Thursday, April 23, 2015

Aelah Grace: 6 Months!!

Can you believe it!?!  Our little lady is already 6 months old!!  I cannot believe it has already been half of a year!!


Chunky little legs & cheeks!
I'll keep using this basket until I can't anymore....
Oh.  My.

How am I growing?

Obviously growing by leaps and bounds!!  She is 17 pounds and 6 ounces - 75th percentile.  And she is 27 inches long, the 90th percentile.  I do think she is a bit longer.  The nurses always have such a hard time getting her to lie still to measure.  haha.  But we have another appointment next Friday so we shall see!! 

How am I sleeping?

SO much better!!  It did get worse for a bit for awhile.  She wanted to be up every couple of hours to nurse.  I was beside myself.  But then I just refused to nurse.  We would rock or bounce until she settled.  And if it lasted more than an hour I would nurse for just a few minutes.  We also moved her bedtime back from 8 to 9.  In just a weeks time she went from waking every two hours to sleeping 9 hours straight!!  Occasionally she will wake once, but I only have to wake her fully, hold her for a minute, lay her back down, and give her a binky and she goes right back to sleep.  She never liked pacifiers but I tried one night on a whim.  All she does in the middle of the night is play with it or chew on it.  She never sucks on it.  But it helps!  I also don't let her nurse until after 6 in the morning.  Which never seems to be an issue.  We are just trying to form good habits.  She usually wakes between 6 and 630 and then sleeps until I wake her around 8.  I am overwhelmingly pleased with where we are now.  But, knowing how babies are, I'm sure it may change again soon.  ;)

How am I eating?

We did decide to do our own version of Baby Led Weaning (or Baby Led Solids, here on out referred to as blw).  Instead of relying on purees, her main source of food is still breast-milk.  At dinner, we give her chunks or 'sticks' of food to help her experience food.  It is more about learning.  Blw is supposed to lead to less allergies, help her determine when she is actually full (vs. finishing a whole jar of baby food), and help her be less picky later on in life.  There are other benefits, one of which is the ease.  We generally just give her a bit of what we're having, no carting around jars of baby food, no buying baby food, no making baby food.  

This was her first 'meal' outside of breast-milk:


video

She has done phenomenal with everything we've given her.  She hasn't really disliked anything except sweet potatoes but I think that was a texture thing.  We're going to try them again soon.  We have done a more modified version of blw and included a few purees.  She really likes bread and bananas which can lead to...well...issues...so I try to give her a bit of pureed prunes every once in awhile just to keep things moving.  So far we haven't had any problems!  Along with the purees we got her Num Num Dips so she can feed herself (they are amazing!).  But since she is still a bit uncoordinated in that department, this is how that usually ends up:


Haha.  So sober.

What else is new?

Oh my.  Again, what isn't new?  This girl is growing and changing every single day.  She rolls all over the living room.  Laughs at random things (like feet), sits up all on her own, chews on anything she can get her hands on, and SO much more.  She also recently the discovered that she can drop things....so that's fun.  ;)  Another big deal is that she has learned how to rotate her body while she is on her belly by pulling with her arms.  So I know it is only a matter of time before she figures out how to pull herself forward or push backward.  Yikes!!  Our whole world is about to change!!

Here are some of my favorite pics from the last month:


Our little ballerina.
<3
Playing with Daddy
Helping Grammy put away the dishes.  This was a *super* cute moment!
Her Easter gift from her Uncle Luke & Aunt Laisa
This is how she decided to "rest" while we were shopping at Walmart.  Sometimes she would lay her head on its side instead.  Too cute!

**You may have noticed my new watermark.  After reading a few articles like this one, I realized that while I usually tend to take precautions on most of my social media, I neglect thinking about the implications of posting pics of my precious little one on my blog.  So a small change was in order.  I don't mind it actually...now that it has a bit more of my own flair.  :)  I realize that this won't stop bad people from using pictures BUT, it will at least deter them a bit....one can hope right??

Monday, April 20, 2015

Uniquely Daddy: Daddy & Co

Hey all, I hope you guys are as excited about this as I am!!

Daddy & Co is one of my husband's favorite place to shop right now!  Being first time parents means we are beyond excited to be 'Mommy' and 'Daddy.'  He loves his little girl like nothing else and he is proud to be her dad.

When I was asking him about Father's Day gift ideas he said, "Anything that says Daddy on it would be good...what about stuff from the company where you got my mug?"


I got him this insulated mug for his first Father's Day...when Aelah was still in my belly.  ;)
Aren't those little feet the cutest?  Perfect for the expectant Daddy!

