Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby Stuff: Dear Baby Girl

Dear Baby Girl,

I realized recently, that I hadn't written since we found out you existed.  I had hoped to write so much more often but preparing for you has taken a bit more time than your Daddy and I ever anticipated. 

You have become the world to us.  Not a day goes by without talking about how you are doing.  Your Daddy loves to talk to you and he always feels to see if you are moving around.  Though you tend to be a bit picky about when that is.  The other night he kept talking and talking to you because he just wanted to feel a little nudge before we went to sleep.  But then you went and kicked him right in the face!  haha!  We figured you just wanted him to be quiet so you could sleep too.  :)

We both also worry about you all the time.  We want to be sure you are okay - but when we can't see you, sometimes that's hard.  Shortly after we found out about you, we had quite a big scare that something might be really wrong.  Obviously everything turned out alright, but there isn't a weird pain that goes by without me wondering if it might be an issue with you.  And anytime I say "ouch" or get sick, your Daddy instantly wants to know if it has to do with you.  But I know that God has you in His hands already, even before you were in my tummy.  So when I get a little anxious because I haven't felt you move almost all day or if I have some weird pain or symptom, I just start praying.  Worry isn't going to change a thing.  But prayer will.  Of that I am sure.

In just about 3 months we will meet you.  I can't believe it is so soon!  We want to be the best parents we can for you.  I keep praying that God will show me how to raise you to be a Godly women who stands firm in her values and beliefs.  I'm already praying that someday you will find a man like your Daddy - someone who respects you, who treasures you, who makes you laugh...but most importantly, someone who has a foundation in Christ and will lead you as He should.  I pray that you will be a world-changer, that you will have a passion God has placed in your life that is unstoppable.

There are so many things I want to shield you from, so many things I wish you would never have to deal with.  But I know life won't always be a piece of cake for you, no matter what I do.  I just want you to know that your Daddy and I will always, always be here for you!  We will pick you up when you fall, dry the tears that escape, encourage you always, and pray for your continually.  You are never alone.  Not ever.


Mommy & Daddy

Monday, July 21, 2014

WAHM Review (+Giveaway): Pink Pixie Diapers

I am beyond excited to introduce you all to Tara from Pink Pixie Diapers and Savannah's Inspiration!  Working with her has been an immeasurably pleasant experience and I highly recommend her product.  But we'll get to that later.  Let's get to know her a little more:

Tara is a momma to four kiddos!  Her oldest is a girl, at 14.  Then two boys at 9 and 5.  And her youngest is also a girl - she just celebrated her 3rd birthday!

It seems that her youngest little one inspired Tara quite a bit.  After seeing quite a few adorable things, Tara put her crafty side to work and started making her own accessories! So many people loved them and wanted their own that her store, Savannah's Inspiration, was born.  And I love what she had to say about this business: "I have always tried to keep my costs down because being a mom of 4 I know that I don't have 20 bucks to spend on a headband."

The small clip is only $1.50 and the large is just $3.50.  And they are SO adorable!

This is one of my favorite items from her shop!  Definitely on my list of things to get for Baby Girl!  ;)  And at only $4, you just can't beat the adorable factor!

Again, after her youngest, Tara tried her hand at making cloth diapers.  Mostly, as she puts it, "to feed her addiction."  After some trial and error, her cloth diaper brand, Pink Pixie, was ready to launch!  The awesome part?  She really tries to keep her diapers as modestly priced as she can as well!  She focuses on AI2's (all in twos) because she believes they are the easiest option - no need for a cover and no pockets to stuff!  

Here are some of my favorite diapers from her shop:

Because who doesn't love the Avengers??

Or furry little woodland creatures!?  ;)

For my review, I simply told her what size I preferred and if I wanted boy, girl, or gender neutral.  As you all know, I am having a girl.  But in order to prepare for our hypothetical next child, I've been trying to play it safe and get gender neutral diapers.  So that's what I told her.  :)

And this is what she sent:

I was ecstatic! I always say I was meant to be a 50's girl - poodle skirts, diners, etc.  Love it all!  So this was right up my alley.  I absolutely love it!

