January is one of those months where you just kind of wish it was springtime, the holidays are over, and it feels like winter is never going to end... so much time spent indoors (especially when you have little ones). Lately we're staying cozy with the cutest blankets from Clementine Kids, and gearing up for spring cleaning with some awesome home cleaning accessories from FullCircle Home. Since I'm breastfeeding, I'm also loving lactation bars from Milkful and the prettiest glass water bottles from SOMA. We're loving our new storage containers from U Konserve too! What have you been up to lately and what items have you been loving?

I'm a minimalist in pretty much all areas except cute blankets, I simply cannot resist them. I mean, yes, I did just get rid of a few blankets recently, but if I'm being completely honest... I mostly only got rid of them to quite the husband's requests of no more blankets (since he thinks we have too many)... so I could get more blankets, so we still have the same amount (except with a couple new ones), but hey, whatever works right? Haha. Clementine Kids quilts are some of our absolute favorites for the little ones and these new ones we recently added to their blanket stash are some of the cutest I've seen. Bella is in love with (read: obsessed with) all things unicorn. She wants all the things to have unicorns, so this sweet unicorn quilt is kind of perfect for her, and she loves cuddling up under it while reading or watching movies in the morning. I am currently loving all things monochrome and this black and white quilt is kind of perfect for Bodhi, so neutral so it blends perfectly into every space in our home, plus he loves when I snuggle him up in it and let him nap in my arms, we also use it on the floor for tummy time sometimes! This one which we've owned for a few years is one of our most favorites too!

I'm all about reusable things, and these stainless steel containers from U Konserve that we recently got are amazing! They arrived in the funnest packaging, an old nike shoe box with re-purposed newspapers instead of packing bubbles! I just loved that U Konserve really believes in their mission, of conserving and reusing to create less waste and make our world a better place! All of their items are thoughtfully created and sold with the ultimate purpose of less waste going into our landfills, and creating a better world for not only us, but especially our children who we are leaving it to. We have this container and this one, they're great for storing leftovers, sending lunches with my husband to work, snacking on the go and more! I think we'll have to add some of their reusable stainless steel straws next!

As a breastfeeding mama, I'm always searching for snacks and things that will help ensure a healthy milk supply. With Bella, even though I breastfed her until she was around 9.5 months old (when my milk dried up), we had to start supplementing her some around 4 months because my milk supply dropped so low, so I'm really hoping to not have to supplement this time and hopefully be able to breastfeed Bodhi for a good long while. I recently discovered these yummy lactation bars from Milkful (the chocolate banana nut flavor is my favorite) that are filled with so many good wholesome lactation supporting ingredients for breastfeeding/pumping mamas like rolled oats, brewers yeast, flax, black sesame, walnuts and almonds!

Raise your hand if you love cleaning... cricket, cricket... Okay, at least we're all honest here. I don't like cleaning, but I do love having everything clean and having a clean home, so of course as a mama to two little ones, cleaning happens often around here. I recently got some new cleaning accessories from Full Circle Home and let me tell you, I;m kinda loving them. Not only am I loving them because they clean really well, but I just love their modern, simple minimalist look AND I love what they stand for as a company: earth friendly, responsible living, intentional design, reusable and replaceable (instead of just cheap throw away products), and safe for you! A few of my favorite products from Full Circle home is this bottle brush (we've used it so much since bringing baby Bodhi home), this duster, this dish scrub brush, this brush and dustpan set, these walnut dish scrubbers, and this microfiber mop.

Another brand we've loved for awhile is SOMA! We previously owned one of their water filter pitchers and loved how clean and fresh our water tasted, and they were so kind to send us some glass water bottles recently from their new product line and I can't say it enough how much I love these water bottles. I love drinking water out of glass bottles because I feel that it tastes better plus I don't have to worry that there are plastic particles leaking into my water when drinking out of glass bottles; the silicone sleeves that encase these not only protect the glass from breaks and cracks, but they also make them easier to hold onto AND they come in so many fun colors! We have two of the mint and two of the blush and they're simply perfect.



