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welcome baby!

Two weeks ago today Bennett Zane Johnson completed our family!
He was born at 4:16 am, weighed 9 lbs 2 oz, and measured 21 inches long.
He was also 10 days early. Yikes!
I took some pictures of him today to commemorate the two week mark.
We are so blessed!

I had high hopes of getting his birth story up by now, but this having three kid business is no joke. You can be expecting his birth story sometime in 2016. Thanks for your patience. :)
If you'd like to keep up with us until then, Instagram is your best bet!

I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas friends!!


strong mama + cash giveaway

Oh hey guys. I'm just sitting here on Sunday night having some contractions. No big deal.
I wish I could say that they were super intense. But at least they are becoming more regular. Time will tell.
This prolonged birth thing is new to me. I guess the whole "every pregnancy is different" thing is fairly accurate after all.
So while I'm over here trying to waddle this baby out, I have a very special treat for you all.
Today, Sheridan from Journey with the Johnson's is taking over the blog. She has such an incredible story and is one of the strongest mama's I know. Just go ahead and read for yourself… AND don't forget to enter a fun cash giveaway at the very bottom!!

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Hey everyone!

My name is Sheridan Johnson, and you can find me blogging over here.  I would definitely categorize myself as a lifestyle blogger.  I am a 27 year old woman, married to my high school sweetheart, Shane. I am also a daughter of God and I cherish our relationship very much. I am a mother to 3 kiddos, and also became an RN 3 years ago.  I love everything that has to do with photography and/or crafting these days, and even though I am not the best at either of them, I try my hardest to learn more and improve every day.

Let me start out by introducing our 3 precious kids.  My story is a little different than most, because Shane and I only have one living child.  Our oldest son, Lamar, was diagnosed with Full Trisomy 18, and he was "incompatible with life".  We had no idea what that meant at the time, and did not know what was going to be in store for us.  We ended up not carrying to term with him, and we lost him 1 day before I turned 6 months pregnant on July 14th, 2012.  To read more about him, click here.  We love him forever, and I have never taken off my necklace of his footprint ever since.

Less than one year later, we welcomed our healthy baby girl, Brielle.  She was full of life, spunk, and attitude and has been full blast ever since she was born.  To read more about her birth story, click here.  She is now 2 1/2 years old (ok, technically on December 14th she will be), and full of life, love, and happiness. Oh and maybe a little sassy attitude every now and again.  She has been the best big sister, and the best little girl we could have ever asked for.  I can't believe how much she has been through in her short life, and how much she is able to understand and comprehend.  We love her very much, and she is such a joy to raise each and every day!

Almost 1 1/2 years later, we welcomed our third child, Rochelle.  When we found out we were pregnant for the third time (of course, always planned), we were SO excited/thankful.  Since the doctors told us that there was <1% chance of what happened with Lamar, to happen again, since it didn't come from Shane or myself, we had no fear having more babies.  Well, we were definitely shocked/surprised when we found out Rochelle had Full Trisomy 13 and was also "incompatible with life". We didn't know what to think, or why God had placed another baby that was not going to live, inside of me.  What we have learned from Rochelle's experience, has taught us so much.  From the moment Rochelle entered this world, she was a fighter.  She took us on the fastest (2 months and 1 day) roller coaster of our life.  We couldn't believe that God blessed us with 2 months with our beautiful girl, with so many obstacles against her, every day.  Saying good-bye was one of the hardest things we have all had to do in our life.  

Each of our children hold such a special place in our heart, and our journey.  I would love for you all to join me and my family as we learn to truly "live" again, to experience life fully, to love deeply, and to cherish every moment.  

I am so deeply happy that Amy allowed me to guest-post that I going to be hosting my first giveaway! I will be giving away $25 cash (technically money order) to one lucky reader! Good luck everyone! Be sure to hop on over to the sidebar on my blog, and click "follow" for worpress readers, or "follow by email" for everyone else! :)

Oh and if anyone has any questions about Trisomy 13 or 18, I would be glad to answer them! :) 

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Don't miss out on following this special gal, and getting some free cash to boot!

Meanwhile, I'll be hoping my water breaks while searching for a name for this little guy - I'm beginning to think another "b" name might not be in the books for us!

Or who knows… maybe I'm actually in labor by the time anyone reads this. Fingers crossed.


oh hey friday | last pregnancy post… ever?

