ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

ETC: T-30 days

 

We are so close! In less than 30 days we will be Bates, party of 3!

Looking ahead, since we aren’t sure when our little girl will make her grand appearance, I’m going to try and give an update every week. Don’t hold me to it, but I’ll try my best 🙂

For this post, join me as I take a look at back at our 8th month of pregnancy.

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Warning, this was a crazy busy week for us! For our 1 year anniversary, Te bought me tickets to a bread baking class. I was super excited because I’ve always wanted to go to a couple’s cooking class! We learned how to make sourdough bread and once everything came out of the oven, the instructor pointed out a loaf that was ‘perfect’. Low and behold, it was Te’s 🙂 It was also pretty ‘punny’ that we had our bread bun in the oven while I also have a ‘bun in the oven’ 🙂

Next on our list, we drove to Milwaukee to pick up a stroller. Also, I met with my long time friend Jenny and my sister for brunch. It was so nice to catch up!

Another thing we did was attend a home buying class! Redfin hosted a free class where they provided dinner and some tips for first time buyers. It was eye opening and left us feeling optimistic about *someday* buying our own humble abode.

Also this week, we went to our first Chicago Blackhawks game! It was magical 🙂 We have now been to every major Chicago sporting event (yes, including the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Wolves). The atmosphere at the Blackhawks game was unreal – I think it’s my new favorite type of event! We saw some friends at the game and were able to catch up with them a bit, which added to the excitement of the evening!

Believe it or not, we ALSO had a baby shower this week [I warned you, it was a very busy this week!]. Te’s Shred co-workers-turned-family threw us the cutest shower. We got our first diaper cake and Naomi got her first pair of (gold) Nike’s!! We are so thankful for the Shred team who has truly become family for us.

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This week, the city of Chicago celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by dyeing the river green! I’ve never gone to see the green river so we decided this year was the year we would go check it out! I couldn’t believe how truly green it was!

Unfortunately, after our many festivities of week 33, Te came down with the flu during week 34. It was a very tough week because he was VERY sick so I was trying my best to care for him while not getting sick myself.

On top of Te being sick, we scheduled a vet appointment for Pumbaa. It. Was. Awful. Our cat HATES the vet. It’s truly the worst time of year when we have to take him. He gets angry and hisses and is very mean. I understand he’s scared, but jeeze!!! At any rate, we got his shots so he’s ready for baby. However, Te had to clean poop and pee off of Pumbaa’s butt when we got home because they kept him in the kennel to administer the shot, he got scared and let loose. I felt terrible because I couldn’t help since I have to avoid cat poop while pregnant. UGH! What a day it was. We both took a long nap after that event.

After an entire week under the weather (poor babe 😦 ) and an awful vet appointment, we were able to get out of the house that weekend and turn our frowns upside down. We went to see Beauty and the Beast! I’ve been dying to see the movie and for Valentine’s Day, Te ordered tickets for us to go. It was amazing. I cried at least 5 times in the theatre and twice when we left. I also indulged on delicious movie theatre popcorn which was incredible.

All in all, it was a happy ending to a very tough week.

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This week was much easier. Slower pace and no illness! We always wanted to take a photo at this adorable coffee shop and of course, try their coffee. Well when we arrived, unfortunately the coffee shop was closed. 😦 We still took the picture then went back to our car. Before we left, we stopped in to Goddess & the Baker to get a latte and a scone. To our surprise, as we were waiting for our order, a ginormous (tall) guy walked in and right away, Te knew who he was [Paul Zipser from the Bulls]. Te went up to him and showed him a photo that Te took of him while at the Bulls game. They talked briefly and we let him get on his way. I would have had NO idea this guy played for the Bulls but thanks to hubby, we got to briefly meet him.

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9 months pregnant. Woah. In the next 4 weeks (or 5-6.. but hopefully 4 :)) we will meet our little girl! This week was ALL about nesting. We got the changing table we’d been eyeing up and were able to organize everything in Naomi’s space. We gave our apartment a mini makeover and a deep clean since we aren’t sure when we will have time to do that again.