Today was one of those days where I got everything done that "needed" to be done, but nothing on my "want to do" list. I finally emptied the kitchen sink of the overflowing dishes that had piled up since yesterday when I had been too tired to clean the kitchen after dinner, folded and put away the mountain of clean clothes from 2 days ago, kept both little ones fed and clean, vacuumed, and finally, found the time to shower... at 7:45pm.

I've learned in the past month that as a mom of two with much less time on my hands than as a mom of one, in order to keep my sanity I've had to start letting go of being a perfectionist.

While doing something good and doing a good job at it is something I still strive for, perfectionism is becoming overrated.  The first couple of days that Frank went back to work, I spent half the day in tears, sobbing into his arms the second he walked through the door, all because of perfectionism and the idea that I could do it all still. That I NEEDED to do it all in order for me to feel like the best mom and the best wife. As I've started to let go of that mind-frame, I'm finding that even though I like to make sure we have a home that is straightened up and in some kind of order, I'm not getting upset if I don't have time to do something, I'll either find time to do it later or do it whenever I can find the time, even if it's not that same day.

Some days there may be a laundry basket full of clothes sitting in the bedroom that needs put away or dishes in the sink, some days I may not find time to shower until after my husband gets home from work, and that's okay, it doesn't make me a bad mom or a bad wife.

Mama's, let's take this idea of needing to do it all and just toss it out the window. We don't need to do it all. All we need to do is just love our babies as much as we can and do what we can when we can, keeping the joy in our lives by doing that instead of losing our joy by feeling like we have to do it all and trying to do it all. Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle a few things on that "want to do" list of mine (hello marie kondo-ing all our belongings) that I didn't have time for today, but then again, maybe I won't. And that's okay. :)



It's officially winter, it's cold here so of course we're staying cozy and warm inside as much as we can these days. Snuggling our newborn baby Bodhi, recently celebrating our Bella's 5th Birthday, making tons of warm soups and just enjoying each other's company and our little family. I always get so excited for the fresh clean start that a new year offers, and we've still got a long ways of winter left here in Pennsylvania, so I'm sharing all of our favorites for winter below! Some sweet items for baby, a beautiful diffuser for our essential oils, some cozy new clothes from one of my favorite brands, natural hair care to help beat that dry winter air, probiotics to help keep your entire family healthy, healthy grab and go protein bars and more!

I just adore all the sweet and simple baby things, simple teethers like these from Lou Lou Lollipop are not only fun for  babies to hold and play with, they're also so functional since they can help with teething pain and give them something to chew on when the gums start hurting. I just love these two, the white is so simple and perfect for all year round, and the robin's egg color is the perfect winter color with a hint of spring on the way. Blankets are also a huge weakness of mine, you can pretty much never have too many cozy things, right? I'm all about the cozy life, and this sweet mudcloth quilt is absolute perfection. It's made from 8 layers of cotton muslin and is simply the absolute softest, it's also Bodhi's absolute favorite little blanket out of all of the blankets we have gotten for him!

I've shared about EVOQ Beauty products in the past (the volumizing wash and rinse) and I simple cannot say enough good things about their brand and products. Not only is EVOQ owned by the sweetest lady ever, but their products are amazing. Full of only good, natural, safe for you, organic ingredients so you never have to worry about what might be in them. As a woman, a wife and especially as a mama, it's so important to me that the ingredients in our products are safe, and not slowly poisoning us like most products found in stores. Important to me that my children's tiny bodies and minds are kept safe from toxins, and important that my husband and I are able to stay healthy to watch them grow up and live healthy lives. That's why I have worked so hard these past few years to rid our home of chemicals and make sure we only have good ones in their place. With all of the cold weather and dry air that comes with the never-ending Pennsylvania winters, before very long, it starts taking its toll on my hair, the ends get so dried out and until now I could never figure out how to fix it (except pray for an early spring haha). That is until I tried the EVOQ Therapeutic Wash & Rinse on my hair, it has done so much good for my hair and it has never been better! Oh! and with all of the postpartum hair loss going on currently, this thickening and volumizing spray is a lifesaver! Use code HAIRVITALITY for 10% off when grabbing some EVOQ goodies for yourself!

