24 June 2015

A Birthday Wish List

I have a birthday coming up. My 26th birthday to be exact. We honestly have been dreading this birthday of mine. Without getting all political, I certainly benefited from being able to stay on my parents health insurance up to this birthday. Cancer care isn't cheap! It should be an interesting journey for me into the land of TRICARE Standard (neither myself nor our children are seen by Army doctors, but that's a story for another day.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, birthday. In true Amanda fashion, I need lottery winnings in order to afford the entirety of my birthday wish list. Hey, thats why it's called a "wish" list, right? 

Let's dive right in!

women's gift guide

one || Yellow Nikes || Who doesn't need a pair of yellow sneaks? Yeah, I don't know either. Put me down for one pair, size 8 please!

two || Diptyque candle || How ridiculous is the price tag on this candle??! I mean come. on. This candle line is raved about by TiffanyD on YouTube. So, when our Nordstrom started carrying the line, I went in to check them out... Holy awesome! Each and every candle smelled EXACTLY like what it claimed to. My favorite scent was this one, followed in a close second by this one.

three || Tiger Gemstone Earrings || These earrings are by the same ETSY shop that made my art deco eternity band from my new ring stack. These earrings are so beautiful and fancy looking yet affordable. Think this stay at home mom could pull them off for daily wear? I do!

*Tiger Gemstones is offering 10% off any order for Marry Mint readers! Just use promo code "MARRYMINT" at checkout! Click here to shop! *

four || Wildfox Graphic Sweater || I've been dreaming (gosh I'm funny) about having this sweater in my closet but don't because it is never goes on sale.... but it is on sale right NOW!!!!  Like nearly half off on sale!! What perfect timing, dontcha think? I may have to "happy birthday Amanda" this one to myself... ;) I just love this soft pink color and of course Wildfox sweaters are the most comfortable things on this planet.

five || Michael Kors wedges || Somewhere between my feet growing half a size during pregnancy and toddler chasing, my heel supply has dwindled to essentially nothing. But we WILL rebuild from this tragedy. Ha! Wedges are hands down my favorite type of heel to wear. Whether on a strap-y summer shoe or on a fall boot, wedges are just great. Lets start my new and improved heel collection with these (also happen to be on sale!!), yes?

six || Rodan & Fields "Reverse"  || Recently an old friend, who is a sales rep for Rodan & Fields reached out to me to introduce me to her product line. Ever the skincare junkie, I was intrigued! I poked around online, saw the price and kind of started hunting for cheaper alternatives. Then another friend told me she has started using Rodan & Fields skincare and was absolutely singing their praises! I mean their client testimonials and before/after images really can't be beat. My primary skin care issues are, dark under eye circles, hyper pigmentation, enlarged pores and obviously sun protection. Basically the entire Reverse regimen needs to be in my bathroom STAT!

seven || LV Neverfull GM || Of few things I'm certain of in life, but I am certain that I will not be getting this bag for my birthday, because...bills. BUT, I'm nothing if not persistent. So, this bag will stay on my wish list until it's on my shoulder. Sit back and enjoy seeing it hereon repeat. ;)

eight || MAC "Brick-O-La" || In the notes section on my phone, I literally keep a running list of lipstick shades I want. This one is on deck!

Well, now looking over this list, it seems what I really need is a Nordstrom gift card. Ha! What can I say, it's really the only department store we are working with up in these parts.

But for real, how excited are you about this collaboration happening at Nordstrom and ShopBop?!

22 June 2015

Michael Robert - 2 Months Old

Two months have come and gone since we welcomed our son into the world. In some ways it seems like just yesterday I was waddling around pregnant, but at the same time it seems like Mike has always been here. We've managed to cram so much into these past couple of months and his easy going nature has made that possible. We are so excited to continue to get to know him as we see just a little more of his personality each day. And hey, fun fact, I remembered to not only schedule but attend his two month well baby check! *high five* 

Here's the skinny (ahem, not so skinny) on Michael this month!

Weight || 12 pounds 5 ounces putting him in the 75th percentile!

Diet || Breast milk. 

Health || Other than a little yeast infection in the diaper area, our boy is completely healthy! Thank goodness!

Loves || Ceiling fans, lights, being in his Ergo, noise, movement, being bounced, his paci, being held, and grabbing clothing.

Loathes || His car seat, having a dirty diaper, diaper changes, and getting dressed


Clothes || Mike is wearing some 0-3 month stuff but mostly 3 month clothing! And ugh, rookie mistake... I had a piece of clothing out of order in his closet so I nearly missed a good chunk of his 0-3 month pieces. Tragic I tell you! ;)

Baby Gear || Really, not much has changed since his one month update.

Sleep || Mike sleeps pretty well at night for the most part, going for about 3-4 hour stretches. That is until this past week. Lord have mercy! He won't sleep more than an hour at a time at night without waking up for a meal and during the day he seems attached to the boob! Growth spurt anyone?!

