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Thursday, April 17

Baby Talk // My Newborn Favorites

There is no shortage of lists out there that tell you what all you "need" for your first baby. It is completely overwhelming, in my opinion. Luckily I have an amazing support group of mama friends that not only gave me the low down on what I really may need but were also generous enough to let us borrow some of the more ahem costly items that their babies had outgrown. Coupled with our commitment to registering for only what we thought we'd really use, we were able to keep our 'baby stuff' to a minimum. And while some things really are superfluous, there were items that we originally thought unnecessary that we ended up purchasing and use often. While I know our 'necessities' will change as Elliot ages, here is a list of my current personal essentials, pared down to what we use the most.

Sleep Sheep Sound Machine: gifted to E by his Mimi, this sounds machine works wonders at night. E responds well to the "S's" {side, swaddle, shush, sway, suck}, and I love that it has a timer. Added bonus is the soft material and the fact that my iPhone speakers are no longer working overtime. 

Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets: our favorite light-weight blankets that also make great swaddlers

The Honest Company Body Oil: we use this after bath time to keep little man's skin soft and smooth. I try not to put too many products on him so his skin will stay healthy, and this sweet smelling natural oil is my favorite.

Pee-pee Teepees: filed under 'things I was sure we didn't need,' I use with every diaper change. After being whizzed on and cleaning up the wall behind the changing table at 3am one to many times, I broke down and bought them. Definitely a good investment if you ask me. 

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm: we use this with every messy diaper because it  is filled with delicious smelling herbs and works so well to prevent diaper rash naturally.

Aden + Anais Stroller Blanket: a slightly heavier blanket that is oh so soft and snug

Summer Infant Organic Cotton Swaddle Wrap: soft organic cotton and so easy to use at 3am when you're just. so. tired.

Bum Genius Flannel Wipes: we wet these with warm water and use them in lieu of pre-moistened wipes to keep little man's bum free from rashes. 

4moms Infant tub: this is something we borrowed from my girl Kindredly. Is it necessary? No. Does it make my life easier and bath time more enjoyable for E? Yes. Is there another less costly tub that would work as well? Probably. Nonetheless, I love this tub. '

Books: because E loves hear our voices and loves to look at the pictures, and I love reading stories to him already. 

What are/were your newborn essentials?

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Wednesday, April 16

Sunday Truths // Fasting

{Write hard and clear about what hurts. -- Ernest Hemingway}


Fasting hurts. It’s tangible and practical repentance, and repentance must change how we live our lives. We turn from the things that give us false comfort, and only have God.

When I read this commentary I was at a vulnerable and emotional place. I was grieving for the type of birth experience I had longed for, mourning my battered and bruised body, and wallowing in self pity. I had just seen a beautiful photo of a friend who had delivered her second baby girl only a few weeks after I had Elliot. Minutes after giving birth, she looked amazing -- perfect hair, perfect makeup, tear-filled eyes holding her baby. It is a stunning moment and a stunning picture. And deep down in the corners of my heart, I was resentful. And jealous. I was certain that she had a Cesarean.. or an epidural.. or something that made her delivery less of a difficult feat than mine. My heart asked why that couldn't have been me. Minutes after delivering Elliot, I was red, swollen, and sweaty with countless broken blood vessels in my eyes and on my neck and chest. There are no pictures of us from those first moments. Partially because the midwife decided to give me a strong pain medication that knocked me out. {I only have fragments of memories from delivery until waking up in  the mother/baby room.} And while I'm still struggling to work through my experience, my resentment and jealousy are not the response that the Lord requires of me. 

This is just one example of my tendency to constantly compare myself to others, even my friends. It's such a damaging and dangerous habit. And sometimes I'm the one who looks better... but it is a false comfort. Through this whole experience I think the Lord is teaching me not only about patience and trust, but about finding my true self worth in Him and Him alone. If I value who I am in Christ and find my comfort in only that, the things and people I compare myself to will cease to matter. In fact, I wouldn't compare myself at all.

So as a tiny act of obedience I am fasting from my social media vice, Instagram, for seven days, hoping that the Lord will begin to change the black corners of my heart and begin to bring me to a place of finding my worth in Him alone. 

