My Favorite New Tool To Find Local Events

Thank-you to @SunDevilRewards for sponsoring this post and helping us share our Alma Mater with Brody. 

I often find myself with cabin fever. With an active toddler at home, finding ways to get out of the house and fun events to attend has become a top priority. A full day in the house with a toddler is almost a guarantee for a cranky little one, so we love going places.

Living near one of the largest universities sure has its benefits—particularly lots of awesome events to attend and things to do. Go Devils! I recently found out about the new Sun Devil Rewards app and if you are a Phoenix mom, you need to download it now! Not only does it list out tons of local events connected with Arizona State University, but you can also earn really cool free gear (more on that in a minute).

Arizona State University | Sun Devil Rewards App | Night of the Open Door

This past week we found about The Night of the Open Door events that Arizona State University hosts on its 4 campuses across the Phoenix area through the app. We attended the Polytechnic campus’s event last Friday evening and had so much fun! If Brody wasn’t already obsessed with the mascot Sparky, he sure is now!

We wandered around campus through classrooms and buildings where different programs and majors shared hands-on activities and experiences. JD and I both took many classes on this campus during our college days, so it was a bit surreal to be back in some of the buildings, now with a toddler in tow. Oh the memories it brought back!

Arizona State University | Sun Devil Rewards App | Night of the Open Door

A highlight included Brody pretending to drive an off-road go-cart with all of the engineering students surrounding him.

Arizona State University | Sun Devil Rewards App | Night of the Open Door

My favorite part was touring the printing studio and watching the process behind Sparky masks being printed, die cut, and assembled. It was so interesting to see!

Arizona State University | Sun Devil Rewards App | Night of the Open Door

JD loved making a huge paper airplane with Brody, then teaching him how to throw it outside.

The whole event was free, well-organized and truly a blast for all 3 of us.

Arizona State University | Sun Devil Rewards App | Night of the Open Door

There is another Night of the Open Door event coming up at the main campus this Saturday. We had so much fun at the Polytechnic campus, we may be checking this one out as well. You will be able to fly blimps, make wildflower seed bombs, learn how to wrap Saris, receive a Henna tattoo and more!

Sun Devil Rewards App | Arizona State University
Sun Devil Rewards App

Here's a little tip.

When you attend ASU events like this, make sure you download the Sun Devil Rewards app! You earn pitchforks, which are basically like points, for attending. The pitchforks can be redeemed for really cool prizes like tickets to sporting events, fan gear, and one of a kind experiences.

Want to earn some free gear?

Just for Momma Society readers, follow the 3 simple steps below before Sunday (2/26) and you will earn 500 pitchforks, enough to redeem for a prize.

  1. Download the Sun Devil Rewards App (50 pitchforks)
  2. Click on the “Secret Word” button on the main screen and enter “LOVEASU” (400 bonus pitchforks!)
  3. Connect your social accounts (50 pitchforks)

I hope to see you at the Night of the Open door event on Saturday!

Currently Planning: Ice Cream Birthday Bash

I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that we were planning Brody's 1st birthday party. As if the first year of his life did not fly by in the blink of an eye, the 2nd year has passed by even faster.

With the new baby on the way, working on getting our home ready to sell, and a busy Spring, we debated whether or not to throw a birthday party for Brody this year. Ultimately, the party won. I am always a fan of celebrations and realizing this would be one of our last celebrations as a family of 3 was even more of a reason to celebrate. I am taking a few shortcuts this year to make the party & planning process stress-free and fun. Here's what we have in the works.

Ice Cream Cone Birthday Party Invitations | Ice Cream Birthday | Ice Cream Sundae | Ice Cream Bar

Theme:

An ice cream party! I realize some mommas are probably cringing at the fact that I'm throwing my 2-year old a sugar-filled bash, however we love ice cream! Most of the ice cream parties I have come across have been pink and girly, so we are mixing up the traditional ice cream party colors and focusing on mint, blue and cream with a touch of black & pink. 

Location:

The thing I am most excited about is hosting Brody's party at Gold Medal Gymnastics. The team at the gym invited us to check it out and it has been awesome working with them to create a fun afternoon for toddlers. For the party, they are setting up a toddler obstacle course. Different activities spread across the gym geared towards 2-year olds. This has been a great way to simplify the complexity of party planning. Rather than the stress of having to plan entertainment for the littlest of guests and prep our house to be party ready, Gold Medal Gymnastics has come to the rescue. What 2-year old wouldn't love running through all of this!?

