Category Archives: Reed

Being Boys

Life as a Boy MomThere have been very few people in my life, that I have come across, who just very much dislike me and my family. I don’t say that in any way to brag… I think over all we are fairly likable people. I try to be kind and generous as much as I can with those I meet. There was a time and place in our journey moving around, that one of our neighbors from the get go was negative and cold to our family. She spoke to us maybe twice… One of those times she was asking us to move our trampoline over a foot… because it was “on her yard.” As if that foot mattered? and as if we knew (After all we had only been there a day or two…). There were not many pleasant encounters sadly and it really puzzled me as to why.

She had two children and we never saw them.

The drama surrounding this particular family is a bit in-depth but not worth really getting into much more than what I just shared. I am always hesitant to write about people who don’t know me well and I don’t know them well… I think there is wisdom in keeping our mouth shut… but I also find wisdom in speaking truth too… and talking about things I believe firmly in. So this is in no way to hate on a woman I don’t know. I truly felt for her… and I know we each have our own brokenness… and if she was still my neighbor, I would have tried to make things better… One thing I remember thinking though, when I observed this woman’s children, was that she never allowed them to play outdoors much. Maybe it was because she didn’t like us.. That very well could have been it. I remember thinking how I would have loved to have her son come out to play with our boys… and use our trampoline or play set… I think children being allowed to play outside is so important… Allowing boys to play. Create. Explore. Is so good for them.

To be boys.

Without every moment worrying about how dirty they may get or “if” they may possibly encounter a bug… or a snake.

Life to me is so much more than rules and perfectly kept children.

Life as a Boy Mom

Life as a Boy MomI wanted so badly for her to realize the freedom in just being… and enjoying the childhood we get to watch our kids live.

Yesterday,

…while my boys played happily and carefree in our creek.


Life as a Boy Mom

Getting messy.

Wet.

Life as a Boy Mom

Dirt and grit under their nails.

Exploring on their own, without me holding their hand every step of the way.

Life as a Boy Mom

I just couldn’t help but feel blessed.

Sounds crazy. In some moments like that you’d think the mom would automatically go to the “oh man… such a mess!” While there are days I can go towards that tendency… I am finding such freedom these days in letting that part of me go a bit more.

They are so much fun to watch and I love even more how “boyish” they are together as brothers…

… it blesses me greatly.

So to the mom who enjoys the monogrammed shirts (no hate, it is cute.). With cuties decked out in perfectly laced shoes, with no dirt on them. Leather jackets or name brand button ups. Let those dudes be dudes… and learn to love it. :-) There is plenty of time for perfecting a look. I don’t believe childhood should consist of perfection in the least.

From one grown up child who grew up digging into a creek with her older brother. I can honestly say my mom allowing me to explore and “be” a kid… did nothing but shape me into one cool dude mom, haha… and I am so thankful for that freedom she gave us.

Life as a Boy Mom

Avoiding the ER using Gentle Healer

How many of you try with all your might to avoid the ER? I for one do. Travis and I have relatively good insurance because of Travis’ job. Being a cop has very few perks but insurance is one of them. However, even with some insurance the cost of going to an ER is never small. Our co-pay for an ER visit alone is $100.00! Ridiculous.

This month Travis had to go to an Urgent Care after stepping on a tooth pick… yup, a tooth pick. That thing pieced into the bottom of his heel (I’ll spare you the images). It went so deep though and broke off that we could not get it out.

…and yes, I said a toothpick. We laughed about it as did the nurses. Even though, it was far from funny to experience.

During that Urgent Care visit at 8pm at night, we spent 7+ hours in a room. Where two doctors attempted to pull that tooth pick out… where they tried using an x-ray to see what was left. The x-ray couldn’t see it though because it was small fragments of wood. We then had to have a CAT SCAN of his heel… and they literally spent like 45 minutes or more digging and cutting into his heel… with countless large needle shots to numb it (ouch!). Lets just say, it didn’t look very comfortable. We didn’t make it home until 4am! It was absolutely ridiculous how long it took… I am just thankful we had a sitter for the kids.

Still. The pain of going there. Waiting. The fee we will be charged… not only for that visit but the deductible for a cat-scan and x-ray. It will not be cheap.

So that happened 2 weeks ago I guess. Well about 5 days ago on Jan 14th (I’m writing this on Monday the 19th), Reed fell. He hit the corner of my desk and split the top of his eye brow open. Lots of blood… lots of crying.

Using the Essential Oil Helichrysum Italicum to heal an open wound.As we looked over the wound we debated for a bit as to what to do. It was deep… and it was spread enough apart that a simple band aid would not have held it together. We also knew it would continue to bleed unless it was sealed some how. With Travis just a couple weeks prior having to spend all that money for his own ER visit… the thought of taking another family member in so close together wasn’t ideal. Obviously in some situations you have to go. There is a need for modern medicine at times… but in this particular situation, I felt like we had another option.

