Family Of Four

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Our little girl, Mila Marie is finally here! Dan and I are staring at her all day in awe and I'm finding myself bouncing between tears and smiles of pure joy. I have been waiting so long to hold this little one and meet her. I can't believe we now are a family of four. I feel so overwhelmingly grateful. Dan and I sort of "fell off the grid" if you will after Mila was born. I felt like we needed to give ourselves some time to really soak in all the fleeting newborn moments. Those delicious, tender newborn moments that seem to fly by. I feel sad that she is now double digit days old.

I am really not one to share birth stories online. Mostly, because for me I can barely remember anything. I typically have my eyes closed shut with anxiety, excitement and extreme pain. Once the baby is born I am not yet gushing with tears, so much as I am gushing with awe. Meeting Mila was unreal. She came out pretty hot and quick once things got going, or maybe they didn't? I am not sure. However, once she was out she didn't cry. She made these loud chirping sounds, as if she had important messages from Heaven to deliver right when she arrived. Mila has dark reddish hair. It isn't as red as her big brother's. It is her own version of red, though I think they share the same kissable nose. It is incredible that they are related. I've always felt Ryan strong beside us, but to have his little sister here with us . . . I still can't really describe the feelings I have.

I am giving myself a few more days before fully coming out of this gorgeous newborn haze. This newborn haze has me and my girl chained to each other. Nothing else in the world matters except what subtle sound Mila makes next. Or keeping track of her next feeding, she is really good at letting me know when it is time to eat. A few things I don't want to forget;

Mila loves to be wrapped up tight. Out of all her fancy swaddle blankets she loves this old blanket I bought years ago best.

Every time we put Mila down for a nap or bed she immediately rolls to her right side. Then wiggles her right hand up from her swaddle and rests it under her cheek.

She loves to smile. I am not sure if she knows what she is smiling about yet, but the girl loves to smile. And then gets scared each time as I scream for Dan to get the camera!!

Mila, like every newborn smells divine. Smelling her is my favorite. However, so far she hates bath time . . . so who knows how long her yummy scent will last ;)

I want to thank you all for the sweet comments and emails while I have been away! We are doing really well so far. Already telling Mila about her big brother Ryan, even though I believe she knows him already. I look forward to sharing our families adventures with you all in the months to come. Thank you again for all your kind words and support.

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Family Of Four

Our little girl, Mila Marie is finally here! Dan and I are staring at her all day in awe and I'm finding myself bouncing between tears and smiles of pure joy. I have been waiting so long to hold this little one and meet her. I can't believe we now are a family of four. I feel so overwhelmingly grateful. Dan and I sort of "fell off the grid" if you will after Mila was born. I felt like we needed to give ourselves some time to really soak in all the fleeting newborn moments. Those delicious, tender newborn moments that seem to fly by. I feel sad that she is now double digit days old.

I am really not one to share birth stories online. Mostly, because for me I can barely remember anything. I typically have my eyes closed shut with anxiety, excitement and extreme pain. Once the baby is born I am not yet gushing with tears, so much as I am gushing with awe. Meeting Mila was unreal. She came out pretty hot and quick once things got going, or maybe they didn't? I am not sure. However, once she was out she didn't cry. She made these loud chirping sounds, as if she had important messages from Heaven to deliver right when she arrived. Mila has dark reddish hair. It isn't as red as her big brother's. It is her own version of red, though I think they share the same kissable nose. It is incredible that they are related. I've always felt Ryan strong beside us, but to have his little sister here with us . . . I still can't really describe the feelings I have.

I am giving myself a few more days before fully coming out of this gorgeous newborn haze. This newborn haze has me and my girl chained to each other. Nothing else in the world matters except what subtle sound Mila makes next. Or keeping track of her next feeding, she is really good at letting me know when it is time to eat. A few things I don't want to forget;

Mila loves to be wrapped up tight. Out of all her fancy swaddle blankets she loves this old blanket I bought years ago best.

Every time we put Mila down for a nap or bed she immediately rolls to her right side. Then wiggles her right hand up from her swaddle and rests it under her cheek.

She loves to smile. I am not sure if she knows what she is smiling about yet, but the girl loves to smile. And then gets scared each time as I scream for Dan to get the camera!!

Mila, like every newborn smells divine. Smelling her is my favorite. However, so far she hates bath time . . . so who knows how long her yummy scent will last ;)

I want to thank you all for the sweet comments and emails while I have been away! We are doing really well so far. Already telling Mila about her big brother Ryan, even though I believe she knows him already. I look forward to sharing our families adventures with you all in the months to come. Thank you again for all your kind words and support.

