Thursday, July 31, 2014

SwimZip Giveaway Winner

Thanks again to SwimZip for sponsoring an awesome giveaway for all of my readers! I'm happy to announce that we have a winner of the $20 gift card to SwimZip. Selected randomly by Rafflecopter's website, the winner is...

Kristi Kutcher!

Kristi has been notified and has 48 hours to reply to claim her prize or an alternate will be chosen. Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and make sure to check back here for more features + giveaways in the future. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Baby P #3: 34 weeks

How far along:  34 weeks, 4 days today

How big is baby: comparable to a butternut squash, 17.2-18.7 inches, 4.2-5.8lbs

What have you been up to: we've been busy with our usual July celebrations; 4th of July, our anniversary (7 years married!), and Malakai's 5th Birthday. Now that those have passed we are scheduling out some projects that need done. 
Maternity clothes: always. 
Sleep: I've been waking up and unable to fall asleep again for a few hours if at all. Not my favorite new development. It surely makes for long days. 
Milestones: daily contractions. 

Best Moments:  Ben + I went on a mini-getaway this past weekend. It was quiet and very relaxing.

Worst Moment: not feeling baby girl move for nearly half a day, which landed us a quick non-stress test. Thankfully she bopped around with a healthy heart rate just fine for the monitors and we were sent on our way. 

Food cravings:  blueberry cobbler, frozen yogurt.  
Food aversions: anything acidic, heartburn is really cramping my style.
Symptoms: contractions, muscle pains/stretching, sleeplessness, oh the joys!  

Movement: usually a lot, but this past week she's been a bit slower, hence the scare we had. 
Gender: girl
What I’m looking forward to: finishing up some MUST-do's before her arrival. 
What I’m nervous about/praying for: I'm more nervous about the after pains I experienced with Desmond than I am about actual labor! Dr says they get worse with each child and they were horrendous last time around. 

What I miss: not feeling swollen all over. 

Next appointment: in 2 weeks. 
Weekly Wisdom: let others dote on you. I have a hard time asking for or accepting help, but when I do it always turns out well. Shout out to my neighborhood favorite for taking the boys for an hour earlier last week so I could relax and get a few low key things done. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's good to be 5

My first born is 5 years old. It's still sinking in...if you couldn't tell. If I think of it in terms of having been a parents for 5 years, or that it's been 5 whole years since he was a tiny newborn...I just can't wrap my mind around it. They tell you it goes by fast, and I know adding baby sister to our family will only speed the clock up, but wow has it flown past us!

Malakai counted down to his birthday for at least 2 weeks leading up to it. He was just so excited to be 5 and once the day came he was mostly looking forward to our traditional breakfast at the Original Pancake House... I can't blame him! When we asked how it felt to be 5 or what he thought about it, his reply was always "good".

I love watching my kids grow into the people God has created them to be. I love watching them learn and I love learning about them. They are always so interesting to me.

Ben + I are discovering that Malakai is mildly introverted. It's not so intense that he has trouble in social situations, but he does get overloaded by them. He does some times get overwhelmed, especially when he doesn't know what to expect. He went to his first vacation Bible school earlier this summer. It was tough at first, but on the last day he asked if he could come back next week. He's also really looking forward to day camp next month and is already in love with Camp Harlow. Something that his daddy is very happy about (Ben has a long history with Harlow).

{directing the camera or acting a little camera shy}

Over the last 5 months since we took Malakai to Kindergarten orientation he has gone from being extremely hesitant to super excited about starting school this fall. I know that my chore seeking, craft loving, project obsessed little boy is going to adore school. It is my prayer that he excels but is not bored and that he blooms socially. I'm so thankful that we've had him in so many social programs, the most of which has been being at church 3 times a week for the past year. I know they have helped prepare him for going off to school since we did all his pre schooling at home. I'm also thrilled that he will be heading to public school with Christ in his heart, something he will surely need to cling to when things get hard. As his mama I want to protect him from anything that might hurt him, but I know that he will learn and thrive in doing for himself and leaning not on his own understanding but that of the Lord, who is always with him. I'm comforted and strengthened knowing he has that foundation to build on.

As I mentioned, Malakai is always asking for projects. Every day he asks if I "have something for us to do together." Most of the time he'd prefer a craft or a constructive type toy (legos, and other building toys are right up his ally at the moment), but sometimes he'll settle for something simple like helping clean up or coloring. He also loves work books, dot to dots and mazes are a new favorite. He's learning to play board games like Connect Four and he always wants to help daddy build things. He has been helping his Grandpa Ron build a cabin in their back yard and loving it. He's also learning to cast on his very own fishing pole with G'Pa Jim. He wants to do it all!

Over the last few weeks Kai has really come into his big brother role. He seems to have grown up overnight to want to protect and lead his brother and nurture his little sister. He is so curious about babies and loves to ask questions about his brand new cousin Luke. He can't wait for his sister to get here. Kai does not like surprises, so when we tell him that her name will be a birth day surprise he has gotten upset to the point of tears. This boy just wants to know everything there is to know.

