9 FOURTH OF JULY FINDS!

9 Fourth of July Finds

It goes without saying that the real meaning of fourth of July is to celebrate our wonderful country’s independence.  Independence that is hard fought for and protected.  On this day we celebrate liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.  Traditionally, Americans like to spend fourth of July with friends and family enjoying good food and the great outdoors.  And it doesn’t hurt to look super cute while doing so.

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InstaGRAMMYS

instagram

What are “InstaGRAMMYS”?  They’re some of my most favorite instagram pics of late. If you’re not following me on Instagram you can @fashiondujour.

Here’s a summary of what you see starting top left to right…

1. The fist pump.  We signed Jaxon up for basketball at the YMCA. He has his celebratory fist pump down pat.  The first of many to come I’m sure.

2.  This pile is just a few of the art pieces he brought home from school.  Jaxon’ s last day of Kindergarten was May 19th.  I’m still in denial.

3.  Julia face fans.  We decided {I was determined} to go with the face fan for Julia’s birthday.  It was a hit!  I made them with card-stock and tongue depressors.

4.  A snapshot of some of the decor for the girls’ room.  With little Jonny Luis on the way we’ve done some redecorating.  If I had it my way, they would all share the same room.  It builds character!  LOL  But I realize that it’s sort of unrealistic and probably a little mean.

5.  Boy Oh Boy photo booth sign.  For the intimate baby reveal party we had, I created photo booth signs which read “Gorgeous Girl” {see #4} and “Boy Oh Boy”.  I think they came out pretty neat.  I went super crafty with these because they were last minute and I couldn’t find anything store-bought.  I glued 7 sheets of black construction paper together.  Waited for them to dry and then drew a speech bubble with white marker.  I cut the speech bubble out and hand-wrote the text.  I taped bamboo sticks {which actually belong to some of my living room decor} to the back of the signs and voila.

6.  Bump Styling.  It’s no secret this belly is growing so I made a collage of the outfit that I wouldn’t mind wearing every single day until D day {July 28ish}.

7.  White Chocolate Confetti Coated Brownies.  I found this recipe on pinterest and it looked easy enough so I made these for Julia’s class birthday party.

8.  Missing Tooth.  Self-explanatory.

9.  Bloggers Like Me Brunch.  A few of the BLM Girls and I go together for brunch at Marmalade Cafe.  We talked hair, handbag making, child-rearing and Jesus.

10.  He shoots. He scores.

11.  #TBT First Day of Kindergarten.  I told you I was in denial.

12.  Silly faces.  To celebrate my niece Nyann’s birthday, Jaxon and Julia joined them at the movies to see, How to Train a Dragon.

13.  Did I tell you I’m pregnant.  Headed from to the Dodger’s game.

14.  Avid reader.  Jaxon joined a summer reading program and is stoked about the thought of winning a pizza party.

15.  Cooking with Granny.  Jaxon and cousin Ryan are making breakfast pancakes.

16.  Making a wish.  One sure way to keep kids busy, water!

17.  Field Trippin.  Daddy took Jaxon on the last field trip of the year to Adventure City.  They had a blast.  Clearly!

18.  Tooth Fairy Reciept.  Kind of like a push gift…kinda!

19.  It’s a Boy!  Snap from the reveal.  The blue balloon makes it so official!

20.  The gang.  Levi, Jaxon, Julia, Zuri and Carey on a play date.

21.  Craft time.  I gave them a task of pulling out pictures from magazines,  making a collage, then telling me what their collage was about.  We’re having a TV boycott.

22.  Sweet Jayde.  We were at a friends for a surprise cookout and sweet Jayde gave me some sweet kisses.  She’s precious.

23.  Summer Staples.  These are some of what I’d consider to be summer essentials and for under $50!

24.  Jaxon and cousin Olivia.  She’s the sweetest chunky baby ever!

25.  School pictures.  I’m still amazed at how perfect Jayde’s picture came out.  You know kids.  I’m even more flabbergasted by the fact that Julia’s moving on to Kindergarten already.

So that’s some of what’s been going on in my world for the past month or so.  How have you been spending the last month?

