Kindness

Sometimes we as mommas forget to compliment and uplift husbands and there friends. ( yes, even the ones who come over and tease you, and laugh at your witchy tendencies or even give you advice on your cooking.) Thank them. 

We were all in the truck this past weekend when we passed a man who for a reason we don’t know was in the median of a major highway, standing beside his motorcycle that was on its side and you could tell he was frustrated and couldn’t get it back upright. My husbands best friend was in the truck with us and without hesitation both of them said we need to go help.

 Y’all four other trucks going down the highway beside around us turned around too. My faith in humanity was restored in that moment. So many times we just see and hear about the horrible and the bad, we very rarely hear about the good in this world. 

I snapped some photos from the backseat of the truck just as a joke for my husband and his friend. But the more I have looked back at these pictures all week I can’t help but be proud. Proud of the man I married, proud of the friends he surrounds himself with and most of all proud that these are the men my daughters have to look up to. 

These two men are the men my daughters will base there relationships off of (if they are ever allowed by them). 

These two men are who my daughters will find solace in when the world is mean and they need a strong arm to hold them.

 There father is going to be the hero they will always look up to. But his best friend who is like a brother in many ways is also who I know my girls will go to when they have problems. 

These two men will be the two men my girls call when they get there heart broken for the first time. And I know they each will offer to beat the poor boy up.

When we first found out we were having a second daughter Andys first words were that he was going to need help. I didn’t understand it at first but I do now. 

Daddy’s you are the standard to which your daughter will compare every other man. You need back up just like us mommas do! Don’t be afraid of finding that backup! 

I 100% trust the men my husband has at his back. I trust they will teach my daughters things that I lack. I trust that they will be pillars for my daughter when their father and I can’t be. But most of all I trust that they will everyday show my daughters that helping a man on the side of the road is just as important as getting to dinner on time! 

Mommas we need this for our daughters. We need to surround them in safety and security! We need to have men in there lives that are strong and will help a man in need! We need to show our daughters that a man is not a master but someone who will stand at there back, someone who may let them fall but will be right there to clean them up and teach them a different way. 

It is important to raise these girls to be strong and secure in themselves, but we need to also show them that when they do date that there is a standard. 

So my challenge is that mommas of girls, even when your husband has his friends over all the time and you don’t understand why, those men are there support system. They need that to raise these girls! 

So to the men who are the best friend. Thank you. 

Thank you for loving these girls like there dad does. 

Thank you for showing these girls humility and toughness. 

Thank you for showing them that its important to help others. 

Thank you for being willing to be there if we are not. 

Sour Patch Kids

I remember when it hit me that I was raising a strong willed child, and that everyone’s threats growing up saying I would get my payback for how I acted was in fact a horrible way of putting that I would raise a miniature me. 

Hayden Renee is my strong willed child, she from the start has tested every limit given to her and exceeded every expectation I’ve ever had of her. She tests me every single day and makes me question if I can make it through, but at the end of the day im so incredibly proud of the tiny human she is becoming. 

I always tell the story of Hayden at about 18-19 months old coloring and ripping the pages out of the book “how to raise a strong willed child” I laugh now because ive realized there is no set in stone way to raise these sour patch kids. But there is w mindset to get into to raise them. I fail as her mother daily, but I try everyday to be the best I can be. 

Hayden is notorious for loosing her cool when she feels out of control in a situation, and after many battles between us in which both of us ended up in tears i’ve learned one major thing, be the calm in the storm. I am her calm and her pillar when she feels out of control, if I am out of control with her than who is manning this ship? We are sinking in a terrible sea of yelling tears and an occasional crayon, because my life is consumed with these crayons that pop up all over and magically color on my walls and my bookshelves and ever on my wood floor. When you start seeing your little strong willed child start to jut that chin out and you watch their eyes glint over with sheer determination, brace yourself and count to ten. Once I learned to stay calm, the length of a fight is much better. I fail every day, and every day I ask for forgiveness or empathy, we as adults ask for those two things daily, but it seems that we don’t think our children deserve the same thing. They are still learning how to control adult emotions in kid bodies once I remembered that I had a much easier time reacting to Hayden. 

Now mommas how many times does your child walk by your spouse and come find you and ask for something. Hayden Renee will seek me out to ask me something, while she walks right by her dad who is sitting on the couch watching tv. She will than proceed to say mom 1000x and than ask me for juice. I think I say “ are you kidding me 100x a day” but I also try to remember that she DOES go to her dad when she needs him to fix her toy drill (yes she has a toy one because for the sake of every screw in my house it was safer to give her her own than to have her sneak daddy’s and use it) But I’m mom im the magician of opening juice boxes. I’m ok with that, thats her way of communicating. Your reaction to your child in that moment will mirror how they respond. So if you react poorly you may just end up with a juice packed thrown at the wall and a child running away screaming. It has happened don’t laugh momma was stressed and reacted poorly. 

