Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well Thanksgiving was Desmond's first big family Holiday (Halloween doesn't count, especially because we did NOTHING). Since we live in the same area as both sets of the boys' grandparents and much of my extended family, we have had two Thanksgiving gatherings in the same day since we got married. I thought it was exhausting before having children, I was dead wrong.

We arrived at Thanksgiving round 1 which was hosted by Ben's parents late Thursday morning. We had to pack to be gone all day so our car was full of extra clothes, tons of diapers, food, and other miscellany that becomes necessary when out with a toddler and baby. This also means we inevitably forgot something. Ben even said, just before we pulled out of the garage "if we forgot something, we'll make due". Unfortunately we forgot the frosting I had made for the pumpkin bars and I didn't want to have to scrounge ingredients to remake it, so he went back for it. Thankfully we only live 10 minutes away.

Desmond met lots of relatives for the first time and was passed around quite a bit, although Aunt Kristi had him for the majority of the time. She even held him while she ate. Our boys are well loved.

Here is a shot of most of the group just before eating.


We visited for a while longer after dinner and chased Kai around. He was a bit overwhelmed by all the people and really just wanted to play in a quiet room or have Grandma read him books, the routine when we're over there on any other day. It was also nap time, but we had Thanksgiving round 2 ahead of us so he got to sleep about 10 minutes on the way there...

We met at a local grange hall because of the large size of this gathering. There were nearly 30 of us and that's with 9 family members missing.


Malakai ran around the open space like a maniac and wanted so badly to play with the big kids, but got run over a few too many times for mama's liking. How he had that much energy after not napping is a mystery to me. He did have a few fits that were clearly due to him being tired, but overall he did really well and enjoyed seeing everyone.

Once again, Des got passed around (and slept through most of it) as he met new family members. I made sure to get a snapshot of just the four of us as I'm usually behind the camera and forget to jump into a picture with my boys.


Once Kai's meltdowns were a bit much to handle we decided to take the boys home. Malakai passed out in the car at 6:30, even with Desmond screaming in the carseat (which I can barely stand). He stirred once around 9pm but continued to sleep for 13 hours. It was a miracle really, since he never sleeps more than 9 hours at night, with or without a nap. Ben and I welcomed the extra sleep as we were super exhausted.

Speaking of sleep, Desmond has turned a corner and I think the colic is behind us (watch, it'll come back now that I'm saying something). He is sleeping so well at night and at naps. In fact, yesterday he fell asleep on his own for nap without his binky and slept for over 3 hours (with a feeding in between). Last night he slept for a 5 hours stretch! Sleep is good.

Back to our weekend...

We didn't venture out on Black Friday or really much of the long weekend at all. We didn't even get our Christmas tree, but Mima + G'Pa did. We headed over to their place to help them decorate. Malakai had a hard time listening to the boundaries we set for him, but he's a two year old and there were shiny things involved...can you blame him?


I can't wait to go get our tree this year. We had gone to nearby lots in the past, but this year we're headed to a tree farm to give Kai the whole experience. I might enjoy it more than he does...we shall see. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

7 weeks: another comparison

Little Desmond is being compared a lot these days. Some people have a strong opinion about who he looks like and others ask us what we think. Compared to Malakai, Des looks much more like his mama (and her side of the family). However he has a lot of Ben's features and resembles Malakai in some ways at this same stage.

Here's a side-by-side of one of my baby photos with a recent one of him...

{his hair looks much lighter than it actually is due to the natural light behind him}

What do you think?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winner: The Sunshine Stitch

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and you all survived Black Friday. I am not a shopper at all, so I stay at home and away from the crowds. I'd much prefer to do some shopping online, I will be surfing the web as much as possible on "Cyber Monday" to see what deals can be had.

One lucky reader gets to take advantage of the $20 store credit at The Sunshine Stitch. The winner of my most recent giveaway is....


She has been emailed and will be given 48 hours to claim her prize, otherwise an alternate will be chosen. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for a lot, here are just a few things...

