Your Best Friend Is Pregnant! Now What?!

So. Your best friend just shared the news: “I’m pregnant!” What do you do? You congratulate her, ask her how she’s feeling, and maybe even offer to help with a baby shower. But then what? How do you encourage your bestie as she journeys through the months ahead, awaiting her bundle of joy? If you’re a mom yourself, you might have some ideas already. But if you aren’t, or you don’t, I’ll tell you what I did when my own bestie told me her news. 

I put together a gift basket! I’ll be totally honest and say that it wasn’t my own original idea. She had done the very same thing for me almost five years ago when I shared my news with her! She started with some belly butter (for stretch mark prevention), ginger tea/candy (for nausea), a gender neutral soft blanket, a hospital toiletry kit (seems early but it’s SO helpful!), a book of pregnancy advice/humor/devotions, and healthy snacks (there’s a lot of snacking). All of these are GREAT things to put in a “Hooray, you’re pregnant!” basket. If you’re an experienced mama, you can add a couple of your trusty favorites for the baby: gender neutral onesies and swaddles, bibs, soaps/lotions you used with yours, or other inexpensive but useful items. Put in it a little basket with some tissue paper and a bow, and voila! You’ve blessed your friend with some helpful and fun gifts!

Here is the gift basket I put together for my friend:

I tried to include a thing or two for her (belly butter, Larabars) and a few things for the baby. 
She said she was thinking grey for the nursery, whichever gender, so I chose grey baskets and grey hangers – these no-slip ones are fabulous!

The O-Ball! A favorite of all three of my kids, it’s easy to grab for newbies, light, and has a slight (but not annoying) rattle. I also use those split rings that babies love to attach it to the stroller, highchair, or carrier so when the baby lets go, it doesn’t hit the ground.  
A snuggly bath towel is a must. This brand happened to be on sale and soft, so I grabbed a green one – gender neutral!

Belly butter is a must for mamas-to-be, for itch soothing and stretch mark prevention.  
Swaddles are the single most used item in my house, for all three of my kids. They sleep with them (thankfully any one of them) and I have used them as nursing covers, burp cloths, blankets and swaddles. Naturally they’re my favorite gift, especially since they come in a thousand designs now! Aden + Anais is my favorite brand, mostly because they hold their shape better than most others, and they are slightly bigger (for actual swaddling purposes).

Halo sleep sacks are another brand favorite of mine. They are cute and practical. My last has now outgrown most of ours, but I love them to keep them cozy (on top of a long-sleeved onesie) without covering them in a blanket they’ll squirm out of.
Books. That’s the one thing I never deny myself or my children. Hubby might say we have too many, but I say, “NEVER!” These are two household favorites. I Love You Forever makes me cry every time. The Going to Bed Book can be recited completely by any member of our household that has a good hold on the English language (Hubby, EK and me). I’m a big Sandra Boynton fan in a general sense, but this masterful rhyming and adorable bedtime routine is our favorite.

A cheap but adorable bath toy. He was a nice basket topper!  
Babyganics is a brand that I love, across the board. They are new to diapers (aka I haven’t tried them yet) but I love their soaps, hand sanitizers, sunscreens and detergent. AND I am completely addicted to their “face, hand and baby wipes”. I literally use them as such. And luckily Babies R Us has sales on their brand regularly.

Larabars are a favorite snack of mine, being totally clean, gluten and dairy free, and very healthy for you. They’re also smaller than protein bars, and not intended to be a meal replacement. I love snacking on them, and my kids do, too!  
All in all, I think it was a very cute and useful basket!

Do you have something that you normally do for friends when they announce they’re pregnant? What would you add to my basket?


Hey there, and welcome to my weekly Currently post! I link up each week with Becky at Choose Happy. And I’m sure by now you’ve seen my posts, but we have currently been….

Traveling || to DisneyWorld and back! We spent two days in Disney and loved every minute! We flew early Tuesday morning last week, and flew back late Wednesday night. So obviously everyone was exhausted but they loved just being there. It was a first time for J and EK, so they were overwhelmed but excited. My mom was sweet enough to keep D at home so we could have a little less to do 🙂 

I’ll write a more detailed post on the trip soon. AND I’m getting a few of those really lovely pictures their photographers take while you’re there, and I’ll upload those as well – since mine are all blurry!

Teaching || music at my kids’ preschool! It’s just four short classes a week, but it’s been fun to be back in the classroom a little bit. I’m doing toddlers and twos, so it’s pretty much a show, and/or a dance party! I get to teach J’s class, which is fun for me. 

Enjoying || the weather and our garden! We have two more truckloads of dirt to get for the last bed, but we’ve got three full beds and we’ve already been eating our romaine! I’m glad we planted some things early.

Well that’s all for now. What are you up to currently?