Remember that you are the parent, it’s your job to teach them to channel that energy and tendencies of sheer bull headedness into something that they will be proud of. Notice I said they? You are allowed to be proud of your children but raise them to be proud of themselves! That is your job! 

So with that let’s switch to you mommas and daddy’s side. How embarrassing is it to go into a restaurant and have your little sour patch just terrorize the whole entire place? I used to get so stressed out and embarrassed anytime we went anywhere. But than I looked deep into myself and why I felt this way. We all have this perfect picture of what we think our children will be, they’ll say yes mam and no mam and never act up in public etc. How big of a joke is this? My child is polite but 9 times out of 10 she is an absolute terror in public, and guess what im ok with that. She is exploring and learning new things, and its my job to teach her how to reign that in and be better. Please mommas if you do one thing different from this don’t ever them see you feel embarrassed by them, that’s a part of their self esteem you will never be able to repair. You can never fix that broken piece. Instead remember your child is perfect in every way!  They are your child, they are reflection and a piece of you. 

Some days you may have to hide in the shower and eat that chocolate or drink that glass of wine. That’s ok, I at least twice a week lay in the fetal position and just think about the day. Hayden Renee is a handful on a good day, on a bad davits by grace and grace alone I make it through. Grace on my part to acknowledge that she is a child, and grace on her part to acknowledge that I am not a perfect parent. I have on more than one occasion had to call Andy to come home from work because I was in tears and couldn’t handle it anymore. That is ok to do momma’s! Its ok to admit you can’t handle them, the world puts this huge weight on our shoulders as mothers. They say we should be able to handle them no matter what. What a load of crapp that is! Take that weight off your shoulders, put it on the ground, and let your spouse sit on it with you! Let them help with those issues! I can guarantee they feel just as lost as you. 

Don’t let the world tell you are a lazy parent because your child isn’t perfect all the time! You are doing amazing momma! These sour patch kids of ours are going to amazing things in life! They won’t become serial killers, they wont flunk out of school and end up in a ditch. They won’t hate you for being tough on them. These kids, these strong willed kids that test us to the limit are the ones who run nations, they are the ones who own a business they are the ones who protect the other kids from the bullies. These strong willed kids are who this world needs, someone upstairs felt you were strong enough to raise them, don’t take that lightly! 

Just as a good example of moments of grace. This is the second write up of this blog! I had finished the first one and was extremely proud of it and Hayden Renee erased it in the split second I was up checking on the baby. YALL I was gone 20 seconds and she had it completely erased and I could not find it. By grace I didn’t scream, I just laughed and wrote it again. Apparently the first draft wasn’t what I needed to write. Whats meant to be will happen. The story is already written in the stars so just follow it and stop letting other try to change it with there un needed opinions. You know your child better than anyone else! You know what they need! YOU GOT THIS MOMMA. 

Post Partum Anxiety

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I have struggled so much with this blog. How do I make this have a meaning? How do I write something that actually speaks to all woman. The one’s who think they are going through it and the ones who are struggling, and the ones who are going to be struggling. I struggled in silence with my first daughter for ten months before I finally had to admit that something wasn’t right. My marriage had hit a spot that my husband who is always so steadfast in forever was going something has to change or I am taking her and leaving. To some that may sound harsh but for me who is extremely bullheaded I needed that jolt. So I sat down with him and finally, finally admitted that I wasn’t happy, I was so filled with constant worry that the worst would happen! I couldn’t fathom the idea of anyone holding or touching my daughter but me because I knew I wouldn’t let anything happen to her! I would be fine one second and than would screaming in pure rage the next. Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety! After everything I have gone through to get that child I couldn’t understand why I would develop more problems. I almost became one of the 20% that die postpartum from suicide due to not being treated. It tears my heart apart for the women who don’t beat that number! We don’t know there story, we don’t know what led to that point. What we do know is there voices need to live on and that they didn’t die senselessly. There children matter, the ones who will grow up without mothers because the world rarely notices these problems. In order to accomplish that dream I want to share with you what to look for what your risk factors are so you can be more informed than I was! 