901. my oldest sleeping sweetly in the next room

902. my baby wiggling happily next to me

903. getting home early enough from our festivities to relax and watch some tv with my man.

904. visiting with extended family that we don't see often enough.

905. mashed potatoes and turkey smothered in gravy, mmmm.

906. watching Malakai run around with our cousins.

907. a dry garage to return home to on a rainy night.

908. fitting into more of my pre-pregnancy clothing.

909. having Ben home for a 4 day weekend.

910. leftovers!

Happy Thanksgiving,

P.S. the current giveaway ends tomorrow night at 11pm PST. Go enter now!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Baking

It's been a bit crazy around here. I've been catching up on laundry and other household chores. Our house is coming back together quite nicely, it feels good. But now that my kitchen is clean, I'm ready to bake for Thanksgiving (which means I'll have much more cleaning to do all over again).

I just wanted to pop in real quick and share what I'll be making for tomorrow's dinners. Yes, dinners, plural. We have two every year, the joys of having most of our family in the same town. It's really exhausting, but totally worth it to get to see everyone. All of Ben's extended family and some of mine will be meeting Desmond for the first time.

Last year I made pumpkin rolls, which are really yummy but fairly time consuming. So this year I'm cutting corners a bit and making pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, adapted from this recipe.

What do you make/bring for Thanksgiving dinner?

P.S. don't forget to enter my current giveaway for a $20 credit to The Sunshine Stitch, ending Friday night. There's something for everyone on your shopping list!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Sunshine Stitch Feature, Review + Giveaway

I'm proud to be hosting another great feature this week! The Sunshine Stitch is full of precious crocheted items for babies, kids, and great stuff for adults too. Alysha, the lovely lady behind the shop, is also a bloggy friend of mine. Check out her blog here.


Where are you located + are you from there originally? I live in beautiful sunny California at the moment with my husband and two wonderful boys. But I am originally from rainy Washington state and I think that is where I hope to move back to someday with my family. 

How did you come up with your shop name? I came up with my shop name simply because of where I live. Its the sunny place to be! And honestly, out of all the names I came up with... 
its the one that I just kept going back to. It was meant to be.


How long have you had your shop? My shop will have been open for one year on January 6th 2012! With almost 500 sales under my belt already, I would say that the Lord has truly had a hand on my "little" business. 

What inspires you? 
My boys. Their creativity. Their curiosity of the world around them. And I try to create my products in a way that I know will look wonderful, rustic, and outdoorsy but still functional. Just what my boys need. {And little girls & mamas too of course. }

What is your favorite item in your shop? For the boys, I love my newsboys cap. Its so simple yet fun. The girls: The kiss me Kate earflap is darling. And for the ladies: My Wrap your arms around me cowl. <3 


Do you have any other jobs or hobbies? 
Being a stay at home mama to my two boys is my number one job & I wouldnt have it any other way. I also LOVE to craft. I host monthly craft nights with my sister in law and our friends and we "try" to make beautiful things. This month we are doing holiday wreaths!!


Share an interesting fact about yourself.
hmm. My labor with my first son was 39 hours. My labor with my second son was 5 hours. I like to keep things exciting. ;) 

What do you hope your future holds?  
I hope to live a life that is glorifying to the Lord & not waste time on things that wont matter in His kingdom. I hope that His plan for me includes: watching my boys grow up to the love the Lord & have wonderful lives as well as possibly continuing to pursue my passion of crochet by someday possibly opening a small boutique shop in my own town. :) 

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Shandell's Review

Alysha recently sent my boys some of her adorable hats. A newsboy cap for Malakai and a baby beanie for Desmond. Her hats are so adorable and really well-made. 


 I love the outdoorsy look of these hats, the wooden buttons are so unique and perfect for little boys. I've always had a challenge finding cute boy stuff. These little hats are so sweet and perfect for fall. 