Gymnastics Birthday Party | Gold Medal Gymnastics

Invitations:

I'd be lying if I did not admit that the super cute ice cream invitation from Minted wasn't one of contributing factors towards picking an ice cream theme. A sprinkle covered backs and the sweetest ice cream cone on the front--it does not get more celebratory than that. Stress-free tip: Minted will address all of your envelopes for you! And just a heads up, the post office has the cutest ice cream stamps right now! I may have done a happy dance when I discovered them! 

Gymnastics Birthday Party | Gold Medal Gymnastics

Food:

Since the theme of the party is ice cream, you can probably guess the menu! We scheduled the party between mealtimes so we would not have to worry about planning a full meal for guests. An ice cream bar should be the perfect afternoon snack after running around the gym. I'm all about simple, so I plan on sticking to vanilla ice cream and loads of toppings. Bowls, cones, and cookies will be in the spread so guests can personalize their treats to their tastebuds. Now I'm just debating if I should add a bowl of pickles to the topping bar for all of the pregnant mommas attending :)

Gymnastics Birthday Party | Gold Medal Gymnastics

Decorations:

I am still working on the decorations for the party, however keeping it simple is my goal. Similarly to Brody's 1st birthday party, I am planning on focusing on one statement table (the ice cream bar table). I want to create a fun background for the table that screams ice cream. I came across this gold wine glass drying rack and I think it may make the perfect cone holder for the ice cream bar. After the party, it would probably also make a great bottle drying rack. For table coverings, I'm leaning towards rolls of Kraft paper--for some reason Kraft paper reminds me of ice cream cones. If you're on Pinterest, I've pinned a few other fun ice cream party ideas on the party board

Party Inspiration

Ice Cream Cone Birthday Party Invitations | Ice Cream Birthday | Ice Cream Sundae | Ice Cream Bar

One: Silver Mylar Balloon | Two: Ice Cream Invitations | Three: Kraft Paper Roll | Four: Soda Shop Hats | Five: Felt Garland | Six: Ice Cream Paddle Ball | Seven: Sprinkles | Eight: Two T-Shirt | Nine: Polka Dot PlatesTen: Sparkler Candle | Eleven: Squirt Bottle (for sauces) | Twelve: Drying Rack (using to hold ice cream cones) | Thirteen: Square Plates | Fourteen: Pink Spoons

I am so excited to see how everything comes together, stuff my face with ice cream, and most of all--watch Brody's excitement on the big day! Now someone please pinch me--how am I possibly going to be the mom to a 2 year old!? 

Fill me in, what's your favorite ice cream topping? Working on my shopping list!

 

 

A Little Update on Baby #2

When they told me subsequent pregnancies went by a lot faster, they were right. With Brody, I could have told you exactly what size of fruit he was each week. I had read the week-by-week summaries religiously. I googled everything. This time around, I find myself feeling lucky if I can remember how many weeks along I am.

The start of the 2nd trimester has brought an insatiable appetite. It has brought a bit more energy. And it has brought about so many memories of my pregnancy with Brody. From the birth planning to the pregnancy brain, here’s a little recap of the past 6 weeks.

PS: If you missed the first 10 weeks, you can catch up with this pregnancy recap.

Pregnancy Weeks 11 - 16 | Pregnancy Announcement | Pregnancy Journal | Pregnancy Bump | Bump Pictures

Week 11

Doula interview. Brody and I headed to Starbucks today to meet with a potential doula. She rocked. My initial vibe of her was that she is everything I would expect in a doula--kind, positive, friendly, and knowledgeable. I am feeling like she is going to be money well spent. I left our coffee date feeling excited and energized about labor and birth. Knowing I will have two cheerleaders by my side this time around--that's a good feeling. 

Pregnancy Weeks 11 - 16 | Pregnancy Announcement | Pregnancy Journal | Pregnancy Bump | Bump Pictures

Week 12

Eavesdropping. I was at the airport today flying home from a quick trip to visit friends in Atlanta. After arriving at the airport super early, and a flight delay--I sat in the terminal subconsciously listening to the conversations of those around me. These two little boys were squished together in a chair in front of me. They couldn't have been older than 6&8 years. There was no mistaking their brotherly bond. They chatted about football--NFL players, the teams, and football strategies. The littlest turned to his brother and every so sincerely asked "if I play for the Ravens one day, will you cheer for me?" Big bro replied with a solid "yes". Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones, but this was one of those little moments of validation that giving Brody a sibling to grow up with--a life long supporter, a forever partner in crime--this is the greatest gift. I can't wait to overhear conversations like this in our home one-day. There is so much to look forward to!