On the way to take our bump pic this week, we decided to stop at Cafe Tola to get an empanada snack. They had chicken mole empanadas which, if you know me, you know I LOVE mole. It was absolutely delicious! We decided to scrap our original photo plan and take our bump pic on the side of the Cafe Tola building because, well.. Hey Kanye! 👋🏽🤣

Also this week, Jaime & Tiffany came to Chicago and spent the day with us! It was so fun seeing them. They brought Naomi some of the most adorable gifts. She’s so blessed to have such thoughtful family! During their visit, we went to HopLeaf because it’s been on our “to-do” list forever. After a couple of drinks for the boys, we went to DMK for dinner and completely indulged in some of the city’s best burgers and fries. We don’t have much planned for the rest of the week so I’m excited for another slow, uneventful couple of days.

We are very close to meeting our princess. I may or may not have a “bumpdate” for you next week – I could possibly have a baby update!

Stay tuned!

Until next time..

ETC: Another New Year

Hi friends,

The time has come, yet again, to ring in another new year. I hope everyone had a safe and cheerful new year’s celebration. Today, as they say, is page 1 of the 365-page novel we call, “2017”.

Before I set new goals, I am going to take a moment to reflect on the goals I set for myself in 2016. I created resolutions that represented each category of my blog: Explore, Thank, Create, as well as a few additional. Let’s take a look at what I accomplished and what got pushed to the side.

2016 Resolutions: Explore
1. Explore 20 new things (cities, states, restaurants, fitness classes, recipes, etc).
This goal was definitely accomplished. I traveled to Grand Rapids, NYC and Palm Springs, joined NRC run club, started practicing ‘Yoga with Adriene‘, went to several new restaurants for brunch and dinner around the city. I visited the Field Museum in Chicago and rode the CTA Holiday Train, both for the first time. Also, I tried lots of new recipes ranging from no added sugar to tasty new desserts. This past year was definitely one of exploration and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the new experiences I created.

2016 Resolutions: Thank
1. Continue serving at church as needed & attending small groups when offered
Although there was a short break I took from church, once I went back, I jumped in full force. I joined a serving team and a small group right away. I’m happy for the supportive community who welcomed me back.
2. Read my Bible

Eek. I did not do good on this. I did try to keep up with my daily verse on the Bible app but I must get more disciplined in reading the word of the Lord regularly.

2016 Resolutions: Create
1. Continue posting 1 or more blog posts per week
I took several long breaks from my blog this year with a few ‘catch up’ posts.
2. DIY as much wedding stuff as possible to save some dinero🙂
Well, we DEFINITELY DIY’d our wedding. After quickly changing our plans from an October 2016 wedding to a February 2016 wedding, we didn’t have time for many expensive decisions anyway 🙂 . I was able to borrow a dress from an amazing friend, created invites online and made TONS of decor at home. We saved a ton of money and had the wedding of our dreams just 4 short months after our engagement. Best. Decision. Ever.

2016 Resolutions: Wellness
1. Run 15 or more miles each week
On average, this happened for the majority of the year. AND, I completed the Chicago marathon. 🙂
2. Practice yoga 2 times per week
On average, this did not happen. I definitely found an awesome yoga channel I can tune in to at home, but I was not disciplined in my practice.
3. Become Personal Trainer Certified
This one is still pending. I’m trying to figure out if this is truly the route I want to take. More to come on that. 🙂
4. Be less stressed out/anxious – Trust God more
Eek. I have not been the best at this. It’s a process and I’m still working on it.

2016 Resolutions: Community
1. Have a friend date once per month
This happened! I even started a monthly lunch club with some of my best gals. 
2. Get married to my best friend in front of some of our closest friends & family
Check! And I couldn’t be happier 🙂

2016 Resolutions: Follow Up
1. Practice Spanish 3 times per week for 1 hour each
Well, this did not happen. I need to get more disciplined with this because I really want to teach Naomi Spanish. Mama’s workin’ on it!
2. Read 10 books (2 of which in Spanish)
Ah, reading. Well, I read my small group book, I read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and I read a LOT of articles. As far as book, I haven’t been reading much. I’ll need to rework this goal.

WOW! I was ambitious last year 🙂 There were many goals I accomplished and some that fell by the way side. This year, I have to be realistic in my goal setting because I will soon be a mommy and it will no longer be all about me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on my personal goals for the coming year. Naomi needs a role model 🙂 Here are my 2017 Resolutions:

2017 Resolutions:

  1. Practice Yoga 2 times per week.
  2. Run a total of 365 miles over the course of the year.
  3. Read [at least] 10 pages of a book every day.
  4. Post a blog update [at least] twice per month.
  5. Keep a jar of memories; Each week Te and I write on a slip of paper the highs and lows of the week. Next NYE we will read each note.
  6. Remind myself every day that I am doing the best that I can; speaking positive reinforcements to myself instead of always telling myself I could/should be doing more/better.

