Let the Adoption Journey Begin!

AdoptionWriting these words is simultaneously exciting and scary. Exciting because this means we are starting the process to grow our family of three to four. Scary because the road that lies ahead will undoubtedly present its fair share of challenges and character-testing.

Why adopt? The short answer is that God put the tug in our hearts years ago and has presented circumstances along the way to reinforce that feeling. Knowing there is a child out there (possibly in utero as we speak) that is meant to be part of our family is indescribably awesome. Although I won’t be carrying this child in womb, it already has a place in my heart and prayer life.

Why now? The adoption process can be agonizingly slow. Case in point, my niece’s adoption from Uganda took three years. Starting the process around Lo’s first birthday seemed like a good milestone so that she and her future sibling can be close in age.

International or domestic? The gist of it is that there is need everywhere, including right here in America. A life is a life no matter where it comes from. The obstacles, risks, and stipulations vary by country but the truth of it is, it’s going to be complicated wherever route we go. Right now we feel a greater pull toward international adoption, but until we find the right agency to work with, we aren’t ruling any option out.

What about expenses? The average number I’ve found by talking to adoptive parents and researching on my own ranges from $30,000-$45,000 (regardless of whether you go international or domestic). Of course the result will be worth it, but let’s face it, that’s a tough pill to swallow no matter how you dice it. In addition to our savings plan, we will be doing creative fundraisers along the way. (If you have any fun ideas be sure to send them my way!)

What can you do to help? First and foremost, we’d love your prayers. Additionally, if you or anyone you know has gone through the adoption process we’d love insight on the experience, recommendations for an agency, and any other info you feel would be helpful.

Thanks for all of your support as we begin this journey. We look forward to the day when we can introduce you all to the newest member of the Stordahl family!

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FEMtrepreneurs that Rock!

12th bootWatching someone turn their dream into a business is an adrenaline rush. The risks, the rewards.  Seeing a drawing board concept come to fruition after all the blood, sweat and tears.

When the person in the driver’s seat is a beautifully talented woman who hasn’t even hit 30 yet, it’s downright inspiring. Enter Lyndsay Gabeau, creator and owner of The 12th Boot.

As any die-hard Seahawks fan can testify, keeping feet dry and comfortable during Seattle’s predictably wet football season is no easy task. When you try to add style into the mix, the struggle is real. Gabeau saw the need and decided to raise the bar with The 12th Boot.

The concept has grown from a pair of “12th Fan” inspired rain boots Gabeau designed for herself, into a flourishing business that also specializes in custom orders. The demand from the 12th Woman has been so strong, in fact, that a recent post to The 12th Boot’s Facebook page documents a fan buying the boots right off another woman’s feet.

Yes, we think you’re on to something Lyndsay Gabeau, and more power to ya, girl!

Love The 12th Boot? Shop here, and 5% of the proceeds go to benefit the Derrick L. Coleman Jr. No Excuse Foundation!

12th_Boot_Foundation

If you’re interested in following more of my favorite up and coming, FEMtrepreneurs check out the work of these leading ladies:

Harts & Pearls

Harts and Pearls

Air Salon

10362759_10204130464249674_6438988855068009762_o

Krista Roose Photography

20140109-IMG_7121edited

Emily Larsen Design

Emily Larsen Design

Clever Baby Gifts You Won’t Find on the Registry

Mother-Daughter 12th Woman head wraps from Harts & Pearls !

Mother-Daughter 12th Woman head wraps from Harts & Pearls !

Registries are great for the essentials, but sometimes it’s fun to get something a little outside the box.

After months of road-testing, here are my favorite innovative, adorable, unique, and nifty gifts guaranteed to make baby AND mama happy!

 

MAM Glow-in-the-Dark Night Pacifiers

These little buggers are life-savers for binky-aholics. They glow in the dark so baby or mama can find them in the middle of the night. A new mom wouldn’t even know to think about this, but once she uses them, she’ll be thanking you from head to toe for the genius gift!Mam Glow in the Dark Pacifier

 

Bebe Bottle Sling

The bottle sling is the perfect gift for the busy mom on-the-go. This brilliant contraption allows infants to self-feed when parents needs to tend to other things (like countless loads of laundry). Jason and I found it especially handy to keep Lo content when we went out to eat.Bebe Bottle Sling

 

Harts & Pearls Accessories

If you follow me on Instagram or Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed my obsession with locally-owned Harts & Pearls. From scarves to head wraps, H&P has mama and baby covered with fashion forward accessories. The matching mother/daughter headbands make for ridiculously cute gift sets, or score brownie points with any mama by getting her a custom-made nursing scarf in one of H&P’s trendy prints. Below is just a small sampling of what you can find at H&P.

 

 

Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom Subscription

Attempting to get out of the house with a finicky newborn is exhausting. With Amazon Prime you can order anything you could possibly need and get it quickly (within two days) with zero shipping costs. The subscription comes with additional perks like 20% off baby necessities via the Amazon Mom program (click here for a free 30-day trial) and includes video streaming for on-demand movies. You can order Prime as a gift with a one-time charge of $99 for the year.Amazon Prime Gift Subscription

 

Surprisingly Good Deals from Whole Foods

Whole Foods BargainsI love shopping at Whole Foods. The samples. The eco chic products. The exotic flavors. The fresh, organic produce.

