We're Having A.......

Yesterday was an exciting day for us! It was nice to wake up to texts and Facebook messages from friends and family members sharing their excitement for our ultrasound. We have some truly incredible people in our lives. People who go out of there way to send us "good luck" and "I'm so excited for your ultrasound" texts and "the suspense is killing me" "I can't wait to hear what precious baby Todd is" Facebook messages. Our journey to get here has been a long one and the love and support we receive warms my heart. We are truly blessed. 

We wanted Amelia to go with us to the ultrasound. To say she is excited to become a big sister would be an understatement. We can't go to the mall without her wanting to look at things for the baby. She could care less about shopping for clothes or toys for herself, it's all about her baby. We also asked my sister Erica to go with us. She had never been to an ultrasound with us before and it was important to me to have her there. Most people thought we would be having a boy. Amelia said "I think it's a boy. I really want a sister, but I'll love it no matter what". I really didn't have that pregnant mom gut feeling one way or another. My guess when Amelia asked was girl, but mainly that was to make her smile. 
She was moving so much it was hard for the tech to get a good clear photo. I'm already so in love with her. 
Our baby was incredibly active and stubborn. The ultrasound tech said she was about 95% sure she knew what baby was, but wanted to be 100% sure. She had me lay on my right side, but baby still didn't cooperate. She hadn't even been able to get measurements or check everything she needed to see and we were about 40 minutes in at that point. Finally I mentioned that if I lay on my left side I know that baby would move. I'm telling you, I feel this baby non-stop. Sure enough, after I turned to my side the tech was able to get everything she needed. Amelia left for a minute to use the restroom and while she was gone was when the ultrasound tech let us know what we were having. I was so sad Amelia missed it, but in the end I was so glad that she did. When Amelia came back in the tech showed Amelia exactly what she was seeing and told her it's a little girl. Because I already knew I was able to focus on Amelia's reaction... which was something I will never forget. That girl's smile was priceless. She also let out a "YES" to go with her ear to ear grin. My heart is overflowing and I can't wait to hold my two little girls in my lap at the same time. 

Ashley Elizabeth

Wildlife Safari

Sunday we woke up early and headed down to Winston, Oregon to go to Wildlife Safari. Amelia has been begging for us to take her since she went a couple of years ago with Grace and Chris. We were so excited my mom was able to go with us, since none of us had ever gone before. It ended up being a really great day and such a fun time. The drive is about three hours from our house, but definitely worth it. With your passes you are able to drive through two times, but we decided we only wanted to go through once. I'm glad we arrived when we did because it ended up being a hot day and most of the animals, while they were still out roaming around, were heading off to shade. I think if we had gone through any later we would have missed them being up. We saw everything from lions to a zebra that was just feet away from our window. Elk, several different types of deer, cheetahs, tigers, monkeys, elephants, bears and so many more animals. Amelia enjoyed going from one window to the other looking at everything.

I was excited to see that there was so much more to do than just drive though the park. It was so cool to see all of the animals roaming around, but getting out of the car and walking through the safari village was a blast too. We got to see flamingos, camels and a ton of other small animals/reptiles. Amelia was really excited to go to the gift shop. That girl loves stuffed animals. When she had gone with Grace and Chris they bought her a stuff wolf that she accidentally lost on our trip to the east coast. She was hoping to replace him, but unfortunately they didn't have a wolfie. She did however end up with an adorable giraffe and a stuffed lion cub that my mom got her. 

We had so much fun that we will definitely go back in the future. Wildlife Safari has so much to do and is a great place to spend a day! My only recommendation is to go early if it's going to be a hot day. 
Ashley Elizabeth

20 Weeks

How far along: 20 weeks today - HALF WAY!!!!!

Current size: banana (approx:10.5oz and 6.5in)

Due Date: February 7, 2016    

Symptoms: I think I am past the worst of the morning sickness. I still get slightly nauseous in the morning, but I am rarely throwing up anymore!!! Hallelujah!!! 

Gender: We find out this week!!!!!

Gender predictions: So far most people are guessing boy. 

What are you hoping for: a healthy baby! I would love for Mark and I to have a mix of girls and boys, but I would also be completely thrilled adding another girl to our family... really, I'm not picky at all. I won't have gender disappointment. I'm excited no matter what. 

Names: They are picked out! 

Movement: ALL THE TIME!! This baby is just as active as Amelia was. I feel baby Todd non-stop and I love every second of it. 

Clothes: I live in leggings and a few maternity tops. I realized this week that I need to go shopping for some jeans and a few more shirts (or have my mom make me some more). I need a little more variety in my wardrobe and with Fall coming soon it's the perfect time to get some new things. 

