What I’m Using for Baby #4

I love seeing what others use and love – for themselves, their home, and family. This week, in honor of reaching 37 weeks pregnant with our little miracle baby, I thought I’d share 5 things I’m planning to use for baby #4. Make sure you stick around to the end – or just scroll to the bottom – to find out about a giveaway for 2 of these lovely items!

5 things I'm using baby 4

// O N E  //
I think I first heard about this nursing wrap via instagram. The first thing that appealed to me was that it’s an all around coverage wrap. None of this drape in the front & leave your sides hanging out business. I stalked them on instagram for a while before deciding to get one for baby #4. When I mentioned this wrap to some of my mama friends, I heard only raving reviews over how much they loved it. It can also be used as a carseat cover, shopping cart cover & scarf. Although the reason I decided to get it was because of the nursing cover function, I’m looking forward to trying it out for all its uses!

 

// T W O //
womp womp. Who really wants to talk about diapers? Buuut they are a necessary part of the baby experience. Unless you decide to potty train your child from day 1. Which I will not be doing. Thus the diapers.

We bought a stash of cloth diapers when I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd. And by stash, I mean 12. After a lot of research, I chose these. I used them for my 2nd until he was potty trained and then for my 3rd child the whole time. I also have a couple of the all-in-one versions, but these pocket fold diapers are my favorites.

 

// T H R E E //
A friend of mine made a version of this wrap and I used it constantly with Miles – especially when he was teeny tiny. I cannot wait to have this little girl snuggled up with me again!

 

// F O U R //
When my first little girl was born, we somehow managed to accumulate a large amount of shoes. Tiny sandals, boots, dress shoes, etc. While I think it’s totally adorable to see baby girls in super cute shoes, I have learned that I’m much more of a minimalist in this area. As in, my babies usually go around barefoot as long as it’s warm enough to do so. When Anna Grace was little and it was too cold to go barefoot, I found a little pair of pink leather ballet-type shoes that she wore all the time – so much that she wore them out!

So despite my plethora of cutie-patootie girl shoes, I decided to stick with what worked last time and use a pair of pink leather moccasins for this baby girl. I’ve heard great things about Freshly Picked and am really looking forward to trying out these moccs for baby girl!

 

// F I V E //
After scouring Craigslist, I found an ergo baby carrier and snagged it up for baby #3. I loved using my moby wrap for Miles when he was little, but found the ergo to be much more supportive as he gained weight. Designed to be used for littles up to 45 pounds, I even used this carrier a few months ago when Miles was feverish and wanting to be held, but I needed to start on dinner prep (picture proof!). Let’s hear it for multi-tasking!

 

Tomorrow morning (Friday, August 26), I’m hosting a giveaway for 2 of these lovely items (#1 & #4) on my instagram account!
I’ll pick 2 winners – one for each item. Even if you’re not in the baby stage, feel free to enter and use it for a new baby gift!

// thanks to Covered Goods & Freshly Picked for partnering with me in this post //

prego series300

The [Table] Search is Over

I’ve been on a search for over a year.

You see, our dining table just wasn’t cutting it in the space department. It was totally fine for our family’s purposes. But we love to have friends over for meals and found ourselves frequently seating people in other areas of our home. Not a huge problem at all – which is why I didn’t buy the first or tenth table I liked last year.

After a year of looking on facebook yard sale sites, looking at craigslist, and browsing lovely stores to get an idea of what I liked, I decided the best option was for Jonathan and I to attempt to build a table. Specifically this whopping 96″ one. Since there’s just under a month until baby’s due date, what better idea than to start a large building project in all our spare time?

I jest.

I mean, I was really considering it and had mentioned the idea to Jonathan, who wasn’t immediately opposed to it, I might add, but we hadn’t committed enough to buy wood for the project.

Considering the list of things I’m saying no to this season, I continued my craigslist stalking. When I happened upon an extremely large, extendable table for sale in my price range and heard some heavenly angels singing at the same time, I figured I had better check to see if said table was still available.