Things Toddlers Say

Hey, Tuesday friends! We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks here, full of EK’s birthday celebrations, and a whirlwind trip to DisneyWorld, so I’ve been a little scattered and not writing things down as well as I normally do. BUT I do have some gems today, and here they are!

EK, coming upstairs when she should be taking a nap: I got a ‘prise for you!

The playground spoils were too good to wait till after her nap. She took them from her pocket (where they had been for several hours) and asked me to put them all in a bag together so we wouldn’t lose them.

Learning new words:
EK: I didn’t even notice my panties were stuck in my butt!
Me: That’s called a wedgie.

Parenting fail…
Necie takes a drink from a bottle of San Pellegrino.
J: Is that beer?
Necie: …No….? It’s water.

Heard from my bed in the morning…
J: Hellooooooo? Where aaaaaaaare you? Helloooooooo?! Anybody there?! HELLOOOOOOOO!
EK: Joe?
J: El’ Kate! (Runs back downstairs to start the day alongside his sister.)

Gross stuff…
EK: Mom, want to feel the crunchy on my swaddle?
Me: Ugh, no. That’s where you put it in your mouth. Ew.

When Hubby woke him from his nap…
J: I want Mama Necie.
(I’m not sure if he wanted me and Necie, or if he just came up with a new name for Necie.)

Necie: What did you do in DisneyWorld?
EK: I saw 39 princesses!

After riding the Seven Dwarves Mine Train (small roller coaster)….
Me: Did you like it?!
EK, eyes wide: No.  It was fast.

EK, as soon as Necie walks in our house: I want to ride in your car and go to your apartment!

J, randomly: One time I choked.

Playing with colored pencils…
J: Is this green?
(My mom and I are talking and don’t answer immediately.)
J: Somebody! Is this green?
Me: Yes. You knew that!
(J then starts asking whatever every single pencil, preceded by the word “somebody”.)

J: Look at my giraffe!

EK: Mom, our tattoos just hopped off our arms! (Fake ones, obviously, and after MANY washes.)

EK: Maybe one day we can go to NewYork, like Taylor Swift.

EK: Daddy, that was the goodest dinner I never had!

EK: Don’t leave me by myself or I would be only! (Obviously meaning lonely.)

EK: I just squeezed one out on to the table!
(She was eating edamame at a Thai restaurant, and squeezed the bean from the shell.)

And for his fiirst appearance… he’s not a toddler, but….

I’m pretty sure he’s saying: Give me more Thai food!

Things Toddlers Say

Short intro today, folks, because we are in DisneyWorld! So happy Tuesday and we will catch you up later! 

EK’s birthday prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for my birthday. And I love you. And thank you for my presents. I’m sooooo glad it’s my birthday. Love you, Jesus. Amen.

EK got this awesome art set from my MIL:

 When she looked at the pencil sharpener, she said, “Oh, that’s what tells you what time it is.”

EK: Could you get the crumb out of my nose? Verrrrrry carefully.
A booger. It was a booger.

EK: Hey mom! You know what kind of monster I saw that was a person?! It was a BEAR!
Me: …

EK, looking at Sully from Monsters, Inc: Mom! It’s my daddy!
He went as Sully for Halloween one year that EK shouldn’t even remember.

EK: When I’m grown up, I will be just like you! I’ll wear special chappicks (Chapstick) and have wiiiiiinnnnnne.

EK refuses to call Arlo (the main dinosaur in The Good Dinosaur) anything but “she”. I’m pretty sure it’s a boy but she just refers to Arlo as a girl when she talks about it.

In the car on the way to the airport…
J: Where’s my Davis?
Me: Oh, look at the sunrise! Do you see how the sky is pink?
EK: Pink is my favorite color!
EK: Look! It’s the airplaneport!
EK took this from the plane:

We will have a talented photographer on our hands. Anyway, see ya when we are home!


Happy Monday, and I’m finally back for Currently! I’ve been so busy and scattered (and I still am!) that I’ve dropped off for a little while. But I’m glad to join the link up again and share what’s happening with my family currently! IMG_0614

Celebrating || EK’s 4th birthday! We had some family and a few friends over, ate pizza and cake, and played outside. It certainly was a lovely evening, and I can’t believe my big girl is FOUR! 


Working || at the High Point Furniture Market! It’s my third market, and I’m with the same furniture company (Artistica) out of California. They are INCREDIBLY beautiful and exactly my style. This year, I worked four days, and missed my babies SO MUCH. It’s unusual for me to be away from them for 11 hours a day.   

Traveling || to Disney! We have a whirlwind trip tomorrow and Wednesday, flying to Orlando, spending two whole days in the Magic Kingdom, and back again after bedtime on Wednesday! It’s a lot and it’s fast, but it’ll be awesome! Prepare for the flood of Disney cuteness when we get back!

Since I’m packing and preparing, this is all for now. Have a great week, everyone!