Sleep: I'm doing okay with sleep. I have to pee every hour... almost exactly on the hour. I toss and turn a lot more now, but overall I feel mostly rested.  

Cravings/Aversions: none at the moment. I still haven't gained weight and with the morning sickness gone I can stomach more foods than before, so I'm hoping to incorporate a mostly paleo diet back into my life.  

What are you doing to prepare: I have tons of items picked out; stroller, carseat, play mat and other more gender specific things we can purchase once we know the sex. With there being 7 years in between Amelia and this baby we did get rid of quite a few items and our carseat has expired, so we are picking away at those things. Also we plan to venture into the world of cloth diapering so I've narrowed it down to two brands of diapers and I think we are going to try both out on baby. 

Mood: I have my cranky moments, usually when I haven't slept well, but for the most part I think I'm doing well. 

Looking forward to: Thursday!!! We are taking Amelia out of school early to go to our ultrasound with us. We also asked my sister Erica to come with us. Grace and mom have both been to an ultrasound with me before (Grace with Amelia and mom with this baby) so I really wanted Erica to come this time. I can't wait to see that baby is doing well and to find out what we are having. 

20 week thoughts: This pregnancy has been much more challenging for me than when I was pregnant with Amelia. That being said... I absolutely love being pregnant and feel so blessed to be carrying this little love. Feeling the baby kick, watching Amelia's excitement and thinking ahead to all of the wonderful moments we'll have watching our children grow up together. There really is nothing greater than being a parent. 
Ashley Elizabeth

Angel Art Creations

Amelia is a very artistic little girl. She's been able to color in the lines since before she could talk... okay that might be a slight exaggeration, but the girl is crazy good at drawing and painting. When I found out a paint studio opened up in our little town I knew I had to sign her up for the kids classes.

Angel Art Creations, located in Oregon City, is an amazing place. I really don't know of anything similar in the area for both kids and adults. The kid classes begin at age 4 and go up to 11, and the adult classes start at 12 years old. Amelia has taken a few of the painting classes and loved each one! I really think she would take every single one if it didn't conflict with her dance class. The owner, Shawna, is amazing and she really takes her time with the kids to make sure they are happy with their work, that they are able to keep up and most importantly... that they are having fun! It is so wonderful to fill our walls with such beautiful pieces that were created by our child.

If you are in the area I highly recommend this place!!! I'm anxious to try an adult class myself. 
Ashley Elizabeth

A Fall Craft

I'm ready for Fall! This 90+ degree weather in Oregon in September just isn't my thing. I'm anxious to decorate our home with fall colors and only burn pumpkin candles for the next three or four months. Fall is definitely the best season!

I thought I'd share my absolute favorite piece of art that I hang on my wall this time of year. I posted this craft project a couple of years ago, but it's definitely worth posting again. It's a fun activity to do with the kids and a great piece of art to hang on the wall year after year.

What you will need:
canvas or paper (we used a canvas)
paint: brown, orange, red, yellow
paint brushes

I traced Amelia's had for her and then let her paint it in. I didn't paint her arm/hand because I wanted the trunk of the tree to be darker than it would have been if we did it that way.

Amelia created all of the leaves on her own by using her finger tips.

Amelia still loves this tree that she made and gets excited when she sees me hang it up. 

Enjoy this fun craft with your little ones! 
Ashley Elizabeth

Amelia's First Feis

This past weekend we headed to Seaside so that Amelia could dance in her first feis (Irish dance competition). Amelia started Irish dancing in April and really loves it. I was excited to see her compete for the first time, but also incredibly nervous for her. She's always been pretty shy and I wasn't sure how she'd do getting up in front of a couple hundred people and dancing. I was so excited that all of my family wanted to go with us. Mom, Erica, Grace, Chris, Liam and even my Grandma Grace all joined us. It was a great time, and a new experience for us all.

Saturday Amelia was entered into first feis competitions and beginner competition. I could tell she was so nervous, red face and all, but she did an amazing job! Really, I am so proud of her. A year ago she wouldn't have even considered dancing in front of anyone other than family, but she got up and did it like it was no big deal. I'm pretty sure I have kindergarten to thank for her being more outgoing.

Sunday Amelia danced at a beginner level in all of the soft shoe dances she knows. Again, she did really great! We have another feis coming up in October and she can't wait. She came home with three medals and a trophy that we now get to display in her bedroom. Watching her dance was seriously the cutest thing in the world.

Ashley Elizabeth

First Grade

Today was Amelia's first day of first grade. She's been anxious to go back to school for a few weeks now. She loves school so much. This morning was so different from last year. She wasn't scared or nervous. She woke up, got ready and skipped into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I have a feeling this is going to be another amazing year for our girl.

An after school photo. The rain destroyed her curls but she had a great day. 
Ashley Elizabeth