I definitely cut down on the list of resolutions this year. I tried to focus in on some of those that I let slip last year, and added those which I can keep up with, despite becoming increasingly busy [and tired] new mommy.

How do you hold yourself accountable to your resolutions? One of my friends creates a ‘dream board’ each year. Her dream board is a visual representation of her goals for the year. I think this is a great way to remind yourself of your goals and stay focused on your plans. This year, I probably won’t create a dream board, although it’s a fabulous idea, but I do plan to write these down in my phone and on paper at my desk, as well as at home, so I am forced to remind myself of these goals each and every day.

So, what are your goals for 2017? I’d love to hear about your 2016 reflections, as well as your goals for the upcoming year. Leave it in the comments below!

Happy New Year!! May God bless you and your families this year.

Until next time..

Thank: Chicago

Hustle and bustle, flashing lights, horns honking, people walking [their dogs], there’s never a dull moment.

Nearly 3 years ago when I moved to Chicago, I hated it. It was big and scary and I knew no one. I was living with Te and a few friends at the time but I felt so lonely outside of our apartment.

3 years later, I’ve never felt more at home. I am so thankful that God called me to this city.

As 2015 winds down and I look ahead to another year in the Windy City, I can’t help but reflect on the many reasons I am now encouraged to stay in the city and really soak in this experience, because it truly is like no other.

One recent experience in particular has really given  me so much joy in calling Chicago my home.

In June, I began attending Nike Training Club classes. They are a variety of classes, provided by Nike trainers, held either in a Nike store or at the Nike studio on Michigan avenue. I didn’t know anyone before I started attending these classes, but I was comfortable going by myself because of my passion for working out and trying new routines.

( Lucky for me, I met a friend the first day 🙂 )

Throughout the summer, Nike has put on these amazing events to help get me in shape. The events were so over-the-top awesome, from #FindYourFast to #GetOutHere, and the trainers are so skilled and motivating, it’s ridiculous. The motivation the Nike Chicago team has given me is beyond words.

Their most recent event was completely out of this world. Nike created an experience on the Chicago river for all of the NRC (Nike Run Club) and NTC (Nike Training Club) attendees. They created a barge on the river, The Icebox, inspired by the #GetOutHere challenge and held classes on the barge all week long.

 So there I was, working out on a Friday night, on the river, staring at the skyline and I just thought to myself, ‘WOW. This is my life.’ I mean, have you ever worked out with Nike Master Trainers on a boat on the river? It’s really hard to explain the emotion and realization that came to me, but it’s an experience that’s given me so much comfort in calling Chicago my home. In addition, through the Nike classes I’ve met such an amazing fitness community. It gave me a renewed outlook and even more passion for fitness.

Now, dont’ get me wrong, there are a million and a half other reasons I’m thankful to be in Chicago. I know you don’t have time to read all million, but I’ll leave you with a few other things I particularly love about the city:

  • The L – easiest transportation ever
  • People are always outside – walking their dogs, meeting with friends, running errands, working out, there’s always people outside and it is surprisingly refreshing
  • Brunch & Thai Food – because, yum
  • Ipsento’s (Bucktown) Ipsento Latte with coconut milk and cayenne (seriously, go try it)
  • Destination Church – the community I found within Destination Church is unbelievable and I will forever be grateful for that
  • The hustle and bustle mentality- although it can get overwhelming at times, the work ethic of this city has continued to push me even harder than I ever imagined pushing myself
  • Opportunity – there’s so many things to do and see, all of which hold opportunity for a new experience, there’s so much hope in finding your true passion here because no one tells you no, they tell you “go get it”
  • The brick apartments and buildings in the neighborhoods – isn’t Chicago pretty? 🙂
  • The energy of the people – the energy is positive, adventurous, inspiring and contagious

So thank you Chicago, for making me a better person. Thank you for an amazing experience, which I’ll never forget. Thank you for your beauty and inspiration. Thank you for the fast-paced life that continuously leads me to work harder than ever while also allowing me to appreciate the simplicity of being back home.

Thank you God for leading me to this city.

Did you move to a new city? What was your initial reaction? After some time, did you begin to fall in love? What caused that love to spark?

