A Day At The Zoo

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
It's been almost a solid year of husband and I talking about taking our girl to the zoo. She is easily a lover of animals, and we knew she would just adore an experience to see more exotic animals, especially elephants and giraffes. Life happened and somehow a year crept by and we still hadn't made our way to the North Carolina Zoo. So when husband had a last minute trip to Dallas pop up last week, we took the opportunity to use the second half of the week as a little mini family vacation before baby sister arrives. 

If you've ever been to the NC Zoo, you know what a hike it is around this massive place. I'm fairly certain I was crazy to think all of the walking would be a stroll in the park for an almost 34 week pregnant gal. It was a beast that left my legs weak and my feet swollen. But it was also so joyful to watch Greer absorb everything around her, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I even loved the experience for myself, not having been to this zoo since I was a child. And by far my favorite part was feeding the giraffes. If you ever get the change to do something like that, take the opportunity because it's unreal, even as an adult! 

Don't be fooled by her face, she loved feeding Jack, this huge giraffe. I don't think the photo gives an accurate depiction of just how big this guy was, especially that head of his. And his tongue was crazy long, but he was so gentle. Afterward, Greer kept telling us that we had fed the giraffe salad, which was basically correct; we had fed him romaine. And as her souvenir from the gift shop she picked out her own stuffed Jack to take home. 

Our sweet girl was just as amazed by the elephants as she was with the giraffes. She decided which of the three elephants was the mama, daddy, and baby elephant. Though there was no actual baby elephant there, she appropriately picked the smaller one to represent the baby :) 

The lions were our last stop of the morning before leaving for lunch and nap time back at the hotel. Husband and I even napped while our girl snoozed, which was amazing. We never get to nap in the middle of the week, and after walking miles in the zoo, it was needed. Once awake, we rallied and headed back to the zoo. If you ever visit the Asheboro Zoo, be sure to keep your receipt from your ticket(s) purchase so you can leave and then re-enter. We spent about an hour checking out the alligators, turtles, cougars (which Greer affectionately referred to as kitty cats), seals, and polar bear before calling it a day. 

The polar bear was like such a big kid, swimming the same lap over and over again. I loved that we could watch the polar bear from a deck, then go below to watch him swim. Greer didn't quite get the concept of the glass acting as a barrier between her and the animals, which made her uneasy at times. But besides that, she really loved the whole experience, and I'm so very glad that we finally made the trip to the zoo for our darling girl. 

Master Bedroom Black & White Gallery Wall

Monday, April 30, 2018
This post is sponsored by Mpix, whom provided the framed prints. All thoughts are my own.

You all know my love of gallery walls runs deep. I love the timeless look they can bring to any space with simplicity and ease. So when it came to putting the final touches on our master bedroom makeover (reveal coming next week!) I knew I wanted to make a bold statement in the room with a gallery wall full of candid photos from our private collection. 

Since the room itself is on the small side, it was key to keep the gallery wall small + symmetrical to complement the space and not overwhelm it. Additionally, I wanted to stick to black and white prints to get that bold look, but to minimize the colors in the bedroom to a minimum. I applied that same thought to the frames themselves, opting for thin, black, metal frames with white mattes. This gave visual space to the gallery wall, bringing the focus to the photos themselves. And y'all, I achieved the perfect look I was going for. I can't stop staring at this sweet little spot in our room. 

H O W    T O    A C H I E V E    T H E    L O O K :

Knowing I wanted a gallery wall that would boast beautiful, high-quality prints, as well as exceptional frames, I chose Mpix to get the job done. They never disappoint, just check out this gallery wall in my family room. And I love that I could get everything from framing to printed photos all done in place. Better yet, they arrived together and ready for hanging!

  • I chose black metal frames for a 5x5 photo. There are 20 different frame styles to pick from.
  • For visual spacing, I added a 2" white matte to each frame. This made the overall size of the frame 9.25 x9.25
  • Using square frames made for a square gallery, which was preferred over a rectangular gallery. 

  • The prints are 5x5, black and white. 
  • Some of the photos are taken from my phone, while others were taken with my DSLR. Every photo looks high-quality, a testament to the professional printing job by Mpix. 

  • The frames are spaced 1.5" apart on all sides. I wanted to keep a tight gallery wall, and this was the optimal spacing to achieve that look. 
  • Because of the white mattes keeping the photos separated from one another, the smaller spacing worked really well with square frames. 

Mpix is currently running a 25% off Wall Art sale from today through May 2! 
Be sure to take advantage of this and put together your gallery wall!

