Our Fourth Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our fourth anniversary! I usually share pictures from our wedding on or around our anniversary, but I thought I’d switch it up this year and share some of our engagement photos instead.

We had our engagement photos taken in the middle of February, so no beautiful fields, or lush trees, or anything outdoors at all.  It was just too cold!  Instead, we chose to go to the Manitoba Museum and have our photos taken there.  It was one of our favourite places to go when we were dating, and it was fun to be able to go back there for the photos.  We’ve gone at least once a year since we started dating, definitely one of our favourite places in the city.  Plus, it’s super unique and has some interesting backgrounds.

Here are our photos:

engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos

These photos were taken by Denley Thiessen.  Make sure you check out his website here!

xoxo,
Alysa

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How to Go Church Shopping

How To Go Church Shopping

Very recently, my husband and I came to the conclusion that the church we were attending was not the right fit for us anymore.  It was pretty disappointing for us.  He had been attending that church his entire life, and that had been my grown up home church.  We were both baptized there, we were married there, and we dedicated our child there.  It was a blow that we no longer felt welcome in a place that had always been our home away from home.  But it happens, and when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on.  I haven’t talked about it too much just because it was such a complicated situation, but it is what it is.  We needed to go church shopping!  At this point, we have found a new home church that we just love, and I’m so happy to have found something, especially before the new baby comes.  It’s hard to move around a lot with a fresh little one, so having a home base church is going to be a huge help.

Here are the steps we took in deciding on our new church:

  1. Sit down and discuss what you’re looking for
    My husband and I sat down together to talk about the specific things we wanted when we were looking for a new church.  Among the things on the list, we wanted to find something with only one service, was small-medium sized, and had children’s programming/children’s ministry.  These were the top three things that were most important to us when finding something.  It could be different for you, but it’s so important to talk it out first so you each know what the other wants in a church.. and so that you know that you’re both on the same page.
    If you’re church shopping by yourself, maybe it’s writing down what is most important to you.  As long as you have some ideas of what you want before you start really looking, then you won’t pick one just because.
  2. Research, research, research
    My husband and I each did our own research and came up with our own lists of churches we were interested in going to look at.  We didn’t outright cross anything off our list, but we compared lists and started with the ones that we both had on our own lists.
    In doing our research, it was important to us that the churches we were looking at have a website, and that they had some kind of mission statement or values on their website.  We wanted to find something that aligned, at least a little bit, with what we believe in.  If a church didn’t have a website, it made it harder for us to select that for the next part of the process, in part because then we couldn’t find out when their services were.
  3. Start shopping
    We started by going to a couple of the churches that made both of our lists, and ended up finding one from there.  Another thing that was important was how welcome we felt when we were at the church.  We went to a church with someone and the only people there who talked to us were the people we were with.  Whereas, at the church we chose, we made friends right away.  It made a huge difference to us if people were actually welcoming, and if people noticed we were new.
  4. Go a few times
    I don’t think it’s fair to pick a church based on ONE Sunday, so we went to the church we ended up choosing a few times to get a good feel for it.  For example, one of the churches we went to had a guest speaker the first time we went.  It wouldn’t have been fair to pick that church based on that particular Sunday, because it wasn’t even the main speaker!  It was a very good service and everything, but if the speaker isn’t going to be there all the time, that’s not a good indicator of what the church will be like on a regular basis.
  5. Pick!
    This is the fairly easy part.  After a few Sunday’s at our new church, my husband and I sat down and fully decided that this was going to be our home church.  We then started giving, and we signed up for the nursery programming for our daughter.  We also prayed about it before fully deciding.  It felt right.

How do you pick where your home church would be?

xoxo,
Alysa

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My Second Mother’s Day

my second mothers day

Last year was my first ever official Mother’s Day as a mama, and it was pretty hectic.  We dedicated our daughter at church and then hosted a little party after.  So I didn’t get to sleep in because we had to be at church early.  And even before that, I had a bunch of preparations to get ready.  The child dedication coincided with Autumn’s half birthday, so I made a half birthday cake for her (but mostly for us because she wasn’t eating cake yet at 6 months old 😉 ). It was a busy, but nice, mother’s day!

This year was very different.  I hosted absolutely nothing!  Well, at least I didn’t host anything on the day of.  I didn’t get to sleep in because Autumn did not get the memo that mama’s like to sleep in on Mother’s Day.  We had breakfast as a little family, went to church and then spent the day with both our own moms.  We had lunch with my mom and my side of the family, and then we had dinner with Andrew’s mom and his side of the family.  And, we gave them their gifts!  I planned (with my two sisters-in-law) a paint night for all the moms and moms-in-law!  It’s not going to happen for another month, but it’s something that I’m hosting here, and I’ll be able to participate with my new little bean.  I’m pretty excited!

