pop-up sale: petunia pickle bottom cake society diaper bag {sold}

Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Society Satchel Diaper Bag
retails for $325, sells on eBay for $125-$165+
$89 + $10 shipping {large item}

this is a beautiful bag!!
light aqua velvet and tweed with a linen textured base
Dimensions: 15 X 14 X 6.5 in.
in very good condition- shows very little sign of use
comes with dustbags, stroller clips, and paci holder as pictured
tons of storage- extra zippered storage for changing pad {not included}

just because... :D

I know I'm biased, but I am in LOVE with this little face:
{the Zaner, 12 days old, wearing a 6 months onesie}
Oh, so much goodness.... 

Can you believe he's two weeks old now? It's just crazy. :)

our favorite states 8x10 art {easy decor on a budget}

A few months ago, I was on the hunt for meaningful decorations that didn't cost a fortune. I loved my instagram poster and my Scripture prints, and I had fun making my $12 gilded GW art, but I wanted something a little different that was colorful and fit in an 8x10 frame.

I painted a cheap Walmart wooden frame in the same shade as my coral globe, and then whipped up a little text print of the United States using my Pixelmator for Mac app. {not affiliated/sponsored at all- I paid $20 for it a year ago, and it's been one of my favorite design apps outside of Adobe products}. :D

You might notice it's missing a few states- that's because it's only a list of all the states the hubs and I have been to together in the last 11 years. :D Texas is in big letters, of course, because that's where we met, fell in love, and have lived all of our married life. And everything is bigger in Texas, right? ;)

I was so thrilled with how it turned out, until I noticed I forgot to list two states we'd visited: California, and HAWAII.

Really though, how could I forget Hawaii??? That's our favorite place on earth! I have no idea what I was thinking.

Oh, well. It still makes for cute, cheap art, right? And when we get a couple more states I'll redo it and add them. ;) And I think navy, coral, and teal might be my most favorite color combo ever. It's so much fun to make affordable art in our room's colors!

How many states have you visited? 
I think we're at 21 together, but Rob has been to more than I have since he lived on the west coast for several years.

What's your favorite design app?

When you think of Texas what comes to mind?
Dr. Pepper, Blue Bell ice cream, bluebonnets, the country, hot weather, and the color royal blue....

a rare moment + life with 5 in pics

A rare moment is happening in our house right now: the kids are outside playing happily AND the baby is sleeping in the other room. And I've taken a shower, washed my hair, and put makeup on today. Hallelujah! :)

It's been a crazy couple of weeks adjusting to this new life! :) Forget all the to-do lists, I've been quite happy to sit on the couch, hold that cute little thing, and be a milk machine while absolutely nothing gets done. :) The dishes have been getting washed when they get washed, and our living room has become a messy version of Legoland- all the kids have been playing Legos almost all day long. The mess occasionally gets to me though, usually at night, and we have to pick it all up before bed. And the Legos finally left the living room an hour ago after a week of being out everywhere. ;)

The baby has been sleeping better for the last week or so, eating several times a night, but sleeping a good 12 hour stretch in a deep sleep, which has been so good for me, since Rob's been taking care of the kids and letting me sleep in with him too. :)

I'd forgotten how it feels to be needed pretty much 24/7, but I know it won't be long before we'll fall into a napping/eating schedule, and I'll be able to get things done in spurts again. Like today- I was able to make lunch and do the dishes {after 2 days of them sitting there!}, and sit down to blog, and the little one is still sleeping. :D

Here are a few pics of what life has looked like for us lately:

I sit here and do this as much as I can: :)

look at those fingers! huge!!
While the girls play Legos, babies, and dress-up all day {Ava looks thrilled- Isabella was determined to get a picture with her!}:
random fact: the pink dress was actually MY dress as a 5 year old!!
And their brother can sleep right through it all, as long as he's on top of mommy: 

In kitchen news, I made pancakes yesterday- the ugliest pancakes ever, but the first real thing I've made since Zane was born, so I had to take a picture. ;)

Thankfully though, we've been super blessed to have several dinners brought from friends! I can't tell you how wonderful it's been not to have to make dinner! 

And the kids have become very good helpers lately- they clean up the entire kitchen and living room! {and do a pretty good job!}. I think we're going to need to start a new chore schedule soon with the return of school, otherwise mommy will never keep up again. ;)

{I love it when the girls ask me to clean.... ;) My answer is always yes.}

All the girls cleaned while Rob and the boys built our homeschool desk yesterday. It's almost finished, and I can't wait to see how it all comes together!

