Goodbye, California. Hello, New Zealand.

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SHOP MY MATERNITY LOOK HERE:

Raincoat: H&M (similar here, here, and here); Dress: ASOS (similar here and here); Bandana: Zara (similar here and here); Boots: old (similar here, here, and here

So if you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know by now that we have made a huge move across the world from California (the only home my boys have ever known) to New Zealand. A few months before the move, I began mentioning often that we were moving, but rarely alluded to when and where because I wanted to make sure that we had everything set before officially announcing everything (getting the boys visas in order, letting Dustin’s job know, telling family and close friends, etc.). And then the months turned to weeks and the weeks turned to days and we were suddenly boarding a flight to New Zealand and I hadn’t even mentioned where we were going or what was happening. I’ve been getting lots of emails and comments and messages asking us what motivated our move to New Zealand and well, there are lots of reasons, but I’ll do my best to explain here.

Dustin and I have talked about living in another country (literally for over five years) – wanting to experience life outside of the United States and to let our children experience another culture – but we have been too terrified to actually take the plunge, constantly discussing the possibility and then just as quickly dismissing it as we came up with a million reasons why it couldn’t be done (financially, jobs, family, etc.). So it has been something that we have wanted to do for a long time and we finally just decided ok, let’s do it.

I have lived in California (Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego) for over ten years and Dustin has lived in California his entire life. For the past couple of years, we have lived in Southern California, where Dustin has a huge family presence, and there were so many things we loved about living there – being close to family, the great friends we met, living by the ocean, the weather, and the California lifestyle in general.

But there were some aspects of our life that we weren’t loving and we started feeling like we needed to make a change with our lives.  One was the amount of time and effort Dustin was putting into work. During the week (every single week) he would be gone for three to four days in Los Angeles and I would be home with the boys on my own. Dustin was working around 65 hours per week (getting up in the middle of the night for a few hours every night even after a long days work and working on the weekends) with no vacation time, not many benefits, and still not living as comfortably as we would like. After two years of this endless cycle, it was starting to feel like he had his own life and the boys and I had our own life.

We really felt like we were stuck in “the ratrace” and we just couldn’t get out of it. Seemingly working harder and harder, but not really moving ahead financially or getting to where we wanted to be in life. We realized our family life and marriage life were suffering, and we really wanted to make a change that would put family life first.

We have also rented for many years as I have never been entirely positive of where I wanted to settle down and was always scared to buy a property and be stuck per say. But it was getting to the point where it was time to purchase a home for our family and choose a place to officially settle down for some time. With Holden getting older, it seemed like it was time to find a home and make it our own – a place where the kids could grow up. Yet, California property can be very pricey. I kept dreaming about a tiny house on a big chunk of land (so we could have animals) overlooking the ocean and to be honest, I’m not sure a piece of property exists like that in San Diego.

So when we decided that we wanted to find our dream home, a simpler life, and focus on our family and marriage for a little bit, we had to decide where in the world we wanted to move. Both of my parents are from New Zealand and I visited often as a child. As we seriously started discussing moving to another country, New Zealand was top of the list because of two things: (1) I have dual citizenship (which would make getting visas for the boys a little easier) and (2) I have a large family over here, both of which would make the huge transition to another country and lifestyle just a little bit easier.

So we finally applied for visas and said if we got them we would just go (we didn’t even buy our tickets until two weeks before we left, that’s how indecisive we were about actually taking the plunge).

It’s a new adventure and it can definitely be stressful thinking about all of the logistics when it comes to setting up a life here in another country, but we are also incredibly excited about the opportunities and adventures that lay ahead of us. It feels so good to finally be able to share this new adventure with you all and I can’t wait to share more!!


20 Week Bump Update

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I’ve teamed up with Supergas and Zappos to share my favorite shoes of the moment. 

We have honestly had so much going on ever since I found out that I was pregnant that I actually had to google my due date the other day just to find out how many weeks along I was and was completely shocked to discover that I had already made it to the halfway mark! Already 20 weeks into this pregnancy and I can barely believe how fast time is flying by. We are so excited to meet this little babe of ours, but there is also so much that we need with our move and settling into our new home in order to prepare for this new baby….so hoping that time will slow down just a little bit for the last half of this pregnancy.

  1. My belly officially looks like I smuggled a basketball under my shirt these days.
  2. Sleep is almost non-existent since I am up to pee every few hours or just awake with insomnia! This has never happened in any of my previous pregnancies so any recommendations you have are definitely welcome!
  3. The baby loves to kick every night after the boys are asleep. He/She probably senses the quiet (literally the only time it’s quiet in our household) and knows that its “our” time together.
  4. I oddly haven’t had any cravings this pregnancy. Except for steak occasionally which is weird because I’m a vegetarian!
  5. It’s getting much harder to carry Gray around all day…something that he suddenly seems to insist on…and my back knows it by the end of the day.
  6. I am definitely relying on sneakers or flats at the moment – kind of necessary when you’re carrying a basketball under your shirt and chasing after two wild boys all day long. These are my current favorites from Superga because not only can I chase down two crazy boys all day long in them without my feet hurting at the end of the day, but they have surprisingly surprised quite white despite the adventuring I’ve done in them. After loving my Supergas so much, I ordered Holden these ones because I just can’t help matching with this boy of mine. You can really never go wrong with a high-top sneaker for boys. With two boys, I honestly rarely ever make it into stores, so I almost always shop online, but sometimes it can be tricky when it comes to the boy’s sizing because it seems to fluctuate so much from brand to brand. We ordered from Zappos which was super easy and their customer service was super helpful when I was trying to figure out the best sizing for Holden. The delivery was also amazingly fast which you know is super important for little boys waiting for their presents.

