For the Love (of Jen Hatmaker)

This post is part of Jen Hatmaker’s “For the Love” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.

This spring I was able to read an advance copy of Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards that releases TODAY! I had enjoyed Jen’s other books (7 and Interrupted), so I was excited to get my hands on her new book to preview it.

Oh my word, y’all. Jen is so funny. (You already know this I’m sure, because of her viral goodies like Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.) But Jen also has a serious side. She touches on a lot of topics in For the Love: turning forty, marriage, parenting, church, leggings and yoga pants, supper club. Really, this book is a gem. I laughed so hard sometimes, I’m sure the other Starbucks patrons thought I was a nut job. And I cried so hard I shook (and was thus glad to be in the safety of my own bed) at parts like teaching our kids what is really important (teaser: Be Kind. Be You. Love Jesus.)

So, go get you some Love today, For the Love that is. And then go look for my name listed in the acknowledgements section!

Too much? I’m sorry, not sorry. Happy Launch Day, Jen, my imaginary BFF! MUAH!

Let’s lay down our junk, our wonky junk that messes up relationships and community and togetherness. We won’t let our own crazy stop us from affirming each other and banging the drum for our sisters. -Jen Hatmaker

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My Top Five Newborn Things

Everyone says there are different baby “necessities”, and since I’ve just exited the newborn phase for the third time, and since I have plenty of friends baking new little ones in their ovens, I thought I’d share my top five, absolutely gotta have ’em baby things.  (This list is limited to the first three-ish months of babyhood, and it is my opinion.  These are the things that were most used by me and my three newborn Bugs.)

1. Pouch SlingMy pouch sling is from Kangaroo Korner (which is now discontinued, unfortunately!)  I have had this pouch sling since Ladybug was a newborn and my babies spent plenty of time in it for their first three months of life.  It got us through church, through the mall, through dinner sometimes, through fussy times, through walks at the park… I adore having my babies so close when they are so small, and all three of them loved being so close to me too.  Usually they would go right to sleep when I put them in the sling… {sigh} and I would just kiss their little nummy baby heads.

2. Bouncer Chair

A bouncer chair is a vital part of our baby stuff.  Just having somewhere to put baby while I’m showering, or cooking, or disciplining a sibling, or answering the door is a must for me!  It travels easily from the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom to wherever I need it next, and baby can be where I am, and see what I am doing.  I don’t need all the fancy-schmancy tricks some of them perform– you can keep the vibrating and the music, just give me a plain ol’ bouncer seat for my newborns!

3. Swaddle Blankets

All three of the Bugs loved to be swaddled for their first few months of life.  I think that the coziness of being tightly wrapped up feels secure to them.  And when you look at their conditions before entering the world, I can’t say I blame them for wanting to be wrapped up to sleep!  I had some official velcro “swaddlers” with Ladybug, but much prefered a simple cotton blanket swaddled around her just like we had learned in the hospital.

4. Gas Drops

I am not sure I used gas drops with Ladybug, but then I had two boy Bugs and wowsers!  Gas drops moved up about seventeen slots on my must-have-for-a-newborn list.  These boys are gassy.  And these drops are magic.  And don’t waste money on the name brand– generic works just as well for waaaaaay less!

5. Nursing Cover

I have nursed on a plane, in a car, on a bus, on a boat, at a zoo, in a mall, in a taxi… I can nurse my babies anywhere thanks to my nursing cover.  I didn’t know I would come to  love and depend on my nursing cover as much as I do.  It allows me to nurse wherever I am when baby needs to eat without worrying about all the things I worried about when it came to nursing in public.  Not only does it keep me modest (and warm in the winter!), it eliminates distraction for baby, so they can just eat in peace!  I have a BeBe Au Lait nursing cover, and although it seemed pricey when I bought it, it has been worth every cent!



I spy something…

SPARKLY!

What is it with women and sparkly things? I just can’t really explain. Kinda like my love for getting fresh flowers or chocolates… I just like sparkly things. I really can’t get over this Everlon bangle from Kranich’s Jewelers. I don’t want to bore you, though. I know I already told you how great I think the Everlon jewelry from Kranich’s is.

I told you last fall about my Diamond Circle Pendant from Kranich’s Jewelers. Sad story: last Sunday I was trying to lay Little Man down for a nap and he was fingering my necklace and then *pull*, it broke! I almost cried until sweet Hubby told me not to worry– he said he would get me a new chain for the pendant… maybe he does understand my need for sparkly things?

If I could tell the future and know all my offspring’s birth months, I would go ahead and have Hubby get me a Mother’s Ring for Christmas. Sigh. Maybe I should get my mom one?

Head on over to Kranich’s today and start your Christmas shopping… or maybe your Christmas list?

Book Week: Leslie Patricelli

Well, those folks over at Team Mom have done it again. They always seem to find the neatest stuff to send this mama!

