Monday, August 28, 2017

Newborn Photos

Precious Lene Lafoina. I can't get over that her newborn photos were taken ONE MONTH ago already! I want to freeze time and keep her in this newborn phase forever. I'm so grateful for being able to capture her in each phase, especially those precious few days of life! We just love our photographer, Kate at Kate Florian Photography, who also worked her magic with maternity photos here and here, and of course Mata's newborn photos here. She has such a special touch and knows exactly how to capture our family's vibe in every photo shoot!
The past month has been [knock on wood] smooth transitioning with our baby girl around. She's so patient and kind, as if the Lord knew exactly what we needed while helping Mata adjust to having to split everything in his life. Things are also easier having family around in rotation since we have lots of exciting busy things happening around this time: Fall semester has begun which means teaching is in full effect for me // Football season begins this weekend for Husker nation // My LO will be TWO in a few weeks // and on... and on... I'm also excited to work on blog content around career chatter!

Cheers to life! What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My [second] Birth Story

Last week on Friday, July 21st, we welcomed this sweet baby girl into our lives and in this world... Baby Lene. She is everything we could have ever dreamt about and more! 

Labor was similar to the first time around with Mata (blogged about here). I was scheduled to be induced Friday morning since I was officially 40 weeks (and 2 days), full term. By the time they finished admitting me, they started rolling with the pitocin at about 1pm. Labor was painless after the amazing epidural kicked in, and I progressed with minimal contractions. It was 4:40pm before I knew it and it was already time to start pushing this baby girl out to meet us! After 9 minutes of actually pushing, Baby Lene she was born at 7lbs, 19.5" long.

Shortly after she made her debut, her big brother, Mata met her, stared at her and loved on her right away. The first 4 days of Lene's life have been amazing so far. She sleeps a lot, nurses a lot, and gets TONS of kisses from brother.

If it's a bit quiet(er) on here than the usual, it's because I'm present in the moment loving on my children!
Photos by Bella Baby Photography

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I will not be shaken

The unknown can be a scary thing... so scary it can take over the present moment and feelings, it can bring forth unnecessary and unresolved stress, it can make you think SO much about something that you just can't focus on anything other than the unknown!

There are many unknowns for me lately that can either make or break me:

- When is baby sister arriving?
- How will the transition with 2 kiddos be?
- How will my career take off, and when?
- What do I need to do in order to be successful at doing what I love?

My list can go on and on, but I refuse to let it continue at this moment, especially after reading this verse in my Bible and really marinating on it. I have the Lord in my life, and as long as I stay faithful and study and believe in his word, I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN!

I refuse to let things steal my joy, especially when just over-thinking about them really can't solve them. I'm not saying I don't think about decisions coming up in the future, but I certainly don't need to dwell on them. So I'm letting go of thinking about how baby sister will be sleeping, about how Mata will adjust, about the timeframe I will be launching new beginnings in my career. I'm grateful that I have another Thursday morning to live for and the make the best memories I can today.

My strength comes from within which roots from my God.

The End.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Maternity Photos

This week, I will be 37 weeks and counting! My, oh my how this time has passed by oh so quickly... completely faster than when I was counting down to the big D-day the first time around. My guess is it has to do with the fact that I have a 21-month old to keep busy and entertained. I've shared on the blog about how I'm taking these last few moments before our precious little baby girl arrives to be present with Mata and the Hubs. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit how ECSTATIC I am to meet her sweet newborn face in a few short weeks!

I am beyond pleased with how our maternity pictures came out (yet again). We truly found our go-to photographer while living here in Nebraska when we were preggo the first time. Kate from Kate Florian Photography is amazing!! She captures some of our best moments, which can be a difficult task with a little busy-body toddler that doesn't always like to smile on cue. But here we are sharing the last few moments of being a family of three while getting ready to transition to the family of four!

Grateful for an amazing sunrise this day... Grateful for Kate... Grateful for my boys... Grateful for a healthy pregnancy... Grateful for LIFE.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ode to Dads

When I met my husband 15 years ago (as of tomorrow to be exact!), I was attracted to the similarity in traits he shared with my Pops. I loved his kind heart, his gentle demeanor, and his love for life and everyone involved in it! And now I get to witness him being the same exact way with our LO. He's so nurturing (in a manly way, of course), and I can't say I'm one bit surprised at him killing this Dad game. But what I can say is that I am so blessed... blessed to witness how much he sacrifices himself to be the best damn Father he can possibly be... day in and day out.

Yesterday, we celebrated all Dads in our nation by the hubs doing man-things around the house building things and eating donuts for breakfast and ribs for din din. It was an awesome productive day, and makes me feel humbled for the simplicity in life.