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Our Last Few Days Before Baby Girl

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When I wake up in the morning I can't believe I am still pregnant. I can feel every ache and pain as my body awakes, my bladder is somehow full even after I pee and I feel swift kicks deep within my body as if this little girl is saying "Mornin' Momma". My belly swollen with life, and here I am inpatient and trying to induce labor by eating spicy food and bouncing on a giant exercise ball. I am caught between trying to embrace these last few days of pregnancy with the sheer and fierce want to hold my child. I have been waiting to hold a child of mine since May 2014. The power of physical touch is strong. Most of my panic attacks begin with the realization that I'll never be able to touch Ryan's soft skin and strong being again. I miss his touch so much I sometimes let myself feel that loss and loose control. I cry uncontrollably and squeeze my own arms and legs to just simply feel. If I can't hold Ryan till we meet again in Heaven, then please let me hold his little sister soon. Please, let me feel a child of mine soon. Being patient is something I'll never be good at.

During these last few days of being pregnant I am finding myself crying at just the thought of Ryan. To say I miss him is just a large understatement. I wish I could open up a bottle of what I feel and let people drink from it. So they too can feel just how all encompassing these feelings of loss are. So people can feel the wind knocked out of their lungs with just a sheer memory of Ryan or just by glancing at a photo of his sweet face. I wish so badly to not feel alone with these damn feelings I have. Usually, I smile when I think of my dear boy. I can enjoy a photo of him and be transported to that exact day and time. Most of the time I can close my eyes and let his memories wash over me and make me feel unbelievably strong. However, these during last few days one simple thought of my son breaks me down and I cry because I miss him and I feel like I need him here with me more than ever.

Having a second baby is such an incredible thing. You go through nine months of carrying another one of your children all the while prepping your first child for the quick change they'll endure soon. Moving from only child to having a little brother or sister is intense and I wish so badly I had the chance to witness it all with Ryan. I can't help but feel immense anger when I see a second child being welcomed into a family with an older sibling. I hate that I have to get over that. I hate that I have to imagine the acts of Ryan as we welcome his little sister into our family. I am letting myself feel angry and upset for a bit. Then I'll find the strength to let it all go. I am praying that our little girl is so full of her own personality, yet laced with bits of her older brother. With every smile may we see a glimmer of our son.

When I feel overwhelmed or so full of fierce feelings I take a hot shower. I drop some essential oils onto my hands and breath in the warm scented steam. This morning I was in the shower and I kept having these thoughts of not being ready. Maybe our little baby isn't here yet because I am not ready. Maybe she knows I need to just feel a little bit more. Maybe Ryan is telling her to give me and him a little extra time to just be us two. Just a little more time for me and my son to wrap ourselves up tight within our memories and laughter. Maybe a bit more time before Ryan has to share me. Maybe I just need a few extra moments with just me and son. I know that sounds silly seeing as Ryan isn't physically here. I know it might be really hard for some to understand. It is hard for me too. It is hard for me to sit here and think of Ryan on these last few days before I become a mother of two.

These emotional waves are strong. They come fast and hot and leave me breathless. In the wake of it all pure excitement seeps into the large cracks in my heart. This little girl has her mom and dad so excited. We can't wait to hold her, kiss her and feel all of her. The suspense is surreal. As much as I hate that Ryan isn't physically here with us, I know that he is with out a doubt HERE with us. Although we won't be able to take those first photos of my children together. You know the ones were the mom is holding the baby while sitting in the hospital bed, and the older sibling is either smiling or looking at the baby with confused awe. No, we won't have those. We'll have different ones that mimic the same thing, that mimic those same feelings of welcoming a second into the family. My family of four will look different with bits of redheaded wild magic sprinkled through out.

Having a baby after the loss we've had is hard. And emotional. And happy. And scary. It is a bunch of everything all mixed together and the added hormones makes it feel like I'm living in my own world at times. These past nine months have been a whirlwind and I can't believe it is nearly over. I can't believe we'll have another baby soon. I am so grateful to be given the chance to do it all again. During these last few days I'll being laying still with my eyes closed trying my hardest to feel Ryan close to me. I'm going to buy Ryan a little toy I know he would love, because I've heard thats what you do when you are expecting a little sibling. I don't want Ryan to feel left out. I'll be going through my favorite photos of Ryan and telling him over and over just how much I love him.