I fell in love with babywearing when Bella was around 3 years old, and ended up babywearing her until she was around 3 and a half. It was simple the best, keeping my little bay girl so close, not only did it comfort her when she just needed mama or wasn't feeling well, but it also helped create the sweetest bond for her and I. I knew I wanted to baby-wear again this time around and actually came across this Happy Baby carrier in the prettiest charcoal color a couple years back and made a mental note to myself to get it if/when baby #2 ever came along. Of course when we found out we were expecting in April of 2018, it was one of the first things I added to our wish-list. This charcoal color is the absolute perfect neutral and is such a good color (even better in person), I love that it's dark enough to keep from getting dirty looking easily too! This structured lightweight luxury linen baby carrier is simply perfect for wearing baby in all around your home, out on walks, to church, at the grocery store... just everywhere!

I mentioned above how we've worked hard to remove toxins from our home and keep us healthy... but what about our gut health? This time of year is known to be cold and flu season (currently it seems like everyone we know is sick too) and we've learned the keeping our gut flora happy plays a big part in keeping our entire bodies happy and healthy! Of course probiotics are huge when it comes to that and LoveBug Probiotics are some of our favorites that we've loved for awhile. One of the biggest reasons we love LoveBug Probiotics is because they carry probiotics for the entire family! Women, men, children, expectant and breastfeeding mamas and even babies! I've been doubling up on them since I went to the hospital to give birth, because lack of sleep always seems to weaken my immune system, and since babies don't always sleep a ton at night... :) I have felt a sore throat start creeping up twice in the past month, and both times I took a few extra Lovebug Probiotics and I felt completely better when I woke up a few hours later for Bodhi's next diaper change and feeding! We'll just be using these probiotics forever and ever. Click here to read all about why you should be incorporating probiotics into your family's daily routine!

My love for essential oils runs deep, my family started using them when I was a little girl, before they were even the "cool" thing to do or use. I think one of my favorite things about them, other than their amazing health benefits that is, is being able to teach my own children about them! We've been using them for Bella since she was around 2 weeks old and now she loves them just as much as I do, always asking for oils in her diffuser at bedtime and for her diffuser to be turned onto a certain color (blue is her absolute  favorite that she asks for every single night). While we already have a couple of diffusers, you can never have too many diffusers or never too many oils, so when a friend shared with me about this Serene House brand "Supernova" diffuser from Soft Surroundings, I was all heart eyes for it. It needed to come live with us for sure. I mean, just look at it, have you seen a prettier diffuser, we keep it running pretty much non stop these days with all of the immune supporting vibes with thieves oil or all of the best smelling calm vibes with lavender oil. Not only is this diffuser super functional, but also is beautiful as decor!

We're all about those memory foam pillows, and these from Marpac are our absolute most favorite. Kind of funny that growing up I hated memory foam, and thought it was just weird, but now that I'm an adult, I LOVE THEM. I literally  cannot sleep without my Marpac yogasleep "clean sleep" memory foam pillow now and I get the best sleep from it. I love that the cover zips on and off in about 30 seconds for easy washing, perfect for freshening up and for an allergen free bed. Their instant response yogafoam also provides rapidly adjusting pressure point relief for the absolute most comfortable sleep of your life. It provides the most perfect amount of firmness and softness so you can get the best of both worlds.

