Adoption | Ashlyn | everly | life | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: The Announcement

By on January 23, 2016

If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up.

The weekend we found out both babies would be girls would be the same weekend I announced my pregnancy and that we were adopting. 
When we made the announcement it took people some time but after some guesses and people putting it all together they found out we were going to be expecting two little ones! One through adoption in October and one through my own pregnancy due in March. 

I made a picture with clues on what the announcement would be. I figured if you didn’t know I was pregnant you probably wouldn’t figure it out but if you knew I was pregnant you would at least know that part and figure out what the rest was. 
So the clues were a pear to represent two girls (like a pair of girls), Irish Twins soap since the girls would be less than a year apart, the calendar to represent when they were due, 4 rulers which meant 4 feet, A&E for their first initials and the baby beanies for two babies one in October (pumpkin) and one in March (clover). 

After the big announcement we had so many people supporting us. We never had anyone who was negative about adopting and expecting at the same time (well, not till later). 
Now that we had made the announcement we continued on with our Home Study and preparing for our trip to California for Ashlyn’s birth. We would meet Ashlyn in less than a month! 
Next up: Part Six: Traveling to California!
Don’t forget to enter this months GIVEAWAYS HERE
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Ashlyn | everly | life

How We Got Rid of Our Girls Pacifiers!

By on December 28, 2015

Now that the girls are at an age where they really need to get rid of their pacifiers I knew I wanted to do it in a way that would be least upsetting. It might sound dramatic but having to deal with two toddlers hysterical over their comfort items and sharing a room doesn’t sound fun to me. 

 There was a couple ideas that sounded cute like the Paci Fairy but I didn’t think Everly would really understand that. I decided that putting their pacifiers in a bear from Build-a-Bear might be a good idea because then they would have control over putting the pacifiers in the bear and they could use the bear as a comfort item. 

We took the girls on a day where Ace had camp so we could really focus on them. We let them each pick out a stuffed animal. Everly picked out a purple rock star cat thing and Ashlyn picked out a puppy. 

We headed over to the stuffing machine and had Ashlyn go first. She put her paci in and stepped on the peddle to stuff the bear. She looked a bit skeptical but did it. Everly didn’t understand what was going on as much as Ashlyn. Ashlyn knew her paci was going “bye, bye”. Everly put hers in as well and stepped on the peddle. She liked watching everything. They then picked out a heart to put in the stuffed animals and they were sewn up. We explained that’s where their pacis were now. 

They “washed” their stuffed animals and played a bit then we paid and headed out. They didn’t seem to care that their pacifiers were gone. We headed home and at one point Everly asked for her pacifier so we gave her her cat and she actually tried to scratch open it’s back and screamed. After we told her it wouldn’t come out she went off to play. 

Nap time wasn’t horrible. They didn’t sleep but they didn’t freak out either. They basically climbed back and forth to each others cribs and played. 

Bedtime was another story. Everly was losing it. She was overtired and wanted her pacifier. She was screaming and throwing herself around. I have never seen her so upset. It was bad. Ashlyn cried and said she wanted her paci back and that seriously broke my heart but I told her she couldn’t have it and it was in her puppy. She was fine when we put her to bed but Everly was screaming. Branden had to go back upstairs to rub her back and separate their cribs because she kept climbing in Ashlyn’s and crying. Ashlyn did so well though. After they fell asleep they were out for the night! I was worried they would wake up and cry for their pacifiers but they didn’t.

They next day we had a play date which was a nice distraction. They did get tired while we were there so we left and Everly fell asleep in the car, not normal for her. Once we got home I put them down for a nap and they actually went down pretty well. They cried for a few minutes but they slept! 

no napping for this girl

I took Ace to see Alvin and the Chipmunks so Branden put the girls down for bedtime and said they were fine. Talk about success. 
Naps have not been fantastic. The girls end up playing in their cribs and not sleeping. Some days Everly will go to sleep but Ashlyn hasn’t been. I am thinking Ashlyn might have to just watch a movie on the couch and Everly goes down for a nap. Ashlyn has gone through phases of not napping before but I am wondering if this is it for her. Thankfully she will sit and watch a movie and have quiet time if we do that so it won’t be the worst thing. 
If anyone is looking for an idea to get rid of them I definitely recommend putting them in a Build-a-Bear stuffed toy. It’s just a fun way to get rid of it. I mean cutting it out cold turkey is probably just as good but I liked the little experience for the girls. 
And this is not a sponsored post. I just really love the Build-a-Bear company. I think they really do an amazing job at making the experience great for children. I would love to do a birthday party there but I would go broke, ha! 

