Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hands-Free Pumping Bra!

Anyone who has breastfed for any amount of time, knows that any contraption to make it easier is a life saver!  ;)

When I saw this hands free pumping bra, I was ecstatic!!  Pumping and being able to use both hands at the same time?!?  

Gift, Perfect, Nursing, Breastfeeding, Baby Shower, Push Present, Birthday, Christmas, 1st Baby, 2nd Baby, 3rd Baby, Children, Pumping, Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom, SAHM, WAHM, Hands Free, Bra, Nursing Bra, Pumping Bra, Handsfree Pumping
The perfect nursing bra!  (Photo credit goes to BeliBea)
 We have cut our nursing down to just one session in the morning and one in the evening.  Mostly, it was because I was sick of pumping while I was at work or away from Baby Girl for any amount of time.  Maybe, just maybe I wouldn't have stopped as soon if pumping wasn't a pain in the behind.  This bra, from BeliBea could have made a world of a difference for us.

The BeliBea motto is this: "Nursing mothers demand a new maternity bra that is comfortable but affordable, flexible and durable, simple yet clever - this is the bra line for nursing mothers everywhere."

And I believe it!!  This is my go-to bra.  It is extremely comfortable, offers great support (without wires), and it doesn't have a weird shape that shows when I'm wearing my everyday clothes.  Always concealed.  Always comfy.  Plus, there is enough padding that no one knows when I'm cold....if you catch my drift.  ;)

Affordable, I suppose, is a matter of opinion.  The Nourish bra runs $49.95, which is way more than i want to spend on a bra (I am pretty cheap).  However, I know, first-hand, that you get what you pay for.  I found nursing bras for under $10 at a bargain store.  They are stretched out, tattered, misshapen, and the elastics are shot!  I won't be able to use them for my next child.  I will have to go through the whole process again.  Nourish from BeliBea is so well made, I have no doubt that it will last me through my next couple of kiddos.  Even if I wear it every single day!

But what about that hands free pumping thing??  Does it really work??  Unfortunately, I do not have the right type of pump for this bra to help.  Again, this is because I'm cheap.  Since I wasn't planning on work much, I got the cheapest pump I could find.  The pump attaches directly to the breast shield, no tubing or anything else.  Let me show you why this is a problem:

Gift, Perfect, Nursing, Breastfeeding, Baby Shower, Push Present, Medela, Freemie, Birthday, Christmas, 1st Baby, 2nd Baby, 3rd Baby, Children, Pumping, Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom, SAHM, WAHM, Hands Free, Bra, Nursing Bra, Pumping Bra, Handsfree Pumping
The bra naturally pulled the shield against my chest....
Gift, Perfect, Nursing, Breastfeeding, Baby Shower, Push Present, Birthday, Christmas, 1st Baby, 2nd Baby, 3rd Baby, Children, Pumping, Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom, SAHM, WAHM, Hands Free, Bra, Nursing Bra, Pumping Bra, Handsfree Pumping
Until I attached the actual pump....then it instantly pulled away as the pump was too heavy (this picture was taken at the same angle...and you can see a whole lot more of my tank top since it was pulling forward).  I still had to use one hand to keep it in place.

I'm hoping with the next baby I will able to buy (or maybe win) a better pump.  In which case, this bra will be perfect.  One great feature is that there are two separate clasps and dual panels - you remove the first layer for hands-free pumping and the second layer to nurse.

Gift, Perfect, Nursing, Breastfeeding, Baby Shower, Push Present, Medela, Freemie, Birthday, Christmas, 1st Baby, 2nd Baby, 3rd Baby, Children, Pumping, Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom, SAHM, WAHM, Hands Free, Bra, Nursing Bra, Pumping Bra, Handsfree Pumping
Two clasps

In the meantime, it is STILL MY FAVORITE NURSING BRA!!  Seriously....I want to wear it every day.  It may be my favorite bra in general...

BeliBea Nourish would make a fantastic gift - think Baby Showers, Push Present, New Mom, 2nd Kid, 3rd Kid, Birthday, Christmas, etc.    ;)   If you know a mom who is currently breastfeeding - she will LOVE this gift, I promise!

