Sunday, April 24, 2016

Baby Erskine's Gender Reveal

Baby Erskine's Gender Reveal

The Friday before Ryan's birthday we had a gender anatomy ultrasound. This is the third ultrasound we've had with this pregnancy and the second time we were able to have pictures!

It of course started out epically with me not paying attention to signs in the bathroom, not locking both doors, and having an older gentlemen walk in on me in my bra as I was putting on the gown.

As I screamed out "SORRY!!" I rushed back into the room, laughing hysterically as I explained to Ryan what had happened. I just changed in the room after that.

Our ultrasound tech, Julie, came in and explained what she would be doing that day. She was going to start the ultrasound by taking several pictures of the baby and taking measurements. At first we could see the overall baby based on being able to see the spine and head.

We didn't get to see the iconic profile until the very end:

Julie asked us if we wanted to find out the baby's gender and we said YES! She then asked if I wanted to do the gender reveal before or after emptying my bladder. I truly was worried that I would pee myself from excitement so when you gotta go, ya gotta go.

I coordinated with KayCakes to surprise our parents with the gender reveal! The cupcakes, apparently, were fantastic and they were incredibly professional to work with. My one complaint is that they only seemed to accept payment through check, which gets complicated when you live in a completely different area of the country. However, the final product was great and we were able to tell our families through Skype as they ate their cupcakes. Recording their reactions was so fun!

We surprised our friends with a gender reveal cake at Ryan's birthday party. Our local commissary ended up doing a cupcake order wrong when we were doing our pregnancy announcement so we were able to negotiate this cake for free! I ended up going with a two layer cake (both chocolate and vanilla) with plain vanilla frosting on the outside. The cake topper is from Glambanners on Etsy! The shop owner coordinated with me to figure out the best shipping options. For a total of $16 (with the expedited shipping), I think I could have made it on my own but I was still happy with the quality. I picked up rock candy at Candy Masterpiece in Great Falls. Their customer service was excellent! Our friends "voted" by picking the rock candy color of their choice.


We are so thrilled! It was so funny because our ultrasound tech was saying how the baby was on its side/tummy and was kicking away. I can't tell you how much I loved seeing that beautiful baby kick his feet! She then showed us the view of baby where we could see his little booty and feet. She pointed out the left thigh and right and then was like, "there's the gender." I can't wait to meet him in person! We just started brainstorming names but I think we've found a name we really like!

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gender Reveal 2016

Little Girl or Little Boy
Baby Erskine 2016 Gender Reveal

I am so excited because we are finally finding out the gender tomorrow morning! We're telling our folks back home first soooo I'm afraid no updates until late on Saturday. We actually coordinated a gender reveal through cupcakes with a business called KayCakes back home. We're texting her the gender in the morning right after we find out and the cupcakes will be delivered to my MIL's house! Ahhhh I can't wait! Unfortunately my dad will still be driving back home from his weekday job (about 2 hours away) so they won't be able to eat their cupcakes or Skype until the next day.

Saturday is Ryan's birthday so we're really excited to celebrate with friends here on base with a CAKE! After a snafu with the pregnancy announcements cupcakes, our commissary's bakery offered me a free gender reveal cake. I had them make it incredibly simple, just white frosting on the outside. I ordered a super cute cake topper from Glambanners on Etsy. Pictures to come!

What is your guess?

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mother Blessing Prep

 Mother Blessing Prep's me.

I know, it's been a really
long time since I've sat down to blog.

But really and truly, life has just been busy.

I know, what a terrible excuse but that's all I've got.
In the mean time, I've been busy planning several events with friends before our BIG move.
You heard that right, a BIG move out of BIG SKY COUNTRY.

But more on that later (plus it's a reason for me to blog some more).

I am so excited y'all because my AMAZING friend Rocio is helping to facilitate a MOTHER BLESSING for me.

A mother blessing is a beautiful ceremony that originates from a Native American tradition called a Blessingway. Since I am not Native American, nor do I have Native American ancestry, I choose to respect a Blessingway's roots by choosing to celebrate with a Mother Blessing.

I've heard people call it an alternative to a baby shower but the thing is, Ryan and I are having a baby shower.

I consider a Mother Blessing to be an opportunity for women to gather together to celebrate the beauty that it is to be a woman. Whether you're experiencing a pregnancy, fostering, adoption, or becoming a guardian - it's this beautiful passage into motherhood that should be celebrated by the people in your most trusting circle.

I've also heard that baby showers tend to focus on the material aspects and gifts, which is amazing and I'm totally not knocking. However, Mother Blessings focus on what the human body and spirit can do - and that is really fricken cool.

I'm having two Mother Blessings, one in Montana and one in Wisconsin because both of those circles contain women who are so important to me and I'm really excited to celebrate this momentous time in my life with the ladies who have supported me through everything.