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everly | life

Our Little Mover, Everly! #SetBabyFree

By on November 8, 2015

Sometimes I look at Everly and wish I had been able to cherish the baby time with her more. See, Everly never really was a “baby”. She was colicky for 6 months and it was a rough road. But she also started crawling right before 6 months and walking at 8.5 months. She just didn’t enjoy laying around and being held. It just wasn’t her style. 

Now that she is a toddler running around and jumping off of anything she can find I am realizing she is just a high spirited little girl. She is our little mover

Branden and I joke that Everly is a freak of nature. And we actually mean this in the best way possible. Physically she is very strong. She walks up the stairs like an adult. She can hold two things in her hands and walk up steps like it’s nothing. She doesn’t take the time to wait for her second foot to hit the step she is on before moving on. Nope, she is right up there. She also started jumping off the ground incredibly early. Her newest milestone is skipping which is more like galloping. When she started doing this it was just so crazy to me because she moves to steady and learns so fast. That saying “Thou She Be But Little, She is Fierce”. And I love it! 
When you have a super active toddler running around you need diapers that are going to move with her. We tried the new Little Movers by Huggies and they were made for this girl! They have what they call a Baby Moving System with a dry touch liner, contoured shape, double grip strips, and a leak lock system for up to 12 hours of protection against leaks! Huggies Little Movers for a toddler who sleeps through the night. 

Do you have a Little Mover of your own? Make sure to share a picture or video of your baby moving and groovin’ with the hashtag #SetBabyFree and they could be featured on their social media sites!

Thank you to Huggies for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try Huggies Little Movers Diapers!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! 


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Adoption | Ashlyn | everly | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: Finding Our We are Having GIRLS

By on September 29, 2015
If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up. 

When we got the ball rolling on our adoption we couldn’t wait to find out what our newest little one would be. Since our friend was so far along she decided to find out what she was having so we could start naming our two little ones. 
When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t have a strong feeling I was having a girl but for some reason when we decided to adopt I knew they would both be girls. It was a huge feeling I had. With Ace I never once doubted he was a boy. I just knew from the day I found out so I felt strongly we were having two girls this time around.
The day of Ashlyn’s ultrasound I was on pins and needles all day. We don’t live in the same state as our friend and it’s a 3 hour time difference so the day of the ultrasound felt like the longest day ever. She wasn’t even out of her appointment when she text me “Are you ready to find out what the baby is?” 
I text back “YES!!!” And it felt like those minutes between texts were hours. “It’s a…”
I started crying and told Branden “We are having a girl!!!” 
I can’t really remember anything after that because I was so excited to know what this little one was. It made me feel even closer to her. We still wanted to wait to name her because I had two girl names I wanted to use but if only one baby was a girl she would get both names. 
Everly Ashlyn was my original girl name from when I was pregnant with Ace. By the way I screamed when Channing Tatum named his daughter Everly because I knew it would become popular haha. 
Anyway we were going in for our NT scan and I had made sure to schedule it closer to 14 weeks just in case our friend who does my ultrasounds could tell what we were having. She was able to tell with Ace but wouldn’t give us a definite answer for our gender reveal party because it was too early but she was right so I figured it was worth a shot this time. 
We asked her if she could give us an idea of what she thought. I was looking at the ultrasound and thought I knew but she was nervous in telling me. “I don’t want to tell you if your heart is set on one or the other.” She knew we had a son and that we were probably hoping for a girl. So I told her “I promise we won’t be upset because we are actually already expecting a girl!” We told her about our adoption plan and she said ok and told us she will not say 100% but that she is 80% sure this baby looked like a girl but for us not to tell anyone or get our hopes up. She told me to come in in two weeks for a follow up one to confirm and we did just that. We had my sister, sister-in-law, cousins, Branden and Ace there to find out we were going to be having another girl! This meant that our first little girl would be Ashlyn and our second would be Everly! 
There is another reason each girl got the name they got. I wanted Ashlyn to have the middle name Lauren because it is from her biological family and since my sisters name is Ashley Lauren I really wanted Ashlyn for her. I also wanted her to not have the only E name and none family-ish first name. I also wanted Everly for our last baby because it reminded me of my name. It wasn’t a popular name, it was a bit more uncommon and she would get my middle name since she would also be born in March. Both girls got another middle name after each of mine and Branden’s Moms. 
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Ace | Ashlyn | everly | life

That Stay at Home Dad Gig

By on September 7, 2015


As I mentioned here I am back to work! I am seriously loving it. When I first decided to go back to work I was only working part-time on a temporary basis. Branden was working and we were like ships passing in the night. It sucked. Nothing was getting done and we were both exhausted. 
When I got the official notice I would be working full time in the Fall I begged Branden to stay home with the kids. Ace was starting the VPK program so his school would then be free. This would cut back a huge chunk of money we paid a month. 
We originally talked about having someone come for a couple hours each day in between the time I was still at work and Branden was heading to work. 