The Number One Staple For Your Maternity Wardrobe

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With a five year old (wow, still have to get used to that) and a one year old running around and a belly that seems to be growing outwardly by inches every single day, I need clothes that feel comfortable and allow me to move without restrictions. I usually opt for dresses as my everyday go-to because I have this weird issue about anything constricting my belly while pregnant, but maternity jeans with a good fit are a must for every maternity wardrobe.

Maternity jeans are a usually an investment and since you’re only going to wear them for six months at a time, it’s important that you choose the right ones. These NYDJ AMI  Skinny Maternity Leggings are worth every penny and are a staple piece that will save your wardrobe when you just want to throw on a t-shirt and sneakers, feel comfortable with your ever expanding belly, and most importantly, flatter your figure.
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Munchkin LATCH Bottle for Breastfeeding Mothers

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I’ve teamed up with my friends at Munchkin to share this story with you.

I’m 18 weeks into my third pregnancy and still nursing this sweet one and a half year old of mine. Looking back, I realized that in the past five years, I have only had a six month break from breastfeeding (which is kind of hard to believe) and with another baby on the way, it looks like I’m going to have a couple more years (and maybe more after that with another one if we are so lucky)! I have always told everyone that my babies don’t take bottles, but the truth is that they don’t take bottles because I don’t like to introduce them. I honestly don’t like to miss any of that special bonding time that happens when you’re nursing your infant, don’t enjoy pumping (cleaning all of those parts ugh!), and have had a hard time finding a bottle that I love for my babies.

However, this third time around, this sweet babe of mine is going to need to take a bottle. With two others to look after, one of whom won’t even be two years old when this new babe of ours is born, I’m going to need the ability for others to feed him or her while I take care of the other two. Holden is already talking about feeding the new baby and I know Gray will want some part in that as well. So I’m feeling ok this time around about letting others do some of the feedings (just a few though ha!) so that they get to experience a similar sort of bonding as I do.

Munchkin, one of my favorite brands, just released a new line, Munchkin LATCH, that is specifically made for breastfeeding mamas and babes. Honestly, knowing that something is made with nursing moms in mind makes me feel more at ease about introducing it to my little ones. The Munchkin LATCH bottle has an accordion-style nipple that stretches like the breast, helping your baby latch easily and correctly. The other nice benefit of Munchkin LATCH is the anti-colic valve on the bottom of the bottle, which helps to remove air from the milk inside it. And the line includes an easy sterilization kit for pump parts, breast pads, bottle and pump brushes.

So if you’re a breastfeeding mother who wants to introduce a bottle to your baby and wants to find something that is as close to mimicking breastfeeding as possible, check out the new Munchkin LATCH.

***This post is sponsored by Munchkin. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!


A Fifth Birthday and Batman Shoes

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I’ve teamed up with my friends at Zappos.com to share the shoes that will make your child feel like a superhero.

Today, my oldest turned 5! There is something about the number 5 that just seems so old, doesn’t it? I know it’s so cliche, but it honestly feels like I gave birth, blinked and here we are, celebrating his 5 years on this planet. He really is such an amazing boy, teaches me so much about life, and makes me want to be a better person every single day. He is the kindest and most caring and empathetic boy in the entire world and truly has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. I feel so proud and honored that he is a part of our family.

Since we are moving in less than a month (more on that later!), we ended up doing a small birthday party with family and a few close friends over the weekend and then celebrated with just us all day today ending the day at Corvette Diner (a place that leaves my ears ringing for hours afterwards, but makes dinnertime so much fun for the little ones).

For his birthday this year, all Holden wanted was a Batman outfit. I have never introduced him to any of the super heroes and since we don’t even own a TV, I’m not quite sure how he even discovered Batman – but he suddenly seems to be into ALL of the real boy stuff and well, Batman is at the top of his list right now.

I almost always shy away from dressing my boys in character t-shirts, shorts, and shoes, but I do think that every kid needs a costume or two in his closet for impromptu dress-up. I found a Batman costume at Costco and then when I saw these Stride Rite Leepz, I knew they would be the perfect way to complete Holden’s Batman ensemble.

We ordered them from Zappos and they arrived the very next day (at no additional cost!), which was amazing since Holden asked me every five minutes after I ordered them when they were going to arrive ha! I was a little nervous about ordering online and not getting the correct size, but you really can’t beat their 365 day return policy. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry because they fit and haven’t left Holden’s feet since they showed up on our doorstep.

Holden has wanted light up shoes for the longest time and I’ve always convinced him out of them because I didn’t consider them “cool” or “in style” and when he was younger, he didn’t have the strongest opinions about what he wanted to wear, so it really wasn’t a big deal. But I have gotten to the point now that he’s older that all that matters to me is that he is confident and feels “cool” in what he wears (not what I think)…and you guys, you can tell that he feels like he is the coolest kid on the planet when he is walking around in these shoes. And you know what, I really love them too!

The Stride Rite Leepz light-up this neon green on the sides every time he walks or jumps or runs and people stop him everywhere we go to comment on them. I’m pretty sure (if you can’t tell from the photos ^^^) that Holden thinks that these shoes give him real-life super hero powers. At night, they look pretty incredible when he’s running around in the dark and all you see is a flash of green light. They aren’t gimmecky or cheesy, but are a really well-made shoe that will last until he grows out of them (despite the fact that he will probably wear them every single day until he can no longer fit his feet into them). So if you’re boy needs a pair of Batman shoes, or just a really cool pair of light-up shoes that you will both love, then these are the ones you need.

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