stripes & leopard

[skirt: Forever 21 // top: thrifted // shoes: thrifted // belt: thrifted] 

First, I'm happy that I can finally fill out this shirt a lot better than when I was flat and bumpless. Though it's not a maternity top, it was kind of loose [in the upper regions...] and shapeless before so I actually like it as a maternity top more. And I was really excited to pair it with my trust striped skirt for some good ol' pattern mixing. 

Really pattern mixing is kind of my favorite thing I decided. 
I used to be iffy and now it's so fun! 
Though I'm still not brave enough to try anything too extreme... 

Also, some of my friends in my ward started a Photography Group where we can learn how to work our cameras and take better pictures. For the first class I got be the maternity model for them and I was basically freaking out about it, ha. Cause seriously I'm so awkward. 

But seeing some of these after pictures made really happy to be able to have some actual good quality pictures to document this pregnancy. And while my bump was smaller than it is now, haha. And I also realized I really want a new camera lens ;) 

{hint, hint, Adam} 

I talked last time how I feel weird with maternity pictures and accepting my body. And this time was no different. I was grateful to be in a supportive environment with loving friends that posed me and made me feel comfortable with my big belly. 

And it's hard to believe that these pictures are already out of date and my belly is SO much bigger! 
Pregnancy is so long, guys.... 

firehouse rock

[I was feel pretty cute that day... and then looking at these pictures I'm like WHOA! So big... so swollen...]

My amazing friend Rebekah [who just moved away and I'm still crying about it...] planned this super fun fire station tour for all of our kids the day before she moved. It was SO much fun for all the kids {and adults!} and an awesome last outing with all these little friends. 

We (or at least the moms) learned so much about firefighters and our local heroes who sacrifice so much for our safety. In fact, the firefighter who gave us the tour said they had been up since 5am with only about an hour of sleep before and had just gotten back to the station right before our tour started and barely even ate anything. 

Talk about kindness & sacrifice! 

I feel like I should've brought them pizza and cookies for working so hard saving lives and then putting off more sleep and even eating to take our silly little kids to see the big fire truck. Such generosity! 

Elijah absolutely LOVED the tour and couldn't wait to see the big truck. On the way there he kept telling me to please ask the firemen if he could get inside their truck and drive it. I told him he probably couldn't dive it but I bet he would get to go inside. He was pretty stoked about that :) 

They also let him spray the hose and told them all about the gear they have to wear. 
[Did you know that their gear weighs 70-140lbs??? I barely can hold Elijah and he's just under 40lbs. Crazy!!] 

It was a lot of fun and definitely an activity Elijah will remember & talk about for a long time. :)

dip dye & gingham

This is when I asked Adam if my cheeks look really big. And he replied, "Well... it is what it is." So nice right??
[skirt: c/o Persunmall  // shirt: c/o Fresh Produce clothing // necklace: c/o That's So Fab // shoes: Target clearance]

When Adam got home I was just waiting to hear what he had to say about this outfit. 
He always seems to have clever little quips about what I choose to wear. 
But he actually said he really liked it... until he saw my knotted shirt.
"What is going on there??" 

I wasn't too sure about it before either but went out in public anyways. 
So hopefully I pulled it off right ;) 

But here's how I really feel about these pictures... 
[deep, crazy, pregnant lady thoughts about to be spewed.]

Pregnancy pictures are... rough for me. 
Hence the reason why this blog has been so bare of pictures lately. 

Not that I really loved my body before, I've always struggled with really low self-worth, but seeing my body grow exponentially in every single part of my body is always hard for me to wrap my brain around. Especially when you see people who do not gain pregnancy weight in their legs, cheeks, and arms... I tend to get a bit jealous & angry about my current state of being. 

Not that I'm not grateful to be pregnant. 
I truly truly am! 
And I love this baby and am so happy to bring her into our family. 

But pregnancy does lots of weird things to my mind, body, soul... 
Hormones and all that. 
My body has never been very happy when I add more hormones to it. 

When I was pregnant with Elijah I remember going through these same feelings, but not being too overwhelmed by it cause the nausea & pain seemed to push out any negative body image that I may have had. 

