We were feeling a bit home sick, so we decided to go back to Atlanta to do some of our favorite holiday traditions. We started going to the Stone Mountain Christmas Village as a family Christmas tradition back in 2013 when the girls were barely over one – but we’ve never done the “Snow Mountain” tubing before. This year, we felt like The Kraze was finally old enough to have fun doing it, and there’s always room to add a new tradition around the holidays. Experiencing things through the eyes of my children, just makes it so much more fun too!
Atlanta is almost a halfway point between my parents’ and our house, so we decided to have them join us here to “have Christmas” together. The morning we were going to Stone Mountain, we pretended it was Christmas and walked across the hall in our pjs to open presents in their room while sipping mimosas (just orange juice for the girls of course). It was such a simple time before all the excitement of the day, but left such sweet memories in my heart.
I’m just going to start out by saying, this newborn photo session did not go as planned. I had the baby nice and cozy and asleep for the photographer to arrive, but when she did (I was back in our bathroom finishing my hair) the girls got so excited they ran to the nursery and flipped the bleeping light on, shouting “Here he is! Here’s our new baby brother – isn’t he cuuuuuute?!” I hurried in there and they were already bent over his crib and had startled him awake. And he was not happy. So most of those precious sleeping baby poses I had planned didn’t happen.
However, looking at these images, I’m reminded that sometimes it works out just fine that things don’t go as planned…
Although he won’t remember it, I’m so excited for our baby boy’s first Christmas! Every first is just so special, and two years ago all I wanted for Christmas was an opportunity to have another baby and HE’S HERE!! Some say baby is too little for Christmas presents, but there are several things I want for him and this is the perfect opportunity to check off my own wish list for him. Most of these aren’t necessarily toys, but developmental items that I think he and I will both enjoy. Best part about this list is if you’ve waited until the last minute to shop or feel like you just need one or two more items to round out your gift giving, all of these items can still make it in time for Christmas (most with FREE shipping)!!
Shop the Style:
Playtime Pals Activity Chair – He’s trying to sit up and is reaching and grabbing everything. Just lying down playing with toys is no longer cutting it, so I think this will be the perfect solution to keep him engaged and help him learn to sit on his own.
Socks with grippers – Great stocking stuffer! These will be perfect since he’ll start practicing crawling and walking soon!
Yihakids Soft Sole Moccasins – It’s important to let baby’s feet develop on their own, but as he starts to want to stand and take steps when we’re out and about, I’d like for him to have cute shoes to protect his little feet and these soft soles won’t hinder him (and they’re a fraction of the cost of other moccasins)
Joovy Spoon Walker – Some would call me a minimalist, but I’m so excited about this walker! I love the combination of walker and high chair with the easily removable tray (that’s dishwasher safe) and the fact that the tray has a large enough surface area for him to play with all kinds of toys that I can interchange as opposed to a normal walker that comes with everything built in. And it folds flat so our house doesn’t become overtaken by large baby things… maybe I am a little bit of a minimalist.
Sophie The Giraffe Teether – Another great stocking stuffer! I don’t what it is about this little giraffe, but all 3 of mine have loved this thing and I love that it’s made of all natural rubber.
4mom mamaroo 4 infant seat – This is for the littler ones (0-6 months), so he’s pretty much outgrown this one, but we loved this so much the first time around, we got a second one with the twins and he’s loved it just as much.
Wee Gallery Art Cards for Baby – These cards are made in high contrast black and white to visually engage baby, plus they’re made of sturdy cardboard to withstand baby’s strong grasp. As he will surely put them in his mouth, they’re made of soy ink, which doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.
Not only are we hoping this will be a smooth transition for The Kraze when their baby brother actually arrives, we wanted the idea of becoming big sisters to be so great that maybe they’ll be ok with him demanding a lot of my attention and all the other ways he’ll “take away” from them when he gets here… and what if he cries a lot?! I ordered the. cutest. big sister gift from their baby brother, to give them in the hospital after he’s born, I’ll share soon , but this box is all about how we made the big announcement to them to get them excited about becoming big sisters!
First, a book all about being a Big Sister. There are tons of options out there, but I really loved how positive this one kept it, although it has a healthy dose of honesty, like dirty diapers and needing to be quiet when baby is sleeping… I mean I don’t want them to be completely shocked at the reality of having a baby in the house.
Next, we included a couple gender neutral (again we didn’t know the sex at the time) baby toys like this and this so they would have their own toy to turn to to play with the baby
Baby doll bottles to practice how to feed their baby brother or sister with their baby dolls… Every. single. time. they ask, “Is this how I do it?” “Am I holding the baby the right way?”
And even a picture of the baby, which looked more like a bean, but helped us explain why the baby was too small for us to tell if it was going to be a boy or a girl yet and that it would be a long time before the baby was ready to be born.
