Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Afters | "Live on Forever" Album Giveaway


I first heard of The Afters during my freshman year of college when they released their hit "Beautiful Love", which I loved. Over the past ten years, they've grown into their pop rock sound with songs like, "Light Up the Sky," "Broken Hallelujah," and "Lift Me Up." Their new CD released this month, "Live on Forever" is their fifth studio album. If you're a Christian radio listener, I'm sure you've heard the hit - also named, "Live on Forever."  (I'm posting the music video below.) This fall, The Afters are traveling with The Newsboys on the "Love Riot" tour.

"Live on Forever is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It's an 'amp you up' record, an anthem for people's lives: 'God you are with me in all this. I'm not alone.'"  - Josh Havens, lead singer


I'm really enjoying the energy of these songs. This is an album that I want to listen to while I'm working around the house - cleaning or washing dishes - or while I'm driving. It's music that's uplifting and upbeat, while still presenting lyrics that have a strong message of God's faithfulness. Josh Havens' voice is delightful to listen to - reminds me of Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) or Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North). The song I keep going back to is, "Battles". Check that out below, too. :)


For a chance to win a copy of their new album, enter the Rafflecopter below!








"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nolan's Baseball 5th Birthday Party


On Saturday, we had our big birthday celebration for Nolan! It was eight days after his actual birthday, which was a little test of his patience, but it was worth the wait! I chose the theme for his party last fall when we were watching the Cubs play October baseball. I knew that 5 would be the perfect age for this sports-theme, and there would be a lot of fun things we could do with it :)


I took his photo a few days earlier in his new Cubs shirt so I could print it for decor.

 

 "Bricks and Ivy" :)  (Which strangely enough are the names of his cousins' dog and our dog, so we think that's funny.)


Steve and I worked all day to get ready, and everything turned out great. I designed the "Nolan is Five" poster and the "Concessions" banner, and Staples always does a great job at printing them.



We gathered up some mitts, balls, bats, hats, and a trophy, and they made for easy decor!


Steve did most of the baking and icing of the cake. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling and marshmallow fondant. It turned out exactly as we had hoped :)


My mom worked her magic again on these sugar cookies, and they were adorable!! There were 5s, Ns, baseballs, caps, bats, and gloves.


 

The hot dog station. Nolan LOVES his "5" balloon! It was a huge highlight of the party for him.

 

My favorite part of party-planning is making the invite, signs, and graphics.


It took a hot minute to track down Cracker Jacks, but we found them at Dollar Tree. Nolan helped me air-pop all of the popcorn before the party. He was happy to have a "job" :)





Blowing out his candles!


This is the last birthday in our family before the baby comes. Kind of surreal!


Nolan Bruce, always the life of any party!



We had all of the kids on the porch to break the pinata. Steve was brave to hold it while so many two to six-year-olds took a swing :) It broke open and the kids scrambled to pick up Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, and Crunch bars.


One last photo from his big day! 

Thanks to all who came to help us celebrate our five-year-old! We wish we were closer to more family and friends so that everyone could join us, but hopefully these photos help you feel like you were partying with us :)




Friday, September 16, 2016

25 Weeks


You can tell this is my third baby. I took this photo at 23 weeks with every intention of writing a post to go with it. And here I am at 25 weeks tomorrow. Oops! Waiting 3+ more months sounds like a long time, but the weeks truly are flying by!

I wanted to write down a few of the thoughts and feelings I've been having: 

I am feeling bigger with this baby than I did with the first two. I've gained around 16 pounds, so I'm a little uncomfortable with the way my clothes are fitting. I have a new striped maternity dress from Target, and I might just wear it every day from here on out!

I need to wear compression tights every day because the veins in my right leg have gotten worse with each pregnancy. Wearing tights with jeans over them in 75-80 degree weather is rough. I've been trying to sleep exclusively on my left side because this is supposed to help with vein circulation.

The baby moves a lot, but he mostly waits until N & E are in bed, or when I'm laying down for the night. I am always staring at my stomach, thinking, how does he fit in there? Even with my third, it is such a miracle!

Acid reflux has started rearing its ugly head recently. This means my love of tomato sauce has to be curbed. If I can't have pizza, I'm not sure I can live?! I haven't had any strong cravings or aversions lately, but I definitely am preferring sweet over salty. If you've been reading my blog for long, you know that Steve and I love our hot fudge sundaes at night. They weren't appealing to me during the whole first trimester, but now, I wait all day for that fudge. 

Having three boys has really started to sink in (in a good way). I'm really looking forward to seeing if this baby looks like Nolan or Ephraim, and what color hair and eyes he'll have. Our ultrasound from a few weeks ago is super clear, and I find his face to be so familiar and so beautiful. I can't wait to choose the perfect name for him. 
 
Sweet baby boy, we are so excited for you! We pray continuously that you are growing healthy and strong, our littlest love.
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nolan is FIVE!


On Friday, Nolan turned FIVE! He had been looking forward to his birthday for SO long! He was even singing "Happy Birthday to me" days before September 9 :)  We did a few simple celebrations, but we are saving most of the excitement for his party this weekend.


Friday morning, we picked up some birthday donuts (of course) and sang to him :)  Later in the day, he got to open a few gifts, and he was so happy and grateful for everything.


Nolan radiates joy, he has a limitless excitement about life, and he is the most intelligent and creative little boy I know. He is outgoing, never stops talking, and he definitely has the strong will of a firstborn. I am so happy to be his mommy! I can't believe it's been five years since I met his sweet face and twinkling brown eyes, but then again, it feels like he's been a part of me forever. Our prayer for Nolan (and E) that we sing every night, "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you his peace." Today and always. 


Our birthday adventure last week was a trip to the bat factory. Nolan's birthday party is going to be baseball-themed, so Mormor decided Nolan needed his first baseball bat :)


We got to watch a piece of wood turn into a bat in just a matter of two or three minutes.


Holding the new, very-smooth bat.

 

Ephraim wanted to touch and count all of them :)


We went to another floor where they paint, poly, and engrave the bats. This was the paint room.
 

Mormor and Papa Don bought Nolan a T-ball bat with his name on it! This was our friend Josh engraving it. It was a really cool experience!



Last Tuesday, Nolan started preschool at home! Since he didn't turn five until September, he missed the cut-off for Kindergarten. Academically, he is so ready for K. He has known his alphabet for three years, he can count to 200, and he is just a little sponge. He is eating up the one-on-one time with me in the afternoons, and he will be reading and writing in no time!


 I'm adding this one too, since his face was too cute :)


We had a post-birthday excursion on Saturday to get ice cream. At this cow-themed joint, all four of us can get ice cream for under $5! Penn State Creamery's "Death by Chocolate" is always a good choice :)


I'm not great these days at getting the blog updated, but I'm pretty good at Instagramming daily, so if you want to keep up with us, I'm @rachel.zimm


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