September 25, 2016

Snow Family Vacation - Leg 3

Our final leg of the trip put us in Springville, UT where Andrew's sister lives. Stephanie is always the best host and we had fun spending a little more time with our nieces and nephew. We spent one of our days swimming at the new Provo Rec Center, another petting the animals that live around the corner, and another stopping by a park/splash pad. We also got to be there to celebrate our nephew Jack's first birthday, as well as our brother-in-law's birthday (Steph threw him a LOTR surprise party that was awesome - I wish I had taken some pictures of it!). 

It was the perfect ending to our two and a half week vacation. I'm glad we got in some serious family time before Andrew was taken away from us by ASU. 

September 20, 2016

Preparing for Baby #2

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

The good thing about being on my second baby is that I feel I have a lot better understanding of what's to come. I've already done it once; and while everything might be a little different this time around, I generally know what to expect. Something I'm doing so much better with this second pregnancy is preparing for baby. A month before Taylor was born, we were moving into a house and Harley just had a litter of puppies. It was hard for me to prepare for him when I was preoccupied with packing, moving, cleaning, painting, unpacking, caring for brand new puppies, etc. Taylor was lucky to have a crib set up in his room and the carseat installed.

Experiencing such a busy time before Taylor was born has helped me make a list of things I want to have done before the second baby arrives. Yes, a place to sleep is really all that is necessary, but there's a lot of things that can be done to make baby's arrival a lot less stressful. This is my checklist for the next few months (and who doesn't love making a checklist and marking things off?)

1. Stock up on essential household items:
This includes things like toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies, etc. When you have a newborn in the house (and your recovering from birthing said newborn), the last thing you want to do is make a trip to the store for something as simple as toilet paper. You can either make one giant run to get everything you might need, or you can do it gradually as you buy things regularly. I've been doing the latter. When I run to the store and grab some deodorant, I'll pick up two extra ones for my stockpile. When we run out of window cleaner, I'll make sure to pick up an extra bottle the next shopping trip. Doing that slowly makes it less overwhelming as well as spreads out the extra costs over several months.

2. Make some freezer meals to have on hand: 
We are lucky enough to have family nearby to help us with meals, as well as a church that usually provides a week of dinners after someone has a baby. I know that eventually a day will come that I will have an ornery toddler and a newborn that won't want to be put down, and it will be impossible to get something put together to eat. I can only imagine that having a few easy meals on hand that I can pull out of the freezer and throw into the crockpot or oven will be a lifesaver. Anyone have any tried and true freezer meals they love?

3. Pre-wash and put away all of baby's clothes:

Newborns have sensitive skin so it's important to pre-wash all of their teeny tiny clothes to avoid possible irritations. It's also important to use a perfume-free, dye-free hypoallergenic detergent formula in case of sensitivity. all® free clear is a brand that meets all these criteria. I used it with Taylor and I plan on using it again with our second Snow baby, since it's the #1 recommended brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians. I love that I can run one big load of baby laundry with the help of all® free clear to I can worry a little less about my new arrival's comfort and care. all® free clear detergent fights tough stains, whitens whites, and brightens colors (which is great when dealing with those unexpected blow-outs).

Last time I was at Walmart, I decided to pick up all® free clear Mighty Pacs® to try. I realize that measuring out detergent isn't that hard, but these detergent pacs are so convenient! Whichever method you choose, just make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging!

Once all that laundry is done, I need to buckle down and put it away! How do these little humans have so many clothes? I'm the biggest procrastinator when it comes to putting away laundry, so this time around I plan on folding and organizing all of baby girl's clothes before she arrives. Hopefully this will encourage me to keep up with putting that laundry away.

4. Spruce up the nursery:

Taylor and new baby are going to be sharing a room. That means most of the decorating is already done, but I still want to add a few feminine touches for baby girl. Since we moved in a month before Taylor was born, the nursery was my main focus and I managed to pretty much finish it before he was born (Do you remember the before? That orange wall color was awful!). There are still a few paint touch-ups that need to be done though, plus new artwork needs to be hung and some rearranging is in order. I know if I don't finish all of this before the baby gets here, I'll most likely put it off (like said paint touch-ups from over a year and a half ago).

5. Pamper myself:
This is the last and final step. Once everything is taken care of, momma needs some TLC. When that baby arrives, there's not going to be time for hair appointments, spa days, massages, etc. There's hardly going to be a spare minute to shower. I plan on getting a pedicure, my hair trimmed, and; if I plan on splurging a bit, some eyelash extensions. Labor isn't the most glamorous thing, so anything you can do to feel better about yourself is a good idea!