IT WAS.

[cue more angelic singing]

We made an appointment to check it out and a unanimous vote was made for my husband to go in to the potential murderer’s home and check out the table situation. Thankfully, he was a non-murderous person and Jonathan returned, declaring the table to be in great condition and from Ikea. Of course, I quickly pulled the table up on my phone to make sure we were actually getting a good deal. Yep, we were.

Non-murderous man & Jonathan loaded the table into the back of our van and we carefully, scarily drove home. I mean, at least I was scared. That’s where this picture comes in. I apologize to all of our surrounding drivers for the frightening experience we may have given you.

Praise the Lord, we – and most importantly, our table – made it home in one piece. Except our table was in a few pieces from being partially un-assembled.

Voila. I present to you, our new and very large table.

dining table

If you prefer a non-grainy cell phone picture, here’s a stock picture from Ikea:

norden-extendable-table

You may notice our table is larger. Ikea must have discontinued selling our size table because all I could find was this smaller version. The dimensions of our current table situation are 39″ wide x 86″ long – plus an 18″ leaf that conveniently stashes away under the table.

My current craigslist-stalking-project is in the seating department. I’m hoping to sell our old dining set, so when that happens, we’ll be left with quite a dearth of chairs.

This is where a building project comes in. I’ve wanted a bench for a while. And a bench is much easier to build than a table, right? So that’s what Jonathan and I are hoping to have completed by this weekend. A humungo bench for one side of the table and thrifted chairs for the other three sides. I really like these chairs and this option, but I’m going to spend a boatload LESS for whatever we get. Ahhh, the thrill of the hunt!

Have you ever used craigslist? Anything you’re on the hunt for currently?

The Importance of Saying No to Good Things

saying no

Saying no isn’t really popular these days, is it?

We’re so focused on all the things we want/need to say YES to; saying NO seems like a bit of a downer. In our society of “do all the things! be anything you want! put yourself out there and be brave!” saying no comes across as lame. Maybe even lazy.

But in reality, we all say no multiple times every day. Every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another. And sometimes you need to say no to good things in order to say yes to the best things.

Last month, I came across a Planning for Fall workbook. I have a very big life change coming up this fall called baby #4. I’m also homeschooling my 2 older kids (K5 & 1st grade) and supporting my husband as he works in ministry and begins his 3rd year of PhD classes. Those are the 3 main things going on this fall that I’m saying YES to. The most helpful part of this workbook was the section where I listed out what I was going to say NO to this season. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off,

MY 3 WORDS FOR THIS SEASON:

  • R E C O V E R      
    • [from giving birth to baby girl]
  • S A V O R             
    • [the unique life stage of a newborn]
  • L O V E                 
    • [my husband & children, though my hormones will be crayzeeee]
    • [God, through the way I think & use my time]
    • [this season of life, instead of wishing everything back to normalcy]

HERE’S WHAT I EXPECT THIS SEASON:

  • I expect this will be a time of temporary upheaval for our family – especially for me as I adjust to a plethora of changes in my body, personal time, sleeping patterns, and energy level. My husband will go through changes as he adjusts from 3 to 4 kids as well as an extra tired & hormonally imbalanced wife. My 3 older kids will need to adjust to Mommy’s new needs as well as having a new sibling requiring so much attention.
  • I expect God’s provision physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually to be increasingly evident.
  • I expect God’s grace to be incredibly abundant.

And it’s focusing on that last expectation that causes my heart to be at peace instead of freaking out at the expectations ahead. I expect some pretty big changes to take place this season. Some of them I know about; others I don’t. But I know – know – that God already knows about them. He’s the One Who planned them. And He’ll give grace to go through them in a way that glorifies Him. What confidence there is in resting in our grace-filled, grace-giving God!