And for this past Christmas I got him a matching t-shirt set from Daddy & Co as well:


The Oak Tree.....
PICTURE OF THE LITTLE T

Aelah doesn't quite fit into her t-shirt yet...but it should be very soon since she is growing so fast!  And I'm hoping we can get her a few more of the same t-shirt in bigger sizes so that she can match Daddy for a few years.  hehe.




So I knew that I needed to ask Daddy & Co about doing a review.  They graciously accepted and sent me two awesome products that would make fantastic Father's Day gifts, especially for the new dad.

First up is the vintage hoodie, available in 3 different colors.  Hubby's favorite color is blue, so that's what we went with:


I love this look!  <3
And he loves this...

I think he really loves it because it tells the world that he is Aelah's Daddy.  She really has him wrapped already!  ;)

The second item is pretty high up there on Hubby's new favorite list - The Daddy Messenger Diaper Bag.  Yep, that's right, a diaper bag designed for Dads!  But, let's be honest, I'm in love with this thing too!


The Messenger comes with a changing pad and a wipes case.  And definitely doesn't look girly at all...
And, yes, you can put cloth wipes in the wipe holder.  :)  To be fair, we use baby wash cloths for travel because they are smaller.  But thicker wipes would still fit...just a smaller number.

Hubby went from hating our diaper bag and only carrying it because he had to....


Rocking his "Daddy" hoodie!
To showing off his 'manly' diaper bag and telling anyone he could that it is made of "ballistic material."  Now, if that isn't cool, I don't know what is!  ;)


Looks sooooo much better, don't you think??
Here are some of our favorite features:


The ergonomic strap is our absolute favorite feature!  It really distributes the weight differently than any other bag I've carried.  And everyone notices!  Practically every time we're out, someone mentions how nice that is and how much easier it must be to carrier. We always respond, "It is!"


A detachable pocket for your cell on the shoulder strap.  It is padded as well.  Admittedly, this probably won't fit larger cell phones.  With the case on, my iPhone 4 just fit...but it wasn't easy to get in and out.  Hubby has an otter box on his iPhone 5c and it wouldn't fit.  :(
There are two of these nifty straps and buckles on each side of the bag....

....Which means it attaches to ANY stroller!!  Our stroller handle is extra wide and not only did our old diaper bag not fit under the stroller, the straps didn't fit over the handle which meant we were left toting the diaper bag around everywhere we went.  What a pain!  This straps onto the handles of the stroller so easily.  It is marvelous!
Each side has an insulated pocket for baby bottles or water bottles for Dad.  We tend to stuff small toys in here.
Small zipper pocket on the inside - great for holding keys, gum, and finger nail clippers!
PICTURE OF CLOTH WIPES IN HOLDER

The best thing, besides that amazing should strap, is that this diaper bag fits a ton of stuff!  It is definitely ideal for cloth diapers!  This is what our original diaper bag looked like for everything we need for a day out:


Stuffed full and difficult, if not impossible, to zip shut.
And this is what our Daddy & Co bag looks like for a day out:
A little stuffed, but it shuts!!  And that really is a lot of stuff!!  I also love that it stays standing no matter how empty or full it is.

This is what I had in both bags:

3 stuffed pocket diapers
2 Covers
4 Double Inserts
Changing Pad
Cloth Wipes
Wet Bag
Wipe Spray
Diaper Cream (CJ's)
2 Burp Cloths
2 Extra Outfits
Nursing Cover
Boba Stretchy Wrap
3 Small Toys
1 Medium Toy
Extra Nursing Pads
2 or 3 Bibs

The Daddy Messenger Bag is the definite winner!!
Especially because Daddy doesn't hate carrying it.  In fact, he loves to show it off.  ;)

And guess what?!?  Daddy & Co has graciously offered to give one of my readers a Daddy & Co Messenger Diaper Bag of their very own!!  The giveaway will begin on May 4th as a part of the "For the Love of Dad" Giveaway Hop.  Don't miss it!!

Don't forget to follow Daddy and Company on your favorite social media:


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Uniquely Daddy: Camping Lantern & Power Bank

Is the dad in your life a camper?  A survivalist?  A man who can't live without his cell phone for a weekend camping trip?   ;)

Check out this awesome gift idea:

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight
An Orion camping lantern and power bank!

When I saw this lantern I knew it was perfect for the Uniquely Daddy Gift Guide!  Finding a gift for Hubby isn't always easy.  But I know that when it comes to camping, anything that makes the experience easier is a win!  Plus, he day dreams about being a survivalist and this lantern fits that bill perfectly!