5 Stars

Now if you will notice, the front and back seem to be opposite.  At least, that's what I thought at first.  Tara makes side-snapping diapers.  And this is the first one I've ever seen in person.  Apparently, the fit is supposed to be a bit better.  AND, as your kiddos get bigger it is supposedly more difficult for them to remove than front-snapping.  The two snaps you see on the back are actually for the insert!  That way it stays in place.  LOVE that feature!

See what I mean?

LOOOOOVE this feature!

This is extremely Daddy and Grandma friendly.  If Baby Girl is wet, you just get a new insert.  No folding or stuffing, just snapping (which almost guarantees proper placement).  If the rest of the diaper gets wet or soiled, you just change the diaper.  Really wishing my entire stash was this way!  :)

5 Stars

I also love the fleece on the inside.  It is super soft and I know it will wick away wetness from Sprout's skin.

5 Stars

The quality of this diaper is phenomenal.  In fact, I might rate it the best of my stash.  It feels like a better diaper!  With a lot of my other diapers (most name brand) I feel like I'm going to rip them when I snap and unsnap.  This diaper is solid and I'm not afraid to unsnap it.  I really think it will last a very long time!  To see a little bit of the quality, I demonstrated sizing in the photos below.  The diaper stood on its own!  Pretty awesome!  She sent me a Medium, which should fit from 12 lbs to about 22 lbs.  

5 Stars

To test absorbency, I added water a tablespoon at a time (starting with 3).  I understand that water isn't urine and that urine can behave differently.  But this should still give you a pretty good idea of how absorbent a diaper has the potential of being.  Compared to the other brands that I tested (Applecheeks, Nicki's Diapers, Glow Bug, Blueberry, and WAHM brand), my Pink Pixie diaper did splendidly!  It wasn't the best, coming in at 8 tablespoons, but only 2 diapers beat it - Glow Bug and Blueberry (both tying at first place with 10 tablespoons).  I was pretty pleased with this.  I do plan to retest this particular area once Baby Girl arrives.  I will include those results in my update series!  :)

4 Stars - only because she wasn't #1

Her price point, for mediums and up, I think, is pretty good.  Every other major brand that sells a similar diaper (AI2's with snap-in inserts) sells just the diaper, no insert, for a few dollars cheaper.  The inserts run anywhere from $4 to $18 - making every one of those brands more expensive than Tara's!  And her quality is just as good, if not better than those comparable diapers!  The really neat part, her price point for newborn diapers, especially at this quality, cannot be beat!  Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing you are buying a product that is not only Made in the USA, but it also going to support a hard-working mama!

5 Stars

My favorite thing about working with Tara?  Her customer service was phenomenal!  She was tremendously easy to work with and went above and beyond!  She handled everything quickly and efficiently, answered all of my questions, was super encouraging, and shipping was tremendously quick (none of this 7-14 days stuff).  I also love that she includes washing instructions and details about how the side-snapping process works.

5 Stars.  Can I give more than 5??  Like 10??  Seriously.  She was wonderful to work with!

Overall I give this diaper 5 Stars!  Between ease of use, quality, the price, and Tara's customer service this is a great diaper to have in your stash.

5 Stars - Easy!

To Buy: Click this link and head on over to her Etsy shop: Savannah's Inspiration (and Pink Pixie Diapers)

To Win: One lucky winner will receive TWO diapers of Tara's choosing.  You get to pick boy, girl, or gender neutral.  I love surprises!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bump Update: 27 Weeks!

Sometimes I have moments when I realize how crunchy I am becoming.  And the closer we get to Baby time, the more and more those moments appear.

I guess this stems from last nights pre-natal class.  She was talking about pain medications and c-sections and this was her introduction: "Most girls get epidurals.  And those who say they aren't going to, usually do anyhow."  And then she went on to say how very few women actually have un-medicated births.

How encouraging is that!?!  It really set a bad tone for the rest of the night.  I just don't understand why they don't encourage natural birthing more.  There would be less complications and cesareans that way (but also less money for the hospital and staff...hmmmmm.....).  Our bodies are designed to do this!  We are capable!  But if everyone is telling you that it's next to impossible, why would you think otherwise?  

I am extremely grateful that I started researching natural birth as soon as we found out we were expecting (and probably a little before).  I'm also tremendously grateful for the two books on the Bradley method that friends of ours let us borrow.  We have learned so much about what I am capable of and allowing my bodies natural instincts to kick in.  

