Our Five Ring Circus: 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

Myrtle Beach Family Vacation - Reminiscing About The Last Day

Myrtle Beach Family Vacation

It has been almost one full year since our last family vacation. If you have been following along for a while, you already know it was a big one. While we were in Myrtle Beach, we found out we were expecting baby #5! And the rest is history...


My final Myrtle Beach family vacation recap got lost in my drafts folder during those 9 very long months of morning sickness, and those exhausting early days with a newborn. Because I tend to be very particular about some things, I can't just leave it hanging around in there. I have to finish my recap, or else it will bug me until I do!

Right now seemed like a good time to recap, and I found myself reminiscing as I finished writing this post. Sadly, we're not going to the beach this year, and it's my happy place. I'm very bummed (my husband and kids are, too), but traveling that far this year was going to be very tough. It's a combination of adulting, and having a new baby who DESPISES the car.

Every so often I want to say let's just do it, then I imagine being tethered by a breastfed baby who likes to eat all the time, while my 5 year old runs in the opposite direction toward danger, and I change my mind. Plus, 8-12 hours each way of Coen screaming would be rough. But I want to - I really want to - and if we didn't have to get a new SUV or pay for some home repairs, I would go anyway. So I'm just going to look through all of these pictures when I feel a longing for the beach, and count down the time until we can go back. (But not too fast, because my kids need to slow their grow!)

Here's what we did on the last day of our Myrtle Beach vacation, and on our trip home...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What I Bought on Amazon + An Awesome Amazon Tip

What I Bought on Amazon + An Awesome Amazon Tip

Oh, Amazon Prime! It's no wonder so many people are fans. Their selection, pricing, and super fast shipping speed can't be beat! Amazon took over my household, and they're pretty much taking over the world!


We're big Amazon Prime fans! We buy so much from them on a monthly basis - gifts and necessities. I even use Amazon as my "store" of choice when I'm running low on a household item and don't want to drag 5 kids to an actual store!

We bought 21 things from Amazon in June, but I'm not going to list them all. Some of them were wedding gifts off of an Amazon registry, some of them were gifts for friends and family, and I have no business or interest in discussing the blade attachment my husband bought for our weed wacker! (Just keeping it real.)

Check out the Amazon Prime purchases I made in June, and keep reading to find out an awesome way to save if you are a special needs family...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Life Lately

Big Family Life

Life with five littles is busy - so busy! I'm barely sleeping, we're always on the go, my to do list is ridiculously long, and there's NEVER enough time. This isn't a complaint. It's just a fact. I absolutely love having a big family, but it is a lot of work!


I could easily write a blog post about each day of parenthood. There's never a dull moment, and there are plenty of stories (and pictures) to share! Considering I barely have time to breathe, that just isn't going to happen, so I'm going to sum up life lately in one post.

Here's a glimpse at life with my crew over the past few weeks...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Diapering Essentials For At Home and On The Go

Diapering Essentials For At Home and On The Go

I received some of the items below as a complimentary gift. As always, I only share the items I truly love!

During the first year of your baby's life, you're going to be changing a LOT of diapers! Stocking up on diapering essentials can be overwhelming at first because there are so many brands and so many types of products. There are many products you won't need, but also quite a few products that will make this messy job quick and easy to do!


I have five children, and my diapering essentials list changed with each baby. Some products were simply a waste of money, and I never bought them again. I also discovered new products over the course of 14 1/2 years of parenthood. If you have the basics - diapers and wipes - you're set, but some extras just make the job easier!

Stock your changing area with these must have diapering essentials:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

How My Family Scared Off A Police Officer

Big Family Blogs

Every family has a funny story to tell. It's the kind of story that gets told over and over again. It's the kind of story that will never be forgotten. It is so good that it quickly becomes THE family story. Our family story involves a pregnant mama, a car full of kids, and one completely overwhelmed police officer. 


As I was going through the list of blog posts that I still have to publish (the list is SO long), I realized that I hadn't shared this story yet! Actually, in the midst of a tough pregnancy and the exhausting days with a newborn, we didn't even share it with many people. But those who heard it laughed right along with us!  It's certainly a moment Grant, Dylan, Lexie, Lily, Liam, and I will never forget!