Some symptoms to look for when asking yourself if maybe you are suffering from PPA:

  • Feeling, nervous, restless or tense
  • Sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Random Surge of Anger
  • Constant Worry
  • Inability to sit still
  • Disturbance or sleep, and appetite
  • Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, nausea

So many of these symptoms are something as a new mom you feel anyways so I can see where I missed what was going on. We as moms feel this unimaginable burden to be perfect and to admit we aren’t is so dang hard. But we have to begin saying im hurting! We have to start saying something because in this day and age there is no shame in asking for help! We are the ones who will bring awareness back! 

The rate of Post Party Depression vs. Post Party Anxiety may not seem like a lot but 1 in 7 is to much! Almost 50% of women who are diagnose with Postpartum Depression are also diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety. But Postpartum Anxiety is very rarely discussed. 

Depression :   4% of pregnant women

5% of postpartum women

Anxiety: 6% of pregnant women

10% of postpartum women 

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This picture was taken four days before I tried to take my own life. Deceitful isn’t it?

Now for me I didn’t understand after everything I had been through I would suffer from anxiety. This should be the happiest time of my life, but I didn’t feel happy. I couldn’t focus on being a good mom because I was so dang worried everything would hurt her. When I started doing research after admitting something was wrong the risk factors surprised me. Not having adequate social and family support, I had that, I had more than enough of that. Divorce or Marriage problems, which for the record my marriage was fine but when you are constantly flipping out on your spouse who is just as exhausted as you are marriage problems begin to develop! Financial Hardship is also a risk factor due to the stress from that! Stressful life events over the last year such as job loss, grief, a health emergency or an accident. Now if you follow our blog you know my story, you know I had been through hell the five years prior to Hayden so that in my opinion was my biggest reason I developed Post Part Anxiety.  

Now this part is for you husbands and men who might read this blog. Did you know 10% of new fathers experience some form of Postpartum Anxiety or Depression. If you are struggling, please say something! Don’t feel because you are a man you can’t say anything to someone. New fathers are going through a lot of stressors just like new mothers. Its ok to admit a problem! 

Now for the fun part of this article, why I began writing this! What I learned in the past three years of struggling with this and what I have used in my journey! I found this wonderful website called draxe.com ! Now lets start with everyones favorite and probably the most known oil, 

  1. Lavender: Considered a nervous system restorative and as we all know helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability and panic attacks. 
  2. Rose: Lesser used than lavender but it is extremely settling for your emotions, and when used in a diffuser or in a warm bath can decrease the feeling of anxiety.
  3. Vetiver: I personally LOVE this oil! It’s tranquil and grounding and helps decrease jittery ness and hypersensitivity! 
  4. Ylang Ylang: Fun to say and one of Siobhan’s favorites! Helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness! Calms heart agitation and nervousness. Now a note for this one is please be careful if you suffer from low blood pressure because it does have mild sedative properties.
  5. Bergamot: Is one more popularly used to treat depression over anxiety because it induces relaxation and blends amazing with lavender to help with better sleep which depression worsened by with exhaustion. 
  6. Chamomile: We all love a good chamomile tea! It decreases anxiety and worry! Dose that not just help you to better understand why your grandmother and mom always drank that nasty tea before bed. Now as mothers you love it! 
  7. Frankincense: I Love this one too! It provides an amazing calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding! In aromatherapy it helps deepen meditation and quiets the mind! We are huge pushers of Self care Sunday and you better believe this is in my diffuser going during that time! 

Aromatherapy is such an amazing way to combat anxiety and depressive moments! Our sense of smell triggers huge and powerful emotional responses in us. We process so much through our sense of smell, just think about what triggers a memory. Topically is an amazing way to also use these oils, just add a carrier oil and maybe have you spouse massage it in. Win win for everyone! 

Disclaimer: If you feel any of these things please go ask for help! Don’t be that statistic of woman or men that loose this battle senselessly! Find a doctor or a counselor or a best friend or someone who can help you put the puzzle pieces back together. 

1-800-273-TALK

1-800-273-8255

The national suicide hotline is always available to talk! 

Refrences: 

  1. https://www.postpartumdepression.org/postpartum-depression/types/anxiety/
  2. http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/anxiety-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/postpartum-anxiety-might-be-even-more-common-than-ppd_us_57742e48e4b0cc0fa13661c0
  4. https://www.romper.com/p/how-many-cases-of-postpartum-depression-lead-to-suicide-statistics-dont-say-18973
  5. https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-anxiety/

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Be Better

Why is it as a mom you feel things more deeply? I have had loss of friends in high school and over the ten years since high school (god that makes me feel old). I’ve felt heartache and loss, but since becoming a mother any kind of loss almost devastates me. 