 

SAYING NO:

Here are the things I plan to say no to this season:

  • feeling rested & comfortable [hello, nursing]
  • lots of personal reading time
  • regular blogging
  • creative, varied meals
  • lots of time out of the house
  • big birthday parties for my 3 big kids
  • looking like I didn’t just give birth

Let’s pause for a minute, shall we? Check out the 4th thing I’m saying no to this season: “creative, varied meals.” At first glance, this may seem like a lazy statement. “What? She’s not cooking different meals all the time? She’s not even making that a goal??” To put it frankly, no – I’m not.

Different seasons call for different pursuits. The season of new motherhood calls for the pursuit of physical recovery – not just from giving birth, but from the logistics of adding another tiny human into our family. Since I’m quite familiar with the taxing nature of such a proposition, I’m choosing to focus most of my energy into this little person and the rest of my family instead of the art of cooking. We will still eat, albeit non-creative or super varied meals. I’ve done some freezer cooking to try to make up for that dearth (here and here are some recipes I use) and I think my family will fair pretty well during this season of no to creative, varied meals. Is it a good thing to cook healthy, varied meals for my family? Of course! But sometimes you need to say no to good things for a season so that you can focus on the main thing God has for you. In my case, it’s a new baby. In your case, it’s probably something else.

 

Have you taken time to think through your next season of life?

Even if you’re not expecting a huge life change, taking time to pray and write out goals for the next months can be a very grounding experience as you prepare for upcoming responsibilities, potential changes, and holidays. As you think through what the Lord has given you to accomplish during this next season, take time to pray through what He wants you to say NO to…even if it’s a good thing. I can’t tell you what to say no and yes to, but I’ve found God to be true to His Word in giving wisdom when we ask for it. Go ahead – take Him up on that promise!

 

thanks to Jess Connolly for creating the Fall Into Freedom workbook.
If you want to plan through your fall like I did, you can snag a workbook [it’s free!] from Jess here.

homeschooling: what we used for kindergarten

homeschool curriculum for kindergarten

Oh, the head spinning effects of attempting to pick out curriculum for my first year of homeschooling!

There were so many details to consider. I read countless reviews of books and products, had (what seemed like) a million conversations with other homeschooling mamas, and felt rather overwhelmed at the plethora of options available.

When it finally came down to it, I relied heavily on reviews from other moms (via blogs & amazon reviews) and then checked the books out in person via a local homeschool consignment store. Both of these were extremely valuable resources and ones I’ve utilized many times over as I consider curriculum options for our 2016 – ’17 school year.

But for now, let’s talk about what I used last year for my first year of homeschooling. To clarify, I used these books during the 2015 – ’16 school year to teach kindergarten to my oldest. My main goals heading into kindergarten were to teach my child:

  • to read
  • to write numbers & letters
  • basic math skills
  • beginning catechisms
  • to love reading and being read to (this is where history & science came in)
  • to love learning

And now for what we used:

Reading

After much deliberation, I decided to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I’ll be honest – there were some things I wasn’t crazy about in this book, such as a lack of teaching reading rules. BUT? After going through it, Anna Grace knows how to read and greatly enjoys doing so. Despite the fact that I didn’t love every single part of it, the bottom line is this: I’m planning to give this book another go when I teach Nate how to read.

We also used a plethora of beginning reader books – many of which were passed down to us from friends and are out of print. Once we finished those, we moved on to our own books that are perfect for beginning readers, such as Hop on Pop and Have You Seen My Cat?

Writing

I used this journal (they’re much cheaper in stores, though, so check around when all the school supplies hit the shelves!) for everything from handwriting practice to Bible lessons and journal-type questions (such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “What makes you excited about kindergarten?”)

We also used handwriting practice books that you can find pretty much anywhere at the beginning of school – I’ve seen them in the Target dollar spot before!

