Thursday, October 9, 2014

Everly Kate: 2 Months

Dear Everly,

Happy 2 months, sweet pea. Sometimes I can't even remember life before you joined us. Just 2 months ago, you were rolling around in my belly and now... Now you are here with us, adding a new flavor to our life that we didn't know we were missing out on until you arrived. In the last month you have changed so much. You are much more alert and are starting to notice the world around you more. I will probably sound like a broken record on this subject, but you are a super smiley baby and you give your smiles readily and freely. I know that I had a hard pregnancy with you and there were moments that I didn't know how I was going to do it with another little one... but you just fit right in. You have quelled all my fears. You make me want a zillion more babies. You are so laid back and just go with the flow. You are everything we didn't know we needed. This year has had its share of loss, joys and sadness and yet God knew we needed YOU-- our smiley little one. You fill our days with so much joy, Everly, and I can't wait to see the woman you become. I feel so humbled that God gave me you. 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Giveaway With TinyBeans!

If you've read my blog for one second, you know that I very rarely do giveaways or product reviews unless I LOVE a company! So you know that I love this one, obviously ;)

For the last two years, I have documented Eden's growth and change every single day by saving a photo a day of her. Have you heard of people doing this? It's a special way to show the change in your little one in photos. We all know they grow so fast, and thanks to technology today, we have ways to document it in an organized way. 

There are a few apps out there for the whole "photo a day" thing and I was using one for the past two years but I never "loved" it. There were certainly things I would have liked differently about the app, but since there were no other options, I just settled on it. 

Right before the birth of Everly, I realized I should really get to work and start organizing all of the thousands of photos I have of Eden. Adding even more photos of a new baby into the mix was going to get disorganized fast. So one of my projects was to take all the photos from the photo a day project I had and compile them all into a book. Do you know how long that took? Forever! That was one of my many frustrations of the app-- I wanted a quick and efficient way to upload my photos and eventually turn them into a photo book. As a mom of littles, I need fast and efficient, can I get an amen? 

Enter TinyBeans. I was scrolling through Instagram a few weeks before I had Everly and noticed a friend mentioned TinyBeans. Say what? A new app for documenting the every day life of my little one? I certainly was open to change and the timing could not be more perfect-- I wanted something new for Everly and something I could start with Eden on her 2nd birthday. And I needed an app that could support a photo a day of more than one child.

So I found the TinyBeans app and I It was finally everything I was looking for in a photo a day app, and more! In the words of TinyBeans themselves, "TinyBeans is a platform that helps parents raise their children by enabling them to create their own Nurture Network of people and content that matter. Through the TinyBeans platform you can privately record moments and milestones with loved ones. Family and friends then provide encouragement and support as they help your child grow whilst experts supply personalized content based on your child's milestones to further feed their development."

This app is more than just a calendar app-- it's an online journal, milestone keeper, and baby journal for the whole family to see! 

There are 3 different aspects to the app: 

1.) Treasure // Where the calendar is located

2.) Shape  // Includes specific details about each child: weight, height, etc. with different icons to click on -- Child Devlopment, Firsts, Reading, Healthy Home. Each icon takes you to an informative selection of reading material and/or clickable boxes to document your child's development. It is truly like an online baby journal and I love that it is all combined in one location-- photos, development info, family sharing and more! 

3.) Share // This feature allows you access into your contacts to share your special moments with loved ones. 

One of my favorite features is on the "Treasure" part of the app... I love that you can click on each child's picture and quickly upload to Facebook or Instagram, my two favorite social media platforms, right there in one simple click. SO easy! 

Follow TinyBeans here:

Today TinyBeans is graciously giving a reader a 20 page/3 month memory photo book (valued over $60 each)! How cool is that, right? So generous! 

(You don't have to have 3 months worth of photos saved up yet! Whoever wins will just get the credit towards the book)

To enter the giveaway, simply write a comment telling us what appeals to you most about TinyBeans Kids and write it in the comments below 
(Extra points for entries included in the Rafflecopter giveaway requirements below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 12, 2014

Essential Oils: My Use of Them During Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery


So unless you live under a rock, essential oils are all the rage right now. I can barely open Instagram without seeing at least ten pics of them :) I love them-- I've already shared that. It's been so fun to "makeover" our medicine cabinet using them for health issues and also with cooking and in my daily beauty routine. They have been SO universal. I had no idea how many ways they could go until I started using them... there is truly an oil for everything! 

I knew when I was pregnant with Everly that I would be using essential oils during my labor and delivery. I am still kicking myself that it took me as long as it did to hop on the oil train because I really do believe it would have helped me so much with my morning sickness. It wasn't until March, into my second trimester, that I bought my starter kit and started using them in my pregnancy. They served several universal purposes that I'll be sharing about below. I'll also be writing about my uses for them during labor and delivery as I got quite a few questions about how I incorporated them into that special day, already a month ago! Crazy. Time is flying soooo incredibly fast the second time around! 