I came across PACT organic apparel a few years ago, don't ask me how I found them, because I honestly can't remember, but goodness am I glad I did! I am obsessed with their leggings, I wear them all day, nearly every day and and pretty much would never take them off or wear anything else if I knew I could get away with it haha. They are SO SOFT and you feel like you're wearing a cloud when wearing them, they're just the best... I mean, they must be the best since I own like 5 pairs of them though. :D Their undies for women are also one of my favorite products in the whole world, I used to buy another (very well known) brand and eventually got tired of wearing undies that seemed to rip within a few months, so when I found these, they were a breath of fresh air. Made from  100% fair trade organic cotton for the best breath-ability (which is especially important for women), so comfortable, and made to last! Seriously, I had the same 6 pairs for the past 2 years and they lasted so well without getting rips or holes, I just recently got some more to replace my old ones and they're made just as well as the old ones! My husband also loves these travel pants for men, and I'm living in these sweatshirts!

I'm all about quick and grab-able snacks and meals these days since I don't seem to have time for much else between taking care of a newborn and a preschooler, so when I found Square Organics protein bars on Instagram, I immediately wanted to try them! Their protein bars really don't taste like protein bars (I mean being coated in chocolate and all... sign me up), they actually taste delicious and I love that they are made from high quality, whole food, organic ingredients so I never have to worry about what I may be eating! They're all delicious but the chocolate coated coconut and chocolate coated crunch are out of this world amazing!



The day started out bright and early, or should I say, dark and early, since it wasn't even light out when we woke up, or even light when we left. I was feeling all of the feels that morning when I woke up, ate half a bowl of chocolate granola with almond milk, arranged the letters on the felt letterboard that said "HELLO BODHI WILLIAM", got ready and finished packing the last few items I would need into my bags for our trip to the hospital. I felt so nervous, yet so calm on the drive to the hospital, holding my husband's hand as he drove us to the hospital in the dark on that cold morning, not one carseat in the back of our car, but two! Mostly nervous just because our family dynamic was about to change hugely, and I was wondering how Bella would handle the big changes, and kind of nervous because well, I was about to push a baby out and I was determined to do it all natural and pain med free this time. Calm, because I knew deep inside, that everything was going to be okay and it was going to be perfect. Of course there was a lot of excitement too because, we were getting ready to meet our sweet baby boy for the first time, and a little bit of sadness because I soon would no longer feel his sweet kicks inside my belly. Like I said, all of the feels.

My mom was in her car driving behind us to the hospital, and met us there, she was able to come up to Pennsylvania from Missouri to be able to assist me with my birth and be here to meet Bodhi when he arrived, and my little sisters (I say little, but two of them are taller than me by several inches lol) stayed back at our home to watch Bella for us.

We arrived at the hospital, walked through the emergency room doors to sign in for our scheduled induction at 39 weeks and 1 day. Since I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy, my midwives suggested I be induced to avoid complications from the gestational diabetes if he arrived later, and at 39 weeks and 1 day along, I was officially more pregnant than I had ever been. With Bella, I went into labor on my own at 38 weeks and 5 days.

After signing in and registering, we went upstairs to labor and delivery, my husband and my mom by my side, I was slightly misty eyed at that point and with a catch in my throat I said "I'm here for a scheduled induction", again all of the feels. Before I knew it, I had a small room to start my labor in, was given a hospital gown, was hooked up to the monitors to hear Bodhi's sweet little heartbeat, had an IV inserted, having a contraction here and there on my own, and after a conversation with Lydia, my midwife (mostly about whether I wanted to eat a light breakfast and wait an hour to start the induction or start it now; I  was hungry but opted to start the induction asap) and a cervical check (I was 4 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced), I was started on pitocin at the lowest dose.

Thankfully I chose to forgo breakfast at the hospital and only had eaten a light snack of orange sherbet, beef broth and ice chips since arriving, because after being on piticon for about half an hour or so my dose was increased and out of nowhere, I ended up throwing up very suddenly (I can personally now attest to the fact that orange sherbet and beef broth don't taste that well together lol).

Contractions increased soon after, but then slowed down again so my dose was increased again a couple of times until they steadily increased. Before I knew it, my contractions were getting pretty regular and were increasing in intensity so I was moved to the room where Bodhi would be born! Holding onto my IV pole, I walked the hallway down to my new room pausing slightly for a contraction, while Frank and my mom walked behind me, my midwife and two nurses and carrying my bags.

