by gillian claire



Being Prepared / Sponsored Post.

( asher, nine days old. )
I definitely still look back to Asher’s birth a lot and think about how it has affected me in many, many ways. Some of these ways are positive and some are negative. One thing that I certainly learned through it all is that you can never be completely prepared for anything. Some of the things that I did in preparation for Asher’s birth were to plan to be at a hospital over an hour away so that I could pursue a completely unmedicated birth with midwives, read everything I could on natural childbirth, write down certain unconventional medical requests for Asher’s treatment in the hospital and get involved in a skin to skin research study that followed mothers who held their babies for extended and uninterrupted times following birth. I did not, however, prepare for my son to be born with immediate medical concerns, be whisked away from me shortly after birth and spend a week in the NICU.


I bring up this topic of "being prepared" today because I was contacted by LifebankUSA to share with you their mission. It is something that I feel is very important for pregnant mothers to consider when preparing for birth. I had been briefly introduced to the idea of cord blood banking during my pregnancies but I never learned too much about it. There were so many other decisions and expenses to consider that banking my babies' cord blood always got put on the back burner.

LifebankUSA is a company that offers both cord blood banking as well as the combination of placental and cord blood banking. I’m sure that a lot of you have heard of cord blood banking by now. By collecting and preserving stem cells from the umbilical cord of your baby at birth, you could potentially one day save the same child’s life or that of a family member. Placental and cord blood banking is something new that i hadn’t heard of before and that is currently only offered through LifebankUSA. Placental and cord blood banking preserves stem cells from both the umbilical cord as well as the placenta. Banking placental blood in addition to the blood from the umbilical cord increases the total number of stem cells available which could increase the probability of a future transplant success and survival as well the potential to treat additional medical conditions that could affect your child or family members in the future! Currently, LifebankUSA also offers free placental tissue banking to those who chose to bank with them which could be of medical value in the future.


I am so interested to know, have any of you mothers banked your baby’s blood? Why or why not? This is definitely something that I want to consider if I ever have another baby. The cost is very reasonable especially when you think of the long term benefits.
Be sure to check out LifebankUSA if you would like to learn more about placental and cord blood banking. Also, if you "like" their page on facebook you can enter to win a 4Moms mamaRoo baby seat!
( I was compensated for sharing my opinions. Thanks for supporting my family by reading! )

kindergarten, first day.

we just finished our first week of homeschool at our house!
this is roman's third year of homeschooling. i did two years of preschool with him at home and now to my amazement, he has somehow gone and become a wonderful, happy, round-faced kindergartener! we always wait until after labor day to start school, which i love because i'm not even ready to consider the thought of summer ending until at least september!
we have started off the first day of school the same each of these three years. i have roman color a sign  and take a first day of school pictures. of course, we always include asher who has so far completed "baby school" and two years of "toddler school" ;)
i also have roman draw a self-portrait and write his name. then i trace his hand and i have done the same first day of school interview with him all three years. it has been so fun to compare each year and see how he has grown and changed!
it's very strange to feel the years passing by through this ritual. i still remember so clearly roman's first day of preschool at 3, when asher was still a tiny newborn in his little white jammies sucking away on his paci while we made play-doh.
it has been such a blessing to stay home and be with my boys everyday and to teach them and care for them. it has definitely not always been easy especially with our wild spirited child by our side constantly trying to undo any and all school progress.
but it is indeed a blessing, to see my little roman's face light up on the first day of kindergarten with the most genuine smile in the world.
peeking out of the covers saying, "is it school day mommy??"
and to know that i don't have to pack him up and ship him off, just yet.
these boys are my heart and i feel so happy and blessed to be able to have them home with me. ;)
i went back and found our first day of school photos from last year to compare. and here are some photos from where we were this time 2 years ago!

lucky enough.

"if you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough."
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happy thoughts.

some happy thoughts of late:
IMG_3525-2IMG_3531the sweet things about this little boy:
when he plays "baby",
when he acts all dramatically adorable during the times when he actually lets me photograph him,
early mornings when he is all sticky sweet and rolls all over me squeaking, "hi mama"s at me.
when he is sad in his car seat and all he wants is to "cuggle" (cuddle) and kiss and hug.
dipfinding old mama/baby photos like these.
photo shoots that turn out all dreamy and wonderful.
IMG_4685-2freshly washed baby hair and finally fitting into a thrifted treasure that i bought for him when i still couldn't imagine him ever growing this big.
IMG_4686-2IMG_4687-2many mountain adventures with these guys. :)
an early morning starbucks and cloudy park date with my littles.
IMG_3739-2soft skin, natural light, his favorite shirt.
IMG_4708-3roman taking to heart and showing off to us after i keep telling him how adventurous he is.
IMG_3808-2and these brothers, of course. always trying to make me grow as a person, even when i don't feel up for it. :)
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portraits of roman.

IMG_3757-2IMG_3763-2romandip1romandip2roman, august 2013.

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twenty-five months.

our asher michael, 
almost twenty-five months :)
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life right now / july update.

wow, i can't believe that we are already halfway through august! sheesh.
just a little recap on life right now for us since my last little update of our roadtrip here!
we found a condo super quickly and were miraculously able to move in right away since the property was vacant and the previous owner let us rent from her until the closing.
so basically, we left ohio on the 4th of july and we were in our new home on july 15th!
i actually really did not expect, obviously, to find something so fast. the plan was to stay with my grandparents while we looked for a place which i figured would at least take a month. however, we were very thankful and relieved to find a place of our own so quickly and start settling down!
here are some photos to share a little bit of what happened around here to finish up our crazy-fun-getting rid of most of our belongings-moving across the country-and finding a new home july!
aaron + roman on the rock climbing structure at the park near our house. ( i know, i know you thought it was a real mountain, right? ) we love this park and have spent a lot of time there! // love this guy who i met 13 years ago in july at church camp! // the boys at the trail near the foothills by our house // asher sleeping after a fun time swimming at my grandparents' country club
i adore this photo of asher.
i'm also loving all the sunflowers around here.
my view of the mountains + lake on a drive near our house // foothill hikes // more playground fun // asher loves carrying his own backpack now, and it's simply adorable of course
focoblog3 copy
little ash on his birthday morning. what a darling little sunshine he is // coffee everyday in my "new" thrifted mug // clothes drying from the splash park ( also at the park near our house! ) // new wonderful colorful pottery barn mugs - FREE from craigslist!
and while i'm on the topic of criagslist... let me just profess my love.
have you checked out the free section? it is amazing! we used to check the free section on craigslist in our old town but there was hardly anything ever posted. here however, the free section is crazy full of all kinds of things! who knew so many people were getting rid of so much stuff and are willing to give it away to anyone who might be able to use it? we pretty much outfitted our kitchen as you can see. we also got a really nice, perfectly clean toaster oven. a printer. a bike.
and... a mattress and boxspring! i am seriously totally into thrifting and buying second hand but have claimed that i would never get a second hand mattress or couch. however, i now own both. and it feels great. we bought a really fantastic brand new looking microfiber loveseat from a thrift store and we got a twin mattress/boxspring from craigslist. the thing is with mattresses is that you of course have to be careful and very picky. the mattress we got came from a very clean house and the man we met was super nice! it is seriously such a thrill for aaron and i to find creative ways to find things for our life + home. it is such a good feeling to put things to good use while also saving landfills and not adding to consumerism.
also, we found our condo on craigslist! so, i'm just saying - it's awesome.
so handsome with his new haircut // playing at the library
more hiking at the foothills!
i have seen SO many rainbows here since we moved // my littlest + me :)
also, thanks for your votes on top baby blogs! happy wednesday!
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