Let me say that Young Living is the ONLY brand I trusted in my pregnancy to use topically AND orally. I did a lot of research on brands and it was incredibly clear to me that they were my only option based on their SeedToSeal guarantee (read about that HERE). If I was going to put something on or in my body that was going to affect my unborn child it had to be top notch. 


While pregnant, my biggest issue was nausea. My morning sickness was 24/7 until about week 14 and reoccured around week 32. I tried to not complain about it a lot, but it still affected my day-to-day. Once I got my starter kit, I whipped out the peppermint and would apply it behind my ears and on my belly button for some relief. Usually just SMELLING it would help. I got so, so sick of sucking on peppermints. It was great to have the smell and relief that came from the candy without having to actually digest it. My morning sickness was so bad that I got put on Zofran but the side affects are HORRIBLE. If you've taken it before, you know what I'm talking about. 

I also experienced a lot of heartburn during the third trimester. I love lemon essential oil because it smells deliciously fresh and it was an instant cure for me with heartburn. I would put a few drops in a glass of ice water and get relief almost immediately. It was also another oil that I could simply inhale when nauseous for some relief. 

My major second trimester issue was sciatica pain and that also continued into the third trimester. There were a few times I felt like I could barely walk. I whipped together a "pain cream recipe" using 1 cup of coconut oil, 10 drops of Valor, 10 drops of Peppermint, 10 drops of Panaway and 10 drops of Lemongrass. I blended this in my Ninja blender, poured into a glass jar (essential oils will warp through plastic), placed in my refrigerator and had an awesome, natural pain cream when I need it. It smelled like a peppermint patty and was cooling to my skin. Relief! 

I loved using Lavender in my bath tub at night when I was relaxing. The smell was incredibly soothing and would help my body unwind and destress after a physically long day. Joshua and I are obsessed with Cedarwood essential oil and used it nightly for a good night's sleep by diffusing it in our bedroom and putting a drop behind ears, one in-between eyebrows, and a drop on the back of each big toe. I also used Lavender in my mascara-- a drop helps with eyelash growth and protecting your mascara wand against bacteria (yuck). I lost almost ALL of my eyelashes while pregnant #weirdpregnancyproblems

My skin also started freaking out a bit at different times in my pregnancy and I used a few drops of Frankincense in my nightly moisturizer to help soften my skin and help with breakouts. It's the oil that the three wise men brought to baby Jesus-- hello! 

A different times in my pregnancy, let's be honest, there were stressful moments chasing around a toddler, feeling frazzled about getting everything done and more. I swore by Stress Away- I had it in a roller bottle in my purse and would just roll it on my wrists on more than one occasion. The smells of Lime, Lavender, Cedarwood, Vanilla and more just soothed me. It's a crazy oil to me because I feel it working right away. It's one of my daily go-tos and is known for helping with normal, everyday stress and promoting relaxation and lowering hypertension. 

Nasty to talk about but hello your body does weird things while pregnant! For constipation issues, Citrus Fresh, Lemon, Orange and Peppermint essential oils in a glass jar of water - 3 drops each and bam! ;)

For overall energy, I used EnRGree on the bottom of my big toe and got jamming. I kind of laughed at this oil at first-- yeah right I could get energy from an essential oil? But um, yeah. The blend of Rosemary, Juniper, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, and more put my body into productivity mode. Totally necessary at the end of pregnancy when you have a zillion things to do and not enough motivation to do it. 

For headaches, I used Panaway, Peppermint and Frankincense essential oils applied to my temples, forehead, neck and big toe.

Can't stress Lemongrass enough as a great way to help with back pain, sciatica pain, water retention/puffiness, etc. It helps big time with circulation and helped me in the end when I was starting to get killer puffy feet ;) 


During labor, we started my diffuser right away with Lavender. It set the tone for a calm, peaceful environment. I encouraged Joshua to wear Peace&Calming and he rubbed that on the back of his neck. Another highly suggested oil for the daddies is Valor during labor but since I was running low we kept to the Peace&Calming ;) 

I didn't have back labor this time, so we didn't have a need for the pain cream, although I did have everything for it. 

I didn't eat anything the whole day, but I did have two popsicles which started some heartburn for me right as I was entering transition. We zapped it with some lemon in a small sip of water and I was good to go. 

We were too overwhelmed with seeing our new beauty, but I did have plans of putting Frankincense on her sweet little head and anointing her with it, but that didn't happen ;) 

Now ClarySage is known to increase contractions and I can't say enough about this oil. First of all, it smells AMAZING! I was going to diffuse it but didn't have enough time. When I was around 5 CM dilated and relaxing, Joshua put a few drops of ClarySage on my ankles and I rubbed a few drops on my belly button area. Within 70 minutes, I went from a 5 CM to a 10! Bam! 