Math

We used this workbook for math and both loved it. It’s a good sign when your student begs to do another page of math because it’s just so fun. The only thing I would do differently is get the teacher edition next time. I felt a bit at a loss for how to explain certain concepts to her and I think it might have been easier if I had a teacher’s edition to look at so I could draw on someone else’s expertise instead of just drawing on my own knowledge.

History

We used this history book, which to be totally honest wasn’t my favorite. Anna Grace enjoyed reading through it, but I felt like it read too much like a slightly boring textbook. I’m using other materials for Nate.

Science

I began teaching from this science book with this journal, but felt like it was above Anna Grace’s kindergarten level. I’m hoping to use it with her in 2nd or 3rd grade. Instead, we used books from the library about different things that interested her in science. She and Nate began asking all sorts of questions about the human body (such as, “How does sound come out of our mouths?” and “What happens to food when we swallow it?”), so I tried to capitalize on their natural curiosity and use that as a springboard for science. My parents bought this book for Anna Grace’s birthday and we all think it’s incredibly cool – so much that my kids look at it even when it’s not for “school.”

Bible

I found this catechism book which we used for our Bible curriculum. I’m planning to use it in the coming years as well – both to review it with my oldest and begin learning it with my younger ones. I found these catechisms so helpful personally and pray that my children will understand and internalize the Bible truths they’re memorizing.


And that’s about it for kindergarten! Overall it was a great experience, as I already shared when I told you about the struggles and blessings from my first year of homeschooling.  I’m incredibly thankful for the daily grace God gives, whether homeschooling or not. I certainly need it!

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Friday Faves

Friday Faves

YAY Friday!
Here are 5 things I’m loving lately:

1. Aldi’s Knock-off Girl Scout Cookies

I apologize to girl scouts everywhere, but Aldi may have won my cookie-loving heart on this one. I’ve tried their version of thin mints (so good) and just snagged these samoa-like cookies today (even better chilled!). Those are my two fave girl scout cookies, so I don’t know that I’ll venture into any other versions. But if you’re a girl scout cookie-lover like myself, I highly suggest you try out the Aldi version. Your wallet will thank me.

 

2. My espresso machine

Last week, I snagged this espresso machine at a moving sale ($15!) and I’ve been loving it. I’m working on my latte skills and hoping to perfect them by the time I enter the stage of mothering with a newborn again.

 

3. Purging

Call it nesting if you want, but I’ve been getting rid of stuff lately and it feels so good.
Maternity clothes I haven’t worn since my first pregnancy? Check.
Toys my kids never play with? Outta here.
Books I don’t plan to read a second time? Seeya.

The timing has been quite lovely as we’re making room for another little human in our home anyway. Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve gotten rid of 4 large trash bags full of either things that are donate-worthy or just plain old trash.

 

4. School

I started homeschooling early this year and am pleased to say we already have 3 weeks in the books! I know I’ll be extra thankful to have gotten an early start so I can take off time when baby girl arrives, but I’m so glad to be starting now so I can have time to adjust to teaching 2 students instead of just 1 like last year. We officially have a kindergartener & 1st grader now! And even though Nate emphatically states that he doesn’t like school whenever people ask, he’s doing really well and genuinely seems to enjoy it in the moment.

 

5. 34 1/2 weeks along!

Say whaat?? Seriously, guys, that’s crazytown. I’m so incredibly thankful. And I’m mentally preparing for baby girl to make her appearance in approximately 7 weeks or so. She may be born earlier, but I’d rather plan for later only for the sake of my mental sanity. My first baby was 2 days late – and after having my OB tell me she was sure I’d deliver early, let’s just say I was basically horribly disappointed and refuse now to believe it if anyone says I’ll deliver early.

I did get her little moses basket all ready this week and I’ve been gradually adding items to my hospital bag. We have some events planned before her due date, but nothing that would be completely devastating in case she comes early. I’m praying she waits until at least 38 weeks and mentally trying to prepare in case she decides to wait until 41 or something. I’ll let you know how that works out for me. 😉

preterm labor perspective

Happy weekend to you!