I just knew if we could “pull” that wound together some how and use Gentle Healer on it, that it would do the trick.

So I got some Butterfly Bandaids and was able to pull the boo boo shut. It was a bit of an awkward angle but we made it work. I then applied generously the Essential Oil Gentle Healer. This is a blend of two oils. Helichrysum Italicum and Foraha. Foraha is not quiet an essential oil but it has healing properties of its own. The key ingredient in this blend though is the Helichrysum Italicum. You can purchase that oil in its “NEAT” form… but my wallet just could not afford it neat. So I went with the next best thing and that is the Gentle Healer blend.

This oil has been invaluable in my home. With 4 little boys I am constantly using it to heal up skinned knees, burns, cuts, gashes, etc. It has been one of my favorite oils by far.

I hate I didn’t get progress photos of Reeds wound above healing… but let me tell you…

After just 24 hours his wound was completely closed up.

Within 48 hours there was no need for any more band aids or butterflies.

After 72 hours it was almost not even noticeable.

I took this photo on Dec 19th (just at the 5 day mark) and if you look at his right eye brow (looking at him its the left). You can see clearly how well this has healed. He has almost no scab and it is just a very clean healing sliver of a cut now.

Using Gentle Healer with Helichrysum Italicum to heal up a 2 year old facial laceration

So while this oil is not cheap… it saved us a trip to the ER this time.

It saved us the pain of waiting hours for a Doctor to glue or sew my little mans face shut.

It saved me the drama… and let me tell you, that is worth its weight in gold.

I didn’t have to sit in a germ infested ER room.

I didn’t have to pay a $100 copay.

I didn’t have to go back for a follow up with a Doctor.

Treating this at home could not have been easier and I am just so thankful to have these oils. They truly are amazing.

To end… for kicks.

Check out a photo of Taite. Taite for those new here is my now 8 year old. He is almost identical to my youngest Reed. They favor A LOT. Taite at this age hit the very same spot (opposite brow) and we took him to an ER to have it fixed. During that ER visit they had to bind my child to a bed using linens. They then squeezed his wound together in the most unpleasant manner… and proceeded to glue it shut. They then prescribed him an antibiotic to ward off infection.

I can remember vividly that same type of wound taking weeks to heal on Taite. I remember it getting really scabbed over and gross looking for days… It did not heal quickly.

Scar

So thankful for safety of these crazy boys. :)

I am honestly surprised we don’t have more ER visits. As crazy as they play together, its a wonder.

Thankful for all I am learning about Essential Oils and even more so thankful for Rocky Mountain Oils. Allowing me a place to purchase my oils at cost… with no hidden fees or memberships. All the information I have been able to pull from them any time I have a question as well has been invaluable. So if you’re curious one oil I highly recommend for moms of little ones. It hands down would be Gentle Healer. Save your pennies and get that one! I did and I don’t regret that purchase in the least.

Best Kindle Apps for Kids

The Amazon Kindle was one of those items that we debated on getting for some time now… All that ill get into in just a second. I wanted to write this post to show you all some of my kids favorite games for kindle that they use as well as some good apps for parents to control permissions.

This is Post #1 in my series on the best apps for kids. So for today I will show you the top Apps for Amazon Kindle according to the Wood Boys.

Little history before we get started:

List of Best Amazon Kindle Apps for KidsWe have had an iPad since 2011. Travis purchased one using our miles card points. We are big believers in no debt, but we use a credit card to buy things like gas… or groceries. By doing this building up good credit and earning some fun points or miles along the way. So our iPad 2 was completely free :) – yay! Originally that iPad was mine… but Id say about 2 years after I got it, my kids really got into playing it and my iPad as of a year or so ago became more my kids than mine. Which is ok… I guess :)

After a while of this, one thing that got old was constantly dividing usage time between 4 children.

During school hours my two younger boys would constantly interrupt me and the older two during schooling… and even though they had some toys, sometimes it was just nice to set them in front of an iPad and let them play to their hearts content. This ended up causing issues however when I would need the iPad for certain “Educational Apps” it had on it… and then Owen and Reed would have no tablet to use. Which I guess, yes, you could make do. Give them legos… or blocks.. or whatever, but you know, im all for easy distractions on hard monday mornings while im teaching history and science… and if a tablet can fix those stressful days, Praise God we have tablets :)

So for Christmas this year we splurged and purchased our older children Kindle Fires.

We got a black friday deal on them and even though I swore I would never be “that mom” who bought their kids tablets before age 12… I will say honestly, it has been the best Christmas purchase ever!

I do believe wisdom needs to be used with tablets… minimizing time spent in front of it, is smart.

Also making sure your parental settings are set well to protect your kids from questionable things is also very wise.

If you do plan to purchase your young child a tablet, be sure that your first priority is to protect them and set things up smart.

The reason we ended up going with KINDLES for the boys vs. iPads was strictly money.