Social/Milestones || Oh those sweet baby smiles and coos. Is there anything better? He has also rolled over a couple of times this month. Michael is studying his surroundings a bit more and is certainly more wakeful throughout the day which has been fun. :)

Hope you have a great start to your week!

Find Michael's 1 month update here!

17 June 2015

Recent ETSY Finds

If there is one shopping arena that I play very hot and cold with, it's ETSY. I can go months without even browsing through ETSY much less actually buy anything, but when I'm hot...I'm HOT. For instance, when Mallory was younger, faaarrrr too many headbands were purchased from various ETSY shops. Once Mallory's headband wearing days dwindled, I went into a cold spell with ETSY. I essentially forgot all about it until it was time to order Mallory's "big sister" t-shirt. It was then that the flood gates opened and they opened wide! In the name of spreading the ETSY shop love and hopefully encouraging you to spend more money than I have in order to get Kyle off my back, here are some of my recent ETSY purchases...

big sister t-shirt

Big Sister T-Shirt from Leftee Designs || The timeliness of delivery was excellent, even to Alaska! I got exactly what I ordered/expected without any surprises. I do suggest sizing up as Mallory's shirt was a bit snug. Overall, I had an excellent shopping experience and would definitely recommend this shop!

wedding ring stack

Twisted Wire 14K Gold Stackable Ring by Sweet Olive Jewelry || This shop is FULL of adorable, dainty rings! (I'm actually considering adding this ring to the party now that I'm looking at it...hmmmm.) So far I'm definitely pleased with the quality of my ring and haven't experienced and tarnishing or anything like that. The rings run very true to size and because of their slim nature, they slide over the knuckle with ease. Amy was a pleasure to work with! She answers emails promptly and was very willing to work with my last minute requests prior to shipping. 

Art Deco Eternity Ring by Tiger Gemstones || What a great alternative to adding an expensive diamond ring to my wedding set! Tiger Gemstones sells high quality, beautiful, conflict free-handcrafted jewelry. My ring arrived at my front within just a couple of days and I was literally shocked by this ring. It looks and feels incredible!

  ** Tiger Gemstones is offering a 10% discount to all Marry Mint readers!! Use promo code MARRYMINT at checkout! Shop here now!**

vintage animal ABC flashcards

Animal ABC Flashcards by Pretty Little Studio || Mallory is super into animals and animal sounds lately. When I came across these adorable vintage flashcards (for just $3.99!!!) I thought they would be a cute and educational addition to the kids' bedroom. This little string of cards hangs above their changing table; a spot we frequent throughout the day, so I figure we can rotate these babies every couple of weeks and BAM! Zoologist in the making. ;)

coffee printable

"But First Coffee" Print by Osanty || So I pretty much could order every print in this shop because I love them ALL, the issue would be finding a place to put them. Seriously, so many cute things! (I'm thinking this one needs a spot near my makeup counter...) This purchase was pretty straightforward, purchase and the digital file appears within your ETSY account. Download the digital file and send it off to be printed wherever you'd like. Easy!

leather tassel keychain

Leather Tassel Keychain by Michelle Ensign Shop || I'll be honest when I tell you that I was expecting this tassel to be smaller, so when it arrived I was a bit surprised. I ordered mine with the large clasp so I could clip my keys to the outside hard wear on my purse. This keychain is awesome! (Even if Kyle says it looks like something out of 50 Shades of Gray.) I think it adds a little something classy to my keys while making them easy to find while I'm holding two wiggly children and trying to get in my car. Major win in my book! 

And there you have it! The place where all of my money has gone--ETSY!

What ETSY shops do you love? I'd love to check them out!

15 June 2015

When People Are Good

My plan for today was simply to tell you about our weekend. Tell you how Kyle and my dad came home from the Russian River with our first three salmon of the season.

russian river salmon

How we took Mallory to Summer Fest on post followed by lunch at Red Robin and she was a total grump. (Nevermind what these pictures might indicate ;)...)

Summer Fest JBER

Summer Fest JBER

Summer Fest JBER

Summer Fest JBER

Then about our Sunday in Talkeetna. The amazing weather and breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley. 

Mt. McKinley

Mt. McKinley

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

But, my plans changed. They were changed by the kind, generous and thoughtful people of Alaska and instead I want to tell that story. 

Talkeetna, Alaska

As we were heading home from Talkeetna on Sunday, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a wildfire. 

sockeye fire

The relatively small fire we passed on the drive in to Talkeetna had spread to span thousands of acres in just a few hours.

sockeye fire

The highway was completely shut down.