 God’s grace and mercy reach even the blackest hearts. And I’m with Paul when he said he was the foremost of sinners. I don’t gouge eyes, yet pride, envy, and wrath are always within arm’s length for me. “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:15-16, ESV)

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The basis of this study is the story of Jonah, and the basis of this commentary is Jonah 3:5-10
{Italicized writing is taken from She Reads Truth}

Monday, April 14

Monday Musings

Since the vast majority of my days lately are spent at home in workout clothes or pjs, I've been perusing the internet for inspiration of all sorts and finding comfort and happiness in the littlest of things {pun intended}. 

This jumpsuit{despite the fact that my ten year old nephew shops at this store...} I'm thinking of wearing it for an evening wedding in May. Loose waves, simple jewels and killer heels. Thoughts?

This herbal tea. Because I love love love peppermint tea... and I can't drink it right now. This rose infused substitute is definitely making my afternoons more enjoyable.

Paleo margaritas. Enough said.

These sandals. Because they are so comfortable that I may just order a second pair {the coral caught my eye}. I mean, they are made from a yoga mat.

Name rings. One for the first man in my life, my amazing husband, and one for the second, my sweet sweet son.

This little boy. Today and always.

It was a beautiful weekend in my neck of the woods --we had dinner with my parents {grilling out grass fed steaks... yes, please!}, spent some time in the yard planting pretty things, and made it to church with E to celebrate Palm Sunday. Here's to a great week as we move towards Easter and the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and the amazing gift he extends to us.


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Wednesday, April 9

Motherhood // Thoughts of a New Mom

A few thoughts from the last few weeks of being a mom...

-- Mothers should automatically grow a third arm that can be taken on and off as needed for maneuvering around with a newborn.

-- Nothing can prepare you for life as a first-time mom, not even all the baby books in the world.

-- The mamaRoo is a total life-saver {thanks Les!}

-- The first few days of breastfeeding are tough, but it is so worth pushing through to get to the sweet spot.

-- When your baby's diaper leaks every.single.time he urinates, just laugh, change his clothes and move on. Even when he pees on the wall and it runs down behind the changing table...

-- It's okay to tell friends and family that you need a day at home alone.

-- Brussels sprouts and breast feeding don't. Place them in the same category as broccoli.

-- Someone should teach a class on how to do anything and everything one-handed, specific tasks include putting on makeup, working on the computer, preparing breakfast {or any other meal for that matter}, and getting dressed.

-- The whole 'it takes a village' philosophy is so. so. true.

-- I never realized how much I love uninterrupted sleep at night.


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Monday, April 7

Motherhood // New Mom Care Package

A few days after we came home from the hospital with our son Elliot, I received the sweetest package from my dear friend Lesley.  A mother of two herself, Les knew exactly what I needed. And the timing could not have been more perfect. Between my healing body, trying to figure out this whole nursing thing, serious sleep deprivation, and the emotional distress of childbirth, I needed encouragement*. And Lesley's gift was the perfect pick me up. 

Inspired and touched by her sweet gesture, I put together a care package idea for a new mom, adding a few essentials that helped carry me through those first difficult days. I can't wait to pay it forward to my next friend as she moves into the role of mom. Motherhood is such an amazing journey, and the love and encouragement I felt from my family and friends has been priceless.

New Mama Bottom Spray -- I don't think this really needs an explanation. This stuff is great.
Organic Nipple Balm -- I love the coconut and olive oil base of this ointment, but this is another great option that has a cocoa butter base.
Epsom salt + Lavender & Chamomile oils -- Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is great for relaxing and for healing your mama parts, especially if you have stitches. Add a bit of lavender and/or chamomile essential oil for an extra calming environment.
Small inflatable inner tubes -- It sounds a little crazy, but sitting directly on the hard bathtub floor can be unpleasant postpartum. Sitting on one or two of these small inner tubes solves the problem and allows you to relax and soak with no discomfort.
Mrs. Meyer's Lavender soy candle -- Continuing the lavender trend, this is one of my favorite scents. Pair with the Epsom salt soak for twenty relaxing minutes of mama time.
butter London polish -- a perfect just-for-mom pampering item that encourages her to go get a pedicure or just take a few minutes to herself.

What are/were your new mom essentials?

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*This is another post for another day but... I have to say that my sweet husband and my rockstar of a mom were {and still are} absolutely vital to my well-being. These past three weeks of having a newborn have been wonderful, but difficult, and I certainly could not have done it without their help. My sweet mother stayed with us I don't know how many nights, taking the night shift with E and only waking me up to feed him. Total lifesaver.