The iPad I love but for an iPad mini or regular iPad Air, we just could not justify the price difference. A Kindle Fire was much more in our price range (esp with the black friday price). Also with the Kindle Fire you can set up one amazon account to use your kindles under. So all of our boys kindles are under “1” account. With this set up our boys can all share apps… so lets say you buy an app that cost $5.00 – that app and that cost will only ever have to be spent once. It works great.

So while I still prefer my iPad as far as “app choices” goes… the Kindle has been great to have and fun to learn more about.

All that being said.

The use of our boys kindles is mainly for pleasure and fun. Not educational purposes. So on this list I probably wont be listing “a ton” of educational apps. Some are… but the majority of “educational” apps I use for homeschool, are on my iPad. (that post is soon to come)

Below is a video introducing the Kindle Fire. I attempted to show the use of some of the “PARENTAL” Apps… but my lack of video savy know how failed me… and the video is super washed out during the “close up” use of the kindle on screen. Still, figured I would post it since I took the time to film it. Hopefully even without the best visual quality you can make out what I was trying to explain. Enjoy! I hope the list of apps below is helpful.



List of Amazon Kindle Apps for Kids

 



Best Kindle Apps for Kids (full list)

Educational:




Endless Alphabet Amazon Kindle AppEndless Alphabet ($2.99) – This app is wonderful. Probably one of my favorite educational apps. My youngest who is 2 years old has learned how to match the letters and their sounds using this app, even at his young age. My older kids, as old as 10 love this app as well. The videos it has with each word are adorable and fun to watch.




Interactive Telling TimeInteractive Telling Time (Free) – Great simple app for teaching a child how to tell time. We used this in line with our home schooling. Gave my kids something a little bit different than traditional work sheets to do.




Scribblenauts RemixScribblenauts Remix (Free) – This is not only an educational app that teaches children to learn to spell, solve problems and so forth, it is also so much fun! My boys LOVE THIS app and will spend forever on it creating new things using words. A must for sure.




Learn Piano AppLearn Piano (Free) – If your kid is into music they’ll love this app. My son Taite is our musically interested child :) – and while none of our kids have had musical lessons of any kind, this app gives him a little glimpse as to what can be created using a few keys. One day we hope to enroll them in some musical classes.




Brain Pop Featured MovieBrain Pop Featured Movie (Free) – Great app a lot of schools use to teach the kids about science, history and more. There is even a Brain Pop Jr. available.




Bible for KidsBible for Kids (Free) – A great bible app for children. Interactive and full of classic Bible Stories.




PBS Kids Video
PBS Kids Video (Free) – I am going to include this one in the educational… even though it is borderline just fun entertainment. For all those whos kiddos love PBS TV shows, they’ll really enjoy this app. Its a safe place for kids to enjoy their favorite PBS shows and episodes.



Functional APPS (for parent use):




Kids Place App to set timer on kids kindle
Kids Place (Free) – This is the APP I mention in the video I posted onto this post. We use this at night to limit our children’s use on the kindles. Its free and works great.




Blue Light Filter
Blue Light Filter (Free) – One thing that they say can hinder a persons rest is if they use devices that have blue light in them. This is an APP that filters that blue light out. It works very well at night. I use it any time we “allow” the kids “night time” kindle use. It works well teamed with the above app too.



Game Apps For TOTS and up:




Buzz Me Kid Phone App
Buzz Me (FREE) – This is one of Reed’s favorite APPS. It is like a pretend phone but also has some fun interactive games in the app as well. Reed is always wanting to call people using my iPhone, so this is a great one to download to your cell phones too :)




Toca Boca Kitchen
Toca Kitchen ($2.99) – Let me go ahead and say that the Toca Boca APPS are all great. We have almost all of them. I have never been disappointed with one yet. So while they usually are not free, they are worth the few dollars you pay. This one is probably a favorite – but really, they are all great.




Toca Boca Train
Toca Train ($2.99) – Again great app for young kids especially. We use this one a lot with Reed who is just over 2. Especially great even without sound. Which some apps aren’t good without sound, this one is good with or without.




Toca Boca Boo
Toca Boo ($2.99) – I will admit, this one has me puzzled as to why the kids like it so much… but they use it constantly. You would think after a while it get old but we’ve had this one for many many months now (even before we got the kindles – they used it on the iPad) and they love it.




Toca Boca Hair Salon
Toca Hair Salon ($2.99) – Even though we have boys, our boys still love this app. I even like playing it :) – it would be especially entertaining for little girls who love all things hair. Really cute!




Lego Juniors Create
Lego Juniors Create (Free) – Any Lego game here is almost always a hit. This one is probably one of the best we’ve found. Works very well and is easy enough for even our youngest (age 2) to play without help.




Sago Mini Ocean SwimmerSago Mini Ocean Swimmer (Free) – Great interactive App for all ages. Our youngest enjoys this a lot but my older boys do as well – I would say as old as 8 would enjoy this app.



