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Posted on August 22, 2019

RaeLynn’s Birth Story


The draft for RaeLynn’s birth story had been in progress since January of 2018.  A big part of the reason I couldn’t actually finish this post is because I was in denial about how my birth plan panned out. In finding out I was pregnant once again back in November, I realized just how much trauma and emotional pain I still had from my two cesarean births. I know that I need to write this birth story in order to heal and accept the way my beautiful babe was brought into the world. I’m a week overdue with our next baby girl, so I figure it’s about time we finished writing this story.

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Posted on January 22, 2018

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

2017 was the year that we became a family five! I always use my annual Christmas card to give our friends and family an overview from our year. Remember when we used to have to handwrite in every card? I may have gone a bit overboard this year and created personalized photo address labels AND postage stamps! I mean, when your dear friend is an amazing photographer and captures so many beautiful photos of your family, you kind of want to use them all! Big thanks to Shutterfly for the Christmas cards and Mel McLellan for the beautiful photos of our family!

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Baby Makes 5

Our sweet RaeLynn Jean joined our family on September 1st, 2017. She is the best gift we could have received this year. Elliana just said today that she is so glad we finally have a baby! Oh my heart could burst y’all! I’ve been wanting to share my birth story (any of you catch my Instagram stories from those labor days?!) but clearly my hands are full and I’m going to be okay with waiting until the new year to share. Stay tuned!

Deputy Daddy

Phil became a Deputy for the Sheriff’s Office about a week after baby Rae was born! This new role as a Deputy is totally voluntary, so Phil still has his day job as the Senior Project Manager with Whitestone Enterprises hanging out with the Property Brothers and perfecting his skills of building homes so that he can build one for us! So Teck will have no problems instilling fear into the boys that want to date her since she has a gun-wearing Deputy for a Dad! (Uhm, speaking of, Miss thing has a boyfriend now! Don’t tell her I told you…)

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Teck Goes to College

We are so proud of Teck in her achievements in High School. Over the last few years, she has faced many challenges and we are so in awe of what God has done in her life. In case you just started reading our blog, we adopted her almost 2 years ago and shared her story earlier this year on the blog. { HERE } Now she is at Belmont majoring in Motion Pictures and she is totally in her element. She has amazing friends and the best view of the big beautiful fountain outside of her dorm room! I would say the hardest thing about adopting a teen, is that your time is cut drastically short. BUT thankfully she is only 20 minutes away! While Teck is living on campus at Belmont, we still get to see her often enough for all 3 girls to get lots of bonding time, but we miss our Tecky!

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

That Oily Life

If you haven’t already noticed, this year in review is no particular order. I’m just taking you on a little journey (rabbit trail) as I think over all that we did last year. Oh, my trip to Utah for the Young Living Convention! THAT was such an incredible experience! I’ll be sharing a lot more about the life-changing experience we have had with essential oils and the many toxic-free products we have now filled our home with from Young Living. Over the summer they announced their new makeup line with ZERO chemicals and bujunk-a-junk. (that’s my word, feel free to use as needed.) And they even came out with a new plant-based baby line just in time for RaeLynn’s entrance to the world! We just love the baby oil, (a drop IN the bath and then on the skin afterwards) wipes, and diaper rash cream!

The best part about Young Living is by far their Seed to Seal guarantee. Synthetics, contaminants, cheap fillers, and unethical production is just not an option. I love that as a member with Young Living, we can visit any farm across the globe! On this trip, I got to walk the Mona farm, meet the farmers, plant my own lavender, and see everything from seed to seal! I also have pages and pages of notes from the 13 workshops that I attended and I cannot wait to share what I learned with you on the blog!

So here are a few shots with the lavender planting experience, exploring the farm and a shot with my girls! {Notice my Savvy Minerals makeup face in the last pic!} One of the best parts of being a Young Living member is the relationships I have built. I got to spend lots of time with dear friends and make some new ones too!

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Beauty Turns 4

Elliana participated in her first ever beauty pageant! She totally killed it! I really wanted her to learn to be brave and go in front of an audience. I was blown away at how confident she was on stage. We were so proud of her!

She also turned 4 in 2017! We had a sweet time with dear friends celebrating the vivacious, creative, talented girl she is! And of course, I can’t talk about 2017 without mentioning the eclipse! Elli did a little sclipse art while we experienced the big event.

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Family of Five | A Year in Review

Elliana took swimming lessons with Laura from Warden Aquatics here in Franklin, Tennessee. We kept the dilapidated above-ground pool that came with our house for last summer because Mama knew that being pregnant in the Tennessee heat was not going to be fun! When you have a pool in your backyard and you have littles, it is so important to be confident that your child will know what to do if they fall in. Elli did some basics with Laura during the first lesson and by the second she was well on her way to swimming! I couldn’t believe how quickly she learned.

