8/29/13

Albion Fit Swimwear Giveaway! CLOSED

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I will be the first to admit that having children has changed my style when it comes to swimwear. When the summer rolls around I scramble about to find what pieces I can wear from last year and then I quickly head to the stores and pick out the first swimwear that works. But in every case the swimwear usually doesn't work. I am an active on the go mom who is usually swimming, jumping, chasing and playing with my children at the pool and on the beach and I need swimwear that can accommodate my active life and look stylish.

When Albion Fit contacted me about working together on a post and giveaway I was thrilled to see their selection of swimwear and workout clothing was stylish, comfort-chic and designed for an active woman. Their women's fitness and swimwear line offers a broad selection of pieces that are bound to make any woman with any style happy. In fact, I fell in love with so many pieces! I decided to stick to my traditional style and went with the Blousy Suit in black with a gold trim. I have finally found a piece of swimwear that fits, is flattering and allows me to be active with my little ones. I feel comfortable and stylish in the loose fitting top and the bottoms actually stay in place! I no longer have to worry about constantly adjusting my bottoms and then feeling embarrassed for doing so.

I already have my eye on this Midnight Dip swimsuit and this Icon swimsuit in black. And wouldn't this Breathe Freely Tank and these Lounge Crop leggings be perfect for an afternoon beach run or a yoga session at the gym?

Would you like a chance at winning one of these nice quality swimsuits from Albion Fit? Read below for details on how to enter.

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To enter for a chance to win a swimsuit of your choice:
Please visit Albion Fit and come back here and leave a comment telling us your favorite piece.
For additional entries:
Like Albion Fit on Facebook
Pin your favorite Albion Fit item onto a board on Pinterest and leave the link below in comments.

Make sure you leave a comment for each entry.
This giveaway is open to US residents who have not won another Albion Fit giveaway in the last 6 months.
Giveaway ends Friday, September 6th at midnight EST.

winner will be announced shortly after with an update on this post
GOOD LUCK!

Albion Fit is also offering Yellow Finch readers $20 off a purchase of $50 or more with code: yellowfinch20

*This post is sponsored by Albion Fit. Reviews are based solely on my personal opinion and have not been influenced in any way.

8/27/13

thoughts on being home.

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One of the biggest challenges I face as a mother of three is finding individualized time for each of my children. While sending the boys off to school all day has been difficult, I am blessed to have one on one time with Jessica. I feel blessed to be home, to have the minutes and hours to dedicate to my children. To open books at any point during the day because I am, in fact, home. To have the time to pack up and head out into the park for a picnic, because I am home. It is easy to take this time for granted and I fully admit that at times I do.

Rather than taking time for granted I want to savor each moment. I want to make the minutes and hours I spend with my children, together and as individuals, count. Really count. I want to fully listen to them, read each book and each word from my heart, give each hug as if sending them out into the world, and prepare each meal with an extra touch of love.

As we step into a new season, these are the thoughts that I dwell on. Instead of just "being home" I want to direct my focus to "making a home." My time is the key to memory making, and I want to offer my time to my children and husband, to my family and to my friends.

As we shift seasons, what thoughts travel through your head? What changes would you like to make? What challenges do you face and what are your thoughts on being home?

*Jess and I enjoyed a picnic in the yard yesterday under an ending August sun. It felt wonderful to lay in the grass with my daughter and laugh and share stories. I absolutely love this age. Personally, I don't see anything terrible about the twos.

*Jess' red lunch bag is c/o Stuck on You

8/26/13

34/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Loves legos and math.
Joshua: Loves music.
Jessica: Loves her tiny bunny and anything pink.

Sometimes I wonder where their character comes from. I am horrible at math but Jon is very strong. Jon struggles with writing but I could fill a notebook in one sitting. We both love music, but don't have the "ear" to master an instrument. I suppose Jonas takes after Jon and Josh after myself. That must mean that Jessica is the perfect blend of our personalities.

Except for the love of pink. That's all her.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

8/25/13

sunday stills. photo 34

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: Food for the soul. When the air changes and a new season rolls in I can't help but get my hands dusted in flour. I can't help but embrace my time in the kitchen with the clanking sounds of metal and spoons slapping mixing bowls and in the background the record player softly plays.

I keep a piece of paper loosely hung in our kitchen to remind me of the meals I planned for the week. On the corner of this visual reminder I like to scribble ideas for food I would like to make. Sometimes I find the motivation and time to actually make these provisions and sometimes they remain just an idea in my head. Today I quickly wrote my thoughts down, barely legible, but well thought out: rhubarb strawberry lemonade, almond date scones, horchata, grilled citrus chicken, watermelon gazpacho, almond flour zucchini bread.