Older Kid APPS Ages 4+




Amazing Alex FreeAmazing Alex Free (Free) – Great app for teaching kids to be creative and solve problems. This one can be a little harder and I would say its best for ages 7+ – although younger kids can play it, it just may be a bit harder for them.




TarrariaTarraria ($4.99/although sometimes free) – We got this particular APP Free. I saw it listed on amazon one day while browsing and decided to download it for the boys. Because it was free it was a no brainer. It looked similar to minecraft… so I figured they would like it. I was right, total hit with the dudes :) – they love this app! (Note: Those who are against swords, light violence, may not like this app)




Minecraft Pocket EditionMinecraft ($6.99) – Anyone with boys or kids really who has not yet discovered minecraft… a bit of warning. If you download this for your kids, plan for them to become obsessed with it. My boys love this app and its probably what consumes 80% of their Kindle use. I have even enjoyed playing it with them. As long as you have wifi your children can interact and play with each other. So it can be a lot of fun.




Where's my Water?Where’s my Water? (Free) – This APP is addicting to play. Fun and encourages problem solving. I do believe there is an upgraded version that does cost a dollar or two… but to try it out, its totally free. My husband even enjoys this one.




Kiwi WonderlandKiwi Wonderland (Free) – Probably one of the “cutest background music” games we have. I love listening to the music that plays in this. Its fun to play and even adults will enjoy this one.




LepsworldLepsworld (Free) – I found this game while searching “Mario” – it is super similar to the classic Mario Brothers Game. Instead of Mario you play a little Leprechaun named Lep. Has lots of levels and gets challenging as you go. Lots of fun for all ages.




CrocsworldCrocsworld – This one is similar to Lep’s World. Only difference is its a cute lil crocodile. My 4 and 8 year old enjoy this one. My oldest who is 10 prefers Lep’s World.




Doodle JumpDoodle Jump (.99cent) – This is one of those addicting ones that will drive you nuts :) – but is fun. My husband plays this probably more than the boys. Him and my 8 year old have a competition often on who can beat whos score. Its a lot of fun and pretty simple to learn to play.




Subway SurferSubway Surfer (Free) – This one is similar to the popular Temple Run Game. Instead of a guy running from scary monkey’s though, its a kid who apparently is in trouble and running from the cops. Yea… probably not the best influence as far as that goes haha.. DO NOT RUN FROM COPS :) – thats a no no, but the game is a lot of fun to play and my boys enjoy it.




CheckersCheckers (Free) – A classic! Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of checkers? Our boys play against each other on this and its a nice quiet app they can play without much bickering :)



That concludes my list of Kindle Apps :) – there are TONS out there to choose from… and I am sure our list will grow each passing month… but these are just a few we have enjoyed for some time, even before we had Kindles. Most of the above are also available on the iPad.

I do plan to do a “Favorite iPad” post very soon too! One post at a time :) – Be sure to follow me on facebook or Instagram, so you know when the iPad post is live.

Must Have Things – for Pregnancy, Newborn & Up

Can I admit something to you? I kinda sorta… some what, just a little bit… miss the newborn/baby stage. My husband would be like “you do!?” :) – haha… but really, you do miss it once its gone. To a degree. I will say I enjoy my full nights sleep now that Reed sleeps amazingly at night. Still, I hate how fast they grow.

I see often baby items advertised on facebook… or web ads… and when I see them, I would just think, “Mom’s really don’t need that….

Well, I am here to finally put together a list of MUST HAVES for pregnancy and beyond :)

I’m calling this list….

musthaves

SO lets get started :)

A list of Pregnancy Must HavesPregnancy Must

Bellabands ~ I swear by these. They extended my wardrobe many months and made it possible to wear my regular jeans and pants throughout majority of my pregnancy. I have had the same Bellabands since my first born Caleb. Those same bands lasted me 4 pregnancies! I tried other off brand ones along the way and none of them were as good as the Bellaband. These also make for great use after baby is born. Helps hide the mum tum while you nurse… or helps you fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans sooner. I cant speak highly enough about these. Love them! My favorite color ones were white/black/gray. :) I also liked the ones without the lace.

A Birth Plan ~ While you can’t really PURCHASE this item :) – I felt it worth mentioning. Don’t go into birth blindly. One thing I regret greatly with my 1st two babies was going into the birth experience with them, without any plan. Be informed with the drugs they intend to use during pregnancy… the risk, procedures and options you have as a mother. Also be informed on what they intend to do to you and your newborn after baby is born. One movie I really enjoyed watching was on netflix called “The Business of being Born” – while parts of it are a bit “eh…” a lot of the information they shared during that documentary really opened my eyes to a lot of things. While ultimately the “important” piece to the end of any childbirth, is a healthy baby and safe mom… how baby “gets out” doesn’t really matter in the end… but I will say, from experiencing both medicated and unmediated births throughout my 4 babies… I am thankful to have experienced both ends of the spectrum… and thankful for knowing more going into my last two birth experiences. It was good to know and helped me a lot.