A Toddler’s War on Food: Finding Peace in Compromise

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!  

Sometimes, toddlers are picky. Okay, fine. Toddlers are picky. End of sentence. It’s hard to get them to do anything you’d like them to, such as sleep, clean up, wear clothes, use the potty, or eat healthy. This last one can be a particular battle at our house. Our family cooks a lot, most of our meals actually, and so I know that when I cook, it’s probably healthy, and usually pleases my kids. But sometimes, I can put three of my toddler’s approved foods on his plate, and he won’t touch them.

This raises a few concerns for me. First and foremost, I want him to be healthy, and grow strong. I know that he’s got to have good food (or food at all!) to do that. So when I put a meal in front of him, and he screams for candy and won’t touch it, I get worried. Or when I choose something I’m sure he will like (i.e. he’s liked it in the past), and he refuses it, I’m torn whether to just let it go and not worry that he isn’t hungry/doesn’t wait it, or fix something else that I think he might want. But I don’t want to be a short-order cook, and I don’t want to concede every time and feed him what he wants (ice cream). Sometimes I can’t even convince him to sit at the table for more than 3 minutes, so how can I possibly expect him to eat a full meal that I’ve chosen for him?

We compromise.

This means that sometimes, neither of us gets what we want. But most times, we both get a little of what we want.

The first thing I do is try my hardest to put one thing on his plate I know he will eat. This usually translates to some sort of fruit. He’s a fruit lover, and I know if I want him to eat green beans, I need to give him a little mandarin orange, too. Often I find that when he starts eating that item, when it’s gone, he moves seamlessly on to whatever else is on his plate. Winning!

The second thing I do is try to let him choose his plate, choose where he sits, etc. For example, my daughter (who’s almost four) finishes her food before he does almost every time, simply because she doesn’t fight about it (anymore) and she’s in a very hungry phase right now. So he sees her running around and he’s only taken four bites, I don’t want him to get up yet but he’s ready to play. So sometimes I let him sit next to me in the living room, or out on the porch, or in front of the TV, and help him (cleanly!) eat more, and all the while, he doesn’t feel like he’s left out.

This all came into perspective for me one day when my daughter finished before him, and went outside to blow bubbles. He could see her through the window, and wouldn’t eat another bite, begging to go outside. Finally, I just offered to sit with him outside, and finish his lunch there. He happily sat on the bench with me, surrounded by bubbles, eating his lunch. It seemed like a battle won for both of us. We didn’t need to fight – we needed to change our perspectives.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! It might be afternoon, but it’s still a good time for a few funnies! Hope you enjoy this week’s Things Toddlers Say! 

 Me: How did you get so smart?
EK: It’s cause I read so many books.
Me: Yes. Yes it is.

EK: If a monster was here, you could call an ambulance. Then they would come and make it go away. (makes the siren noise)
Me: We actually call the police to make scary or bad things go away. An ambulance is for when people are sick and need to go to the hospital.
EK: Oh no! Don’t get sick! I don’t wanna see an ambulance!

EK: I wanna watch menus!
Me, 20 minutes later: Oooooh, minions!

I was hearing J say, “Push me, mom!” from the hallway. When I went out to look, he was patiently waiting in his “boat.”

aka baby bathtub.

EK currently has an obsession with road names. It’s equal parts cute and sort annoying. When we’re in the car, she asks every 20 feet “what road this is”. The other morning, she was waiting for her grandmother to pick her up, peeking out the mail slot and saying, “There are so many cars driving on (our road) but none of them are Annie!”

J, unable to open the microwave: I can’t reach it, mommy!
Me, handing him the warm milk from inside: Here you go, sweetie.
J: Good job, mommy! You’re so big!
Me: Thanks, buddy.

J: Come on, EK! Come with me!
EK: Hang on a second, J. I’m getting all clothesed (pronounced closed) up.
Me: *die laughing*

J: I got enough dinner in the eat!

J, at bedtime, organizing his bed buddies: Frog- ribbit! Dog- woof! Buzz Lightyear- to the rescue!

Ever since Hubby made EK her “birdie nest” to sleep in on the floor at my mom’s house, she’s been obsessed with being a baby bird. She calls me “mama bird” and Hubby “daddy bird”. She tried to call J, “baby bird” and he said, “No! I’m a Joe Joe bird!” They, of course, don’t realize that I thought it was hilarious because it sounded like “do-do bird” when he said it.

We are in the car, and D is crying. J starts singing, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” repeatedly, to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”.

Having dinner with friends…
EK, pointing at my bourbon and ginger ale: Mom, is that fire water?
Me: What?! Ryan, did you teach her that?!
Hubby: Uh, yeah.
Me: I’m not drinking moonshine!

Well, that’s it for now! Tomorrow is EK’s birthday, so we’ll have a special birthday edition next week!