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight
I was given free product in exchange for an open & honest review.  No other compensation was exchanged.  All opinions are my own.

Here are the reasons why Hubby loves the Orion:

1. It comes with everything you need to use it right out of the box!  No going to the store to buy batteries.  They are already there!  Along the same lines, there are two different battery options.  Rechargeable Lithium Ion or Double A (both included).  You can use the lantern with either option or both for maximum charging power.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight
Everything that is included.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight
Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries go in the bottom...
The 3 Double A's go in the top!

2. Recharging the batteries is super simple.  You just connect the lantern to a phone, computer, or other USB charging port and wait until the light turns green.

3. The power bank feature is a lifesaver.  Picture this scenario: Your camping and you forget to turn off your phone.  Since you are pretty remote, your phone has been roaming and constantly trying to find a signal. Unbeknownst to you, it quickly dies (yes, we have personally had this happen).  Thankfully, you realize your phone has died before you ran into an emergency.  And now you can simply plug it into the Orion's USB port and it will charge!  While all cell phones are different, usually you can charge one phone and the Orion will still have a bit of power left.  This feature is also nice for any techies who can't seem to unplug.  ;)

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight
Charging Ports

4. It is extremely compact and convenient and it easily attaches to a backpack or anywhere around the campsite with the included s hook.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight, Power Bank
One handle up and one handle still down.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight, Power Bank
Both handles up.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight, Power Bank
Handles attached to the S hook...

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight, Power Bank
Light on!
5.  The lantern has 4 different light settings:
  • High
  • Low
  • Red
  • Flashing Red
Perfect for when you need to really light up a space, keep the glow in the tent, or in emergency situations.

Camping, Survival, Charger, Outdoors, Gift, Gift Idea, Fathers Day, Father, Daddy, Dad, Man, Husband, Manly, Survivalist, Hiker, Fisherman, Camper, Lantern, Camping Lantern, Battery Powered, Rechargeable, Portable, Compact, Lightweight, Power Bank

We definitely recommend the lantern for any campers!  And we highly recommend it as a unique dad gift!  Don't forget that Father's Day is just around the corner (about a month and a half)!

To purchase, go here.  As you can tell in the reviews, this is a 5-star product!!

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Give him a gift he will actually use.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Truth: Prayer for Longing

Psalm 84:1-4
1 How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You.

We can be so very grateful that we have access to the presence of God at all times.  We don't have to be in the Holy of Holies.  We don't have to be a priest or a Levite.  He is ours.  Or rather, we are His.  He is here with us!  

But still, can't you relate to these words?  They are full of passion, full of yearning.  I know I have felt this way.  Yes, God's presence is here all the time.  No, I don't have to be in a church.  But sometimes I don't feel God's presence like I do at other times.  And I yearn for Him to be near...much like the words of this song:

..."for dark is light to You
the depths are height to You
far is near, but Lord I need to hear from You

Be near Oh God,
Be near Oh God....." (Be Near, Shane & Shane)

We should constantly want to be in His presence, to yearn for His embrace.  Our hearts are made to long for Him.  Much like a baby bird longs for its mother....



I would like to lift up a prayer for all of you today:

Father,

You are good.  You are wonderful and full of love for each of us.

I pray right now that You would fill me and each individual reading this with a yearning to be in Your presence, with a desire to have You near.  Hold us close, Father, and make Your presence known in a powerful way.  I know sometimes I feel like You are so far away, that my words are bouncing off the ceiling.  And sometimes I even feel like You don't care.  I pray that You would rid those thoughts from my mind.  And if anyone else reading these words feels like I do, please do the same for them.  Remind us that You are here.  You are always here.

Thank You for loving us so much that You made it possible to have access to You at all times.  Thank You for caring enough to listen to and answer our prayers.  Thank You for Your presence.

In Jesus Name,
        Amen


Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Absolute Favorite Diaper (WAHM Review & Giveaway)

Hey all!!  I may be more excited about this WAHM review than any before.  Why?  Because Christina and I share the same faith.  We are sisters in Christ and since I first began talking to her last June or July, we had an instant connection because of this.  But I’m also excited about this review because I absolutely LOVE this diaper!

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro
I was given a free diaper in exchange for an open & honest review.  No other compensation was exchanged.  All opinions are my own.
Let me give you a brief background of this wonderful small business - like many moms, Christina wasn't happy with the diapers she was using.  So she decided to start making her own.  Soon, people were asking where she got her diapers and before she knew it, Fruit of the Womb Diapers was born!  Her and her hubby have nine kiddos!  Nine!  I love it!!  They also donate a portion of all their proceeds to Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center in Cedar Rapids, IA.  I really love this because I, myself, have recently taken a job at a pregnancy center.  :)

The diapers Christina makes are extremely unique.  She came up with the design herself and I have never seen anything like it.  As soon as I opened the package, before we even used it, I knew this diaper was going to be one of our new favorites.  You could instantly tell that it was made very well and that it was super absorbent.  It is, hands down, our new favorite diaper...especially overnight!