Recently I lost a 15 year friendship and its just put me in this funk I can’t shake? It takes a lot for me to let people in, thats just my nature, so if you are on that list I than I truly care about you as a person. Its taken me weeks to think and I just feel lost. I was laying up watching t.v the other night and the words just started flowing out of my mind. The pain we as mothers feel over a loss of friendship, its so deep and so intense why is that? We deal with loss at a completely different level. 

The conclusion I have come to is we feel this loss more because we have more to protect.  My children have made me a mama bear, I fiercely love them and I fiercely protect them. So when i’m hurting, you not only are hurting me, but my heart ache’s for my children. 

Many people have watched my loss of a friend in the past months and I still don’t have the words to explain it. I truly thought In the week leading up to the final fallout that I was doing what was best and in the end it wasn’t taken that way. So many people will tell me it was just a friendship but I know you fellow mommas will understand. As moms we are so criticized for every little thing that we do, from how we give birth, to how we feed, to how we dress, to how we vaccinate or don’t. We are criticized for it all! So to find a fellow mom or moms who agree with how you do things, or at least doesn’t critisize you is so rare. To lose that is hard, because suddenly that person you text at 3 p.m when your toddler is acting like satan is gone. Lord forbid you text someone else or put on your facebook “toddler for sale” because hell will rain down on you. 

I hate that for moms! I hate that we don’t have the comfort that no matter what mom we go to we can vent. I hate that we are so scared of being criticized we second guess every single thing! Being a mom is hard! Being a SAHM is incredibly lonely and depressing, and that is made more so by the constant scrutiny we feel as moms! 

I don’t necessarily agree with every mom out there but if you need a shoulder to lean on come find me! I’ve been in your shoes at some point! Ive been in that pain at some point! Why would I judge you?

In an effort for utter transparency so you all can truly get to know me, I’ve always struggled from anxiety and depression, which was made worse through infertility and subsequently two back to back babies. I know going into tough situations that, that will play a part in my reactions to the things. The past two weeks have been hard on me as a wife and a mother, I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I felt like a failure, I had been made to feel like I was less than as a person, I had been made to feel like what mattered to me was stupid and pointless. I don’t think i’ll ever be able to truly describe how that feels. I ache for the loss of a friend, but I ache for what I lost in myself. I lost a fire I had for something I truly cared about! I lost a confidence in who I was and am as a person. 

That’s not right or fair. NEVER let someone do that to you. NEVER allow anyone or anything defeat you. We as women, as moms, as humans, have gone through fights some people will never know about! Things we never have to tell others about, but we made it to the other side! 

If the past two weeks has shown me anything, its shown me the truth about humanity, a truth that I looked at through rose colored lens before, but a truth that has been there the whole time. It showed me a truth about myself, I care, I care about strangers, I care about other moms who are going through heartache and pain, I care about what others feel. 

It also showed me a lesson I need to teach my children, especially my girls! BE KIND. Never be hateful or mean, always respect others and who they are as a person. There opinions may be different from yours and that is ok! Be honest with others even when it hurts! Be true to yourself, do what you think is right even if the world is telling you its wrong. Be a human that you want to be friends with. Last of all don’t be a victim, take the pain and turn it around and acknowledge your mistakes and than be able to say because of this I became a better human, a better friend, a better everything. But I wasn’t a victim who allowed myself to be defeated, I made a change and came back better!  

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You are an amazing mom!

Why is being a mom one of the most judged most looked down upon careers in todays world? If you breastfeed you’re showing to much boob if you formula feed you’re hurting your child. If you feed them processed baby food from a jar your a terrible person, but if you make your own you’re a snobby mom. I mean how does any mom feel good enough? I have only been a mom for three years and in those three years I have been put down for every little thing I do with my girls. It took having a baby in NICU and being forced to have to advocate for my child that gave me the clarity to realize I don’t need anyone’s approval. These are my kids and I am their mother! I learned in those weeks that I had a voice and if I wasn’t going to be confident in my decisions for them they wouldn’t ever be confident women themselves.

The first year with Hayden I was paralyzed in fear. I had gone through infertility for five years, I had fought so hard for this child and I wasn’t happy. I was doing what everyone else told me I was supposed to do and it didn’t feel right. Hayden was ten months old before I was diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety, and the only reason I got that diagnoses was because I almost became one of the 20% that took my own life due to not getting treated for post partum. Getting the help I needed gave me a voice that I had been wanting to find. I went on to nurse Hayden till she was 19 months old and that was after everyone told me I was crazy. I would hear at every family event how gross it was I was still nursing her. Why is that? Why does anybody else think its ok to comment on our bodies? I had fought hard for that child and if she was going to be my only one I wanted to truly experience everything motherhood had to offer! 

