Life with a Newborn + 7 Somethings

This week’s edition of 7 somethings is dedicated to our sweet newborn and seven somethings I’ve realized since bringing her home!

Life with a Newborn + 7 Somethings

We took these photos with the talented Kourtney Marie just ten days after Everly was born. I CANNOT believe the difference two and a half months have made in my baby (cue mom tears)!

Life with a Newborn + 7 SomethingsLife with a Newborn + 7 SomethingsLife with a Newborn + 7 SomethingsLife with a Newborn + 7 SomethingsLife with a Newborn + 7 SomethingsLife with a Newborn + 7 Somethings

Life with a Newborn + 7 Somethings

Life with a Newborn + 7 Somethings

  1. Remember when I said that I was looking forward to baby feet and hands? Yep – they’re absolutely delicious (I’ve learned that you can use “delicious” to describe a baby once you’ve had one. Just trust me… I’m not a cannibal).
  2. Newborn baby stretches + yawns might actually be cuter than baby feet and hands! I think they could melt the heart of worst villain. Basically, they’re super hero powers.
  3. Since having a baby of my own, I want to weep sappy tears whenever I see a baby in public! I have post-baby fever!
  4. When Everly finally opened up her fists, guess what I found inside? LINT! New mamas, consider this your PSA and check those baby rolls for lint! 😉
  5. My girl is EXPRESSIONATE! (She’s got her daddy’s brow to thank for that!) I love seeing what makes her curious and happy.
  6. Breast feeding is hard. No amount of studying or advice truly prepared me for how difficult it would be. And yet I don’t regret a minute of the struggle. The bond between Everly and I is so indescribably precious.
  7. Each day is a new adventure. I’ll think I’ve got nursing down or a nap time routine figured out, then the next day her poop is an entirely different color than the day before and my Adventureman has to hold be back from rushing her to the ER, “just in case”. I’m learning how deeply I need the moment-by-moment strength and peace of my Lord – and it’s a good thing.

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Defeating Mom Guilt

Last month we spent a weekend in La Jolla, California at the beautiful La Valencia Hotel. It was a refreshing weekend with family and friends, but at one point I had to combat a serious bout of mom guilt.

defeating mom guilt

defeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guilt

We were at a swanky seaside restaurant for dinner and were seated on the patio. My desert-dwelling self wasn’t prepared for the evening chill and I was agonizing over whether or not I had bundled Everly enough.

I ventured to the restroom hoping to find a changing table and a secluded place to nurse, but wouldn’t you know it – those things don’t exist in swanky restaurants! As I slid two chairs together into a makeshift changing table, I began to berate myself:

“I should’ve thought things through more before bringing Everly on this trip.”

“Who brings a two month old to a restaurant like this?!”

“Why didn’t I think to bring warmer clothes?!”

“Am I a bad mom? Or worse… do they think that I’m a bad mom?”

At that moment, an elderly woman entered the restroom and interrupted my thoughts. Seeing Everly brought a HUGE smile to her face. She came close to admire her and we exchanged a little small talk.

Then she let her guard down.

She told me how she regretted not having a child of her own. Instead of having children, she toured the world as a career ballerina performing in famous shows, including Swan Lake.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” I told her. “What an accomplishment!”

A look of sadness washed over her face as she replied, “I thought so at the time. But now look at me – I have nothing to show for it.”

My heart broke. Not only for the regret and pain I heard in her voice, but because I recognized in her my own need to seek out significance and worth in accolades.

In being the best mom, the best teacher, blogger, sister, etc. My list of identity-definers is limitless.

And so unsatisfying.

Each pursuit leaves me disappointed and empty because only one pursuit, one identity, can ever truly fulfill me.

And that is Christ.

He redeemed me when I was irredeemable. My life in him has purpose and meaning that extends beyond this present reality and into eternity. Motherhood fades, careers come and go, and trophies and accolades will burn up in the end – but my my status as a daughter of the King will never end.

So why do I strive for perfection in temporary titles? I think it will be my life-long struggle. But the fight to honor and love the Lord above all else is a worthy one.

Before I had time to process my thoughts into a meaningful response, the woman was gone and Everly and I were left alone in the bathroom. I deeply regret not being able to share the hope of the gospel with her!

My prayer is that by sharing this story, someone reading might be encouraged! This journey is nothing apart from Jesus. His grace and salvation are sufficient in this life and for all eternity!

