Baptizing the Byrds

When we were in Michigan, we had the opportunity to get all three of our babies baptized at a place that is very special to our family – Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp

If you know me even a little bit, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this camp. It’s been in our family’s lives for a long time (ask, and my Grandpa will proudly tell you of the year he was given the “best boy camper” award – with a pencil to prove it).

It’s truly my happy place and, even though I’m too old to be a camper, I make sure to visit every summer and I look forward to sending our kids there too! 

We had a sweet little ceremony down at the lake. The pastor had asked the summer staff to join us as well and they sang a couple of songs (which just so happened to be my two favorite camp songs – woo hoo!)

It was such a beautiful day that I will cherish forever. 


To my three sweet babies, 

In a small ceremony at Fortune Lake, we welcomed you into a community of faith that, we feel, is so needed in this broken world.

Daddy and I pray that you all learn to know Christ and follow Him. While we wish we could just make that decision for you, all we can do is promise to love and teach you to the best of our ability. 

Your individual faith journeys will look different. You will all experience love and loss. You will question and explore. You will be frustrated and you will be exhilarated. Just always know that you are special, unique and created by God and that before you were our children, you were His. 

You wont remember this special day, but that’s OK. Just always remember you are loved. Loved by your family. Loved by the church community. Loved by each other. Loved by God. 

May Jesus bless you and keep you always. May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace. You are the lights of the world. 

Love, 

Mom

 

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Bringing Baby to the Beach

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #JumpIntoSummer #CollectiveBias

Summertime has arrived here in Hawaii and we are finding ourselves at the beach more than ever.

Yes, even with a newborn.

For a little while, our tradition of surfing on Thursday nights with friends was the only beach time we were fitting in each week but as the temperatures are rising we have been trading in our park days for beach days and squeezing in weekend trips too.

Weekend beach time is extra sweet because Alex gets to come with us.

Yes, it’s a lot of work. Packing up (what feels like) the entire house, loading it – and the kids – into the van, unloading it at the beach, setting up camp, tearing down camp, bringing it all back to the van, washing off the kids, dressing the kids, taking care of the wet, sandy stuff at home (tired yet?).

But it is SO worth it.

I love watching Lyla and Simon’s confidence in the water grow. Alex took Simon out on his surfboard for the first time this week – how cool is that?

I love the quiet time that I get with Etta Rae as I sit with her in the shade.

I love seeing the smiles on the faces of my family and hearing them laugh.

I love watching Lyla and Simon play. They sit in the sand together and make “soup”. They chase birds and each other. They play peek-a-boo with their baby sister. They just have fun.

So much goodness.

I know a lot of you mamas out there will have fresh babes this summer and the thought of bringing them to the beach/pool/any body of water is daunting. Especially if you have older children too. But, mama, you can do it! Whether you are taking them solo or will have extra hands around to help, here are my “must have” items for bringing baby to the beach…

  1. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) for the kids. My number one concern when taking the kids to the beach is safety. The first thing that I do when we get to the beach is put a Puddle Jumper® life jacket on Lyla and Simon. They both know not to go in/near the water without an adult but having them wear their Puddle Jumper® life jacket gives me peace of mind while I set up our camp. We started using the Puddle Jumper® life jacket with Lyla last summer and recently went back to Target to get Simon his own. The kids love them because they are easy to put on (just slide their arms through and clip the adjustable buckle in the back), they are comfortable (the woven polyester material makes them softer and prevents chafing) and they totally give them confidence in the water.  I love them because they have been approved by the US Coast Guard as a PFD and they have antimicrobial properties built in to resist odor causing bacteria from building up (yuck!).
  2. Designated space for baby. A playard works great at the beach because it offers you a solid surface to put baby down that is away from curious, sandy fingers. We bring a fitted crib sheet to put over the top to keep bugs and sand out and give an extra layer of sun protection.
  3. Water and snacks. Our kids (OK, fine – me too) love to snack at the beach. Taking a nice snack break in between playing and swimming usually buys us more beach time. I try to pack a healthy variety into a bunch of small containers so that if a wet, sandy hand finds its way inside we don’t lose it all.
  4. Baby powder. Even if you rinse your kids off in the ocean or the beach shower and physically carry them straight to the car, they will somehow find a way to cover themselves in sand from head to toe. To make sure you leave the beach at the beach – and to save your car from becoming a crazy, sandy mess – put some baby powder wherever the sand is stuck to your kids and it will brush right off. Seriously, magic.
  5. Water resistant blanket. If your kids are anything like mine, they will constantly be bringing you sand “ice cream cones” and treasures that they find in the water. Having a water resistant blanket helps keep your butt comfy and makes it easier to brush the sand away too 😉
  6. Re-sealable plastic bag. I make sure to have a few of these in different sizes. The sandwich size is perfect for keeping my phone safe. The gallon size makes a great diaper pail.
  7. Sun protection. Duh, right? Make sure you have sunblock and don’t forget to reapply!!
  8. Camera. Point and shoot, iPhone, DSLR, Polaroid – whatever you use, use it! Make sure to capture these special moments with your family.
  9. Baby blankets. Lots and lots of baby blankets. Because inevitably, the blankets are going to get wet/sandy/spilled on/etc. and you don’t want to wrap up baby in a dirty blanket.
  10. A giant beach bag. One big enough to throw everything inside.