Maternity Portraits ~ I know money is tight for many….(so there) but some way, some how, get maternity portraits taken. You will cherish those images as will your children. Its worth putting yourself out there and getting in front of the camera. Promise :)

Tunic Tops ~ Buy larger tops or tunic style tops to extend your wardrobe a bit. No need to buy super expensive maternity tops. I always just purchased a size or two up from my normal size and it worked just fine. Some got a little short towards the end of my pregnancies… but almost always I was able to stay in regular style clothes for majority of all my pregnancies. I did invest in some maternity jeans during the “larger” months :)

A list of Newborn Must Haves

Newborn/Infant Must

Miracle Blanket ~ Some babies like to be swaddled. Some do not. 3 out of my 4 loved it! I tried swaddling with normal swaddling blankets… I tried velcro ones… and nothing comes close to the awesome swaddle magic of the Miracle Blanket. By far the best swaddling blanket around.

A Baby Swing ~ A lot of moms are against things like this… because they feel “you should hold the baby” or give baby full attention, more often than not. Well, you know… thats all fine and dandy if you have just “1” kid :) – times those kiddos a few times and you’ll greatly appreciate a good baby swing… I loved having a baby swing with all of my boys. I had the type that swung both side to side and front to front. Mine was a Fisher Price. I borrowed one from a friend with baby Reed… I had sold the one I used with baby Owen/Taite and Caleb prior to us moving to Georgia, but it was the same brand, just different print.

Bouncy Seat ~ Im not sure the proper term for this item… but mine was one of those papasan bouncy seat things you get from Babie’s R’ Us or even Walmart I believe carries them now. Its a soft seat that vibrates. I used this thing constantly for the 1st 6 months or so with my babies. It was great to use outdoors… indoors… and my favorite use, setting it in the bathroom while I took a shower. Kept baby close and cozy while mom got 5 minutes of “shower” time. :)

A list of baby must have items - from a mother of 4

Wubbanub ~ This amazing little invention is a God send at 3am. Tired of the pacifier bouncing out of your little ones mouth? Buy up one of these, you’ll love it! I have used wubbanubs for 3 of my boys. Can’t speak highly enough of them.

Aden + Anais Blankets ~ The most awesome blankets. While I still believe the Miracle Blanket is the one to have for swaddling. The Aden + Anais is also great for swaddling but more so just a great blanket for every day use… For the carseat. For the crib… I also used this some to cover up while nursing. I wasn’t able to nurse long but when I did nurse, having a light weight blanket like this was a must. These blankets hold up to a ton of abuse too. Reed who is over age 2 now uses these to sleep. He calls them his Binket and he adores them. I have 4 and use every single one to this day. (Note: Good book suggestion that talks about blanket’s… which are a great tool to use to transition baby from a pacifier – worked with all my boys. This book is a favorite of mine and has been for all four of my boys)

Pack-n-Play ~ I have had the same Graco Pack-n-Play since 2004!! :) Having one of these has been a must for us. In fact one of our boys, our 2nd, never even slept in a crib. He used a pack-n-play his entire newborn-baby stage. We moved 2 times between the time he was born and 6 mo old… so we just never set him up a crib. We use this packnplay a lot for travel as well. It has survived air plane travel, many hotels, lots of visits to grandparents… and so on.

Baby Monitor ~ Currently I am using one by Levana. Its a video monitor. Although, I have used others without video and they worked just as well. Find one that has a good range and clear sound. I am not brand specific on this one. The Levana does have amazing customer support though and the monitor does have great features. So that is one to look into if you are considering video monitoring.

Homedics Sound Machine ~ Buy a sound machine or invest in a good sleep white noise app. This homedics sound machine (I actually got mine from walmart, not amazon), It had a white noise sound that helped my last baby sleep like nothing else. I would even take it with me when we traveled. Another option would be a box fan. Only problem with this is they are rather large, so traveling with a box fan isnt as easy. Also they can blow cold air into the room which isnt always ideal either.

A list of baby must have items written by a mom of four- A Baby Carrier ~ I am going to list off 3 below… I suggest all 3 :) – but if I had to choose “only one” – I would choose the 1st one I list.

>> Boba 4G ~ I could go on and on about baby carriers I like. There are SO MANY to choose from. I have tried Mei Tais, countless structured carriers, including ERGO, Bjorn, Snugi, etc… and out of all the carriers I have tried the Boba 4G takes the prize as the best. So easy to use. So comfortable. Super simple to adjust. Fits mom and dad… or even your 10 year old ;) – it can fit a newborn – age 3 easily. It can go on the back and front. It is machine washable. It also holds up so well and can be used for countless children, year after year. Feel free to use “andreawood10″ over at www.bobafamily.com for 10% off.