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Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly,

I’ve written so many letters to you, letters filled with prayers for your life and the excited ramblings of your expectant mama. But of all the letters I’ve written to you, this one is by far my favorite. It’s the story of how you came be with us – your birth story.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

I had hoped that you’d come early, but you kept your mama in suspense and decided to wake me up early in the morning just two days before your due date! The pains began softly – almost so softly that I wasn’t certain if I was imagining them!

Your dad and I decided that it was best to hunker down and try to relax as much as possible until you arrived. Dad made some work calls from home and I tried to nap without much success. I was just too excited to meet you! We read our favorite verses aloud. My favorite was from Psalm 139:

For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I couldn’t wait for the unveiling of the beautiful work of art that the Lord had been knitting together inside of me for so many months!

Suddenly those soft pains began to pick up intensity. Short of eating ice cream, I knew the only thing that could make me feel better was a warm bubble bath! So in I went! While I soaked in the tub, your dad played our love song on the piano.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

About that time, Doula Alyssa arrived. I don’t know what we would have done without her help! She rubbed my back and helped me to get into comfortable positions for each birth pain. When I was feeling weak and afraid, she encouraged me to be strong and remember that with each breath and pain, we were getting closer and closer to seeing your face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Finally, at seven in the evening, we decided that you were DEFINITELY on your way and it was time to get to the hospital. I’ve never seen your dad get out the door so quickly! Before I could even put on a change of clothes he had the car packed and ready. The sun was setting, but we could barely see it through the monsoon storm that blew in just in time to escort us to the hospital!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

We hit nearly every red light along the way, but finally we arrived at the hospital. I waddled to the door where the amazing Doula Noleen had a wheelchair waiting for me. The nurses checked me and determined that on a scale from 1 to 10, my body was at an EIGHT! It was almost time to push!

I continued to labor in the hospital room. I was getting so tired! I remember thinking, “What if Everly doesn’t come out?!” To help speed up your exit and bring you earth side, the doctor broke my water. Now there was nothing standing in your way!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Through the hospital window, we saw fireworks – which was actually quite fitting because firework explosions are the only way I can think to characterize the feeling of pushing! The minutes dragged on for what felt like a painful eternity. But then suddenly – you were here!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

They placed you in my arms and all I could do was look at you in complete shock and with absolute joy. You were here! After all the months of waiting, I was finally able to see your beautiful face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth Story

For so long I tried to anticipate how I would feel once I finally got to hold you in my arms. The love your dad and I have for you is SO much deeper than I ever could have imagined! It’s indescribable!

I pray for you everyday.

I pray that I can be every bit the mom you need me to be.

I pray that our love for you would lead you to the foot of the cross.

And I pray that your days would be full of the joy that comes from loving the Lord and serving others.

I can’t wait to watch you grow, dear daughter. Welcome home!

Love,

Mom

Incredible pictures taken by Alyssa and Noleen.

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Honey-Cucumber Lemonade: The Perfect Summertime Drink

Honey Cucumber Lemonade

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been obsessed with lemonade ever since our babymoon to Hawaii! Not to mention that nothing says “summer” like a chilled glass of lemonade (especially when temperatures exceed 100 degrees here in Phoenix)!

Honey Cucumber Lemonade

I’ve been playing around with various lemonade recipes – doing some research and LOTS of trial and error. I’ve finally mastered a recipe that combines some of my all-time favorite flavors: honey, cucumber, and of course – lemon!

Honey Cucumber Lemonade

The honey-infusion in this recipe makes for the perfect pairing of sweet and tart that’s SO refreshing!

I hope this honey-cucumber lemonade helps to liven up your summer!

Print

Honey-Cucumber Lemonade

Course Drinks
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

Lemonade

  • 2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice about 13-14 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cucumber to garnish

Honey-Cucumber Syrup

  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber I diced using a food processor
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey

Instructions

Honey-Cucumber Syrup

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the honey is liquified.

  2. Allow the mixture to simmer for 4 minutes.

  3. Strain out the cucumber chunks (if desired) and let the syrup cool in the fridge.

Lemonade

  1. Squeeze the lemons to make 2 cups of juice (I used an electric juicer).

  2. Add juice and sugar into a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the juice/sugar mixture to 4 cups of water and mix well. (Add more water if you like your lemonade less tart). 

  4. Add syrup to taste. (I added all of the syrup made by the recipe, about 3 tablespoons per cup). 

  5. Garnish with sliced cucumbers and mint and enjoy! 

 

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Dreams of Green + 7 Somethings

I am not a girl with a green thumb. My home is where potted plants come to die.