What I don’t always love is the price, so when I stumble upon a good deal I want to shout it from the rooftops (ok, or just on my blog).

Here are five budget-friendly hidden gems you’ve gotta try from Whole Foods!

365 Goat Cheese & Pesto Pizza $4.99

Frozen pizza? I know, I know reminds you of the college years, but trust me on this one- it’s deelish (and the goat cheese somehow adds more sophistication, right?). My sentiments were confirmed during a girl’s night when we devoured not one, but two of these bad boys. Big time crowd pleaser.  And for only $4.99, seriously?

Whole Foods Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizza

 

Shrimp Gazpacho $5.99

Seafood lovers, this one’s for you. Freshly made gazpacho, tousled with shrimp straight from the Whole Foods Seafood Market. Yummo. Light and refreshing for lunch, or bring it to a party for a no hassle appy.

Whole Foods Gazpacho

 

Family Value Meals + Free Salad $15.99 (Wednesdays only)

No time or energy to cook? On Wednesdays Whole Foods has you covered with pre-made dinners for only $15.99 (that’s $4 off the regular price) + a free salad. You can choose from hearty entrees like chicken parmesan or meatloaf (serves 4-6 people or 2 with leftovers), and the hefty salad is no joke with all the fixins’.

Whole Foods Family Value Meal

 

Whole Foods Italian Gelato $5.99

This isn’t ice cream, people- it’s gelato. We’re talking soft, fluffy, melt in your mouth goodness. Choose from Hazelnut, Pistachio, Caramel & Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate. Need I say more?

Whole Foods Gelato

 

Lake Champlain Mocha Hot Chocolate $10.99

Starbucks junkie? Save yourself some serious cash by opting for this make-it-at-home Mocha Hot Chocolate instead. The marriage of rich cocoa + coffee accented with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon is to die for. Fall favorite!

Lake Champlain Mocha Hot Chocolate

 

Have a Whole Foods secret weapon that doesn’t break the bank? Share below.

The Emojis of Motherhood

Going to the grocery store by yourself.

raise the roof emoji

When baby sleeps through the night.

emoji unicorn

Mom jeans.

mom jeans emoji

Bane of existence.

laundry_basket_emoji

Teething.

teething emoji

A bad idea.

Girl Jumping on Trampoline

How to get through the day.

starbucks emoji

OR…

it__s_five_o__clock_somewhere

Finding poop on baby’s forehead.

Poo emojiWhat lingerie now looks like.

sweatpant emojiHow you’d like to spend a day off.

sleep emoji

 

What you do instead.

multitasking_mom1

The thing that makes it all worth it.

angel baby emoji

 

 

The Inadvertent Cry It Out Method

Lo with her beautiful Grammy!

Lo with her beautiful Grammy!

If you asked me how I was doing over the last several months, there’s a good chance my answer was something along the lines of “The lack of sleep is killing me!”

Lo was never a good sleeper (not even in the womb, hence the midnight kick-fests), and there were times when I wondered if I’d ever get more than two hours of sleep at a time.

When other moms would tell me how their little one was already sleeping through the night I wanted to punch them in the face- not really, but I did want to curl up in a ball and have a good cry.

Around the four-month marker (when babies can allegedly begin to self soothe), I tried the cry it out (CIO) method. I followed all the rules in the book, but Lo outlasted me every time. Partially because we live in a 1,100 square foot condo, and there was nowhere to escape the sound of crying. And partially because 60 minutes of straight crying was simply unbearable.

We attempted CIO a few more times but could never surpass the three day sweet spot that all books talk about (apparently after three-to-five days your baby gets the memo and magically sleeps through the night).

It wasn’t until a hot spell hit that we were finally able to succeed at CIO. The key to success? A fan in our room that blocked out the sound of Lo’s pouts next door. It wasn’t even on purpose. One night I decided to turn off the volume on the baby monitor assuming I would hear Lo through our bedroom wall like I always did, but instead the fan blurred out the sound just enough to allow me to sleep through the night.

I woke up in a near panic and had to rush in to make sure Lo was still alive. Indeed she was, waking up as happy as ever (maybe even happier).  That sweet little smile gave me all the assurance I needed to know that letting her cry wasn’t doing any harm.

That’s not to say that CIO will work for everyone. I’ve heard horror stories of infants who would get so worked up that they vomit or bang their head on the crib railing. And there are plenty of mothers who simply aren’t comfortable with the concept. I can totally respect that.

It’s really a matter of letting your motherly instincts guide you to the best decision for your family. In my case, the lack of sleep was sucking the life out of me to the point where I felt like it was shortchanging my husband and my baby so I did what it took to change the path I was on.

If this blog can encourage, validate, or empathize with even just one mama out there going through something similar, it has served its purpose. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Summer Hair Makeover Part 3: The Mom Cut

After months of Lo spitting up in my hair and pulling strands out with her vise-grip, I was OVER it. Time for the #MomCut.

