Thankful For Colic

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Thankful for colic? How terrible does that sound? What mommy could possibly be thankful for a baby who cries all the time and most likely has some discomfort causing the insane amount of crying? Well, I’m not exactly “thankful” for the fact that my baby girl cried and screamed hours upon end (6pm-2am just about every night for a while). In fact, so far it’s been the toughest parenting challenge I’ve had. It hurt me deeply to not be able to figure out how to fully calm and comfort my baby.

In the midst of that season, you could have told me, “God is teaching you something through this,” and I would have wondered what good lesson could possibly come from colic. But God is faithful in teaching us something from every situation in life. I didn’t understand at the time why God allowed my little one to suffer from colic, but I’m beginning to understand what He was trying to teach me through it all.

My personality has always been that I need to have control over situations and be able to fix things and do things on my own. In dealing with colic, I learned that I had to completely trust in God and wait on Him for it to pass. I researched colic to death and tried every natural remedy I could find. I don’t regret doing so, because I found ways to bring comfort and relief to my little one. (I wrote a separate article on colic and reflux that I’ll post in the near future). For a while I refused to call it colic, because I personally feel that term is often thrown out every time a baby is extra fussy. I didn’t like when anyone else said I had a fussy or colicky baby because it felt they were implying she was a “bad baby.” There are no bad baby’s. All are just as sweet and precious, fussy or not! I do think we have to research and fight for our little ones who can’t speak for themselves and say what’s really going on. But I cried many tears along with my girl thinking, “Why can’t I just fix this and make her feel peaceful?!” There’s nothing more frustrating and hurtful for a mommy than to watch her little one be hurting or unhappy and not be able to make things better. Through many tears, I learned that after I’ve done all I can do as a mommy, my baby’s well being ultimately rests in the hands of her Creator. He loves her even more than her father and I, and He is in control of every situation, not me.

Another aspect of my personality is to go, go, go. When I’m at home, I’m baking, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, scrubbing, tidying, and making homemade household products from morning to evening. I absolutely love being a homemaker and taking care of my family. Having a baby with colic who needed to be held almost nonstop the first 3 months changed all of that. I knew my first six weeks would probably be an adjustment and I pictured myself getting back into the swing of things by then. But I was wrong. And that reality was tough for me. I wanted to keep our house clean and tidy and have dinner on the table every evening as soon as I felt up to it.

We had over thirty days of freezer meals prepared, and we were so blessed to receive even more from friends and family. I’m so thankful I had so many meals stored away, because my baby girl did not like being put down for more than five minutes. I resorted to wearing her in a wrap to get things done, but suffered severe back pain and could only wear her for so long each day. Through colic, I learned that I couldn’t have total control over our household and that it was OK to receive help. I realized more than ever how blessed I am with a selfless and serving husband who constantly helped around the house despite the long hours he works. And I realized that God wanted me to see what things in life are most important. Holding and comforting my sweet baby is so much more important than anything. If I had a more laid back baby, I might have put her down all the time to focus on the house and I would have missed out on those precious and wonderful moments of holding and rocking and singing to my baby.

Now that those long sessions of tears are in the past, I’ve got one of the happiest little baby’s, who is full of smiles and giggles. I’m so grateful that colic is a thing of the past in this house. I don’t regret picking her up every time she cried (or every time she still cries) or deciding to hold her for most of her naps because she just slept better that way. And I’ve fallen in love with baby wearing her all throughout each day still.

I’ve gotten back into the swing of things with keeping our house in shape and getting meals prepared. I still love being in the kitchen, but I’ve learned to keep a lot of meals simple and quick, while still being healthy and homemade. Someday I’ll have more time in the kitchen again, but I will never get these wonderful days back. I’m not glad about my baby having gone through colic, but I’m so thankful for what the Lord taught me from it. I’m so thankful for every snuggly moment and only wish I could slow down time from passing all too quickly with my baby girl.

Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

A healthy lifestyle goes far beyond the food you eat. I’m constantly looking for ways to keep our home free of toxic chemicals. Most of the cleaners on the shelf at the store are not safe to inhale, ingest, or even to touch, yet we clean surfaces, kids toys, and so much more with them. I decided to go way back to the simple cleaners that were once used, before all of these chemical filled products were invented. So I started with vinegar – a great multi-purpose cleaner.

If you’re looking for an affordable, effective, natural all-purpose cleaner, try this homemade citrus spray made with vinegar. It’s easy to make, and only has three ingredients (two if you don’t count water)! I’ve been using this cleaner for a few years now, and love the fact that I know what ingredients I’m using to clean our home with.

I usually use lemons or oranges for this cleaner, but you could also use grapefruits or limes. The citrus peels add a little scent to the cleaner, but also make this cleaner more effective because of the oils that get pulled from the peels in the process.

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Anytime I use lemons or oranges in cooking or baking, I always save the peels, throw them into a jar, fill half the jar with vinegar and the other half with water. I let the mixture sit for a few weeks, then use a mesh strainer to get rid of the peels and any leftover pulp, and then pour my cleaner into a bottle. It’s that easy!

Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

-Distilled Vinegar

-Citrus Peels

-Glass jars

Place the citrus peels in jars. Fill up each jar halfway with vinegar, and then fill the rest of the jars up with water. Place lids on each jar, and let sit for several weeks (I usually let them sit a minimum of two weeks, but have let them sit longer). After a few weeks, use a mesh strainer to strain out the peels and any leftover pulp. Pour liquid cleaner into a bottle.

Have You Heard…?

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I was recently talking with a few women, and had to step into another room to put my baby to sleep. While I nursed my baby to sleep, I listened to their conversation and realized how most of the talk was centered on discussing other women. I then thought to myself, I wonder what women would talk about if they never talked about others. Don’t get me wrong, women still have plenty of other conversations from cooking, to being a mom, to healthy living, but it seems gossip too easily sneaks it’s way into a conversation. Some women struggle with it more than others, but I think it can be easy for all of us to fall into the gossip trap.

I know that I have been guilty of gossip far too often. The Lord has really placed this on my heart through the years, and I’ve recently become even more convicted of it as I’ve observed how consumed women are by it (this doesn’t exclude men, but I think women seem to struggle with it more than men). I spent some time really thinking on why we get so drawn into gossip, and there were three main reasons that stuck out in my mind.

1.) Comparing ourselves to other women. I think all women tend to do this with or without gossip. I know there are times I see a woman that’s pretty, or seems like she has everything (house, kids, appearance, etc.) under control and I immediately start counting all the areas in my life that don’t match up. I’m feel like I’m not pretty enough or a good enough mom. This can be such a dangerous poison to our minds. We can start harboring these ungodly feelings and start making ourselves feel better by pointing out flaws in other women.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking to other godly women as examples, and genuinely searching our own heart for ways we can change and grow to become more Christlike. But unfortunately we often try to find flaws or faults with other women instead of recognizing all of their wonderful traits.

Pointing out an area that a woman is struggling in as a wife or mother, or doing something that we’d just never do, somehow makes us feel like we have it all together in comparison to that woman. Sometimes we even point out an area of sin in another woman’s life. We feel ok doing this because it’s something that goes against God’s Word. Instead of praying about how to approach her as a sister in Christ, we justify talking to other Christian women about her. And we are left feeling good about ourselves because her struggle is something that we don’t struggle with, so we must be a much better wife/mom/woman than her.

2.) For the sake of a prayer request. Christians often feel it’s ok to share something about someone else for the sake of prayer. If the person has given permission to spread their prayer request, then by all means, tell everyone to be praying! But often times we feel it’s ok to share people’s private lives with other people for the sake of a prayer request. Bringing the word ‘prayer’ into anything makes it feel justified in our minds, but gossip is still gossip with or without the word ‘prayer’.

I once shared a prayer request with a friend and a few days later had someone I barely know come up and say they were praying for me. I was a little embarrassed knowing that my request was not kept private. Thankfully it wasn’t anything too extremely personal, but it could have been, and that would have been even more embarrassing and hurtful.

When someone shares a prayer request with you, lift that person up in prayer daily! Understand that it may have taken them a while to come to you with this request, and that sharing it with another believer could be very hurtful to that individual.

3.) Genuine, harmless concern. Sometimes we truly just feel concerned for an individual, and our intentions are completely pure. But this still doesn’t make it ok to gossip. Sometime’s we might see a ‘flaw’ in someone’s character or something they struggle with and genuinely want the best for that person. If the situation happens to be that someone is in need of financial help or groceries, it can still be handled discreetly by anonymously collecting for that person.

There could also be certain situations that are very serious, and do call for another opinion on how to help that individual, but in this situation it would probably be best to seek both your husband and your church pastor on how to proceed.

I know at one time or another I have been guilty of talking about someone else, instead of keeping my thoughts to myself and praying. It is my desire to be more vigilant about the words that come out of my mouth in regards to others. I hope this post has helped you to examine your heart, and encourage you to hold your tongue next time you’re given the opportunity to gossip about someone. Instead, let’s pray for each other and build one another up!

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” –Psalm 141:3

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” –Ephesians 4:29

10 Baby Must-Haves For Natural Mamas

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There are just so many products out there for a baby, and it can be a challenge to know what to register for. I know I felt very overwhelmed and unsure if I was making the right decision when registering for different items. And there are some items out there that are just unnecessary. It sure is hard to know which baby products are beneficial, and which are just a waste of money. Now that my little one is here, I thought I’d make a list of my absolute favorite products for a baby. There are some items that I got while preparing for my baby’s arrival that I could do without, but there are some items that make life with a baby so much easier! This is by no means a complete list of everything you’ll need for a registry. Hopefully it just gives some helpful ideas of items you’ll want to include on your registry! So here’s my list:

A good devotional. Those first weeks at home were a little rough at night. I need the Lord all the time, but during those weeks I needed His strength more than ever. Sometimes praying during those long, sleepless hours wasn’t always my first thought (I didn’t have many thoughts at all after being so sleep deprived), but my wonderful husband was so great about reminding me to pray, read Gods Word, or put some worship music on. I came across a devotional at a book sale called ‘Streams in the Dessert.’ This book has been a tremendous encouragement to me during those late night feeds. I don’t know how people go through any of life’s challenges without Jesus!