A picture Bran sent me while I was at work

I thought about it a lot and I just couldn’t handle it. I knew it would mean Branden and I would not see each other the majority of the time. Weekends would be him working and me with the kids. We could forget about family time. It also gave me a lot of anxiety thinking about someone coming in and watching the girls and me not knowing what was going on. I used to not stress this as much but I hear and see so many horror stories now that I just couldn’t do it. I have people I trust to take care of my children and none of them would have been able to do those hours. It just made more sense for Branden to stay with them. 
Fast forward to now and I am loving our new situation. Branden is much more domestic than me anyway so it works out better. He rocks at being a stay at home Dad. Ace had M&M day at school and while I was at a meeting for work he was busy getting his outfit ready. 

The first week I sent my girlfriends a picture of the laundry he did because I was so excited I didn’t even have to think about it. I am such a procrastinator with that kind of stuff. I feel so fortunate that I have this guy to call mine. I feel guilty at times because maybe I should be more that way. With my friends usually they are the ones who do all this stuff which is generally why I am the hot mess when it comes to anything to do with the house. I mean lets not forget about my ironing mishap.

Making dinner with Ace and the girls hanging out with us in the kitchen while Daddy gets a break 

I am really loving our situation right now. I love my job so much and I love being able to come home and be with my husband and babies. I know this probably won’t always be our reality. I am sure Branden will want to go back to work but for now I am really loving this. 
And I hope he knows how much I appreciate him staying home with our crew. I know it isn’t easy, especially with three kids and two of them being the same age. So in case I haven’t said it enough, THANK YOU BRANDEN!
Make sure you check out the latest GIVEAWAY now! 

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Adoption | Ashlyn | everly | life | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: Surprise We’re Adopting

By on August 17, 2015

This is the third part of a series I am sharing called The Story of Our Girls. To read the first part click HERE and second part HERE.

After finding out I was pregnant with Everly we were excited but very cautious. I had had my first OB  appointment and I just didn’t feel confident. I worried I would have a miscarriage and it just freaked me out. I had only told my closest friends and family. 

When I was about 8 weeks along I got news from one of my closest friends that she also was pregnant. I thought she might have been due around the same time as me but when I asked she revealed she was almost 7 months along. She then told me she was placing the baby for adoption. My stomach sank. The thought of the pain she would go through made me want to run to her and do whatever I could to help her through this. 

I text Branden while he was at work and his response was “Want to adopt the baby?”
I figured he was joking so I text back “Haha you know me so well.” 

But then a little bit later I get another message from my friend saying “I don’t want you to feel like you can’t be excited about your pregnancy because of what I am going through.” This is where I realize even more how fortunate I am to have the friends I do. With everything she was going through she wanted me to know she wanted me to still be happy. 

From there our conversation turned into so much more. She made a comment not completely asking us to adopt her baby but when she said it I laughed and said “So funny, Branden sent me a text asking if I wanted to adopt the baby.” Then she said “No, I am serious.” In that moment I was a ball of emotions. I was happy, scared, excited, and of course sad. I didn’t want my friend to have this loss. I didn’t want her to go through something that would bring her so much pain. I didn’t want to be the person to cause this by “taking” her baby. 

She later told me she always felt I was supposed to be Ashlyn’s mother. She had told our other friend, her best friend, that she wanted me to adopt the baby but didn’t think we would because I was pregnant. For some reason this always amazes me when she tells me this. 

She told me to really think about it and talk to Branden. She felt we were supposed to be this baby’s parents and for her to have that kind of faith in us as parents meant the world to me. 

When Branden and I got home I told him what she had said to me about adopting the baby. I could see the wheels turning in his head. He of course began to think about the logistics, cost, age of the babies and would we really be able to do this? It didn’t take long, though, for us to decide we were going for it. We had always wanted to adopt. We envisioned our family with two biological children and two adopted. We just always thought we would have two now and then two later on. 

We realized that this wasn’t what we had planned but it what was meant to be for our family. 

Next: Finding out we are having GIRLS! 