I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below!

Until next time..

Thank: It’s Not On Me

Do you ever leave church on Sunday mornings feeling more refreshed than ever? Not that church isn’t always great, but there are just some Sunday’s that hit you like ‘whoa, I needed that.’

Well, that was this Sunday for me.

Te and I were able to serve Sunday morning in a few different capacities which began the day in a very awesome way. Being able to serve on Sunday’s always adds a little extra love to my day. 

The message though, that hit home. 

Lately, I’ve felt so scared. All of the terror, violence and sad news stories are taking a toll on my thoughts and my hope. With each new story that comes to light, I feel a piece of me becoming more scared and more beat down. I feel as though I’m losing hope in humanity. I walk in constant fear of harm. 

Despite all of the terror, I see people with a big smile on their face; happy all of the time. So I think to myself, how are they coping so well? How do they not hold anxiety in their minds and hearts about the horrifying “what if” situations happening all over our world. 

How do I work on myself to get more hope and less fear? I try to push dark thoughts out, but it doesn’t work and here I am, stuck in a pit of tiredness, stress and question. 

Enter Sunday’s epiphany: God gives those smiling faces the hope that they need. I can have it to, I just have to pray and ask.

💥 Mind. Blown. 

This might sound like a “duh, Leah” type of thing, but for me it was ground breaking. You see, I’m a very independent person who is very hard on myself to be ‘the best’ and to figure things out. I don’t rely on others for very much, including God (I’m working on that). Lately I’ve been striving so hard to find ways to regain this hope that humanity isn’t as bad as the media portrays. Every time I fail, discouragement floods in and I fall deeper into a slum of worry; a lack of faith. 

To be reassured that I don’t have to have all of this hope stockpiled up and ready to go, it is God who provides that for me and I just have to ask.. Whoa. Praise God. What a burden lifted off of my shoulders! Thank you, God! 

I left church feeling so refreshed. Ready to pray. Ready to hope. 

In addition to this awesome message, we had a baby dedication and 2 baptisms at the end of service. It was a really great service to attend and it truly energized me throughout the day. 

If you’d like to listen to the full sermon, click here.

Has the media got you feeling hopeless? How do you cope? What are your favorite bible verses and prayers that help draw you closer to God, faith and hope? Leave it in the comments!

Until Next Time..

Thank: sgiving

I think thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The sweatpants all day, the food, the family, the thankfulness, the Macy’s Day parade, I mean, what’s not to love? It’s such a great time of year! In honor of my favorite holiday, I want to dedicate this post to all the things I am so thankful for.
1. Every day brings its own flurry of frustrations and worries that can creep in to my heart and mind and make me forget how thankful I really am. As of late, I’ve felt overtaken by stress and worry about how we will afford to have a wedding. It is days like thanksgiving (and Sunday’s at church 🙂 ) which I remember how thankful I am to be in a position to be planning a wedding with my person, who is my best friend. I am so thankful for the love that’s grown between us and this journey which God has us traveling along. I’m forever thankful to God for bringing such a positive, cheerful, supportive, understanding and patient person into my life to reveal Himself to me through the acts of my fiancé.

2. My community and family are also extremely supportive and patient, especially during the hard times, and for that, I am thankful. To all of you who I’ve reached out to and word vomited all over about the same wedding planning drama, thank you for listening. I know it’s respective and probably obnoxious, but without you, I’d feel even more lost and confused. Thank you for letting me spit out all my thoughts, worries, frustrations and fears. You’re all amazing.

3. I come home almost every day to my trash can knocked over or something out of the recycling chewed up and spread across the entire kitchen floor. Sometimes, I even come home to puke on my living room rug, or even better, the couch. In those moments, I’m flustered and ticked off, but I am so thankful that I have Pumbaa in my life, it makes it all ok. I clean up the mess and tell him how naughty he is and then about 30 seconds later I’m snuggling him in my arms because I missed his furry butt all day long! He’s such a joy of mine and I’m so happy I adopted him 5 years ago!

4. It’s foolish of me to not mention how thankful I am for my health, safety and shelter, with so many others who are less fortunate. I pray everyone can find a warm, hearty meal this holiday and stay warm during the cold winter evenings.