Kate Gosselin Mom Hair

Kidding, I would never do that.  My inspiration? Chelsea Kane’s adorable do.

Chelsea Kane Haircut

I’ve got a thick mane so short haircuts are always a little scary. It’s has to be just the right balance of volume and layers, otherwise…

My epic mushroom hair... surrounded by family's stellar hairstyles.

My epic mushroom hair… surrounded by some other stellar hairstyles.

My hair pro, Delanah at Air Salon, to the rescue!

This new cut is so much easier to manage. Blow dry and go. Perfect for my busy lifestyle, and out of baby’s reach.

Beauty Products Gone Bad

When to Toss Makeup and SkincareMy girlfriends and I were chatting about all things beauty last night, and a question came up about how long skincare and makeup products are good for. We’ve all been guilty of clinging on to a cream that’s past its prime or a lipstick that’s been in the makeup drawer for way too long.

Because most beauty products aren’t required to have  an expiration date, it’s tricky to know when you should throw them out.

Here’s a guideline to sorting through the past due products in your arsenal.

Makeup that Should be Retired

If you’re a makeup hoarder like I am, you probably have stockpile of products sitting in a drawer collecting dust. Although most color cosmetics can last for years, that doesn’t mean you should keep them for that long. Rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it in over a year it’s time to cut bait.

Mascaras, in particular, have a short life span.  Toss them out after three months (that’s typically the point when they start to become dry and flakey anyway).

PAO_Symbol_12MOld Skincare Products

Skincare products have a “best used by” date, also known as the period after opening or PAO. You can often find the PAO symbol (shown here) on the back of the packaging, and its number indicates how many months the product is good for once you open it.

PAO guidelines are helpful, but not surefire. If a product has changed in texture, color, or smell, that’s a red flag that it’s time to toss.

Last Summer’s Sunscreen

Most credible brands label their sunscreens with an expiration date, but when in doubt, toss it out after a year (especially if you’ve left it exposed to high heat for long periods of time since that reduces its efficacy).

Cream in a Jar

Unfortunately superstar anti-agers, such as antioxidants, breakdown in the presence of air and light so every time you pop that jar open, those ingredients you paid the big bucks for are losing their effectiveness. Likewise, you should avoid clear packaging in general.

Paulas Choice RetinolTo keep formulas stabilized, look for air-tight, opaque packaging like this.

 

Summer Hair Makeover

mom hairI’ve had my fair share of haircut and color experiments over the years (that’s what happens when you grow up with an aspiring hairstylist), but for the last few I’ve played it pretty safe. After realizing I was starting to have “mommy” hair, I decided it was time to get back in the saddle and change up my tresses in a major way.

Stage One: Goldie Locks

I naturally have dark, dishwater-blonde hair, but after spending a few hours with Delanah at Air Salon, we achieved this Goldie Locks hue! I love how this color warmed up my skin tone and brought out my blue eyes. It was definitely a fun look, but I have to admit there were times when the platinum-ness felt a little too Playboy for me. Better to be a #MILF than #MomJeans though, right? 🙂goldie locks

Pro tip: If you’re going to take the plunge, do yourself a favor and invest in a purple shampoo like this one from Paul Mitchell to help tone down any brassiness.

Stage Two: Blush Blonde

I came to Delanah with hair ideas from my Pinterest board, and being the loving sister she is, she took one for the team and played with some wild colors on herself before experimenting on my mane.

My favorite is the radiant orchid shade she’s sporting here. 10362759_10204130464249674_6438988855068009762_o

For my hair, we decided on a blush blonde ombre, or as I like to call it “blonde-bre”. To achieve the look Delanah used a semi-permanent pink toner and applied it in subtle waves so that the line wouldn’t be too blunt.photo 5

It’s only been a day, but I’m in love!  The color is understated yet noticeable at the same time, and gives off a beachy, summery vibe. The hubby is also a fan (you’re welcome honey).BlushBlonde

Stage Three:  ?

I’m keeping the final stage of my summer hair makeover a secret until it’s a go, but it may just be the most dramatic change yet! Stay tuned…

Splurge vs. Steal: Beauty Dupes

Mally vs Maybelline Makeup DupesAfter my recent review of the Marc Jacobs makeup line, I was reminded more than ever that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better quality. In fact, when you strip away the marketing hype and brand name upcharge, you can find all kinds of skincare, makeup, and hair products that rival or even outdo their pricey competitors.  Here are just a few…

 

Splurge: Mally Beauty Liquid Face Defender Blush $30

Steal: L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Blush $13

 

Splurge vs. Steal Beauty DupesSplurge: Clarins Golden Glow Booster $30 for .5 oz

Steal: Paula’s Choice SUN 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate $17 for .5 oz

 

Macadamia Hair Mask Dupes

Splurge: Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque $33 for 8.5 oz.

Steal:  Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil Intensive Moisture Mask $8 for 8 oz.

 

YSL vs Physicians Formula Dupe

Splurge: YSL Touche Eclat $41

Steal: Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow $13

 

MAC vs Maybelline Dupes

Splurge: M.A.C. Paint Pot $20

Steal: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Eyeshodow $7

 

Total savings = $96