I soon was settled in a large labor and delivery suite, I immediately had Frank open the blinds of the two big windows to let in all of the sunshine that was now streaming through the windows. My labor contractions were getting a little closer together and intensifying so I labored on a birthing ball, bouncing lightly to help with my labor pains. My lower back was starting to hurt pretty badly at that time and my mom and Frank both took turns massaging my lower back to help with the pain and it helped so much. I had brought some organic lavender baby lotion so we ended up using that on my back along with lavender, frankincense and gentle baby young living essential oils. Frank might also have been sliding around the room on a wheeled stool while my mom was massaging my back hahaha (pretty sure he was a bundle of nerves and needed to work off some nervous energy).

After a bit, my labor slowed again, and after talking it over with my midwife I felt I needed to take a small nap to get some energy and then the plan was to break my water afterwards, I remember telling her I was going to nap for half an hour and then wanted to get this party started haha. I fell asleep in about a minute and then after napping for 25 minutes I woke up with a start and the feeling that I wanted and needed to meet this baby boy as soon as possible! A few seconds later I had my strongest, most painful contraction yet! I had Frank go down the hall to the nurses station to tell them and my midwife that I was ready to have my water broken.

While we waited for the midwife and nurses to come to my room, and he texted my mom who had gone to the gift shop and to get a bite to eat to come back as well, I got up and walked around a little, trying to ease the pain of my contractions, mostly the back pain, and had Frank snap a few photos, since at that moment I realized I hadn't taken any bare belly photos, and I wanted a few, even if I did have monitors hooked up to me and IV lines running from my hand. I wanted to capture the stretch marks, my nearly absent belly button and the roundness of my baby boy belly. I wanted to capture and remember those last few moments as just the two of us together in that room before it all sped up and everyone entered.

My midwife did a cervical check to see my dilation and at that point I think I was around 5 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. Water was broken minutes later and within seconds of the warm amniotic fluid flowing out, my contractions rose in intensity, my back was searing in pain from the back labor I was experiencing and I knew I needed some kind of relief but didn't want to use any kind of drug/medication to ease my laboring pain and also didn't want an epidural like I had with Bella. I wanted to be able to move around and labor naturally to make my birth as easy as possible. My mom applied more essential oils to my back (the same 3 she had applied earlier) and my midwife started filling up the tub with warm water so I could labor in the water (one of the desires that topped my "birth plan") and made a "water pillow" from a large plastic bag filled with air.

The tub was filled, and I stepped in and sat down to the most wonderful feeling pain relief. The water was so soothing, so calming, and even though I was in a lot of pain with each contraction, the water relieved the pain immensely. After laboring for around an hour in the water, the pain began to get even more intense, each contraction was taking over my body and all of a sudden I wanted out of the water.

I was in the transition stage of labor and needed a change of scenery, as much as I loved being in the water, I was ready to get out. I wanted some kind of pain relief but I remember telling myself in my head "you can do this April, you haven't come this far to give up now, there will be relief once he's born". Well, more like I told myself "shut up April! You haven't come this far to give up now, you can do this and you'll have relief soon as he is born".

With that, I made my way back into bed, doubling over from the pain of each contraction as I walked from the tub to the bed, holding onto my midwife and Frank also helping me along as my mom was on the other side of the bed starting my diffuser that I had brought along with the same 3 oils I used throughout my labor. I was 7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced by that time and I said "that's all?!" when Lydia, my midwife, told me I was at 7 centimeters. Haha. I kind of felt at that time that 7 was so far away from 10.

Each contraction into me with waves of pain, and my mom who was patting my forehead with a cold wet rag, kept reminding me to not let the pain take over, to let the waves wash over me, not through me, to envision myself walking on the beach, a calm beach with the waves rushing to shore at my feet and washing back out to sea again. There were times I could do that, but there were times I felt like a lion in the jungle and needed to roar, roar the pain away with a scream. So I did. Both ways worked, and I eventually closed my eyes, labored through closed eyes, shutting out the outside world and just focusing and concentrating on bringing this beautiful baby into the world.