The more I read about any medication, the more I don't want a single drop.  It is a slippery slope that is hard to stop.  Start medicine A and it is much more likely you will need medicine B and with the combination, the likelihood of a C-Section is almost doubled, if not tripled.  And at 1 in 3 births ending in a cesarean already, I'd rather not up my chances.  

If at all possible, Baby Girl will come into this world naturally and Mama will be medication free!  
Yes, yes, I know I need to be prepared for anything.  We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  And, in the end, she will be here and we will all be happy!  :)

And now I have the extra motivation of proving that nurse wrong!  Un-medicated birth is possible!  And completely natural!  haha.  But, really, we are choosing a natural birth because we feel it is what's best for the start of our little family, for me, and most importantly, for her.

Love that little bump!

Hubby always manages to get the best faces of me.....seriously.....

I can really tell a difference, but these pics don't show it.  :(  However, it is a bit higher and more round and you can definitely see that!

This week, baby is the size of an: Cucumber or Cauliflower - as far as length and weight are concerned.  

Next appointment: One week from today!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I think I am officially back to my pre-preggo weight.  Which is really good news!  I've been trying to eat more protein the last few days so hopefully that will help.  The doctor's haven't been concerned but I just don't feel like I'm gaining enough.  And when I checked my protein intake it was say the least. 

Exercise: Always depends on the weather.  But with VBS this week and me helping with the music, I have been moving quite a bit!  ;)

Maternity Clothes:  Definitely more often.  Won't be much longer and I won't get away with regular shorts/pants.  

Sleep: Pretty good lately.  May have to get a body pillow soon.

Food Cravings/Aversions: Not really anything this week.

Movement: Not quite as consistent.  But much less subtle.  haha.  She kicked Daddy in the face the other night.  It was amusing.  He was just trying to talk her into moving a little before we went to bed.  I think it was her way of telling him to buzz off, she's trying to sleep!  ;)

What I Miss: Dippy Eggs.  Boosting my protein means more eggs.  And I usually like mine over medium - a little runny for toast dipping, but mostly cooked through....but for Sprout's safety they have to be cooked the whole way.

What I'm Loving: How much she is growing.  My belly is noticeably larger.  And that is so fun!  And she is still a little lopsided.  lol.      

What I'm Looking Forward To: Doc appointments more often.  Every 2 weeks after this next appointment!  :)  

Best Moment This Week: Probably when she kicked Hubby's face.  tehe.

Milestones: She is able to recognize my voice!  It's about time!  ;)  But, more exciting, this is the LAST WEEK OF MY 2nd TRIMESTER!!!

Goals: I may be able to paint the nursery!  We got the walls done!  Now we just have to paint the trim.  Still have blog reviews to do and I still have plenty of organizing and rearranging left.  But things are coming together! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

House Project: Vanity Hardware Makeover

So awhile back when I showed you how I antiqued our bathroom cupboards, I noted in the post that I would also show you how I redid the hardware.  Finally getting around to that!  

Unfortunately, I didn't get a before pic.  Just envision black hardware with splotches of white paint, blue paint, and maybe a little cream paint....which may or may not have been my fault.

Yes, I did paint them a little bit while painting the cabinets cream.  But to be fair - they already had paint on them!  ;)

I wanted to see if we could get away with just cleaning the paint off so I looked to the internet for a solution.  Turns out all I needed was rubbing alcohol!  

I love finding easy fixes like this!

I let the handles and hinges soak for quite awhile (at least an hour).

Here they are soaking.  Like watching water boil....

And then started to rub/scrub them off.  At first, I panicked, because even the black was coming off.  But I loved the antiquey gold that was underneath.  However, in the end not all of the black was able to come off and Hubby really disliked it.  It was the wrong kind of "old."  lol. 

Not quite right...

But anywho...

In the end we got this Forged Hammered Chestnut Spray Paint  that had a bronze feel to it and went to town.  

Pretty awesome stuff!!

It worked out perfectly because we could then match the metal towel racks in the room with the vanity hardware.  And I LOVE how they look with the turquoise walls!  :)

The handles that started it all!
Don't you love the way it all goes together???  :D

Have you ever used spray paint for a quick fix??