Speaking of homeschooling- I found an Ergo carrier on clearance at Marshall's last week {more on that later!}, and it's been a huge help when I'm carrying around the little one {he doesn't seem to like any other sling we have since they all restrict him in a lying position}. I think it will be a lifesaver when we get back to schooling again. 

It's been a while since we had a baby and homeschooled {4 years to be exact!} though... do you have any tips for me?

What works for you when it comes to balancing a newborn and 4 kiddos doing school?

What's your favorite baby carrier for a baby that likes to be upright?

Any pretty pancake tips? I think the longer the batter sat, the prettier and smoother they became!

the birth story {part 2}

read part 1 here

As I manned my stair post, I realized my contractions were coming so quickly {and that they were so incredibly painful} that they were like the end of labor, yet it still wasn't enough to convince me this was the real thing.

You'd think a mother of almost five would know real labor for sure, but being 11 days late, something in me refused to fully believe this was it

My phone chimed in the other room, and I waddled to the kitchen to see who it was. It was Rob texting me, just a couple of minutes after he'd left to take the kids to my dad's house: "Are you okay? Do you need me to come back?"

Another crazy hard contraction hit and I was back into my plie position, but it wasn't helping it like it had in previous labors- another sign that I was closer to the end than I thought. After it was over, I laid my forehead on the kitchen counter, and prayed out loud over and over, Jesus, I cannot do this without you. I am so weak, and this is happening so fast, and it hurts so much, oh God, please help me.

The pain was finally starting to convince me that this might actually be going somewhere, maybe even tonight.

Instead of my standard I'll be okay, I texted Rob back this time, "meet Dad half way."

Another text back: "Did you call the midwife yet?"

My initial thoughts were "Call the midwife? It's only been a few minutes or something- what would I tell her? I've been in labor for 25 minutes and I think it's time? They're going to think I'm crazy."

But before I could talk myself out of it, I decided {a.k.a. Jesus led me to} go ahead and call her just to see what she thought about my situation.

I pulled out my birthing information card and called her quickly from my squat position as another contraction hit. I told her I'd had lots of really hard contractions, but they were so fast I couldn't time them, at least a handful in the last 15-20 minutes {I was guessing on the conservative side, but I'm pretty sure it was way more thinking back}. I told her I wasn't sure if it was the real thing.

She said she'd have the on-call midwives come, and I {being paranoid about being an overly-panicked laboring woman, and doubting this even was really it} asked if she was sure they should come and what would they do if it all just stopped? They were both driving over 45 minutes to get to me, and I would feel so bad if nothing happened after all. 

But she assured me in her amazingly calming voice if nothing happened, they'd rest on the sofa and go home in the morning. We hung up, and somehow I felt so relieved they were going to be here soon. { I later found out she called the other midwife and said "go now"...apparently I sounded quite like I was in actual labor! :)}

I texted Rob back that they were coming, and found out he was going to meet my dad after all, and would be back soon {thank you, Jesus}.

I made my way to the living room to find something tall to lean on as the contractions were getting tougher and tougher. I used the sofa to support my arms as I squatted deep into the contractions. As they began to be nearly unbearable {and it had only been 30ish minutes total}, I finally let myself believe that this baby was REALLY coming.

Everything was so much more painful than I remembered in my last labor, and I prayed through and after each contraction like a mad woman. I told Jesus how there was no way in the world I could do this without Him and started quoting Psalms 34- and told Him I knew His promises were true and that he would help me through this, and I needed Him for strength.

Each contraction was so intense I could barely stand afterward, and I started to wonder if the baby was going to come before Rob or the midwives made it back. I texted a friend {whom I'd just texted maybe 30 minutes before that I was optimistically hoping the baby would come in the morning} that the baby was coming now and it was hard and fast and please pray for me.

I was shaking and sweating and laying my head down on the back of the sofa in between squat-contractions when Rob came home. I was so happy to see him- at least I wouldn't be completely alone if the midwives weren't here. I told him how these felt like the end of labor contractions and not the beginning ones- that they really, really hurt and they were so fast.

I asked him to bring me the Bible and I flipped through Psalms as he put on our favorite worship CD and rushed to get the bed ready with the shower curtains and plug in the crockpot full of washcloths. 

The contractions were happening only a minute apart or less now, and lasting for 15-20 seconds. It was so intense my legs and hands shook after each one, and I ended up just laying my head on the Bible and praying like crazy- singing the words of the song playing as a prayer- fill me up God, fill me up God, and told Him I needed Him so much, and that I knew He made my body to do this, and I trusted Him to do what He wanted to do, and prayed for less pain.