Let's hope so. You may get one more from me, but no more. SO enjoy this big ol' belly now, because soon it will be gone-ish.

Shall we go over my preparedness for this child?

1 | hospital bag
I know some of you were stressing out with me about my bag not being packed. No worries. I got it packed this week. A solid 2+ weeks after my doctor told me to.
I've got my toiletries, a cute little black nursing nightgown, robe, slippers, leggings, and cardigan for me. I will also most certainly be taking advantage of the free mesh panties they provide! :)
I've got a change of clothes as well as sweats and toiletries for my farmer.
AND a couple of different outfits for the babe along with some Christmas themed diapers and a couple of cuddly blankets.
We've also got the big fancy camera along with phone chargers.
So, I think we are set.

2 | name
Nope. No name yet. We have a list of a few names that we kind of like, but we aren't sold on anything. AND we really have zero good ideas for a middle name. At this rate his name will be Baby Blade since that is what the boys are rooting for.
Here's to hoping that once we see that sweet face we will be inspired!

3 | progress
I had a doctors appointment yesterday.
I will spare you all of the nitty-gritty, but by this time next week, our little man should be with us!
Out of my belly.
Free to stretch elsewhere and not onto my bladder or hip bones.

4 | the big brothers
These boys are going to be the BEST big brothers. They are getting very excited for baby brother to be born. They are also getting very excited about going to Grandma and Papa's house during the delivery process. We packed their bag this week too, so they know the time is drawing near.
My farmer swung by a toy store yesterday and bought them each a gift "from" the babe. We did that for Brody when Beckam was born, and it was the best ever!

5 | nesting
I've been quite productive lately.
- Christmas present are purchased and wrapped for our immediate family.
- Christmas presents are purchased and wrapped and being sent out to family further away.
- I made 30 loaves of chocolate chip pumpkin bread to give to neighbors and farm landlords this week.
- I never stop cleaning the house with a houseful of males.
- All three carseats are installed in the vehicle.
- And an occasional nap.

I will probably be updating via instagram more than the blog in the near future, so if you're not already following me, you probably should hop on it. You can do so HERE.

NOW, time for the link up.
Karli is at it again, and fancied up a new holiday button.

So SO cute, right!?

1 | Go ahead and write up a post about five things.
2 | Paste the html of the button above on your post.
3 | Link up at the bottom.

Have a fabulous weekend friends!


couples gift | date night in a box

We had an early Christmas with my farmer's side of the family over Thanksgiving.
It was decided that we would get the kids something, and then do a couples gift for the married couples.
At first I had no clue what to do. And then it hit me... DATE NIGHT IN A BOX!
It seemed so obvious.
My hubby's sister and husband have two small ones at home, so date nights aren't very often.
And my in-laws, like us, don't live close to town, so a fun night at home for a date is always more convenient.
SO, I thought about some fun things that could be put together to make a super fun date night at HOME.
And here is what i came up with…
Games - I picked up Deere in the Headlights and Pictionary - both easy to play with two people and lots of fun.
Candy - I am a sucker for peanut butter m&m's… and who can resist some lindor chocolates?
Popcorn - because… popcorn! And if you want to relax with a movie instead of play a game - bonus.
Beverage and stripy straws.
Gum - it's a date after all.
THIS book. I found it on Amazon, and it has 1,000 questions for couples to "grow their relationship."
Example Are you okay with your partner flirting with others? Explain. • Using at least five adjectives, describe yourself as a child. • What is the greatest gift you have offered this world? • If you had to swap any part of your body with someone of the other gender, what would it be, and why? • How has your relationship with a higher power influenced your life today?

Kinda fun right?

AND I also threw in a Starbucks card. Because you never know… getting out might just be possible. :)

If you are still planning out your Christmas gifts, give this a try! And let me know how it goes.

AND if you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments for people putting these boxes together this holiday season!


i'm still pregnant + xmas train rides

It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that I'm still pregnant, seeing as though my due date is still two weeks away. 
BUT, I just don't think that this babe is going to wait.
And because I think that, he will most likely prove me wrong and show up late.
My boys are stubborn, and I imagine this one will follow suit.

In the meantime though, we have thoroughly been enjoying the holidays.
My sister in law and her family paid a visit to the farm for 9 whole days.
Nine days of cousins playing, wrestling, and fighting.
It was glorious really.