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bump Update: 26 Weeks

So in the past month I have had 2 situations become "blessing in disguise" moments.  Don't you just love it when God can bring good from a bad situation?

First, right before we left for our trip to Michigan, I had an appointment to get my oil changed.  I dropped it off 15 minutes early, was told it would be 45 minutes.  Came back an hour later and they had forgotten about my car.  After a fuss they got it done in record time.  I paid and headed home to start packing.  I called to complain the next day and we ended up with a FREE oil change.  Which was a huge blessing at the time!

Then, this week happened.  haha.  Monday night, I managed to lock both sets of keys in the Subaru while at the post office.  BOTH.  The first place I called came and couldn't get inside.  Then the sweet, kind lady (Beth) who runs our post office called another guy for me.  He wasn't it but his son was and would be down shortly.  When he arrived Beth told me that they were expecting as well.  So him and I started chatting and it turns out they are due just two weeks before we are!  

He mentioned that they had to start going to classes this week because the next one wasn't offered until mid-September.  I rattled off something about scheduling ours at my next appointment. Somehow, later in the conversation, he mentioned where their classes were - just so happened to be where ours should be.  Panic set in.  September is really pushing it for us... I'm such a planner, I can't wait that long for birthing class!  He saved my car keys, turned off my car alarm, I thanked him and told him I might be seeing him on Wednesday.

I called the OB department the next day and they told me it was my choice.  But it turns out the classes didn't start until the 2nd week of September, putting the last class just one week before our due date.  I did NOT want to risk it.  I registered over the phone and we had our first class Wednesday night!

If I hadn't locked my keys in the car...we wouldn't be starting class until mid-September.  Talk about stress!  haha.  I'm such a planner - there is no way I could have waited that long...  

Love moments like this.

So in all the craziness this week, we didn't get an actual belly shot.  However, today I noticed how off center and lopsided my belly is.  Justin got a kick out of it and so did my parents.  ;)  So I tried to get a isn't the best - but hopefully you can tell.  Little stuff like this really amuses me.  Pregnancy is quite the adventure!

The pink arrow shows which side she's laying on.  And the teal arrows show how you can see my hip on one side and not the other.  Tehe.

This week, baby is the size of an: Eggplant and as long as a green onion!

Next appointment: Just a couple of weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Eh.  Not sure.  Don't pay attention as much now that I know I'm gaining. 

Exercise: Walking.  And working around the house.  And then there was that 15 mile kayak trip....  ;)

Maternity Clothes:  Still just those shorts.  Though my outfits are becoming a bit more difficult.  The dress I laid out for Sunday was too short in the front because of my belly.  :P  BUT, I found a super great deal on a pair of Gap long and lean maternity jeans!!  Got them in the mail yesterday.  While not as long as I had hoped, they are long enough and that is a feat in itself.  I cannot tell you the number of pairs of pants I've tried on and all of them have been too short.  Why can't we size pants the way men do??

Sleep: Not too bad lately.  But every time I wake up I have to pee.  And our little Sprout is kickin' like crazy!

Food Cravings/Aversions: A Heluva truck drove by while I was on a walk the other day and I just had to have the Bacon Horseradish dip that was advertised on the side.  Went to Walmart immediately after work.  ;)

Movement: All of the time!  SO fun!  While i was eating dinner, my plate was laying across my belly.  You could see it wobble every now and then from her tiny little movements.  Too funny!

What I Miss: A friend pointed out that I always list sushi.  So...I have to come up with something else I miss this week...hmmmm.....being in control of my emotions.  lol.  I get in this rut now where I just can't kick the mood I'm in.  And I know it!  So frustrating.

What I'm Loving: Hubby's involvement.  The more this little Sprout kicks and squirms for him, the more he talks to her.  It is super sweet!      

What I'm Looking Forward To: My glucose test?  haha.  Not really, but it is just another milestone I can put behind me over the next week I suppose...  