But after I had him and I wasn't skinny again right away? Or that I still clung to the pregnancy weight in places I had always been conscious about? And that it took a long time to fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans when Facebook told me other (what seemed like) so many other friends could fit into theirs two weeks after their baby was born? 

All of that really messed up my mind. 
So much so that I pretty much drastically limited my food intake... 
A problem I realize looking back on could have been what affected Elijah's early self-weaning. 

I hated myself and I hated my body. 
But 2 years-ish later I started to accept it and feel better. 

But this time around, I feel all those negative thoughts come creeping back in. 
I already feel myself starting down that dark road. 
And I'm trying so hard to avoid it. 

What if I can't avoid it? 

I have been praying that I have the strength to realize these thoughts are not real. 
To understand my worth and the beauty of this time in my life, not avoid my reflection. 

Cause I know once that little baby is in my arms it really will all be worth it. 
And I want nothing else than to be healthy physically and emotionally & mentally to take care of her. 
I know I can't be the mom I want to be without first taking care of & feeling better about myself. 
In every way. 

So that's my goal. 
Let's see how it goes... 

happy {little} campers

On Monday we had a camping party to celebrate Elijah's 4th birthday. 
It was SO much fun to plan and put together. But totally exhausting. 
I stayed up the entire night before after being up the night before that with stomach pains and contractions, not to mention moving is just becoming harder & more painful... 
But I still loved doing it all and seeing all my ideas brought to fruition! 
After not throwing a party for 2 years, the party planner bug was reallllllly nagging at me and I was ready for a good project. And I think it all turned out pretty well. :) 

I designed and made all the tags, labels, and invitations mostly using PicMonkey. 
[did you know you can design blank pages on PicMonkey now?? so awesome!!]
That's one of my favorite parts to design the graphics and images. Makes me feel legit, ha. 

For food I tried to keep with the camping theme and had a trail mix bar [with peanuts, M&Ms, marshmallows, and raisins], teddy grahams {for the bears in the woods, obviously}, granola bars, and fruit leather. I also made fruit skewers and a vegetable plate. Cause being outdoors encourages healthy eating habits right?? 

And of course, Elijah got his big chocolate cake! :)
I found these really cute white bottle brush trees at Joann's and then made a small burlap bunting to go on top to match his "Camp Elijah" banner on the table. 
Now we have a ton of chocolate cake left that I can't eat... So Elijah will have a sugar high for a while. 

For activities we had a fishing station set up where the kids got to "fish" for goldfish. 
Adam was a good sport and helped out with all the kids fishing. 
We were laughing cause as adults it doesn't seem like the fishing activity would be that exciting especially because the way it was set up they could totally see what was happening. 
But the kids loved it and were SO excited when it was their turn. 
Simple minds, simple pleasures right?? :) 

I also had a scavenger hunt planned out for them to go and find different things in the park, but it ended up being sooooo ridiculously hot [as you can tell by all the kids' red faces!] and we kind of skipped it. It would have been fun and I saved some for maybe a fun activity to do with Elijah another day. And I love how the handouts turned out. I was so bummed the heat was so bad... 

{I really hope no kids got heat stroke!} 

We also set up a mini campsite scene with a fake, tissue paper fire, a small tent, little chairs, and a sleeping bag. That was another thing that I kind of thought would be a cute visual but underestimated how much the kids really liked it. They had so much fun pretending to camp, roasting fake marshmallows and taking turns in the little tent. It was so cute! 

And at the end of it all, the kids got to take home a goodie bag that had a s'mores kit, "fish bait" gummy worms, a mini compass, and a little flashlight. Pretty fun stuff! 

There were some things I wish I added or did a little differently [or I wish I could have made it cooler!] but all in all I was really happy with how it turned out. And I absolutely couldn't have done it without some wonderful friends who pitched in to help and donate cute decoration items. Because of them I was able to pull it off.  

And Elijah seemed to have a lot of fun and LOVED being able to play with all his friends. Seeing his excitement and huge smile all day {and the days leading up to it} made all that planning and late nights worth it. :)

Happy 4th birthday, E-rock!! 
I will celebrate you any day!