Let me set the scene: picture an overwhelmed husband, a sick wife, a newly discovered surprise pregnancy, a car jam-packed full of kids and luggage, and 611 miles to drive home...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Life Before Baby #5

Baby #5

As a mom, it seems like I measure time in life before baby arrived, and life after. I have been a mom for 14 1/2 years, and I truly can't remember what life was like BEFORE I had kids! Now here I am, trying to play catch up for the last year that flew by while I was pregnant or adjusting to life with five kids!


I was so sick during my pregnancy with Coen, just like I was with every other pregnancy. Every single day I battled morning sickness until the day I delivered him. When you are that sick, it's truly a struggle to make it through the day, let alone blog. BUT...I want to catch up on some of the life posts that slipped by while I was sick since this is partially a journal of our lives.

I did so well documenting weekly life for the first 6 weeks of 2019, and I'm determined to finish it. I'm definitely a visual storyteller (or so Facebook tells me), so I might not remember the exact details of the last two weeks before Coen was born, but with the help of all the pictures I took and my beloved Cozi calendar, I just might be able to do a somewhat decent job. All I know is that I was miserably pregnant for those last two weeks of my pregnancy. I was still sick, I was contracting all the time, and I knew my baby was huge. (Spoiler alert: I was right.) The next document life post I will be sharing is Coen's CRAZY birth story, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin - A Sensory Play Experience for Kids of All Ages

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin

It's the first weekend of Summer, the weather is beautiful, and we're so excited to be outside! The only problem is our hose is temporarily out of commision, so water activities are a no go right now. Cooling down with a Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin was a fun alternative!


My kids are obsessed with water beads! I don't really blame them. They really are fun to play with. There's a reason they put them in gel masks now! ;) Plus they are super inexpensive, and a little goes a long way!

We are big fans of sensory play, and I'm a proponent of letting kids get messy and learn through play. Play really does matter, and introducing sensory experiences at a young age is really important. Sensory play helps kids learn with all of their senses, AND helps them work on their motor skills! Water Beads are a super cool sensory bin filler, and even babies can play (with supervision). Supercharging it with foam soap makes this bin extra fun!

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Dance Recital

Dance Recital

Well, we did it! We survived - and recovered from - dance recital week. Any parent who has a tiny dancer knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about!


Lily just finished up her third year of dance. This past year, she took jazz, ballet, and acro for the second year in a row, with her BFSB. (Best Friend Since Birth - she came up with that term!) She dances at a local top-ranked dance studio (they just announced they placed in the top 20 dance studios in the nation), and they have an amazing award-winning competitive team, so the recital is always a huge production!

The week leading up to the recital was intense! Lily had her last dance class, then a rehearsal to learn the recital finale, then a full dress rehearsal, then another finale rehearsal...and finally, the recital...PHEW. Plus, I had to cut, tie, and bedazzle two recital shirts for the finale. It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Lily was nervous (her former thespian parents told her that was perfectly normal), but had an amazing time!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites - Mom Blog / Pittsburgh Blog / Baby Blog / Down syndrome Blog / Big Family Blog

Happy Friday! It has been a long time since I shared a few of my favorite things. Life got in the way of blogging - having a baby and adjusting to having five kids will do that. BUT...I figured it was time to get back into posting my favorites regularly!


Life lately has been very busy. Our Summer Break just started, but it doesn't feel much like a break at all. We're in the midst of dance recital week, and it's all we can think about right now! Next week should be a bit more calm!

I discovered so many new favorites over the past few weeks. Some are for me, some are for my kids. I'm taking advantage of the quiet time in my house (AKA the middle of the night), to list my favorites for all of you!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

School's Out for the Summer - The Last Week of the School Year

School's Out for the Summer!

School's out for the Summer! Dylan, Lexie, Lily, and Liam had their last day of school on Friday. They are now joining me and baby Coen at home until September 9th. The last week of the school year was a busy one, and although the last day of school was bittersweet, my crew is excited about the Summer ahead!

This past week included a fun event in our little town, a school kindness celebration, middle school graduation and a dance, an 8th Grade class trip to Cedar Point, Liam's annual eye exam, an oil change and car shopping, Lily's last dance class, the last day of school, a baseball game, sleepovers, and fireworks. I wish we had a lazy week ahead of us, but Lexie was asked to represent the school's STEAM program during the school board meeting tonight, Lily has a practice for the dance recital finale tomorrow, the dance recital rehearsal is on Thursday, Liam has an early baseball game on Saturday, and Father's Day and the dance recital is on Sunday. Gone are those lazy Summer days!