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Summer Staples Under $50

Summer Staples Under $30
“I don’t know why but I’ve always loved the idea of summer and sun and all things hot…Sometimes I like to close my eyes and imagine what it’ll be like when summer does come.” If you don’t know what this line is from, then you probably don’t have kids, but ask a 7 year old and you’ll learn that it’s from the ever-popular movie Frozen.  It’s actually my favorite song.  Shh!
Click on the images below to purchase.
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What the Hicks?

braxton hicks

Let me tell you about the time I experienced my first Braxton Hicks (BH) Contraction.  I was on my lunch break when I began to feel intense tightening in my stomach; much different than the usual kicks and punches I had grown accustomed to.  I got really nervous when the tightening became increasingly painful and frequent.  I’m the type to tough things out, probably more than I should.  Like, if I have a toothache, I probably won’t go to the dentist until something is swelling.  I know.  So, I debated whether to go back to work thinking I didn’t want to over-react to a false alarm or head straight to the doctor’s office so that if the pain increased and this was the real thing, at  least I’d be at the hospital in the care of someone who knows what they’re doing.  I called the doctor’s office, explained what was happening and they told me I should go to the hospital right away… great.  I sat in the care for what seemed like an eternity but was really only 20 minutes because I was timing the contraction intervals.  As the pain intensified and contractions increased, I decided I needed to go to the hospital.  The called work.  So, what’s worse than talking to someone when YOU’RE in a panic?  When the person you’re talking to begins to panic!  Here I was trying to remain calm and simply tell them that I was not returning to work and the person I was talking to elevated her voice and began saying things like, “Are you okay?”, “Why don’t you pull over and I’ll send someone to pick you up”, bless her helpful heart but all I wanted to do was hang up the phone and call Jonathan.  I refused whatever help it was she was trying to offer and ended the call.  Panic turned to fear and I cried.  I hadn’t even thought of the fact that I probably shouldn’t be driving.  I needed to call Jonathan. But before  that I needed to calm down.  If I called him panicked, he’d panic.  I dialed.  The phone rang.  He picked up.  Using every ounce of confidence I could muster into my voice, I began to tell him that I was on my way to the hospital.  Then the flood gates released and I cried to the point that he couldn’t understand what I was telling him.  Not only was I a slobbery mess, but the pain was steadily increasing and I knew I needed to do something.  Jonathan figured out what I was telling him and meet me at the hospital.  I was SO happy to see him.  The nurses hooked me up to the monitor, they checked to see how dilated I was.  In short, they told me it was going home because what I was experiencing was Braxton Hicks Contractions.  Toni who?  Right!

To prevent a super-freakout-meltdown I offer you some insight to BH Contractions.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

Braxton Hicks contractions start about 6 weeks into your pregnancy, but you won’t be able to feel them that early. You probably won’t start to notice them until sometime after mid-pregnancy, if you notice them at all since some women don’t.  They get their name from John Braxton Hicks, an English doctor who first described them in 1872.  Sometimes, BH contractions are hard to distinguish from early signs of preterm labor.  If you haven’t hit 37 weeks yet and you’re having more than four contractions in an hour, or you have any other signs of preterm labor you should call your doctor right away.

By the time you’re within a couple of weeks of your due date, your cervix has likely begun to soften up in preparation for labor. Your contractions may get more intense and more frequent, and they may cause some discomfort. Unlike the earlier painless and sporadic BH contractions, which caused no obvious cervical changes, these contractions may help your cervix thin out (efface) and maybe even open up (dilate) a bit. This period is sometimes referred to as pre-labor.  The main difference between BH Contractions and the real thing is BH contractions don’t grow consistently longer, stronger, closer together, and there will not be any progress when it comes to cervix dilation where as labor contractions do.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

The truth is, there really isn’t a way to make them “go away” but you can decrease the discomfort until they stop on their own.  Try changing your sitting position.  If you’re standing, go sit down.  If you’re sitting, try getting up and walking around slowly a few paces.  For me getting down on all fours in the child’s pose (yoga) is most comfortable.  It always eases the pain.  Some other things you can try are taking a warm bath to relax your body.  You can also try drinking a glass of water, as some BH contractions are brought on by dehydration.

