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I am a minimalist out of necessity. We live in a 2 bedroom house, with two kids. So, while I would love to have every possible thing ever made for kids, it’s just can’t happen if I also want to keep my sanity and not live with junk up to my eyeballs! The items above have been amazing for getting me through with my second daughter, Knox! I’ll quickly go over each item.

Snuza baby monitor….absolute necessity for a mothers peace of mind. You can read why here. This bathtub was AMAZING. I used it everyday and stuck her in the sink without bending over and breaking my back in the other baby bath we have, that only works in the tub. Very lightweight, easy to store out of the way, it was the bomb dot com. Dockatot…Knox slept at the end of our king size bed until she could start rolling, it was also wonderful on trips!

The glider gets a new paragraph. Knox had severe colic and HATED swings. One day I was at my sisters and she stuck her in her daughter’s glider and Knox stayed in it, AWAKE and HAPPY for about an hour! I got one at my house and she would nap for hours in it, and sleep all night in it. SO many people have said that their children would only sleep in a glider and hated swings. This is the glider I had, I’ve tried other versions and this one rocks!

The mittens and sleep sack were amazing. I chopped (well felt like I chopped) the tip of her finger when clipping her nails, and so I went through a terrified phase where I let those talons grow. These mittens stayed on and prevented any scratching! The sleep sack is the same brand and it. is. amazing! I hate gowns, they ride up and are miserable. But these are perfect because you can leave their feet buttoned in, or they can have an open bottomed gown. You can change them in 30 seconds and it’s so easy, and the material washes amazing and doesn’t pill up. I wanted every single color!

I always thought I would use my personal towels for my kids. But turns out, this towel was extremely useful and I use it for both my girls, every bath. I’m obsessed with bathing, and a clean baby smell, so I have tried SOOOOO many baby products. Noodle & Boo is BY FAR my favorite. Smells flipping delicious, and never has caused my oldest daughter, Crew, to have eczema flare ups! Love love love their products!

Nose sucker, the only way I got Knox’s nose CLEAN and she actually wouldn’t lose her mind. When I used bulb suctions, she would scream so loudly I thought perhaps I was getting brain matter or something?! This was a game changer! Another game changer….nail SCISSORS! Skip clipping, it’s too dangerous. I don’t know how their skin slips between the blades of clippers, when you’re being so careful….but IT DOES. Then you feel like you need to call social services on yourself and it’s just a big mess. Scissors are easy, efficient and I’ve never had an issue with skin cutting!

I love our car seat cover. Works amazing for breastfeeding as well. Useful, glad I have it! Lastly, Crew refused a bottle, always. I never tried these bottles with her, but they have been wonderful for Knox. She is only breastfed, except for when I work once every two weeks. Jake feeds her a bottle! They mimic a breast, the bottom is actually silicon and squishy, and we have loved them, and never tried anything else!

Well that’s all I have. Obviously there are going to be other products, or items that people deem a necessity, but for us, these were wonderful. And I’m sure I’m forgetting other things, I may have to update at a later time;)

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I love when my kids play with their toys…but they have a tendancy to pull every toy out and then leave it there (I’m sure I’m TOTES alone in this, right??) So I’m constantly looking at toys alllll over my house. I have found that I hold much more disdain for the ugly ones. The bright plastics, with a million different little pieces. I want to burn those toys immediately. However…I don’t feel near as much toy-rage when I’m looking at all the cool wooden toys you see above. It’s weird, probably first world-ish…but it’s true. I jump right in with Crew and play too, to be honest. There’s just something about toys that are fun, and aesthetically pleasing! Most of the list is the brand Melissa & Doug…they figured out toys! I love everything they make, and they have such wonderful customer service!! Hope you feel the same way I do! Have a great week, and happy toy hunting!

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November 8, 2011 – the fork in the road, the day I gave my life back to God. The BEST decision I have EVER made! Ever!!! If you haven’t read mine and Jake’s testimony… you can read it here. It’s kind of a fun read if you aren’t aware of our chaotic past. My whole life has changed, and I view everything through God tinted glasses. I actually started this blog to hopefully reach and encourage people to give their lives to God.