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro
Comes in pretty cute packaging!  ;)

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro
Adorable little elephants.  :D

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro
And the bum!
I know that overnight is a struggle.  When people ask me how I like using cloth or how it has gone, I first say how much I absolutely love it but also note that there is a learning curve.  At this point, I usually mention that it took us quite a while to find an overnight solution and that we had to deal with leaks.  If I had not had the limitless access to cloth diaper blogs and facebook groups, I may have given up.  I think the key to overnight is to just keep trying until you find something that works for you.

And I bet that this one will!
 
This OS (one size) Fruit of the Womb diaper can be used as an AIO (All in One) or an AI2 (All in Two).  One insert is sewn in.  And a second insert can be snapped in.  

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro
It does take a bit of time to dry....but soooooo worth it!
With the second insert snapped in, we have never had a leak overnight, not even close.  When I say “not even close” I’m sure some moms know what I’m talking about.  But let me clarify - there are mornings that Little Miss will wake up without wet sheets or wet PJ’s…but I can tell as I take off her diaper that there is not room for one more drop of pee and that she was headed straight for a leak if I had left her in it any longer.  This happens with probably half of my overnight solutions.  Which, for me, means that they aren’t the perfect solution.  Thankfully, this super cute elephant diaper is a perfect solution. 

In fact, I decided to try it last night without the extra insert and it STILL worked wonderfully!  This means that I know I have a diaper that will work if she decides to become even more of a heavy wetter!  Which is awesome.  I know exactly where I will turn to if we start to leak at night again!!  Fruit of the Womb.

Another thing I would like to mention is that I am usually pretty leery of hook & loop (Velcro).  I had gotten a few diapers at the beginning with hook & loop that I’m positive will not be of use soon.  She has already discovered the tabs during changing time and it wouldn’t take much effort to pull them right open because they aren’t very sticky.  It is for this reason, I’ve steered clear of hook & loop diapers.  Even though they are a bit easier…

Thankfully, the hook & loop that Fruit of the Womb uses is phenomenal!  That stuff is like glue!  It sticks and means it!  This is another reason I fell head over heels for this diaper.  It is sooooo easy to use and I don’t have to worry about the tabs coming undone.

I also love the fold down rise.  Only a few of my diaper have this function and I’ve never seen one with hook & loop before.  I love it!  No snaps or hook & loop touching baby’s skin at any point and it makes the “one-size” part of the diaper pretty nice!

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro, Fold Down Rise
1. Rise shown up.   2. Rise shown folded down.   3. What the inside looks like when the rise is up (no hook & loop touching baby's sensitive skin).

But here is my absolute favorite part of this diaper – the tag!

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro, Fold Down Rise, Christian Company, Small Business, Work at Home Mom, Review
Cute right??  :D
When a company is faith-based, I have more confidence in buying the product and working with the people.  Fruit of the Womb definitely holds that standard high.

Here's what the diaper looks like on:

Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro, Fold Down Rise, Christian Company, Small Business, Work at Home Mom, Review
Oh how I love those chunky legs!!
One thing I do need to mention, the turn around time for Fruit of the Womb dipes is two-three weeks  But with nine kids and being a tremendous success at her business, I can completely understand this.  I know it is hard for me to get much done during the week and I only have one little lady to contend with.  Fun fact – Christina’s youngest is just a month older than our Aelah.  We were belly buddies.  ;)

Some other items you can grab at Fruit of the Womb: Diaper Covers, Prefolds, Flats, Bibs, Burp Cloths and more!

Be sure to follow Fruit of the Womb on your favorite social media:


And don’t forget to check out the Fruit of the Womb website HERE.

TO BUY: Head on over to the webpage or Etsy and use code: 15OFF for 15% off (Expires April 30, 2015) (Thanks Christina!)

TO WIN: One reader will win a $25 credit to the shop (the OS diaper would be a perfect buy!).  Use the Giveaway Tool below for your chance to win!


Cloth Diaper, Giveaway, One Size, All in One, AIO, AI2, All in Two, Overnight, Elephant, Gender Neutral, No Leaks, Hook & Loop, Velcro, Fold Down Rise, Christian Company, Small Business, Work at Home Mom, Review

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