The Ultimate Baby Products List {favorites from a mama of 4}

Contrary to popular advertisers’ opinions, there are many, MANY baby products you can absolutely do without! This list, however, is not one of them. As a first-time mom, I was the ultimate sucker for a good commercial. I bought the Boogie Wipes (fantastic but not necessary), the wipe-warmer (my husband literally laughed me out of the room on that one), and the most expensive diapers…. for the first two weeks. Then I got smart and realized there must be a better way to be a good mom besides stocking up on every product that’s suggested on the registry website. There are, however, some major life-savers that I wish I had known about before I needed them! Now that I know, I keep these products in stock CONSTANTLY. I’m telling you, a few of them have literally changed our lives!

The Secret Weapon: Our Number One Baby Sleep Hack

If you would have told me 10 years ago that today I would have 4 kids, I would have laughed at you. What would have amused me, even more, would be to hear how we have struggled to sleep train every. single. one of them. I thought with number one I had it all figured out when I stumbled upon a way to get her to sleep on demand at 3 months. Nope. Thing 2 came around and blew that theory right out of the water. Then what worked on 2 didn't work on 3, and so on. I don't have schedules for you, a great revelation of how many months your baby should co-sleep, the best sleep sack (although I could recommend my favorite if you asked!), or how long is too long to 'cry it out'. They may still be sleeping in your bed by the time they're 4. BUT! I do have one little simple trick that may just get that baby to SLEEP, regardless of where they are. The answer? Music. Too easy? Maybe, but it might just change your life. 

Week One {5 Baby Must-Do’s in the First 7 Days}

The first week of your baby's life is perhaps the most amazing and awe-inspiring as you watch them slowing begin to awaken to the world they have arrived in. But let's be real - those first 7 days are perhaps the most intimidating, terrifying and ultimately the hardest you've ever experienced to date! And instead of getting easier things tend to get harder, at least for a time. Although my husband and I both came from big families and had lots of experience with babies, when we brought our firstborn home from the hospital, many nights I would begin crying as the sun went down, so dreading the long night ahead. True story. And, no matter what you do or don't do, transitioning into life with a newborn is as painful as growing a limb. Or so I can imagine.

To the Mom Who Feels Alone

It's the lie we all believe: No one understands. No one really cares. Sure, we have friends... but at the end of the day, we are an island. I'm not entirely sure why we fall for this every time. Do we cower in fear to the idea that there is no one in our corner because we are afraid to let anyone in? Or is it that we secretly hope it's true because we feel so painfully isolated, our only comfort in the lonliness is believing that perhaps there is no one to comfort us. Regardless of why we believe it, the reality is that we do. It is a lie that the enemy has spun around mothers for centuries, and this Mother's Day I want to set the record straight.

When You’re Not Needed {finding peace and purpose in the unseen seasons of life}

I found myself holding back tears during our worship service at church this week. The music was wonderful, but that's not why I had to work to push down the lump in my throat. Looking around, I couldn't help but wonder what I was bringing to our fellowship to help bring growth. What do I do to contribute to the local outreach, our discipleship ministries, or the day in and day out functions of the church? For someone like me who has been involved in ministries for most of my life, the answer to those questions shook me to the core: Nothing. You're not needed. 

Enough {Truly Embracing Motherhood}

I attended a wedding this weekend. It was beautiful. The ceremony was short but so very sweet, colors were superb, and the coordination discreet but obviously working like a well-oiled machine. I love weddings. The Bride glowed in the way all brides should: the gleam of health and happiness, the beauty of a woman in love. She and her sweet bridesmaids around her shone with the vitality, excitement and beauty that is common to all of us in that time of life. As I watched with a smile I found within myself that quiet little tinge of something I didn't think I liked. It wasn't jealousy - no, nothing nearly that ugly. But it was a nagging, consistent, chiding voice that continued to question me right through the days following the celebration: Are you still enough? 

My Wedding: 10 Things I’d Do Differently

It's the day you've waited for all your life. It's exciting and scary, adrenaline and apprehension mixing like rich espresso and cream. The most important part is sharing the experience with the love of your life, with those most important to you there to witness the event. But somewhere between "She said yes!" and "You may kiss the bride", there's thousands of choices (not to mentioned thousands of dollars) to deliberate over. If I had to do it again, there are a few things I'd do differently - and before you ask, no, the groom would not be one of them!

All I Want For Christmas {To the Hearts Left Behind}

The icy air burst through the door as we pulled in the tree; one last heave as the prickly branches poked at our cold fingers. Green sprills poured all over the entry floor - my toddler clapped her hands with glee. It was a ‘big twee in the house’; her childhood wonder pulled at my heart. He should be here to see this. The thought that ran through my head a hundred times a day once again brought emotion welling up at the back of my throat. I pushed it down and put on a smile.