Looking back over the past seven years, there are so many things I just want to weep and thank God for. Mine and Jake’s marriage is probably the main thing. If you knew us B.C. then you know it was a crazy and drama filled relationship. If I hadn’t made the decision to break up with Jake and totally focus on getting my life right, we would never be where we are right now. We possibly would still be together, probably an on again/off again couple that was miserable. Instead we have a marriage that I am sooooooooooo thankful and grateful for! I literally ADORE Jake. He jokingly told me the other day, that I’m his Knox. Knox is so attached to me, and only wants me…and he happily reported that I’m that way with him. He loves it though…all three of his girls live for when he’s home…and he lights up with pride. But if I hadn’t made that super important decision so many years ago….I do not think it would be adoration I would be feeling towards my mister.

I also love that we are raising two girls in a Christian, Godly home. We pray over them daily, over our home daily. For protection and safety, and it is honestly such a huge security knowing that we serve a God who hears our prayers. I pray about everything. Even when I’m desperately searching the house for something, I’ll just say, “God….pleassseee help me find it!” and I usually always find it! He’s there….he is there for me. For all of us. It’s such a real relationship, and not some super stuffy, religious ordeal.

Something to think about – Whatever is… is. No matter what anyone believes or doesn’t believe will change what will happen after death. If someone doesn’t believe in gravity and jumps off a cliff… it doesn’t matter how strongly they deny it… they will drop to their death… or to a major injury! We can’t will into existence what we think will happen. If we’re wrong, we find out after we die. And no matter how much we deny or believe certain things, it won’t change what happens. With so many religions, beliefs and ideas out there, people are skeptical about the truth. I’ll tell you right now, that I have such an assurance about what will happen to be in the life following this one. I have to ask you…do you?

I grew up in a Christian home, and I have always believed in Heaven and Hell. So when I stopped living for Christ – I was TERRIFIED of dying! Jake and I would be driving home late at night, and I would always think about a car hitting us, and how I would not make it to Heaven if I died. It was so stupid, because I KNEW the truth, but I just continued to play Russian Roulette with my life. I remember the day after I re-accepted Christ into my heart, I woke up with SUCH a peace that morning. I vividly remember thinking, “If I die… I’M GOING TO HEAVEN!!!”  It was the most freeing feeling in the world! I wasn’t scared of death anymore! Granted, if someone was holding a gun to my head, I’m sure I’d need to change my britches,   but not because I didn’t know what would happen after death. I mean, I turn into a freaking psychopath when someone is pointing an aero soft gun at me, or even a taut rubber band! That is some intense fear, can we talk?!… and I imagine a real gun would be like a billion times scarier.

We live in very crazy times right now. With every day getting crazier and crazier. None of us know when our last day might be. Bombings, shootings, car wrecks, natural disasters, health problems… they take people’s lives EVERY SECOND. Most people don’t wake up the morning of, knowing that this day may be their last day on earth. James 4.14 says, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  Do you know where you will go when you die? If you were to breathe your last breath at this very second… are you proof positive you would make heaven your home? And if you don’t believe in heaven or hell… do you feel completely settled in your heart, with no fear of what will happen after life on Earth? God says that he has written it on every man’s heart, to know that he is real. He IS real – and he’s amazing!

No matter what your past is, how terrible you may or may not have been or are, God loves every single one of us the same. He is there no matter what. He doesn’t check out and turn off his phone for a few days when he needs space. He’s always there. The love we have for our children doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the love he has for us. I mean, he sent his only son to die on the cross for OUR sins, so that we could make heaven our home. Can you fathom doing that with your own child? And Jesus rose again after three days, defeated death – and now we can too – IF you accept him into your heart. I’ve seen people healed from prayer. I’ve watched as someone with severe back pain sat in a chair with their legs straight out, one leg being 2 inches shorter, say a prayer, and that leg just stretched out equal with the other, and the back pain was gone. And I’m not talking about them moving their hip to even out their feet – their leg FLIPPING grew out RIGHT in front of my eyes. A pastor in our fellowship had Hep A, B and C and needed a liver transplant, which is insanely expensive. He was starting chemo soon and went in for routine blood work before it all started – it was GONE, completely healed. Blood free of all disease. After being prayed for. Explain that science? His doctors sure couldn’t!