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>> Ring Sling ~ I love the Boba 4G above but also really love having a ring sling. I use a few brands… Sakura Bloom is a popular one and one I do own… however it is expensive. When I purchased mine it was 50% off. That is the ONLY reason I purchased it. IMO humble opinion it is not worth $100+ dollars… One of my favorite ring slings was actually one from a work at home mom named Kim. It cost me $25 bucks. She sadly doesn’t make them any more. Feel free to check out etsy.com for ring slings. There are so many great ones out there. Just look for one with linen or muslin fabric… or a thin soft batik. No double layer slings!! trust me, its to thick of a fabric and hard to adjust. Ring slings are the carrier for quick trips in and out… or for those times you have to carry baby and need some extra support, without putting on a full on backpack style carrier.

Baby Must Haves

>> Boba Wrap ~ I know everyone getting to this bullet is going to think im some sort of affiliate for Boba. Note to all those reading. I’m not :) – although I would be if they had an affiliate program. I do Boba’s photography though and therefore I am even more so fond of this company. I have used Boba’s since before I did their photography. That is how they found me, because of my love for babywearing… and so I don’t think my being their photography really sways my opinion much. Their carriers really are great.

Luna Lullaby ~ Ditch the BOPPY and get a Luna Lullaby. I used a Boppy with my 1st 3 babies and never really liked it. The Luna Lullaby I got with my 4th born and I just love it! The most AMAZING Boppy style pillow. You can actually nurse with it, without having to prop 4 other pillows under it. It also makes for a great sleeping pillow during your pregnancy.

Newborn Mitts ~ Before you go to the hospital make sure you have some mitts for your newborn. They are great at preventing cuts on your sweet newborns face. Another great option would be Jammies with the glove built in or onesies with the glove built in. Either one is great to have for the 1st few weeks at least.

Wood High Chair ~ I have had the same high chair since we had our first born Caleb. Its an Eddie Bauer High Chair, solid oak. I LOVE IT, although at times I hated how heavy it was. Still, to this day, that thing has held up so well. So I highly recommend WOODEN high chairs over plastic any day.

Good Stroller ~ I have tried so many strollers… and always found myself back to a Bob. These cost an arm and a leg but are the best of the best. They glide so easily and fold up very well. I purchased my Bob off of yardsale page on facebook. It was half what you pay new. My friend has one and has had 7 kids. She has used the same bob stroller with all 7 of her babies! This thing is built to last! So if you want to invest in a great all around stroller plus jogger, this is it.

Good Diaper Bag ~ This is all a matter of personal preference. I’ve tried many bags… but the skiphop Studio Tote is my favorite. I love it so much I actually purchased 2… although recently I gave one of those to a friend :) – I found one of my skiphops at TJMaxx for $30.00 – and another one I found on craigslist. Buying it new is high… but I got to say, its one amazing bag. Id probably pay full price now that I know how great it is.

Cloth Diapers ~ This is totally up to the individual… I have cloth diapered 2 of my boys almost 100%. My 4th baby though I only cloth diapered a few months… then life got real with 4 boys… and I could not keep up with it… and all the other laundry I had to do. For the two boys I did use cloth diapers with, I loved it. It without a doubt saved us money. I used Bum Genius One Size Pocket Diapers with them. They work great and held up really well. Mine came from Cottonbabies.com – another alternative that Ive heard lots of praise about would be the Kawaii Diapers. I have not tried those personally but have friends who love them.

Baby Must Haves

Baltic Amber Necklace~ I swear by these. I used them with my last 3 kids and all 3 of them have been great teethers. There is lots to chat about in regards to this item but feel free to check out Hazelaid to learn more about baltic amber and its benefits.

Carseat ~ This is an obvious. :) You have to have a carseat. I used two brands in the infant carrier style carseat (the kind that snaps into most strollers) I used a graco with my 1st two and then a Chicco keyfit with my last two. BOTH IMO were comparable. If I had to choose, I would choose the Graco though because the price is much less. Once baby is to big for that seat, Im a huge fan of the Diono Radian seats. Very expensive but well worth it. They allow for rear facing longer and just over all work very well. Also they have a lot longer life than most carseats (yes carseats expire). They are also very narrow, so if you plan to have lots of kids close together… this seat will save you some room.

Baby Must Haves

Infant Gym ~ I don’t buy many toys for my babies… but an infant gym is something I had with all 4 of my boys. They are great and travel well.

Natural Wash ~ Be sure to always read the ingredients on the back of a baby shampoo bottle. There are lots of great natural alternatives you can use over the popular Johnson and Johnson brand. :)

Baby Must Haves

1 year+ – Toddler Years

I wasn’t sure how to set this category apart from the “infant” one… but I had a few items to list that really didn’t apply to infants… so I thought I would separate these items from the above list. The image to the right btw is for laughs. Reed was not harmed in the taking of that photo :) – but I found it summed up life with four boys wells in a humored way.