We are only four days into Summer Break and I can tell it's going to be a busy one! Kids are entering and leaving our house in a continuous loop for sleepovers/playdates. Did I also mention that Coen is rolling over EVERY time I put him down to sleep, then gets angry and starts screaming? Sleep just isn't happening for either of us! So many moms say that Summer is actually busier than the school year, and that seems to be the case this year.

Here's a glimpse at the last week of 8th Grade, 6th Grade, 2nd Grade, and Kindergarten..

Monday, June 10, 2019

How To Have The Best Summer in Pittsburgh with Kids

How To Have The Best Summer in Pittsburgh with Kids

This post is brought to you by Kidsburgh and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

School’s out for the Summer! Like many parents, I’m wondering what we’re going to do for the next 3 months. Thankfully, we live in the Pittsburgh area, and there is an abundance of family-friendly activities in and around our beautiful city!


Every so often, my husband and I daydream about moving our family to the beach, but the truth is, we won’t be doing that anytime soon. Pittsburgh is actually an incredible place to raise a family! It has everything - the best doctors and hospitals, an abundance of great museums, awesome professional sports teams, a booming arts district, four distinct seasons, fun public transportation, family-friendly events, and even the great outdoors.

You can easily find something to do every single day in Pittsburgh. From touring the beautiful gardens at Phipp’s Conservatory to cooling off at the infamous water steps to cheering on a favorite team to ice skating at the ice rink at PPG place, there is something for everyone. There’s so much to do that you just might miss something if you don’t put it on your schedule. That’s why I love Kidsburgh! Following along keeps me informed on all the exciting happenings for families in Pittsburgh!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Glow In The Dark Space Sensory Bin

Glow in the Dark SPACE Sensory Bin #sensoryplay #sensorybin #space #kidsactivities

We currently have a tough decision to make. Initially, we signed Liam up for Extended School Year so he doesn't regress between the end of this school year and the start of the next one. Now we're reconsidering, because we have a busy Summer ahead of us, and we think Liam deserves the chance to just be a kid and enjoy Summer Break. I think his once a week speech therapy session, baseball, lots of outdoor play, and sensory bins might be the path we take this Summer!


Our sensory bins, kids activities, and posts about Down syndrome bring this blog the most traffic, but I stopped sharing all of our ideas due to the busyness of life (more coming on life with five kids soon)! I'm getting back into creating weekly themed sensory bins, and pairing them with books, learning activities, crafts, and an occasional outing. This weekend, our town had a huge Mars New Year celebration and NASA attended, so I focused on a space themed sensory bin for the week!

Like the majority of our sensory bins, this space sensory bin is easy to put together. I reuse a lot of our fillers and just mix and match according to the theme, and everything I use is inexpensive! And this sensory bin is extra fun because it glows in the dark!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The One Item That Will Completely Change Your Tooth Care Routine + Giveaway

The One Item That Will Completely Change Your Tooth Care Routine + Giveaway


This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant. I received product in exchange for my honest review.

After nine very long months of morning sickness, my teeth needed some maintenance. I'm breastfeeding, so it isn't safe for me to whiten my teeth just yet, and it's going to be a while before I'm able to use my whitening kit. I needed to do something to brighten my smile, so I turned to Smile Brilliant for some help!


The cariPRO Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush by Smile Brilliant quickly became one of my new favorite things! It's SO good, that I immediately tossed out my manual toothbrush, and never looked back. I had never used a real electric toothbrush before, and wasn't sure they were worth the price. I had only used disposable, battery-operated toothbrushes in the past, and I really didn't see a difference. I soon discovered that I had been missing out on an amazing product. The cariPRO Ultrasonic completely changed my tooth care routine!

After a few weeks of use, I find myself asking one question: Where has this been all my life?!? Here are the reasons why I love my electric toothbrush, and how you could win one of your own...

Thursday, May 9, 2019

8 Easy Ways To Deal With Pet Messes

8 Easy Ways To Deal With Pet Messes


This post is sponsored by The Libman Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Like many pet owners, we believe our pets are valuable family members. Our already large family of 7 also includes a gentle giant - an English Mastiff named Ella - and 3 indoor rabbits. Our home is loud, chaotic, and crowded, but full of so much love! And even though our beloved pets bring so much joy to our lives, they also make messes!