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Adoption | Ashlyn | everly | life | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: First OBGYN Appointment

By on August 1, 2015

This is part 2 in a series about Our Girls. If you would like to read the first part click HERE

I knew exactly how far along I was with Everly since we were trying to get pregnant. We had actually planned to stop trying but since I ovulated on my Moms birthday I knew it could be good luck to try. So when I was about 6 weeks I went in for my first OBGYN appointment. 
My OB office does an ultrasound for your first appointment to estimate a due date. When she did the ultrasound I noticed the faint heartbeat. My OB is amazing and looked at how nervous I was. She said “It’s ok the heartbeat is just starting to beat.” I said “You don’t think it’s just slow?” 
She reassured me that she didn’t think it was a slow heartbeat and I was on the verge of having another miscarriage. She told me to come back in a couple of weeks but that she was not at all concerned. She knew I had miscarried in the past and this was exactly what we saw then. A slow heart beat. The only difference was I was further along and the sac was irregular. I tried to not freak out but of course it was my go to reaction. I got in the car and called Branden crying. He immediately went to the store with Ace and bought baby girl outfits. He knew this baby was going to make it and apparently we were having a girl. I couldn’t help but smile.
I got a call from my friend Erin who had been anxiously waiting for me to call her after my appointment. She knew something was up (can we talk about what an amazing friend she is?). I told her that the heartbeat was slow and she could tell I was holding back tears. And here is where she wins, she said “Brenna, that probably just means you’re having a girl and she won’t be crazy like Ace.” After that I couldn’t help but laugh and I kept that thought in my head. This baby was just taking his or her time.
See with Ace I went to the OB at 5 weeks 5 days and his heart rate was fast! My OB was so excited for me that he said now this is a viable pregnancy! So to not get that reaction this time was difficult. My OB  didn’t give me any reason at all to be concerned, it was my own issues but it still scared me. I didn’t want to go through the heartbreak of a miscarriage again. I didn’t want to keep trying for a baby because having PCOS meant long cycles and lower chances of becoming pregnant. This baby was conceived on my Mom’s birthday so I had to have faith that was a sign. She was also due in March which is a big deal for my family. My Dad was due on St. Patrick’s Day, my Grandpa was born in March, my cousin Mike and nephew are all in March too. My Dad actually told my Mom they had to try for a St. Patrick’s day baby and even though I came 10 days earlier it was just something I always wanted too. When we were trying for Ace I didn’t even ovulate for 3 months at a time so I had no option to even try for a March baby. So the fact that it worked was like a little miracle. 
Next up: Finding out about Ashlyn! 
Thanks for following along with my Blog. Make sure to check out the most recent giveaway I have going on HERE!

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Ashlyn | everly | life | The Story of Our Girls

Story Story of Our Girls: The Beginning

By on July 14, 2015

I get a lot of questions about my girls. One of the main things people ask about is which baby did we know about first? Did we decide to adopt then magically become pregnant? How did you end up adopting Ashlyn? I decided to do a series of posts on our girls to help people understand the 9 months it took us to become our complete family. 

The Beginning
This day two years ago I felt a little dizzy and funny. I realized it was the same feeling I had had before and ran upstairs to take a pregnancy test. I took the test and messed around on my phone for a bit. I went back in the bathroom totally expecting a negative test but saw two lines. 
I actually had that moment where I wanted to find the test package and make sure that was a positive. For some reason that positive test didn’t feel real. 
It was two days before Ace turned 2 and we were going to my friend’s house the next morning for a play date. I ran to Carters before going to her house to get Ace a “Big Brother” t-shirt and headed to her house. As I got there she was outside and I said “Erin, come look at this cute shirt I got for Ace for his birthday.” She looked at it and totally freaked out. Erin, is my favorite person to tell things to because her reactions are always be and hilarious. The entire day she would look at me and say “I can not believe you are pregnant!” 
Later that night I put the shirt on Ace’s changing table and asked Branden to give Ace a bath and put the PJ’s I had set out for him on. I was sitting in our room listening to him go in there and look at the shirt. He was like “What’s this mean?!” haha. 
We waited to tell family in person. I had gone to dinner with my cousins for Branden’s birthday and put Ace in the Big Brother shirt and one of my cousins actually thought he had it on for the show Big Brother! It was like the longest time waiting for them to figure it out. 
We were so excited to be adding a little peanut to our family. Little did we know we would be adding TWO little ones to our family within five months! 

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everly | Everly Monthly | First Birthday | life | photos

Everly at 12 Months

By on April 9, 2015

Miss Everly, you are one year old! 