Best Moment This Week: Figuring out that we are those parents at birthing class.  haha.  We aren't going to be verbal about it or troublesome.  We just do what we're told and blend in.  But I kept giving Justin the eyeball over some things that were said (by the teacher mind you).  I thought I was on my own until he mentioned something not making any sense after reading our Bradley book.  Love when we're on the same page!  Just glad I'm more reserved or we would be totally obnoxious!  And to clarify, I don't think there is a perfect method - you have to do what works best for you.  There are just some small things they teach, I think, that don't make sense.

Milestones: Baby Girl is almost 2 lbs!  And her eyelids are able to open now.  Cool fun fact right?

Goals: Get my cloth diapers cleaned and organized.  I have a couple of blog reviews to get done.  And I'd like to either organize our office or our decor (piled in cubbies around the house) in order to make way for baby stuff.  However, if somehow Hubby finds a miraculous time frame to get the ceiling up, I may be able to paint the nursery!  But with Vacation Bible School this week, I'm doubting we will get much accomplished.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Seek & Save the Lost - You're Doing it Wrong

Now, first and foremost, I am not an expert at saving the lost, by any means.  In fact, in my process of growth and learning, I've probably scared a few of the "lost" away.  But every once in awhile, I stumble across an "evangelism" tool that just misses the mark entirely.  And I can't, even for a second, fathom how they arrived at their methods.

Picture this for a moment: Father's Day Sunday.  We're headed to my Mom-in-Law's church (while visiting family in Michigan).  As we pass another church I notice there are a few people holding signs on the corner.  The largest sign, professionally made, bright yellow, reads:

Thank your DAD today for NOT being GAY!

My jaw hit the floor.  You are doing it wrong.  That isn't helping.  Who thought this was a good idea?  Stop it...just....

My point now isn't about the homosexuality debate.  I don't even want to get into that here.  My point is about reaching those who are lost.  No matter what side of the issue you choose, this just won't do it!  All that does is scream hate!  Not the "you don't agree with me" kind of hate but real, legitimate, no-doubt-about-it, HATE.  And hate has never won a single person to Christ.  Not one.

Now some of you may be asking - why is this hate?  It belittles.  It criticizes.  It is harsh.  It is unforgiving.  The list goes on.  Ephesians 4 lays out how we are supposed to behave - "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Humility.  Gentleness.  Patience.  Tolerance in love.  Diligent in preserving peace.

That sign, those protesters, embodied none of the above.  They exuded only hate.

But we are called to love.  Because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19).  And He loved us while we were still sinners  - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Do you think someone needs Jesus?  Do you think they are trapped in sin?  Are they living a life outside of the will of God?

Love them.  Walk alongside them.  Cherish them.  Pull them in.

Do not: hate, badger, belittle, put down, shame, etc.

God will love them SO much that He won't let them stay where they are.

I'm sorry to those to which that sign was targeted.  I'm sorry to those who have been victim to other protests of the like.  I'm sorry for some people's misrepresentation of the Gospel.

God is love.  He will love you where you are.  No matter what.  And He loves you so much that He won't let you stay there.  Thank goodness for that!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Giveaway: Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag

Hey all!  Saw this giveaway and thought it was a perfect fit for the blog!!  Aren't these bags adorable?  I love all 3.  Take a look and get your entries in!  :)

Welcome to The Bumble Collection - Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag Giveaway! 

Sponsored By: The Bumble Collection

The Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag is very roomy with many generously sized pockets! This diaper is perfect for any mom of multiples! Pack everything you might need for a day out with your little ones in one bag! You can read Mami's 3 Little Monkeys full review of the Rachel Roundabout in Royal Ruby Montage here.

One lucky reader will win a Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag ($99.99ARV) in the print of their choice. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents whom are at least 18 years of age at the time of entrance. Giveaway will end on July 23rd at 11:59pm CST. All Canadian entrants must answer the skills test question in order to be eligible for winning this prize. To enter, simply complete one or multiple of the entries in the entry form below. Winners entries will be verified. A winner will be chosen at random and notified via the email address provided in the Giveaway Tools entry form. Winner will have 48 hours in which to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 

Disclosure: This blog and all other participating blogs are not responsible for the fulfillment of the above prize, nor have the blogs been compensated for this post. Mami's 3 Little Monkeys blog received a Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag in exchange for her honest review. The Bumble Collection will be responsible for the fulfillment of the prize. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact Sarh at