With five young children, a 150+ pound dog, and three 12 pound rabbits, there is pretty much ALWAYS a mess to clean up! (Remember that time our rabbits had babies? See the picture above!) If I don't stay on top of it, cleaning can quickly become very overwhelming. I'm not one of those people who can spot a mess and ignore it - instead, it will bother me until it's cleaned up.

Now that it's Spring AND shedding season, the mess has doubled! If I'm not sweeping up chihuahua-sized hairballs from my giant dog, I'm sweeping up freshly mowed grass and mopping muddy footprints/pawprints that are tracked through my house. What does a (fur) mama gotta do to keep things clean around here?!?

I'm teaching my children to clean up their own messes (or at least help), but that doesn't quite work with our pets! Here's how I tackle those pet messes...

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bloom - An Event for New or Expectant Moms in Pittsburgh

Bloom 2019 - An Event for New & Expectant Mothers in the Greater Pittsburgh area

As many of you know, my family lives in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Yes, I would love to live near the beach, because it's my happy place, but we stay in Pittsburgh because of how family-friendly it is! It truly is a wonderful place to raise a family. This weekend, Bloom is returning to Pittsburgh. If you are trying to conceive (or planning on trying soon), expecting, adopting, or have a new baby, this wonderful event is for you!


My fellow Pittsburgh Moms Blog contributors have been working tirelessly to bring Bloom to life for the third year in a row. I was involved during the first year, but missed it last year due to family weddings. I missed my PMB family during my looooong pregnancy, and I'm happy to be back!

Now that I have a new baby, I'm excited to both volunteer at the event and check out what's going on!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

I'm BACK!!! / Easter 2019 / Baby's First Easter

Easter Photography


Hello, friends! I'm (hopefully) back for good! I had no idea adjusting to life with five kids was going to be so difficult and time-consuming. Adjusting to life with 1, 2, 3, and 4 kids (even with a surprise Down syndrome diagnosis) was a breeze, but 5 is the number that did us in! Liam is approximately 10 kids in 1, and Coen has acid reflux and is such a mama's boy that my husband lovingly refers to him as my little parasite. My hands are never free, but I think I'm getting the hang of things, and I'm kicking off my return to blogging with a quick recap of Easter 2019!


This year, we kept Easter simple. We had no idea that Coen had acid reflux yet, so he was really fussy. We decided to spend most of Easter at home, focusing on family activities. Although it didn't feel quite the same, we had a nice holiday!

This year, we took the focus off of the Easter Bunny. We haven't visited the Easter Bunny in years, and this year we didn't do any egg hunts, either. We briefly mentioned the Easter Bunny bringing baskets, but that was it. Instead, we dyed Easter Eggs together. We had a small family dinner. We talked about the reason we were celebrating. We baked and decorated cookies. We sat down to watch The Ten Commandments together. Perhaps next year we'll actually make it to church, but this year, I decided to let go of the guilt, realize that we can't possibly do it all, and focus on WHY we were celebrating in the first place! And you know what? Once the pressure was off, it was GOOD!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Travel Trays for Kids + 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items

Travel Trays for Kids + 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items

*I received the Nuby cups for an honest review.

With five kids, we log in a lot of travel time in the car! Although we only go on a few road trips each year, we spend hours in the car each week driving our kids to school and activities. Like most older kids, Dylan and Lexie are glued to their phone and iPod, but our little ones get bored. Keeping a well stocked travel tray in our SUV helps us avoid hearing the dreaded "I'm bored!!!" while we're driving or waiting during sports and activities!


I've always kept my car stocked with road trip activities and snacks, but I had to pack a separate bag that we could take out of the car when we arrived at our destination. We ended up with so much stuff in our car. Then I won a travel tray from Kenley Kids in a giveaway, and it was truly a game changer! I honestly wish I had taken the plunge, and bought one sooner!

Not only does a travel tray hold all of our on the go essentials, but it also stores easily in the car, opens up into a convenient lap desk for on the go play, and can be carried like a bag to and from the car! It also has elastic pockets and zipper pouches to store cups, snacks, and toys, a convenient protective holder for a tablet, and a removable storage wall. It is the best car seat accessory for kids of all ages, and my young crew loves it!

Travel Trays for Kids


Hopefully I convinced you to make your life as a parent a bit easier, and buy one (or two or three) for your kids. But what should you put IN the travel tray? Here are 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items for kids...