This sounds like good fare to me.
I may just have to muster up that motivation and get busy in the kitchen!

8/24/13

hello weekend.

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It seems that these Friday and Saturday posts are turning into "hello weekend" posts, but I can't help but welcome the weekend with open arms and exhilaration. Who isn't excited to spend a friday night with friends, swimming and playing and eating? And who doesn't love to wake up, after sleeping in, to a trip to the farmer's market and the local coffee shop?

Today is Saturday, and I'll be spending the day baking, cleaning, playing, gardening and rearranging furniture. I can feel the summer winding down, I can feel a cool breeze traveling with August winds and I can feel September slowing settling her roots. With the change of a season I always see motivation and bliss rooted in myself. I find time to clean the closets, scrub the floors and fill the freezer with goods baked from the end of summer's season. Blueberry scones with a touch of honey, almond zucchini bread, yellow squash muffins with a hint of rosemary and lemon. Upon entering our house you can smell the subtle scents of spice and fresh fruit lingering in the air. It's a good way to wind down with summer and step into September.

Can you believe autumn is right around the corner?
I hope you enjoy your weekend.
I hope you find time to wind down and relax.

* I snapped these photos the other day. I have a few more and some books we love over on Babiekins Magazine blog.
Click here to read.

8/22/13

school thoughts. the first day

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This week we have embraced change. Now that school has started we have quickly adapted new schedules; early bedtimes and early mornings, homework sessions, snack time, soccer practice and the list endlessly continues.

I'm ready for change, I'm ready for this change.

After having a summer drenched in freedom we thirst for those early evenings, for the downtime spent in bed over a book or a set of flashcards. I enjoy the quiet peace of the morning as I slowly rise before my family. And I even enjoy the fast paced days that are highlighted on the calendar hanging in our kitchen. I enjoy knowing what our day will consist of and physically seeing it written down on a list. While I certainly miss the "days of freedom" I am ready for the change.

I have moments where I feel the need to pinch myself. Can I possibly have two children in school? How are my boys in kindergarten and second grade? Where did that time go? Did I make sure that time was spent to it's best capacity? Did I fulfill my role as a parent?

The truth is, time does go by that fast and I really do have a kindergartner and second grader. Now that I have a couple of the school years under my belt, I feel I can share my school thoughts. I'll be touching on this topic throughout the year and I look forward to you joining in on the conversation!

I feel like I am blessed because my children adapt to change and are willing to embrace the unknowns. They are such gentle souls who move with the flow of the day. Transitioning into school is a challenge that weighs on every member of the household. Here are a few transitional tips that I have picked up over the past couple years:

1. Settle into your routine: The start of school means a new schedule and a new schedule for children takes time to grasp. A week (or more for some families) before school starts we set our alarms early, we wake up and dress, we mosey downstairs and eat our breakfasts. This gives the children time to adapt to the early mornings, but it also gives the parents a chance to see what those early mornings may look like. In our home, we start our routine the evening before by laying out cloths and setting out any breakfast items that we can.

2. Reassure the fears: Children may easily experience feelings such as nervousness and fear. I have found it's best to keep communication open and talk about the school experience. My children love to hear stories from my childhood so I often tell them tales of when I was in school. It helps put those nervous feelings at ease, especially when done over a warm cup of cocoa.

3. Have patience: The first few days of school are a like leaping into a cold pond on a summer's night. There is the initial shock, but after that gradually subsides you are able to enjoy your time. School is exciting and fun and new. It's also overwhelming, over stimulating and long. When your child comes home they will be excited to share their day, but they will also be tired, cranky and moody. Embrace your inner patience. Understand that this is a new adventure for them and some journeys start out slower than others.

4. Have fun: Learning is fun. We joke and laugh about our days, I always ask questions and listen to the full answers. When it comes time for homework or practicing we certainly get serious, but we also like to intertwine our education into a playful manner. We makeup games, sing songs, dance in circles or create crafts to reiterate what is being taught in school.

The school year does bring many challenges, both for the child and parent, but if you settle into your routine, keep the lines of communication open, foster patience and have fun you are bound to have a fulfilling year.

What are your thoughts and experiences on starting the school year?

8/19/13

33/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Trying to hold onto one more summer day before the start of school.
Joshua: This child just makes my heart smile with the sound of his laughter.
Jessica: This child moves me in ways I never knew existed. Parenting is powerful and the most amazing gift.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this Portrait series.

sunday stills. photo 33

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: The end of summer wrapped up tightly, softly secured, and packed away. We are ready for a new season.