Nothing over the top but a few items they’ve used over and over to practice becoming “the best big sisters in the world” (their words)… I’ve said it before, I really think they’re as ready as one could hope for. How seriously they’re taking their new role already is absolutely heart melting!
Emotionally: Carrying this baby boy has been one of the biggest blessings of my life – to have the chance to experience this all over again, but in a totally new way with only one baby in there this time. I’m to the point that I know he could come any day now which has me pausing (when I can) to soak in the moment when he starts rolling around and gets those cute hiccups. However, I am getting quite anxious to meet this little guy. I can. not. wait. to lay eyes on him and breathe him in. So I guess I’d say I’ve come around to accepting that this is not a season that can last forever, but I’m so grateful to have been chosen to be this boy’s mommy that I’m feeling emotionally read for this chapter to end and the next to begin, which is good timing! read ‘Symptoms’ below
Big step this week: Hospital bags are packed! And I finally have all his clothes & blankets washed and hung/folded and organized in his room. Now that all the essentials are in there, I’m focused on getting all the details put together. I totally understand that he could be here any day now, but all they really need in the beginning is your boobies and a place to sleep right?!
Craving: My appetite actually seems to have gone way down and I’m not that hungry anymore… although the nightly hot, fresh cookies over ice-cream are still going strong. I used to have a glass of wine almost every night, so I guess this is my ‘nightcap’
His size: He’s about the size of a winter melon or a toolbox, depending on who you ask (but seriously, a toolbox inside my belly?!). I’m thinking, whatever they say, he’s probably a little bigger because we have big babies (I was 10.5 lbs & Zach was 9.13 lbs – I know, woah!) plus how he was measuring a few weeks ago at our 4D. Not to mention, I had the twins a month early and they were 5.13 & 6.4… which is big for twins!
My size: I gained my weight back at my 36 week visit from the previous weigh-in, but didn’t gain anything at 37 weeks, so I’m at a total of 30 pounds gained so far… we’ll see in a couple days after our indulgent weekend of cake and donuts!
Symptoms: Contractions… lots of contractions. I’ve been having Braxton Hicks for weeks now, but this weekend they started coming more regularly and stronger. After I clocked irregular contractions for 6 straight hours, they eventually became more and more irregular and eventually stopped. The thought of giving my husband his son on Father’s Day was so exciting to me… needless to say, I was quite disappointed by the end of the day, but remaining grateful for every day of this miracle and knowing God’s timing is best.
Wardrobe: Now that I’m down to my final days, I realize that it’s become somewhat of a pride thing for me to creatively piece together outfits without purchasing any maternity clothes. Actually, I’ve purchased exactly three: a casual dress, a baby shower dress and a swimsuit.
Favorite Moment: One of the girls screamed in excitement the other day and he literally jumped! It just reminded me that there is in fact a real baby in there that is hopefully getting used to his wild sisters before he’s even born.
Big Sisters: When we thought things were happening we asked them what they thought about baby brother coming today (yesterday) and they both screamed in excitement. When they came into our room this morning, KR said, “Why wasn’t he born yet? Maybe if I could just talk to him, he’ll want to come out!” My heart totally melted as I sat on the side of the bed and let her talk to him!
I didn’t mean for the baby updates to take over the blog, but who knows if I’ll get to post another baby update or not. I’ve loved getting to document it all here and am so glad it’ll be here to look back on one day!
Well, every single person who knew we’re expecting was right on predicting the gender… with the exception of my sister-in-law, who I think just wanted to see my husband end up with all girls. Honestly, a little piece of me thought it would be another girl just because he seems to be MADE for being a daddy of daughters, but (if we’re being completely honest), we both were hoping for a boy. Most of all, we feel beyond blessed that this is our 2nd pregnancy and 3rd child… but to top it off, baby #3 IS A BOY!! After having two girls at once, hubby is thrilled to even the playing field a little with a little testosterone. Having twin girls, who are built-in best friends, then a son to follow… I just feel so undeserving of God’s grace. As Zach said, “We wouldn’t have written our story any differently.”
Gender Reveal #1
Before we start with how we found out the gender with baby #3, I’ll share a little background of how we found out with our twins, because it could not have been more opposite from this time around… It just so happened that my ‘anatomy ultrasound’ (around the 20 week mark) fell the week before my birthday. As you may know, I love turning just about anything into a celebration. So I decided to have a Gender Reveal party as my birthday party and find out the gender of our twins there with our closest friends and family!
Here’s how we pulled it off: We gave our doctor the baker’s email address and asked them to please email the genders of each Baby A & Baby B to the baker. At the party, when it came cake cutting time, we had two separate cakes for each baby. First we cut into the A cake and the inside was pink… then B cake was pink too! Photos of our reactions, are floating around somewhere, as we found out in front of about 30 people (almost 5 years ago!) – this is the only one I could easily find.