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our Five Ring Circus

Our Five Ring Circus

Welcome to Our Five Ring Circus! After 10+ years of some form of Lexie Loo & Dylan Too, it was time to bring some changes to my blog. It took a lot of thought (literally months), and it's a work in progress, but I feel like this new name fits this season of our lives so perfectly!


Back in 2008, I started this blog simply because I wanted to keep family members and friends updated on what we were up to, and to journal life with our two kids, Dylan and Lexie. Lexie Loo & Dylan Too was the perfect name at the time. When Lily was born, I changed the name to Lexie Loo, Lily Boo & Dylan Too. By the time Liam came around, my blog was already well established, and I didn't want to "re-brand" so it became Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too.

When we found out that baby #5 was on the way, I did start to contemplate what I was going to do with my blog. Pregnancy is very tough on me, and I knew my time was going to be limited with a newborn and juggling five kids, but I didn't want to give up blogging completely. It was tough to realize that I was only able to post a few times a month, but I decided to give myself grace, and do what I could, when I could.

During the time that I wasn't able to blog, I started thinking about how I needed to re-brand, and began to brainstorm ideas for a new blog name...

Monday, April 8, 2019

Liam and the Very Special Arts Exhibit

Liam and The Very Special Arts Exhibit

Liam is 4th in the lineup of five kids. With three older siblings, he is always coming along to support them during their many activities, sports, and school events. Now that Liam is in Kindergarten, he has his OWN activities and school events, and it's our turn to support him!

This year, Liam's art teacher submitted his Kindergarten artwork to the Very Special Arts Exhibit. It  is currently on exhibit at Grove City College's Pew Fine Arts Center until April 17th, with artwork from other K-12 students in three counties. Very Special Arts is an international organization on arts and disability, and provides arts and educational opportunities for people with disabilities, while helping increase the access to art for everyone.

On Saturday, they hosted a reception for all the young artists who had artwork on display. It was a fun event, and such a special day for our sweet Liam!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Spring Cleaning 101: A Master Checklist & Must Have Supplies

Spring Cleaning 101: A Master Checklist & Must Have Supplies


This post is sponsored by The Libman Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Warm weather is just around the corner, and we are getting ready to start Spring Cleaning! There's just something so refreshing about opening up all the windows after a long, cold winter, and starting the season off with an extra clean home. And now that baby #5 is here, we want to disinfect everything and make sure we have a healthy home!


Spring Cleaning can seem so overwhelming, especially when you have a family. I totally get it! There's so much to do already, and deep cleaning is probably not high on the list of priorities. Stocking up on new cleaning supplies can help build motivation, and breaking up the list into manageable blocks of time definitely helps. Plus there's definitely a great feeling of satisfaction as the tasks are checked off one by one!

Here's how this new mom of five is tackling the Spring Cleaning this year...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Baby #5 Is Here!

Birth Announcement

Hello, blog world! I've been MIA...but for a good reason. Baby #5 is finally here! I'm going to ease back into blogging by introducing you to our newest little love!


Technically, he has been here for 2 1/2 weeks. But as you can imagine, life with 5 kids is not the easiest, and I had a really tough delivery, so I'm still recovering. I've been working on this post for a week...that should give you an indication on what life is like with a 14 year old, 12 year old, 7 year old, 5 year old who has special needs, and a newborn who just wants to nurse ALL THE TIME! 

My hands are full, and I'm exhausted, but my heart is even fuller. Our sweet, surprise son fits in perfectly with our family. We are so in love with our newest family member! (On that note, WHAT should I change my blog name to? Adding his name to the mix is a bit excessive, so I've been brainstorming. I'm trying to incorporate our family and Down syndrome into the new blog name, but my brain isn't functioning at full capacity just yet - thank goodness for caffeine! If you have any ideas, please let me know!)

Now, onto the introduction...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

10 Awesome Household Cleaning Hacks Using Bleach

10 Awesome Household Cleaning Hacks Using Bleach


This post is sponsored by The Clorox Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

As my due date for baby #5 approaches, I am nesting constantly, and in full cleaning mode! I wish I could bottle up this unstoppable motivation, and keep it for the rest of my life. I just want to organize all the things and make sure everything in our home is sparkly clean!