A word to the wise, don’t try to be a super hero.  Call your doctor right away if you haven’t reached 37 weeks and your contractions are becoming more frequent, or painful, or if you have any of the possible signs of preterm labor:

  • Abdominal pain (menstrual-like cramping) or more than four contractions in one hour, even if they don’t hurt.
  • Any bleeding or spotting
  • Increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge — if it becomes watery, mucusy, or bloody even if it’s only pink or blood-tinged
  • More pressure in the pelvic area; a feeling that your baby’s pushing down
  • Low back pain, especially if it’s dull or rhythmic, or you didn’t previously have back pain

If you’re past 37 weeks and you haven’t experienced the above 5 signs, go to the hospital when your contractions last about 60 seconds each and are five minutes apart for an hour straight, unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

You know that feeling when you get a charlie horse in your thigh and it just seems to tense up really strongly and then fade and then come back?  That, except the pain is in your uterus.  Not all BH contractions are that painful but as your pregnancy goes on they will intensify.  Depending on your pain tolerance, they may or may not bother you.  Here’s one way to understand the experience of contractions.  Take a piece of ice from the freezer and squeeze it in the palm of your hand.  You’ll notice a few things.  The sensation doesn’t start off as pain, it’s more of a discomfort.  The longer you squeeze the ice, the greater the sensation becomes and changes from discomfort to pain.  Keep squeezing the ice and the pain becomes deep and throbbing.  Soon, all you can think about is getting the ice out of your hand.  The experience of labor contractions is very similar in the course it takes, only it’s intensified and usually comes in waves.  BH Contractions are typically not as painful as labor contractions but they are a good indicator of what the experience will be like.

braxton hicks

While I don’t want to bore you with the details of my experience, I thought that since I’ve now had 3 children, I can at least tell you a little bit about what worked for me.

My biggest fear has always been getting to the hospital too late to get an epidural.  I’ve just heard nightmares.  With Jaxon, I was fortunate not to have to think about it because my water broke while I was at home which meant that I would not be sent back home for a false alarm.  That was my other concern.  The contractions were not intense at all but when the nurse asked me on a scale from 1 t 10 how intense were they I remembered some advice I had been given to always say 6 or higher.  LOL  So, I said 6.  She asked if I was going to want an epidural.  Absolutely.  She checked to see how dilated I was and the baby’s station.  It was slow going.  She let me know that they were going to give me pitocin, which speeds up the contractions and makes them stronger.  She also said she was going to have the epidural administered at the same time.  The pitocin kicked in and I was desperate for the epidural.  Finally, the guy came in to give me the epidural which seemed like took forever, but in human time it was probably 5 minutes.  Once he was done, I could feel the fluids enter my body and I was pretty much out.  I had to cover my mouth from talking because I knew I wasn’t making any sense whatsoever.  I laid down and dozed off.  What seemed like 1o minutes later, the nurse came in because I guess something was beeping at her station.  She checked me and said let’s call her doctor she’s ready to have a baby.  Wait, WHAT?  Jon woke up just as she said that and he was calmly freaking out.  I still didn’t feel any pain but I did feel an incredible desire to push.  Like I had to go to the potty.  The nurse told me not to push.  Come on, really?  So there I am, wanting to push but can’t.  The doctor comes in and we exchange pleasantries.  She checks things, tells me to push about three times and before I knew it baby Jaxon was here.

Each of my pregnancies were similar once I got to the hospital.  The biggest difference was with Julia and Jayde my water didn’t break so make the decision to go to the hospital was strictly based on me timing my contractions.  Around 37 weeks, contractions are no longer BH.  The baby will be coming out so I pay attention to each contraction, the intensity and the length pretty carefully.

I hope this is helpful for someone.  Just talking about it was helpful for me.  LOL  God, help this delivery to be just as wonderful as my previous three.  Bless the doctor’s hands and minds so that they give us the best care for our baby.  Continue to allow this pregnancy to be an experience that I look back fondly on.  In Jesus’ name!  Amen.

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FASHION DU JOUR LOVES: Bump Styling

FASHION DU JOUR BUMP STYLING

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Dressing around a baby bump can be exhausting.  I mean, when else in life does your body inflate to two to three times it’s normal size?  Some of us gain weight everywhere and so the challenge is not only dressing around a bump but also finding things to wear that are comfortable around all your growing parts.  Even for women who seem to be all baby, there’s still the struggle with finding a top or bottom that are the size you normally wear but are stretchy enough to fit around the circumference of your belly.  Of course there are bigger and much more amazing things going on with our bodies and how we look should be the least of our concerns, but it’s hard to ignore it when nothing in your closet seems to fit.