Oh Canada!

We took a very unexpected trip to Canada upon receiving word that my sweet Grammy was in her last days. I was over 8 months pregnant but I grabbed a pair of support hose and within 2 days we were on the road. Just me and my two (3 including baby in my belly!) girls drove up to Ontario and made the best of what was to be a sad occasion. We split the drive in two parts as to protect us all from insanity by stopping in Ohio for the night. I was so thankful to have Teck with me to help keep Elliana entertained! We had so many laughs along the way. And poutine…and Tim Horton’s.

I wasn’t my usual picture-snappy self as I was very distracted by the fact that my Grammy would soon be gone. Which means I only had 300 pictures instead of my usual 900 from a trip of this length. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration because I actually completely missed some of the people we got to see. I am so glad we got to have this special time with our family! This was Teck’s first time meeting most of our family members! She asked everyone loads of questions and got to know them and we made a ton of memories! We even got to celebrate Phil’s Dida’s (Grandfather) 80th birthday!

On our last day, I was determined to stop at Niagara Falls so that the girls could experience what I did many times as a little girl. Being the penny-pincher that I am, we parked incredibly far away and had to walk (I waddled) quite the distance to the Hornblower Cruise part where we got to see the falls up close and personal! Afterwards we ate at the little cafe right on the falls and then hiked our buns back to the car. It was about 1:30pm at this point so we pretty much lost a ton of driving time, but it was worth it!

Cheers to 2018!

Okay, you guys should all do this. I mean, you don’t necessarily need to have a blog, but just skimming through pictures from 2017 has brought back so many memories and made me stop and think about all that I have to be grateful for. God just blew me away last year and I’m just not so sure He can top it! I wonder what is in store for us in 2018? What trips will we go on and what memories will we make?

My word for 2018 is ‘TRANSFORMATION’. I recently shared this on my Facebook and Instagram:

My hope for this year is to see transformation in all areas of my life. Starting with my prayer and devotional time. Goodness, I need more Jesus in my life! 👆🏼Then in my time with my husband, being deliberate in dating him and loving him well. ❤️ I want to see transformation in the way I parent, especially in the challenging moments when I am quick to anger.😅 I want to look my girls in the eyes more often and help them to always know that I am present when I am with them. And lastly, I want freedom from debt. 🙌🏽All of it. I want our lives to be transformed by that kind of freedom, to where we can give more freely and travel and see the world! 🌎 My oil addiction didn’t start because I had this grand experience upon trying them the first time, it was because my need to help others was fulfilled by being able to help them transform their lives and health with oils! Then my testimonies came later with my own use of the products. This year I’m hitting GOLD with the most incredible company in the world! (Thanks @younglivingeo)

What is YOUR word for the year?

Posted on August 23, 2017

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate

MY DUE DATE IS TODAY! It’s time to make my hospital checklist and ensure I have all the baby must-haves for our sweet RaeLynn’s impending arrival! If you had told me this time last year that I would be 40 weeks pregnant right now, I would have laughed. God has such a sense of humor. Pregnancy wasn’t on our radar one bit since it took us so long to get pregnant with Elliana. But I cannot tell you how excited we are to welcome another girl to the family!

Making Memories

With a second pregnancy you tend to forget about the weekly bumpdate pictures and you don’t journal as much. I was so grateful when I was gifted this beautiful Bump book from Polka Dot Print Shop to record my pregnancy memories. I have loved having the prompts along the way to help me remember things like cravings, aversions, Mommy thoughts and feelings and anything else I want to record along this journey. Later I will get a Baby book from them to continue journaling RaeLynn’s life!

Baby Must Haves and a Bumpdate

Maternity Photos & Hospital Wardrobe

There are definitely not any weekly bump pictures from this pregnancy! I just didn’t get into it this time around. But I sure made certain to document my bump as it grew here and there. I love looking back at my Mom when she was pregnant with me so I knew I wanted to do a special photo shoot at some point. I received the softest, most beautiful hospital delivery robe from PinkBlush. I have had such a hard time finding cute maternity clothes but after hearing so many friends rave about PinkBlush, I decided to go for it!

And THEN, I took the biggest step out of my comfort zone and did a little mini shoot with my talented daughter Teck! I love how excited she gets when she shoots! So here you go…maternity photos in my new fav maternity robe! A Mama must feel good after delivering a baby, am I right?! So along with all the baby must-haves, I’ll include one for Mama’s too!

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate

All About Baby

I was a nanny for many years prior to starting our own family, so I feel like I tried all the gadgets! There are many that are unnecessary and there are some that are an absolute necessity! I think we can all agree that having a babe that sleeps well is a Mother’s dream.