I've packed a few photos of Ryan in our hospital bag, and now we just wait. We wait till it is our time to become a family of four.

Photos By Kelsea Holder Photography

Hair & Make-up By Amanda Olson

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Baby Shower Event For Baby2Baby

Last month I threw my second charity event and it was the biggest one yet! (You can read about my first charity event I did for my son's preschool here.) Since my husband Dan and I announced we were expecting our second child we received so many well wishes and inquiries about how people could send us gifts for the baby. We were overwhelmed and so grateful for the love, but we decided to channel our community's want to give into something really special. I decided to throw myself a baby shower where instead of guests purchasing gifts for me, they purchased them for a local Los Angeles charity called Baby2Baby. Baby2Baby is a local charity that gives mothers in need basic necessities for their children to thrive. I partnered with Baby2Baby and we curated a baby shower registry that listed all of their most needed items. Once I had the charity and registry nailed down, I enlisted in some major help from my friend Megan and we set to work on planning the best baby shower in history. It really was the best baby shower . . .

I partnered up with Munchkin Inc. to help sponsor event details and the baby shower took on a real party feel with a generous undertone. Every guest who came was such a delight and enjoyed all the event activities. I still love looking through all the photos guests uploaded onto Instagram using #bbbshower. You can take a look and see just how much fun we had. Sadly, and I mean really sad. As in it took me a week to get over it, the photographer lost all the photos she took of the event so I can't show you all the wonderful decor and candid shots of everyone. However, I know for a fact that each and every person who came enjoyed themselves. Plus, the reason for the baby shower was to collect donations for Baby2Baby and we hit that out of the park! Overall the entire experience was incredible.

It was absolutely amazing to see my community come together and give back to such a great organization. Over 100 guests came to the event and people who couldn't come to the event sent in gifts for Baby2Baby! I feel as though everyone jumped at the chance to give and together we were able to help so many mothers in need. Below is a recap of what we gathered together;

Clothing 4625

Bottles 45

Wipes 368

Books 145

Shoes 12

Swaddles/Blankets 66

Diapers 16 boxes

Food/Formula/Feeding Supplies 26

Robes/Washcloths 33

Bottle Supplies 13

Strollers 4

Playpen 2

Toys 114

Health/Hygiene 104

I am so proud of this event! I can't thank everyone who came and donated enough! We were really able to do such great things. I do want to thank the baby brands who donated to the cause; ErgoBaby, OrbitBaby, Baby Lit, 4Moms, Puj, Solly Baby Wrap, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Modern Burlap, StorQ, Tubby Todd, James Fox Co., plus so many more incredible companies that donated their time and products for gift bags. (Again, I wish I had the photos we took of it all to show you. It is killing me that I don't)

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Dressing For A Good Cause With Sonnet James

It always feels really, really good to give back. On all levels. Giving back to me can mean something as small as offering a helping hand or even a generous smile to a stranger. Or it can obviously mean donating your time and resources to people/organizations in need of support. Both are equally fulfilling and it has become a secret weapon of mine. I have found that giving back helps fill the harsh void in my heart from losing my son. Giving back and helping child charities makes me feel warm and happy. It makes me feel whole for a moment. I imagine a small, shining, sliver of Ryan's spirit is laced within my acts of giving back. I wish I could help every single organization out there. With that said, giving back to those in need, especially children, has become quite a passion of mine.

Lately, I've been trying to find creative ways to honor my son as well as find opportunities to give back to children charities. Also, I'm trying to do as much work as I can before this baby girl graces us with her presence! When Sonnet James reached out to me about helping them launch a dress where a portion of the proceeds go towards a charity of my choice, I jumped at the chance. As you know I am whole heartedly dedicated to living life loud and wild alongside your children and Sonnet James captures that beautifully. Sonnet James create incredible 'play dresses for playful moms'. Meaning their dresses are made to have mothers look put together and chic while still having room to get down and dirty during their children's play time. You can take a look at their newest line of dresses here. I chose the 'Grey Reese Dress' from their new holiday line to style myself and my bump in. The best part is that $3 dollars from each of this dress sold will go towards the wonderful charity Splash. Splash dedicates their time to source safe, clean drinking water for children all around the world. You can learn more about them here.