I also used LavaDerm Cooling Mist for post-delivery-- it contained aloe vera and lavender to help soothe the perineal area from tearing/episitomy, etc. I was SUPER glad I bought this product after being a little on the fence about it. I can still use it moving forward for sunburns and more! Woot! 


For postpartum hormonal dips and balance, I've been diffusing Joy in my house a lot and also placing a few drops over my heart. It's an uplifting oil that has helped boost my mood and frame of mind. Also a lot of Peace&Calming going on in the house with two under two now :) 

I still have a few oils to try that help this specific issue and will be purchasing them this month so I'll have to let you all know how those go! 


Thanks for letting me share my uses of oils during this whole process-- they truly helped me and made me fall in even more love with them. I'm not a doctor, obviously, and am only writing this to share my story. Any questions about essential oils, please feel free to email me at 

(I really suggest starting with an essential oil starter kit-- it will start you off with 11 of some of the most popular and universal oils and will totally "makeover" your medicine cabinet. To order click HERE)


Monday, September 8, 2014

Everly Kate: 1 Month


Everly Kate, I can't believe it's been a month of having you in our lives. 

From the day you were born, you have been a calm, easy-going, laid-back, super smiley baby and we just adore you. When I prayed for you, and thought about what you might be like, I always envisioned a sweet, laid back little lady like you. You are truly a treasure. A beauty in every way. We already pray for you daily, for who you will marry, for the path you will walk in life, for the people you will touch along the way. Some little details I want to always remember about you at 1 month old:

- You are little! Still in newborn diapers and newborn clothes. You were 8 lbs 14 oz at your 2 week appointment, two weeks ago. I'm sure you've gained more weight by now, but you are still little compared to your sister at this age and we are loving having a small babe to cuddle with in our arms! 
- You are a great eater and you eat so efficiently fast already, averaging about 15-20 minute nursing sessions every 3 hours or so. 
- You've given me a 9 HOUR stretch at night, but that only happened once ;) You usually sleep about 4-5 hours at night before waking up to feed. 
- You are starting to coo and you love to smile, especially in the morning and late at night. You are flirty with your smiles and usually give us funny, quirky smiles like you are up to something no good ;) 
- You are so loved by so many already. We always have arms to hold you when we have friends over or go out!
- You like it noisy and not quiet. You can fall asleep in seconds when Eden is making tons of noise around you and you are bound to wake up when it gets a little too quiet. 
- You love to be held and you love to sleep in the bassinet. You love to stretch out during the day on the floor in the living room and you love to stare at the fans and look at the light pouring through the windows in the morning. 

You are loved, dear one xo

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everly Kate: The Story Behind Her Name

(hoop by my dear friend Amy

It all started with a positive pregnancy test, a family vacation to Sedona over Thanksgiving and the cover of a magazine.

We had just digested the news of our second pregnancy when we headed to Sedona for Thanksgiving. We had told no one our news and were waiting to spill the beans to Joshua's family when we met up with them. While over a Mexican dinner on our first night there, we had a waiter video tape us pretending to take a picture, but in fact he was recording the whole time and we had him say "1, 2, 3" and instead of us saying "3" we said "We're pregnant!" and it was pretty much the most awesome reveal ever ;) Their faces! 

The next couple of days we spent enjoying the gorgeousness that is Sedona and on Thanksgiving evening, while getting ready to enjoy our dinner in the hotel suite, my eyes stumbled across a magazine that was laying down on the coffee table. It had actor Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna, in it (or on the cover? I can't remember) and they were revealing their new baby girl-- Everly. Both my sister-in-law and mother-in-law expressed they thought the name was so pretty, and to be honest, the name had already crossed our minds so it was kind of funny for us to get affirmation of one of our top name picks without even asking for it. 

We stored the name away but it never really left us. There was just something special about it. And it wasn't something that we tossed around a lot-- it was just like "Ok, this is it." Her middle name was harder... we originally thought of Faith, and then Joy. Eden's middle name is Grace so we kind of thought it would be neat to go along with the Biblical aspect of meanings. But those just didn't fit to us. And I have always loved the name Kate. Kate means "purity" and I love the way it flowed with Everly. So we decided on Everly Kate. 

Everly's original meaning is "grazing meadow" and has been made more popular recently by the Tatum's name choice and the Everly Brothers music duo. Merging the names together, we loved the idea/visual idea of "meadows of purity"-- wide, open spaces of pureness. We also adored its similar sound to "heavenly" and the word scramble of the letters:

"happi(LY) (EV) er aft(ER)"

We love you, Everly Kate,  you are loved beyond compare. You are the perfect addition to our family. We adore you so! xo
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