Mother’s Day Gift Guide

How can it already be the month of May?! It feels like we just celebrated Christmas and here we are, almost to the middle of the next year. Time is flying by and because of that, each holiday just sneaks up on us. Mother’s Day is May 12th, or if you need to put it in perspective, NEXT weekend. If you still haven’t gotten a gift for your mother, or any mom in your life, I know it can be stressful last minute shopping, so here is a short list of some of my favorite things! Hopefully it can help you gift shop this month for that special mom in your life.

  1. Pajamas! I think everyone loves getting pajamas (not just at Christmas), and Kirklands and Target always have the cutest, and softest jammies!
  2. Coffee! I think all moms will say yes! to more coffee. With flavors like ‘Messy Bun,‘ you’ll be speaking her language when you shop from Coffee Over Cardio. 
  3. Jewelry! I’m loving the simplicity of the jewelry from Golden Thread and Made By Mary; perfect for mamas! While some of their line is luxe, you can find pieces within your budget.
  4. Books! Why not get the mom in your life a book that speaks directly to her heart? This is a great new find!
  5. Gift Cards! If you’re totally stuck but know where your mom loves to shop, you can’t go wrong with a gift card!
  6. Candles! I am a candle hoarder! And no candle has better quality than this brand. They smell amazing and last forever.
  7. Mrs. Meyers! Don’t worry, your mom won’t be mad you’re gifting her with cleaning supplies if it is Mrs. Meyers! Her line of products smell amazing. Gift these in a cute galvanized tub and you couldn’t go wrong.
  8. Rain Boots! If your mom doesn’t have a good pair of rubber boots, get her some! My favorite brands are Muck Boot and Joules; they have the cutest spring designs right now. Perfect for working in the garden or the rainy day.
  9. Qalo Rings! If you haven’t invested in a set of these rings, you definitely need to. It is convenient if you’re going somewhere or doing something that you don’t want to wear your actual wedding rings for. Eva Shockey just released her line with Qalo, and your mom will want them all!
  10. Daily Grace Bible Study! Last but not least, I LOVE everything that Daily Grace Co has. Whether you mom is looking for a new journaling Bible, prayer journal, Bible study, or coffee mugs, this company has you covered.

I hope this short list gave you some great shopping ideas for your mom. In the end, Mother’s Day isn’t about the gifts, it is about celebrating all that moms do for us. Whether your gift is packaged in the prettiest paper or something homemade, if it is from the heart she will love it.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

xoxo Evin 

Links to a few of the shopping items listed above:

Messy Bun Coffee

Mrs. Meyers Clean Days

Muck Boot Garden Shoes

Candles

Jewelry

Eva Shockey Qalo Ring

Daily Grace Bibles

 

 

 

The Most Important Job

If you’ve been reading my blog posts then you know that I have loved every second of motherhood, and being a stay at home mom (SAHM) this past year. I have considered myself so blessed to be able to see Josie hit every milestone and spend precious time with her. And while I will always consider myself fortunate for this, unfortunately, I lost sight of that a little bit. Throughout the past year, I began to feel like more of a weight in our little family than anything else. I battled such negative self-talk for quite some time, and I’m still learning how to silence it. It all focused around me deciding to stay home and not work. I didn’t realize how much a paycheck could make you feel valuable. And how the lack thereof can make you feel like you don’t have anything to offer. I would first like to say that Cody has never ever made me feel this way; that all of this negativity was created right in my own mind. There are SO many moms who don’t work, yet I always feel like I must be the only mom who has ever stayed home and fully relied on her husband to make money. This is ridiculous, I know that it is. Yet, for me it has been something that I have had to push through every month.

This has been a season in my life that I’m learning to embrace. It was almost like I ran into a wall when I had this epiphany about who this season is teaching me to be. I may not have a job that I go to outside the home, and I may not contribute financially each month. I’m not excelling in a corporate job and making connections. And part of me feels a sadness that I’m not meeting those types of goals or garnering acceptance from coworkers. But, and this truly hit me smack in the face, I have the most important job right now as a wife and mother. Of course I knew this all along. Read back a few posts and I wrote about working in the home and how important it was…but I didn’t understand it like I do now.

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This little season of my life, God placed me here, now, on purpose. I want to be an exceptional wife! I want to be an exceptional mom! And if all I can focus on is how I’m not an exceptional (whatever job title fits), then I’m missing out on what I am! I can’t look in the past or look in the future right now. I need to focus on today, this season, this year. It doesn’t matter what everyone around me is doing. I believe that social media has played into this lie I have been believing. Everything we read or see today is about success and making it. And I do believe in everyday striving to be a better version of yourself. But the beauty is that is different for everyone.