I snapped this photo with my iPhone during Jonas' soccer camp. Jess ran with me and then we found ourselves in a field of queen anne's lace. Naturally, we had to make a crown!

8/17/13

hello weekend.

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The weekend is upon us and we couldn't be more thrilled. I'm looking forward to pulling myself together and getting organized for next week, I'm looking forward to a long run through the neighborhood, to catching up on laundry and hopefully finishing my book over a hot bath. I'm really looking forward to finishing the school shopping and a late dinner at the restaurant.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Whatever it may be, I hope it's a good one.

If you get a chance this weekend, I encourage you to read this story and pass it on. My friend Kacie reached out to me and shared Lila's story with me. She's a little girl in her town, friends with her daughter, who is fighting childhood cancer. Kacie is trying to get support from the blogging community to share her story, leave positive messages for the family and perhaps even donate to her cause. Please keep this family, and others who also struggle, in your thoughts and prayers.

8/15/13

sailing into the school year.

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Life is like a sailboat. It is a continuous journey that takes you far and wide. A journey that stretches over time and through all cycles of life. A journey that offers a glimpse into an unfolding world. A world that slowly unravels before your eyes, like a setting sun cast out over an open ocean. Your boat becomes your body, the tool for which you care. The wooden deck is washed down with detail; the sails are carefully managed and supported by the mast. As with any body, the lack of self-care and motivation will inevitably equal deterioration. A beautiful gift will disintegrate over time, turn to ash, become lost forever.

I will not let my boat turn to ash. I will not become lost at sea.

Everyday we tread in open waters, left to observe the world around us, critique it, absorb it and become influenced by it. We are thrown into a sea of unknowns and expected to swim, stay afloat and eventually find our way to shore. Find our way home where all the answers are safely tucked away.

If only life really worked this way.

Often times we find ourselves struggling, splashing and bobbing, to stay above the chilly waters. We find ourselves faced with various challenges that constantly change the elements around us. A dark storm rolling in over the skies, raging waves tossing us about or a curtain of mist that blinds our sight. You experience the hardships that accompany sailing; the bumps in the road that tend to hold us back or bring us down. A tear in the sail is a setback in parenting, a flooded deck a lost job. These trials and challenges are forever spinning in circles above our heads.

The question is, what do we do? How do we set our course and when do we begin sailing?

There are no secret answers tucked safely away in our homes. The answers lie in the heart of us, the heart of our sailboat, in the sails, in the mast and in the wooden deck.

This past week we have been surrounded by boats, both metaphorically and literally. With the start of a new school year we will be setting sail in a different direction, right around the corner is change. I don’t know that I am ready for this change, and I am certainly not ready for the school year, but I know that boat is leaving with or without me. I also know that I don’t want to be left standing on the dock when everyone else is on board.

So here’s to change and sailing into a new season!
I hope it’s a smooth ride drenched in open skies and sparkling waters.

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*last photo taken with my iPhone
*Jess' lovely swimsuit is c/o Bella Bare Wear

8/12/13

32/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Boys and bugs.
Joshua: Casting out.
Jessica: A captivating eye.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this Portrait series.

8/10/13

sunday stills. photo 32

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: Capturing the essence of summer. And the happiness of my children.

The World Around You.

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This summer has showed us how to open ourselves and let go of the schedules. We've forgotten about our bedtime rituals and replaced them with new ones; sleeping in forts, reading under sheets with flashlights and late night movies. We have found ourselves settling into a different round of routines this summer.

The routines of freedom,
of memory making
of pure happiness.

I would be lying if I didn't say that these memories came with a price. Sure, we have our mornings of feeling a bit grumpy after staying up until ten thirty to swim, yes our "listening ears" have possibly been turned off and my patience has been tested. And yes, I can honestly say I am getting ready for the school year to start so we can get back to routines, early bedtimes and more time to myself to get things done.

But, what I can say is that we have had one amazing summer.
We have lived to the fullest, embraced every moment.

We ran in the waves, danced with the sea, sang to the wind.
We walked with horses, raced against friends
laughed in tents and skipped with sparklers.
We flew across the country, over vast lands
we escaped to cities for a night.
I have no regrets or lost wishes.

I feel content, I know I gave my children the best gift possible.
The gift of experiencing the world around them.

I also learned that you don't need need to fly across the country to experience the world around you. There are adventures right around every corner, tucked away in the yard, the woods or the waters. You can find adventures in small towns or large cities. Open your eyes, get creative, get outside and experience the world that surrounds you.