I grew up with a mom who loved to clean, and she swore by the power of Clorox bleach. It’s no big surprise that it became one of my household staples once I owned my own home! And with four children constantly making messes, Clorox gets used every single day! I absolutely love being a mom, but I’m not going to sugar coat it - Kids are GROSS!

A lot of people assume bleach is just for the laundry room, but that’s far from the truth! It actually has so many convenient and creative uses within the home. Now Clorox has two innovative bleach products that make my life as a mom SO much easier!

Cleaning Hacks


Here are the ten awesome ways I use bleach within my home...

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

How To Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits in Children with Suzy Snooze - A Review + Giveaway

How To Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits in Children with Suzy Snooze - A Review + Giveaway


*I received this product complimentary in exchange of my honest review. 

My kids have always been great sleepers! I consider it a fair trade after all the months of horrible morning sickness that I went through. I know we've been very lucky that our kids have healthy sleep habits, and I'm so grateful for that!


Recently, however, Liam started experiencing some sleep issues. He has shared a room with Dylan since he was born, and got used to having a roommate. With the upcoming arrival of our newest baby, we ended up giving Dylan his own bedroom since he is the oldest, and decided to have Liam share a room with his baby brother. We made the switch a few months ago, and it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing in the sleep department!

Liam has been falling asleep late now that he's alone in his room, and having trouble waking up on time for school. Once he falls asleep, he stays asleep, but getting to that point is the problem! I was so excited to try out BleepBleeps Suzy Snooze, which is a smart nightlight, sleep soother, sleep trainer, and baby monitor all in one. We've been using it for a few weeks now, and it's definitely helping! And guess what? You can enter to win one of your own!

Suzy Snooze

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Happy 12th Birthday, Lexie!

Happy 12th Birthday!


On Friday, February 22nd, Lexie celebrated her 12th Birthday! I started this blog when Lexie was just 18 months old. Back then it was just Lexie Loo & Dylan Too! The blog has grown quite a bit since then, and a few of my regular readers have been around since the very beginning. The years went by so quickly, and now we're just one short year away from having another teenager! 


Lexie had a great birthday this year, and was very relieved that I didn't go into labor on her big day! We allow our kids to have one "cheat day" to miss school each year, and Lexie chose to skip on her birthday. Grant worked from home for a half a day, so the day was all about her, and it was extra special!

Here is Lexie's yearly photoshoot, yearly interview (which she filled out on her own), and how we celebrated her big day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Life Lately - Countdown to Baby!

Life Lately - Countdown to Baby!

Hello, my friends! This space has been very neglected over the past two and a half weeks. I'm currently almost 37 weeks pregnant, and we have been in full Prepare For Baby mode lately! My focus is on organizing all the things, getting the house ready for a newborn, and dealing with the usual busyness of life right now!


I feel so much guilt over neglecting all the posts I had planned, but I'm working hard on giving myself grace. This pregnancy was a big surprise, and it has been very difficult for me. I am so ready for it to be over, and for this baby boy to finally be in our arms! I'm ready for my body AND my life to get back to normal, even if that new normal is going to be even busier!

Here's what we have been up to over the past few weeks while counting down to our baby's arrival...

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Best Winter Books for Kids

The Best Winter Books for Kids

Like much of the country, we were hit with REALLY cold temps from the polar vortex! While we didn't get hit as hard as many others, those negative temps don't happen often in Pittsburgh. The -20 windchill shut down our schools, and my kids were so excited to get three days off in a row! We were snuggled up in the warmth of our home for the past few days, so it seemed like the perfect time to share our Winter Book Crate and our picks for the best winter books for kids! 


I'm an avid reader, so I fill our home with books! I think developing a love for reading is incredibly important, and I'm working hard to raise readers. I introduce books to my children when they are infants, read to them every day, encourage their love of reading, and rarely say no when they ask for a book. We support school book fairs, purchase from the Scholastic flyers, visit our library regularly, and have books in every room in our home.

I shared our seasonal/holiday book crate on the blog before, and it's a beloved staple in our living room! I rotate the books every season and every holiday, and my kids love reading the books that fill it. Once the Christmas books were packed away, the book crate got filled with their Winter favorites! (In our opinion), here are the BEST Winter books for kids...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Life With Four Littles: Weekly Recap

Life With Four Littles: Weekly Recap

Life with four littles - or rather, a teen, a tween, and two littles - is always interesting. There is never a dull moment, and in just a few weeks, we'll be adding a newborn to the mix! It seems like baby boy is taking after his brothers, and wants to join the family early. Although our 5th and final baby isn't due until March 14th, I think he's going to be joining us in February...especially after the events of the past few days!


