Friday, December 4, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas home tour postponed

Today, I was supposed to post our Christmas home tour. Instead, one of my trees is currently without lights. The lights have ceased working and must be replaced before I can show you the tour. I am hoping to have everything ready to share by tomorrow, or Monday at the latest. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Getting organized...and singing in the shower

Admit it, when you read that title, you started singing that Becky G song "Shower," didn't you?

I'm about to do something I never thought I'd do- invite my readers into my shower. Sort of.  There are a few reasons why this is a rare occurrence- we are currently saving money to do a bathroom remodel here in a few years. Our bathroom fixtures, except for the vanities, are cheap and not in good shape. The bathtubs are horrible.

Our bathtub in the master bath is horrible for a different reason. On any given day, when I or my husband are in the shower, this is what you might hear: *running water, running water, crash! running water, running water, BOOM! running water, running water, BANG!**

You get the idea. But why all the noise? Well, our tub and shower are kind of on the narrow side. And by kind of, I mean REALLY narrow. Plus, the inside of the shower looks like this:

Bottles, bottles everywhere. Did I mention that the majority of them are EMPTY? 

Kid shower items in my shower? But their bathroom is down the hall. And do we really need 6 cups to wash little girl hair? 

Ok, this part doesn't look so bad...

I want to get a bigger shampoo rack (or whatever you call this thing) so I can fit more things on it, but in the meantime, I decided to do what I could. I started by throwing away those empty shampoo bottles.

I also looked at what is being kept in the shower that we don't need- I removed all but one cup for washing little girls' hair, and while I left her shower products, I moved them. I also removed that bottle of baby oil gel that was taking up the bottom of my shampoo rack- can't remember the last time I used that. 

Then, I moved that bottle of Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body to my cabinet. I don't use it everyday, and I figured I could get it out when I want to use it. By the way, if you don't use Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub, stop reading right now, get in your car, go to Wal-Mart, and buy some right now. It'll be the best $7 you ever spent and you'll wonder where Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub has been all your life.  Wonder how many times I can say "Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub" in one blog post? 

When all was said and done, I stepped back to admire a shower that looked like this: 

My husband and I both start and end our day here in the shower- we might as well make it an organized and simplified experience. Not to mention, a much quieter one. 

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, and French Country Cottage!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Top ten baby essentials: newborn edition

Good afternoon! It is wet, cold and rainy in my neck of the woods. Needless to say, we are staying in! As I'm sitting here typing, my precious girl is taking a nap right across from me in a baby swing.

As most of you know, life with a newborn is a tough adjustment sometimes...especially if you waited 4.5 years between children like we did. If you're a first time parent, registering for what your baby needs can be ovewhelming, and chances are, you're going to end up with a lot of things you really don't need. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about keeping baby gear from taking over your home. You may want to revisit that.

Today, I'm going to share ten things that are making our life with a new baby easier. They are in particular order, and of course, this list is based off of our opinions and what's working for us. We're real people with real children- we're not experts, we're just parents. So please, if there are any products that you can't live without, please comment and tell me about them. Who knows? a first time parent may be reading, and may benefit from your suggestions.

As I said before, these are in no particular order.

1. Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump

Pump In Style® Advanced
[photograph courtesy of the Medela website]

If you're planning to breastfeed, this pump is where it's at. I had access to a hospital grade pump in my hospital room, but they had it set on a preemie setting, and this engorged mama didn't get any relief until I was at home with my Medela Pump in Style. I also obtained a free one from insurance and now have two pumps. You should contact Aeroflow and see if your insurance qualifies. This promotion didn't exist when I had Emorie, but you should definitely take advantage of it.