Sometimes we can get so blindsided by other’s success it is hard to see what we have because it looks so different. 

I am in such a different season of life than any of my friends. That is hard sometimes! My life looks nothing like theirs and many times it is hard to relate or even connect. But I cannot compare where I am to where they are. And sometimes we just need to put down the phone, log out, and be fully present in our own lives.

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If you have a job outside of home and you’re also a wife and mom, I wish I could give you an award! I commend you on working hard and juggling all of those responsibilities. But if you’re a SAHM and sometimes feel like I did, please be encouraged that what you are doing matters. Loving your family well matters. Creating a home that your husband and children feel comfortable and safe in matters. Showing up every day and being a nurturer matters. I promise it does. And it may go unnoticed. You won’t get Employee of the Month, you won’t get a raise, you won’t get a promotion, but you will get a legacy of being the best title you could have; Wife and Mom. And I promise that greatly outweighs any paycheck you could bring home.

 

*Photos by Madi Wagner Photography 

Sweet As A Peach!

 

March has been such a FUN and BUSY month for us! Josie Lynn turned the big ONE at the end of the month, and I also have four girlfriends who celebrate their birthday this month. That calls for a lot of cake!

I truly cannot believe that one year has come so fast. She has gotten so big and is so smart! I wanted to celebrate her in the biggest and best way, so for her first birthday party I knew I wanted to do something different, fun, and altogether sweet! I started planning her party when she was five months y’all. I got on Pinterest and looked up every little girl party theme there was. All I found was donuts, unicorns and mermaids. All cute, but overdone. I wanted something unique and sweet! When I found the peach theme I knew it was just right. So today on the blog I’m sharing all of the party details and planning preparation.

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Luckily, we had some of the party décor already on hand! Some of it was repurposed from my bridal shower, wedding, and baby shower. Saving mason jars and table cloths really helped!

The sweets stole the show at Josie’s party! I contacted someone local to do her cake, cookies and cupcakes, and they turned out phenomenal. Maxine took my vision and created it perfectly! The cake was almond vanilla with buttercream icing and raspberry compote. Yummmm! Josie’s smash cake fit perfectly on my Pioneer Woman cake stand, which just happened to be the perfect color as well!

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The cookies were absolutely amazing, and too pretty to eat! It didn’t take long, however, before they were gone!

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After choosing this theme, I realized how difficult it was to find anything the color peach. I quickly realized that even though peaches were the heart of the theme, I would need another central color. Luckily Hobby Lobby had a whole mint colored party section, and the two colors blended so well together. Most of my partyware is from HB, and they had more than enough.

55591734_279635879597288_7140298518744268800_nWe made the centerpieces from flowers found at Hobby Lobby, as well as small mint buckets. The doilies were spray pained a coral color and turned out great! I made the confetti from cardstock I found at Michaels. It was a little time consuming punching out the confetti but added a nice touch to the tables.

We served sweet tea as well as a homemade peach punch. We had the galvanized canister already and it worked perfectly! (You can find these at Wal Mart!) We used the mason jars from my wedding and tied a small peach ribbon around the rim. Again, a little time consuming but added such a sweet touch!
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I found a cute idea to display pictures on a ladder on Pinterest and knew I wanted to use that idea. I was terrible at taking consistent monthly photos on that cute numbered blanket, so I opted for her cutest photos over the year. The ladder we used at my wedding so we already had it on hand. My friend Jessica decorated it so beautifully with ivy, twine, and felt flowers found at Wal Mart.
55869298_661192931003054_6717096901235179520_nOverall, the party was more than I expected! We had such a wonderful turnout and Josie was blessed by so many gifts. I am so thankful to all who came and all who helped! I am much better at the planning part rather than execution. Cody was busy blowing up balloons and setting up tables/chairs. Everyone was so helpful!

Josie didn’t dig into her smash cake, but she did lick some of the icing off of her fingers. It was such a sweet moment singing Happy Birthday to her and blowing out her candle. The little peach on top of her cake was made out of fondant and so so cute!

55632773_445756769300942_6905955525297438720_nI’m already anticipating Josie’s second birthday party, but I guess for now I’ll enjoy the success of her first birthday and the sweetest sugars from my little peach!

Josie Is ONE!

It is hard to believe that Josie is ONE years old! Everyone said that time would fly by, but I never thought it would go this fast. It seems like yesterday Cody and I checked into the hospital to induce, and I had no idea what it would be like bringing home a baby. Turns out, she has rocked our world for the better and I can’t imagine what we ever did without her!