Kasalina Grace’s pregnancy was a whirlwind and in that time is when I found my voice! When you have no other option but to lean on God you truly find a backbone of steal! 

Both of my girls are at home with me 24/7 and when I go anywhere they are with me, I don’t typically do anything without my children. “but when do you get away from them?” If I was the opposite and I left my children all the time to go out by myself I would get criticized on the other end of the spectrum and be called a bad mom. Why? Why do we as a society think its ok to shame moms? I can’t think of one single mom that doesn’t feel some kind of guilt for either leaving their child to go to work or for staying at home with them. 

“Will they be adjusted and able to be out in society?”

“Will they be mad im gone so much?” 

“Will they be sociable, because all they see is me?” 

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Being a mom is the hardest job in the world! You will never make everyone happy! And guess what I’ll be the one to say it, SCREW THEM! When you get to those pearly gates I know Jesus isn’t asking if you vaccinated or didn’t, or if you breastfed or didn’t. He will be asking did you love them? Did you lead them to me? Did you show them every single day that they had a father in heaven who would NEVER judge them? Those are the questions to answer. 

With this realization came freedom, a freedom to be a mom, a freedom to love my children with abandon. Guess what some days my kids stay in their pajamas all day and we watch tv shows. Other days they are dressed. Guess what 85% of the time my two year old is in just underwear because she had a vendetta against clothes. I live in mom shirts (thank you Angie at Curly Q’s, if you don’t know her find her she is amazing) and I have 3x the amount of yoga pants and sweats than I do jeans and shorts. That’s ok! We are moms! I can guarantee that my two year old could careless if i look like a model or if im in the clothes I wore the day before. 

Which on a side note Hayden Renee told me the other that I smelt so I figured it may be time to take a shower. I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered. Both girls had been sick, Kasalina Grace was teething and had her first ear infection and momma slept when there was downtime because I wanted sleep more than a shower. But that is my life. My husband works 50-60 hour weeks and usually gone before the sun rises and doesn’t get home till right at sunset. 

I am there mom no-one else is. Guess what momma’s your babies are watching! They see when you second guess yourself or when you back track over what you said yes to because someone else questioned you. They see that, and the will later follow your lead. Be strong momma! Those are your kids! If you want to get them chick-fil-a every dang day for lunch you do that momma!! If you want to make a perfectly balanced meal for your child everyday I am in aw of you and you do that momma! But mom’s always remember you are showing your kids christ in you! Food won’t matter, vaccines wont matter, your story is already written so you need to live it. The only thing that matters to me is my kids see christ. 

Now one things thats been on my heart lately and i’ve been struggling with is the guilt of being a stay-at-home-mom. I love it but on the days when my husband gets home and the house is still a wreck and I feel like is no way ill get my head above water. I’ve learned that on those days to take stock of what my kids got to do that day. When it seems like dishes never end, its because I allowed my two year old to help me cook and she had to have her own bowls to mix and her own pan to cook in. On the days it seems like laundry is never ending, its because we are blessed to live on land that allows us to get our clothes incredibly messy! 

I guess in all of this rambling im trying to say, mommas be moms don’t worry about what the world thinks of you or is saying about you. BE THEIR MOM. All those people with opinions are not the mom YOU ARE. Don’t ever second guess yourself, don’t allow someone to bully you into changing what you want for your kids! I was and still am a person who allows others to make me feel guilty and I need to read this every single day! 

YOU ARE DOING AMAZING! YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT! 

Recharging and Reconnecting tips.

Any other moms feel so overwhelmed sometimes? I have been trying to get a new post out for days but both of my kids have sabotaged my one time in the evenings to get some writing done! Hayden Renee one night decided she wanted to wash her hair with play doh. Yes, you read that correctly, play doh! It took a 30 minute soak in the bathtub with conditioner, than me slowly combing through her hair for probably another twenty minutes before I got It all out! So after that situation I spent the evening (what was left of it) and drank a glass (or two) of wine and thought about my life decisions of allowing play doh into my house. 

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We are currently planning a family camping trip and are so excited for it so I thought for all you fellow campers (or fifth wheel) like us I would just do a tips and tricks I have learned from having just Hayden Renee to camping with Kasalina Grace as an infant who is in cloth diapers! 

