Atlas is 4!

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Atlas James! He turned 4 a couple weeks back. He kept changing his mind over and over leading up to his party with what kind of decorations he wanted and he ended up settling on a “Rainbow Batman” theme birthday and you know, it was kind of the best and is so him right now. So he got a luxurious box funfetti cake with a rainbow sprinkle bat signal on top. I also wish I made more of an effort to take better photos… where’s my family photographer Scott when I need him most!?

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Favorite Children’s Books Right Now (aka fillers for an Easter Basket)!

I love me a good book list full of recommendations so I thought I’d share what children’s books my kids and I are currently loving. I asked the kids what their favorite books are right now and Ollie, my mini me, shot out a list asap but Atlas mumbled a few then walked away and Prim was napping so I chose for her…. well here is what we sorted out!

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Oliver (almost 6 years old)

1. The BFG

We just read this book as a family and it was SO GOOD. I would have put it on my list if Ollie didn’t mention it. We all thought it was hilarious and brilliant.

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox

Honestly, we all weren’t huge fans of the Wes Anderson film, but we really liked the book! The boys were super into the suspense without getting scared. So good.

3. Ollie the Stomper

Pretty sure Ollie picked this because his name is in the title. But this series of books are loved by all my kiddos.

4. Madeline

After reading this and rereading this over and over, Ollie now always thinks his stomachaches are signs he needs his appendix out….

5. Maryknoll Books

I got my kids the first 3 of these either for St Nicholas day or Easter, but Oliver loves them. He sits and reads them over and over in the car. Such sweet traditional stories and lessons on the Catholic faith.

 

Atlas (turning 4 on Thursday!)

1. Where’s Waldo?

Remember how Atlas was Waldo for Halloween? He loves the guy (so do the other 2 kids) and this is the perfect car book. They have yet to find everything and still keep going back to it every car ride.

2. 5 Min Batman Stories

Atlas loves to slip this book out from the book shelf right before bed and power through all the photos before lights out.

3. Mix It Up

Our copy is so worn out from the kids reading this book over and over. There are 2 other books in the series, Press Here and Let’s Play that they also love.

4. Animalium

All my kids love this giant book and can sit looking at the photos for so long. Atlas’ favorite page is the one where they highlight an atlas moth…

5. Green Eggs and Ham/Go Dog Go/Ten Apples Up on Top

He couldn’t decide which he liked best, so I figured I’d just include them all. He whines to me all the time that he wants to eat green eggs and ham and maybe one day I’ll be that mom that will actually make it one morning…

 

Primrose (2.5 years old)

1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Again, all my kids love it and I’ve had to tape our edition over and over because it’s worn to pieces.

2. Time for Bed, Olaf!

I had to limit myself to only one Frozen book, but I think Prim loves this one the most because it has those fun flips and flaps.

3. Wuthering Heights + The Secret Garden by Baby Lit

Primrose thinks these are just so cute, even though she is a little spooked by Heathcliff (as she should be).

4. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

We all know this one. Prim leaves this book open to the purple cat and pets it while sucking her thumb, so it maybe even qualifies as a lovie?

5. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear

Our pathetic little garden in our backyard is home to 2 strawberry plants and our ripe strawberries keep disappearing and all the kids think a sneaky little mouse keeps stealing it at night thanks to this book.

 

Mine (28 years old)

1. Home

The illustrations in this book are so beautiful and the message of showing different types of homes people live in is so precious.

2. Hello Atlas

My geography major heart swoons over this. It shows you how to say hello and other phrases in different languages around the world. You can download the accompanying app for free that helps you not to mispronounce the words or just have it play back for the kids. So cool.

3. One Thousand Things

Another book my kids all enjoy that also has such beautiful illustrations. Atlas and Prim both especially loved this book when they were 1-2 years old and picking up new vocabulary.

4. Sweet Thumb

Written by my real life friend, Jessie Pope! This book is absolutely adorable and my kids all dream of a garden full of chocolate chip cookies and apple pies.