If you want to pick up a Puddle Jumper® life jacket for your child this summer, you can find them at Target! They fit children 30-50 pounds and have lots of fun designs for kids.

What is your “must have” item for a trip to the beach?

 

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Strawberry Fields Forever

On our recent trip to Michigan, we spent one morning at a local farm picking strawberries with my grandma. Lyla wore a pair of my old overalls and picked berries like a pro. The sun stayed behind the clouds, leaving us nice and comfortable. We joked, we worked, we tasted sweet berries (shhhh, don’t tell). It really was a special morning and I found myself holding back tears numerous times. My grandma must have felt it too because she kept telling me to make sure I grabbed some photos, so I did. I’ll let them do the rest of the talking…

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Living Better with Blueberry Popsicles

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SipandBeFit #CollectiveBias

blueberry coconut popsicles

Has this summer been hot or has this summer been hot?

My goodness.

I’m not sure if it just feels extra warm because I’m more than halfway through my pregnancy or if the humidity levels here in Hawaii have tripled over the last few months, but whatever the reason I am melting

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Lyla and I have been doing what we can to stay out of the heat – beaches, children’s museums, extra long trips to the store – but, as it always seems to do, real life starts calling and pulls us back to the (non-air conditioned) house at some point everyday. 

While we are at home taking care of real-life things, we try to stay hydrated. Lyla is just like her dad and is a water drinking machine which is awesome. I love water too, but after a few glasses I often find myself returning to the fridge for sugary, carbonated drinks. I know they are terrible for me but I’m a total sucker for those bubbles.

Of course, I know I need to break this habit. Especially now that I have a little one watching my every move. So, last time we were at Walmart I decided to pick up some better-for-me beverages to stock our fridge with for those times that I’m looking for a break from water. 

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There are so many different options available that it was hard to choose which to try first but I eventually settled on Snapple Straight Up Tea, Brasilia Blueberry Bai5 and the 500ml Vita Coco Pure. Now that our fridge is full of drinks with more real, natural ingredients, I feel a lot better about the drink choices I am making during the day.

Using the Brasilia Blueberry Bai5 (and a little bit of the Pomegranate Bai5), the 500ml Vita Coco Pure and some fresh blueberries I decided to take my better living to the next level and made some delicious, refreshing popsicles.

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blueberry popsicles

You can make your own blueberry popsicles in 4 easy steps:

1 // lay out your popsicle molds

2 // fill molds with blueberries 

3 // pour your favorite better-for-you beverage into mold

4 // replace tops, put into freezer and wait patiently

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Try customizing the look of your popsicles by using paper straws as the popsicle sticks! Cut the straws to size and wait until your popsicles are slush-like in the freezer before inserting to make sure they stand up straight. 

If you are ready to start living a healthier lifestyle, make sure to enter the giveaway below. Each week, three winners are going to receive a $50 Walmart gift card and a $150 fitness tracker – awesome, right?!

#SipAndBeFit Sweepstakes!

I’d love to hear what steps you are taking towards better living – check in with me on Facebook or Instagram and share away! 

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California Recap

Happy Monday, folks! I hope you all had a good weekend. We spent the last few days house hunting, trying to finally fight off this bug that we’ve been carrying around since we got home and dreaming about endless buffets of food.

Oh, I guess that last part was just me.

Baby boy must be having a big growth spurt because I have been SO hungry lately and never really feel satisfied after a meal. I’m trying not to give into the urges too often but really wish that I could go to a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Can someone make that happen?

Anyways – I didn’t come here to talk about buffets, I came to tell you all about the California portion of our trip! 

We started off in Fallbrook with some of Alex’s family. His Grampa Earl was celebrating his ninetieth birthday so we all gathered at Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob’s for delicious dinner and fun family time. 

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Next up was Disneyland with Mimi! We stayed at the Anaheim Magestic Hotel which was awesome — I totally recommend it (not sponsored by them or anything, just really pleased with our stay)

At the risk of sounding like “that girl” I have to confess that I love Disneyland and taking my daughter for the first time was so much fun! She really soaked it all in and, even though she wont remember this trip, I know that she enjoyed herself.

Her highlight? Definitely watching Disney Junior – Live on Stage. Her mouth was open in shock the entire time as she watched some of her favorite characters up on stage. I’m going to say her least favorite were the fireworks — kinda scary for a tired toddler (but a great show for everyone else)

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^girlfriend don’t play at a buffet 😉

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After Disneyland, we made our way up to our old stomping grounds in Ventura County. We spent some time in Ojai, hit up the beach and Ventura Pier, and ate lunch at our favorite Mexican food place. It was so great to be able to get the cousins together and to spend time with Alex’s side of the family. I even got to squeeze in breakfast with my good friend, Beth 🙂

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^ Aren’t they cute? Little Grant and Lyla are only one week apart 🙂

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We finished up the trip at a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple. Congratulations to John and Lauren! 

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It’s always hard when we get to the mainland because there is never enough time to time to see everyone and do everything but I feel like we did a good job this trip. Looking forward to next time!

 

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