Don't forget to checkout BeliBea's website.  And follow them on your favorite social media:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Responding to God's Call

God has placed a calling on YOUR life.  Every single person is a part of God's plan to further the kingdom.  Every. Single. Person.  Yes, that means you.

God didn't call you to just sit in a church pew every Sunday.  He didn't call you to pray a couple of times a week.  He didn't call you to sit on a board at your church.  He didn't call you to make sure your bible sits out on the coffee table.  

While all of those things are good and may be a part of the call He has placed on your life....

God has called YOU to go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all He has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).  

That calling looks different for every person.  But that is the ultimate goal of the calling that has been placed upon each of our lives - to make disciples, to further the kingdom.  By entering into a relationship with Christ, you are accepting your responsibility in furthering the kingdom.

So now that you are aware that you have been called to make disciples of every nation, how will you respond?

Let's turn to Genesis 12 for some inspiration.

In chapter 11, we are first introduced to Abram (aka Abraham), briefly, through a genealogy.  The very first verse of chapter 12, we see that God has called Abram:

1 Now the Lord said to Abram,
'Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;

4 So Abram went forth as the Lord has spoken to him....

The Lord spoke and Abram obeyed.  Plain and simple.  Obedience is the best way to respond to God's call.  You could try and avoid what the Lord has called you to, as Jonah did (see the Book of Jonah), or you can obey.  "The Lord said to...Go forth....So Abram went forth...."

Do you respond to God's call like that?  Are you willing to leave where you are (comfort zone, physical location, emotional state, etc.) in order to follow the plan God has for you?  Or are you dragging your feet?

I know that You have called me to go and make disciples Lord, but that is waaaaay out of my comfort zone.  Give me a couple of years and then maybe I will be ready.  I need time to prepare myself.  

I know I told You I would be ready in a couple of years, but I'm just so busy right now.  With my new job and two kids, I barely have time for myself let alone the chance to go out and talk to other people.  Just wait for work to slow down.

Yeah, I'm working part time now.  But I'm just not ready to go, Lord.  Isn't coming to church on Sunday good enough for You?  I read my Bible and pray.  I even tithe and help out at dinners!  Maybe another time....  There are other people more equipped than I am.  If anyone knew what I had done in my past....  Lord, call someone else.  This isn't for me.

Sound familiar?  What if Abram had responded that way??  He may never have become Abraham.  And Abraham is the father of Israel!!  An entire nation!

Responding to God's call does not just affect you, it affects generations to come!  You are living a story that will outlast you!  In verse 7, the Lord tells Abram, who is childless at the time, that he will give this land (Canaan) to his descendants.  God is not just looking out for this generation but also for the next and the next and....well, you get the picture.  You must think bigger than yourself.

Abraham, Abram, Genesis 12, Bible, Scripture, Devotion, Daily, Call, Follow, Obey, Sin, Lie, Qualified, Good enough

But maybe you aren't qualified.  Maybe you don't fit "the bill."  You have some horrible sin in your past that people would hold against you.  You can't make disciples!  You have never read a theology book.  And you certainly don't want to speak in public.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called"?

Abram, most certainly was not perfect.  In fact, in the very same chapter we see him diligently obey God's call to "go," we also see him sin.

11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, 'See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live, 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you."

Abram lied to Pharaoh about his wife!!  She was taken into Pharaoh's house (Admittedly, Sarai is just as much to blame here...)!  Abram messed up.  And this is seen immediately after he responded to God's call in obedience.  This is so very intentional!  God wants us to see that we do not have to be perfect to follow the Lord's leading.  He still used Abram, and He will still use you!

Let's back up for a moment.  Do you remember when I said that your response to God's call isn't just about you?  It affects other people and generations to come.  Sin is the exact same way.  It does not just affect you!

17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.  18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, 'What is this you have done to me?  Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?'

Because of Abram (and Sarai's) lie, the Lord struck Pharaoh's house with plagues!  Abram's sin immediately had an effect on other people.  And I think it is safe to assume that some people could have died from this plague, which means that generations there after were affected.

Sometimes our response to God's call, when it is not obedience, is sin.  James 4:17 reads, "Therefore, to one who knows the right things to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."  If you know the right thing to do and you don't do it, it is a sin.