This Mother’s Day was pretty great.  I didn’t cook, I didn’t clean, and I got to have a bath with a bath bomb, my book & chocolate to finish the day.  I didn’t get to sleep in, but that was totally fine by me!

How was your Mother’s Day?

xoxo,
Alysa

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April Declutter Challenge Wrap-up!

April Declutter Challenge

Though technically tomorrow is the last day of the challenge, I finished it a little bit early.  It’s so much easier to find 5 things at a time and just get rid of more than it is to try to look around for one or two things.

This year, doing the challenge was a little more tricky than it was last year.  Not because I ran out of things to get rid of, or spaces to clean out, but because of how quickly I got tired of doing the work!  Being 8/9 months pregnant while doing deep cleans in areas of my house wasn’t easy.  I got it done though.

At the end of the final post about this last year, I said the real challenge would be trying to do it again this year, and I have to say, it was still pretty easy.  Even though I don’t really buy things new, and even though I don’t really buy much at all, I still had a lot of stuff to give away.  I was going to do a big rummage giveaway and have people come look at/take the stuff… but getting it all out as though it was a rummage sale seemed like a LOT of work.  If I had been smart, I should have been organizing it as I went so that I could easily put it all out for people to look at… but I didn’t.  So everything was just in bags all together in a heap, which meant I would have had to put in a lot of work to get it out.  Oh well!  I’m donating it to a really great cause.

If you were following along and even participating, how did you do?  You can check out my pictures on instagram under the hashtag #AprilDeclutterChallenge or follow me on Instagram @Alysalovely

Have a happy May!!!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Seeking Guest Bloggers

Guest Bloggers Wanted

As you know, I’m expecting my second baby in the middle of May.  I would like to be able to keep posting after my son is born, but I’ll be pretty busy with nursing and trying to wrangle two littles, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post.  If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, that would be amazing!  Just fill out the Google Form HERE if you’re interested!

Thank you so much! It will be so nice knowing that my blog will be taken care of while I’m dealing with a newborn and a toddler.

xoxo,
Alysa

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Five on Friday!

This has been another busy, busy week, but in the best way possible!  My decluttering challenge is keeping me moving around for sure.  I keep looking around my house and seeing different areas where I can get rid of some stuff.  But it’s hard to declutter when there’s a little one grabbing at everything and putting in on the ground, aka: a place where things no longer exist because I cannot pick them up!!  Luckily, my husband is here to tidy up the floors, otherwise it would be quite the obstacle course.

Here are five other things that have been exciting this week:

ONE: THE WEATHER!!
I am so excited that it’s FINALLY in the positives around here! Monday was a little frigid, but it picked up from there and we’ve been going on walks … without coats!  I just love it.  I went on quite a few walks with Autumn in the stroller, and I feel so much nicer about the area and stuff.  Plus, there are a few parks around here and it’s so much fun to go to them with Autumn.  I can’t wait until she’s walking/running around at the park.  It’ll be so great.

TWO: NEW CHURCH
We’ve been church shopping, and it’s been slow going.  But we went to one that we really like last Sunday, and I went to a mom’s group there this week, and I am loving it so far!  We’re going to check it out again this Sunday as well.  It’s a less than 5 minute drive from our house, too, and everyone is so friendly and welcoming!  I love it 🙂

dream closet // alysalovely
THREE: MY CLOSET
I am still in love with my closet.  I organized it all nicely, and I have hangers in only two colours, and it just looks so pretty.  I could hang out in there, I just love it <3

The Vintage Honey Shop Necklace Review

FOUR: THE VINTAGE HONEY SHOP
A while ago, I reviewed an amazing teething necklace (here) made by a fabulous shop run by two mamas in the US.  This week, they had their facebook page hacked, they received emails that demanded ransom, and facebook took their sweet time getting back to them.  Luckily, they got their page back now!! But it definitely made their sales take a hit, as well as their likes.  Check out their facebook page here, now totally free from hackers, and give them a like! They make amazing products.

FIVE: SWIMMING LESSONS
Autumn started her swimming lessons last week, and so far she seems to (mostly) be enjoying them.  I was not interested in being in the water at all, and Andrew was a total water baby.  So Autumn could have gone either way.  She seems to be mostly ok with it, with some trepidation.  But by the end of the 10 weeks, I’m sure we’ll have a little water baby on our hands… just as long as we don’t take away the rubber ducky.