A few weeks ago I got two Leslie Patricelli books in the mail. Maybe you’re more in the loop than me and you already know about Leslie Patricelli. I was a little confused at first because her books don’t have many words… then I experienced the *magic*. Bug likes these books because she can read them herself! (She’s 22 months old.)

Let me show you what I mean:
How sweet! So Bug has learned the book quite easily and loves to “read” it– adorable!

Aren’t the illustrations beautiful? Really, I think she’s hit on something with the simplicity and vibrance here… and it makes me feel inspired, maybe I could be the next Leslie Patricelli writing silly, fun childrens’ books… hmmmm…

Kranich’s Jewelers Review

I got a lovely package in the mail in October containing a stunning diamond necklace. (Talk about motivation to start walking out to the mailbox everyday!) The lovely people over at Kranich’s had sent said lovely necklace to me!

I have to confess that I am not into the jewelry that most women love. I am a simple girl, really. I love diamonds– er, who doesn’t? But I don’t want all that jazzy dazzle. The Diamond Circle Pendant from Kranich’s is perfectly simply me! I adore it!Wouldn’t you?

It is elegant enough to wear when I dress up– alright, alright who am I fooling? I “dress up” for church and the occasional dinner date with my Hubby, but it’s perfect for those occasions! It’s also simple enough to wear with a nice shirt and jeans, as I just did yesterday!

I can’t stop looking at my necklace’s cousin over at Kranich’s
Don’t you suppose my Diamond Circle Pendant needs a friend in my jewelry box?

Though, I am a bracelet girl at heart, so maybe Hubs should spoil me with this to keep my necklace company? Diamonds, anyone?
And I would love to design myself a Mother’s Ring… but I probably should wait until the Momfessions brood is completely complete.

(sigh)

I do love my necklace from Kranich’s, and they have jewelry to meet any of your needs! Engagement rings, wedding bands, pearls, anniversary rings, burberry watches, charms, chocolate diamonds– really it’s a total buffet of deliciousness! Next time you’re shopping for the BLING, try Kranich’s!

Fun with Water!

Team Mom sent us two great water-related products from Spin Master to try out this month. We had a lot of fun! I’ll tell you about our favorite of the two first…
The Aquadoodle Draw ‘N Doodle Mat has been Bug’s new favorite thing for over a week now! (And her mommy loves how non-messy it is!) It’s a square mat (about two feet by two feet) and a “marker” you fill with water. When you doodle on the mat with the water marker, your creations appear! Here are the things I’ve decided I love about the Aquadoodle:

* When Bug colors off the mat– nothing! It’s just water, so she can’t make a mess!
* How long it keeps her attention! She sits down and “doodles” for awhile before she’s bored.
* It rolls up pretty thin for easy storage (or you could fold it and slip it under the couch.)
* Mommy and Daddy have had fun doodling too!

True story: when I got Bug out of her crib this morning, I changed her diaper and she immediately grabbed the rolled up Aquadoodle from her room and dragged it to the living room. We had some doodle fun before breakfast!

The second toy Team Mom sent us from Spin Master was neat, but didn’t quite hit the standard of the Aquadoodle in the Momfessions household. It’s the Bath Blizzard. The Bath Blizzard is a bath time toy that fills the tub with a waterfall of bubbles. It takes a few C batteries if I remember correctly, so that first night we were scouring all the talking/moving toys in the house to get enough batteries for bath time! Bug wasn’t fond of the whirring noise the Bath Blizzard made at first, but she did enjoy the bubbly mess! (It’s not actually a mess since it’s all in the tub!) Whenever Bug sees the Bath Blizzard in the tub, she asks for “bubbles”, so it has clearly made an impression on her!

Fireproof

For all the trash that Hollywood puts out, it was a major relief to go to see the movie Fireproof with my Hubby this weekend.

It’s about a fire station captain and his wife (a publicist for a hospital). They have forgotten (or maybe never really knew) what marriage was supposed to be.

It is very well done, very well made, and very effective.

This is a Christian movie and they present the Gospel clearly, but considering that marriage was designed by God and doesn’t work very well outside of His plan– I hope you’d agree that the message is necessary to the plot, and well presented.

It’s worth the $8 for a ticket to send a very clear message to Hollywood– we want good, clean, moral, family-friendly (should I go on?) entertainment. And it doesn’t take millions of millions of dollars to create just that. And while you’re getting that ticket– make sure you bought one for your spouse… and maybe a few friends. It’s a must see! (And apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so!)

Baby Wearing

Steph is hosting a Bloggy Carnival today about baby wearing. Go check out the scoop on all sorts of baby carriers!

OK, here are some views of us baby wearing:Bug in the pouch at only two weeks old! Doesn’t she look cozy?
Bug in the pouch today.

Our Ergo that we love so much!

