Las Vegas Strip

Vegas Stronger One Year Later

A year ago today I woke up to the most devastating event I’ve experienced in Las Vegas. October 1, 2017 58 people lost their lives due to an active shooter at the Route 91 concert.

My husband woke me up earlier than usual to share this awful news. We immediately began scrolling through Facebook and sending out texts. So many of our friends had been at the concert. Thankfully, all of them made it out alive.

But for the 58 people who didn’t make it home that night, we prayed for their mourning families. Today, we’re Vegas Stronger. It’s events like these that make it even more important to hold tight to God.

The song “faith hope love repeat” really resonated with me this morning as I have been reflecting on this anniversary. The lyrics say “I brought you into this world and I know it’s a little bit crazy.”

How scary is it to think that me or my family could easily have been one of those victims. But like the song continues “we need faith, hope, love” to make it through.

Even in the darkest of times, God is there. He has never once abandoned us and never will. He made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes that one day we might say yes to him.Vegas Stronger

Even if you didn’t lose anyone or attend that concert, you can still feel the pain such an event caused to our city. I encourage you to show some extra compassion and love today to your coworkers, friends, family and strangers. You never know how someone is hurting and how just a simple smile can help them see God.

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Sleeping baby Motherhood

Four Months of Motherhood

My baby is officially four months! I cannot believe how quickly time as flown. I was thinking back to this time last year and I was just getting in the hang of pregnancy. I don’t think I had even announced to everyone. Now look at me. I’m a mom of a beautiful, baby boy!

For those parents of multiple kids, kudos to being able to manage an infant and toddler at the same time. I struggled with just keeping my baby happy! He’s recently decided he loves to roll from his tummy to his back any chance he gets. He also cannot sit still for one moment and is even trying to sit up. I literally cannot keep up with how quickly he is learning. I’m going to blink and he’ll be running across the room!

Although these four months have been such a blessing, motherhood has been hard work. First, we went from feedings every two hours around the clock. When I went back to work, AC had to learn how to use a bottle and be away from his parents. Then, we all had to suffer from spitting up. My whole family can attest to home much fun baby spit up is. This guy literally went through all of the outfits and bibs in his backpack within a few hours.

Now, we’re on to good sleep habits. The last couple of weeks have been rough. AC went from sleeping pretty much through the night to waking up constantly either from hunger, discomfort or the dreaded teething epidemic. My husband and I were exhausted to say the least. But finally, we gave in and let him cry it out for a bit. After a couple fits of tearful cries, AC slept! It’s been multiple nights of better sleep and we haven’t even had to use our swing. Hallelujah!

Despite losing a few hours of rest, I honestly don’t regret a second of it. My son will never be this little again. One day, he’ll be towering over me and refuse my endless hugs and kisses. Everyone tells me that it gets better as they get older and it has. But my advice is to embrace every moment, especially the rough ones.

Take in every sleepless night, every fit, every mess. You’ll look back on those moments and hopefully laugh. You’ll be able to share with other parents how you made it through and help them to persevere even through the most difficult times.

A Plate for Every Palate at Cafe Sanuki – Las Vegas

If you’re in the mood for affordable Udon noodles in a fast food type of environment, check out Cafe Sanuki.

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Located on Spring Mountain and Decatur, this new restaurant is perfect for big parties, quick bites and family style menu options. There are a variety of sizes for menu items and a la cart choices of tempura vegetable and seaweed wrapped favorites.Cafe Sanuki

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Ordering is simple. Grab a tray, enter the cafeteria style line, choose a number from the LED menu above the kitchen window and place your order. Most bowls are given to you before you checkout.

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Don’t forget to check-in on Yelp! Show the clerk and you’ll get a free drink.

On my visit, I was craving curry and lucky for me, all the spices were on the side.

Cafe Sanuki

My husband ordered their full sized rice bowl and finished every bite.

Cafe Sanuki

In addition to the awesome food. The service there is also impeccable. There’s hardly any wait for freshly made food and the staff comes by to pick up dirty plates throughout your visit.

Cafe Sanuki is open daily for lunch at 11:30AM and dinner at 5:30 PM. Come hungry and bring some friends to try more options.

Read the Review Journals story about their grand opening here.

Family Photo Ideas

With a new baby, there are so many reasons to have multiple photo shoots. Babies change so often that no shoot results in the same photos! My little guy is changing everyday and I’m trying to capture every moment of it. I love scheduling mini photo shoots just to keep track of how big he’s getting.

Recently, we found some adorable matching shirts from Old Navy and headed the park for a beautiful shoot by the waterfall. The shirts read “Raising the Future” and “The Future.”

Here are some images from our shoot to inspire your next family photos.

Location: Aliante Discover Park, Las Vegas, NV

 

Have you taken any fun family photos recently?