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Sunday, April 6

Sunday Truths // Priorities

With the obvious new shift in our lives, husband and I have been talking about priorities a lot lately. Even in the last month or so of my pregnancy, we began a few new practices that have helped us to refocus, connect with each other, spend more time in the Word, and unplug. It started with an article we read about how we all feel the need to be constantly entertained, constantly doing something. Sitting in traffic checking Instagram... browsing Pinterest and watching TV at night... mindlessly perusing the internet while feeding my baby... checking our email at meal time... etc. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Not that there is anything wrong with social media or technology, we just feel like we need to make a more conscious effort to unplug from it all on a regular basis. So we challenged ourselves to sit for even just a few minutes every day in silence. No radio, no cell phone, no computer. Even if it's on the commute home, just to be still and present wherever we are. I have to say, it is tough. The tendency to reach for my iPhone is a constant reminder of how bombarded we are with it all. And especially now that we are parents, we are trying to soak it all in. Sleepless nights and all, we will never be able to relive this sweet time with our son. That being said, here is a small list of things we have started doing in order to unplug and refocus our priorities onto our family and our faith. 

1 - No social media on Sundays: We both limit our cell phone use to calls and texts on Sundays, even keeping those to a minimum and don't post or check in on Instagram or Facebook. 

2 - If we are anxious or worried about something we talk to each other about it once, pray over our worries, and {try to} let it go. We don't talk about it much more but instead encourage each other to submit our anxieties to the Lord and be present in the day He has given us today. 

3 - Sit for a few minutes in silence, unplugged from everything, and meditate on a verse of scripture or simply talk to the Lord. 

4 - {This one is primarily for me} Instead of feeling lonely and isolated, look at the middle of the night feedings as special one on one time with Elliot, separate from the busyness of the day and the company of family and friends. See it as a time that is just the two of us, a time of my caring and providing for him.

5 - I've mentioned it before, but take a walk around the neighborhood most days of the week, daily if possible. Leave all technology at home and spend thirty minutes together as a family, enjoying the weather and the lovely spring greenery, and talking about whatever comes to mind.

Here's to soaking it all in and being present wherever you are.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos 

Tuesday, March 25

Elliot West // Our Greatest Adventure

Our sweet son Elliot was born last Monday, March 17th at 2:56pm after what was unexpectedly a difficult delivery. What matters most is that he is perfect and healthy and so am I. Elliot weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 19 inches long -- a bit bigger than we expected! This last week has been a roller coaster of emotions, late night feedings, countless sweet kisses, and early morning cuddles in Grandma's rocking chair. 

{1 week old!}

More thoughts soon.

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Wednesday, March 12

Baby Talk // Say What??

Alternate titles to this post include...
The 'No Filter' Files
People are Crazy.. Here's Proof
Things You Just Shouldn't Say to a Pregnant Woman
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Since I'm {finally!} at the end of this pregnancy journey, I thought I'd share a few of the absurd/ridiculous/completely inappropriate things that people have said or done upon seeing my growing belly. Those of you who are or have been pregnant will completely relate to this post, and those of you who have yet to experience pregnancy will hopefully get a laugh out of it.
{Also, let me just preface this with the fact that I know these people meant well and that for whatever reason a pregnant belly is somehow akin to a cuddly puppy. People just can't help but touch it!}

-- A customer at work when picking up pain tablets and telling us about having a root canal: "It is the most painful thing I've ever experienced." {Looks pointedly at my 38 week baby belly} "But I've never had children so...."

-- Random mom shopping with her daughter at a baby store: "Oh, look at you!" {Touches my belly.} "Your belly is so cute. Hopefully you have an easy labor. Not like my daughter here had with her first child. She hemorrhaged really badly, was on an IV re-hydration drip and had to stay in ICU for a couple days after the baby was born."

-- A classic: "Girl! You're about to pop!"

-- The man at the grocery store meat counter (of all places!): "My sister is about to have a baby, too! She's crazy, though. Doesn't want any pain meds or anything. And after watching my wife give birth with an epidural and IV meds, I know that having a baby the most painful thing anyone could ever experience!"

