Family Pictures and Milestones

Check out our most recent family pictures!

 

Hurray for family pictures!  I’m thrilled to finally post all these…my sweet photographer Breanne had a baby right after shooting these and then Christmas and New Year’s so bless her heart for all the editing she’s been catching up on!

I love them all more than words can express and I hope you enjoy them at least a little 🙂

Liam is 11 this year and just the most delightful preteen around.  I seriously had no idea the older kid years would be so stinking much fun.  He has a hilarious sense of humor, is super intelligent and the BEST helper I could ask for.  He thinks nothing of jumping up every time I ask for something and is a fantastic big brother.  I can’t wait to see him as a teen!

Toby is 9 and the class clown of our homeschool – haha.  He is always happy and joking and LOVES little babies…he’s always hanging around Mimi and helping her.  Even at age 4 he loved holding the newborn twins so seeing him all grown up with a newborn (next month!) will be a lot of fun.  It took a while to convince him that reading can be as much fun as jumping on the trampoline but I love seeing him enjoy it now.

Juliet is bubbly, outgoing and can talk your ear off about anything…in other words, a pretty typical 7 year old girl.  She gets so excited about EVERYTHING so it’s kinda hard to keep a straight face when she’s talking to you.  Her latest obsessions are reading (Boxcar Children and Ramona Quimby books), her giant stuffed bear, riding her bike and gymnastics.

Vivan (aka the curly-haired twin) is a boisterous, opinionated and darling 5 year old.  She and Kira are THRILLED to be attending school one day a week and she doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by the fact that she can’t really write anything yet 🙂  Her personality is maddening on bad days and spunky on the good – I couldn’t love it more.

Kira is the most delightful little 5 year old lately!  She’s easy to please, quick to laugh and always obedient.  Kira worships her big sister Juliet and wants to copy everything about her, including her love of fashion, makeup and high heels.  We’re excited to see her get really close to reading independently too!

Finn is your typical, mischevious 3 year old, with a side of sweetness.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him with a new baby…he’s finally learning how to be tender and careful with little ones!  He and Mimi are developing a super cute little friendship as well, now that they share a bedroom (and when Finn’s not teaching her how to lose at sword fighting).  I’m thrilled that potty training has finally taken hold and his obsession with Star Wars knows no bounds!

Mimi (short for Marilyn) has been THE best baby on the planet!  Which just means that I hardly know what to do with the recent toddler curiosity that keeps her emptying 13 cabinets a day.  She is chubby and happy and a super great sleeper…in other words, a gateway baby to the next one! She’s also a girly girl to the extreme, in love with purses and shoes and trying on every lipgloss I own.

The love and adoration I have for this man is neverending.  Luke is the funniest, calmest, most loving man I know and I have never once seen him actually get angry in the 13 years we’ve known each other.  It takes a special guy to be willing to have a whole bunch of kids AND work hard enough to feed and keep them all in clothes, and I’m grateful for him every day.

Check out this post to see how I choose coordinating outfits for all these hooligans!

And these tips will help you succeed at family pictures every time.

Top 5 Maternity Essentials

Overwhelmed by all the pregnancy changes your body’s going through?  
Get a headstart on a great maternity wardrobe with these 5 fashion essentials!

I’m a HUGE fan of changes, goals and fresh starts so the new year is one of my favorite times!

I also love making lists for everything and fashion is no exception.  I find that I shop much more intentionally and purposefully when I know exactly what my closet needs and what I should look for.

Today I’ve got a list of my 5 favorite maternity fashion essentials to keep you covered and comfortable for the entire 9 months.  Pregnancy is a great time to experiment with a capsule wardrobe because it can be more difficult to find things that fit, and because you only have to dress your cute bump for less than a year!


  1.  Leggings: Find yourself 2-3 pairs of comfy, stretchy leggings and they’ll be wardrobe staples until (and after!) your sweet baby is born.  My favorite non-maternity versions  are the BP leggings pictured here (available in 3 colors) as well as this pair of black Zella leggings.  I’m absolutely in love with these Ingrid & Isabel maternity ones…I want to live in them!  The great thing about leggings is that you can often wear non-maternity versions and they’re great for pairing with your non-maternity tunics and dresses as well.