I love camping and we are so incredibly blessed that when my in laws upgraded their fifth wheel they allowed us to take over their old one! We have on occasion taken their’s but my father in law usually enjoys going with us so we take both! I absolutely love our times in the fifth wheel as a family, they recenter and re-energize us. If you are wanting to have just times together as a family I really recommend camping and exploring, even if it is just your state! We made a list at the beginning of the year of places within two hours of our house that we wanted to explore and we try to go one of those places every two months. 

The best thing I have found when it comes to these trips is planning ahead is key! When it comes to meals, clothes, toys, everything pretty much I plan ahead. I have made my life easier and there are certain things that I have already in the fifth wheel that doesn’t have to be moved back and forth. It can be expensive to essentially have a second of everything, a lot of things I got on sale or on black Friday deals! We keep a sound machine in the camper because both of my girls sleep with one! I also have a toy box in the camper that is just for the camper. Hayden Renee loves this because she has exciting “new” toys that she gets to play with when we go explore! After each trip I wash all the sheets and towels than put them all back into the camper so when we go to leave the next time its one less thing for me to do and think about! 

 

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Now as far as meal planning goes when we are exploring, I tend to be a little less strict with what we eat while out. BUT I still make a meal plan that I can for the most part do all the preparation before we leave and it makes my life so much easier! I absolutely love foil meals for dinners! I can pre marinate and make all the vegetables and meats that go in the foil packets and have them in bags ready to be put into the foil! So much easier than having to do it all in a small area with little to no counter space! Lets be honest campers do not have much extra counter space to spread out and cut everything! Lunches are another fun experience and my first couple trips I would bring ALL the sandwich supplies and make them at the time. Not so much anymore! The best thing i’ve done is to take the Hawaiian bread rolls (which are amazing) cut the whole slab in half sideways, and put all the meat and cheese on them. I usually do a packet for every lunch we are there and do half ham and half turkey. They packages just sit onto of each other on the shelf in the small fridge in the camper (which anyone else who camps wish that you could fit a full size fridge in them!) I stock up on all those tiny packages of mayo and mustard and ketchup and those go into a plastic bin labeled condiments on a shelf in a cabinet because there are ATON of those! Now this all took me about five or six times of camping before I figured it out! The first couple solo trips kinda got rough and thank god for my amazing mother in law who has does this a lot more than me and has a fifth wheel stocked better than my house! I promise you as much preparation as you can do ahead of time will allow you to feel like you are on vacation. I do a lot of things that can be put on the grill because that is my husbands area and I get to sit down and relax while he cooks! 

Another huge help for me is to put my kids clothes for each day and pajamas in pre labeled bags (that I reuse every time!) All I have to do is reach into the cabinet and grab the bag I need and don’t even have to think about it! The less I have to think about in the moment and the more I get to relax and have fun the better! Now I have a dock-a-tot for Kasalina that I take EVERYWHERE! She sleeps all night in it and as all moms know taking that away is not an option if you want to maintain your sanity! I love organizing, I love having things organized because it allows me to have fun outside and truly enjoy the time away because everything is already done! 

One big thing thats hard in a camper is there is no bathtub, so with little kids we have a sprayer shower head with a long hose! Hayden Renee is easy because she can just stand in there and I can just spray her down, she thinks its so much fun! The sprayer turns on and off so I don’t have to readjust the temperature each time! Kasalina is a little tougher but we usually just have one of us in there holding her while the other stands outside of the shower ready to take the baby. I have a wash cloth for each girl in the camper and a hook for them in the shower so I can just let them dry in between uses! One thing you will learn fast when camping is minimalism is key. A towel for each person is enough for the short amount of time you are gone! It’s so incredibly freeing to not have so much stuff around you and just have people! 

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 Now for you cloth diaper mommas or those who are considering cloth diapers! I absolutely love our decision to cloth diaper. It was a slow decision to get to this point because I barely have time for myself now and to add in one more thing I needed to do seemed daunting. But, both of my girls are allergic to the bleaching in both diapers and now Hayden is potty trained and I have to use a certain brand of toilet paper to keep her from reacting! So needless to say this switch has been an amazing option for me! At home I have an easy setup with a can with a liner for the diapers and it works well for me! In the camper I had to get a bit creative because I couldn’t have a bulky bin sitting around for many reasons. I found on amazon reusable liners that were large and zipped shut. I also have seventh generation spray and that handy sprayer in the shower that helps me deal with the number two diapers! I than use my amazing mrs. Meyers spray to spray down the floor of the shower! This system works well for me and I bring enough diapers for all the days we are gone. If you cloth diaper you know that you know how many you use a day! We also use cloth for Kasalina Grace’s swim diapers and I have three of those on hand because she doesn’t tend to stay in the water if we do go swimming for long so she doesn’t soil those as fast as her cloth diapers! 

