Ashlyn | life

Honey, We’re Home!

By on October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Miss me?

We are finally home! I am so happy to be able to have my family of four together at last.

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Ace’s first time seeing his baby sister

Ace loves his baby sister, it is so sweet. I love how in love he is with her. He calls her “baby sister” most of the time but is not using her name more often.

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He wanted to hold Ashlyn while watching Dora

When we picked him up from school yesterday we had to go to Target and when Bran put her in the stroller he had to push her. He actually got upset when I went to hold his hand and said “No! Baby sister!”

We also have had family come by and meet Ashlyn. Everyone loves her so much. I wondered if it would be different since she was adopted or she was the second baby so it wasn’t as exciting or something, I don’t know why but I just did. I think it’s that protective thing, where you don’t want anyone to treat your child differently no matter what the reason could be. Everyone has been incredible to her.

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Ashlyn is such an incredible baby too. She has her moments where she can be totally pissed but they are basically only when she is hungry and we are trying to get her bottle to her. Overall though she is really content just hanging out being held. Her favorite spot is Daddy’s chest. I see her being a total Daddy’s Girl.

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Bran hold his baby girl!

It is sweet seeing Branden with her. He has a very natural instinct when it comes to babies. With Ace I was surprised at how easy it was for him to just change a diaper, get up and deal with things like it was nothing. I get more nervous when they are so tiny and changing their diapers cause they get so upset but he just gets it done. He is the same way with Ashlyn, just takes it all in and gets it done without thinking. Doesn’t get nervous or hesitate. I love that about him so much. He also is able to help me more with feedings since I am obviously not breastfeeding her so that really helps with sleep.

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Adoption | Ashlyn | life

Think before you comment!

By on October 25, 2013
I first want to thank everyone for the support on my post over at What to Expect. It has been incredible to see all the positive things people have to say about our experience. There was also some not so nice comments because our struggle to have a baby wasn’t as long as others and how dare I be upset over struggling with a fertility issue that did make it difficult for us to have our own biological children. I get those comments, I have been there and felt a similar pain. I hope those women can find some type of peace if it doesn’t ever happen for them but if it does I hope they can see where I am coming from in my post. If not then so be it but those weren’t the comments I found upsetting.
Anyway, the point of this post is not those comments because honestly, I get their pain and I get that bitter or jealous feeling of seeing people get pregnant with ease and then complain about being miserable during their pregnancy. That’s life, we all have feelings like that at some point over something in our lives. What I am upset about is this comment…
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I am so disgusted over talking about our daughter like she is a person up for grabs. 
First of all our situation is unique. We did not seek out a baby to adopt. 
We weren’t even in the process to adopt a child at all. 
We had someone we know become pregnant and we all agreed on Branden and I adopting Ashlyn. This was not a decision her biological mother just came up with easily, she struggled with it and couldn’t imagine her child with someone she didn’t know. 
So you want me to abandon my child to a stranger? You want myself and her biological mother to just give her up to someone who we have no idea about and say well, I am sure you deserve her more than me because you can’t have your own child? 
ABSOLUTELY NOT! 
You are not only insulting me but you are insulting my daughter and her birth mother’s choice. That is who choses who her child goes to and that is a huge decision people need to respect.
She is not a baby doll you buy at a store. She is a human being, a person who came to us through love from someone we care deeply about. We went through the process of a Home Study which is in depth and personal to get her and to even make such a casual statement about a family like it was this walk in the park process is so disturbing to me. 
I can handle being called selfish because we have a biological son and expecting another child, whatever, your opinion, but I will not stand by and let someone talk about Ashlyn like she is this person no one wants and will so easily be given up. 
Branden, myself, her biological mother and Ashlyn are a family, a unique family that has a huge amount of love and respect for one another and no one made this decision without thinking things through and wanting what is best for Ashlyn. So the next time you talk about a child who has been adopted or is going to be adopted like they aren’t an actual person rethink what you are saying, imagine someone saying it about your own child and tell me if you would say it again. 

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Adoption | Ashlyn | life

Ashlyn is here!

By on October 23, 2013
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Our sweet little Ashlyn is here! She was born October 18th at 2:54PM. Weighing 7lbs 10ozs and 19.5inches long.
We are so in love with this little cutie and can not wait to get home so she can meet her big brother. We are still in California and hoping to be heading home Friday. We are cleared on the California end so hoping we get good news by Thursday on the Florida end. I will update more when we get home. 