Favorite baby accessories

My Five Favorite Baby Accessories

Babies need a lot of stuff. My house suddenly shrunk when my tiny person made his appearance. Literally every room of the house is storage for his stuff! Despite the overwhelming amounts of toys, blankets and loungers, there are a few key items I just couldn’t live without.

1. Boppy Lounger 

Baby in Boppy Lounger

This cushiony little lounger has been a lifesaver. It’s the perfect size for my little man to kick back and relax. Many times, he falls asleep right inside!

We can relax on the couch or bed with him knowing he’s comfortable and completely safe from our movements.

Recently, we’ve put in inside his bassinet for a little extra support. He’s a baby who loves to be swaddled and this lounger helps do just that. I haven’t found anyone who makes slip covers for these, but you can simply throw it in the wash.

2. Classic Boppy

Baby on Boppy

The classic Boppy pillow really is my lifesaver. Since I’m currently nursing my son, this pillow makes feeding sessions more comfortable. The pillow also helps support him sitting up and tummy time.

The cover is interchangeable and I actually ordered this custom Harry Potter slip cover on Etsy.

If you’re not into the slip cover (which I mention since feedings are messy) Boppy also offers these in patterns.

3.Bassinet with storage

Baby Bassinet I use this full storage bassinet all day and night. When I’m in my room, I can easily grab what I need for a diaper change or lay the baby down for a nap.

It comes especially handy at night when my son inevitably spits up, pees or has a blow out and needs new clothes. The bottom is a huge storage section for blankets, diapers, clothes, wipes and even some toys.

4. Baby swing

Baby in swinAlthough this took me a little while to use, I absolutely love this swing. My son loves to be rocked and sometimes I can’t be stuck in a chair all day. When he finally relaxes, I lay him down inside and let him gently swing away.

Sometimes he takes a nap and other times he just hangs out. This has been so helpful, especially on his fussiest of days.

It’s super light and I can move it to any section of my house. It even comes with music and a vibration option to soothe him. Most swings also have buckles so you can keep your little one secured inside while you move around your home.

5. Hammock

baby in hammockAnd last but not least, the hammock. This item was actually not on my registry but I’m so happy I received it. For the first few weeks, my little man could not sleep in his bassinet. He felt like the space was too big and he would freak out. This hammock helps babies that love to be swaddled and most are rockers – manual or automatic.

I’ve recently attached some toys on the top so he can play while he safely relaxes.

My dogs really love this hammock too. They can happily stay on guard duty below or next to the sleeping baby. It’s also super lightweight and mobile.

 

So moms, what are your favorite accessories?

Newborn Photo Ideas

AC had an awesome newborn photoshoot with my very talented sister. We really wanted to incorporate our favorite things and show off how adorable he is.

Check out how great these came out.

Maternity Photo Ideas

As I’m waiting for my son to finally make his entrance, I’ve been passing the time with fun maternity photos sessions with my best friend and sister. Both had to two completely different ideas to capture this amazing stage in life and make me feel extra elegant along the way.

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Below are the photos my best friend, Jesse J. Sutherland, staged for one set. His concept was to play with motion, silhouettes, the nursery and natural light.

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My sister also had an amazing idea to do some delicate maternity photos that included my pets and a milk bath! We’ve all seen the milk bath photos trending on Pinterest. There are so many different ways to make their unique to your pregnancy. Here’s how mine came out using light floral colors and my very own bath tub.

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Hope you got some inspiration on planning for your special moments!

Smokey Turns 5!

Wonderful World of BreeBirthday’s are important, even if you’re a dog. Mr. Smokey Robinson, my adopted fur son, is celebrated his 5th birthday!

You may have read his adoption story and know that it’s been almost a full year since he joined my little family. I still can’t believe it took four years to find him and I want to spoil him on his special day.

I don’t know if little Smokey has ever celebrated a birthday. I’m not sure it crossed his mind that he’d make it past a few years old. He’s previous life in California is a mystery. My husband and I like to joke that he’s a retired gangster and his street name was Denesious. (He’s shelter name was Denise and the story spurred from there.)

Wonderful World of Bree

Even though I can only imagine Smokey’s previous life, I am treating every holiday and celebration like it’s his first. He’s brought such happiness to my husband and I and of course his fur sister, Fiona, and I know our little baby will love him just as much as we do.

Choosing to adopt Smokey not only gave him a second chance at furever, it gave us, as a family, the ability to stand up for those that can’t speak for themselves. Pet’s of all species are such a blessing. They really are little people that leave prints on our hearts.

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If you’re considering adding a furry, feathered or scaled member to your family, considering adopting a homeless pet. There are organizations all around Las Vegas and across the country that have loving animals waiting for their chance to go home. You can read more about why adopting is so important here.