Achieving this gallery wall in your home is so simple to do. Though it's on the smaller side, don't underestimate the impact a small wall art feature brings to a space. I love the extra charm and the personal touch it adds to our master without feeling out of place. So if you're looking for a way to incorporate photos into a smaller room, it's easy to work with the size of the frames + prints to make a gallery wall that is just right in your space. I hope you found some inspiration in my latest gallery wall! 

Junebug Bumpdate || 32 Weeks

Monday, April 23, 2018
Our little lady is 8 weeks (give or take) from her due date, and my mind is all over the place. I go between being completely ready to have this pregnancy over to being nervous for the newborn stage, mostly the sleep deprivation. Husband and I are regularly talking about how crazy it is to be so quickly approaching a stage of life where we have two children; two girls. It's surreal and exciting. We've reached the point where we are so very curious about who this little girl is, who she looks like, and what her demeanor will be. We reached this point a lot earlier on with Greer, and I think it's different this go around because we have a toddler who keeps us going non-stop and the time to sit back and day-dream about baby #2 really doesn't exist. A lot of our conversations about her happen in the kitchen, after we've put Greer to bed, and we're cleaning up the dinner dishes. Just last night we were saying how much we are looking forward to introducing our girls to each other, and that makes all the pregnancy woes and fears of newborn life slip away.

  • Let me be honest, this pregnancy has been hard. It's completely different than my pregnancy with Greer, and I'm not sure if it's just this baby, the fact that it's a subsequent pregnancy, or because I have a toddler to also keep up with. I think it's each factor + a combination of all the factors. All I know is that when the third trimester arrived, I hit a hard wall where I'm so very ready for this pregnancy to be done. 
  • I had an appointment this morning, and at 32 weeks I have gained 26 pounds. Seems like I'm tracking along with the total weight gained during my pregnancy with big sister. 
  • At 30 weeks sciatic nerve pain showed up. And unfortunately, it has gradually gotten worse over the last couple of weeks. This is the first time I'm experiencing it, and I am looking for all the ways to make it feel better. 
  • The acid reflux is still hanging around, and I'm sure it will until this little lady arrives. 
  • I noticed around two weeks ago that swelling in my lower left leg/foot has started. It won't be long until the other leg starts too. Surprisingly, my fingers haven't started swelling yet, and I can still wear my wedding bands. 
  • The third trimester fatigue came back in full force, which I think is heightened by chasing a very energetic toddler around. 
  • My appetite still isn't quite back, especially at dinner time. I'm shocked that this has hung around this long and find myself wondering if it will come back after pregnancy. Along with that symptom, my tastebuds have started dulling to the point where I can't taste food. It's quite sad, but I'm finding comfort in shaved ice with flavored syrup...which I'm eating every. single. night. thanks to my sweet husband who blends the ice and found flavored syrup for the at-home treat. 
  • This little nugget does not stop moving. It's a 24-hour dance party, which is the total opposite of her sister's movements in the womb. It makes me very curious what she'll be like, energy/activity-wise, once she's here. 

  • Sleep is hard to come by at this point in pregnancy. I am finding it very difficult to find a comfortable position, especially when I love to sleep on my stomach. The belly is heaving, making it hard to turn, and the bathroom breaks are waking me about twice a night. Overall, I think it's rare that I'm hitting my REM cycle, and that's leaving me tired and unrested by late morning/early afternoon. 
  • I'm really looking forward to getting some comfortable sleep, even if I'm being woken up to nurse a tiny baby. 
  • Leg cramps, specifically in my left shin and right calf, are really quite terrible. The other morning, I was rolling from my left side to my right when a cramp from my foot to my shin had me waking husband up to help rub it out. Afterward, I downed a banana, some water, then sat with heating pad on my leg to ease the tightness.