I know this is long. But if what I’ve talked about is something you’ve never heard of, believed in, or perhaps at one point you did, I beg you to try it. It’s so simple… you just have to say a simple prayer, asking Jesus into your heart. And that’s it! You don’t have to be baptized, you don’t have to do a special ceremony… you don’t have to do good deeds or work your way into heaven. You just have to ask, tell God you’re a sinner and you believe that he is the Lord and Savior, and that you’re sorry for your sins and want to be forgiven, and your life will be forever changed. I promise you that. He is the answer you so badly seek. When you feel that terrible lonely void in your life, it’s him that can fill it. At night when you lie there and never feel settled… it’s because you’re missing God. Don’t miss him any longer. He’ll change your world.

 

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.

I have been needing a double stroller since Knox was born. I didn’t realize this fact until I started taking the kids on walks, and Crew would lose her mind if she couldn’t ride in the stroller. So I was always carrying Knox in a wrap and I never got the freedom of pushing them both, together.

When I first saw the VISTA stroller from UPPAbaby….I fell IN LOVE. Aesthetically….it has got to be the cutest stroller I’ve seen. The peanut accents, color schemes, and build are just dynamic. But I also need other features…like storage space, a smooth ride, both of which the VISTA has…and so much more.

You can flip either seat to face either direction. They both recline all the way back. The adapters are very easy to use and have color coordinated dots so you know which side goes with which. It’s incredible, honestly. And a verrrry smooth ride. We also have a bassinet which we probably won’t use since Knox is older, but this stroller is going to be around for all our future kiddos…so we will get good use out of it, eventually!

If you want to use it as a single stroller, you have that option too. I always think about the people who invent amazing products like this…and I want to give them a big bear hug for being so ingenious!

Folding it up….piece of cake! It folds up sooo smoothly! BUT, make sure you push the brake before, so it doesn’t try to roll away from you. I learned that after a few practice folds;)

Another thing….I kept trying to carry the stroller after it was folded up, and it was super awkward and never felt right. Then my niece came over and was helping me load the pickup, she undid the brake, and rolled it out to the back of the truck, easy as can be. When it’s folded, you can still push it just like a stroller and it rolls perfectly over everything! I later brought it back into the house while carrying a ton of other things, and had no problems wheeling it up on the steps and in through the door.

Basically…it’s an all around amazing stroller. I really realllllly love it!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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The pictures below don’t particularly pertain to Hormone Replacement therapy (my post topic) besides the fact that I had just had a pellet inserted the day before they were taken. But I’m using them because I love them, and hormone replacement therapy makes me a better mom, which makes pictures like these a tad more believable;) If you are in the Clovis/Portales area, Cristy Walsh, CNM at Women’s Medical Center is who I go to, and she is amazing. You can also buy all your supplements right there at your visit, and you will get a discount! Also, photographs below were done by the amazing Cristy Cross at Cristy Cross Photography. You can look through her work on her InstagramFacebook Page, or/and her Website.

 

 


Okay! For those curious what HRT is, let me break it down for you. Bio identical hormone pellet therapy is something I believe everyone would benefit from, male or female. “Pellets are tiny, custom-compounded therapies for symptoms that stem from hormonal imbalances. This therapy keeps hormone levels consistent through the day and avoids rollercoaster-like effects from orally administered or topically administered hormones. The pellets BioTE uses contains bio-identical hormones, derived from natural sources. The pellets contain hormones identical to the ones found in the human body. Studies have shown that bio-identical hormones have fewer side effects than synthetic hormones.” (Taken from BioTE’s website). The pellets mainly contain testoserone and/or estrogen. For more in depth info…you can find it here.

