Sunrise in the Vineyard.

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We trekked out to California a few weeks ago to celebrate the wedding of one of my dearest, oldest friends! Along the way, Stevie and I planned to see/do a few special things and take advantage of one final trip before our baby boy arrives (so soon now!) We woke up early one morning in Paso Robles and decided to watch the sun rise over the vineyards. Because when you’re on East Coast time and nothing can keep you asleep, then you chase that sun rise! We grabbed coffee at our hotel oh so early, hopped into our rental car and drove out toward the tiny bit of light that was beginning to illuminate the wine country of Paso - it is SUCH a stunning place and home to dozens (maybe even hundreds?) of new wineries over the past 20 years or so (move over, Napa!) We found a beautiful vista and drove up into it, though knowing that we didn’t want to trespass on land that, A) wasn’t ours and B) wasn’t necessarily open to the public (remember, it was the crack of dawn!) Someone was working at the entrance of this particular vineyard (I don’t even remember the name!), and after he and Stevie exchanged a few Spanish words, we had permission, and we journeyed up, up, up!

Made it just in time. The sun crested over the hills and saturated the vinyards with every shade of the palest yellow, then marigold, then brilliant burning red. It was a sight to behold, something I will never forget.

I’m doing my best to take stock in these kinds of moments, especially as I near the end of this pregnancy and I feel such a strong shift of seasons coming my way. I know what a new baby entails - long nights, blurry days, a year passes in an instant. I’m anticipating what I know is coming, along with all the unexpected that will most certainly come along with his arrival! I can’t wait to get to know another baby boy of mine… my two boys are so different and such incredible people, who have changed me and taught me so much. I can’t wait to see what little man #3 has in store for our family. I truly feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

I have a few other things to share about this trip, including our drive up the 1 and some time in Big Sur and Carmel, so I will post those things this week while they are still fresh on my mind :) Also, a little IGTV film if you’re into it!


Chicken Tortilla Soup (Instant Pot Recipe!)

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I use my Instant Pot weekly around here and because it is SUCH a kitchen game-changer, I want to share more recipes that are Instant Pot-friendly! If you aren’t familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s basically a superhero version of a crockpot - you can make sweet potatoes, chicken, rice, you name it - in 20 minutes. If it’s 5pm and you have no dinner plan and only frozen chicken in your freezer, put down the takeout menu - you seriously can have dinner cooked and ready in under 30 minutes! I promise! The best time to buy an Instant Pot is around Labor Day/Black Friday because of the major discounts, but if you are ready to make this dinner tonight, you can snag it here (I use the 6-qt. version for my family and we always have leftovers, FYI).

This is my new favorite recipe to make in the Instant Pot - this super flavor-packed chicken tortilla soup!

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Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
- 1 package chicken thighs or tenderloins
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 32-oz. box organic chicken stock
- 1 can diced chilies & tomatoes
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can northern beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 jar tomatillo salsa
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 packet ranch seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
toppings: diced avocado, tortillo chips (Trader Joes makes an awesome Frito knock-off!), shredded cheese and sour cream

Method:

1. Drizzle 4 tbsp. olive oil in bottom of Instant Pot.

2. Place thawed chicken tenders in bottom of instant pot, separating them as best as possible.

3. Add in all the spices on top of the chicken, including the ranch dressing packet (still looking for a “cleaner” version of this - let me know if you have ideas!)

4. Add 1-1.5 cups chicken stock.

5. Select “pressure cook” and make sure the time is set to 12 minutes. Close and lock the lid and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”.

6. Once chicken is finished with the pressure cook cycle, use a fork and knife to shred the chicken.

7. Then add in the rest of the ingredients! The beans, diced chilies and tomatoes, beans, tomatillo salsa and remainder of the chicken stock.

8. Serve topped with diced avocado, some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream, along with some broken up tortilla chips. Dinner is served!

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Pregnancy Ride-or-Die Products. Baby #3.

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This baby boy #3 isn’t kidding - he means BUSINESS. My body knows what its doing this third time around and everything has happened so quickly - the bump, the swelling, the sore feet, back aches, dry skin and a whole bunch of other weird things. Not to make pregnancy sound rough - but there are definitely some interesting challenges to face and I’ve found some things that have helped ease some of the more difficult tasks! Rounding up some pregnancy-safe products and routines that have been working for me this time around and I hope they help you out, too, sister! Most of this stuff isn’t pregnancy-specific, so you don’t have to be bumpin’ to reap the benefits.