Gender Reveal #2
This time around, I wanted to do things completely opposite (I’ve really felt that way about a lot of things with this one – which was one of my first inklings that this could be a boy this time).
We invited my parents to be at the ultrasound appointment for the first time. There, the nurse told us to look away when she was ready to look at the gender. She typed on the ultrasound picture, and when she printed them out, gave that one to my mom who put it in an envelope. My hubby and I then went to an intimate brunch just the two of us to open the envelope. He wanted me to look at it first, because he wanted to see my reaction when I saw it… I’m not sure how my face read because it was a mixture of pure joy, disbelief and laughter because the ultrasound picture read “My Prince Parts” with an arrow pointing to his… you know! Haha! Maybe it was something like this (as we walked out of the restaurant).
How we told the Kraze
The pictures pretty much say it all… these are a little grainy, a little blurry, but real and in the moment.
21 going on 22 weeks
Size: They say baby boy is around the size of a banana this week, which totally cracks me up that they always compare the baby’s size to fruit.
Symptoms: I thought pregnancy with one baby would be SO much easier than carrying twins, which honestly wasn’t so bad for me. But my body never really bounced back from carrying almost 13 pounds of baby, which means I don’t have the support I once had. I’ve been experiencing rather intense lower abdominal pain, especially after standing for any length of time, which was concerning considering I have a long way to go! I’m so thankful my doctor pointed me to a natural, holistic approach to finding relief – I’ve started seeing a chiropractor which has noticeably helped with the aches and pains. I’m sharing this because if you’re pregnant and experiencing discomfort, it doesn’t have to be ‘just the way it is’ and I hope you’ll look into this option earlier than I did!
The bump is taking shape and, just like last time, is becoming a torpedo belly. I carry quite narrow, but straight out! A few weeks ago, the girls were asking daily if the baby was ready to be born, so I put one of their soccer balls in my shirt & said, “Mommy’s belly is going to get this big before the baby can be born.” …Now Zo tells me my belly already looks like I have a soccer ball in there – that’s my ZoZo telling it like it is!
Baby boy is bouncing off the walls in there! I don’t know if we have a really energetic one or if he’s just enjoying having so much room – maybe this is what it’s like with just one.
Big sisters: I told the girls that he can hear them now, so they often sing lullabies to him, typically “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, which if you’ve been following along, ‘Twinkle Star’ has been his nickname for the past couple months until we found out the gender.
Thanks for letting me share such a special time in our lives!
I’ve always loved making their parties a big to-do for two reasons: 1) My girls are worth making a big to-do about (I’m sure every mom feels this way, as they should) and 2) Because every year it’s a chance for us to gather friends and family to show them how much we appreciate them being a part of our girls’ lives. The tea party theme was just perfect for their 2nd birthday, because their imaginations were really coming alive. Having pretend tea parties with their dolls & stuffed animals was quite a regular occurrence, and quite often, snack time & lunch were requested to be turned into tea parties at home. And you better hold that pinky out while you drink your tea!
I loved this play on words for The Kraze’s tea party more than I should admit. A Tea for Two because they were turning TWO or A Tea for Two because they are TWO of them?! I know… my background is marketing, ok?!
Thanks to Shawn Photography, we were able to capture all the little details & I was actually IN the pictures! I know you feel me moms – that’s why photography is my biggest budget category for their parties each year. We’ll treasure these photos forever.
Just the sweetest… Pops (my dad) in his bow tie, feeding his youngest granddaughter, while KR tries her hardest to get the baby’s shoe on backwards.
Having a few little boys as some of their closest friends – one of their favorite people in the world being their older cousin (this handsome boy here, trying to keep her from eating all the fruit before the guests even arrive) – I wanted to make sure the little gents felt properly dressed for the occasion by making bow ties for each of them to wear.
And for the girls, the dress form was adorned with pearl strands & flower crowns for each little girl to put on as soon as she arrived.
Yes, we had real (glass) tea cups and plates at our 2-year olds’ tea party… but we were on grass!
At the beginning of their party they opened one special gift each from Mommy & Daddy – their first real pearl necklaces to wear at their party.
Carrying on the tradition of singing to each of them individually, because everyone deserves their own birthday song!
Having a late October birthday in the south, you never know if it’s going to be chilly or warm… we ended up having to shed the jackets & throw the hair up… those poor little flushed cheeks – it was almost 90 degrees!!
More excited to “pap the baby’s head” (her little cousin), than she was to open presents.
And what’s a fancily clad tea party without the guests of honor adorning antique fascinators – made by yours truly.