A sound machine is a MUST my friends! White noise is so great because they say that the sounds baby is used to in the womb are louder than a vacuum cleaner. This is the sound machine we are using this time around.

The other sleep weapon is our absolute favorite blanket from AllyZabba. My friend who is a Doula and sleep training guru, introduced these to me when I was a nanny and helped people sleep train their babies. THEY WORK people! They say the silky side resembles the texture and feel of the uterus which is why it is so soothing to a baby. I start a newborn with the smallest size to lay under their head while they sleep and then we get the bigger ones later. Just ask my 4 year old about her “BB’s”, she’s slightly obsessed. I love how they monogram them AND we even got to be the very first recipients of their new DAHLIA pattern!

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate

Cannot Live Withouts

These last 5 must-haves are so vital for your new babe and YOU! Do you trust me?

The Swaddle:

Back to the topic of sleep. Swaddling is a must my friends. Some people claim their babes don’t like the swaddle, and to that I say, keep doing it and they will learn to love it. It’s most likely not the swaddle they don’t like, but the fact that they were recently born into a foreign world where they don’t have the squishy and cozy living quarters they once had. They need some adjusting time!

You can choose from so many brands but I’ve heard some rave reviews on the Ollie Swaddle and I’m going to give it a shot this time around! It is a must to have velcro to secure your babe as they are little Houdini’s while they sleep and can break out of most anything! The Ollie has that too, but it also has an amazing system for easy access to the diaper area without completely un-swaddling in the middle of the night. Plus, the moisture-wicking fabric keeps your little one at the perfect sleeping temperature.

Affiliate Link: Get 10% Off your very own Ollie HERE


More Sleep and Lounging Time too

By now you must have heard a Mom or two talk about the multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper, playtime hangout, the DockATot! For the longest time I seriously thought these were some kind of bath or blow-up flotation device. For real. But no, it’s only the most ingenious invention handmade in Europe from 100% all natural cotton. I love that you can take it with you anywhere for an easy docking station (ahh that’s where they got the name) for your babe. It comes in two sizes (Deluxe for 0-8 Months, Grand 9-36 months) and has some pretty cute patterns too. If you ask 100 Moms what they would say is a “must-have”, this is definitely up there on the list!

Affiliate Link: Score $10 Off your very own DockATot HERE


This is insanely important. Your babe spends more time sleeping than anything else for the first 2 years of their life. If you know me, you know I want to eliminate every toxic chemical in my home. I’m on a mission, people!

“When parents put their babies down to sleep, they expect that their children are sleeping safe and sound. Unfortunately, a major study conducted by the University of Texas in Austin found that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, what they did find is that most crib mattresses are a significant source of chemicals in an infant’s environment.” Read more on this over at the My Green Mattress Website.

I did a significant amount of research on this one and I can say with confidence that My Green Mattress is a good resource for the entire family to sleep peacefully, in every sense of the word. As you are probably aware, the government requires all mattresses to pass burn tests. My Green Mattress is able to pass both the 1633 open flame test and 1632 cigarette test by quilting natural wool into the organic cotton cover of your mattress, without use of any chemical flame retardants. Wool is a natural flame retardant and was used in years past to make firemen’s coats. Word to that!

We also got a twin size for Elliana and I think we will be looking into replacing our Queen size chemically-laden mattress as well! They are SUPER comfy!

Affiliate Link: Check out the selection for your family HERE

The Grocery Cart Conundrum

Grocery carts are from the devil. I wish you could bring your own. I’m not really into germs. So the Binxy Baby seemed like an incredible solution to keep baby safe in her own carrier or in the actual Binxy during grocery trips. What I love about this cute little grocery cart hammock is that it holds up to 50 lbs. so if babe is sleeping, you can put the entire car seat carrier in it and you don’t risk it tipping over. OR you can put your precious bundle straight in the Binxy Baby and she will love it! It’s a game changer my friends.

Affiliate Link: Check out this link to get yourself 10% off HERE 

Last but most certainly not least…

Oh, Gentle Baby. The wonder-working essential oil! I’ve been using it all throughout pregnancy on my belly for those lovely little marks that like to reveal themselves as your belly grows. But aside from that, it is a very calming oil that is so helpful when used on the bottoms of tiny feet right before bedtime! I love diffusing this oil as well and it will definitely be in my hospital bag. If we haven’t had a Facetime or coffee date about essential oils, please let me treat you and I’ll share all the ways in which oils have changed the way we do life! You can visit my oily page to learn more as well.

Baby Must-Haves and a Bumpdate |

** Big thanks to the companies (excluding Young Living) that provided the products mentioned in this post for my review. I told every company I would only talk about the product if I truly loved it and boy do I love this round up of baby/maternity goods!
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