-- Anonymous: "Yeah, just get ready. You won't have a warm, home-cooked meal for at least the next few years. And forget about that bathing suit and beach trip this summer! Nothing like looking like a beached whale to ruin your summer plans, huh?"

The moral of these stories...
1. Don't touch a stranger's belly. Just don't. Not everyone is down with the belly rub.
2. Telling a pregnant woman your personal horror stories without her asking is never a good idea. NEVER!
3. At 40 weeks I am well aware of my large, protruding belly, the fact that my skin is stretched so tight it constantly itches and stings, and the fact that I could have a baby at any moment. I don't really want or need to be reminded that I resemble an over-inflated balloon.
4. Just because you chose not to make healthy eating a priority after having children doesn't mean that we won't either. Also, I don't think I look like a whale, but apparently you do?

So here's to filtering your comments, not assuming that I want you to touch me, and finding something positive and uplifting to say instead of filing my head with all the things that went wrong during your pregnancy and delivery. Unless I ask you about your story or we are close friends. Mmkay?

Did people say or do crazy things when you were pregnant?

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Sunday, March 9

Spring Fever // The Home Edition

The warm sunny days filling the weekends lately have put me into serious cleaning and organization mode. Like every other home owner I know, I have a laundry list of projects, updates and DIYs for our house. Unfortunately, being nine months pregnant hinders some of these projects, so I've turned my attention to the things I can currently complete. Husband recently helped me update our couch's end tables via this Ikea hack, and I am so pleased with the end result. Now my sights are set on updating the rest of our living and dining room furniture and revamping our front entrance... and perhaps completing a few outdoor projects along the way! 

Antler Water Hose Hook {I think husband can make this}
Bleecker Side Chair - Jonathan Adler for JCP
Walton Sofa - West Elm

I've been eyeing dining room chairs for a while, and these Jonathan Adler ones are pretty perfect with the wooden base and nail head trim. Also for the dining room, I think some industrial wood shelving would make a neat alternative for a bar or bar cart. As for our patio, I'd like to make some simple modern planters to house some of our favorite plants and make a cool garden hose hanger for the side of the house since the current one is an eyesore.

Do you have any spring projects or updates in mind?
{All products and links can also be found here.}

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Saturday, March 8

Truth // A Trust Without Borders

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. 
Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

My husband shared this song with me recently, and I have been listening to it repeatedly since then. The lyrics resonate with the place I find myself these days. A place where I feel the waters rising, new challenges to face, difficulties ahead, but I feel a sense of rest and peace knowing that I'm not alone when I call upon the name of the Lord. I am so grateful for His renewing grace that I require constantly these days as the anxiety of childbirth, having a newborn and motherhood in general creep into my mind.

My constant prayer these days is for a trust that knows no borders...

Wednesday, February 19

Make Believe // Spring Wardrobe

If money were no object... and I weren't currently pregnant... and wouldn't be trying to get my pre-pregnancy Crossfit self back*...
this is what I would be wearing this spring:

Pilot Jumpsuit - Emerson Fry
Organic Moto Jacket - Shop Bloom
Beach Side Twist Tee - Free People
Veranda Sandals - Anthropologie
Marni Dress in Pink - Sonnet James 

Here's to warmer weather, bare shoulders, and pink dresses. 
Happy Spring! 


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*I cannot wait to do pull-ups again. I tried to keep doing them as long as possible during pregnancy, but it was too hard on my lower abdomen. Seriously looking forward to that first grueling workout!

Tuesday, February 18

Monday Musings {On a Tuesday}

My life has officially been out of control lately... and our little one hasn't even arrived yet! Ha! Guess it's a good indicator of what's to come. Despite our business, everything is going well. Still working my regular schedule, sleeping in three hour increments, enjoying some beautiful weather, accidentally running my belly into door frames, and waiting for the day that I can hold this little man in my arms instead of in my belly.

Some other things...

This article on the last days of pregnancy was poignant. I may have cried a little. 

I can't wait to wear real person jeans again. These are on my post-baby shopping list -- so good for summer!

Another item on my {small} clothing wish list: these clogs by Free People

A sweet family friend gave us a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, so making this strawberry ice cream is on my to-do list {oh, and it's paleo!}. 

Speaking of delicous desserts, did you see my friend Lesley's recipe for drunken bananas foster? I'm not much of a banana dessert person, but this recipe is just. so good.