And that  sin doesn't just affect you.  It affects the people around you and generations to come.

How will you respond to God's call today?

Will you ignore Him?  Pretend like you didn't hear?  Make up an excuse as to why you shouldn't respond?

Or will you obey?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

4 Must Know Cloth Diaper Resources

As many of you know, we have been cloth diapering for almost a year now.  My, how time flies!!  I wouldn't trade a minute of it.  We bought disposables for one week while on vacation this summer and I am SO glad we don't have to spend that kind of money all the time.  I would be working just to pay for diapers!!

It isn't always breezy though.  Initially, it can be very difficult to figure out what diapers you should use.  Plus, the up front cost  can be a bit much.  And then there's the laundry...which can be a bit difficult to figure out (though it doesn't have to be a difficult process).

So on this crazy fun journey of cloth diapering, I have come across a few different resources that I couldn't live without.  They are listed below in no particular order.  ;)

1.  For ANY questions or help trouble shooting I highly recommend the Change Diapers Facebook Group.  It is a wonderful group full of drama-free ladies.  I have turned to them with questions multiple times and always gotten the answer(s) I need.  They also share cloth diaper giveaways which means potential FREE diapers!! Maria Moser, blogger of Change Diapers runs the group.  She is one awesome lady, and her blog is also a great resource!

2. Padded Tush Stats (PTS) is an awesome resource in itself - great for checking out reviews and stats on a TON of different diapers.  But, the thing I absolutely love about PTS is their Cloth Diaper Retailer Database.  Do you need a specific insert but want to make sure you are getting the best deal?  You can search for retailers that carry that brand AND designate what you want the shipping cost to be!  I always spend time looking for the best deal and this cuts my time in half....or more!

3.  Having issues with stink?  Is your laundry routine not working?  Fluff Love University has a fantastic troubleshoot guide.  It saved me from having to strip my diapers.  When we decided to cloth diaper, I got a few different detergents to see which I liked best.  Turns out one of those is REALLY not a good idea (Charlie's) and another was just plain not getting my diapers clean (Nellie's).  But I wouldn't have realized they were the issue for my stink without the help of Fluff Love University.  Now my original detergent is on its way in the mail (Country Save).  Looking back, I'm not sure how I didn't realize that switching detergents was the problem.

4. Looking for a great deal?  Or do you need to get rid of some of your diapers? .99 Cloth Diaper Auctions is a group on Facebook that is quickly becoming my new favorite!  We need newborn diapers and training pants so I've been keeping my eye out on there.  While I haven't found anything we needed yet, there have been a TON of great deals on things that I wanted but had to resist.  This is a great place to go if you are just starting out and need to build a stash.  Plus, it gives you the opportunity to try a few different diapers at minimal cost.  AND, I have every intention of selling my diapers on here...especially because we don't have any big brands (BumGenius, Grovia, etc).

So those are my 4 must know cloth diapering resources.

What resource would you add to the list??

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Aelah Grace: 11 Months

I'm a little late, as usual.  Aelah turned 11 months about 12 days ago.

11 months!!  I can't believe it.  Nope.  I'm in denial.  My BABY will NOT be a toddler in less than a month.  Not happening.  Rewind.  Stop time.  Someone do something!  Hit. The. Brakes!!

11 months is hard mom!!  Really....I just want to play with this sticker and you won't let me...  Not cool.

How am I growing?

Stayed laying for .05 seconds....but I got a somewhat decent shot!

Most of the chub is gone.  :(  
She just never stops moving.  lol.  But she is also getting taller!  All of the sudden she can grab things off the top of my desk...or out of the trash can.  Yikes!  Every day is a new adventure!

How am I sleeping?

Pretty good.  No big changes.  Though getting teeth means she is up a little earlier or in the middle of the night once or twice.... But it doesn't stick, thankfully...

How am I eating?

Great!  She never stops.  haha.  Always snacking and always wanting more.  She brings me her empty snack cup and if she sees a snack pouch, you better watch out!  She will go bananas!!  And while it sounds cute....this girl is serious when it comes to food.  See food.  Eat it.  That's her motto.