Making Parenthood Look Easy 

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus Recently we attended a fundraiser at a (childless) cousin’s home. The event was a crawfish boil: low-stress, outdoors, and eat-on-your-own-time. She had asked me a couple of weeks beforehand how to make the event more child-friendly, since many of the invites had gone to couples with young kids. I just suggested that being outside was best (their home is historic and beautifully decorated) and that if food was readily available, kids would probably be happy. We brought a playground ball with us, and there was chalk and a few other outdoor games, so there happened to be the perfect amount of entertainment. It was completely delicious, lots of fun, and totally fine for our kiddos to hang in their yard, grab bites off the tables, and draw with chalk on their driveway.

Our family was the biggest with our three children, and the other families with young kids left much earlier than we did. But overall, our kids were still having fun and wandering around munching on corn on the cob well into the evening. After having too much food and a few beers, a gal I’d met that night mentioned to my hubby and me, “You guys make parenthood look so easy.”


Who, me?

The mom who gets stressed at missed naps and refused meals? The mom who is OCD and uptight about the state of the house? The mom who is on her own at bedtime twice a week and is weeping into a glass of wine or a dose of NyQuil by 9:30? Yeah, that same mom was “making parenthood look easy” at a neighborhood event where my children ran around like banshees, maybe having fun and maybe making birth control more common.

But that’s the beauty of it, right? There are totally times that things come together, everyone has fun, and it’s easy. That day was actually easy. We played. We ate. We ran around. Hubby and I had adult conversation! It was chilly by the end of the night, and the kids were up past their bedtimes, but their exhaustion was joy-induced. These times are the ones I hang on to when things aren’t easy, when food is thrown, laundry is piled up, and exhaustion isn’t joy-induced, but due to several children not sleeping properly. Those perfectly-executed nights out together, and sweet snuggly mornings after are the ones that remind me all is not yet lost, and the sleep-deprived despair of a mom (carpool driver, cook, and housekeeper) can be redeemed.

Revoking My Bragging Rights

Sometimes, it’s good to brag on your kids. There are times that you’ve worked so hard for something, spent time, effort, or money on making something work, and it all finally clicks. But if you’re like me, sometimes you may brag a little early. 

Recently, my youngest has been going through an awful phase (it is just a phase, right?) of sleeping for an unpredictable number of hours at night. I don’t mean, “Oh, it could be 8 or 10 or 12 hours.” It’s more like whether he will sleep through the night, or get up three times. He can sleep 12 hours in a row, several nights in a row. And then one night it’ll all go away. Like magic, he reverts back into a newborn schedule. In my opinion, even though you’re more well-rested, it’s harder to get up in the night after you’ve had that few nights of good sleep.

So now, every time someone asks “How is he sleeping?” I’m unsure how to answer. I don’t want to complain. The bags under my eyes do that all on their own. But I don’t want to jinx myself either, if the night before happened to be a good one. I’ve learned that any time I say out loud that he’s sleeping better, I’ll have the night from hell to pay for it. For instance, we had three good nights in a row, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night of last week. On Sunday night, our small group got together, and because we’d been asking them to pray for good rest in our home, they all asked how he had been doing. “Great!” we replied. “Three wonderful nights in a row of the baby sleeping all night!” Sunday night, you might have predicted, he was up four times, including once where I just fell asleep in the rocker with him on my chest for two hours.

The moral of the story seems to be something along the lines of “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Not that I’m counting chickens, but I suppose I won’t say he’s sleeping well until he’s in middle school and I’ve got to dump cold water on him to wake him. I guess I won’t be mentioning that our daughter hasn’t worn diapers in a week, and we haven’t had any accidents…


Hey y’all! Thanks for checking out my weekly update. Because it’s the first one of the month (APRIL?!) I’ll be linking up with Anne in Residence, Jenna at Gold and Bloom, and Becky at Choose Happy. Link up or comment, and join us!!


Making || some healthy muffins for breakfasts and snacks this week. Have any great recipes to share? Bonus points if they’re clean or paleo!

Wishlisting || all the things I wish we could take home from DisneyWorld. Things are so expensive, and I want to get so many fun things for my bigs, and bring sweet things home for D, but I’ll just settle for a thing or two. Not to mention the fact we’d have to fly home with it, so we’re definitely not getting any oversized stuffed animals!

Cleaning || more than usual after a week away and a really busy few days following the trip. We are behind on laundry and our bathrooms are embarrassing. Oops. 

Posting || the rest of our pictures from GA! 


Tasting || Craft beers! There’s a new growler store near our house, and we’re totally digging it. You can get a flight (5 medium-sized samples) or just taste a few small samples before you decide on what to get a growler of. If you’re local, you should check it out! It’s on Robinhood Road, a few storefronts down from the YMCA and Ace Hardware.

Well that’s it on my front. What are you up to currently? Where did you go for spring break?