LOVE the idea of gold dipped furniture, so there may be a DIY in my near future... I'm looking at you hand-me-down wooden TV cabinet. 

Another DIY: how to make a pendant light out of just about anything. 

A guide to indoor house plants

And, my favorite {all-nautral} face washes: one and two. Also love this scrub and use it a couple times a week. 

What are you up to these days? I feel like I am in a whirlwind and am making it a point to sloooooow down a bit this week.


copryight Hiking in Stilettos 

Monday, February 10

Monday Musings

How is it already February? Someone tell me. I feel like the last couple weeks just flew by. I'm sure you've already heard, but Atlanta got some snow, and the city shut down. We played in it a little, but mostly it just made the few work days after the snow absolutely crazy. {One lady called the pharmacy and actually said "I can't get down my driveway because of the ice, so can you deliver my order?" What?!!} Also, the other pharmacist was on vacation that week, so we were a person short. I think I slept the weekend away last weekend to make up for the exhausting day I had on Friday. 

This past week was another blur, with work being pretty busy and me spending my free time working on a side project and cleaning/organizing our house for an upcoming baby shower. {Yay!} But, I think I'm back to the land of the living! At least til the little one makes his appearance, ha! 

Here are some things for your Monday morning:

-- We rented this movie, which was surprisingly good. Love me some Tom Hanks, not gonna lie. 

-- I will never grow out of my love for Jenny Lewis. Never. 

-- After reintroducing dairy post-Whole30, I realized that it makes me congested and gives me headaches. I'm obsessed with this half and half for weekend mornings, nonetheless. 

-- On a related note, I need to try this recipe for paleo coffee creamer, but I'm hesitant because I don't love the taste of coconut milk in my coffee. I'll let you know if I stumble upon a winner!

-- Speaking of recipes, I really want to try and make these samoas with GF flour and almond milk. Don't they look amazing?

-- Also, speaking of recipes, I finally ordered Danielle's cookbook, Against all Grain. Obsessed, I tell you. So many good recipes. 

-- I followed this Ikea hack and made a new side table for our living room. Seriously love it. Too bad my local Ikea only had one table in stock... hoping to pick up the other one this week. 

-- My spot for daily scripture and inspiration. So blessed by these ladies and their immense love for the Lord. 

-- I've been on the hunt for a vintage periodic table for years. So jealous of this one! It even has 3D electron distribution. {Yes, I know how nerdy that sounds.}

Here's to a great week, warmer weather and the hope of spring!

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Sunday, January 26

Monday Meal Planning: Whole 30 Week 5 Meal Plan

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The final week of our January Whole30 is here! It's safe to say that I have definitely learned a thing or two about the way I look at meals and the way certain foods* affect me. I am looking forward to another week of good, clean food for both me and the little guy still residing in my belly. It feels so good to be giving him the nutrition he needs -- a practice I look forward to continuing once he's eating real food himself. 

I have to admit that these last few weeks of pregnancy are finding me pretty tuckered out and with a bit less pep in my step. That being said, I've relied on frozen meals from November and December and am repeating recipes that are easy {but delicious} or that are super husband-friendly. The meal plan and recipes can be found here

Here's to another week of clean eating and continuing these new habits long after the Whole30 is through!

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*Since husband and I started our Whole30 early, we decided to allow ourselves dairy this past weekend as our super generous friends threw us a couples baby shower. I honestly thought that I tolerated dairy well, but after not having it at all for 30 days, then having it in bulk {read: delicious gluten-free pizza} it left me with a serious migraine. Let's just say that Saturday night was really rough for me. And now I am back on the no-dairy train... indefinitely.

Tuesday, January 21

Baby Talk // Birth Announcements

Since we didn't send out announcements that we were expecting a little addition to our family, we have decided to send birth announcements to our close family and friends. {This year our Christmas card somewhat pulled double duty, breaking the tiny news to those who hadn't yet heard.} I absolutely love getting announcements from my friends and leave them on our refrigerator indefinitely, so sharing our news with loved ones is important to us. From what I hear, we will have plenty of pictures to choose from since we will be snapping away his first weeks of life. I plan on having K shoot some pictures of the little man, and we may even hire someone to do a short family session. Either way, here are a few of the announcements I've liked thus far.

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Did you send out birth announcements? If so, what site did you use to design them?
Suggestions are more than welcome!


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