What else is new?

She is just a new person every single day.  She loves to read, waves at everyone, says "hi" and "hey" and dances like there is no tomorrow.  She cracks me up!  I never know what to expect anymore!!

My favorite pics from the past month:

She was helping Uncle Luke fix things......

Our "Gigi is babysitting again!" outfit.  Great Grandma LOVES the Pirates.  After a miraculously short bout with cancer, Gigi was finally back to hang out.  So we wore a special outfit just for her.  :)

What. a. Doll.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aelah Grace: 10 Months

Oh that face...
What in the world happened to my baby!?!  Did I blink??  I'm officially starting to understand how parents say it goes so fast.  Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital?  And it never slows down does it?  I am really trying to treasure little moments but my, oh, my...they are still flyin' by!

Laying in the basket may be a thing of the past.  lol.
How am I growing?

She is probably losing weight because she is not slowing down.  Every single day she just moves faster and faster!  haha.  I have to admit, it is so much fun.

How am I sleeping?

Can't complain.  She actually bumped her bed time up a half an hour on her own.  So instead of going to bed at 8:30, she is usually ready around 8.  She wakes between 6 and 7 to eat and I wake her up at 7:30 for the day.  Naps are anywhere from 1 hour to almost 3 hours and 2 or 3 times a day.  As far as sleep goes, we are blessed for sure!

How am I eating?

Like a champ.  I'm still tremendously glad we decided to do Baby Led Weaning.  She eats everything and anything we give her - spicy, sour, green, orange....you name it!  It is a bit messier though...

She LOVES black beans....especially when we have black bean tacos and they are cooked and mashed a bit with salsa.  But, yeah....messy...

What else is new?

It is truly amazing how much they change in such a little time isn't it?!?  She finally got her first tooth while we are on vacation in Michigan (the first week of August, so about 9 1/2 months).  But, the biggest thing is that she started walking!!  A week before she turned 10 months, she just woke up in the morning and decided today was the day.  She went from taking 3 or 4 steps towards a person to walking across the room to get what she wanted over night.  It has been so fun to watch her learn!


Here are my favorite pictures from this past month:

I love how she puts her arm on the side.  So sweet.  <3
Her first parade!

Quite possibly my favorite picture ever!  She was laughing about something on America's Got Talent, her hair is everywhere....too much!  :)
Snuggles with Daddy.  It is the only word I think she is really aware of at this point.  I tell her Daddy is going to be home soon and she gets so excited and says "Da!"  Any time I say 'Daddy' that is the typical response.

She loved hanging out in the lake at Uncle Jason's and Aunt Nicole's house in Michigan!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cloth Diaper Giveaway & WAHM Review: Tailored by Erica *CLOSED*

Hey all!!

It has been quite awhile since I have done a review.  But I am super excited to be introducing you to another fabulous work at home mom, Erica from Tailored by Erica.  She has two boys (2 years and 6 months) and together, with her husband, they live on her grandma's farm!  How fun is that!?!  She has been sewing since she was 9 years old and got her first sewing machine for her 10th birthday!  She even made her own prom gowns.  One was John Deere and the other was camouflage!  

That theme has carried over into her cloth diaper shop!  She sells newborn and one size diapers.  Currently all of the ones on Etsy are camo or bandanna print!  Since Hubby and I are a little bit country, I was pretty excited when Erica asked if would do a review.

Cloth Diapers with a country flair!
For review purposes, she sent me a camouflage one size pocket diaper.  And as a thank you, she also sent a newborn cover in the bandanna print.  Super sweet, right?  It is the cutest little thing....

So tiny and precious.  :)

The camo diaper is pretty neat!  My brother, who very rarely has anything to say about material items, told me he really liked my new diaper.  So I knew it was a big hit with him!

Smallest Setting

Largest Setting

There is definitely room to grow!  I will, say, however, the the smallest setting seems a bit big for a one size (OS) diaper.  We have it on the smallest setting right now.  Aelah is 10 months old and almost 19 lbs.  Admittedly, however, she is a bit skinny since she is so long for her age.  But I don't think this would have fit her (without leakage) very long before now.  