Wonderful World of Bree

Gender Reveal Photo Ideas

Oh BOY was this holiday season a surprise. My husband and I found out our little bundle of joy is a bouncing baby boy! Alejandro Clemente (a.k.a. AC) will soon be revealing himself to the world in just a few short months. In honor of this beautiful miracle, we had to plan some amazing reveal photos.

For this shoot, I ordered blue smoke bombs from Gender Reveal Co. and headed to Red Rock Canyon to light them up. Each tube lasts about 80 seconds and created a picture perfect background. We also brought some confetti and balloons to experiment with on a few other photos. All photos were taken by the talented Jesse Sutherland. (Follow his IG here.)

Red Rock was such a great choice for photos. We set-up in Calico Basin which is free to the public! We had plenty of space to spread out and take photos on the boardwalk, near a trail or just in an open area.

First we started with the balloons. The wind was pretty crazy so battling the elements and trying to make balloons behave was a challenge. Nevertheless, Jesse captured an amazing photo.

Jesse came prepared with some launching blue streamers and fun confetti.

At one point the confetti actually blew back in my face. I wouldn’t recommend this piece on a breezy day.

My all time favorite photos of the shoot were the smoke bomb images. Once again, wind wasn’t exactly on our side so some poses didn’t work. But I the ones we did get are frame worthy.

Any moms out there do some creative gender reveals?

My Favorite Christmas Traditions

Wonderful World of BreeI wait all year for the Christmas season. It’s not just everything that happens the day of, but it’s every special tradition leading up to it. Every year, my family has held tight to fun traditions and introduced new ones as more members joined the pack. Of all the fun things we do, these are my favorite.

Watching Classic Christmas Movies

The Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph and Santa Clause is Coming to Town are Christmas staples in my family. My mom even has the collectible characters and houses from the movies! Every year since I can remember, my mom and I have broken out those Christmas movies and binged on popcorn and hot chocolate. My sister and I event like to throw Elf in the mix (although my mom will object every time). It’s the memories of watching movies we may know every line to that make the Christmas season so special.

Breakfast on Christmas Morning

With so much family living in our city, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be busy. When I was little, my family and I would go to a big Puerto Rican party every Christmas Eve. Sometime, it would even be at our house. Now a days, my husband and I spend Christmas Eve with his family playing games, opening Secret Santa gifts and eating tamales. Christmas Day has always been reserved for my family. But my favorite tradition about Christmas Day was breakfast in the morning,

My siblings and I would wake up extra early and wait at the top of the staircase. We couldn’t go down stairs until Dad went first. My mom always had a delicious breakfast waiting for us on the counter when we finally made it. We’d sip orang juice and eat donuts as my dad set up his old school video camera. Then, someone was elected “Santa” and passed out the presents. All the unwrapped stuff was actually from Santa and we’d lose our minds waiting to open those gifts. But those few hours of bed head and pajamas are the biggest Christmas memories I have. That short time when my siblings and parents were celebrating with just each other will always be my favorite.

Now that we’re all grown and have our own little ones, each of us does a Christmas morning at our own houses. But, we always meet at Mom and Dad’s at night to celebrate as one big family.

Jesus’ Birthday Cake

Now this tradition has only been around my family for a few years. In honor of the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ’s birth, my sister has begun making a Jesus cake. Every Christmas, we all gather around a cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus. All the little kids love it because of the candles, but I really think one day they’ll understand how important it is.

Seeing Christmas Lights

Las Vegas has so many wonderful lighting displays around town. When I was younger, my family used to hop in the car and drive around the neighborhoods together. Although we do still admire individual workmanship, we’re moved on to the big displays. We’ve visited Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest, Ethel and M’s Chocolate Factory and of course the Motor Speedway’s Glittering Lights. Visiting these places really makes Christmas come to life; especially with the oversized inflatable characters and hot chocolate.

Decorating the House

IMG_2502I can’t waiting until Thanksgiving night or the day after to start transforming my house into a winter wonderland. I’d start decorating sooner, but my husband wants to appreciate Thanksgiving first.

Every year, my parents broke out the big decor. We’d spend hours decorating the front yard with lights, putting candy canes on the walkway, setting Frosty up at the front door and trimming the house with icicles. Inside, snowmen were everywhere – on the stairs, fireplaces, kitchen and front door. The Staircase was even lined with lit garland. And of course, a huge tree (most of the time real) sat in the living waiting for use to decorate.

My mom always liked to pick themes for our tree. Some years it was blue and silver. Others, it was red and green. No matter what color, we always had an angel at the top.

In my own house, I also like to do themes each year. I started with Lakers, then went to Star Wars and now we have the Grinch. However, I am incorporating the tradition of adding a custom ornament each year. So far, I have ones for our new home, our pets and our wedding date. Next year, I’ll add one for our baby’s first Christmas.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?