Last Friday we took a trip into the mountains to take a Christmas train ride. {The same train ride that we took in the fall to the pumpkin patch.}
It was a solid 15 degrees this time around though.
But, Santa and Mrs. Clause were there, so that made it all worth it.

I'm pretty sure that they were British. 
And Santa wreaked of cigarette smoke. AND… that beard! But the boys didn't care.
Brody talked lots with Santa and described a very specific toy that he wanted for Christmas. A toy that we can't find for cheaper than $120 ANYWHERE. 
I mean… does anyone even know what a Feller Buncher is? Santa didn't. He had to tell Brody that he leaves all of the toy business up to his elves, since he didn't have a clue what Brody was talking about.
Beckam, sat patiently behind Santa on the train and softly said "Santa. Santa. Santa." Over and over again, until it was finally his turn to talk to him. 

I think that it is safe to say they had a fabulous time.
The candy cane, milk and hot chocolate was a nice touch too.

Seeing as though we still have 25 days until Christmas, I think I'm going to have to get creative on other activities for these crazy kids.

What are some of your favorite Christmas activities to do with your littles? I need some inspiration!!


oh, hey friday | tis the season

I am not usually gung-ho about decorating for Christmas in early to mid November, but this year I was totally onboard.
Perhaps a bit of nesting kicking in?

Our tree is decorated.
Our Christmas presents are purchased and delivered - thank you Amazon!
Our house is festive, and I love it!

In all of my early planning I ran across some kids gifts that are so SO cute.
If we had a huge house, I am sure that I would have purchased these things… but alas, our house is small and I need things tidy.
And my boys need approximately zero new things.

If you have the space though, check out these awesome presents that I'm sure your kids don't need…

1 | teepee
Can one child have too many teepees? I'd like to say no - but like I said, we don't have the space. I have soft spot in my heart for teepee's though, and THIS one is so darling. And if I had a girl, which I obviously never will, THIS one would be a must.

2 | sports
My boys are active, and if I don't keep them busy, they will tear apart my house I imagine. THIS little golf set is super cute and with a little training might be able to be used indoors during the winter. :)
Or, you could go all out and just buy them THIS bounce house. We all know how I feel about bounce houses.

3 | books
While my aunt was here last week she brought the boys SO many awesome books. Reading books, activity books, coloring books, story telling books, etc. They love them and I do too! You can never go wrong getting your kids some great books. Since by big boys are covered for a while now, I thought maybe I should think about this tiny babe in my belly and get a head start and not neglecting his baby book with THIS first year book.

4 | make believe
Kids imaginations are something else. I never thought that my boys would be interested in play kitchens, but every single time we have a play date with friends, they always head straight for the kitchen. They love it! There are so many adorable ones out there to buy but THIS and THIS one are my favorites.

5 | art and creativity
Nothing like a gift that can be time consuming! If they can assemble it and create it themselves, and then play with it… win, win. There are so many great kits available. My favorites are make your own… superhero, tutu, animal, and insects. You could even make your own kit to save some dollars too!

What are your favorite gifts that you are eyeing for your kids this year?

Before you go, don't forget to link up.

1 | Go ahead and write up a post about five things.
2 | Paste the html of the button above on your post.
3 | Link up at the bottom.

AND just an FYI… we will not be doing this fine link up next week. We will give everyone some time to recover from your holiday gluttony. :) See you back here in two weeks.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!


36 weeks | ready or not

After having my doctors appointment this week {which is now a weekly occurrence}, I realized that this little babe is coming, and maybe sooner than I was expecting.
I have been thinking that this pregnancy was taking forever to go by, and now, all of the sudden, it feels like I have no time at all before he is actually here.

I am dilated to 2 cm {tmi?} and for me, that seems to be quite a bit considering I got to the hospital to have Beckam at 3… and Brody was induced. This really means absolutely nothing, except my doctor did say it is very unlikely I will go past my due date, and he will most likely be a bit early. Or not. Maybe the Turkey Trot that I will be doing in one week will help. :)

And, you guys, I still have to get my shiz together!
I haven't packed a hospital bag, and have forgotten what I even packed the last two times I went through these steps. Any must have recommendations?

Also, after getting rid of ALL of our baby stuff since we thought we were done, I am having to remember everything that is necessary for a newborn. Like… oh a carseat!!
I did purchase diapers and a baby bath this week, and his dresser is full of clothes, so I guess we will be set.