5. Catholic Saints for Children

Oliver is showing more of an interest in the saints and this book has nice, shorter summaries of a handful of saints with a special prayer for each one of them that is the sweetest.

 

 

There ya go. What books are your kids loving??

 

 

 

 

 

Yucatan 2017: Parte 1

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Hola! (sorry had to) Look at me getting out a trip recap within the same month as the trip. V proud over here. Last time we went to Tulum in 2015, it took me MONTHS to finally type out part 1 and part 2. I’m going to split this trip up into 2 parts again because 2 posts with photo overload is better than 1.

Let’s start with how this trip came to be. We have been asking ourselves when we would go back ever since we flew home on our first trip. Flights are fairly cheap from LA to Cancun ($200ish roundtrip!), but obviously that adds up quickly as a family of 5. I’ve had people comment to me, “Wow, you’re so lucky how can you afford traveling!” and the answer to that is that we try to take advantage of credit card points/airline miles/tracking fares/traveling in the off season to make it affordable! So we were able to cover the flights (minus tax) with VirginAmerica airline miles and some hotel with credit card points.

 

**All the amazing photos are via Scott, all the okay iPhone photos are via moi.

 

Thankfully Virgin only has a direct flight from LAX-CUN especially after our little mishap in Mexico City last time, so the flight was about 4.5 hours which was manageable. We sat Atlas/Me/Prim —-aisle—- Oliver/Daniel/EMPTY SEAT! When we travel, I surprise the kids with a new activity/toy in their backpack to hopefully keep them somewhat occupied. This time I got them all one of those mess free marker + coloring book sets and secretly bought Moana and put it on the iPad which was such a lifesaver because we set the kids up in the row together and put on Moana and I napped for 20 on the extra seat, so win-win. They also got to pack a handful of whatever they could fit and carry in their backpack and also their own water bottle and some snacks. We also happen to have 2 old iPhones plus that iPad mentioned so those also kept the kids occupied.

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We landed, got our rental car which was supposed to have 2 boosters and an infant seat we reserved but this was all we got—

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We got to our hotel and caught the “just after sunset” beauty on the Caribbean really quick.

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Ollie’s death grip is only second to mine.

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Bye Bye Bye First Tri

Clever title, right? -______-
Well, I thought I would pop in with one of those cheesy pregnancy update posts here and there, mostly just for me to look back on since somehow we all get amnesia when it comes to babies.

 

How far along? 13 weeks!

How big is the baby? Pea pod? Peach? Size Me Up app says rubber duck.

Total weight gain/loss? My biggest blessings in the first trimester is that I don’t throw up and I lose weight, so last time I was at the OBs I was about 5 pounds lighter than my before pregnancy weight (not pre-kids FYI), but pretty sure I’ve gained that all back. Let’s just say that the 9am ice cream sandwich eating probably isn’t helping.

Maternity clothes? Well, I’m kind of a stink and don’t like to buy maternity clothes and would rather just wear flowy shirts, leggings, dresses, elastic waisted shorts, etc. But I did just make my first ever big maternity purchase and got a this pair of Madewell maternity jeans because all my high waisted jeans that typically contain the 3 baby pooch aren’t working anymore. I’m also living in these leggings.

Sleep? I actually have been having some pregnancy insomnia and pass out early than wake up in the middle of the night and struggle with falling back to sleep, but this time change seems to have cured it!?

Best moment this week? Ollie was really upset over something and asked if he could just cuddle the baby and snuggled into my tummy.

Symptoms? My nausea is pretty much gone, but I’m still so tired. Constantly exhausted is what my first trimester usually looks like.

Food cravings? Mostly ice cream, cereal, smoothies. All the dairy.

Food aversions? Nothing specific actually. Just random things that sound awful one day and fine the next. Early on it was hamburgers and chicken!? So weird.