How was your week?

xoxo,
Alysa

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April Declutter Challenge!

April Declutter Challenge

We’re still more than a week away from April, but I thought I’d get a head start on planning for my challenge this year!

Last year, I introduced the April Declutter Challenge! I did my own variation of the minimalist challenge over the month of April, where on the first day, I decluttered 30 things, on the second day, 29 things, and so on and so forth.  I would like to do it again this year!  I am going to change the rules a little bit, however.  (If you’d like to see the rules I made for the challenge last year, check them out here!)

The Rules:

  1. Remove items from living space
    Out of sight, out of mind.  My plan this year is a little different than it was last year.  My rules from last year indicated that I gave things to the thrift store on a weekly basis.  But then later, in talking with a friend, I learned that some of the things I had been giving away could have been of use to her.  So, instead of immediately getting everything out of the house completely this year, I’m going to put everything aside and then invite friends over for a sort of rummage “sale” in my living room.  If there are things people want, they can have them! And anything left over will go to the thrift store at the end of the month.
    And, in the meantime, I will be keeping things out of our regular living spaces, probably in the back porch or shed. Or maybe basement.  Depending on how I feel at the time.
  2. Bring garbage away daily
    This one is the same as last year.  Decluttering counts for garbage, too… but why save it.  Take it out!!
  3. Avoid buying things
    This one will be the most difficult, but I don’t see the point in getting rid of hundreds of items from my home if I’m just going to be bringing other things into it at the same time.  It makes no sense!  Obvious things like food and hygeine necessities are clearly excluded from this rule.
  4. Share your successes
    I really enjoyed going on Instagram and sharing the things I was decluttering last year.  Join me! Use the hashtag #AprilDeclutterChallenge on Instagram and see what kinds of things other people are getting rid of!  I’ll be posting @Alysalovely.

What counts towards decluttering?
-Things you’ve borrowed from someone and are returning to them
-Things that are still in good working order that someone else can use
-Things that are total crap
-Actual garbage

So, who’s with me? 🙂

xoxo,
Alysa

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summer pregnancy vs winter pregnancy

I am currently in the third trimester of my second pregnancy.  This pregnancy was mostly spent in winter months, and my first pregnancy was mostly spent in summer months.  Both pregnancies are going to be so different anyway (because every pregnancy is), but I found a lot of the differences to be because of the fact that the seasons were so different.  Here are my experiences with why a summer pregnancy is so different from a winter pregnancy.

Summer Pregnancy:
Pros:
BIKINIS!
Oh man, I LOVE wearing a bikini while pregnant!  I just think that baby bumps in bikinis are like the cutest things ever, and it’s so much fun to be able to show my bump that way.  Obviously, there’s a time and a place for it so I never wore my bikini to church.. but at the beach or at the pool, so much fun!

Maxi Dresses
I pretty much lived in maxi dresses when I was pregnant in the summer.  I loved it!  It definitely helped to keep me cool when it got really hot out.  Plus, fashionable 😉

All the ice cream you could want
No one is going to judge you for getting ice cream in the summer, and they’re SUPER not going to judge you for getting ice cream while pregnant.  It’s a win-win!

Going to the lake/pool
Hanging out at the beach or in the pool is the perfect way to cool off… but you can’t exactly do that in the winter when the pool is empty and the beach is snow.

Cons:
The heat
It gets REALLY REALLY hot! I survived by having ceiling fans and mostly being in places with a/c… but still!  It’s harder to cool off in the summer, and pregnant women generally run pretty hot without the weather affecting their temperatures.

maternity style, baby bump, sweetlegs,

Winter Pregnancy:
Pros:
Leggings
I am living in leggings this time.  It’s nice that I can wear something that stretches with me as my body grows to accomodate a little person.  AND I can still be comfortable, which isn’t easy… especially as I get into the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Oversize Sweaters
These are my best friend this pregnancy.  I can be warm, I can cover everything that needs to be covered, and I can wear them with leggings! It’s pretty perfect.

Snow outside
If you’re the type of pregnant person who runs hot, being pregnant in winter is pretty great because you can just step outside to cool off! Especially if you live in a colder climate like Winnipeg.

Christmas dinner
It was a LOT of fun being pregnant over Christmas break.  There is an abundance of food all the time!! And all the best kinds of foods.  No one will bat an eye if you take second and third helpings to things either.  It’s pretty perfect!

Cons:
Pants
I generally dislike pants, but sometimes you want something a little more structured for the day.. but pants are SOO uncomfortable.  This is why I’ve been wearing mostly leggings this time.