2. Graco Pack and Play with changing station and newborn napper
Graco Pack 'N Play with Newborn Napper Elite, Vance
[Photo from]

There are several different models of Pack and Plays you can get. We like this one because it has a bassinet for newborns. It's currently set up in our bedroom, where she'll sleep until we feel she's big enough for her crib. The newborn napper has a feature in which you can play music, use vibration to calm a fussy baby (it works!), play nature sounds, and shine a light to check on your baby. The changing station is nice, too. Our house is one level and her nursery changing table is right across the hall, but when I'm tired, I don't always want to leave the bedroom. It's nice to have two places to change her. Also, when she outgrows the newborn napper and changer, we can remove them and she can sleep in the pack and play itself. Also, we have out of state family and we travel a lot. We can fold up this Pack and Play and she can sleep in it. I've also seen people take them outdoors in the summer and stretch a fitted crib sheet across the top so babies can play safely away from the grass and any biting bugs. I definitely recommend this!!

3. Fisher Price Rock and Play sleeper

I love how portable this is. When Aubrey is asleep, I can just move it to whatever room I am in. It folds up easily and travels easily. The only negative is that it's small and she won't use it long.The incline is nice too- seems to help with the tummy troubles.

4. Dr. Brown's Preemie Bottles with Preemie Nipples
[Photo courtesy of]

Our girl was a little early, and as a result, pretty tiny. She was too small to properly latch and adequately nurse. At the lactation specialists' recommendation, we purchased these bottles. They are two ounce bottles, and we used them and loved them until she reached three weeks and began eating more.

5. Avent Natural

               [photo from Babies R Us]

I used Avent Classic bottles with my oldest, but received several of these through a promotion Motherhood Maternity was doing. When Aubrey started eating larger amounts, I decided to try them. What I discovered is that the latch is almost identical to breastfeeding. Once we started using these bottles during the day, her nursing improved dramatically. We're now back to nursing every other feeding, and bottle feeding pumped milk on the feedings in between. My goal is to exclusively nurse on nights and weekends once I return to work.

6. aden + anais swaddle blankets

[photo from Babies R Us]

First off, let me say that I love the SwaddleMe blankets and the Halo sleep sacks, but our girl isn't big enough for them yet. In the meantime, we are loving this swaddle blanket. Yes, we have swaddled Aubrey with regular receiving blankets, but they are not big enough, and as a result, she ends up "busting out" of the swaddle. These are long enough, plus, they are so soft and cuddly.

7. Pampers Swaddlers

[photo courtesy of Sam's Club]

We actually use both Pampers and Huggies, but Pampers are actually my favorite. I like the fact that they have the wetness indicator and I haven't had any problems with them leaking as long as they aren't too big or too small. Plus, the Pampers reward program is a nice perk, too.

8. Mam newborn pacifiers

[Photo from Bed, Bath and Beyond]
We received one of these pacifiers as a gift. They are small and easier for my baby girl to hold on to. Plus, they come in all sorts of cute designs. We were divided on whether we should get her paci, but these have definitely been good.

9. Boppy feeding pillow

[Photo from Boppy.Com]

This thing is awesome!! Right now we use it for nursing- I've never really been able to get her to the correct height with just regular pillows. It's also great for propping up babies who can't sit independently and for tummy time.

10. DexBaby Mommy Bear
Mommy Bear with Womb Sounds, Tan/Light Brown Teddy Bear
[photo from]

Our baby is something of a light sleeper. We got this bear when we had Emorie- it was a hand-me-down gift from my cousin. Emorie didn't really use it, but Aubrey has. We put the bear near her and turn on the womb sounds and she usually goes right to sleep. DISCLAIMER: Do not put stuffed animals, pillows, or blankets in areas where babies sleep (cribs, cradles, bassinets, pack and plays, rock and plays, etc).

So there you have it! Please feel free to comment and add your newborn necessities. As Aubrey gets older, I'll post more necessities. Thanks for reading!

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, and French Country Cottage!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Of maternity leave and toilet plungers

As most of you know, we just had a baby.
[Hillary Graves Photography]

She is now three weeks old, and I took about four weeks off from blogging. I wanted to tell you I am back now and will resume a normal schedule.  Today we are decorating for Christmas, and boy, has it been fun!