Earth Mama Angel Baby – I love all of their products! After researching different creams for breastfeeding, I realized that there isn’t a huge selection of creams that aren’t in some way exposed to chemicals or pesticides or contain GMOs. This concerned me because I don’t want to put that stuff on my breast, and ultimately in my baby’s mouth. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter is organic and free of GMOs. I love it! I also loved their stretch oil when I was pregnant. I put it on every night and I don’t have a single stretch mark from pregnancy. Some of my other favorites are, Baby Butt Balm, Baby Bath Blossoms, and Milkmaid Tea. Oh I could keep going on about this company, but I’ll stop with those five as my top favorite Earth Mama Angel Baby products!

Cloth diapers. This a huge must for me. Since I really care about what goes on or against my baby’s skin, this is the absolute best way to ensure that her little bum isn’t being exposed to dangerous chemicals. Even natural and organic brands of disposable diapers have questionable ingredients. Either way, the use of cloth is not only better for baby, it saves tons of money and helps allow for me to stay home with my baby. I’m not too picky with brands of diapers. We were blessed with several kinds of diapers, from Kawaii, to BumGenius, to prefolds – and they all work great. Oh, and cloth wipes take the savings a step further!

Baby Wraps. There are tons of great baby wraps out there, but I was looking to be as frugal as possible with our baby and decided to try the Moby wrap. The Moby wrap is amazing and affordable and I used it just about everyday during the first few months of my baby’s life. I am a huge believer in baby wearing and keeping your baby snuggled close, especially during the first few months. More recently I was given a Maya sling wrap and a Lillebaby carrier and love those as well. The sling wrap is my favorite for breastfeeding, and the Lillebaby is nice to have for on the go or for carrying for a long amount of time (mine came with a lower back support). If you just want a basic and versatile wrap that isn’t too expensive, the Moby wrap works fantastic. Baby wearing is the best thing ever. Seriously. When my girl gets fussy it calms her down almost immediately, and when she’s sleepy it helps her fall asleep so much faster. If you weren’t thinking of getting one, get one. My baby loves being in my arms so much that I wouldn’t be able to get dinner made or housework done without it. Baby wearing has increased our bond, and at seven months old, I still wear her just about every day.

Swaddle wrap. Either I have a really strong baby or I’m just bad with swaddling. I never could seem to get it to where my baby wouldn’t bust out of her blanket when she got startled. A friend told us about swaddle wraps and we gave them a shot. I’m so glad we did! As a newborn, our baby fought sleep whether swaddled or not. Once she would fall asleep the wrap would keep her secure and prevent her from startling herself awake. I loved the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Infant Wrap!

Nose Frida. It might sound disgusting to use your mouth on a plastic tube to suck the snot out of your baby’s nose (there’s a filter so nothing can get in your mouth), but trust me, you won’t care. It works so much better than the bulbs (which can get mold inside and cause them be a health hazard). And if your baby is like most, he or she won’t like getting their little noses cleaned out and you’ll want to get that snot out quickly. The Nose Frida gets the job done!

Coconut oil. Rashes, dry skin, disinfectant, and so much more. I even use some in my homemade diaper wipe solution.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Pure Castile Liquid Soap Baby Mild Unscented. I love this stuff. It’s so great for baby’s sensitive skin and it’s made with natural organic oils. Be cautious not to get it in your baby’s eyes, as it is not tear free. Tear free actually means that a chemical has been added to prevent that burning sensation of getting soap in your eyes. I always first wipe my girl’s face with a damp cloth, and then use soap sparingly and gently over her face and avoid her eyes. This is a great soap for bath time or for a homemade diaper wipe solution. Castile soap has so many great uses (I even clean our floors with it), and a little goes such a long way!

Homemade baby powder. Baby powder works great at keeping my baby’s bottom dry and helps prevent diaper rashes. I put it on her bottom each night before bed and if she has a rash, and it’s just about gone by morning! Most store-bought baby powder contains talc, which is linked to certain types of cancer. This is why I prefer to use a safe and natural alternative, which is simply arrowroot powder. And if you want a scent, just mix in a drop of essential oil. Easiest homemade baby product ever!

Worship music and lullabies. This helps to calm baby down, but it helps to calm mama down too. I’m so thankful during those late nights that my husband encouraged me to play worship music when I was so exhausted. It helped to put my focus back on the Lord, and I knew that He would help me through those tough long first nights. I especially love Twila Paris’ album, ‘Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship,’ and Jay Stocker’s alum, ‘Hidden In My Heart: A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture.’ We still listen to these albums, and I love singing these songs to my baby girl.

If you are preparing for a baby, I hope you’ll find this list beneficial. If you already have a little one, I hope some of these items make their way into your home and make life with your baby even simpler. What are your must-have items for your baby?