*Also, because I love you, I have a few discount codes at the bottom of this post that you can use if you decide to purchase any of these products - yay! Because I like to shop but I REALLY like to shop with promo codes ;)

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Bath Time.
Follain Rose Bath Salts + Little Barn Apothecary Grapefruit & Honeysuckle Body Oil
You guys. I’ve found the most winning combination and I can’t stop this bath situation - I take one almost every night! During my last pregnancy, taking baths really helped me unwind at the end of the night and sleep better. This time around it’s already helping with my sore back and feet. I simply shimmy some of these bath salts into the running water and then add 5-10 pumps of this oil into the water as well. It’s literally the best scent of my life and the oil really helps your skin stay hydrated, especially when you get out of the bath.

Vitamin Time.
DoTERRA Life Long Vitality Supplements + Probiotic + Bone Nutrient Complex
I take the full dose recommended for these supplements every single day and it serves as a complete prenatal. I also take the Bone Nutrient Complex, the Probiotic AND I’m on an iron supplement (I’m always anemic during my pregnancies). It’s a lot of vitamins, but I just take them with breakfast and a glass of juice and get it done. I love that they are made from whole-food sources, so there’s no unnecessary synthetic ingredients padded in. I’ve learned so much since my last pregnancy about the types of vitamins that really resonate with my body, so this is one of the things I am most proud of using daily!

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Clothes Time.
I wish I could just be naked. But that can’t really happen because this isn’t Papua New Gineua and my kids might get weirded out. But this time around I’ve been wearing some awesome Carly Jane hand-me-downs from my BFF Holly along with a slew of Target Knox Rose dresses (non-maternity). And I’ve been SO comfy! Especially since we’ve had an endless summer over here. Also, I went ahead and busted out all the Blanqi shapewear because I learned about this brand last time and seriously, it’s THE game changer. Helps lift my belly and keep the pressure off my special area and lower back. If you are pregnant, BUY THIS TANK. You will be forever changed.

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Skincare Time.
On my Face:
I often switch up my skincare routine, but I’ve enjoyed cleansing with doTERRA Verage Cleanser, using the Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner, using the Pai Back to Life Serum and the Herbivore Botanicals Prism and Orchid face oils for moisture. These are all safe for pregnancy (I absolutely LOVE the doTERRA Yarrow/Pom oil for my face, but it’s not something that’s pregnancy-safe so I’ve taken a break from it until the baby arrives).

On my Belly:
I have stretch marks from my previous pregnancies, and from what I’ve read they’re just a genetic thing and there’s not TONS you can do about them. But I still try! This pregnancy I’ve been slathering my belly in the Earth Mama Belly Oil (used at night) + Earth Mama Belly Butter (used in the morning) + doTERRA Body Butter (used after showering and swimming) & Immortelle Anti-Aging Rollerball Blend (used to spot treat areas where I already have stretch marks, to help repair the skin). It might seem like a lot, but I really love all these products and the routine of using them really relaxes me and feels like self-care. So I love them all!

Discount Codes + Deals for YOU!

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Follain (for skincare products)
15% off online: use code ref15_3i83z7

Blanqi (shapewear + maternity support)
*
$20 off your first order when you use this link to shop!

DoTERRA (supplements + essential oils + some skincare)
*25% off your first AND every order by clicking here (for supplements I use daily)
***(also, I will send you a welcome package of samples and a custom gift for you when you purchase a $100+ wholesale membership starter kit!)

Earth Mama (skincare and other pregnancy-safe products)
*Spend $50 and get 20% off with code BYOBundle
*Also, THIS is a really great starter kit if you want to try out some of the Earth Mama pregnancy products!


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Other Items I’ve Been Using:


Think Before You Speak.

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I’ve experienced a series of what you could call, unfortunate events.

Yesterday at the grocery store, a stranger told me I was so big that “this baby better get out soon because he’s going to mess up my hips”.

This past weekend, a stranger at a restaurant asked me if I was “sad that I’m having another boy and not a girl”. They said this in front of my entire family, including my two sons.

Then at Everett’s baseball game, a stranger told me a story about her friend who had six boys while trying for a girl, only to have her husband leave her and have a baby girl with another woman. “I’m sure that won’t happen to you,” she said.

Are you flabbergasted? I still am. Like I said, these are some unfortunate events.

Add this to the collection of others who feel the need to walk up to me, ask about my baby’s due date and gender, and proceed to tell me their horror pregnancy stories. Their emergency stories. Their near-death labor and delivery experiences. I don’t know why people do this, but they do indeed do it. They feel the openness and comfort level to talk, talk TALK to pregnant women. They wouldn’t do this to a stranger on the subway. I don’t think.

My response over the weekend was anger. “People should NOT speak to pregnant women!”, I told Stevie. “We aren’t dogs! Don’t come up and try to pet us and then say foolish things!” I contemplated not going out in public anymore, just to avoid any other triggering situations. Should women in their third trimester be subject to people’s verbal opinions on how they look?