Rob came to check on me once he was done, and he rubbed my lower back when I was having contractions. I begged him to pray for me, and told him what every woman says I'm sure- that I wasn't sure I ever wanted to do this again. ;) 

I was shaking and getting so tired so quickly, I moved to the bedroom and tried to squat for a few contractions and rest on the pillows in between contractions, but I was so shaky from the pain coming every few seconds- I was trying to think of ways to cope with it in the meantime.

I looked at the clock- it had only been less than one hour since we started this thing- how much did that mean I have left to go? Every contraction became like 15 seconds of deep uttering of Jesus.... Jesus... Jesus.... please help me. When it was over, it was 30-45 seconds of oh Lord, please give me strength for the next one.

I turned my head toward the bathroom door and I remembered hearing the words "the midwife's epidural" in my head. I totally think the Holy Spirit reminded me of it, because the water made all the difference in the world. {is it weird that I love the "coincidence" that the Spirit is the living Water who brings us comfort??}

Rob started filling up the bathtub for me, and I went in and instantly relaxed. The contractions slowed down a bit, and lying back in the hot water made the intense pressure bearable. Instead of squatting and pushing through the pain, I found myself trying to relax into the contraction {a method that never ever worked for me before}, and imagine it working to open everything.

Even after just one contraction in the tub, I couldn't imagine leaving the water. I wasn't there long before the first midwife arrived around 11:20- 11:25, and oh goodness, how glad was I to see her!

She checked the baby's heart rate {perfect}, and quietly asked me a few questions, and a few contractions later around 11:45 {I think- you lose track of time in labor land}, the other midwife arrived, oxygen tank and extra supplies in hand. I remember wondering if she would let me take a whiff to feel better. Surely oxygen was safe, right? But I didn't ask. ;)

The water was such a gift though- I can't imagine how much harder the contractions would have been otherwise. The contractions were still right on top of each other, and I could feel the baby moving down into my pelvis, but I tried not to fight it- just to relax my face and imagine my body opening up, and I sang the words of those worship songs in my head- all to you, I surrender, everything, every part of me

I prayed for a break after the harder ones- and when the easier ones came I could smile through them. I didn't want to talk at all- I had pretty much lost all desire to speak since back at the sofa.

Thankfully, the midwives were PERFECT. They knew exactly how to do this birthing thing- they spoke quietly and softly, and assured me I was doing great, and checked on the baby periodically after contractions. I didn't have to be "checked" thankfully, and there were no bright lights or people coming or going or beeping monitors, or painful IV sticks or blood being taken. 

It was so natural- I was going to have a baby, and they were there to make sure everything was okay, and there was no panicky, rushed feeling EVER. It was everything I was hoping our home birth would be. Once I asked them to pray for an easier one for the next contraction, and one of the midwives, Melina,  waited through a contraction to place her hand on my belly and pray for me. Perfect, I tell you.

Rob was in and out, bringing me water and a fan, and I could tell he was a little nervous. This was such a different situation from the hospital too- he kept asking questions and worrying about preparations and providing refreshments. It was actually really cute, even when I was in labor {most of the time anyway ;)}. He did really good- and he even had the camera ready when the baby was born! :D

The Lord never left me the entire time- it was like His strength was just enough to get through that one contraction, and I couldn't think about how much I had left anymore. It hurt like crazy- it might have been my most painful natural labor even, but I wasn't fearful at all- I knew God made it this way, and I wasn't afraid of the next one coming. When the pain changed again, into my tailbone, right after midnight, I felt the urge to push, and oh my goodness, I was so happy to be close to the end!

A few contraction pushes later, I felt that very distinct fullness, he started to crown, and the other midwife, Diane, softly coached me from the side of the bathtub to relax between contractions and let everything stretch. It felt so good to know I only had a little to go. I was coaching myself mentally too-  breathe him down....he's almost here... you're so close... just let your body stretch, let it open...

When the contractions hit, I pushed with all my might and the head, the rest of the head, then the shoulders came out, and I fully expected the baby to come sliding out like the other four had. No such luck. ;) Keep pushing, she told me, and his body was BIGGER than his head and shoulders! 

I kept pushing until I felt his feet come out, and in one fell swoop the midwife lifted him up on to my chest- and praise the Lord, it was OVER by 12:14, less than 2 hours from when I realized it was happening! :) They brought a towel and quickly dried him off- and he was so perfect and such a manly looking little baby boy! He started crying, and turning red, and I told him I was so glad he was finally here. 

They checked his heartbeat as I held him. I never had to let him go for his first minutes, except to hand him to his daddy.

A few minutes later after the cord cutting, we moved to the bedroom, and had lots of time together before they did his full assessment/weighing. I was eager to see how much he weighed- I knew he was big in the womb, and he looked even bigger when he came out!!