Good 1st Walker Shoes ~ I personally love Stride Rite Shoes or Pediped. Any SOFTER SOLE shoe is great for new walkers. Baby/Toddlers have chubby feet… I just find it very uncomfortable to shove those chubby feet into a thick soled hard shoe. Thankfully for me, Ive passed on my Pedipeds to 4 children :) – if you do not have the money for a Pediped new, check out ebay. There are lots listed there. I also have found 4 pairs of my striderite shoes used at Thrift shops for under $2.00 each. Theres no reason to spend a fortune on baby shoes… but I do highly recommend these two brands.

Myself Belt ~ Once you potty train, belts are nice to have. Seems like once your tot leaves the diaper world, their butt gets dramatically smaller :) – which results in the need for a belt. The Myself Belt is my favorite. A little pricey, but works great and holds up very well. Anything that can help assist my child in putting their own pants on and give me ease as well, is worth a few extra dollars. This company also recently got featured on the shark tank. I found them probably 8 years ago tho! I’ve loved them since.

Washable Bib ~ I got some washable bibs years ago from Walmart that were food catcher bibs. I have yet to see these there since. I found them on ebay tho! These bibs are butt ugly, well not butt, but pretty tacky… I am willing to look pass the tacky bright designs because of how well they function. In fact I ordered 2 last night after writing this post. :)

baby must haves

Toilet Seat Topper ~ Ok, not sure what you call this… but when it comes time to train those cute babies to use the potty. Invest in a toilet topper for your toilet. While the infant toilets you can buy with all the bells and whistles seems like the right thing to buy for tiny hineys.. trust me, its a waste of money. All 3 of my older boys who are now all potty trained (thank the Lord), used this sort of toilet seat to train with… and it works so well. No more DUMPING poop from one toilet to another… no more washing out little bowls of urine. This type of seat also begins to help train your child to use a “big person” toilet faster… and makes the transition much easier. (The image of my little one on the toilet was taken about 6 years ago. That is my 2nd born Taite, who is now 8! I am sure he very must dislikes me for posting that now haha)

Waterproof Mattress Covers ~ This was an addition I added on after posting this originally. My friend Lis mentioned it in the comments and I couldn’t believe I left this out. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST!!! We have waterproof covers for all of our boys beds. From Crib on up. Even if a kid is potty trained, they still have accidents. So buy up a water proof cover from the start for all your infant/children’s beds. You can find them anywhere.

Now… I think that is it :)

I think :)

I tell you, it took me FOREVER to finish this list.
I wanted to make sure I steered everyone in the right direction :)

To end… here is one more list :)



The “not so” must list for Pregnancy-Toddlerhood

Wipe Warmer ~ Unless you have no heat in your home, you don’t need this. Ive had 4 babies and not once did I need my wipes warm. :)

Bottle Warmer ~ There is a very real and easy solution to this need. From the very start… don’t warm your bottles. None of my boys ever had to have a warm bottle. Never. If you nurse, you will bypass this problem automatically… but if you can’t nurse or choose not to, you can make a choice here :) – to warm… or not to warm, that is the question :) – and my answer, don’t warm. My boys chugged their milk just fine at room temp. :)

Palmer Cocoa Butter ~ Stretch marks happen. No amount of cocoa butter will prevent them if you were genetically designed to develope them. I hate when I hear women say “I got no stretch marks, it was because of the cocoa butter.” Lie lie lie… I used palmers cocoa butter MULTIPLE times a day with my 1st pregnancy and I am evidence that does not guarantee no stretch marks. While it did soothe an itchy belly, it did not prevent me from developing them. I am a firm believer that genetics play a key role in this dept… and as unfortunate as it can be, some people are just prone to stretch marks… its life. Now if you want to put lotion on your belly, by all means :) – do it. I did, even after I got stretch marks. My choice of butter, the whipped body butter I make. Nothing feels better and its much more natural than Palmers.

Name Brand Clothing ~ Save your pennies. Babies grow so fast… there’s no need to fork out a fortune in name brand baby clothes. Thrift those high end items and put those pennies to use elsewhere :)

Diaper Crib Caddy ~ That thing that hangs on the side of your crib to hold diapers. Dont bother :) – just buy a cute diaper caddy you can carry with you from room to room, its way better.

Changing Table ~ After 4 children I can admit I have never ever owned a Changing Table. Never. Not once. We used the floor. Or a bed. Or a sofa. Or a table. :) With proper “sanitary towel placement” of course haha.. or not. It was one more piece of furniture we did not have the money or space for… so therefore we never bought one. I am not anti-changing table, but I am perfect proof it is not a must. My babies butts got cleaned just fine without one.

Baby Tubs ~ Don’t bother with those plastic baby tubs. They are a pain to clean and use… I had one with my 1st that leaked constantly and caused more harm than good. Invest in a sink hammock of some sort, or place a thick towel in your tub for baby to lay on (this was what I went for most times). It works just as well and there is less clean up.