You are probably the funniest kid I have ever met. You have this personality that is so intense. You are very strong willed, happy and hilarious. You have a smile that lights up a room. It is so big. 
When you were just a few months old I would never have imagined you would have been like this. You were such a difficult baby, not your fault because you had colic, but it was tough. 
You love your baby dolls, blankies and balls. You carry them around all day. Dancing is also a favorite of yours. 
At your 12 month well visit you were 29.75 inches long and about 20lbs (I don’t remember exactly). You wear 12 months clothes but can fit into some 18 months because of your length. Your waist is very skinny like Ace’s. You wear a size 5 shoe and a 4 diaper (could be in 3s but we put you in 4s since that is what Ashlyn is in). 
You are pigeon toed like my side of the family. Hopefully it won’t be extreme since no one really is but you definitely walk like my Mom and your cousin and I love it. 
You know signs for more and eat but we rarely work on signs with you, poor third child syndrome. You can already run which is hilarious. I need to get it on video because I have never seen such a little person run like you. 
You are a wild child and have no concept of boundaries and getting hurt. You love to wrestle with Ace and will go behind him and try to pull him to the ground to wrestle. You will also throw yourself around when we lay pillows and blankets on the ground. You are just like Ace and Daddy. Ashlyn and I just hang out and watch you crazy 3! 
Ashlyn is your number 1. You and her have such a connection and I love it. I hope you are always close. 
You also love giving kisses! It is so sweet. You have really become the sweetest little girl. 

We love you so much beautiful girl!!!

Photos by Lindsay Lago Photography

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Birthday | everly | First Birthday | Party

Everly’s Cinderella First Birthday Party

By on April 1, 2015

Last week was Ace’s Spring Break and Everly’s first birthday. To say we were busy is an understatement. Get ready for picture overload. 
Friday my best friend Kat, her Mom and her girls came down to stay with us and help with Everly’s party prep. I wanted to do a dessert theme party so Kat made all these cute desserts. We did a Cinderella theme so everything was girly and princess-y. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect party for her. 

I decided that instead of goody bags I wanted to give the kids crowns, tutus, wands, shields and princess beach balls. I figured it was more fun for them to dress up and play pretend then have a bunch of junky toys that their parents will just throw away when they get home (I am totally guilty of this). 

We also had a Cinderella come to entertain the children. I had the hardest time finding a company that had really nice looking princesses for a good price and fun activities for the party. The majority just had really poor looking princesses but when I saw Princess Party Productions site I was floored with how gorgeous the costumes and princesses were! No straggly hair and skimpy dresses (yes, there were Elsa’s with skimpy dresses out there). They also offered simple face painting for no extra charge. Since we had a bunch of 3 year olds they were so excited and didn’t care it was crazy face painting options. My favorite was the butterfly.
After she did face painting she read the story of Cinderella, my kids love books so this was a must, then she sang a couple songs. After that it was time to do cake so she stuck around and sang Happy Birthday to Everly. She was very sweet to all the children and made sure to take pictures with anyone who wanted to. And can we talk about her voice?! I was blown away. 
After Cinderella left we tried to have Everly do her smash cake. She had taken a good nap so when she started crying I was surprised. Then my sister noticed Everly was getting her first tooth!! There was a big white bump and sure enough a tooth popped through the next day or two. Poor girl. We gave her some pain medicine and she was happy after that. All the kids played in the backyard and the adults just hung out. It was a pretty laid back party. 
After everyone had left we decided to try Everly’s smash cake and she went to town!!! It was seriously so funny watching her eat it. She would try to pick the whole cake up, not to shove it in her mouth mind you, she just wanted to pick it up. After she was done she started walking around the backyard and saw our neighbors in the pool a couple houses down and started “talking” to them. I don’t know what it was about that moment but it was just so funny to me. She just has the silliest personality. 
Party Details
Cake & Treats made by my best friend Kat and her Mom
Crown on cake made by my sister
Everly’s headband: Similar
Everly’s crown: Love Crush Bowtique
Party Favors Wands & Crowns: Oriental Trading
Ashlyn’s yellow tutu: sold out, similar in pink
Ashlyn’s Snow White Vogue Tank homemade by my friends mother in law
Ashlyn’s Headband: Similar
Everly’s outfit: Homemade by Kat
Cute blue skirts here and here
Pink & Blue Skirt on Dress Form: Zulily, similar here
Dress Form: Similar here and here
My Bippidi Boppidi Boo top: Lauren Conrad
Happily Everly After sign made by Kat
“E” made by me
Birdcage around “E” borrowed from my sister
Check out my Cinderella Birthday Pinterest board where I got most of the decoration ideas.

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