Dreams of Green

My sweet husband used to bring home flowers in small pots as a romantic gesture, and finally one day I had to ask him to stop. I couldn’t take the pressure of keeping them alive and the disappointment I’d feel when that plant inevitably kicked the can!

Despite my dreary history in horticulture, I’ve decided to take on a new project – indoor plants! I mean – with a baby due any day – there’s never been a better time to take on the task of sustaining plant life, right?!

Dreams of Green

I LOVE green… and this corner in the nursery has been begging for a natural pop of color.

I was going to just fill pots with fake plants, but they looked… well…. fake.

Dreams of GreenDreams of Green

I’ll be using Mary Lauren’s awesome guide to keeping plants alive. Here’s hoping that I can at least hold off the grim reaper until Everly’s due date!

Indoor plants are one of my “somethings“. Here are the rest!

Dreams of Green

Dreams of Green

2. Mike and I went to see The House this past weekend, and I somehow forgot that it was rated R (they only show the cleanest and funniest parts in the previews)! Thanks to the rating, I spent majority of the previews with my head buried in Mike’s shoulder, trying to block out the terrifying scenes of the HORROR movie previews! So if you’re looking for some laughs and hoping to catch this movie – beware – you may be getting a heavy dose of horror as well!

3. My hospital bag is packed and now there’s one little thing left to do – the push mix. We’ve got lots of relaxing/inspiring music stations on hand, but I feel like the actual delivery part of labor is going to call for something more intense. Is it weird that I’m considering Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It and Run the World by Beyonce? 😉

4. I love my letterboard. Like most people, I got one because I was so inspired by all of the hilarious quotes I saw being used. Part of me wonders if I’m clever enough to own one of these! Disclaimer: my funniest letter board quotes won’t be originals! You can see my latest inspirations here.

5. I suffer from Amazon Prime guilt. We use Prime WAY too often! It’s not uncommon for us to get multiple deliveries in a day and for there to be a stockpile of unbroken down boxes alongside our house. The Amazon delivery guy once tried bringing a package to our doorstep, before quickly realizing it was meant for our neighbors – force of habit I guess! I’d like to blame the steady delivery traffic on the fact that we have a baby coming and need lots of stuff, but the truth is that we’re just addicted to convenience. Can anyone else relate?!

6. Most of my wardrobe consists of stripes these daysI love the way they accentuate the baby bump. I’ve been living in this particularly comfortable dress from Target.

7. We’re squeezing in as many date nights as we can! The Orchard is our current new favorite place. It’s a little local gem, tucked away in a neighborhood off of Glendale Avenue. There are 3 restaurants on the historic property – a dinner place, a breakfast/lunch market, and an ice cream parlor. Yum! In the center of all the restaurants are picnic tables, lawn chairs, dangling lights, and even a splash pad for kids! Talk about the perfect trifecta!

Summers are full of favorite “somethings”! What are some of yours?

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What I Can’t Wait For

It’s now July –  my baby girl’s birthday month. Lately, the reality of her arrival has been hitting me in massive waves of excitement! There are so many things about bringing my little human home that I just can’t wait for!

What I Can't Wait For

I’m looking forward to the tangible things.

Like the smell and feel of her brand new baby skin!

And being able to hold and kiss her precious little baby hands and feet. (Does anyone else just lose it over adorable baby feet?!)

What I Can't Wait For

I can’t wait to see which features of me and which features of Mike she uniquely wears. I already know that I’ll marvel in amazement at how God knitted her together so perfectly.

And then there are the intangible things that I can’t wait for.

Like the instinctual ease of holding baby. (I was that teen that fearfully held newborns as if they were ticking time bombs)! I’m looking forward to those mama instincts, or in the very least, what I’ll learn in sick or swim fashion!

I’m looking forward to loving a completely new facet of my husband – Mike the dad. There are moments as we sit talking and dreaming about our little girl when this look of absolute tenderness comes over his face… and I just want to cry!

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

And most of all, I look forward to understanding God’s love in a deeply new and profound way. To know that the massive love I feel for my daughter can’t even compare to the everlasting and depthless love of God for me will be SO humbling!

I’ve been carrying our Everly June for almost 9 months now. In a way I feel like we’ve been planning a massive homecoming party for dear friend all this time. A friend who’ve we’ve never met, and yet somehow know so well. A little life who will change our lives forever.