Malakai had a blast wearing his hat and I just love the shots I got of Desmond in his little beanie. Sadly, they wouldn't cooperate for a picture of both of them in their Sunshine Stitch creations. Lately Malakai will only hold Desmond for about 30 seconds. 


I highly recommend Alysha's products. She really has an eye for colors and cute creations. You can find stuff for almost anyone on your Christmas list!

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Alysha is giving away a $20 credit to a reader of Breaking New Ground! Below are details for entering. Please be sure to read the "small print" so that your entries count..

Mandatory Entry
(must be completed before extra entries count)

Visit The Sunshine Stitch and check out Alysha's handmade goodness. Then come back here and tell me how you'd spend the $20 credit. 

Extra Entries:

~ Add The Sunshine Stitch to your Etsy favorites
~ Like The Sunshine Stitch on Facebook

Giveaway closes on Friday November 25th, 11pm PST.

Best of Luck!

Winner will be selected at random via random.org and will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. Please leave an email address in your comment if it is not attached to your blogger profile. If I cannot contact you, an alternate will be chosen. 
Open to U.S. residents only. All comments will be verified. Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All entries will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. 

Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family Date Night

Last night we decided to go on a "family date" to get myself and the boys out of the house. Mostly, Malakai needed some room to run. We took him to the indoor playground at the mall so he could wear himself out and get some interaction with other kids. He loves it!


Then we grabbed a cheap dinner at the Costco food court and did a little shopping before heading home.


It was a simple outing with my guys, one that I think we should make a weekly tradition. Sometimes it's the littlest things that make the biggest difference.

Where do you like to go with your spouse and kids when the weather outside is less than ideal?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nourish Winner


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Nourish Organics giveaway this week! I hope you found new products to try. I think I'll have to put the coconut wash on my Christmas list this year.

I had a hard time finding a winner because many of the entrants didn't follow the rules and include email contact in their comment or on their blogger profile. I have another giveaway coming up next week, so be sure to follow the rules (in small print at the end) carefully next time! If I can't contact you directly, you can't win!

So, the winner of either lavender or coconut balm from Nourish Organics is...


I've sent an email to Dawn, she has 48 hours to respond and claim her prize. If she misses that window an alternate will be chosen and contacted.

Special thanks to Raechel and Olivia for partnering with me to provide you with this review + giveaway. They were great to work with and have a fabulous product on their hands!

If you'd like to see your products featured at Breaking New Ground contact me for details!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: a quick list

This week I'm thankful for...

891. all of us being healthy again!

892. Malakai's growing vocabulary.

893. our extended family.

894. Desmond's smiles.

895. funny toddler moments.

896. playful banter with my witty husband.

897. fresh baked goods for breakfast.

898. practical gifts that help us get by.

899. a clean kitchen.

900. naps.

The Nourish Organics Giveaway ends TONIGHT at 11pm PST. Head on over to get your entries in. I'll announce a winner before the end of the day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ups and downs

As parents we all have ups and downs. Lately I've had countless of them within the same day, sometimes within the same hour. I made my first trip out of the house with both boys on my own. Malakai miraculously let me put pants on him (no really, it was actually a miracle), but I let him wear his pj shirt and didn't even attempt the jacket because I wanted to keep the morning scream-free. I waited to put his socks and shoes on til we arrived and he'd want to get out of the car. He was sweet and cooperative all the way out the door.

I fed Desmond just before we left and wore him in an Ergobaby carrier with Kai in the cart. The belts at our grocery store are not only questionable, but too small to fit around Malakai. Needless to say, I can't step away from the cart at all. He only attempted an escape a couple of times, and there was still no screaming! The trip was going so well that I stocked up on more than I was planning on getting so that I wouldn't have to go back anytime soon!

{sent this to daddy from the store for proof}

Our day started off well and I felt like a superhero for accomplishing a daunting task for the first time with such ease. Everything fell together so nicely. Of course, that meant that the rest of the day didn't go as planned. Kai took over an hour to go down for his nap. He kept taking his diaper off and a teeny part of me really wanted to just solve the problem with some packing tape! He didn't wake up til 4pm which meant he was difficult to get to sleep, even with pushing back his bedtime. 