Fancy Crib Bedding and Bumpers ~ The image above of my 3rd born Owen sleeping in the crib with the bumpers and cute bedding. Well. I splurged on that lil man because I had yet to do so with any of my other children. While I did love having cute bedding, it really is not needed. Bumpers too bring up some concerns on safety… and it is just one more thing to wash. After Owen grew and was no longer in a crib and I had my 4th… I used the same crib set with Reed but it didn’t take me long to ditch the bumpers and matching set. Reed who is 2 and still in a crib uses whatever sheets I have clean, no bumpers, no frill :) – and hes cozy as can be. Some of the crib sheets I use were given to us with Baby number 1. They sport Classic pooh (ughhh, so not my style now), but they are soft and broken in. So I use them. Use what works and know baby will be just fine, with or without.

I hope those reading found this post informative and helpful :)

Becoming a mom for me 10 years ago was so overwhelming. So many things to choose from…. so many methods of parenting…mothering… I was 21 when I became a mom. In fact I turned 21 the same month I had my 1st born son. I was clueless to so much… Over the course of 10 years I have really grown and am so thankful for how much my boys have taught me.

Motherhood is so much more than the products we buy… or the things we use on our babies.

It is not about how long you co-sleep.

If you co-sleep.

It doesn’t matter if you can nurse, choose not to nurse, or bottle feed. Although to many it is the very ground in which they swear motherhood is measured.

Its not, I promise. Although I believe if you can nurse, you are blessed.

It wont matter in the end if you birth a baby via c-section or with out any epidural at all.

A baby and its mother cannot be defined by the fancy clothes that baby may sport for 6 mo.

Or the trendy little diapers he or she wears.

These are just a few things that can make the journey just a wee bit easier :) – and can be fun to use at the same time. Feel free to comment with any questions. I will try my best to get back with you.

You can view most of the above items over on my amazon estore. I save things I like on there… Many of what I listed above can be found at a local walmart or babies r us, or target. Amazon has most of the items I listed above as well.

Hope you enjoyed :)

Disclosure: I am not being paid by any of the above companies to post or represent them in this post.

Don’t Blink

westin peachtree plazaOne of the first places we went after moving from NE NC to Atlanta, was to Centennial Park.

I had never really been to Atlanta… I think I came once on a youth trip many years ago when I was maybe 15… but besides passing through on our way to Florida as a kid, Atlanta was never a place I had seen. So when we moved here, we dug right in and made our way to Centennial Park.

We moved here in August 2011.

Doesn’t seem that long ago. Then again, it does.

On that first trip to Centennial, I took photos. To remember.
Little did I know that those photos would be a remembrance today of just how fast my boys are growing…. and how incredibly blessed I am with some amazing young men.

Today I took my boys to the Westin Hotel very close to Centennial Park (within walking distance). Caleb loves learning about buildings… and has been studying this particular one for some time… so I knew this was something he greatly wanted to see again. After a doozie of a New Years Eve… and feeling like a terrible mom… I wanted to make it up to Caleb especially… and treat him and his brothers to a morning out in Atlanta.

Around 9:30am we made our way there… hit NO traffic (yay!) and found a decent parking spot only a block or so from the Westin.

The joy that read across each of their faces was priceless and worth every penny I paid to get them there and back.

While we scoped out the SunDial Restaurant, I had flash backs to that August 2011 trip to the same spot….. Memories began to come back as the boys walked back and forth… as Caleb gently picked up his little brother and put him to the viewers…. and held his hand as we got into the elevator…. I remembered how not to long ago, Caleb was the one being picked up….

It was bittersweet for me and I am just so thankful for these boys. As annoying as they can be :) – they bless my soul beyond words.

Here are some memories….. then and now.

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The above images was taken back in 2011…. Caleb was in awe of the elevator that shot up 72 floors.

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Now he enjoys watching his little brother gasp at the clear windows and large view.

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At the top of the elevator you found spots to see the view. My boys quickly gathered.

Here 2011… Taite and Caleb together checking out the skyline.

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and now today… all four of my boys lined up together, on their own. Growing so fast.

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Caleb depended on us for height…

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Now we depend on him.

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Below we could see our car :) – This fascinated the boys, because it looked so small.

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With any trip there are always bumps. Little Owen had a temper at a request for a photo :)

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Nothing new with a 4 year old. Its their way or the high way it seems.

He acted as if he wasn’t impressed. His expressions read otherwise.

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Reed discovered lots of things to touch… and we of course had to see the toilets.
After all, they had to be flushed and water and pee traveled 72 floors down – boys love knowing these things :)

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Caleb’s smile and joy blessed me :)

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Taite equally as much.

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& Even tho heights scare me and make me sick to my stomach.

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It was worth all 4 times up and down for these dudes.

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Yes… 4 times >.< - forgetting coats added on a few trips.

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& to end we made our way to Kia Atlanta… where we enjoyed KIDS EAT FREE day… checking out with a few goodies in the end as well and some cinnamon rolls to enjoy at home. Thankful for yesterday. The Lord knew I needed it.