I was a solid 9 centimeters for what felt like hours, but was really only about 20 minutes, I felt the urge to push, and my body started spontaneously pushing on it's own. My midwife eventually was able to help my body push the remaining lip of the cervix away during a huge contraction to help me finally get past that 9 centimeters to 10. Lydia my midwife on my right side holding my leg while I labored and Frank to my left, holding my left.

20 minutes of pushing. I flipped over on my side to push since I didn't want to lay on my back to push and each contraction brought the most searing back labor, but every contraction, each one stronger than the last, brought us one contraction closer to meeting Bodhi. Frank moved up closer to the head of the bed while my mom took photos since I had wanted those first moments captured and he took over patting my head with the cold washcloth while everyone told me to keep pushing, keep going, that I could do it.

I felt him crowning, and a second later was hit with exhaustion while everyone was telling me to keep pushing. My body needed to stop and take a second though, both physically and mentally, I paused for a second, bared down and with that one last strong contraction, I pushed one last mighty push and Bodhi was birthed into this world. When they say catching the baby, my midwife really did catch him with the intensity that I pushed him out. 

All of a sudden, in an instant, at 3:51 pm on December 1st 2018, my world was forever changed. I was a mama to a little baby boy. Our Bodhi William.

It all happened so fast and the most beautiful little boy was placed on my chest. He cried a tiny little cry and raised his tiny head up and looked at me. One of the best moments ever. Truly words can't explain the love that filled my heart, all of the feelings of joy that rushed into me as I held him for the first time. Holding him skin to skin with me on my chest, his tiny heart beating against mine.

We chose delayed cord clamping so we waited about 3 minutes for Frank to cut the umbilical cord, and a minute afterwards, I birthed my placenta. I tried offering the breast a few minutes after that, but he wasn't interested just yet, he just wanted to be held by his mama a few minutes more. So I did. I held him until he was ready and then I offered the breast again and he took it so well. Of course he fell asleep a few minutes later, but being born is exhausting. He nursed again about an hour later, and we had around 2 hours uninterrupted skin to skin. Weighing, measuring, it all waited while we just snuggled.

Family came to visit, my in-laws and sister in law, my sisters, stepdaughter, and Bella all came to meet baby Bodhi. Halfway through their visit, it was time to get his weight and length... while he looked so tiny laying on my chest, he was almost 8 lbs! He weighted 7 lbs 15.2 ounces and was a tall 21 inches long! We were all so surprised at how much bigger he actually was than he looked.

With that, everyone was on their way out, and Frank and Bella went to get dinner for us (he got pizza from one of my favorite places), and it was just Bodhi and I. Snuggling and healing, in utter bliss. Before I knew it, Frank and Bella were back and pizza was what was for dinner, and I was then moved to the mother and child unit in the hospital to the room he and I would occupy for the next 4 days (while he was closely monitored while waiting for little body to learn to regulate his blood glucose levels on his own).

I think I got maybe an hour and a half of sleep that night, but how could I sleep when I had a tiny little love that needed snuggled and stared at? I couldn't help but look at him all night, and all morning, and all day... come to think of it, I haven't put him down much this past month or really stopped staring at him. I'm also pretty sure I was on a natural high for the next few days, looking at that sweet baby boy, and I felt so empowered that I had gotten the natural and med free birth I wanted and had gotten to labor in the water like I had wanted so badly. I felt on top of the world and like I could do anything, and I also realized how strong I actually was. I'm just so thankful. Thankful also because we had a healthy baby, a complication free birth, that my two best friends, my husband and mom (who should seriously consider becoming a professional doula) were there to help guide me through it, along with an amazing midwife who felt more like a friend than anything during the entire process and two amazing labor and delivery nurses, Dayna and Payton.

I just can't get over how precious our little Bodhi is, and I can't stop thinking about how blessed I am... and how babies don't keep. They grow oh so fast and he is no exception. So I'm taking all of the time to just hold him and enjoy his littleness.