Baby names. On our drive home from our workout last night, JD and I started chatting about baby names. I've kept a running list of names I like for the past few years. Some get taken off the list after a few months, some stick around for a while. JD wanted to hear them. Let's just say, we're back to the drawing board on this one! Naming a child sure is a lot of pressure!

Related: Our Favorite Baby Names

Pregnancy Brain. There is such a thing as pregnancy brain. Whether or not it has scientifically been proven, I think my day today is enough to prove it. My morning may have started at 4am, so #sleepdepervation could be a contributing factor, but holy cow, can one person seriously make so many mindless mistakes in a single day? A trip to the zoo to meet up with a friend has been on the calendar for a week now. I was so happy we made it out of the door early! 20 minutes into the drive I realized my phone was at home. This usually wouldn't be a major issue, but how would I find my friend at the zoo? So we did a U-turn and headed home to grab the phone. 45 minutes after we were supposed to meet, we finally arrived at the parking lot. As if that wasn’t enough, on the way (a route I've driven dozens of times) I took a wrong exit and got lost. And tonight? Well tonight I was working on a video campaign for a cereal brand. Finally had it all finished and was editing it only to double check the contract and realize I used the wrong cereal brand. How many mistakes can I make in one day? 

Pregnancy Weeks 11 - 16 | Pregnancy Announcement | Pregnancy Journal | Pregnancy Bump | Bump Pictures

Week 13

The bump. I keep hearing that your bump starts appearing quicker the 2nd time around. This hasn't been the case so far. The first trimester brought a total of nearly 10lbs lost. A bump of any sort was far from being seen. But today as I'm kicking off the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, I can see it coming. It looks a bit like I ate a chipotle burrito at the moment, but I'm excited for the bump to continue to grow. I'm excited for the flutters that will turn into kicks. I'm excited for this little babe. 

Week 14

Caffeine. I laid in bed tonight feeling energized. Brody's toys were put away before we went to bed. I competed a long report with a fast approaching deadline. I glanced at the clock and saw it was nearly 11pm--the latest I had managed to stay awake for months. I thought to myself, wow this 2nd trimester is really packing the punch when it comes to energy. Then, I quickly realized it was probably the coffee I drank late this afternoon--the first cup I've had this pregnancy. And now it is 4 am and I am still wide awake. Wired. Brain racing. Here I am researching placenta encapsulation in the darkness of the night. I think I'll be staying away from the coffee for a while. Sleep is too precious these days.

Pregnancy Weeks 11 - 16 | Pregnancy Announcement | Pregnancy Journal | Pregnancy Bump | Bump Pictures

Pregnancy dreams. I had my first pregnancy dream today. In my dream, I went in for the ultrasound and the tech gave me an envelope indicating boy or girl. I had someone dye my hair blue for boy or pink for girl without me seeing. The next morning I woke up looked in the mirror and my entire hair was blue. I cried. I have no idea if they were happy tears or sad tears, but I cried. I woke up slightly confused whether it had really happened or had it been a dream. Boy these pregnancy dreams are wild. Vowing to think of a better gender reveal over the next few weeks than dying my hair.

Week 15

Feeling faint. I've had these moments twice this week. The first time I was ironing Brody's shirt and suddenly my ears started ringing, my vision got fuzzy and I knew if I didn't sit down quick enough, I'd be on the floor. Same thing happened just now in the shower. Is it the sinus infection I’m battling? Or is it the pregnancy? I'm having flash backs to my pregnancy with Brody. I think I was right around 16 weeks pregnant. We were in Morocco wandering through the incredible maze of the souk (marketplace). I was haggling with a shop owner over beautiful tasseled key chains. Suddenly the world started spinning. The loud voices in the marketplace faded and my husband caught me before I hit the ground. A group of women from England were walking by. One of them stop to hand me some sort of sugary item from her purse and make sure I was ok. The shop owner brought me a chair. And the kindness of strangers was so evident despite being in a foreign land. We bought as many tasseled key chains as we could from the sweet man. This pregnancy is chalking up so many feelings and memories from two years ago as Brody grew in my belly.

2am we meet again. The universe is trying to tell me something at this time of day. Every night for weeks now, I've been waking up from 2-4am. I want to complain because goodness what I would give for a full night of uninterrupted sleep, however I'm chalking it up as some early prep for the sleepless nights to come. It's 2:30am now and I'm in full pregnant lady mode--just devoured two waffles. Now to twiddle my thumbs until the sleep fairies strike again.