Here’s a look that any pregnant (or not) lady can pull off this summer.  Enjoy!

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The Reveal

Never in a million years could you have told me I would be a mother of 4.  Not in 100 million years!  But, honestly, I’m beyond excited that we’re rounding out the family with a baby boy.  It just feels complete.

For the last three “showers” (quotes because I don’t know if you’d technically call them showers but whatever), we went the traditional route.  We found out as soon as we could what the gender was going to be and determined the names too.

This  go around we had a baby reveal.  A baby reveal is when you gather your friends and loved ones and share the sex of the baby with everyone.  Some parents choose to learn the sex and keep the secret for the guests.  Others, like us, choose to find out the sex of the baby with the rest of the guests.  We also opted to share the name with the guests.

Here’s how it went.

baby reveal

We decorated with white, yellow and grey.  Centerpieces were yellow flower pots willed with white hydrangea flowers.

baby reveal

Couldn’t find the right write-on signs in the stores so I made these by gluing sheets of black construction paper together and using a white marker to outline the speech bubble and fill in the text.  I think glued it to a reed I had around the house.
baby reveal

You can never go wrong with spa water.  We did a lemon + orange ice water and Jon’s famous diabetical lemonade.  I fell in love with a box of striped paper straws from Party City.  4

The appetizers were a combination of foods that I’ve been craving during this pregnancy.  I found a ton of super cute skewers and appetizers on Pinterest so I choose a few and they turned out delish!  These were strawberry + banana + grape + mango.  Mmm…mango!5

I love Caprese salad and this was the next best thing.  I cut the cheese into little flower shapes using a cookie cutter.  I thought it added a cute touch.  Tomato slices + mozzarella cheese + basil leaves + balsamic vinagrette.  Love mozza!
6

Cilantro + jack cheese + guacamole + sea salt sprinkles + toast squares + cilantro leaves.  Pretty much all of my favorite things all the time.
7

Something about obnoxius big white balloons!  I made a tassel for each of them.  Tinsel + twine + multicolored silk ribbons + paper “J” initial cutout.8

Rubber duckies were the perfect accent.  They also served as a treasure hunt game.  We hid ducks around the yard with a prize going to the person who found the “lucky” duck!
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I’m OBSESSED with mini flags lately.  I made cupcakes flags with JLY initials on them.9

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Jayde was wondering what all the commotion was about.

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Little Miss Sunshine!
13

The girls at play.13a

Jaxon explaining the name game.  14

PEACE!15

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Julia was the perfect helper.
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The polaroid frame was a hoot!18

 

Jon sharing the menu after prayer.
19

My prince.20

The girls, Jayde, Julia and cousin Jai.21

My sweet friend Colleen.22

Mommy’s helper.  We played an alphabet game where the participant hangs clothes pins on a line of string for each name they can think of in alphabetical order in 30 seconds.  The participant with the most pins wins.23

Now the time we had all been waiting for.  How did we do it?  I asked my doctor to write the results of my ultrasound in a sealed envelope.  We had the results at home for weeks, but neither of us peeked.  The day before the party I took a large box and the sealed envelope to Party City.  I asked them to open the envelope and fill the box with small white balloons and one large balloon, either pink or blue, depending on what the envelope said.  They sealed the box and I picked it up at the end of the day to wrap it.   They returned the envelope back to me sealed.  24

As you can see Jayde was there but in lullaby land.25

 

Jaxon and Julia helped us unwrap the box.26

As you can see…IT’S A BOY!28

Our little family is growing.
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Cheese!30God has blessed me with a wonderful husband whom I could have never imagined would make me so happy and give me the family I never knew I wanted but know I could never live without.

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What I Wore to #Coachella…

…is what I would title this post, had I gone.  But, let’s face it, I’m almost 6 months pregnant (going on 16 months…at least it feels like it) and even if I wasn’t I’m not really a #Coachella type of girl, whatever that means.  However, that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend I am and pull together a look or two!

What I wore to COACHELLA

 

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