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I will always encourage having a salt lamp and diffuser with your favorite oils taken with you! I love to keep my family in the same routine of there oils and if you don’t believe in a salt lamp you should!! They are the most amazing way to clear the air of negative energy and get rid of anxiety! My diffuser in the camper is a smaller one because it is a small area but my oil collection is just as big as in my house because you never know what you may need for what ailment! The bug spray I use on my girls and the bug bite balm are all made from my essential oils. I try to use as little of chemicals as I can. Hayden before bed every night asks for her essential oils (rollerballs) on her feet and chest. I LOVE that she loves to explore but with exploring comes with bug bites and bruises! I love doterra Terra Shield in both the oil and spray! The oil can be diffused to keep the creepy crawlies out of your area, while the spray can keep them off of you! Lavender and Cedarwood are amazing separately but together are great for restful sleep! I diffuse this while getting my kids wound down for a nap or bedtime or use it in a rollerball to clam them down! I never go anywhere without these oils. 

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My last tip to getting away with your family is to put the electronics down! The phones, the tablets, the laptops, all of it goes into a bin in the camper and we may check it at night once the kids are in bed but during the day we don’t pick it up! It gives us a chance to unplug and get away, it gives us a chance to truly reconnect as a family! I find it gives me and my husband and chance to just be with each other and talk and not have one of our phones blowing up or facebook open or instagram! I love these trips and one weekend every two months won’t kill your following, and your facebook won’t disappear! What it will do is allow your family to truly reconnect with each other and have fun! These memories that you will make will last forever! 

A few of my favorite things.

Top 10 mom products we couldn’t live without. 

  1. Dock a tot: https://dockatot.com
  2. Owelet: https://owletcare.com
  3. Cameras: 
  4. Mommaroo swing: https://shop.4moms.com/
  5. Books: https://www.babylit.com
  6. Smilo bottles/sippy cups: https://www.smilobaby.com
  7. Hatch scale/noisemaker: https://shop.hatchbaby.com
  8. Nose Frida: https://www.fridababy.com
  9. Naturesutton pacifier : http://www.natursutten.com
  10. Ryan and Rose clips: https://www.ryanandrose.co

So tonight I thought I’d give you momma friends who are either pregnant or have fresh newbies a top ten list of my absolute favorite products! Some of them have products for the older kids that I also use with Hayden! But for the most part these are mainly baby products! 

 First product I wish I had bought for Hayden Renee, she may be sleeping in her own room now instead of with me currently! The dock-a-tot has been my saving grace when it comes to Kasalina’s sleep schedule. I can take in the fifth wheel camping with us, or even to my moms house when she watches the girls and she will sleep in it without a fuss! Along with this is the Mommaroro Swing, I had a swing for Hayden but when my mom bought the mommaroo for us when we had Kasalina it was a game changer! She will play in it while I cook dinner or am cleaning up around the house! It is a bit on the pricy side but I would definently recommend it for moms with toddlers who run around the house like the hounds of hell are behind them! This Swing has held up to Hayden laying on-top of kasalina and trying to sit in it herself! 

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She loves this! 

Now Smilo is a smaller bottle company but I absolutely ADORE there products! The bottle has a patented nipple shape and vent that works together to reduce colic, and I know there are other companies that say they do that, but this is the first one that actually worked for Kasalina. I tried six other brands before stumbling across this one! The material is BPA, BPS, BPF & Phthalate free, which was another big factor in me wanting to try them. They have four stages from preemie to stage three. I also use their sippy cups for Hayden and have been the only ones I have found that don’t leak, and there are no hidden crevices that collect mold no matter how much you take them apart and scrub them! (Can you tell ive been through 1000 sippy cups with Hayden!) 

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Smilo Bottles! 

Now if you are a mom like me and like to track weight and feeds (really helpful for breast feeding mommas) than you’ll like the Hatch scale as much as I do! Now I mainly got this scale because I had a preemie and one of our contingency for getting to go home was tracking her weight carefully and regular pediatrician visits so they could take down her weight! Hatch linked to my phone and automatically kept a log of Kasalina Weight and if I wanted weighted feeds. If you are a preemie mom I for sure recommend this product! It gave me peace of mind that she was gaining! I also was gifted a hatch sound machine, I NEVER used a sound machine with Hayden because she just slept with me and I had the tv on most of the time. We now all sleep with the sound machine on and I have since bought one for the Fifth wheel for camping trips so we have one on hand at all hands! Along with a scale if you are a mom like me the Owelet monitor is such a huge lifesaver! It will allow you to sleep with such a peace of mind. I have used mine for every nap and bedtime since we came home from the hospital. With Hayden I had angel care and it was ok but I love the Owelet! I can track her heart rate and oxygen levels from my phone and it alerts me if either drops! Kasalina has a ASD which is an Atrial Septal Defect, which is a hole is the wall that separates the top two chambers of her heart. She will hopefully not have to have surgery and it will close on its own by the time she is one. But she isn’t sitting up on her own yet and you have to watch her closely when feeding and eating because she will turn blue if she gets over taxed. I COULD NOT sleep if I didn’t have a way to see her heart rate and oxygen levels. 