Ben + I were chatting last night just before bed about how much we miss each other. It's odd to be in the same 900 square foot house with someone and yet miss them. Since our boys weren't cooperating for bedtime, Ben sat with Malakai while I tried to soothe Desmond. By the time they were both asleep we were exhausted in every sense of the word.

This is the season we are in and there are many joys along with the trials. I know that I'll miss this stage once our boys no longer need us at night and are gone to school all day, but sometimes it's just plain hard. In the middle of the difficult days I still find joy in my family. I'm so thankful for them and blessed that this is my life.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Nourish Organics giveaway, it ends tomorrow night!

Monday, November 14, 2011

one month: a comparison

Since I did a few comparisons of my first pregnancy with Malakai to my second with Desmond, it only seems right to compare the brothers from time to time. I just got the urge to look through Kai's baby photos to see how his looks compare with Desmond's at this stage. They truly look so different to me!

{Both my boys at around one month old}

There are subtle similarities that can't really be picked out in photographs, but are things I see in Desmond that I remember about Malakai. They both smiled for the first time at about one month old (Demond treated me with that yesterday), they both had the funky long hair in the back and new short spikey hair growing on top. Since Kai's was so light, he looked like a balding old man. Desmond's hair is much darker so he doesn't look so bald on top. 

They both very much enjoy "wiggle time", however Malakai wanted to be wide awake to wiggle in the middle of the night and Desmond's timing has been much more reasonable. Malakai was fairly easy to get to sleep at the beginning of the night though, and Desmond takes a few hours to calm down. Our pediatrician suspects that Des has a bit of colic, but gripe water has lessened its severity. 

Malakai gained weight quickly and was at the top of the percentile for weight, Desmond is gaining even faster. I compared their 2 week appointment weight gain and while Des was only a couple ounces bigger at birth, he was over a pound bigger than Malakai at 2 weeks. Desmond's head is about the same but he's taller/longer than Kai was. It'll be interesting to see if that trend sticks and whether or not Desmond will surpass his older brother in size like his uncle in comparison to his daddy. 

Nourish Organics Feature, Review + Giveaway! {CLOSED}

I'm beyond thrilled to start off the week by introducing you to Nourish Organics. Their products are for anybody looking for gentle skincare for themselves or little ones.


Where are you located + are you from there originally? 
We are located in Franklin, TN. Raechel grew up in Michigan and Olivia grew up in Illinois.

How did you come up with your shop name
Our shop was actually started by our friend Melissa when her first son Bishop was born. He had terrible eczema and food allergies and nothing she tried was working for him. With a background as an esthetician and a passion for her little guy, Melissa started learning everything she could about what might help him. And as she worked to Nourish her baby, Nourish Organics was born. 

We were actually talking with one of our Whole Foods buyers this week (who also happens to be a huge fan of the coconut wash) and she said, "You know any skin care line created by a mother for her children is going to be amazing! No one is pickier that a mama."

How long have you had your shop? 
We've been the Nourish Mamas for about a month now, (November 13th is our 1-month anniversary!) but Nourish has been around for almost three years. When we heard that Nourish's creator was closing up shop in favor of a slower pace, we knew we didn't want to see it disappear! We adopted Nourish in October and are absolutely loving it!

{photo: claire wise photography}

What inspires you?

 We love hearing from customers when something we're making is really helping them. A lot of people come to us because they or their kids suffer from dry skin or really bad eczema. Our Organic Coconut Balm is made from infusing calming and healing herbs with coconut oil. It's free from even essential oils so that it can be safe for the most sensitive skin. It is so exciting to get emails from people thanking us for making something gentle and effective enough to really make a difference. We got an email last week from a customer asking us if we could make her an 8oz tub because she was cruising so quickly through her little 2oz jar. :)

What is your favorite item in your shop? 
Raechel: I am a self-admitted lavender oil junkie. I use in my & my kids' baths every time (and did for over a year before Nourish was ever even a twinkle in my business-y eye!). I even use the oil in place of lotion after a shower and for shaving. Divine stuff!