  2. Knit Dresses:
    If you find yourself pregnant during the warmer months of the year or live in a temperate climate, knit dresses will be your best friend!  They’re stretchy, flattering and you just can’t beat one step dressing.  This lace up Topshop dress is on regular rotation over here and here’s a link to lots more maternity options.  If you’re concerned about camouflaging lumps and bumps, read on for my last maternity essential. 
  3. High Quality Maternity Denim:
    It can be hard to justify spending a chunk of change on pants that you’ll only wear for 9 months but hear me out!  If there’s one time in your life you want clothes to fit well and be comfortable, pregnancy is the time.  Premium denim (like these amazing Madewell jeans) will give you a better fit and do a much better job of stretching with you during your 9 month adventure.And if you’re planning on having any more children, you’ll wear a great pair of jeans into the ground.

    Finally, a good stretchy waistband will be worth its weight in gold in the 4th trimester when your waistline is nowhere in sight but you still want to look and feel good.  

  4. Lightweight outerwear:
    Long cardigans and vests are my secret weapon this pregnancy!  They help stretch a capsule wardrobe by adding a cute layering option to just about any outfit and they cover any squishy bits around your hips or bottom.  The black cardigan pictured above is a ridiculously comfortable fleece version – I wear it almost every day (plus it’s on sale!).
  5. Knit Pencil Skirts:
    Again, knit anything is key during pregnancy.  I love any excuse to look a little bit nicer when hauling around a big baby bump and elastic waistbands are the only way to go.  I’ve never worn maternity versions, I usually just size up skirts like these for pregnancy.If I had to add one more important essential it would be over-the-belly underwear!  (You can thank me later for not taking a picture of this one for you).  I know they look and even feel kinda silly, but they are THE best way to keep any lumps and bumps all smoothed out.  I never wear a fitted dress in pregnancy without these!
    Good luck shopping for this exciting time in your life; embrace your changing shape and enjoy growing your little munchkin!

How to Hem your own pants – new video!

Never miss out on the perfect pair of pants again – just because they’re too long!

Hey all!

I’m SO happy to post my first DIY video for you today…  It’s the perfect tutorial for the beginning sewer: how to hem pants!

If you’re under about 6 feet tall, then chances are good you’ve found at least one pair of pants you love that are too long for you.  Well, no more, my friends!  Save your alteration money and put that dusty machine to good use by hemming your own.

The video also includes instructions for hemming stretchy pants like leggings, as well as creating an invisible hem on nicer slacks like suit pants.  Enjoy!

Mom Goals for the New Year

Becoming a better mom is always one of my goals…give your kids this free survey to see how they think you’re doing!

Happy New Year!

I just love new beginnings and fresh starts…plus buying pretty new planners doesn’t hurt things either!

Since lots of my new goals this year have to do with being a better mom, I started thinking about what exactly that means.  Although I have my own ideas of how to measure my “success” as a mom, this year I want to focus on being the mom my kids need and want me to be.

Now if I gave them the option, I’m sure they’d tell me that a GOOD mom would feed them candy for breakfast and let them watch TV all day long.  So instead, I’ve created a simple little 10 question survey to get some specific ideas of what my kids think I can improve upon this year.

I’m hoping that this ends up being a fun little activity you can do with your kids to get a little insight into how their cute minds work.  I DON’T want it to end up being just a guilt-inducing exercise!  We all know we’re not perfect, but most of the time our kids think we’re pretty great.

You can download the survey HERE.

Feel free to print off copies or just have a little one on one chat with each kid and jot down their answers.

Have a great start to 2017 and I’d love to hear what cute, funny things your kids come up with!

DIY Sequined Party Dress


Sequined fabric from Joann Fabrics (in store) || Heels: Sam Edelman (on sale!)

I don’t get to go to a lot of fancy parties…but when I do, I’m always scrambling last minute to find something dressy, flattering and not too skanky to wear!

If you’re panicking about New Year’s Eve (tomorrow!), it’s not too late to whip up the perfect party dress.  This sequined number is super easy and can be made to cover as much or as little as you want!