Although it's true that there's never a dull moment, this was a calmer than usual week for us. A pulled abdominal muscle and pregnancy progression forced us - or at least ME - to slow down for a few days. Because of that, this just might be our most boring week yet, which is evidenced by the lack of pictures that I took!

Here's a glimpse at life with four littles last week...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Delicious Burritos with a Healthy Twist + GIVEAWAY

Delicious Burritos with a Healthy Twist


DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free from MomsMeet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may  contain affiliate links.


Like many people, I like the new year to get off to a healthy start! I choose healthier foods, make exercise a priority, take my vitamins, and try to get enough sleep each night. But like many moms, I often struggle with eating balanced meals, because my big family is very busy and often on the go!

Lunch is my biggest struggle. It's just easier to grab a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, cut vegetables, or string cheese, but I know that meal isn't very balanced. I try to avoid frozen convenience meals, because they aren't very healthy. Now there's a delicious, fast, and HEALTHY option: Alpha Foods Burritos!


These delicious 100% plant-based burritos are great for on the go, the perfect addition to any meal, and full of healthy ingredients! Plus, I'm giving away FOUR free product vouchers, so you can try them yourself...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

12 Items Every Hot Tea Lover Needs

12 Items Every Hot Tea Lover Needs


This post is sponsored by Celestial Seasonings but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Tea or Coffee? It's often a hot topic to debate! As for me, I'm firmly on Team Tea. Considering most Americans are absolutely obsessed with coffee (just look at all the memes, slogans, and coffee shops), I feel like I'm in the minority. I've tried coffee often, but I just can't see what the fuss is all about! I'm all about tea!


I've been a tea drinker since I was a teenager, but it's more of a lifestyle now that I'm older, and part of my daily self-care and wellness routine. Research shows that there are many health benefits of tea, so drinking it is also good for me! I always start my day with a cup of hot tea, sometimes have a second cup after lunch, and wind down with a cup of decaffeinated tea before bed. For me, sipping a hot cup of tea is very comforting!

We are a tea AND coffee household, but I'm the tea lover, and I'm passing my love for hot tea on to my daughters! It's definitely the healthiest choice of many drink options, and will help lead to lifelong wellness habits. Sipping hot tea is also a great, soothing option for self-care and relaxation!

Self Care


Here are the 12 items every hot tea lover needs...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sleep Studies 101: The Complete Guide To Your Child's Sleep Study

Celebrating (3)

Sleep disorders are very common these days! It's estimated that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, and a large number of cases go undiagnosed. More people are having sleep studies done, and if you have a child who has Down syndrome, it is highly likely that your child will have a sleep study by the age of 4. 


We went through this process last January, and I remember feeling so nervous about it the day of the procedure. I had NO idea what to expect, other than from the guidelines I was given to prepare for the sleep study, and even a quick search on Google didn't yield much information. I'm not the only person who looks for advice. One of the most frequently asked questions in my Down syndrome groups is about how to prepare for sleep studies!

Because there isn't much information out there for parents like me, I compiled a complete guide so you and your child can rock their sleep study...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Big Family Life Lately

Big Family Life Lately

Happy Monday! Another January week flew by in our usual whirlwind of chaos and busyness. It's hard to believe we're rapidly approaching the end of the first month of 2019!


We're currently enjoying our second three day weekend in a row. I could REALLY get used to these! I had high hopes to post more to the blog this week, but four kids, pregnancy, and a cold took up most of my time and energy. I have a drafts folder full of almost finished posts, so I hope to get those posted this week. I also hope to pull out my real camera more often this week, because I only took a few pictures over the past week. I'm beginning to think that the constant busyness of my family just isn't going to change!

Here's a glimpse of life over the past week...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

12 Pregnancy Essentials

Pregnancy Blog

It's hard to believe that there are only two months left until my due date! My 5th and final pregnancy is going by so quickly. Between juggling four kids, and dealing with horrible morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy, my hands have been more than full!


When you have multiple kids, you reach the point where you know exactly what you need during pregnancy, and what is a complete waste of time! This time around, a few new items came into my life, and I was very grateful to have them. I brainstormed, and decided to share the 12 pregnancy essentials that I can't live without!