Outgrowing everything
This pregnancy I’ve been wearing more separates as opposed to dresses to stay warmer.  The problem with separates is that I’m noticing a lot of my shirts are not nearly as long as I thought they were.  I’ll put on a shirt and it’ll fit right and cover everything at the beginning of the day, but by the end of the day it feels like I’m constantly pulling it down so to not show my belly.  It’s pretty frustrating!

There you go! In my opinion/by my experience, a summer pregnancy was better.
What do you think? Did you prefer a winter pregnancy or a summer one?

xoxo,
Alysa

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How to celebrate St Patrick’s Day if you don’t drink

How To Celebrate St Patrick's Day

There are certain holidays where it’s almost unfair to be pregnant during them, and St Patrick’s Day is one of them.  There always seems like lots to do to celebrate St Patrick’s Day that involve drinking.  There are pub crawls, various green beverages (such as the green Smirnoff Ice I enjoyed my first time having alcohol at St Patrick’s Day when I was in grade 12, don’t judge me), and, of course, Guiness!  But what if you can’t drink due to pregnancy or other reasons, or you are simply not interested in anything that has the word “crawl” in it?  Here are some alternatives!

Call it the right thing
I’ve seen so many social media posts about St Patty’s Day, and that’s just wrong.  If you’re going to shorten it, please please please do so correctly!  It’s St PADDY’S day, not St Patty’s day.  Paddy is short for Patrick, and Patty is short for Patricia.  There is, in fact, a St Patricia!  She is the patron saint of Naples.  She was said to be a noblewoman but ran away from an unwanted marriage to become a nun.  After her father died, she went back and distributed her wealth to the poor.  She was planning on going to Jerusalem, she was shipwrecked in Naples and eventually died of disease there.  Her feast day is August 25th, so if you want to celebrate St Patty’s Day, it’s actually not till August 😉  So please please please, St Paddy!!

Wear green
This is the most obvious one.  It’s so easy to forget to wear green, but then you’ll get pinched! To prevent yourself from being pinched this March 17, just wear some green.  If you need some inspiration, check out some ideas for St Patrick’s Day Outfits here!

Learn about the history
St Patrick was actually a fairly interesting person.  He was British but captured by Irish raiders and forced to live in Ireland for many years as a captive.  He made his way back to Britain and became a priest, but was called back to Ireland to help convert a number of Irish people from paganism to Christianity.  Since he had lived there for much of his life, he already knew a lot about Irish culture and the Irish language, so we was able to use symbols to help get across to the Irish.  He is the patron saint of Ireland.  This is a fairly basic history, but it’s definitely worth it to do some more searching.

Watch an Irish movie
Especially after the movie Room saw a win at the Academy Awards for Best Actress, one way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day would be to watch some Irish movies!  If you’re not sure what to watch, or if you’re not interested in Room, check out this list of the Top Ten Irish Movies of All Time.  It’ll be especially fun if you’re also eating green food to go with it! 😉

What do you have planned for St Patrick’s Day on Thursday?

xoxo,
Alysa

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my new favourite social networks

my new favourite social networks

You may have noticed this, but I am pretty big into social media.  I like using Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook, and anytime something new comes out, I feel compelled to download it and try it out.  It’s especially nice that it’s something I’m able to do on the phone that I have.  I’ve recently discovered (and re-discovered) a couple of really great social media platforms I’d like to share with you here! Maybe you’ll be interested in trying them out as well 😉

PEACH
I am really enjoying Peach.  It’s a lot of fun!  If I had to describe it by comparing it to another social media platform, I would say that it’s similar to twitter, except that you can use more than 140 characters, and there are gifs!! As many gifs as your heart desires!!  There are a number of other fun features you can do on there as well.
You can find Peach on the App store as well as on Google Play 🙂
My username is alysalovely

SNAPCHAT
I am re-discovering snapchat and LOVING it!  I am having so much fun with adding to my story throughout the day, as well as seeing what other people are doing in their day to day lives.  I really like it because it’s so in the moment, there’s not really tons of time to make the image super perfect so it’s more casual and real than some of my other social media obsessions.  But I love this!  I also love the fact that I can send pictures and videos of our day to my husband while he’s at work.  He might not see them till he gets home, but it’s nice to be able to share a little bit of our day while he’s gone.
I believe this can also be found in both the app store and on Google Play
My username is alysalovely 😉

 

 INSTAGRAM
Instagram is still my first love.  I use it multiple times per day, and I love seeing what other people are posting on there.
It is also in both the app store and on Google Play
Shocker! My username is alysalovely 😉

What are your favourite social media platforms?

xoxo,
Alysa

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