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This is Kasalina on the Hatch Scale!

Kasalina does take a pacifier, and I love the nature Sutton ones for her! My mother in law says they are ugly but the are all natural, toxin free pacifier. Kasalina Absolutely ADORES them! To hold these pacifiers to her I LOVE Ryan & Rose pacifier clips! They are absolutely adorable and have all kind of styles! They sell Naturesutton on there site and also have adorable rattles! Every mom loves the Nose Frida and I am no exception! I have there thermometer for Hayden because she will randomly spike 103-104 degree fevers. So if before bed she feels a little warm ill stick that on her and it gives me peace of mind that it will alert me if there is a spike. 

So lastly we have my overprotective slightly paranoid husband favorite item, cameras. We have a camera in every room except the bathrooms in our house that link to one tablet not on wifi because he was worried someone would access them through wifi. We did this mainly because he wanted me to able to shower without being scared to death (the tablet is waterproof). I at first thought he was insane but now that we are four years into cameras I actually enjoy them. I can see Hayden destroy her room (yay) and I can see if Kasalina is asleep or awake (which lets be honest she wakes up as I scrub shampoo into my hair every time.) I would have to say find some good ones and use them because they are worth it! 

Now I will say some of these items can get expensive, but I bought them over nine months. I honestly don’t put a price on some of the peace of mind it gave me! With my post party anxiety I honestly couldn’t have functioned without some! (A topic for another time) Some of these items I wished I had with Hayden and others specifically are needed for Kasalina. If you don’t have a high needs baby you may not need some of them. Others of them are great for kids of all ages! One thing I have done for both girls I highly suggest for everyone is invest in books! For baby showers and birthdays that have come and gone I have asked instead of cards to get books! Books teach them they can be anything anywhere in the world! Books give them a place to learn and escape. I will forever be grateful for my mom instilling in me and my brothers the love for books we still carry to this day! I LOVE babylit books for my girls! They have classics to introductions to ABC’s. Every night before bed I love our time reading a book (or two or three) and for a little while we are in a faraway land or exploring a jungle. For a short minute in time I can imagine my girls aren’t swiftly growing up before my eyes! 

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These are just a few of our Babylit Books! I love the classics for them. 

I hope this helps you! If there is ever any product you want to know about ask me and Ill do some research or just go to the source and talk to them! 

Who am I?

Hi all! I am Sarah McKinney, mom of two gorgeous and amazing girls! I have been married to my sweet country boy for seven years now and we live in a small town called Christmas Fl. You may be wondering about the title of the blog. Hayden Renee is my oldest daughter, my first born, my sour patch kid. She is her momma all over again with her daddy’s smarts. The world is a better place for having her in it! 

This child of mine has figured out every childproof lock I have put up in this house! She can climb over any gate you set in her way and has the steely determination of someone beyond her years! She is sassy as can be with a vocabulary beyond her sweet age of two. She tests every boundary I give her and pushes every button in me on any given day. I find myself yelling no less than 100x times a day to get out of the fridge. In fact if I even hear that fridge open I just automatically yell “Hayden get out of the fridge.” This my life, I argue and loose often to a two-year old! I find her toy kitchen food and plates in my fridge and freezer constantly! As I tried to come up with a name for my blog that represented me and my family and our story a good friend looked at me (after I had hollered for the billionth time that evening for Hayden to get out of the fridge!) and just said “thats it, thats your name.” So here we are! 

My blog, this is my safe place for you to come! If you never admit you have read even one of my posts im ok with that! But I want this to be a place for you to find solace, to laugh, to see a topic thats been bugging you and have it explained! If you want me to help you find an alternative product for your family I will! If I cant make it for you (for a small price) ill steer you in the right direction! 

I am so excited for this adventure! I want to help you, if you need something let me know. If you wanna talk let me know! If you need a place to laugh come on over and read because I can guarantee I have a story of some kind of antic that my two year old and seven month old have done! 

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