UPDATE: Erica let me know after posting this that she is already in the process of adjusting her OS design so that it will fit smaller.  Guess I should have checked with her on that first.  :/

Here is the fit on her right now...

But, honestly, that would be my only complaint.  Outside of that, this diaper is awesome!  Why?

  • It is unique...definitely haven't seen very many camo diapers
  • It doesn't leak at night!!  Stuffed with a double microfiber insert and a bamboo booster...which is what we put in my other tried and true pockets.
  • It has an adorable ruffle on the butt for some added girly-ness!  

Lace is good.  :)

  • The inside is made of a very soft almost mesh type material.  It keep baby's bottom dry and actually doesn't stain very easily.   UPDATE: While this fabric is fantastic, Erica has switched to a stay-dry cottom velour for the inside of her diapers.  Apparently, it is very similar to bumGenius 4.0.

Looks run of the line here....

But up close, it is a bit different.  Almost like Gro Via shells....but a bit softer...

  • They are affordable!!  You can snag a one size pocket for just $14!  And her newborn diapers are only $10!
I love being able to add a diaper to my stash that I know we will be reaching for often!  This is a 5-Star keeper!!

Ruffle Butt!!

SO cute!


**Additional Note - inserts are not included when purchasing from Tailored by Erica.  However, you can purchase each diaper as a pocket OR cover and the newborn diapers include an AIO (All in One) option.  I love having options!  

As a thank you to Erica for this review and giveaway - be sure to follow her on one of the following social media outlets.  Thanks!

To Buy: Head over to the Etsy shop here.

To Win: Enter to win the diaper of your choice (must be in stock on Etsy) by using the Giveaway Tool below:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Aelah Grace: 9 Months

She is something else this girl....

Nine Months.  Can you believe it??  My baby is slowly becoming a toddler....  Not cool.  At all.  I have to admit, it is a lot of fun.  And on the other hand, it is super difficult.  She is constantly on the go.  If she is awake, my productivity is cut by 80% easily!!  haha.  We just have to learn how to master this new normal!

And, yes, I realize this is almost a month late.  haha.  Hoping to have our 10 month post up next week...on time!  ;)

Little Miss Busy Body

How am I growing?

Where did my baby go!?!?!

Well, she is officially 18 lbs, 12 oz.  And 28 and a half inches long!  She is in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height.  Since she was weighed and measured last (around 6 months) she has gained 1 lb and 6 oz....I really think she gained more than that and then lost within the last month since she has become so much more mobile.  Her legs are getting skinnier!  :(  She has grown an inch and a half since then as well. 

How am I sleeping?

Marvelously!  There are still nights now and then that she will wake up and fuss a bit but only once in the past month have I had to get out of bed before 6am.  It was a weird night.

How am I eating?

Boy does she love her food!  I haven't noticed a difference in nursing....unless I'm not around.  Then she wants less milk and more actual food.  Which I know isn't abnormal.  Her favorites currently are pasta, yogurt, dried sugar snap peas, meatballs, and pretzels with hummus.

She even loves lemons!!
What else is new?

She has mastered crawling, much to my dismay.  Every two minutes she in into something else.  I keep reminding  myself that this is how she learns and that curiosity is a good thing.  But I also find myself wishing that we had a smaller living space or somewhere that I could corral her a bit better.  A large open floor plan is not practical for mobile infants!  ;)

First steps were taken about a week ago at this point I think.  Just a couple here and there.  Though yesterday she braved four at once which is the most I've ever seen.  

Attitude is in full force.  When she isn't happy she will let you know!  

Waving hello, goodbye, and goodnight is a lot of fun!  And actually, because she started waving before bed time, it is now a nice clue that she is ready for a nap.  If no one walked in the door and she comes over to me and waves, it generally means she is sleepy.  I also love that when I come home from work she waves with both hands because she is so excited to see me.

No teeth yet.  I keep thinking they are coming....but still nothing.  Hopefully soon.

Here's my favorite pics from the month:

This picture is absolutely stunning.  Props to my mom!!
This is actually a still from a video I took...she was SO intense about pushing that walker!
She loves bath time too!!  Look at that silly grin!
Investigating Daddy's ukulele...she loves all things musical!