As you can see, I don’t mind covering a 7 month pregnant belly in sequins thereby resembling a giant disco ball, …but obviously this dress can also be made more fitted for a non-maternity version.

Read on for the full tutorial!

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My Fashion Faves on sale!

 Lace-up dress – TopShop maternity (non-maternity on sale) || cardigan – Bobeau (on sale) || Booties – BP (on sale!) ||
Similar Bag – Sole Society (so cute!)|| Earrings – Nickel & Suede || Initial Necklace – Anthropologie

I hope everyone had the most fantastic of Christmases!  Our house was an absolute disaster Christmas night, which I think means it was a success.

Now that I have a couple gift cards burning holes in my pocket, it’s my second favorite week of the year: shopping week and the Nordstrom half-yearly sale!

This lace-up dress has been a cozy, comfy staple for the past month, as have these booties and cardigan.  The cardigan is seriously my ABSOLUTE favorite for throwing on any time I need an extra layer.  It’s fleece, soft and comes in a billion colors.  Plus it’s on sale this week!  Along with some of my other favorites listed below… hope you get to spoil yourselves a little this week!

PANTS:  Zella leggings (the COMFIEST leggings!) ||  AG Stilt Jeans (AG always has the most amazing fit) || Paige Gray Skinnies

TOPS: Free People Lacy Top ||  Topshop Plaid Shirt || Topshop Ruffle Sweater ||

SHOES: Coach Booties || Latigo Lace-up booties || Lace-Up Red Heels

ACCESSORIES: Skagen Watch || Nadri Crystal Bracelet (gorgeous!!) ||Kate Spade Crossbody Bag

Merry Christmas!

As we head into a magical holiday weekend, I wanted to wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas and happy New Year!  This is absolutely my favorite time of year, especially as a mom where I get to see my kids just giddy with excitement and joy over all the holiday gifts and traditions!

Like I’m sure most of you, I try to instill in my children the importance of looking outside themselves at this time of year, to teach them the joy that comes from serving and to remember the very first gift of Christmas, given over 2000 years ago.

I am humbled and awed at the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and how His perfect example and love can help us even in the darkest of times.  Regardless of what you believe, I’m grateful for a time of year when everyone can feel the call to be a little kinder, show a little more charity and be a little more filled with love.

I’m overflowing with gratitude for this little/big family of mine, for my beliefs and for the blogging opportunities I’ve had this year! Thank you ALL so much for reading and allowing me to turn some of my passions into a part time gig.

Much love and peace to every one of you!!

XOXO

Maternity DIY Roundup

If you’re expecting a baby, and running out of cute outfit ideas, check out these amazing maternity tutorials!

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Being pregnant is such an exciting and wonderful time of life…until nothing fits!  If you’re loathe to spend money on stuff you’ll only wear for 6 months (or can’t find anything you love) click on over to some of these amazing maternity DIY’s!  They’re all free, simple tutorials and will have you feeling like a million bucks in no time.

  1.  Ruffle Hem Shift Dress by Merrick’s Art
  2. Flutter Sleeve Dress by Whisk ‘Em
  3. DIY Maternity Jeans by What’s Up Moms
  4. Chartreuse Easter Dress by Elle Apparel Blog
  5. Quick Criss Cross Maternity Top by Cotton and Curls
  6. Maternity Dress by The Sara Project

    Happy sewing, mamas!

Traveling with Kids: You Can Do It!

With a little preparation (and a good attitude) anyone can enjoy a family vacation, even with lots of little kids!

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This year my awesome mother-in-law suggested we all fly to Montana to visit Luke’s oldest sister and have a nice, cold, festive Thanksgiving! We said yes, of course, and the kids were brimming with excitement for weeks!

I, on the other hand, began to feel the vague misgivings of a potential looming disaster.  To say I felt uneasy about the logistics of getting 7 kids through airport security and a flight without meltdowns would be putting it lightly.  Also, I was 7 months pregnant.  You understand my hesitation.

In the end, the flight TO Montana was a dream; everyone was so excited, they were angels!  The flight back was, ah, well…not as successful.  I mentioned to Luke afterwards that overall I’d describe that second flight as “less than painful than 2 root canals”, and he agreed.   Take that as you will.