We can’t wait to meet you Everly June! You homecoming party is ready for you. 🙂

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

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7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

If you’ve ever been pregnant – you’ve been there. The moment people know that you’re expecting, your body suddenly becomes an acceptable topic of conversation.

And scrutiny.

And touching.

Don’t get me wrong! For the most part, I’ve loved the changes pregnancy has brought me and I’ll be the first to want to gush about how excited I am. BUT, occasionally over the past 8 months I’ve received some shockingly rude – and hilarious – comments.

I should preface this list by saying that I know that none of the people who made these comments were ill-intentioned, which is why I can laugh about them! So go ahead and laugh with me! 🙂

1.  Me: “I’m having a girl”. Store clerk: “Ah yes, girls steal all of their mom’s beauty.”

2.  Girl (as she compares me to another pregnant woman standing nearby): “You’re short, so the weight has to go everywhere.”

3.  My dermatologist: “Wow. When you were sitting, I thought you looked small… but now that you’re standing…”

4.  Guy: “When are you due?! You don’t look like you have much more room to grow!”

5.  (Before we knew our babe’s gender). Woman: “You’re having a girl. I can tell because you’re carrying the weight everywhere.”

6.  Fitness instructor: “How are you today, besides being SUPER pregnant?”

7.  Husband: “Sorry wifey. I finished off the ice-cream.”

Ah pregnancy – what a delightful season! Having a sense of humor is KEY!

How about you other mommies? Got any comments that top mine?

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Welcome to Seven Somethings

seven somethings

Welcome to the very first in a series I’m calling Seven Somethings – a collection seven thoughts, favorite things, recent happenings, and anything else I deem worthy to make the list!

My purpose behind Seven Somethings is two fold:

  1. to become more consistent in my writing and posting
  2. to introduce myself on a more personal level to those following!

There’s a lot of great content out there in the blogging world, and it truly means a lot to me that you’re choosing to follow along on this adventure with me.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you! <3

So without further ado, here’s a list of my very first Seven Somethings!

seven somethings

  1. In Over My Head has recently become my anthem song! The lyrics hit me deep with the imagery of meeting the Lord and surrendering fully to Him amidst waves of uncertainty. I’m on the brink of a completely new season of life, and there’s nothing I want more than to be fully submerged in His love!
  2. Wild Tonic is the champagne of kombucha! Seriously, try it and you’ll never home-brew or drink another brand of kombucha ever again! I can’t get enough of it!
  3. Since Hawaii I’ve become OBSESSED with lemonade. Not to mention it makes a pretty refreshing treat in the summer heat. I’m working on perfecting a Hawaiian-style lemonade recipe. Stay tuned: if I can get it right I’ll be sharing it here!
  4. I’m loving this maternity robe from Pinkblush! It’s so soft and gives great coverage for the bump in those moments at home when I just need to be pantless!
  5. Cedarwood oil cures my pregnancy insomnia. No joke! A few drops of this in a diffuser before bed or a little bit rubbed on my toes or temples ensures a good night’s sleep! And it smells SO GOOD!
  6. My goal for this week is to wash all of my sweet baby girl’s clothes. It’s one of the final tasks to be done in preparation for Everly’s arrival. I’m not going to lie, I probably spent a half hour in the detergent section of the store agonizing over which detergent was safest for babes! Experienced mommies – please weigh in!
  7. I’m nervous about labor. All of the unknowns and worst case “what-ifs” come rushing through my mind at times. It’s been a bit of a struggle (hello pregnancy hormones)! But it’s also given me an opportunity to lean into the Lord in a new way.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all of my fears… The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good… for those who fear him have no lack! Psalm 34:4-8

I’m reconditioning my mind to the truth that no matter what goes on in the labor process, it is the Lord’s best for me. I know that he will equip me with the exact amount of grace and strength that I need to endure. Meanwhile, I’ll be packing my hospital bag!

That’s a wrap for the very first Seven Somethings!

Happy weekend friends!

 

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A Wedding Reminisce

We’re counting down the days until our family goes from a party of two to a party of three! We are incredibly excited!

With all of the wonderful changes in store for our family, I can’t help but reminisce about how it all began – on our wedding day!

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

A Few of Our Favorite Things

We actually reminisce about our wedding day often. We have so many fond memories of the celebration and everyone who made it possible.

The Personal Touches

My sweet dad handmade the alter arch out of aspen trees…

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

…and hand-crafted dozens of boxes to serve as center pieces.