I didn't really think he'd break the double digits- but he did: 10 lbs. 0 ounces!

And at 22.5 inches, he broke all of our baby records by 2.5 inches! He was a crazy big boy even for our extended family. 

The midwives stayed for the next two hours, helping me get up, checking my blood pressure, and checking on and admiring the baby. It was 2 a.m., but I felt great, and couldn't sleep a wink for the next 3 hours. :)

The Lord was so present- so kind to me. It was so painful and quick {I even wanted to back out when it started, ha!}, but it was by far the most amazing birth experience I've had. I loved being able to be at home and to be able to focus on relying on the Lord to get me through, to be able to soak in worship music that sunk deep into my soul, repeating words of praise to God when I couldn't even form a single thought. 

Looking back, I'm so thankful we "randomly" went back to the bookstore the weekend before to pick up that Jesus Culture worship CD. I'm so thankful we had time to take the kids to my dad's house because it started before they went to bed. I'm so thankful the midwives got there at just the right time when I needed them. God is so in the details we don't even think to notice sometimes, you know?

I also think that the Lord urging me to get in the water made me be able to birth a very large child perfectly and quickly without injury, while at the same time relieving the intense pain so much. I still look at Zane and then my belly, now a week later, and wonder how he ever fit inside me. How did I not break something getting him out? It's only by the Lord's mercy.

If anything pregnancy and birthing shows you, it's that God knows what He's doing. It's a miracle that our bodies can grow these amazing mini-humans for 9 months, and then we can be able to push them out- it's almost ridiculous how awesome it is. To believe that could randomly happen by chance is impossible. It's so perfectly, amazingly done that it practically shouts that we have an incredible Creator.

A Creator so good to His children, he gives them the birth that is perfect for them- even if it's 11 days later and faster than they thought. :) 

I know that almost every male scholar out there has a different, general, interpretation of this verse as a parenting promise for women, and they may be right, but I honestly believe that this verse is a specific promise for mamas who have to endure the curse of painful childbirth:
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:15
I believe the Lord gives us strength and saves us through the process of childbirth when we seek Him with faith, knowing He will answer. He brings a peace and a trust in what He is doing that surpasses understanding. It still hurts, but He doesn't allow the spirit of fear to enter, and we can make it through even terrible pain because He gives us strength.

He saved me through another new life being born, bringing me to trust Him even in the worst pain of my life. 

Our God is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. 

He is so good to us, sweet friends. 

He has been so very good to me. I can't wait to see what He has planned for this little man's life. :)

Psalm 34:1-10
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;

let the humble hear and be glad.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,

and let us exalt his name together!

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant,

and their faces shall never be ashamed.

6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack!

10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;

but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

the birth story {part 1}

11 days past due.

Those four words kept replaying in my mind on Sunday night. Tomorrow will make me 11 days overdue. 

Would I wake up in the morning again a little bigger, but feeling as normal as I had today? Comfortable, like labor is still miles away?

I'd resigned myself to being pregnant until at least 42 weeks- just figuring somehow my body subconsciously wanted to beat every milestone. Hey, we'd made it to 41.5, might as well go for 42, right?

Telling strangers I was due 10 days ago was getting pretty entertaining after all. Judging by the wild reactions we were getting, going over a week "late" in pregnancy must nearly be impossible these days. :) It was almost funny to me, really, that I could still be pregnant. Kind of like playing a game of who could last the longest, and I was trying to win it. :D

That Sunday morning I'd started trying to make my plans for the next week- what days I'd work out, how I maybe could teach my regular fitness class this week to stay distracted. I felt okay about it all- I had this weird peace that I could make it a few more days. He will come eventually. He has to, or they'll induce me at some point.

But as I laid down in bed that very night, suddenly a wave of tiredness hit me, and I was crying to Jesus all over again. The tears just came and I kept telling Him I needed help to get through another day {I'm sure no surprise to either of us, considering that I had to tell Him that every single morning}. I told Him that night for the first time, Lord Jesus, I need to have this baby soon. I'm so tired, so ready- if it's your will, could I please have him tomorrow or really soon? I want to wait on you, I told Him, but I'm so ready to be done.

I fell asleep pretty easily after praying, and I woke up late the next morning to a hard, real contraction.

My first thought: now that doesn't ever happen in the morning.

I hopped out of bed, excited to feel and see other signs that my body was getting ready for the real thing.

I couldn't stop smiling all morning. I had a few random painful contractions before breakfast and it gave me hope. It might not be today, but it could be soon, I thought. :D Feeling pain is a very good thing when you're that pregnant.