Pregnancy Weeks 11 - 16 | Pregnancy Announcement | Pregnancy Journal | Pregnancy Bump | Bump Pictures

Tee | Swim Trunks | Dress | Rain Boots

Week 16

Midwife Appointment. I had another appointment today and I am starting to realize the vast difference between and OB visit and a midwife visit. With the OB visits, I was always amazed and happy with how quickly I was in and out of the appointment. With the midwife I've been amazed and happy by how relaxed and slow our visits go. Today was no exception. I sat in the patient room with the midwife for nearly 45 minutes chitchatting about birth and placentas, hobbies and pregnancies. It was like catching up with an old friend. Then we went on to check the baby’s heartbeat. 144 bpm. The dun dun dun dun dun dun was music to my ears. Our next appointment is the 20 week ultrasound. I am anxious to find out the sex this time around.

Baby kicks. I was sitting on my friend’s couch today when I felt the first flutter. The first outward sign of this little babe growing inside. The moment where this whole process actually starts to feel real. The instant when you start thinking that morning sickness wasn’t so bad when these little flutters are the result.

Get The Look:

From Drab to Fab: A Playhouse Renovation You've Got To See

My husband and I always joke that any project I touch is destined to be much more complicated than it should be. Usually, he is very right. So when I started the conversation of building a playhouse for Brody, we knew we were in for some work. What we did not realize was how much fun we would have as a family creating this little play space and watching Brody enjoy it.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

We started with a build-your-own playhouse kit. The Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wood Playhouse seemed to be more affordable and less time consuming than trying to build our own design. When we initially opened the box, we were a bit concerned it may be tough to put together, but once we started taking the pieces out we were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to build.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

To transform the playhouse into a Palm Springs inspired juice bar, we focused on three main changes: painting, extending the side window, and decorating the playhouse. Below, I am spilling the beans on how we spiced up the playhouse. I won’t sugar coat it, the painting process took much longer than planned—a rough first trimester could be partially to blame. But the final results of this playhouse renovation were more than worth the effort!

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

Painting The Playhouse

Since we had recently painted our block wall fence a charcoal color, I knew I wanted to paint the playhouse white. The playhouse is the first thing you see when you look out of the kitchen window and I wanted to be sure it was not an eyesore. We used Behr Ultra Pure White in an eggshell finish. Per the paint counter attendant, the eggshell finish would give us a little more wipe-ability on the exterior, while still appearing fairly flat.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

We debated how to paint the pieces. Should we paint each piece before we build the house? Should we build the whole house then paint it? Should we do a combo of both? We ultimately decided to build the house without the roof and paint the home separately from the roof pieces. Was this the best strategy? I am not sure, but it worked. Some of the pieces overlapped others, so we avoided painting unnecessary areas. Since we used white, it took a solid 3 coats in most areas to make sure it fully covered the cedar wood. When we finished the first coat, I looked at the house and wanted to quit because it looked awful. But we kept on trekking and by the time the 3rd coat was applied, we were happy.

Tip: follow the wood grain with your brush strokes for best results.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

It was difficult to paint in some of the crevices. Once we assembled the entire playhouse, I went around with a can of white spray paint and tried to fill in most of the little areas that we had missed with paint. I highly recommend doing this.

Building An Awning

After we finished tackling the painting (nearly 3 months later!), we spent a weekend working on the fun part—customizing the playhouse! Since the interior of the playhouse is small, there is not a lot of room for a table or counter space. We decided to transform the windowsill on one of the sides to create a little counter/table. We simply drilled a sanded piece of birch wood into the windowsill to create the counter space (thanks, dad, for your handiwork on this!). I do plan on adding a varnish or finish to the counter in the next few weeks before it rains.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

To make the side look more customized, we built an awning. If it sounds intimidating, it was not. We simply secured two shelf brackets from Ikea to the side of the window frame and covered it with a plastic coated striped fabric. Since I do not sew, I hot glued the fabric to the brackets. It has been holding up well so far—the lovely Arizona weather may be a contributing factor.

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

Decorating The Playhouse

Outdoor Playhouse DIY Renovation | Painted Wooden Playhouse

As for decorating the playhouse, we used a washable Ikea rug at the entrance. This rug is under $4, so if it gets destroyed over time, I am not worried. We painted terracotta pots black and planted succulents to dress up the front. You could also use faux plants, but I am learning that toddlers love gardening. Hopefully Brody’s gardening skills are much better than mine.