This morning he had his well check and he was amazing. I'm honestly impressed by his bravery. We talked about shots a few days ago and again today, he wasn't happy about it. This would be the first time he's had shots in his arm. I don't think he's had any immunization or other needs for shots since he was 3! When the time came he winced and said it hurt but no tears, no fits, and he's totally fine. Even I tend to whine for a few hours afterwards!

He's taking after me so far in all of his 41 inches (9th percentile) but is a sturdy kid for looking so skinny at 44lbs (73rd percentile). He's developing right on track, the whole appointment was a breeze.

I'm so blessed by my sweet family and today I'm especially thankful for my new 5 year old Malakai Benson and the privilege it is to be his mama.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SwimZip Giveaway!

If you haven't yet heard of SwimZip, head over to my feature + review post to learn a little more, and then come on back to enter this awesome giveaway!

Betsy at SwimZip is generously offering 1 reader of Breaking New Ground a $20 SwimZip gift card! 

This will be one of the quickest and easiest giveaways you've ever entered, so no excuses! Get clicking on the entry form below and I'll announce a winner next week!

This contest begins Tuesday July 22nd and is open until midnight Monday July 28th. A winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter. The winner will be announced here and notified by email at the address associated with their Rafflecopter entries. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to the email to claim their prize or an alternate will be chose.

Interested in seeing your product featured here, see the PR + Disclosures tab and contact Breaking New Ground by email to be considered. Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Questions, concerns, comments unrelated to the nature of this giveaway can be left on other generic posts or emailed to Breaking New Ground. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Swim Zip Feature + Review

If you caught the episode of Shark Tank that I mentioned a few months back when I reviewed Freshly Picked, you'll likely remember another company that was featured that night, SwimZip. They make amazing UV protectant swimwear for the whole family and the tops all feature a zipper.

In creator, Betsy Johnson's words-

SwimZip is the UPF 50+ clothing brand people trust to keep themselves and their children sun safe. We feature our signature full zipper down the front of our rash guard shirts- they are so easy to put on and take off! Our swimsuits, swimwear, bathing suits and accessories are made with the best materials to our unmatched standards. SwimZip styles are one-of-a-kind, and we include a number of innovative design features. 

Head over to their about page for more about Betsy and how she started up SwimZip. 

SwimZip's clothing has been featured in a number of places, including the Today show. Everyone has rave reviews and I'm right there with them! Not only are their designs adorable, but the swimwear is functional.

We took his adorable set that SwimZip sent for a test run out in our backyard recently. Malakai is the ULTIMATE test of any type of clothing when it comes to comfort. He is very picky about what he will wear. Normally I can't get him in any shirts with buttons, zippers or collars. I had myself psyched up to talk him into putting on a shirt with a zipper, but he put his SwimZip top on with no hesitations and played without once complaining. I was totally shocked!

Goodness sakes, doesn't he look cute (and way too grown up) in the Surfer Dude set that SwimZip sent over?

{he has been so camera shy lately!}

I've struggled in the past with getting rash guards on my kiddos. My boys have been blessed with rather large noggins, so pulling something tight fitting over their head was always a chore. It's even worse trying to get them off when wet! When Malakai was still a baby we even had to cut the back of one of his swim shirts so we could get his head through! Zippered rash guards are genius! Malakai was able to get the shirt on and off by himself the first try!

This is a 5T set and is generously sized, but fits well. Unless he has a massive growth spurt I could see him wearing this next summer as well. Kai was able to move freely and comfortably even after the suit was wet. It didn't stick to him or become heavy after getting saturated like other suits do.

As I mentioned, after getting thoroughly drenched he was able to get the entire outfit off himself, no trouble. I wish I could say the same for Desmond. He tried to get his top off alone at first (he's in the "I'll do it myself" stage) but he could barely peel it off his belly. Once I got his arms out, we got pretty tuck at the head. It was difficult because of the tight fit, but also because it was sticking to his wet skin. It took us longer to get Desmond's rash guard off than it did for Malakai to get completely undressed and into the tub! I even tried taking photos to document my struggle with Desmond, but it was impossible to do both.

I adore SwimZip for their ease of use and the peace of mind with the UV protection they provide. I also can't get over all the adorable choices they offer. I think the Hang Ten set is perfect for Desmond and I would love to get the Ruffle Me Pretty suit for little sister next summer!

And now for the exciting news that I'm sure some of you are hoping for... Breaking New Ground will be hosting a SwimZip giveaway! Be sure to check back here next week!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Baby P #3: 32 weeks

How far along:  32 weeks

How big is baby: comparable  to a squash, 15.2-16.7 inches, 2.5-3.8lbs

What have you been up to: nesting. we completed our registry at Target save a few online items, and the nursery is s-l-o-w-l-y coming together. 
Maternity clothes: yes, and despite borrowing a ton, I don't seem to have enough of the right types of clothing for how hot it has been.  
Sleep: never enough.
Milestones: baby girl has already "dropped" she is very low and I've still got 2 months to carry her around this way, oy! 