I looked into HRT after my sister and sister in law had done it and had amazing results. Basically, everyday felt like I had been drugged….I was so exhausted. You know right after a deep tissue massage, your eyes almost feel crossed?….That’s how I felt most of the time. I struggled to get things done around the house, had to force myself to do laundry, clean, etc. And alsooooo libido. Wow. Let’s turn to a new paragraph for this one.

I have never felt like this before, like…when you hear the shower turn off and your significant other is about to come to bed and you jolt into action. Slam that phone down so hard, hope the lit screen shining through the underside of your phone will go black before the door opens, and stop breathing completely while you pretend to be asleep? Then realize when they do come in the room, that not breathing, was a mistake, and now you have to SLOWLY try to exhale, so that you can inhale, while remaining motionless. Because you are just SO dang exhausted and don’t want them to even look at you and possibly take your open eyes as an invitation? GOSH I never talk about stuff like this on here, but I feel like it is so important, and a necessity for marriage!

So, that was where I was at….and I hated feeling that way, I have never experienced it before, EVER. It’s awful! I was very open with Jake about everything, because I’m an open book about all aspects of life, with him, and it SO isn’t who I am. Also, when you breastfeed…the hormones circulating your body, naturally combat libido. But with Crew, I had never experienced this! I decided I was going to try HRT as soon as possible, and I set up my appointment.

The first thing you do is get blood work done, and go over a list of symptoms you’re experiencing. Hair loss, decreased energy, dry skin, low libido, mood swings (check that one fo sho)….and many others. Once you get your labs back, you review the results. Testosterone is the main one, but that’s not all they look at. My thyroid levels were low, vitamin D level wasn’t adequate, and other things were off. The goal is to get optimal levels of all of your hormones. I started taking a probiotic, nature throid, ADK, DIM to help with my other blood levels, all medications being natural and bio identical. Now my testosterone level…was FOURTEEN! That is insanely low. The optimal range is 150-250….so my symptoms were very much normal with a low level like that.

I was terrified of getting the pellet. They do a small incision in the top of your buttock cheek (like how I said that:)) and insert it. Well, I hate procedures like this and was not looking forward to it. My sister, Rachel, had done it before and assured me it wouldn’t hurt. So she went with me to film them placing it and oh my gosh….it didn’t hurt at all. You get a shot of lidocaine, and that is the only thing you feel for the next three minutes. Start to finish was 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Mind boggling. I was rather relieved, to say the least! After that, they tell you you should start feeling a little difference in 2 to 3 weeks. They check your levels again at 4 weeks, and if your testosterone isn’t optimal yet, they’ll give you a boost pellet (for free) to you get you to optimal levels!

I was anxiously waiting to feel a difference. 2 hours hit….nothing…1 day…nothing. Finally decided to just be patient and wait for the 2 week mark. That hit, and nothing. 3 weeks. Nothing. UGH, I was so sad and I knew my testosterone had to still be low, and sure enough, when I got my 4 week blood work back, it was only 85. So I got my boost and waited again. Welllllll guess who started feeling the results after about a week?! I started realizing I had more energy, and wasn’t wanting to turn into a mummy when I heard the shower turn off. My back pain isn’t as severe either. It still hurts, but not as severe as it did before therapy. AND I am SO MUCH MORE PATIENT with Crew! It’s crazy. I think I was so exhausted that she was agitating me when she wouldn’t listen and I would snap at her a lot. I still do, but I don’t know….I feel like I’m a lot more patient with her now. I get another pellet next month, and from there you get them every 3 to 5 months. It’s a game changer for me….I’m not going to lie.

I have had soooooo many questions about this issue, and I have no negative side effects what so ever. The health benefits are insane as well. Studies show decreased risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, even postpartum depression…they found it worked so much better and quicker than antidepressants! I think men should do this too. Guys are usually weird about stuff like this, but it increases focus, muscle strength, and any guy who would just try it, would be sold! I’m still working on Jake;)

I’m no scholar….so this is poorly written, and I’m sure I’m leaving out details….so if you have ANY questions, you know what to do! (Call me *wink)…just kidding, leave a comment:’)

 

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