In one short year she has grown by leaps and bounds, and learned so much. I have learned right alongside her as well. My heart has expanded ten times the size it was, and my arms never feel full unless she is in them. It has been a joy watching Cody become a dad, and seeing the pure joy she brings him. There is no greater gift than family, and I am blessed by our little family of three.

In addition to the blessing of a baby, I am also blessed to be able to stay home with Josie. Because of this, I am able to see every milestone she reaches and bond with her in the most special way. Being a stay at home mom (SAHM) isn’t for everyone, and there are many moms who wish they could, so I don’t take the title without thankfulness, and a lot of grace!

55498121_408168736628180_4450329229602586624_nBecoming a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done, and a title I’m still not used to! However, it is a title I would never give back. I have grown so much myself over the year and I am thankful for a little girl who loves with all that she has, no matter my flaws or setbacks. I have learned that you can no longer be selfish with your choices, time, or even wants. Yet, self care is so vitally important.

It is ok to ask for help, in fact, it is needed! The saying ‘It takes a village,” is so true when it comes to babies. I look back on those first days, weeks, months, and I felt so overwhelmed. I am so thankful for everyone who pitched in to help, or even give me a minute alone. Mommy guilt is real but I’m telling you this to give you the freedom to ask for help! You deserve a walk through Target alone momma.

55684199_1088252108027896_2202578895767601152_nI can’t even imagine life without this little ray of sunshine, and I don’t want to! She brings joy everywhere she goes, to everyone she meets. Her little personality is shining through, and I know without a doubt she will grow to have the sweetest heart. I pray that she is a friend to the friendless, has a desire to share, and a willingness to learn and trust in herself. More than anything, I pray that she loves Jesus!

I know that time will only continue to go faster, and before long she will be on her way to kindergarten! While I do look forward to those days, I can wait for them to get here. I’m going to enjoy all the snuggles, hugs and love I can get while she is still offering them. I love you Josie Lynn with all of my heart!

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Being a Homemaker- Work Diligently

In my last blog, I wrote about how I had to have faith when I decided to stay home rather than go back to work. I knew I needed to have faith that God would continue to use me, but I also knew that my new ‘job’ as home-maker was still just that, work. Yes, I may be able to have slow mornings and operate on my own schedule, but I knew that I still needed to work hard around the house. Sometimes, though, housework can be so monotonous. I felt like the only thing I did every day was clean the kitchen and some remedial chores around the house. I couldn’t hardly tell you what the date is, besides laundry day. It was easy to feel discouraged in my decision to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). I went from working a job where I knew I was making a difference everyday to finding small chores to do around the house. It didn’t take long before I wonder if I made the right decision. So, before letting my doubts bury me, I looked to the Word for some encouragement. And that’s exactly what I found.

Philippians 2:13-14 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.” 

I began to ask God to help me to see the work I was doing in my home as an act of service to my family. I could either grow weary in cleaning house and cooking dinner, or I could see it as a way to be a faithful steward over what God has given me. The other morning I was listing to a sermon by Steven Furtick and he was talking specifically to mothers. He said, when you feel like your everyday is monotonous, just changing diapers and sweeping the floor, start speaking over it and saying ‘this is significant.’ It will change your perspective and begin to put purpose to what you are doing.

Did you know that as Christians we should do everything for the glory of God? Just like the verse in Philippians we see that we need to work diligently without complaining because it pleases God. Paul goes on to say in verse 17 that my ‘faithful service is an offering to God.’ So even though my days consist of cleaning, nursing, meal planning, diaper changing, etc., I am doing it to serve my family, and that pleases God. I read Proverbs 31 and made a list of the characteristics the Bible uses to describe the wife in the passage. She is energetic, strong, a hard worker, a helper, giver, wise, kind, and virtuous. The scripture says that she is up before dawn and that her lamp burns into the night. I am so thankful that God included an entire chapter to describe a wife and a mom. He knew that it was important to document the work that she did. Why? Because it is significant.

Lord, help me to serve my family in a way that honors you and that pleases you. Help me to do it without grumbling, and help me to see that it is all important in your eyes, Amen. 

Being a Homemaker- Have Faith

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23

When I made the decision to stay home with Josie, it took a lot of faith on my part. I struggled with so many emotions and felt guilt over my decision. What would I do all day, how would I justify not bringing home a paycheck, and many more questions. Even though I was excited to have this season at home with my precious girl, I was afraid to step into a new season, an uncharted new area of my life. What I needed was to have faith. I needed to trust God that He was leading me. Maybe you need to have faith for something today. It might not be a life changing decision but something small you are facing. Rest assured knowing God cares. He sees all of our fears and He is working on our behalf. Have faith knowing that God is going to use you to further His glory.

