10.12.2018

LIFE WITH GESTATIONAL DIABETES

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. [Isaiah 41:10]


These past few days have been hard ones. Getting used to a new normal, or at least a new normal until baby boy is born.

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 30 weeks, and a few days ago started the 4 times daily finger pricks. I wait with bated breath every time I squeeze a drop of blood from my finger onto the test strip, waiting to see if it's a good or bad number. I feel sorry for myself and cry when I open the fridge and pantry looking at my food choices when all I really want is just a piece of toast (instead of another egg or anything else super healthy lol), but I also know it's not good for me or baby so another egg it is. Every time my glucose levels are higher than what they should be, I feel as if somehow I've failed, even though I know it's not my fault. And even though I know gestational diabetes is different than type 1 or type 2 diabetes and is only temporary compared to a lifelong diagnosis, I still get upset and scared when I hear the word diabetes, because my Dad had (type 1) diabetes and it eventually led to his kidneys failing, and heart failure as well.

I also know that this is just a stumbling block set in my path by the enemy to try and steal my peace and joy, and that I can do all things through our comforter and healer Christ, who strengthens me, but I also know that I'm also not perfect, I'm human and some days, like yesterday and today are just going to be hard. 

I've just got to take it a day at a time, a meal at a time, a finger prick at a time, and a perspective and one decision at a time to not let it get to me when others are going through things much worse and to trust in HIM. To remember that to everything there is a season, and this is just a short season in my story and before I know it, we'll be holding a baby boy in our arms. 

I'll make it through this and I'll declare victory.

10.05.2018

HOSPITAL BAG ESSENTIALS

I partnered with the brands featured below for this post and received product in exchange for my honest and open opinion.

I can't believe how close it's getting to baby time! It feels like this pregnancy has just flown by and I'm kind of in shock that I'm already working on packing my hospital bag. 31 weeks currently and I have a feeling he's going to come early just like his big sister (Bella was due on December 17th, and was born on December 8th), so I'm trying to get everything prepared that I possibly can to be ready for his arrival whenever that may be. I've rounded up some of my favorite items, must haves, and essentials for both new babies and for pampering new mamas, I'm so excited to include all of these items in my hospital bag this time around and I know they'll make life that much easier and more comfortable after giving birth. Find out what items I'm including in my hospital bag below!


SOLLY BABY WRAP BABY CARRIERS
Keeping my babies close to me is something I have loved since Bella was a teeny babe. Whenever I would wear her, or pick her up every time she cried, people would say "you're spoiling her"... I like to think of it as not being spoiled, but as showing them how much they are loved! After all, they were inside you for 9 months, and love being near you, so being outside of your body is a big adjustment for them. I purchased a wrap style carrier when Bella was 3 months old and have never looked back from babywearing. I just love it: keeping my babies close enough to kiss. Another reason I love babywearing so much is because I can do so many more things while wearing my baby than I can while holding them. During those days when they're fussy and just need mama, I can prep dinner with wrapped up on my chest, do laundry, clean our home, make beds, and anything else that needs done. It truly makes life so much easier for me as a mama. Of course I fell in love with the sweet designs over at Solly Baby! This gray and natural stripe wrap is the perfect neutral wrap, and my most favorite, is this AJJ X SOLLY wrap, it's just perfection. It is just so pretty, neutral and beautiful. I can't wait to start wearing our tiny sir in these soft as butter wraps.


VOULEZ DESIGNS "MAMA" FLORAL NECKLACE
Of course with a new baby on the way, every mama needs a pretty new necklace, right? I have one with Bella's birth date on it that I wear constantly, so since my babies with most likely not share the same birthday, I wanted to get something that was similar in shape, but just simple said "mama" so I could wear it for both of my babies. So when I seen this beautiful necklace while browsing Etsy one day, I fell in love hard. I've never seen a necklace quite like this one from Voulez Designs, I just love how unique it is, the pretty floral hand stamped designs are really what drew me in and I love the satellite style necklace chain too since I've never had a chain in that style. I may have already started wearing it the moment it arrived and I'm definitely going to be including it in my hospital bag, because why not look pretty even if you are tired from giving birth?


BAREFOOT DREAMS COZYCHIC LITE RIBBED THROW BLANKET
This blanket is everything. Seriously. I've been on the search for a cozy throw blanket to bring to the hospital for myself to cuddle up under during labor and during postpartum, because let's face it, hospitals are cold, especially in winter (when I gave birth to Bella in December 5 years ago, I froze the entire time I was in the hospital). We already owned a blanket from Barefoot Dreams, so I knew they were heavenly soft and great quality, the only difficult part was deciding from all of their amazing blankets which one was "the one". The cozychic lite ribbed throw blanket was the winner and it's even better than I imagined. I'm pretty sure it's the softest thing I've ever felt in my life, and even through it's not a super thick throw blanket, it keeps me super warm and when you wrap yourself up in this, you'll feel like you're wrapped in the warmest, softest hug ever.