But first, a funny story...that may or may not be TMI.

Someone in our house clogged the toilet. 

After calling out for the husband to bring a plunger, we realized we didn't have one. Even though we always have.  Where it went, I don't know. 

A short time later, my hubby amateur plumber called from the hardware store. 

"Can you look at the toilet and see what the flush capacity is?"

I told him I'd be happy to, but at that moment, I was nursing. 

"Why do you need to know?" I asked.

He then told me that he was shopping plungers and needed to make sure the one he was buying was appropriate for our toilet. 

Huh? I hadn't ever realized there were varying degrees of toilet plungers. I thought they were pretty much "one model fits all...." that you just went to the store, bought a plunger, and then came home and well, plunged. 

Clearly, I have a lot to learn. By the way, it's called a magic plunger and apparently, you can use it to unclog sinks as well. Who knew? I'm not sure how it stacks up to regular plungers, but it got the job done. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An announcement...and a birth story :)

If you're wondering where I've been lately, and why this blog has been so quiet, I promise I have a good reason. After dealing with several days of false labor, I decided to give myself some time off from the blog to make sure I was as ready for Aubrey as I could possibly be, both at school and at home.

You can probably guess what happened next: this sweet girl arrived on November 6, 2015 at 8:04 p.m., after a long and difficult labor. She was born a little over 3 weeks early, and we initially dealt with an extended hospital stay for jaundice, but everything is OK now.

I worked on Thursday, November 5, and had contractions all day long. I timed them, and while they were fairly consistent, they were still pretty far apart. I didn't think too much about it, but wondered if maybe we might be going to the hospital that night. In the afternoon, I began to suspect that my water might be leaking. When I was in labor with Emorie, the doctor broke my water, and this was definitely nothing like that. I called my doctor and they suggested I come to the hospital.

I spent a few minutes making sure things were ready in case I was out of school the next day, then headed home to wait for Michael and make arrangements for Emorie. Upon arriving at the hospital Thursday evening, I was monitored and doctors ran tests to check for amniotic fluid. The initial tests came back negative, and I prepared myself to leave. Doctors wanted to run one more test, and it came back positive.

I was admitted, and spent the night in labor and delivery being monitored. My contractions, while still coming, were not necessarily getting stronger or closer together. In the morning, doctors and nurses made the decision to start me on Pitocin. My heart sank- I am a natural childbirth mama and was worried about how much more intense the pain would be.

I labored several hours more on the Pitocin, and when I still was not dilating at a quick pace, I asked my doctor how he felt about stripping membranes. I knew they would typically not do this prior to 37 weeks, but because my water was leaking, I also knew they had to deliver her. My doctor agreed, and then discovered my water had not completely broken. He chose to break it the rest of the way.

Things began to progress rapidly after that. I remember the nurses coming in and telling me I was dilated to a six. Five minutes after that, I had a strong contraction and yelled to the nurses that the baby was coming. She checked me and ran to the phone. My doctor nearly missed Aubrey's birth, but arrived just in time. After being in labor for nearly 24 hours, Aubrey entered the world in three pushes. She was completely OK, despite some bruising on her head and face, and having to receive phototherapy for jaundice. Her slight prematurity has not had an effect on her, blessedly.

Something funny- Aubrey and her sister Emorie have so many similarities. Emorie was born at 37 weeks, Aubrey at 36 weeks, 5 days. Emorie was 6 pounds 2 ounces, and 19.5 inches long and Aubrey was 6 pounds, 1.4 ounces, and 19 inches long. Both girls had jaundice and had to have phototherapy. Both girls have similar features and were both born with a head full of dark hair. If you want to read Emorie's birth story, you can find it here on our old blog. 

Emorie adores her little sister and constantly wants to hold her and kiss her.

Our hearts are full. Thank you for all the prayers for our family.