Staying at home at first meant to me that I was giving up so much. But I needed to have faith that God could use me and still wanted great things from my life. Because of that faith I now see that staying home means I can serve my family in a way that God intended me to. When I read Hebrews chapter 10 I am reminded that when some days are hard, God wants me to hold tightly onto Him. He walks with us through each and every season of life, and the times that we seem to have lost all hope, we need to cling tightly to His Word. You see, I don’t know what this new season will be like. I don’t know how God will choose to use me, I just know He will.

If you are like me then you don’t like change. It is scary and difficult to change up the routine of our lives and start something new. It is much easier for things to stay the same and to fall into the rhythm of everyday life. I know that God is working all things in our life for His good, we just have to have faith that one day we will see the fruition of it.

I am so happy to stay home with Josie this year and watch her grow! I am so blessed to be able to do it! I know God will continue to use me whether I am at work in the public, or at work at home. I have faith that even the small tasks of taking care of my family every day are worth it and bringing Him glory. I have faith that we will make it financially with only one income. I have faith that I will see the long-term benefits of extra time with my baby. I have faith that I am loving my family well by working in the home. And, I have faith that God doesn’t count any of that to be of less value than me working outside the home.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2

My Nursing Journey

I thought I was prepared to bring home our baby in the days leading up to her delivery. Cody and I had attended two birthing classes, a Caring for Your Newborn class, as well as toured the hospital. We knew how to change a diaper, swaddle, and had our hospital bags packed. Our birth plan was filled out (ha!), and even though I was anxious and nervous about bringing baby home, I didn’t worry about feeding her. Our doctor had recommended we attend the ‘Breastfeeding Bootcamp’ class but because we attended the others, I felt that I didn’t need it. In fact, I didn’t read anything about breastfeeding leading up to the delivery. Not one iota of information, but yet I circled ‘Strictly Breastfeed’ on our birth plan. Talk to a lactation consultant, why? I was confident that because breastfeeding was natural, I wouldn’t have any issues with it. I had no idea how difficult the next month would be.

As soon as Josie was born the nurses took her and weighed her, cleaned her off, handed her to daddy, then to me. They showed me the different nursing positions and tried to get her to latch. Because my milk hadn’t come in yet, there wasn’t such a rush to get her to nurse. Later that evening we did have a visit from the Lactation Nurse and she helped us get a pump. At this point I didn’t even know I needed a pump! I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and full of emotions. By the time my colostrum had come in, Josie wouldn’t latch and suck. Nurses informed us that I would have to pump then feed her with a syringe. Cody and I were so exhausted from our first day with her we just wanted to get her fed and get some rest. The next day, we had the same issues. The LN came in and helped us with different feeding positions, still to no avail. Josie just couldn’t get the sucking down. We continued to feed her with a syringe-first sticking our finger in her mouth so she could get the sucking down then giving the syringe. Once she would start sucking I would take her and try to get her to nurse but she would immediately stop. I felt frustrated because I had no idea that breastfeeding might not work. Our LN of course was busy and could only come in twice a day to help us. I continued to pump and feed her through the syringe while we were in the hospital. We had to stay an extra day to try to get Josie to latch and nurse correctly. The nurses did not want us to leave before we could comfortably get our baby to eat.

Once we got home my milk had come in and I was having to pump around the clock. I tried to read so much about keeping up my supply with exclusive pumping, and it was WORK. I was pumping twenty minutes every two hours. We were still having to feed Josie from a syringe; we did this for the first week. She eventually developed a larger appetite and began to take a bottle. I was exhausted from pumping then feeding her, cleaning the pump parts, bottles, then starting the whole process over again. I thought about my goal of breastfeeding for one year and just wanted to give up; that seemed like an impossible goal.

I began to feel so much guilt as well. Guilt because my baby for some reason didn’t want me, and it made me feel angry towards her. I felt guilt because the more I tried, the more I wanted to give up, and not nurse her at all. It seemed promising if we were determined, but we still knew there was a chance she wouldn’t ever nurse.

After a month of sitting in the nursery with a screaming baby and crying myself, a miracle happened. 

I would try once a day to get her to nurse, which would inevitably end in her screaming and pushing away from me. However, one day she took about five sucks. I was shocked. The next time she needed to eat I decided to try again and let her nurse. She sucked about thirty seconds. I cannot even describe the hope I was feeling! A few hours later we tried again- this time she nursed for five minutes. It was then that I knew this was going to work. The next day I didn’t even warm up a bottle; she just began to nurse. I don’t have any  answer as to why she picked it up other than God answered my prayers. I didn’t try anything special, by all means I had given up. When we visited her pediatrician for her one month check up, he was amazed that she had picked up nursing. He actually called it a miracle.