We put a stool on the side by the window table. Brody alternates between sitting on the stool and playing in the house—it is so fun to watch. I am planning on bringing a container of play food outside for him to use, but in the meantime cups and rocks have been quite entertaining

We had so much fun building this little house. I am hoping it brings years of fun to our kids! Now who wants to come over for some lemonade and a play date?

Get the look:

Palm Springs Inspired Playhouse DIY | Build Your Own Playhouse

12 Amazing Pregnancy Journals You Will Want To Check Out

There is something about pregnancy that brings my emotions and thoughts to the surface. It makes me want to write. It makes me want to record every detail of this special time. It makes me want to somehow share this experience with our future baby.

It is no secret that I have been keeping a pregnancy journal on the notes app on my phone this time around. I wish I had done so with Brody so I could reference and compare these moments to the ones I experienced as Brody grew.

Whether you are expecting or you are looking for the perfect gift for a momma-to-be, a pregnancy journal is sure to be a treasure. Below are a dozen of my very favorites.

The Best Pregnancy Journals | Pregnancy Journal Ideas | Pregnancy Journal DIY | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

One: Bump For Joy More often than I care to admit, I judge books by their covers. This journal takes it a step further with a beautiful interior as well. Organized by trimester with prompts on many pages, this is the perfect place to record all of those pregnancy moments.

Two: Expecting You If you have found yourself full of emotions and feelings during this special time, this journal is the perfect place to spill your heart. I love that this journal is compact enough to carry around or keep on your nightstand. Plus, it is a great price if you are looking for a little gift to give.

Three: Bump to Baby Handmade in California, this pregnancy journal is a keepsake. The pages walk you through each month of pregnancy with beautiful illustrations and prompts.

Four: Milestone Pregnancy Cards If you are not a huge fan of writing or freeze up when there is a blank sheet of paper in front of you, Milestone Pregnancy Cards are the perfect option for recording your pregnancy. From the first kick to the day your found out you were expecting, keep track of the dates and moments. These would be so fun to reference during future pregnancy and compare how similar or different the pregnancies have been. 

Five: It's Your Story, Write It Down If you are looking for a blank canvas, this journal by Sugar Paper LA, is a lovely spot to write freely. No prompts, no fill-in-the-blanks, just a a special notebook for you and everything on your mind. 

Six: I Wished For You - An Adoption Journal This journal is designed for families who are going through the adoption process. I love the title of this journal. The interior is filled with prompts and places for mementos. What a gift this would be to any child to read when they are older.

Seven: My Pregnancy Journal with Sophie La Girafe I am usually not a fan of characters or anything kitschy, but hear me out on this one. The giraffe teether, Sophie, has been a classic baby item for decades. It is almost a right of passage into parenthood when you welcome a Sophie into your home. So if you are looking for a beautiful and classic gift for an expectant friend, pairing this journal with a Sophie teether is a timeless option.

Related: Best of Teethers

Eight: When We Became Three This journal caught my attention because it beautifully weaves the story of mom and dad then the journey of mom and dad becoming parents. With pages for both mom and dad to share their thoughts, feeling, and fun details on their pre-baby interests, it has a great layout! It is perfect for first time parents and the simple layout makes it easy to fill out (a must for most husbands!). 

Nine: Growing My Rainbow Baby I have met so many incredible rainbow babies and their mommas over the past couple of years. Their stories always move me to tears--both happy and sad. I love that this pregnancy journal provides the space to let thoughts run freely.

Ten: Hoping For You-IVF Journal By the same creator of Growing My Rainbow Baby, this journal provides a safe spot for those struggling with fertility to record their journeys to motherhood. I love that this could be combined with a pregnancy journal or adoption journal later on to share the entire road to motherhood.

Eleven: Advice & Wishes If you are not a fan of the idea of keeping a pregnancy journal, consider recording notes, letters, and wishes to your baby during your pregnancy. You could even pass this journal around to friends and family--having them add their own letters to your baby before he or she is born. 

Twelve: 40ish Weeks I love the title of this pregnancy journal--so catchy and accurate. The inside is equally witty. Take a peek at the pages inside and you are sure to giggle and relate. 

PS: Have you checked out my favorite baby books? We still use #12 to keep track of Brody & his milestones. 

Shop Pregnancy Journals:

How do you keep track of your pregnancies? I'd love to hear in the comments!