Here are the 12 items that every pregnant mama needs...

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Chaos Crew's Weekly Recap

The Chaos Crew's Weekly Recap

Happy Monday! It actually IS a happy Monday, because my kids are off of school today, and my husband is off of work. I would love to say that we're having a relaxing day off, but Dylan has a date with his girlfriend (hold me), and I have a date with the grocery store. BUT...we get to sleep in, and that's a wonderful thing!


The second week of 2019 flew by in a whirlwind of busyness! Germs hit our home this week, too. Stomach cramps hit Lexie on Monday, and Lily on Tuesday. Thankfully, it only lasted a few hours for both of them, and didn't turn into anything else! On Wednesday night, I felt body aches and cold symptoms coming on, and I'm still fighting cold germs. Because I'm pregnant, it's hitting me hard, but it doesn't slow me down one bit! Then again, there's no time to slow down with 4 kids!

Here's a glimpse at our week... 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Best Tools To Organize Your Life

The Best Tools To Organize Your Life

As 2019 begins, I'm really focusing on staying organized. Juggling the schedules of 6 - soon to be 7 - busy people can be very overwhelming! I always seem to start the year off strong, and end up slacking at some point along the way. This year, I'm determined to organize my life, and stick with it so I'm not as stressed and overwhelmed!


I know many people prefer everything to be digital, but I'm a bit old school. I prefer a mix of digital organization tools and physical tools. I'm not ashamed to admit that I am firmly on Team Paper Planner and Wall Calendar! There are definitely some apps that I absolutely love, though!

Here are a few of my "Organize Your Life" favorites right now...

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The First Week of the New Year

Mom Blog Weekly Recap - The First Week of the New Year

We are only six days into 2019, and my crew is exhausted! There was no easing back into a routine after a relaxing winter break. Instead, we just jumped back into it! 


Reality hit on Wednesday. The kids headed back to school, Grant headed back to work, and the holiday bliss was over. Life returned to its usual busyness, complete with basketball practice, dance classes, appointments, early morning basketball games, family dinners, and birthdays!

Here's how the first week of the new year played out...

Thursday, January 3, 2019

10 HEALTHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR KIDS

10 HEALTHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR KIDS

This post is sponsored by Keurig Dr Pepper but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

With the start of the new year, many people are making resolutions or goals to improve themselves and their lives. Although I set goals for myself each year, I also try to make some family goals. This year, I’m doing something different: I’m encouraging my children to come up with their own goals to work toward in 2019!


Getting back into a regular routine while adding healthy changes can be a challenge after a long Holiday Break! It can, however, be a very positive experience if families work together and make it fun. After all, we do need encouragement if we want to succeed!

Although I want my kids to come up with some of their own goals, I did suggest a few “healthy” goals for the new year to inspire them...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Be The Best "YOU" You Can Be

Be the best "YOU" You Can Be - Why I'm choosing this mindset over traditional goals and resolutions!

Happy New Year! 2019 is here, and we're already hitting the ground running! Like many people, I'm thinking a lot about the year ahead, and focusing on a fresh start. This year, I decided not to make resolutions or goals, or choose a special word to live by. I feel like that just sets me up for failure at some point during the year. Instead, I'm taking the advice I frequently give my children: Be the best "you" you can be!

I'm trying to be realistic this year. Although I would love to fill my year with huge changes that will make my life run better, I know that isn't going to happen. I'm going to skip washing my face one night. I will forget to pay a bill or two. I will run late no matter how hard I try to always be on time. I'm not going to exercise 5 days a week. I WILL lose my temper and yell at my kids. My reality is that I'm a mom of four - soon to be FIVE - kids, and life with little ones is chaotic and things happen unexpectedly. Sometimes life gets in the way, plans and goals get pushed aside, and I have to accept that!

When I thought about what I really want to focus on this year, a few things came to mind. I want to manage the little time I have better so I can eliminate some stress from my life. I feel like time management is often a big struggle for moms. It's definitely my most difficult issue, and the leading cause of my stress! If I focus on simplifying things and staying organized, and making small yet doable changes in my life, I think I will be able to manage my time much better!

Perhaps if there's one word to live by this year, it will be TRY. As long as I try, accept mistakes I make and move on (because I am only human), and never give up, 2019 will be a success!

Here's how I plan on being the best ME I can possibly be and make my life run better...