A friend baked our cake.

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Family and friends teamed up to set the tables, string dangling lights, and set out mason-jar “place cards”.

My talented friend Brittany from Delight in the Desert created our invitations and this beautiful chalk board to sit at the entrance of the aisle.

Wedding reminisce

My favorite personal touch was our guestbook.

With both Mike and I being so passionate about adventure and travel, we decided that a globe guest book was the way to go!

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

This globe belonged to my Grandma. I used to stare at it whenever I visited and daydream about the places I would go. Now it’s a focal point in our home!

The Venue

Those of you who know my hubby personally know that he is the host-extraordinare in our relationship! He loves showing people a good time; food and relaxation are his love languages.

He found  our caterer. And our venue – a gorgeous 5-acre home with a beautifully landscaped yard at the foot of Camelback Mountain.

It was beautiful, private, and perfect!

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

The Party

Some people wear two dresses, I sported two hair styles – down for the ceremony and up for the reception.  So glad I did!

I wanted my hair out of my face so that we could party hard.

And party hard we did!

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

OUR PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

The Best is Yet to Come

Every adventure has it’s start. Ours began on March 7th, 2015. The next chapter begins in a few short weeks!

Wedding reminisce

Did you love your wedding? I’d love to hear about your favorite things!

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Babymoon Memories + 4 Maui Must Do’s

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A “babymoon” is still a new concept. I know this, because even as I type this post, auto-correct refuses to recognize babymoon as a real word! For anyone reading that still might be stumped, a babymoon is a relaxing vacation a couple takes before the arrival of their baby – a trip celebrating two becoming three!

With our love of travel and all things tropical, the decision was easy. A babymoon to Maui was exactly what we needed!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do'sBabymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

I had imagined that the trip would primarily be about us – Mike and I enjoying one last trip without the addition of our future kiddos. But we actually spent quite a bit of time talking about our girl.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do'sBabymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

We talked about how excited we are to meet her.

We dreamt about what she will look like and the kind of woman she will become.

We prayed that she’d grow to love the Lord and that we would become wise and loving parents.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do'sBabymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

While some couples may mourn over the fact that having children drastically cramps their travel style, we found ourselves transfixed watching families interact on the beach. We can’t wait to travel with our children and see it as a major travel upgrade.

I can’t wait to see the world through our precious Everly’s eyes!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

PHOTOGRAPHER

The Maui Must Do’S

We completely fell in love with Maui! There’s a HIGH probability that we’ll be back some day with the kiddos. If you’re planning a trip there soon, these are “must do’s” you won’t want to miss!

Dedicate a Day to the Road to Hana

We originally debated whether or not visit Hana. The legendary road is full of twists and turns and the drive will take an entire day if you do it right. I’m so glad that we decided to make the journey! It was entirely worth it!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

To get the most out of your trip, I suggest renting a convertible on the island. We were able to fully take in the sights and still enjoy the tropical breezes.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Download the Shaka Guide app! It’s programmed to recognize your location and will tell you when it’s time to pull over and visit a waterfall or beach.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Gorge Yourself on Fine Foods

Just do it. You’re on vacation! At 7 months pregnant, my definition of “fine food” included big breakfasts and all things sweet. Maui didn’t disappoint. From delicious lemonades, to Hawaiian shaved ice, and breakfast platters as big as your face – Maui had us covered!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

The Gazebo’s legendary white chocolate macadamia nut pancakes!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Favorite Eateries: FLEETWOOD’S | WOW WOW HAWAIIAN LEMONADES | MAMA’S FISH HOUSE | SLAPPY CAKES

Stop at Every Local Fruit Stand

You must take advantage of the local fruit stands! Where else can you crack open a freshly picked pineapple! At almost every stand you’ll have your pick of fresh fruit, shaved ice, and tropical smoothies.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Our favorite stand to visit was easily the Halfway to Hana (I bet you can guess where to find it)! You haven’t tasted BANANA BREAD until you’ve had a loaf of theirs!

Find Makenna Cove

There is no shortage of gorgeous beaches on Maui. You can basically pull over anywhere and be mesmerized by the horizon. Still, our favorite beach was a tiny, little-known beach called Makenna Cove.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

The views were spectacular and several sea turtles fearlessly fed among the rocks for the entire day! It was pretty magical.

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

Does anyone else have any sweet babymoon memories? I’d love to hear where you went!

Babymoon Memories + Four Maui Must Do's

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