I can't help but want to buy this little guy a new outfit to wear home from the hospital too. Even though he will be able to wear it a total of two and half times. I am thinking THESE pants, THIS shirt, THIS hat and if I were rich… THIS sweatshirt is sure cute.
Ooh, or. THIS cozy little number.
Clearly I shouldn't have started online shopping.

Now, all of this to say... who knows how regular my blogging will be in the upcoming weeks.
It may be holiday related and the fact that we will have cousins visiting for the next week + OR maybe I will be birthing a kid. Who knows.

To stay up to date on whats happening you may want to follow along on Instagram!


recipe | madsen family famous PUMPKIN BREAD

This pumpkin bread may not be famous in terms of how many people know about it.
But it should be.
Don't just take my word for it, make it.
And while you are at it, triple the recipe. Believe me.

My dear friend Stephanie {who, by the way, JUST birthed a sweet baby girl} introduced me to this family recipe probably about 15 years ago.
It has since become my favorite holiday recipe. For obvious reasons...

What is not to love about pumpkin bread, full of chocolate chips with a delicious glaze on top?
Nothing. The answer is, nothing.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped, optional

Combine flour, salt, soda and spices.
Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and cream well.
Blend in eggs. {I used cornstarch and water because of my sweet allergy boy}

At low speed add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin.
Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Spoon into greased 9x5 loaf pan.
Bake at 350ยบ for 65-75 minutes.
Let cool. Glaze….

Glaze recipe:
Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon.

Blend in 1-2 tsp. cream until consistency of glaze.
It should be pretty thick. You may need to add a tiny bit of milk to make it the correct consistency.
Now the recipe says to wait like 6 hours before cutting into it, but I have to say it is SO good warm that we rarely ever do this. It may not stay in a perfect slice, but it truly melts in your mouth.
Seriously delicious.


oh hey, friday | don't be lame like me

Oh hey guys! It's Friday. Boom, just like that.

Did you see my new blog design? Or the nursery reveal? If not, check them out - because they are both oh so pretty.

This week really flew by, and was so so busy! And now to finish off the week, my Aunt is here visiting from California and we are having so much fun. So much so in fact that I am not writing a post today. Whomp whomp.

BUT you should totally still link up and meet some fabulous new bloggers. Don't be lame like me.

1 | Go ahead and write up a post about five things.
2 | Paste the html of the button above on your post.
3 | Link up at the bottom.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!


nursery reveal | baby #3

I guess it's about time I share baby #3's nursery!

It felt so good to freshen up this room with a whole new look for this babe. And I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.

I wanted to go pretty monochromatic, with splashes of color.

First I started with the bedding and changing table. I wanted a custom look that I could create from scratch, and Olivia from Lou Lou Made gave me just that! I was able to choose the fabrics and decide where I wanted them used. I went with a swiss cross bumper and two different abstract black and white prints for the sheet and changing pad. It couldn't have turned out more perfect! And Olivia was an absolute dream to work with… seriously check her out.
I knew that I didn't want to do the whole room only black and white, so I started shopping for an abstract print. You guys, let me tell you, if you want a unique and beautiful art piece, you have to go to Minted. They have so many talented artists that sell their goods there.
Naturally, after I found this amazing art piece, I got totally sucked in to their new home decor line also, and that lumbar pillow on the glider HAD to make it's way into my arms. I have totally found my new one stop shop - art, pillows, curtains, table linens, lamp shades… all unique and created by individual artists and designers from all over. I love it!
The walls needed a little sprucing up, so I added some black triangle wall decals to the far wall, and framed up two super cute art prints. My good friend gifted me the antlers… I spray painted them white and they fit so great in this room.
 I whipped up a little chalkboard art also… and no, we still don't know the baby's name.
I am so smitten with the room and how it all came together. What do you all think!?

Room details:
Bedding and changing pad cover: Lou Lou Made
Abstract art print: Minted Art
Lumbar pillow: Minted Home
Dream Big Little Man print: Etsy - Mama Designed
Boys Rule print: Etsy - Mini Learners
Triangle wall decals: Etsy - Just the Frosting
Lamp: Target
Pouf and baskets: Land of Nod
Glider: Restoration Hardware
Hamper: Wayfair
Dresser: Ikea
Leather pulls: Anthropologie - sold out
Crib - Creations - five years old

If you have any other questions about this space, let me know! :)

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