I told my husband the "news" with a goofy grin, and he finished up some work he had to do that morning. We went to lunch with the kids, and the contractions completely disappeared. I was a little disappointed, but part of me expected it. I'd never gone into labor in the daytime, and I was probably just dehydrated that morning.

Rob went back to work, I took a nap, and woke up with a few contractions again, which promptly disappeared as I got up and moving again. But it gave me hope for Tuesday or Wednesday being the big day. It wasn't going to be forever!

We went walking later that evening- we did a 3 mile trail loop with the kids. At the end of the hour, I started having contractions again {hooray!}, but then as we went to eat that night they went back to being random, 20 minutes apart or more.

walking the trail with the family, a few hours before Zane was born...

We finally got home at 9:25, and I hopped in the bath around 9:30 as Rob read to the kids. I was hoping for labor to come in the middle of the night like it always had before, and wanted to see if I felt like it could be the morning so we could take the kids to my dad's house before they went to bed.

By 10:05ish, I'd had a few contractions in the bathtub which made me think labor might be tomorrow morning, but I still wasn't betting on it.

I got out of the bath, dried off, and told Rob I think we probably should take the kids just in case, because I didn't want to deal with them coming downstairs in the morning if I actually was in labor.

Within the time I got out of the bath and told Rob, and the time the kids were ready to go {10:15}, I had 3-4 really hard contractions.

I realized when I started hugging the stair post and plie squatting as the kids were telling me goodbye- these hurt like crazy, and they're ridiculously close together... and oh my goodness, this is painful. 

Rob intended me to go with him across town to drop off the kids, but I told him there was no way I was getting in a car with that much pain in my bottom.

I think the whole deep squatting thing and the look on my face must have freaked him out a little, because he loaded up the kids faster than they've ever gone anywhere before. Ava may or may not have been crying as they left, I don't even remember. I hugged the kids, and told them goodbye, and Rob kissed me and asked me if I was sure he should go.

I told him yes, I'll be fine. I'm sure it's nothing.

I figured he was being a little too paranoid about the whole thing- after all, these were going to slow down after I sat down, and we'd go to bed and have a baby tomorrow if we were lucky. 

I should have known he knew more about the laboring me than I knew about myself. ;)

After he left, my contractions started coming right on top of each other- and they were getting even harder. They came so fast I couldn't even time them, and I was shaking after each one, still hanging on to the stair post even after Rob left with the kids.

After having a few more super quick contractions {only 6 feet from the bathtub where I'd gotten out less than 20 minutes before}, this thought suddenly hit me- these are the kind of contractions you feel at the end of labor- not the beginning.

And then I realized:

I was home all by myself.

to be continued....

life with a newborn...the first few days in pics

The last five days have been incredible. So exciting, and so tiring, in the most wonderful way.

It has only been four years since our last baby was born, but somehow I'd forgotten how delighted I would be every time he looked at me, or how happy I would be to pick him up from a nap, or even change his tiny diapers.:)  I can't stop staring at him. How did this perfect little person come out of my body on Tuesday? It's so amazing to me. I'm just enjoying every second of it. Even waking up 16 times a night, sometimes just making sure he's okay. {I guess it doesn't matter how many times you've done it before- even with the 5th one I worry if he hasn't woken up in the last hour... ;) }

He's nursing like a serious champ- I think he's gained at least 1/2 lb. this week! His face is getting even rounder, and goodness, I totally forgot how many diapers a tiny human can make in a day. :) At least at this point, it's still just amazing to me that his body can do that so well! :)

Oh, I am so very in love with this little man.

I hear him starting to wake up in the other room, but I wanted to hop in and share a few of my favorite pics from the last few days:

The very first time the kids saw him:

12 hours old :)
1 day old
 Tired, but so happy- day 2.5. :D

on two nights of no sleep...but we'll want to remember this moment I'm sure! :)
2 days old
He must have won some kind of lotto- he's so lucky to have the best daddy in the whole world.
This man is incredible.

our 2 day midwife checkup- we were blessed to have amazing midwives! :)

there's something about a tiny boy in overalls... :)

he's so chunky, and I LOVE it, except that he looks so old already here! And he was only 3 days old!! ;)
He's peeling all over from head to toe- mama has to resist the urge to get the loofah out. :)
it's not red really, more brown and a little auburn maybe? We think it's the darkest hair color we've had yet! Maybe it will be red after all?
I think he's going to be fair skinned like his mama! ;) .... 5 days old
Thank you for all your sweet words- we are so thankful for your love these past few days!! :D

God has been so good to us.