When talking to Rocio, we were tossing ideas around to establish what I really wanted out of this ceremony. I know when people hear this concept, a lot of ideas come up.

When explaining it to a hairstylist, she said (and I quote), "I don't want to use the word cult but I imagine drums would be involved."


It can be very spiritual or not at all, it really depends on the goals of the mother and the group.

I definitely wanted mine to be very comfortable, relaxed, and fun.

The main things that I wanted to see or have at the event:
Yummy Food
Getting Rid of Fears
Floral Crown Station
Birth Affirmation Banner
Unity Circle
Bracelet & Charms

Getting Rid of Fears

Rocio and I wanted to incorporate something into the very start of the ceremony to unite everyone, create a positive vibe for the overall event, and really lay out that this not your typical baby shower event.

We're thinking of having her fire pit going in the backyard and giving the ladies an opportunity to write down the things that really inhibit them in life whether it's in their relationships, friendships, marriage, work, being an adult, etc.

After they write them down- we're going to burn them!

Yep, it's super hippy but I'm crunchy as granola and it's fantastic.

Birth Affirmation Banner

I can tell you now that I'm already quite a bit nervous for the laboring aspect of giving birth. I have certain birth plan goals right now but that could go all out the window. I am getting a doula at my next base location, but I still appreciate the support from ladies back at Malmstrom.

A birth affirmation banner is basically a cloth bunting withe each square containing a positive message, birth or motherhood affirmation, or empowering thought from someone in my social circle.

When I have my mother blessing, I'll definitely share what it turns out like in another post!

Floral Crown Station

Have you ever rocked a floral crown?

It's incredibly femine and fantastic. 

I'm doing my own spin on this. I've seen several Mother Blessings where guests bring a single bloom to add to the mother-to-be's crown but where's the fun in that? I want each of my guests to feel like mother effin queen of nature at this shin dig. 

As guests walk in, this will be basically another activity station so they can feel uber feminine and get their fabulous on!

Candles & Thread

This is the print out I'm using for my Mother Blessing candles (sorry it's off center y'all). Candles for this ceremony are very symbolic and one of my favorite traditions involves a large center candle. Many Mother Blessings create a central area, centerpiece, or alter in which the group will ultimately sit around. There are so many gorgeous pictures of this set up and I'll definitely share mine as well. What I'm planning is having a large white candle be part of the center piece and a large circle will be formed around that with the candles that guests can take home. I scored tags from Target's Spot section for $1 that are wooden with gold glitter. My very tall votives are from the Dollar Tree and the tags each have the above print out on them.

But hold on because it becomes even cuter y'all!

Each guest selects a color of embroidery thread and cuts a long piece. She ties part of it onto my center candle, cuts, and then ties the remaining piece to her candle. As I go into labor, Rocio will shoot out an e-mail to all of my guests to let them know and they can light their candle.

Ladies in so many different states will be supporting me with their candles.

I haven't even had my Mother Blessing and I'm going to cry y'all. I'm so emotional.

Unity Circle & Bracelets & Charms

After burning fears (yep take a note at the top), all the ladies will gather in a circle in my lovely living room to talk. In my past experiences with other Mother Blessings, this is one of my FAVORITE things, which makes sense since this is the BIG event. Ladies will go around the circle and talk about a birth or motherhood affirmation that they have for the mother-to-be. Each lady also selected a charm that represents them or our relationship, and explains why she chose that. I've seen Mother Blessings where people bring a bead but after seeing an awesome charm bracelet made for a beautiful Mother Blessing, I chose to go that route. During this time, the ladies may also consider adding their embroidery thread to the candle. As I go into labor my candle with all the different colors of embroidery thread will be lit and I'll be wearing my charm bracelet to remind me of all of the beautiful women in my life who are supporting me during that time.

A tradition that I really loved was the connecting yarn on the wrists of everyone in the circle. However, the more I thought on it, the less attached I became to that specific idea. The idea is that a piece of yarn gets thrown to every lady in the group, creating an interconnecting web of women to the mother.  Then each woman cuts her portion of the web off, ties it, and wears it as a bracelet until the mother-to-be gives birth. However, my spin on it involves bangles. I got each of my guest a bangle with a charm on it that she may take on and off at her leisure but everytime she looks at it, she can say a prayer or well wish for the mother's pregnancy and labor. Being in the military, we can't always have things on our wrist and I didn't want anyone to feel bad if they had to cut theirs off, so I thought this was a nicer alternative.


A huge component of creating community is FOOD. I'm having my Mother Blessing in a brunch time frame so there will plenty of delicious eats and a Mimosa Bar (with Sprite and Champagne!). 

I'm also considering a guest book option with an Instax that I'm hoping to soon own. While this event is really focused on the mother, I still want my daughter or son to be able to look back through photos and messages to see how amazing this can be.

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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