Best Moments:  my nephew Luke was born last Thursday! Kristi + I had prenatal appointments on the same day, July 3rd, so we ended up running into each other briefly. Her husband Nick was sick so she joked that of course Luke would be born that night, and he was! I already love being Auntie Shan so much! 

Then on the 7th Ben took the day off and we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary all day!
Worst Moment: not having the energy and the stamina to keep up with my boys has taken its toll on me. 

Food cravings:  chocolate and frozen yogurt. 
Food aversions: same as usual, nothing spicy or greasy. Even mild spice these days is inducing heartburn. 
Symptoms: growing pains, tons of braxton hicks and near constant heartburn.  

Movement: quite a lot these days. It seems like she has really started getting more wiggly during the day. 
Gender: little sister!
What I’m looking forward to: getting our glider and completing the nursery.
What I’m nervous about/praying for: being able to juggle 3 children once sister is born. Just thinking about it is a little overwhelming. I'm praying for peace over that on a regular basis.

What I miss: breathing in deeply. little one is crowding my lungs and I'm still struggling with a sinus infection. 

Next appointment: I have 2 more PT appointments. I see Dr. M, my OB again in 2 weeks. 

Weekly Wisdom: pray more. I find myself worrying, or stressing and my first inclination is to vent to my husband instead of taking it to God in prayer. 

{PS check back here soon for a post featuring SwimZip!}

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

a shower for our baby girl...

Weekend before last a dear friend of mine threw a baby shower in honor of little sister's approaching arrival. I've been looking forward to Liz coordinating a shower for me since she offered back when Desmond was still a baby! She is incredibly talented in myriad ways, and throwing a party is surely one of them!

She also happens to be an artist {you may remember her from the Big Dandy Designs feature} and designed these gorgeous invites- the photo does not do them justice!

{I'm obsessed with this watercolored peony she did!}

Another wonderful friend, Amy (who has also been featured here!), offered to take care of the food for the day. Amy is also one talented lady, and she happens to be a chef so I knew I would be in good hands. She was so sweet to ask what I would want and asked again closer to the shower to cater to my current cravings. She even drove me to the shower, since she happens to be my neighbor. When we pulled up to Bramblefield and saw all the girly coral decorations in the garden she said "you're having a girl, I'm going to cry!" and I found myself feeling the same way. 

Everything was gorgeous and perfect. The weather was a bit hot but the wind helped with that and we made sure there was shade for those who really needed it. There was a ton of great food (thanks again Amy!), a gorgeous and delicious cake thanks to my mom, yummy drinks and pretty decor by Liz. Liz also put together games and a craft. Thanks also to Elly, Liz's daughter, for helping with preparations!

{Liz made the the wooden arrow art for our nursery!}

I can't get over how perfect this ruffled cake is, my mom is amazing! To the right are some family pictures. My sister Amanda + mom Tami at the top, my mother in law and my mom in the middle, and my sister in law Kristi, mother in law Debbie , and soon to be sister in law Vanessa at the bottom. Thanks to my mom and my sister in law, Kristi for taking photos!

I helped a bit with food before guests arrived and then went out to greet once they started to trickle in. After visiting some we started in on the wonderful food and I was able to catch up with friends and family who came from near and far. I was just so blessed to have so many women I love in the same place to celebrate baby girl with me!

The guests crafted hair accessories for little sister that I later voted on for a prize, they played bingo while I opened their numerous, adorable, and generous gifts, and a few other games after that. Liz had put together fantastic potted plants as decor + prizes. I even got to take one home!

Here I am with my amazing hostess friends, Liz + Amy...

{also, opening a darling dress my mom made and other gifts, and my great aunt Gladys measuring my belly as part of a know, every pregnant gal's favorite part!}

{Ben's mom made this beautiful bear quilt to match the nursery colors}

I'm glad that I had two people taking pictures and they helped me remember to take the time out to get photos with as many guests as possible. I wish I got a picture with everyone! There were 5 pregnant ladies in attendance including myself, so I had to get a picture with all the mama's and their baby well as with other gals of course.

{Left: friends from church, Asha and Monica; my sister in law, Kristi; my high school bestie, Lindsey + I. Right: My college roommate, Carina; my cousin Angela + her girls, and Lindsey + I again}

{Ben's grandma Helen + his mom Debbie, his aunt Lori, cousin Heather + her baby boy Otis}

{my mom + I with the cake, my aunt Deedee, and with my Grandma Rhea + mom}

I wished I could have visited more with everyone, things like this always go by in a blur like that. I'm extremely thankful to everyone who came and the wonderful gifts for our new addition. As things were wrapping up Ben + the boys came to say hello and pick me up of course. Once everything was cleared Liz + her husband Mark (who I also should thank for his hard work because their property is ALWAYS gorgeous!) turned on the sprinklers for the boys to run through. They had a blast and Liz + my mom even joined them. It was a delightful end to a fantastic day! 

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