Even If: A Gratitude List

A gratitude list for right now:

  • a big, healthy, growing baby (even if big means the doctor is anticipating a tough labor...and even if it means I'm finding I can do less and less) 
  • a home (even if, and maybe especially after, it required lots of scrimping and saving and headaches) 
  • a hardworking and kind husband (even when he comes home smelling like pet food - the joys of working in a plant)
  • family (even when they are scattered across the world and I don't get to see them as much as I'd like) 
  • foot massages (even when they don't last as long as I'd like them to..which is basically forever)
  • a God (even when I think I'm too tired to talk to Him at night - He has been such an incredible source of comfort and peace these past few months)
  • a future (even when it isn't all certain, knowing who I'll share it with brings excitement and quite a bit of joy)
  • a hobby that turned into a job (even when it requires working on 'vacation') 
I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving and take some time to realize how blessed you are. I know that when I'm focused on what I have instead of what I don't, my circumstances might not change but I am quite a bit more content. 2014 brought its share of struggles and surprises to our little family, but it has also been filled with more than our fair share of blessings and tender mercies. Things tend to work out very differently than I think they will, but always much better (in the long run) than I planned. 

And now for sleep, food, and probably another trip to the beach (when in California)

Black Friday Survival Tips

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving which means lots of family, delicious food, and turkey induced comas. The day after that is Friday though, which means very early mornings, crazy crowds, and the best deals of the year. It also means we're already thinking about Christmas gifts around here. Ever since college I've been braving the crowds on Black Friday even if there isn't anything specific on my list.

Our first year married we took advantage of Black Friday sales to get our first camera, Daniel (yes, we name our cameras). Another memorable year we shut off the early morning alarm completely and meandered out of the apartment and to the mall sometime around 1 pm. Turns out, there were still plenty of sales going on and not very many people. Our best Black Friday deal has to be our $1 DVDs (I think they constitute at least half our meager movie collection...and Harry Potter for $1? that was worth the sleep deprivation on its own). We always like looking through the ads together, even if we have no intention of buying any of the big ticket items :)

According to this infographic, I'm the newbie, because this year I'm not even sure if we're doing much Black Friday shopping at all (the whole being in another state with an airplane between us and home puts a slight damper on the shopping prospects). But in the past, these are a few things that have made quite a big difference in the enjoyment of Black Friday shopping:

  • Have an itinerary: We don't always have a specific shopping list but we do always know the stores we want to go to. 
  • Have people in mind: Yes, you can stand in line for one of the twenty super cheap flat screens they're giving away or try and get one of the limited edition speakers for your brother, but I've found it's a lot more fun to have the people I want to get gifts for on a list rather than the things. It means I enjoy looking through the options and don't get stressed if I don't get a certain deal. 
  • Break for food: I don't survive to well with no nutrients and I've found I'm a much happier shopper if I take a break a few hours in for a bagel and hot chocolate (or something). 
  • Don't spend all day: As much as we like Black Friday shopping, it isn't enough to give up a full day of a short vacation. 
  • Consider Cyber Monday: When they're brands I already know and love (and I don't have to worry about sizing) Cyber Monday means I can skip all the craziness and shop from the comfort of my couch. 
  • Check out early Black Friday sales: Some stores are getting a jump on the deals and dropping their prices earlier than usual. For example, you can check out Office Depot's lowest prices ever here
Now I want to know, what kind of Black Friday shopper are you? And what deals are you most excited about? 

P.S. All pictures are from last year's thanksgiving/black friday fiasco in Kansas far we've spent thanksgivings together in UT, KS, and CA (one of these days we'll get to add NH to the list). 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A Baby Update + Silk Dresses

We're down to less than eight weeks (fingers crossed) till this baby's arrival and a tiny bit of the fact that we'll have a child living with us in less than two months is starting to feel real (but just a tiny bit).

Here's another little pregnancy update -- I love going back through my old ones and seeing what has changed :)

Favorite Moment:  In church this week I noticed baby hiccups for the first time! It was something I'd heard and read about but feeling the constant little movements was so fun for me. I felt a bit cruel for enjoying anyone having hiccups for over an hour but it was just so cute :)

Also, we don't have everything in our new house unpacked but before we left we did go through all the clothes this little guy got from baby showers and put the one's he'll be able to wear first in his closet. It only took a few minutes but it was fun going through everything with Ben and imagining our little one wearing them :)

Eating: Recently I've been loving nashi (asian pairs) even more than usual and would take one of those over dessert any time (and for me to take fruit over ice cream is a bizarre circumstance indeed).

Feeling: Very Pregnant. I've felt big and pregnant most of this pregnancy because each stage was new (and big) for me, but I'm at the point now where I waddle just about everywhere (especially after a meal).

Names: Still no idea. Suggestions welcome.

Weight Gain: 30 pounds? Between moving and traveling I haven't actually stepped on a scale.

Aches or Pains: It's hard for me to sit for more than half an hour or so (the plane ride to California, long car rides, and church meetings have been the death of me). A friend recommended a few yoga positions which help but the best is to curl up with my bump nest (maternity body pillow) -- the one product that has truly been a pregnancy lifesaver.

My Mood: Between the craziness of buying a house, moving, and heading out to California, there hasn't been room for hardly anything but excitement recently.

Exercise: Here in California we spend our mornings at the gym with Ben's parents most of the time. Family yoga was great, weights had me sore for a few days, but zumba this morning was a whole new challenge. I almost confident it can induce early labor if I find a class or two back in Ohio (I'm still feeling it 12 hours later...).

Baby Things: We haven't been buying hardly anything for baby but today I did pick up a darling little church outfit for him (that he won't be able to wear for at least nine months). Why is it that everything miniature is just so cute? We still need to make the big decision on a car seat (which we haven't thought about at all yet) as well as a stroller. There are so many options I don't even know where to start.

Excited About: Putting together the nursery. Right now, all of our artwork is covering the floor of that third bedroom (to keep it out of the way/protected as we moved in all of our other stuff) but I can't wait to get it looking a bit more like a baby's room :)

Outfit details
Dress; Kinwolfe, Elevate Breastfeeding
Belt: J.Crew
Heels: Banana Republic
Necklace: thrifted

A bit about the beautiful dress I'm wearing in these pictures:

Kinwolfe is a new brand dedicated to providing confident, contemporary clothing for breastfeeding mothers. The fabrics are luxurious and the prints are on-trend and all pieces have conveniently placed invisible zippers so there are no awkward access holes to work with. Their new line launched via Kickstarter on November 18 and runs through the 24th. Whether you're a new mom, a supportive parent or friend, or expecting, these pieces ensure something beautiful during such a special time (plus, everyone just feels pretty walking around in silk).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kinwolfe. The opinions and text are all mine.


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