Happy Father's Day to my angel, my POPS and to the love of my life, my HUBS, and to every man in mankind!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I can't believe I'm about one month out until the arrival date of our precious little baby girl! I must say that with my first pregnancy, I was completely aware of the count down, I took cute baby bump pictures every single week in the same outfit, and I was on TOP of the nursery well before the big D-day! With this second round, my energy and attention span is very minimal these days chasing after a toddler with an extra belly in tow. BUT we are sooo very excited to meet our sweet pea and begin our family of four. 

Until that day comes we become a party of four, I am staying present and mindful of our one-on-one time with Mata. It's been just him for going on 21 months, and when baby comes, it'll be a transition for each and every one of our family members. I've been thinking a lot about that lately... how will my LO react knowing my attention will be split between two babies? Will he get the attention he needs from me? How many times will we be waking up in the middle of the night to feed and attend to a newborn? How will I ever manage to get out of the door with two babies in two carseats? Most importantly, what will the football games be like with a baby in a wrap and a toddler who likes to be carried still?!

I have to continuously remind myself that it's OK not to have any of these answers. My faith lies in our Heavenly Father to guide my family and I through this transition, and to stay present in each moment not worrying about how to solve problems forever.

For this last month we have left of being a family of three, I will enjoy every moment we have with one child who is so loving and curious these days! I will also be shopping for cute little newborn dresses and rompers as I start to put some final touches on the nursery for 'sister'!
Any tips on when you made the transition on expanding your family?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Hello June

Every summer, we embrace the sunshine with open arms, spend gorgeous Saturday mornings at the local Haymarket Farmer's Market, spend mornings and evenings outdoors in the water, and of course welcome football workouts into our lives. What does this mean for our household? It means the hubs is at work most of the day all week long, almost as if it were season again. Don't get me wrong... summer is still my fave season EVER, but having a toddler to run after and being in my third tri makes me miss the hubs so much more!

We definitely soaked up the hubs' "extra" time in the month of May spending time at the Omaha Zoo, traveling to Syracuse for my sister's graduation, and just spending time outside while the sun was shining and the pollen was heavy! Once May officially ended this past week, business picked as usual in the weight room, and football has resided in our lives.

In other news, I was able to spend some time in May thinking about my career and where I can best utilize my strengths (read more about strengths here). I am excited to actually take action on some of my aspirations that stayed as thoughts for so long. It feels so good to take that ME time and actually focus on my own needs and wants, rather than just this needy little boy who I LOVE serving, but can use the break at times! I look forward to revealing more about aspirations as things unfold throughout June.

Did you make the most of May? What are you looking forward to in June?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Graduate

It's been a bit quiet around here, as I've been busy getting the nursery ready (WHOOP!) and also preparing for the trip we made to Syracuse, NY. I have never been to NY, so when I think of the city, I think of nothing but traffic, taxis and many many many buildings. BUT we were in a very rural area where there were nothing but country shops and farmland. It was almost as if we never left Nebraska. Nonetheless, we got to be with family in a cute little AirBNB home relaxing and enjoying each other's company!
My sister graduated with her Masters in Public Relations, and I am SO very proud of her huge accomplishment. School is no joke... and the higher level you pursue, of course, the higher the pressures are. She breezed through 2 years of her Communications program with such grace and perseverance. Now comes the part of "adulting" and finding a career that she purely enjoys!

I can't tell you how many students graduate from high school and college and just aren't sure of which direction to head in. This is one of the many reasons why investing time into strengths and passions is so beneficial before jumping into any job that is offered. I encourage those newly graduated students (my sister included!) to take time and really think about what strengths you have to offer in the workplace. What product or service interests you the most? Which types of companies offer the best opportunity for you to grow? Can you see yourself working there for the next 5 years? What type of manager can you envision yourself working for and alongside? These are just a few questions of the many that can help you gain some insight into where you should take your resume and interviewing skills. If you need some assistance organizing all of this, you can read this post about how I might be able to help!
Congrats to you, my sister!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Tips to Help Your Monday

Monday morning is here... how often do you think to yourself, "Man... I sure can use one more day of the weekend!"? I think that's why most of us drag on Mondays. It's not an extension of Saturday or Sunday, but instead it's the start of a new workweek.

I came across an article titled, How Successful People Spend Their Weekends which really helps me put things into perspective on the weekends. Although I'm not back in a grey 4-walled cubicle in the corporate world, life is still busier than ever these days. I have a 19-month old boy who needs attention at all times, I'm 27 weeks preggo and constantly nesting in my home making room for a family of four, I'm teaching a graduate course online and I am striving to find the direction I want to head in with my career, whether it be entrepreneurship or not. I want to ensure that my time is used wisely on the weekends because whatever I do (or don't do) on Saturday and Sunday affects how my week starts off.