Notice both of these still fit at 15ish weeks pregnant! I took a pic of us in the Mei Tai, but my arms look horribly flabby. I know that doesn’t matter in the long run, but humor me, I’m pregnant! I’ll try another one later!
When I was pregnant with Bug, I loved the idea of “baby wearing”. I saw a blogger review for an adjustable cotton pouch from Kangaroo Korner and asked for one for Christmas.
I love how close she was to me when she was in the pouch and it usually put her right to sleep. One of my favorite bonuses of “wearing” a baby (especially a newborn) is that people generally won’t come and touch all over a baby who’s sleeping in a sling. I’m not a big fan of everyone touching my new baby!

The pouch is very simple to put on and place your baby into. You don’t have to buckle or strap anything. When Bug got a little bigger, we would do a “kangaroo carry” and face her out on the front so she could look around.

As Bug grew I started to sit her in the pouch more centered over my hip. This was comfy for both of us, but we haven’t done this pouch in quite a while (probably since Bug was about six months old).

For Christmas this year I asked Hubby for a Mei Tai, since they seem all sorts of popular with many bloggers I read. I ordered one from Mei Tai Baby and I got the changeable panels which is fun because I can change up the look of my Mei Tai at any time. I didn’t start using the Mei Tai with Bug until she was about seven months old (and pushing 20 pounds). I think I will enjoy the Mei Tai very much with New Baby once they arrive, but I have had a few obstacles with mine with Bug. I have found that getting the correct position for the “hip strap” is very important. If I don’t have that strap around my waist at precisely the right location, it digs into me and hurts! Also I try to make sure the hip strap is not bunched up when I tie it, the flatter it is, the better.The Mei Tai also has some long straps that make it difficult to tie in a parking lot or other dirty area. I hate when my straps touch the ground, but it’s almost impossible to avoid when you’re trying to get the baby on your back and wrap/tie the straps.I love the many positions you can wear a Mei Tai in: facing out on the front, facing in on the front, on the back, and on the hip. I think I need more practice with my Mei Tai and I plan to use the Mei Tai extensively with New Baby.
Just last week, Hubby let me order an Ergo Baby Carrier as an anniversary gift. I have to say I have only had this carrier for a week but I LOVE IT! The weight of the baby sits on your hips, which relieves a lot of strain and stress to your back. The straps are padded and feel great! I can wear it now being almost 15 weeks pregnant without a problem. I really think I could wear Bug on my back for hours and not bat an eyelash! You can wear the Ergo on the front, back, or hip, and one of the best parts is the attached sleeping hood. When Bug falls asleep in it, I pull up the hood to support her head and let her rest peacefully.

You can tell the Ergo was designed by a mom! This is the only carrier my husband is a real fan of, and he loves wearing her in it!

I am a bigger fan of baby wearing than when I first started researching it during my first pregnancy. It gives me hands free, keeps my baby close to me, and just makes lugging a baby around easier!

Quirky?

I was cutting up some watermelon yesterday (which I might not finish eating after throwing it all up this morning) with my large Pampered Chef knife:

and I realized I love using this knife because it makes me feel like I’m on the Food Network.

I love the Food Network. When Bug was first born and I spent hours a day nursing her, I would turn on the Food Network and experience utter bliss. I kid you not. I cried (literally tears rolling down my cheeks) when we cancelled Dish Network because I would miss 1. Survivor and 2. The Food Network.

When I first started watching TFN, I thought it was comical that all the chefs and sous chefs (I actually learned some vocabulary watching too!) use these big knives to cut everything! No little blades for them. Honestly I have had my large Pampered Chef knife since we got married (three years ago) but never even pulled it out of the drawer until I was inspired. Before, I always gravitated to the smaller knifes I’d received as wedding gifts.

Nowadays? I love pulling that sucker out, sharpening it on its case, and slicing the heck out of some poor vegetable. Cooking? or stress relief?

I miss you, Food Network, but I pay homage to you each time I dice.

Momfessions Favorites

I wanted to share one of my (and Hubby’s) favorite toys for Bug. We got this as a gift– I don’t even think we registered for it, but we have enjoyed it!

It’s called the Stack and Roll Cups by Fisher Price…
There are ten stackable “bowls” each a different color with a different number. They also come with that little yellow ball on top that jingles. (This is our kitty’s favorite part of the whole toy!)
Unstacking the cups you find that each consecutive pair fits together to make a “ball”…
Each cup fits with every other cup even if they are not “consecutive” cups…
And possibly the best feature– if you build the smallest ball, you can nest the smallest ball in the next size ball (think the Russian wooden dolls that fit inside each other) and continue on until you only have one ball with all the cups! So it’s wonderfully packable and transferable!

Needless to say the bright colors are really eye-catching to Bug and she plays with the cups contentedly for 10-15 minutes at a time! I think they are about $10 at Wal-mart, and would make a great baby gift!
Momfessions does not receive compensation for my product reviews!