I had no idea that nursing would be the hard work that it was. Looking back, I am so thankful that I stuck it out and did not give up. I had nothing against formula feeding her, but I so desperately wanted to be able to feed her myself. There were a lot of tears in the first month, and many different emotions, but I am so glad that my baby is healthy and eating well! Now, that goal of nursing for one year doesn’t seem so impossible.

I would encourage any new moms or moms to be to attend the classes, read the books, and surround yourself with a support system. The more you know the more ready you will be to nurse your baby.

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My Breast Feeding Essentials

August is National Breast feeding Awareness month so I decided to share some of my favorite products related to nursing! It is finally legal in all 50 states to nurse in public-while that is amazing, I can’t believe that is even a law!

I am currently writing another post talking about my journey to get Josie to breastfeed. It was a difficult journey and I am glad I had these essentials to get me through that tough first month! This is a list of my favorite breast feeding products that I continue to use-and hope you do too!

  • Nursing pillow
    • I had a difficult time getting Josie to latch, and I tried nearly every nursing position. I loved this pillow because it allowed me to be hands-free while nursing. Many times Josie and I would both fall asleep on the couch, and I knew that she was comfortable on this pillow. The shape wraps around you and allows you to get your baby as close as possible!unnamed (6)
  • Mother’s Milk Tea
    • While I was exclusively pumping, there would be times when my supply would drop. I relied on this hot tea to bring my supply back and keep it at a healthy level! It has a distinct taste but after adding honey to it I actually enjoy the taste!unnamed (10)
  • NursElet
    • I found that there was nothing more frustrating than getting a good latch and having your shirt fall on your babies face, only to disrupt her eating. I was constantly tucking my shirt under my chin, and straining my neck. It was uncomfortable to say the least! I love the NursElet because I just wrap it around the area where my shirt is pulled up and it keeps it in place! No more falling on babies face while she is nursing. When you aren’t using it it wraps perfectly around your wrist as a cute bracelet! unnamed (11)
  • Copper Pearl nursing cover
    • I can’t say enough about this product; it is one of my staples in my diaper bag! This company has so many cute designs to choose from. Not only is this a nursing cover but a car seat cover as well! It is a light-weight material and perfect for summer.unnamed (2)
  • Lansinoh pads
    • No explanation here, these are life savers! I chose the throw away pad verses the cloth kind because lets be honest, we all get behind on laundry with a new baby.unnamed (1)
  • Aeroflow Breastpump
    • I either saved the best for last, or I was trying to erase all the hours hooked up to this from my memory! I am so thankful that our insurance allowed us to get this pump while we were still in the hospital. I had no idea I needed a pump, I had no idea how to pump, and I had no idea how glad I was when I could finally feed without with pump!
    • Medela-57018w

Hope this list is helpful!

Letter to My Little Girl

To my precious baby girl, Josie Lynn,

Your daddy and I love you more than you will ever know. We didn’t know how incomplete we were without you here; how you’ve changed our lives.

We pray you always have eyes to see the good in others, a heart that loves like Jesus, hands that are quick to help, and feet that run to the friend-less. I have no doubt you will have the kindest heart, and a child-like faith all your days. You are the sweetest bundle of joy and I pray daily that you would have a sensitive heart to the world around you.

Baby girl, as I sit here rocking you to sleep and looking into your sweet little face, I realize how fast time has already gone. I’ve loved you earth side for over one hundred days. And while that really may not seem like a long time, I think about how much you’ve already changed and grown. You don’t sleep nearly as much as you did when you were a newborn, you smile so much now, and we have gone through so many baby clothes. And while I love seeing your little personality develop, I can’t help but want you to be my baby forever. It’s true that some days it wears on me sitting on the couch feeding you all day. And yet, there are times I wish I could just set you down and complete a much needed ‘to-do’ list. But then I look at your face and realize that I don’t want to miss this time with you. If you need constant holding and frequent feeding, then I need you to know that I’m here for you.

I pray for arms that never get tired of holding, feet that never get tired of rocking, and lips that never get tired of kissing. Because, baby girl, even on the hardest of days, I love being your mama. It is what I was made to do. I pray that I never forget how little you are. How good you smell, how silky smooth your little curls are. How you stare at me nursing and grip my fingers while you fall asleep. These are the sweetest moments I want to hold onto. I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Your mommy