EARTH MAMA ORGANICS PRODUCTS
I've come across so many great brands since Bella was born, and I'm super excited to try some of these brands that caught my eye over the past few years. Earth Mama Organics is one of the ones I'm super excited about. The Herbal Perineal Spray has been recommended to me nearly a million times (it's made with cooling cucumber, organic witch hazel and organic herbs traditionally used for postpartum relief) and I feel like it's going to be the perfect soothing postpartum product, paired along with the organic perineal balm. Since I'm planning on breastfeeding, I chose this organic nipple butter to help soothe any soreness that may arise, and to help with milk production, this organic milkmaid tea is going to be perfect! Of course I can't forget baby! This organic diaper balm is perfect for tiny bums, and this calming lavender baby lotion smells so heavenly (not to mention being made with NO petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, or artificial fragrance, as well as being rated 1 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, the lowest hazard rating a product can achieve) and is the most calming natural scent, I've even been using it on big sister at bedtime!


KOKO'S NEST ORGANIC COTTON "KITE" MODERN HEIRLOOM BLANKET IN CREAM
Okay, so obviously I have a thing for blankets... they're one of my weaknesses. Some days my husband even begs me to not buy any more blankets and to get rid of some of the ones we have... but can you truly ever have too many of a good thing? Especially when they're not only comfy, but beautiful AND functional? I think not. Lately my obsession has been teeny tiny baby blankets. I just simply cannot with how cute they are and I'm pretty sure everything is cuter in mini size. I've been eyeing all the pretty organic knit blankets over at Koko's Nest for awhile, and when we found out we were expecting earlier this year, I knew we had to get one for this little bundle of joy. I chose the organic cotton kite blanket in cream and it is such a timeless look. Something so simple, yet so sophisticated and sweet. So soft and perfect for wrapping our baby boy up in.


Comfy clothing is an absolute MUST HAVE when you have a baby. Give me all the pajamas and cozy clothing, especially ones as butter soft and as pretty as these Everly Grey brand pajamas from Figure 8 Maternity. They're super cozy, so fashionable and also functional! Perfect for maternity and also for breastfeeding in since the top is nursing friendly, and I love that they are a nice neutral color, the charcoal gray and white stripes are lovely and of course neutrals and stripes are almost always the way to my heart. They also come with a little matching gown for baby so you and your tiny one can be twinning as soon as he/she is born! Figure 8 Maternity offers a a huge selection of beautiful maternity, nursing, postpartum clothes and baby items all for amazing and affordable prices too! Perfect for treating yourself to, or even gifting!


Swaddles are an essential for newborns. After being so tightly hugged in the womb, the world feels so big and scary for most babies, so that extra security of being tightly swaddled is a big comfort for tiny ones. And who wouldn't want to be swaddled in hand dyed swaddles as pretty as these from Wildflower and Oak? I am obsessed with how beautiful these are, such rich colors, and all the simplicity. Since sage is one of my forever favorite colors, the sage linen swaddle was a need, it's made from 100% pure linen. We also chose the midnight sky organic muslin swaddle (made from GOTS certified organic cotton muslin) and is is the most beautiful shade of blue, reminding me of a deep ocean. I just love that each swaddle is hand dyed and ethically produced in Melbourne (yep Australia), and what I love most is that with each purchase made, Wildflower and Oak donates a clean birth kit to their charity partner, Midwives in Haiti. Every mama deserves to have safe and clean birth, so I just love this!


Breastfeeding didn't come easy with Bella, so this time around, I'm coming prepared. I'm bring the fight and all the lactation support I need to make this work. Not only do these Oat Mama bars support healthy milk production, but they also taste delicious! Like I can't stop eating them delicious, and baby boy isn't even here yet haha. Each Oat Mama lactation granola bar is filled with nutritious ingredients designed to make milk making as easy as possible: rolled oats, flax seed, brewer's yeast... basically all the good stuff. Oat Mama also offers lactation tea that's blended with the very best organic ingredients and milk boosting herbs. I chose the Blueberry Pomegranate lactation tea and I seriously can't wait to try it! I also love that a portion of all Oat Mama sales is donated to the Mother's Milk Bank, helping deliver life saving breast milk to NICU babies! You can use code APRIL15 when purchasing for a sweet little discount too!


When I came across Promptly Journals earlier this year, I immediately fell in love with their sophisticated look and heirloom feel. And also added them to my wish-list of things to get. While we have a baby book for Bella, I never really filled much of it out because there was just SO much to fill out (also it's obnoxiously printed with huge pink flowers haha), mostly her birth stats got put into the book, and her little feet were printed in it, and that's about it. So I thought how nice it would be to redo Bella's book, with something a little more simple, and also something that would match her sibling's book! One thing I love about these journals, is that they only take 1 hour per year to fill out, so much better time-wise for a busy mama. The Childhood History Journal also takes a child from in-utero (so a mother can document little things about her pregnancy) all the way until a child is 18 years old! We chose the blush pink for Bella, because she loves pink and this one is such a pretty pale pink, and for Baby #2, we chose grey, since that is a color I'm always drawn to. I can't wait to fill out all his info in it and also to share these with my little ones someday when they're not quite so little anymore. The perfect keepsake and these make the best, most thoughtful gift as well!