  • Winter has hung around for a long time this year, even though the first day of spring was over a month ago. The cold temperatures, snow storms, and dreary days have certainly been wearing on me. When we do get a warm day, I'm so thankful for the warmth and fresh air. 
  • The discomfort and various symptoms of this pregnancy have started to wear on me. It's hard to feel upbeat at times, but I know it will all be worth it come due day. Though, June can't get here fast enough.
  • Though we've had her name picked out since before we knew she was a girl, I've been really trying to confirm that it's the name we're going with. This time around we aren't using her name at home because Greer is as sharp as a tack and retains information that you would think she didn't hear. So we've refrained from using Junebug's name so that Greer doesn't spill the beans. Not using her name, like we did when expecting Greer, makes it hard to feel certain that we've selected our favorite. But, I have a feeling we have. It's just going to feel so strange (for the first little bit) to use her actual name when she's here!
  • Nesting kicked in recently, and I'm feeling a little behind on preparations for our girl. We finally began painting her nursery, starting with the trim, and need to get that in place along with her furniture and d├ęcor. 
  • I'm still waiting to see if we'll have a VBAC or repeat cesarean with this baby. While I was fairly open to both, I'm finding myself leaning more toward a VBAC for various reasons. All that to say, I'm finding myself more nervous about what position she is in at this point in the game. As of today, the midwife believes she is head-down, but I'm not holding my breath. Instead, I'm trying not to close off toward one option or the other.  

  • He's been great at picking up my slack, giving me downtime, and being extra attentive to Greer as I near the end of this pregnancy. Having his support and help changes everything, and it makes me so very thankful for him.
  • I love when he shares how much he's looking forward to meeting our newest girl. While he shares my sentiments about the rocky road that can be newborn life, it doesn't sway his excitement for her arrival. 

  • We  washed all of Greer's baby clothes + some new clothes we've collected for Junebug a couple of weekends ago, and it was the sweetest to watch Greer go through it all with us,  as we sorted out what will work (the girls will be two different seasons in sizes for a little bit until they even out). She loved the thought of sharing her baby clothes with baby sister.
  • In the mornings when she wakes, husband brings Greer into our bedroom and she snuggles up with me for about 20-30 extra minutes. One of her favorite things is to pull of my shirt to find my bare belly then lay her head on it. She'll say hello to Junebug and ask her what she's doing. It makes me so very excited to see her reaction to her sister when she's here. 
  • One of my favorite things is listening to Greer talk about how she'll help out with baby. From baths and diaper changes, to giving her bottles and patting her. I love watching this "little mommy" side of her emerge; it's very much like her mama's personality. 
  • When we have doctor appointments for baby, Greer gets the biggest kick out of helping measure my belly and holding the doppler to listen for baby's heartbeat. She'll replay the experience for days. Her impression of the way baby's heartbeat sounds, is kind of my favorite. 
  • Greer is also certain that her little sister is going to look just like her. I'm, for one, thrilled to find out!
  • We asked Greer what we should name baby sister....her solid response, "Hickory Nut!" She still stands by it too. 

P A S T    B U M P D A T E S

    Daddy + Daughter Day Out With Cybex

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    This post is sponsored by Cybex. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    Long before we had children, when we were just dreaming of our someday-family, we discussed how important it was to both of us that we have strong relationships with each of our children. From a co-parenting perspective, but also individually, we would take the time to invest into each of them. And over five years later, I'm now experiencing the joy that is cultivating and growing a relationship with our child. It's our dream folding out before us on a day-to-day basis. 

    While I adore the relationship that has formed and continues to evolve between me and my Greer girl, I can't get enough of the relationship between her and husband. It's their own little love story that keeps me falling head-over-heels for this pair of mine.  There's something remarkably wonderful about a daddy/daughter duo, and the way they play off of each other. Together, these two are full of so much spunk, tenderness, and adventure; it's a fun combination to witness and also be a part of. I am so very grateful for the way they love each other, and husband's intentionality with his little girl. Because it's always been important to husband that he gets quality time with his girl when he can, he is quick to take her on little trips (think the grocery store) just with him. So if you're looking for a way to let the precious daddy/daughter duo in your life bond, encourage those little errands together when something bigger doesn't quite fit into the day. 

    When going out together, husband is strapping Greer into her new car seat for the best safety and protection while on the road. We really love the new Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 by Cybex. It's so easy not only to install, but to load Greer into. We've run into straps that are extremely hard to tighten, but these tighten with ease (a parent's dream!). There's also a great built-in feature for advanced child safety protection and peace of mind for the parents. 

    The Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 integrates safety technology into the chest clip to alert when unsafe situations arise. Originally developed to prevent the rise in infant hot car deaths, the SensorSafe 2.0 goes a step further to monitor the well-being of the child while the vehicle is in motion, like if the child were to unbuckle him/herself. An alert goes off through the vehicle receiver and/or the parent's cellphone. You can opt to utilize the app on your cellphone if you so choose, but it's not necessary as long as the vehicle receiver is installed in the vehicle's OBD2 port. 

    Once securely buckled, two of my favorite people are off together on their next adventure. What are some ways your little and you or your husband get the quality time in together??