It might be a small way to give back, but it was such an honor to have the chance to do so. I had the best time styling this dress and recently purchased an extra one in a different color because they are so comfortable. Thank you again for walking this journey with me. I am excited to show you companies that I am passionate about that also give us the opportunity to give back! I love doing good with you all . . .

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If you head over to the Sonnet James site you'll see a few other beautiful bloggers who styled other dresses for charities of their choice. All their photos feature them alongside their children. Of course that makes me feel sad as I so wish I could capture Ryan's smile and wildly bright red hair. Although my baby bump is featured in my photos I wanted to have the photos taken at a place that was special to my son Ryan and I. So he can be 'present' just like everyone else's children. Ryan and I used to go to our local farmers market every Thursday evening. We would always bring enough cash for vegetables, kettle corn, corn on the cob and ice cream. We'd also buy a small bin of berries to eat while we walked around. I used to take him in his stroller up until recently he was determined to walk with me. I like to think Ryan is my photos. You can see him in my smile and the warm Fall colors. I bought some ice cream for us too. I bought ice cream for all three of us really. So while I am showing you this dress, I'm also sharing with you a special place where my son and I used to run around eating everything in sight. I also tried juggling apples which didn't end well, but it was fun in the moment and probably made Ryan laugh. :)

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Zuzii Footwear Collaboration For Charity

A while back when Zuzii Footwear reached out to me about possibly doing a collaboration with them I couldn't answer 'YES PLEASE' fast enough! If you aren't familiar with Zuzii Footwear then I am excited to introduce you to them! Zuzii was born from the love two sisters shared over handmade shoes and the endless creative options that could ensue there after. The pair hand craft each and every pair you see with only the help of their mother! The sister duo are the epitome of what a real dynamic duo looks like. With that said, the shoes themselves are comfortable and are come in all kinds of colors and patterns ranging from bright colors to muted chic tones. It is safe to say . . . I Love Zuzii!

After confirming that my collaboration was really going to happen and it wasn't just a dream, I met with the Zuzii sisters (Ryan and Alex) and set to work on the design process. First off, being asked to design a shoe may seem like an easy feat but it was a little difficult because the options were limitless. I felt overwhelmed and wanted to create 10 pairs just so I could incorporate all the details I enjoyed the most. Then I decided to hone in on two pairs, one for each of my children. We started on Ryan's shoe first and I immediately knew it had to feature his signature 'red' color. I imagined him running and playing hard as he always did and we came up with a subtle lightening bolt print. The lightening bolt print to me captures Ryan perfectly. I know he would enjoy wearing these and running fast as lightening. For my daughter's shoe I knew I wanted to keep it girly with a touch of sparkle. Dan and I always talk about what this little lady will end up loving once she is here, as most parents do while pregnant. We dream. I dream of her as a dancer, Dan dreams of her as a soccer player. We always settle on her doing both of course. In true child like fashion she will probably end up doing the complete opposite of what we had dreamt for her. Anyways, a gold toe seemed fitting for our little girl and I loved the idea of pairing it with something simple and chic such as the black leather.

Between a few trial runs, various leather options, shoelace choices and even discussing what the sole would look like the shoes started to take shape. In a matter of weeks the 'Ryan Oxford' and the 'Gold Saddle' shoes were born and to me look perfect!

The best part of this entire collaboration with Zuzii is that our labor of love was for a great cause. As you know, one thing I'm passionate about is having the chance to give back in any way I can. A portion of my Zuzii collaboration proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry and help foster their journey to end child hunger in America.

From end to end this has been one great partnership! I hope you'll take the time to check out my shoes and love them as much as I do.

Click here to view my Zuzii Collaboration!

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A Big Huge Thank You

Friends! It has been two weeks since I've had my surgery and I can't believe the amount of messages, emails and kind words that I had waiting for me. I want to Thank You all so much! My surgery went well and I can finally walk with minimal pain. Hernia surgeries are no joke . . . even more so while pregnant. Especially when your doctor has you do the surgery awake while only using a local anesthetic to keep the baby as safe as possible. I'm so thankful it is all over and my muscles are all fixed and in place again. As everything heals I can go for short walks and that is pretty much it.

My doctor did clear me for a little 'baby moon' to Hawaii, so long as I promised to relax. Baby and I have been eating our weight in Hawaiian Shave Ice and watching Dan snorkel and swim from the shoreline. However, lounging by the beach is definitely better than lounging on my couch.

We just arrived and below are a just a few photos. I can't thank you enough for all your sweet words.

Thank You for taking part in my journey, your love means the world.

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