// Spend time with the Hubs
My hubs has a job that's not a typical 9-5, Monday through Friday deal. He's around the clock, primarily 6 days a week. The minimal free time he does have is SO valuable for us, that it forces us to prioritize that time wisely. On the weekends, I want to ensure that we spend some QT together, whether it be over a movie, sharing a meal, or just talking without any electronic disturbance. This time helps reset for a longgggggg workweek ahead of us!

// Get some YOU time
The one, sometimes two, days that my Hubs is home, I carve an hour or so to be alone. I like to escape to the nail shop, to Target by myself, or even just lounging on the couch catching up with my shows. Try and make this YOU time about relaxing, not working or cleaning... it brings another side of you that allows you to just breathe!

// Get some type of work done
By work, I mean something that will help you progress in your passion. Whether it's soul searching for a new direction in work, or assessing your current career, there's always room for improvement in how you make your living. As the Forbes article says, pursuing a passion can help stimulate different creative ways of thinking. Give yourself that creative space to think outside of the box!

// Focus on at least one home project 
I have been fascinated with minimizing my closet, my kitchen, my kids' rooms... anything and everything around my house. I just tend to look at things and think if I would honestly utilize it in the near future. If I haven't touched it in the past year, I have no problem letting it go. Things such as cleaning out the basement, putting up new shelves, or even gardening really helps my week ahead by having a comfortable home to live in. I'm sure there are many things you need to get done around the house, but if you put one project on the list each weekend, you will see slow and steady progress and also thank yourself during the week!

These weekend things definitely help me have a better week. What are some of your successful weekend tips?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was amazing! The Husker Football team had an excellent run at the Spring Game on Saturday with over 78,000 people. Can you believe that many Husker fans came out to support their guys in some good ol' rummaging against one another? Another reason I love the state of Nebraska... the fans show the utmost support in all of America!

On Easter Sunday, the family kept it light and mellow. The LO was able to dig through a few Easter baskets he graciously received, and played with all sorts of toys that caught his interest a few minutes at a time. The greatest thing was watching him pick up the eggs the Easter Bunny left behind on our lawn and putting them in his basket.... well that's until he discovered they had goodies inside. Once he discovered the taste of a jelly bean (thank you Trader Joe's!), it was GAME OVER. He stopped picking up the eggs and wanted to open the many in his basket just for the one jelly bean I mixed in with cranberries and Aunt Annie's cheese rabbits.

The neighborhood kiddos were out and about, so Mata got to enjoy some fun and play with them and Dada!

We wrapped up Easter Day with a delicious dinner, and called it an evening (after some ice cream). Though we weren't home with all the kiddos to hunt for eggs, we made special memories with our little family here in NE, AND enjoyed my Dad and Stepmom's lovely company! It warms my heart watching the LO interact with family.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter

Easter is such a special and spiritual holiday for me. We typically start our Easter day bright and early back home, by attending sunrise service. Sunrise service is always special... the message of Jesus rising from the dead is such a powerful one, and to celebrate that together with family, friends and fellow Christians completely fills the heart. Then we usually visit our loved ones who passed away, paying respects to our family at the break of dawn. For the past few years, we found a park that accommodates our huge family and allows us space to play sports, run on the playground, and hide Easter eggs for the little ones to collect. We love spending the entire day there, lounging, eating, laughing and watching the little ones play and dance together. It's GLORIOUS!

This year, we won't be home to join in on the festivities with the family... so we'll have to start our own Easter tradition as a little o'hana here in Nebraska. Fortunately, the community we live in hosts tons of different Easter festivities, beginning the week before Easter (last weekend). I took the LO to Michaels a few weeks ago to paint some eggs, which was a ball! We might partake in some Easter fun Saturday morning before the Husker Spring Game (WHOOP!)... then I think we'll set up a nice easy-peasy Easter egg hunt for the LO at our home. There's nothing cuter to see than the kiddos actually finding the eggs all around and putting them in their basket!

What are your plans for Easter weekend?

P.S. Isn't the shot above stunning?! Nebraska sunrises will make for another beautiful Easter indeed!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Husker Babies

As time ticks closer to July, things become more and more real about having another sweet little baby join our family. We are three months (and some change) out and much to get done before she arrives. I bought our first item for the nursery last week and it's motivated me to get a move on her nursery!

We also started to get cute little outfits and pink thangs for baby girl from dear family and friends. One of my FAVES by far has been baby's first ever game day attire... as you know how important game gear is for us! Our sweetest sitter, Claire, gifted Mata and baby girl the most adorable vintage Husker gear for the season. One of her good friends opened up a shop, where she makes and sells  cute Husker gear and also customizes based on what your heart desires.

I mean, how adorbs are these two fits?
Her shop is called H.Flynn based here in Lincoln, NE. Check out her website if your local or not!

We are STOKED for football season to begin later this year... and of course d-day!

design + development by kelly christine studio