy names just come easier for us. A strong last name that goes well with older brother’s name. Check. Plus you always have to think of the nicknames or shorten version of the name and Kemp fits him perfectly! (Kemp means athlete or champion)

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So we have a Cohen Brooks (named after daddy Brooks) and a Kempton David (named after grandpa Dave who passed away a year before he was born). Now we are pregnant with a girl!! I dreamed and dreamed about what it would be like if at the gender ultra sound I would hear those words….It’s a girl. When we did the shock and excitement was overwhelming. The second we got in the car there was so much planning to do. Starting with a name!!! Brooks, who is normally the name everything guy, looked at me and said I don’t like any girl names. Ha! And I felt the same way.

We were finally having a little princess and the name had to be perfect. Pretty and sweet and strong and go with brother’s names and have meaning and be named after a family member….the list just went on and on. Should we stick with last names? Should we stick with the same consonant sound as the boys? What to do?! Again I had a boy name all ready to go and now we had to switch it up. Brooks and I would talk about names till we were blue in the face and finally just decide none of them were her name. It would come to us, or so we kept telling ourselves. Here are some that were on our list….

Ellison (Elle) Tamara

Quinn

Aislynn Anne

Lynlee

Lyndon

Cambelle (Elle)

Palmer Quinn

Kendi Lynn

Berkleigh

Quinlyn (Quin) Kate

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We were pretty set on Quinlyn Kate and the boys even started calling her baby  Quin. However the closer it got to her arrival, the more the name just didn’t seem to be the RIGHT name. First of all I had been really mixing up Cohen and Kempton’s names recently and I felt like adding another “Cu” sound to the mix might really confuse things. Secondly the name Quinlyn Kate did not incorporate any of my mom’s name which I was really wanting to do. Cohen is named after Brooks’ mom’s side, Kempton is named after Brooks’ dad, and I wanted my daughter to be named after my side of the family, or my mom and me. And the third reason I decided against it was because not knowing the sex, Brooks and I had already quietly given the name Quinn to our Angel baby a few years back and I felt it was important to leave that name special to him or her.

So now what……

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I honestly didn’t know how we were going to come up with something that we both liked that also fit our criteria. And then bam it came to me. A last name, strong with a cute shortened version, using my mom’s name, and my name, and sounds good with brother’s names. ANISTON LYNN or Ani Lynn. Named after Tami Ann and Amanda Lynn. Plus we share the same monogram which makes it all the more fun. It gives me an excuse to buy things with my initials on them :)

So there you have it. Thats how princess Ani got her name. And now that she is here it 100% fits her. She is such an Aniston :)

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Oh and just for fun if we were having girl twins the names would of been Ellison and Aniston and if they were boy and girl Asa and Aniston. See we’ve played the name game waaaaaaay too much.

 

Newborn photos by Alayne Johnson

Postpartum Style

 

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As important as it is to find the right pieces to dress your bump, I feel it is even more crucial to find fitting pieces post baby. It is a time where most all of our focus goes to the baby and mom duties. If we do happen to get any “me time” we usually chose to sleep am I right?! So on the rare occasion that we do change out of our pajamas it would be nice to have a few go to pieces. To help you out I have compiled a list of items I’ve been loving/living in recently.

 

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{shirt free people/ pants Lucy}

 

1. Lucy Perfect Core Leggings.

These yoga pants are just so great. They are flattering and super comfortable. They are called the perfect core because they are high waisted with a supportive panel that comes up to your belly button. Totally tucking everything in and smoothing out your belly. The top part sort of feels like spanx, but looks so stylish. Thank you Lucy!! I practically live in mine. I have found that I can wear them not only to the gym, but also with tall boots and a slouchy sweater. They are a bit of an investment (around $100 for yoga pants), but they are such a staple piece for me, and absolutely worth the money.
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{shirt free people/ pants Forever 21}

2. Free People Tent tops.

This one is a no brainer. Flowy tops totally disguise the oddly shaped middle we are left with once baby is evicted. The reason I specifically love free people tops is because the middle is loose, but the arms are still made small and tight. That way it looks like you are purposely wearing an oversized top, not drowning in your husbands shirt. There are just so many ways to wear them. Down and flowy, tucked in, or knotted up. Also breastfeeding? Hello! No need for a breastfeeding smock. Your baby fits great right under your shirt. These tops range from $48-$98.

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{hat free people/ button up American eagle/ tank Blanqi/ pants Nordstrom}

3. Button ups with snaps.

Not much explaining needed here. Snaps > Buttons when breast feeding. I try and find dark colors or patterned tops for a slimming illusion.

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{hat free people/ shirt Blanqi/ pants Nordstrom}

 

4. Blanqi support tank

This tank was a life savor during the last few months of my pregnancy. The material is breathable, yet supportive. Best of all I felt so confident when wearing it. It was one of my go to pieces near the end and continues to be a staple now. I just can’t say enough about the material. It is such quality. I’ve been wearing it as a layering piece to provide extra slimming.

 

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{shirt Urban Outfitters/ joggers Target}

 

5. Jogger Pants
I have three kids. I’m always on the move. I need my wardrobe to be as comfortable as possible. Jogger pants are so great because they feel like pajamas, but look like you put an outfit together. Lately I’ve really been digging these ones from the Gap.

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6. Floppy Hats

Accessorize! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten all the kids dressed and ready only to realize I have no time left for myself. It’s jeans and a t-shirt and I’m out the door. No time for makeup or outfit planning? Just throw on a big floppy hat and a chunky ring and you’ll look all put together. A cute hat covers crazy unbrushed hair and bags under the eyes. Two things us moms know all too well.

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Me time.

Will I ever have time to blog again? I have all these ideas spinning around in my head. Things I want to get down on paper. To teach, to inspire.   But I have three kids. Three kids that demand my time. Each time I sit down to write something comes up. Someone needs me. Someone wakes up unexpectedly. I know some day I’ll look back and miss this time. But for now If I’m being honest I miss my me time. I don’t need much, maybe 30 min a day. But right now I’m not even getting 5. Having three kids is exhausting. Having three kids is exciting. Having three kids is rewarding. But mostly  having three kids is just plain tough.

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The Art of Pregnancy- Maternity photos

Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Warning: extra long photo stream below! My photographer Ashley is just so talented, and we had an absolute blast capturing these pictures. I believe that every mother-to-be should find a way to capture the beauty of their pregnancy, because it is a true miracle. Here is the art of my pregnancy through photos. Enjoy!124IMG_54955IMG_57123IMG_580367IMG_5974IMG_6092IMG_6035IMG_60908IMG_6044 IMG_60479

If you ever need a good photographer in the Indy area you must check out Ashely Elizabeth Moore. She’s the best lifestyle photographer hands down. Her creativity helps your true beauty shine through!

 

 

Photography: Ashely Elizabeth Moore

Makeup and styling: Madeover by Mandy

Clothing: Free People