How are you preparing for your babies arrival?
(or have prepared for babies in the past?)
Do you have any great freezer meals to recommend?
Have you ever used all® free clear?

September 8, 2016

Snow Family Vacation - Leg 2

After we watched my hometown's parade, we started our seven hour drive to Pine Valley, Utah. It was such a relaxing trip that was spent playing games, taking naps, and sitting out on the back porch watching the wildlife (we had frequent visits from deer, turkeys, and cows). I think the best part of the whole trip was watching all the little cousins interact. Taylor had learned to walk about a week before we left so he had a blast chasing his older cousins around. Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures and the photos I did snap are off my phone. Using my cell phone is just so much more convenient than carrying around my big camera, but I'm trying to change that.

That's the end of leg two. All that's left is our week in Provo which will be up next week. 

September 2, 2016

Snow Family Vacation - Leg 1

Only a month and a half late, but I'm finally getting around to posting about our family vacation we took to end the summer. It was also our last hoo-rah before Andrew started school which is another thing I haven't blogged about. So let's touch on that first.

After months years of studying for the GMAT and what seemed like endless applications/essays written, Andrew found out that all his hard work payed off when he was accepted into the MBA program at Arizona State University. This meant that we didn't have to sell our house and move to another state (which was a big possibility that we had prepared ourselves for). We're now guaranteed another two years in our home (and hopefully more if Andrew can secure a local job after he completes the program). School started two weeks ago and no time was wasted to throw those poor students into a very full workload. It's pretty much a full-time job (I personally think it's more work than a full-time job). Andrew is out the door by seven every morning and usually gets home around six. He spends an hour or two playing with Taylor and then it's off to study and do homework until 11 pm. We've already experienced a few days where he was only able to see Taylor by Face-timing in between classes since Taylor isn't awake before he leaves and is fast asleep on the days Andrew gets home late.

Luckily I was forewarned many times that I wouldn't see my husband for the next two years. I have been mentally preparing myself to do the whole single-parent thing so it actually hasn't been too terrible for me to adjust. The only thing that's been hard thus far is now I can't watch any of "our" shows without Andrew. He definitely has no time to sit down to watch them so I am being deprived of ALL THE SHOWS. Our Netflix queue is going to be pretty full whenever we find time to catch up.

Now with that out of the way, onto our vacation. Andrew's family usually takes a yearly trip (you can see last year's trip to San Diego here). This year we were headed to Pine Valley, Utah and it was planned for the last week of July which meant that Andrew was going to turn the big 3-0 on our vacation. We had already decided to extend this week long trip by continuing up to Springville, Utah to stay with Andrew's sister for another week afterwards. Since it was going to now be a two week trip, I decided why not make it a little longer by leaving a few days early and surprising Andrew with a little birthday gift.

So our first leg of the trip, I rented the cutest A-frame cabin in Pinetop, Arizona for our little family. Now if you're not familiar with Arizona, you probably only picture cactus and imagine the hellish heat. While this is mostly true, there's also a place called the White Mountains which is in the north-eastern part of Arizona. This is the area I grew up in and it is a magical place where there's four seasons and it snows in the winter and there's pine trees. It was so nice to get out of 100+ weather for a few days. Andrew loved the cabin and we took frequent walks to enjoy our quiet wooded area that we were tucked away in. Pinetop is also home to one of our favorite restaurants. If you're ever in the area (even just passing through) stop at Los Corrales. It is delicious! 

Where we were staying is about an hour away from where I'm from. Saint Johns is a super small town with not much to do, but I still love it. Luckily for us, our trip coincided with their 24th of July celebrations. Every year, Saint Johns celebrates Pioneer Day with a week of events and activities. We were able to drive over for some of it and caught the free ice cream social at the park, the junior rodeo, and even woke up early on the day we headed up to Utah to catch the 5k/10k run (I only did it for the free shirt). While we were there, we stopped by my old house which has since burned down which was pretty crazy to see.

I don't have any family left in Saint Johns so trips to my "hometown" are a little more difficult to swing. I'm glad we got to spend some time there and see old friends. Our relaxing few days in the White Mountains was a great way to jump-start our two and a half week vacation.

This post is a lot longer (both word wise and picture wise) than I anticipated so I think I'll break this up into parts. Check back next week for the second leg of our vacation.
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