Olivia: I honestly am head over heels for the entire line. I cannot leave the house without putting balm on my extremely dry hands or I go crazy. And the washes... so delicious. If I had to choose an absolute favorite, the Bath Teas combined with a capful of Lavender Oil would win hands down. There is no better way to wind down after a long day or run than a bath filled with soothing, therapeutic, organic products.


Do you have any other jobs or hobbies? 

Raechel: I'm a full-time mama to Oliver (5) and Hazel (20 mos.) and I also keep pretty busy creating sewing tutorials and sharing bits of my family life on my blog (Finding My Feet), and as a brand ambassador for Brother International. I also do a bit of photography on the side, mostly just for fun.

Olivia: I have a teaching degree and am currently working as a teacher's aid at a local elementary school by day. By night I nourish the world and then snuggles up to my Weimaraner Kona and husband Zac. 

We're both avid runners, too! We are running the St. Jude 1/2 marathon in December (less than three weeks away!) with team Team Finding My Feet and, in case anyone is wondering, Olivia is definitely the faster one! 

Share an interesting fact about yourself
Raechel: I can't go to bed at night without first eating 3 red Twizzlers and drinking a big glass of crushed ice water. I know it's quirky, and my husband thinks I'll eventually outgrow it. But, I've been doing it for about twelve years now, so I'm going to go ahead and call it an old habit. :)

Olivia: I can do the so-called "impossible" and lick my elbow. Not sure I am proud of this, but it always provides my interesting fact. I am now curious to know how many of you just tried it... :)


What do you hope your future holds? 
Raechel: A whole lot of glory to the Father, tons of sweet time with my littles, and a bright future for this company we are pouring our hearts into!

Olivia: As a kinda-sorta newlywed, I am excited to start a family and raise them in a Godly home, teach our future generation, and continue to have a flourishing company!

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Shandell's Review

A couple of weeks ago the mama's of Nourish sent over a jar of the Organic Coconut Balm. I was so excited to finally try one of their products and it did not disappoint. Unlike other "balms" I've tried it is soft and smooth. It comes out of the jar easily and doesn't feel greasy, but gets the job done. The best part is it's heavenly coconut scent. Even my husband (who isn't a fan of coconut) thinks it smells nice. I've found myself using it just for the fresh smell.


I used it on my hands and elbows. My hands are VERY dry from constantly washing + sanitizing them while caring for a toddler and a newborn, and it got worse when they had colds! The coconut balm took the sting out of my dry and cracking skin and made my hands smooth again.

It is also gentle enough to use on my sweet newborn baby Desmond. He had some ashy skin on his little feet that was smooth and soft again after just one use! A little goes a long way.

{sweet feet}

A little more about the coconut balm: This handcrafted Organic Coconut Balm is so incredibly effective in moisturizing and soothing irritated skin. Organic plantain leaves & chickweed are infused with organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil and added to organic beeswax and organic shea butter. A touch of GMO-free vitamin e is also added to naturally preserve and moisturize. Coconut oil serves as a protective layer, helping to retain the skin's moisture. Plantain leaves help to stop the itching of eczema, allergic rashes and even poison ivy. Chickweed is an herb that is incredibly healing by reducing inflammation and aiding in tissue repair. This is our gentlest balm. It doesn't contain any essential oil, so it is safe enough to use on a newborn baby, yet effective enough to sooth the most uncomfortable eczema.

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Raechel and Olivia are offering one reader of Breaking New Ground their very own jar of Nourish Coconut or Lavender Balm. 


Mandatory Entry:

Visit Nourish Organics, then come back here and leave a comment telling me what product other than the balms you'd choose to try.

Additional Entries:

~ Follow Nourish Organics on twitter. Leave your twitter ID in your comment.

~Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this specific page. Leave a link to your tweet in your comment.

~Like Nourish Organics on Facebook. Leave your Facebook name in your comment.

That's four chances to win!

Giveaway ends at 11pm PST on Thursday November 17th, 2011. Winner will be announced here on Friday November 18th, 2011. 

Winner will be selected at random via random.org and will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. Please leave an email address in your comment if it is not attached to your blogger profile. If I cannot contact you, an alternate will be chosen. 
Open to U.S. residents only. All comments will be verified. Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All entries will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. 

Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

trials + transitions

Just as I lamented on Friday, my brain has been a bit mushy lately. It's frustrating to let others down. I get irritated with myself for not meeting others' expectations or my own. Part of the problem is I expect too much of myself. I try to do too much on my own, forgetting to rely on God and let Him guide me gently to where He wants me to be and what He wants me to do.

I really want to be careful about taking on too much before I'm ready. I've learned this lesson with the trials we've been through lately. I keep finding myself saying "it's been one thing after another" in reference to the events leading up to and following Desmond's birth. It feels like we haven't really had a break or any down time. I don't know why I would expect either of those things with a newborn and a toddler!

All that to say that I'm going to be very careful about what I take on. I'm going to do my best to immerse myself in prayer over the timing of things before making any decisions. Namely, transitioning back into my part-time job. I miss it and I want to take it on now, but I don't want to do it badly. I know that we need to figure out our new normal now that we're all healthy and Demond is beginning to exhibit some signs of a daily routine, before I add something else to the mix.

We've had some other personal hardships at home, and a big loss in our circle of family and friends. It has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life and I'm really looking forward to moving on and letting God's peace wash over me.

Friday I was planning on posting a feature and giveaway for all of you but I had forgotten an important component and ran out of time to get the information I needed. I hate to let people down in this way, but am so thankful for the grace I received in the process. Lucky for all of you, the giveaway will be up first thing tomorrow morning!

Friday, November 11, 2011


With so much on my plate these days, the immediate needs of my children and husband, and the to-do lists that keep getting put off, I feel like my brain is turning to mush. I'm usually very good at keeping on track, remembering important details, upcoming events, and the like. Lately I'm forgetting where I put things, missing deadlines, and don't even mention the small details.

My brain is full and I don't always feel  like myself. BUT my handsome husband still adores me, my children are happy and healthy (yay!) and I'm about to join them for an afternoon siesta. The rest will come in due time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: support system

After posting about our rough night with Desmond I received a good amount of feedback and support from other mamas. Thanks so much for the suggestions and commiseration.

Our pediatrician had us come back in yesterday to make sure there wasn't something more than colic to Desmond's fits. Thankfully his ear is looking better and he is showing signs of the sickness nearing it's end. She also told us that gas meds like Mylicon are not really helpful, but that there's more research to back up the effectiveness of gripe water. So we went out and bought some last night. We gave him some and he only cried for about half an hour on and off. A HUGE improvement from the 3 hours straight in the evenings prior

This week I'm thankful for...

881. a support system of friends + acquaintances; online and in person.

882. a pediatrician we can trust and that we happen to adore.

883. Desmond napping through Malakai vomiting, taking a bath and needing me to sit with him til he fell asleep for nap this afternoon. No clue what's going on there...

884. the blogger app Ben added to my iPod, which is always by my side for Des' activity tracker. Please excuse future grammatical errors and such as I'm not the best at typing on it.

885. forgiveness.

886. reconciliation.

887. upcoming giveaways around here to treat my amazing readers with (coming soon!)

888. grace.

889. frozen meals: I've cooked maybe twice since Desmond was born between the pre-made meals and those brought fresh during the first couple weeks.

890. the power of prayer. (please pray for our friends' son Christian, he is 7 months old and in the hospital needing a miracle).

I've noticed a lot of you posting daily about what you're thankful for on facebook and twitter. It's so encouraging to see what others count as blessings.

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