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Adoption | life | pregnancy#2

A little update & a belly pic

By on October 9, 2013

Hey, girl, hey!

So first of all I want to apologize for our incredibly ridiculous my blog looks right now. Apparently I have had so many visitors this month and used up all the bandwidth I had with Photobucket and they turned my page into a hot mess. It will go back to normal on the 20th.

Anyway things around here are pretty uneventful now that we are done with our home study and just waiting on Ashlyn to be born. Bran and I fly out to California on Friday to wait for her arrival so lets hope she doesn’t take too long. I am slightly freaking out about leaving Ace for too long. I have never been away from him longer than 3 days and that was for the Bloggy Conference I went to last month. He was home with Branden so it wasn’t too bad for me to leave him.
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This time though, we won’t know how long we will be stuck in Cali. I am hoping the process is quick so we aren’t away from home with a newborn too. That is going to be difficult I think. Oh well, once we get back here I think everything will be pretty awesome. I can’t wait to see Ace with his baby sister.

As far as my pregnancy is going, it was a nightmare in the beginning but now things are good. I was so sick all day long. It was the complete opposite of Ace’s pregnancy. I also got a belly almost instantly. With Ace I barely was showing at 22 weeks and I am already bigger than I was then. Need proof? Here you go!

We went to the pumpkin patch again yesterday with Acey’s friends. We do that every year and this year was really funny because now that all the kids are 2 they really have a mind of their own when it comes to pictures. I will post pictures tomorrow since I am waiting to see if my friend got a good one of us with the kids. Check out my post from last year, HERE, to see the past two years of pictures. So crazy how much they have changed.

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Ace | Halloween | life

Pumpkin Patch 2013

By on October 7, 2013
Happy Monday! First, if you haven’t checked out my crazy big Giveaway go check it out now!
On to what we have been up to. This weekend we were quite busy. First of all my husband is a rock star and got me this awesome Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack in Almond Raspberry for our girlies.
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Then on Saturday morning I had to go pick up my dress for my sister’s wedding so I took Ace to get a milkshake and that boy was so happy! He had the biggest smile ever when I told him I was going to get him one.
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Saturday around 5 we went to the Pumpkin Patch. I wanted to go before we left for Cali to get Ashlyn. 
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They had a Mater car there and Ace was obsessed!  It was so hard getting him away from it. When we had to leave there may have been a slight tantrum over leaving the car.

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Probably the best shot I got of him, hoping when we go back with our friends on Tuesday I can get a better one.

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They have pumpkin painting there and Ace loved it.

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We had a fun time together and Ace really liked Mater so I am really worried when we go back with his friends he is going to glue himself to the truck. Wish me luck!

Next up, Gavin’s 2nd Birthday Party! I am waiting on pics from my sister-in-law because the decor was so cute!

Have you made it out to the pumpkin patch yet?!

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guest posting | Halloween

Guest Post: Throwing the Best Halloween Bash for Your Little One

By on October 3, 2013
Don’t forget to check out my HUGE GIVEAWAY with over $200 in prizes. 

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s finally time to start planning the best parties of the year! While grown-ups will enjoy ghoulish galas and spooky soirees, Halloween also provides the perfect inspiration for a fabulous kids party. Gather the little ones together and plan a fun-filled event featuring lots of pumpkins, sweets, and exciting activities.
Here are a few creative Halloween party ideas for kids to get you started:

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Pumpkin Cupcakes 
No party is complete without sweets, and pumpkin cupcakes will help to create the spook-tastic theme for your kid-friendly Halloween event. Bake cupcakes in your favorite flavor and then let the decorating begin! Use orange frosting as the base, and a small tube of black frosting to draw on jack-o-lantern faces. These are always a Halloween party hit and can also double as a Halloween party activity. If you’re planning to let the kids decorate their own cupcakes, provide a buffet of interesting toppings like black licorice, candy corn, and edible glitter.
Dance Music 
Like any good party, there should be great music to set the mood at your Halloween party for little ones. Here is a list of songs to help create your Halloween mix:

  • The Addams Family Theme Song
  • “Monster Mash”—Bobby Boris Pickett
  • “Clap for the Wolfman”—The Guess Who
  • “The Flying Purple People Eater”—Sheb Wooley
  • “Ghostbusters” Theme Song—Ray Parker Junior
  • “Hedwig’s Theme”—from Harry Potter
  • “I Put a Spell on You”—Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  • “Little Red Riding Hood”—Amanda Seyfried
  • “Thriller”—Michael Jackson
  • “I’m Your Boogie Man”—KC & The Sunshine Band
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Pumpkin Painting
A fun Halloween craft activity is a great way to entertain young guests. Pumpkin painting is perfect for kids because they can paint regardless of their skill level and have a great time. It also makes for a much safer alternative to pumpkin carving since there are no sharp objects involved. Be sure to designate an area for the kids to paint (lawns make great target sites), and lay down plenty of newspaper. Remember to ask parents to bring appropriate painting clothes, or provide smocks for all your young pumpkin artists.
Ghost/Monster Storytelling
Kids love story time, and Halloween has inspired some wonderfully spooky tales. Gather the kids for a bewitching book reading. The story you choose will have to depend upon the ages and maturity levels of the kids at your party. Two crowd pleasers like Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley and Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems are sure to be a hit!
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Party Favors
At the end of your kids Halloween party, send your guests home with a memorable party favor. The party goers can take home their painted pumpkins, but you can also put together little sacks with fun Halloween items like zombie eye patches, skeleton necklaces, and ghost stickers. Don’t forget to throw in a little candy corn for the ride home!
Thank You Cards
Don’t forget to thank your guest with eco-friendly eCard.

Stephanie is the Director of Marketing at Punchbowl, Inc. She blogs about celebrations, party planning, and free digital greeting cards. 

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About Me | Adoption | Ashlyn | life

Adoption Q&A

By on October 2, 2013

When we made our BIG announcement we had a lot of questions. Here are some answers to the questions we got.

1. What made you decide to adopt?

Ever since I was a little girl I have believed adoption is an amazing thing. I remember when I was in middle school seeing a 20/20 type show talking about all the children in Florida who were up for adoption. It shocked me. These kids were my age, some younger, some older but not one of them had parents. I begged my parents to adopt a child but at that point in there life they were done adding more children to the family. I don’t blame them. It is something as my friend Kelly put it so perfectly that is truly just put on your heart and not everyone has it in their heart and that is ok.

When Branden and I were dating and talked about children I told him I really wanted to adopt a child. He said he was definitely open to it. When getting pregnant didn’t come easily for us it was even more clear that it was something we wanted to do. We were open to adopt an older child but little Ashlyn came along and was meant to be ours!

2. Where are you adopting from?

Ashlyn will be born in California. We will be flying out there when she is born and will stay there till the paperwork between California and Florida is finalized and then we will bring her home. This can take an average of 10 days to two weeks.

3. Did you plan it this way so they would be so close in age?

No, we hadn’t started the adoption process yet since I had just found out I was pregnant. We then found out someone we know was expecting and it all fell into place.

4. Is it expensive to adopt?

I have gotten this question a lot. I have a few friends who are interested in adoption and this is a very important question when trying to decide if you can even afford an adoption. In short, yes adoption is expensive but thankfully because of our situation it won’t be as expensive as it would be for someone going through an agency. Here is a link with some information on the costs of adopting.

5. Are you going through an agency?

No, we are doing a private adoption and only need an agency for our Home Study, the ICPC (to make it legally ok for us to come back to Fl. with Ashlyn) and post adoption visits. We have an attorney who is handling everything else.

6. Did you know the birth Mom?

Yes, we do know her.

7. Will the adoption be open or closed?

We will be having an open adoption. We all think this is the best route to go.

These have been the most common questions I have gotten since our announcement. If you have anymore feel free to ask. 

Don’t forget to check out our GIVEAWAY we have going on to celebrate the new additions to our family! 

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Ace | trendy tot

It’s October!

By on October 1, 2013
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It’s October!
I love October.
It makes Fall seem more real in a state that doesn’t exactly have Fall.
It’s the start of Halloween decorations and desserts.
It is the month where you get to watch Hocus Pocus and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Boots are acceptable, sweaters are getting pulled out and scarves would be nice if it weren’t so hot here.
One day I will get to live where it actually feels like Fall and October means leaves falls and crispy air.
October means this little boy getting a chance at wearing his cute “Fall” clothes.

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This month means something more to us now. This month we will meet our second child, our daughter, Ashlyn. I can’t wait. We are going to be experiencing a new state to get her and we will be spending some time just the three of us while we wait for our Ok to come back to Florida. I am sad I am going to be away from Ace for probably the longest I will ever have been away from him but it’s for an amazing reason. October definitely means so much more to me now.

What do you love about October?

Don’t forget to enter our HUGE GIVEAWAY, which includes a $25 Target Gift Card and other amazing prizes!

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