This situation was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. The Alaska State Troopers drove up and down the roadway giving travelers updates on the fire and roadway conditions/timelines. When have you ever had police tell you what was going on during a mega traffic jam??

sockeye fire

Complete strangers with extra water went car to car making sure everyone had what they needed. 

sockeye fire

Local businesses offered shelter to evacuees and stranded travelers. The community rallied together on social media to ensure that everyone being evacuated not only had a place to go, but a way to get there. People were offering their horse trailers, dog food, and homes to total strangers. My friend was ready and willing to care for our dogs until we could make it home. 

We were fortunate enough to snag a hotel room in Talkeetna for the night. When we finally got settled in enough to grab something for dinner it was nearly 10:30pm. It was well past Mallory's bedtime, and honestly, the adults were tired and hungry too. We headed to the hotel lobby, Michael in his Ergo, Mallory half dressed and dirty, running around like a crazy person when I was approached by another baby wearing mama. We chatted for a bit about our kids when she asked what brought us to the hotel. I told her we were stuck in Talkeetna due to the fire and highway closures. She and her husband not only offered us diapers, food and a ride into town, but their home. Their home. They were willing to let a family of complete strangers share their home simply out of kindness.

Now, I've lived in enough states to know that it certainly isn't like this everywhere. People rallying together in every capacity to support each other... Well, it's just refreshing. 

Right now, I'm so so proud to live in Alaska. 

If you would like to donate to those affected by the Sockeye Fire, please click here.

If you are interested in specifically helping the animals/Alaskan sled dogs displaced by the Sockeye Fire, please click here

11 June 2015

Breastfeeding Baby No. 2

Wait! Don't go! You've come to the right spot, we've just spiced things up a bit. :) You know you have an awesome blog designer when you email her saying "Hey, can we update my blog's design? I want it to be be black, white and pretty" and she is somehow able to come up with an inspiration board that seems to read your mind! (Since clearly I lack the creative prowess to put my ideas into words.)
black and white inspiration board
HUGE shout out to Elizabeth from Chantilly Branding & Designs for her outstanding work!
Mallory and Michael as individuals really couldn't be more different. Kyle and I have been able to see their stark personality differences from the moment Michael was born. Mallory: headstrong, opinionated and determined. Michael: calm, laid back and patient. These traits have been particularly apparent with regard to breastfeeding. If you remember, breastfeeding Mallory started off chalk full of drama! She couldn't figure out how to latch! This resulted in one pissed off and hungry baby and two stressed out rookie parents! We spent the first several weeks feeding Mallory expressed breast milk through either a syringe/tubbing or a bottle then finally graduating to the nipple shield. It wasn't until she was about three months old that she finally figured out how to breast feed without any "accessories." All along we, along with her pediatrician attributed the breastfeeding issues with her being born a bit premature. 
breastfeeding tips

breastfeeding tips

breastfeeding tips

Fast forward to becoming pregnant with baby number two... I knew I wanted to breast feed again and regularly thought to myself "it sure as shit can't get too much more challenging than it was with Mal, can it?" As my pregnancy progressed and I began experiencing gestational hypertension, it seemed having another premature baby was becoming quite probable. I started to mentally prepare myself for a repeat of the breastfeeding circus act we preformed with Mallory. 
Ummm, no. From the moment Michael popped out, at the exact same gestational age as his sister, he breastfeed like a well trained professional. (and hasn't come up for air since...)
breastfeeding tips

breastfeeding tips

breastfeeding tips
Michael latched instantly and correctly! I was so relieved and really in awe at how beautiful that very first feeding can be. Babies are incredible! Because he too was premature, he had regular blood sugar checks for the first 24 hours to ensure he was getting the appropriate amount of colostrum. His blood sugar levels proved that he most certainly was! In fact, he left that hospital a mere 3oz lighter than he was at birth--chump change compared to his sister's weight loss. My milk even came in a day earlier this time around. Things went just swimmingly and we were so so grateful to have such a good eater! 
Maybe one of you really struggled to breastfeed your first child and my hope is that our story gives you little hope that round two won't be as tough. 
On a semi unrelated note :: I had somehow convinced myself that nipple/breast discomfort was exclusively a first child thing. Nope. Wrong-O! The karma gods decided to punish my ignorance. A few days after we left the hospital, when my milk supply was really kickin' it into high gear, I developed mastitis. In BOTH breasts! Total suck-fest for a good 24 hours until the antibiotics started doing their thing. The "funny" part of the whole mastitis gig was that I would literally have sold my soul to get Mike to nurse using the nipple shield I so passionately loathed when I was nursing Mallory. I was desperate to offer my breasts a tiny bit of relief. No chance. He would only nurse on bare boob. It was like some kind of sick joke and I was not amused. [I highly recommend warm compress, lanolin cream and tons of water to combat that early breast feeding nipple pain. Mastitis though...call your OB! It's no joke and you'll most definitely know the difference!]
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