I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for surviving travel with the whole family!  Or even just a handful of the family.  Or even just ONE tyrannic toddler.  Read on for some ideas that really can make or break the trip…

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  1. If staying in a hotel or rental property (vs. staying with relatives) pack toys, food and baby feeding supplies.My big kids love a pack of cards or some books; a couple of action figures, pocket-sized dolls or matchbox cars work well for the younger crowd.   We prefer to stay in rooms with a kitchenette if possible and always buy some snacks and cereal to tide kids over between meals.  Make feeding time for the baby or toddler easier by packing the special spoons, sippy cups and bibs that you usually use at home.  And check out this portable booster seat!  Genius.
  2. Make sure you’ll have everything necessary to keep the littles happy at bedtime: a portable crib, pacifier(s!), favorite blanket and white noise machine (we love this one but sometimes even use a white noise app on our phones!) are our favorite tools for a peaceful nighttime routine, even in a strange place.  Think about your own child’s evening habits and make sure you can replicate them as closely as possible while on vacation.Finding a dark, quiet place for a baby or toddler to sleep can be the trickiest step.  My ideal place to set up a portable crib is in a large walk-in closet!  I’ve also had success putting a crib between the decorative and blackout layers of curtains in a hotel room, shielding baby from both the morning sun and the TV or hotel room lights.  I even once put a infant to sleep on a thick blanket in an empty bathtub!  We turned on the bathroom exhaust fan and closed the door and she slept like a dream.  (This only works with very little babies who are non-mobile, obviously!)
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3.  Be sure to pack well for your children, without going overboard.  This can be hard to do but I generally pack something like this:
Kids ages 7+: 1 shirt, pair socks and pair underwear per day and 1 pair of pants for every other day
Kids ages 2-6: 1 full outfit (shirt, pants, socks, underwear) per day PLUS 1 extra outfit
Kids ages 2 and under: Same as above but bring TWO extra outfits

Obviously this can be adjusted depending on how long you stay, whether or not you have access to a washing machine and the likelihood of your children ruining outfits (muddy or snowy places, etc).  And don’t forget to pack each day’s clothes up together by taking everything your kid will need for 1 day and then rolling it all up tightly.   Then there’s no rummaging around suitcases looking for stuff!

4.  Lastly, if you’re going to be flying with your crew, don’t be tempted to overpack!  There are a few essentials you want to have with you, but the less crap you have to haul through security and 4 miles to your gate (which, when traveling with kids, will always be the furthest one possible, obviously) the better!

Here are my essentials: Drinks and snacks (especially if your airline doesn’t provide much, and nowadays most don’t!), a new toy, coloring book (with attached markers/crayons if possible!), movie or games on a device (don’t forget headphones and a splitter if needed), and a book for older children who can read.  My hands-down best trick for keeping kids happy this trip?  A giant bag of little suckers.  I’ve learned to let go of my control freakish tendencies when traveling and just give the kids whatever keeps them happy….within reason.
Also check out this post for my favorite household items to entertain squirmy toddlers on a plane!

Comment below with any other tried and true tips you have for making family vacay fun and easy!

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Flowy Dresses, Earth Tones

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Dress: eShakti (I customized mine with shorter sleeves for our warm weather) || Watch: Arvo || Bag: Target Similar options || Wedges: Forever 21 Similar Options ||Necklace: Anthropologie Similar

Shopping trips for myself should really be called “If Only…” trips: “If only this were longer”, “If only this had sleeves”, “If only this had a different neckline…” and on and on!

That’s why I was blown away when I hear about eShakti.com‘s customizable clothing…eShakti is an online women’s clothing retailer that customizes ALL of their clothes to your specifications!  You can change length, sleeves, neckline and other details to make sure you get the style and fit you really want.  It’s absolutely brilliant!!  Learn all about how eShakti works here!

In other news, this season is really a GREAT time to be pregnant or have a few extra pounds hanging around.  Flowy dresses are everywhere and are SO comfy.  This dusty green color is another of my fave Fall colors – and it pairs perfectly with the other hot colors this season: pale pink, merlot and navy; I love them all!

What color combo are you loving the most right now?