Let's face it, labor and birth aren't easy... so mamas deserve a little pampering after going through all that hard work. When I had my daughter, that first shower afterwards a little later that day felt pretty amazing... though I definitely won't be using the hospital shampoo and soaps this time around. While I used to go for my hair and body products based on how they smelled and what fragrance they were (terrible I know) and also used to be one of these people who had a scented plug-in in every room of our home, I've learned a lot about toxins in the past 5 years since becoming a mama. I only want the best health for my family, so we've switched almost all of our products in the past few years to natural options. That's why I was so excited when I was introduced to the EVOQ Beauty brand by one of my best friends! Each item is small batch made, carefully curated to include only the best and highest quality natural and organic ingredients, so you can look good on the outside, as well as feeling good on the inside! The perfect addition to your everyday hair care regimen, or your hospital bag and I just love the Volumizing Hair Wash and Volumizing Hair Rinse (perfect for giving your hair a little love and a boost so you can look and feel your best)! You can use code JOYFULTRIBE10 for 10% off your purchase too!


When I came across Polished Prints on Instagram not too long ago, I was very quickly drawn to their simple and beautiful designs, and I love them even more now that we've got a few! Talk about buttery soft, there's nothing like the softness of these tees. I chose the "mama" tee for myself and LOVE it. It's going to be the perfect addition to my hospital bag, and super comfy paired with leggings and a cardigan after giving birth. This "babe" onesie will be perfect for baby boy and I can't wait to see him in it, and so big sister Bella wouldn't feel left out, this adorable little pink rose floral design tee will be perfect to give her! So many pretty designs over at Polished Prints, I'm pretty sure I may need to snag a couple more tees (like this pretty "raise them kind" tee) before too long.

10.04.2018

FALL FAVORITES

Autumn is upon us, my most favorite time of year; and the best time of year if you ask me. We always spend a ton of time outdoors as the weather cools off, wrapping ourselves up in all of the coziest cardigans and making multiple trips to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard. Of course we have our fair share of leaf pile jumping (or rather Bella does), pumpkin and apple goodie baking, and we always try and take a trip up to Lake Erie to see the waves and colorful leaves (beach days in the autumn might be the best of all). What are some of your favorite fall activities?


I've been eyeing some pretty pieces from over at LEGOE. Heritage clothing for quite a long time, even before I got pregnant with baby boy. So with autumn pretty much here and my belly outgrowing all my clothes, I felt it was the perfect time to scoop up one of their pieces. I love that not only do all of their clothes work for pregnancy, but they're all also nursing friendly (yay for hidden side zippers for easy breastfeeding access), and are stylish enough to even be worn while not pregnant or nursing! I chose one of their amazing and super comfortable dresses (pictured above and below), and might have my eye on this cute jumpsuit as well!


I've wanted a pair of wooden Swedish clogs for the longest time, and these tan low wood clogs (pictured above) from Lotta from Stockholm are absolute perfection. Not only are they super comfortable, but they're also so pretty and can transition for all seasons. Bare feet with these for spring and summer, and paired with tights for autumn and winter. The quality is amazing and I'm excited to be able to wear these for years to come.

OLD NAVY "GIRLS CLUB" SWEATSHIRT
I recently picked up this adorable sweatshirt (pictured below) for Bella at Old Navy and it is just the cutest. It has such girl scout and fall camping vibes, not to mention being buttery soft.

As most of you know, Wunderkin Co. is our absolute favorite hairbow shop, and their fall collections are always my favorite of the year. This year has been no exception, allllll the good bows and the best autumn colors. The Maple oversized schoolgirl is my favorite, and Wintermint oversized pinwheel (pictured below) is such a good one too! Now I can't wait for their velvets to launch for the holidays.


HEARTH & HAND AMBER GLASS STORAGE JARS
I recently picked these up for our bathroom and I am obsessed. The jars look so pretty and vintage, definitely not something brand new, and the affordable price makes them even better. I I bought the medium size (which is perfect for cotton balls) and the small size (where we keep all of our q-tips) and I only paid $10 for the two of them altogether and they are just the cutest sitting on our bathroom countertop.


WAX BUFFALO CANDLES
When we think of autumn, we automatically start thinking of crunchy leaves, pumpkin patches, baked goodies, cozy sweaters and of course autumn scented candles. I recently found the cutest shop, Wax Buffalo, and they make the best autumn scented candles I have ever smelled. No, I'm serious. These candles are fall in a jar. The "autumn" scented one smells amazing, and the "classic pumpkin" is nothing short of heavenly. I just love that each candle is small batch made and hand poured in the USA, is made from pure soy wax with unbleached cotton wicks, and scented with high quality essential oils and fragrance oils. Oh! And since I have a thing for amber colored jars, that might also help, the simple minimal design is perfect and fits right into our home. Scoop up all the fall candles over at Wax Buffalo!