5. To wrap up on a lighter note, I’m thankful for the delicious food my mom makes and the leftovers she sends home with us. I’m so thankful for the Macy’s Day Parade – it seriously is like my favorite thing ever. And I’m so thankful for the 6am shred class Te and I are going to take, because then I’ll feel less bad when I’m eating my third slice of pie tomorrow.

There’s so much to be thankful for and I just listened to an article on NPR that gratitude is actually heart healthy. I need to remember to be more thankful more often, not just on holidays. It’s amazing all of the blessings in my life. Even during the stressful times, there is so much to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? What are your holiday plans? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Until Next Time..

ETC: Happy Birthday to my Best Friend 

Hello everyone! 

May is a jam-packed birthday month in my household. My two boys, Te and Pumbaa, both celebrate turning another year wiser in May. Apparently I love me some Taurus men 🙂

This post is dedicated to the man God put in my life to teach me so much! We have had quite the adventure over the past three and a half years! Join me as I time travel [quickly] through our ‘meet cute’ and then talk about some of the different ways we celebrate birthdays in our house!

How we met: We met at a bar (I know, I know..) on our college campus. It was actually by the grace of God that we were even in the same area at the same time because he recently graduated and was just back visiting for Whitewater’s homecoming/halloween bash.

After a few weeks of chatting, I went to visit him in Chicago (where he was living at the time) and we visited the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen which was awesome! Then we had a great sushi date at Hot Wok Cool Sushi. We started dating a short time after that and it’s been history ever since!

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I have never met a more supportive, fun, loving, kind, driven, down-to-earth, loving man than Te. I’m so blessed to have him by my side through this beautiful journey of life.

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How we celebrate: Year after year I get so excited for birthdays! What a fun celebration during the year! Celebrating the people you love by doing awesome fun stuff that makes them happy and ultimately puts an even bigger smile on your face! Over the years we seem to have a pretty consistent theme whilst celebrating Te’s birthdays.

Our first year together we went to Miller Park to see a Brewers game about 10 rows off of the field. It was a really fun day! We traveled from Whitewater to Milwaukee, tailgated, hung out at the ball park and spent the night near Milwaukee to celebrate. Oh, and we devoured nearly an entire cookie cake pretty much by ourselves. Yes, we are aware we have a sweets problem..

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The next year was actually the only year without a sports theme, I threw Te a kick-ass surprise birthday party with all of his friends and family! Yes, i am owning the fact that it was kick-ass! 🙂 Unfortunately, I was so nervous and excited, i didn’t take that many photos of the actual party – but trust me, it was amazing and he was absolutely surprised! Have you ever been to a surprise party? Have you ever thrown one? Has it ever been for you? They are so fun! The reaction of the surprised person is always the best part. What an amazing birthday that was!

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The next year we did a joint birthday party in Chicago with Te and his best friend Jaime since their birthdays are about a week apart. We went to a Cubs v Brewers Game at Wrigley Field with a big group of friends. It was a great, sunny and warm day spent with friends. Unfortunately, the unforgettable happened.. Te burned his hand really bad while cooking burgers. Luckily, the burn healed and his hand is as good as new 🙂 [warning: graphic image ahead]

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This year, we didn’t have anything planned in advance other than taking the weekend off and spending it doing whatever he wanted. We definitely ended up staying consistent with the sports theme. We started our Saturday off at the batting cages. After hitting them all out of the park, we went and played some basketball and then walked over to the park to swing, tan and watch some little league softball. That night we explored the Andersonville neighborhood starting with a delicious dinner at El Tipico Mexican Restaurant [which was AMAZING]

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Sunday we went to an AWESOME church service, got some wisdom and some prayer then did some errands. We were also able to catch up with an old friend for a coffee! We topped off the festivities with our first White Sox game Monday night. It was an awesome game that went into extra innings and ended up with a Sox win.

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As you can see, we have a pretty consistent sports theme for each birthday! Lots of baseball since ’tis the season. Being able to celebrate Te’s birthday with him while enjoying friends, family and the outdoors as much as possible is an incredible blessing.

What is your favorite way to celebrate birthdays? Do you typically have a theme that you follow? What are some good ideas for spring/summer  birthday celebrations?

Well, the day has finally arrived. Happy birthday beb! I pray this year brings you many new experiences filled with so much joy and happiness!! I am so thankful that God put you in my life and I cannot wait to share many more years of sports themed birthdays with you! Thank you for being an amazing person always. Have a great day! I love you!!

Until next time..