Gender? No idea. I had a day when I felt so strongly that we were having a girl and we figured out her potential name, but then I think that night I dreamt I had a boy. This is the first time I think I haven’t had a strong pull towards either gender. We are seriously considering not finding out which feels so nuts for me because I am such a planner.

Milestones? We got to see the baby at 10 weeks and he/she was SO active. When looking at the ultrasound I got little flashbacks to Atlas’ ultrasounds then got emotional thinking about another babe like Atlas man.

Bump? Yup! My stomach pops out quickly so my bump is pretty large already. If you’re newish to the blog, just wait until I am full term…

Wonderful kid photographers.

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Baby Babe

I’m sure you saw my post on instagram but if not….

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baby baby baby. I’m 10 weeks tomorrow. Prim is going to be a big sister!? My forever baby. I feel like I have so much to catch up on here about how it all came to be (don’t worry, no specifics).
Well first, can I get an Amen Hallelujah PTL for NFP?! 2 years of Marquette Method. Thanks to NFPing, I knew pretty much as soon as I could find out. We were in Lake Arrowhead over New Years and I was feeling OFF towards the end of the trip. We got back and I knew it was too early to test but I did anyway and got a negative. The next day I tested again and got this:

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There was the FAINTEST line, but I didn’t put much faith into it. Then Amina brought me fancy Clearblue Digital tests and it said, “NOT PREGNANT”. Rumor has it that if you open the test, you can just read the stick so I did and look here:

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2 lines! Pregnant! We weren’t shocked because #charting, but SO excited. Later that night I was reading about digital tests on my phone and came across a forum that said all digital tests have 2 lines and not to open them and read them because it doesn’t mean anything…. I felt crushed! I was so upset and it sounds silly, but I felt almost like I lost this hypothetical baby. I didn’t realize how bad I wanted that test to be positive until I found out it really was a negative. The next morning I went to Mass alone and prayed about it and asked God to please just give me a clear positive or negative test today even though it’s still so early (9 DPO for those of you who care) because I can’t handle not knowing and was really upset over the false hope of the digital so afterwards I went and picked up First Response tests and rushed home and took one and…

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Yes! My babe. Yes, I want you! I didn’t know how much I needed you already! And isn’t it funny that 4 pregnancies in and I still force myself to take a million tests. Not shown is the other Clearblue digital test I took the next day that came up “PREGNANT”.

We told the kids that night while we were driving home from the beach and they had the best responses. Ollie said, “WHAT!? How do you EVEN know for sure!?” Atlas just stared like this:

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then he finally said, “I want the baby nowwwwwww!”. Prim got all scrunchy and cutesy and said, “I a baby Mama….. I a rock the baby.” with hand motions and all. Since then, Ollie asks me a few times a week what the baby has grown so far and even he is amazed knowing that this tiny human baby the size of a kumquat has all the essential body parts accounted for— eyes, brain, heart, ear lobes, nostrils, arms, legs. A HUMAN. Atlas still keeps asking when the baby is going to come out. Prim, little Prim, can be found cuddling her baby on the daily and insists it’s her baby sister.

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We got our first ultrasound today and it was as magical as ever. Heartbeat was strong and 167bpm… girl?? The babe was wiggling like crazy but I got a quick glimpse of the tiny profile and I swear I saw an Atlas resemblance.

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Overall I’ve been feeling OKAY— compared to so many woman who suffer so much more than I do while pregnant. I’ve been really exhausted, on and off very nauseous where I’ve had to post up in bed, and if you ask around the house I’m pretty sure everyone would agree that I have been quite moody. Being 5’2.5″, I’m already showing and my uterus is like, I know what to do and popped out pretty quickly. We are all so excited to share this news with everyone and so far everyone has been extremely positive which has been a blessing because that’s not always the case when you announce a 4th+ pregnancy. Thank you all for the kind words and congratulations we’ve been given so far. Can’t wait to share this all and see how this babes story unfolds.