Since the weekend has passed, I’ve had more time to think about it and I think I have actually learned a personally valuable lesson from all this.

I can learn from the hurtful things that people say to me. Because I am human, too, and just like my parents used to tell me when I was a little girl, I need to learn to THINK before I SPEAK.

Even though I was the target of these comments (or rather, my belly), the truth is that I don’t always think before I speak to someone, and as a result I could hurt someone’s feelings by carelessly remarking on something I don’t need to have an opinion on.

There is a reason pregnant women don’t want to tell people their chosen baby name, the baby’s gender, OR their due date. They don’t need to hear commentary from a stranger who isn’t invested in this baby. They don’t need to hear insensitive remarks. I didn’t need that over the weekend, as I felt puffier than ever and really, really tired.

This is such a lovely community of friends here, so I don’t share this because I feel attacked here. The opposite in fact. But I think we could all use the reminder (myself included) to do as our mothers told us when we were little, and THINK before we SPEAK. You never know how your own random words can seriously rattle someone, even if you walk away and don’t think a thing of it. That pregnant, hormonal woman (who knows exactly how big she looks, by the way), is most likely dealing with her own insecurities, fears and anticipation (as well as an array of discomforts!) and doesn’t need a strangers’ input/commentary.

If you see a pregnant woman and are desperate to say something to them because you just REALLY can’t help yourself, there are two appropriate things you can say:

1. How are you feeling?
2. You look wonderful!

That’s all! There is no need for you to follow up with your own stories or input. Because without even realizing it, that woman is definitely reading between the lines of what you’ve already said (pregnancy hormones make us extra sensitive!!!), so those few words are more than enough.

I share this today so that we can all be more aware and sensitive to those around us. Our words are powerful, they hold weight and they can make a difference in someone’s day. Today is a great day to brighten someone’s day with your powerful, KIND words!

P.S. - Just so you know, after that women’s comments at the grocery store, I stumbled upon an enormous, beautiful pre-lit Christmas wreath in the store, and I BOUGHT IT. So don’t feel bad for me - Costco seems to always have my back.

A Boy Mom Pregnancy.

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Wearing:

Blanqi Maternity Tank, Carly Jean Maternity Tank, Blanqi Maternity Leggings, Nike Free Run Shoes


We took these photos one morning in Central Park and it was cool. I am craving that cool feeling right now! Just this week I’m really starting to feel big and so round and slow and gosh… I still have 3 months left to go. I don’t think there are enough popsicles in the world to cool me down. I am not usually one to want to rush the seasons, but this time around I am fine with saying goodbye to summer and moving into a little fresh fall air. Ready for a little sweater weather, or at least the ability to feel COOL and watch other people wear sweaters ;)

This pregnancy has been different from my others. At first, I thought I must be having a girl because I was just SO SICK, and since that was unique to my other pregnancies, I assumed that meant it was a different gender. I’m so happy to be wrong! We are thrilled to be having a bunch of boys - it certainly makes for easier planning and prep! Don’t get me wrong - I am so girly and it would be fun to have a little girl, but apparently God wants to stock our family with manly men! My little boys are such wonderful people, and I am just so excited to experience raising another little one with his own personality and quirks and LIFE. I am so excited to snuggle a little baby boy again. There is truly nothing sweeter. I just need to get to the finish line without waddling my way there!

I have been a part of an amazing small group of women over the past several months, where we gather and watch an online faith-based parenting course called Moms of Men. I highly recommend it! If you have struggled with knowing how to best raise your little boys (like I have!), this course gives so many amazing resources, tools and wisdom for how to lean into your own gut instincts as a mother. I’ve also been reading this book (very slowly, haha), but I am really loving the insights about boys and how they develop and grow! When I first found out I was having Everett (over five years ago! Where has the time gone?!) I was honestly freaked out about knowing how to raise a boy. How to discipline, how to talk about sex (seriously howwwww), how to give him space and freedom but also have a close relationship where we can talk about anything - how how how?! I was so overwhelmed. I’ve learned that it’s just a step-by-step, day-by-day adaptation. As the boys are growing up, I’m growing into my own sense of motherhood. It’s a long story, slow and drawn-out, something that we are all writing together. I am so grateful for the slow pace, because it gives me time to learn and grow and make mistakes, and hopefully - learn from them too!

I am so curious about this new little boy. What will he look like?! How will his birth order impact his personality and demeanor? How will he interact with his brothers? I am so excited and also so prayerful that I can give the same amount of love and investment into this little guy as my others. It’s so strange to anticipate loving someone who isn’t quite here yet. I mean, he’s HERE (kicking me all the live long day), but you know what I mean, right?

I can’t wait to meet you, little boy! But I can. So stay put in there until it’s necessary to evict. xx


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