Clothed with Grace: January 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Closet

I wore this outfit for Hannah's two week check up, so it's been in my "drafts" for a few weeks. I'd had the idea of this outfit in my head, but needed to wait until I wasn't pregnant to fit in this shirt again.  I also wondered if I'd still like ponchos, the answer is yes.  So comfy! Once we got home from her appointment, the poncho was hung up, the necklace came off, as did the boots.  Shirts and leggings are about as exciting as it gets at home.

I was also looking through my Pinterest boards recently and have realized I'm wearing about 10% of my wardrobe-the part that is casual enough for being at home most of the time. I ended up taking a bunch of bags to Goodwill and I still have more clothes than I need. I know that I'll be wearing a lot of them again once I go back to school, but when you can get rid of almost twenty pairs of pants and about as many tops and still have plenty to wear, it's time to stop shopping.  Right now I'm just saving away my monthly budget for when I want to buy something, other than a latte', which is about all I've been buying lately.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Giving Credit

Like I mentioned last week, I've started doing The Armor of God Bible study and I'm loving it.  Ever since seeing The War Room and starting the study I've really been working on my prayer life. No more generic prayers: I'm trying to pray specifically and fervently.  One of the things I've been really praying about it for peace in our home and for Hannah to feel loved and safe...specially in her crib. And you know what, going down for naps is a whole lot better.

Here's where the Devil tries to sneak in though, I start to feel pretty good about myself and my mothering skills.  Look at me figure her out, look at me read when she's ready for bed, look at me realizing that her fussing for a few minutes before I reassure her makes her sleep so much more easily. Look. At. Me. 

But didn't I say I've been praying for Hannah to feel loved and safe in her crib? Why should I take the credit???? That, however, is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants us to take the credit, to build ourselves up, to trust in ourselves instead of trusting in God.

Well, I say no thank you. I believe God hears our prayers and also answers them, and my goodness, I need to give credit where it is due, and in doing so, I take the power away from the Devil and give it back to God.

What about your life? Where are you taking credit for something that isn't yours to take? Give it where it is due, I know it'll be worth it!

Another casual outfit today. I'm loving these long-sleeved tees from Target. I didn't get the black and white stripe one, but now I'm kicking myself because now my local Target is sold out.  These tees are perfect for my casual days at home, but I love the idea of layering a denim jacket over it. It's perfect for running out for quick errands with Hannah.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Survival Essentials for Baby and Mom

Being a mom is both the best and most terrifying thing in the world. "Here's a human, take care of her, show her all your love, help her feel content, and don't do anything that could cause irreparable harm."  That's a tall order!

I read a number of books before Grant was born, and re-read them in preparation for Hannah, although this can be helpful, as can tips from your girlfriends, the book can't do anything to help you when you're in a "What in the world do I do now?" moment.  

Today I thought I'd share a few essentials that have helped up with the first month of Hannah's life.

For Baby:

Reads: As far as books go, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was the most helpful. It talks about creating a routine baby can get used too. First you wake/eat, then play, then sleep.  Establishing this routine helps baby not to fall asleep while nursing, so they eat a "full meal" and don't snack, it also help baby to sleep through the night more quickly too. For me, nursing was something Hannah picked up pretty quickly, so that wasn't a struggle for us. I understand that's not the case for everyone. I was most interested in the section on sleep. One of the things she says is to "start out how you want to go." We tried "cry it out" with Grant based on Baby Wise, but liked what the Baby Whisperer had to say more about sleep. She says putting your baby down when they are almost asleep, then using the aid of a good swaddle and pacifier to help aid baby in going to help baby fall asleep on their own. Now, we do let her fuss for a few minutes before rushing in to comfort her. We do this a few times and she generally is falling asleep pretty easily.

The book also talks about how to know your baby is actually ready to sleep, and there's also a survey to help you know how to "read" your own baby's emerging personality too.  Hannah is definitely more emotional than Grant was, and it's taken quite a bit of time and observing to watch her to best know how to meet her needs.

Pacifiers: We have found that Philips Avent Soothie Pacifiers are ones that Hannah prefers. She doesn't use one, except when she's getting ready for a nap and/or in her crib. I've read that you should get a pacifier that most replicates the shape of your nipple if you're nursing, so a different one might work better for your baby.

Swaddling: We didn't really swaddle Grant, but Hannah is a big fan of a good swaddle when she's napping.  These swaddle blankets are really inexpensive, and in my opinion a good swaddle can make all the difference when it comes to a baby's sleep.

White Noise: The last think I think is essential for your baby is white noise, like the kind you can get from a white noise machine. There are also apps out there that do this too. Hannah actually prefers the noise of the fan in our bathroom or a "shush" in her ear.  For her personally, we only use this when she's really worked up or over-stimulated/tired.  This is happening less and less and we get to know her, but white noise puts her at peace almost immediately when all else fails.

For Mom:

Clothes: There are also some things that I have found essential for my survival during this first month too.  The first is comfy clothes, like this tunic and these leggings (I have the black and white ones). Having a winter baby means we don't go out that much; it's just too cold and not worth the effort, so cozy clothes that are nursing friendly (if you're nursing) are essential. Even though I'm staying at home I do shower and get ready each day, even if I'm wearing lounge clothes like this-it just makes me feel better.

Caffeine: The next, is coffee.....lots and lots of coffee. I have a couple of cups in the morning, and often times another cup in the afternoon. Once Hannah is sleeping though the night, I'll be able to cut back, but when I'm up with her twice, I need all the help I can get! I also think drinking out of a fancy mug helps too. ; )

Reads: Lastly, is some time for yourself. I usually set aside time during Hannah's first nap for coffee, a shower, and my daily devotions. It's during this transitional time in my life I really need to make sure I'm relying on God, so daily time is important!  Right now I'm using this book, The Armor of God, and loving it!

Survival Guide for baby and mom

What about you moms out there? Is there anything you'd add to your list?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Day in the Life

I'm really getting used to time at home, but it's really crazy how quickly my day goes by. Today I thought I'd share a peek at our routine during the day, now that Hannah is one month old. I literally live life in three hour increments based on when Hannah needs to eat. It's definitely different than how we lived life before she got here. I'm sharing approximate times, but don't kid your self, this isn't always the case. Sometimes Hannah will wake up later in the morning or early from a nap and I adjust the times accordingly. Also, if we leave for Bible Study, church, or an errand, it usually throws up the schedule a bit too. I let her sleep longer if her previous nap was shorter due to a change in schedule. 

6:30/7: Hannah and Grant wake do we. I feed Hannah while Grant gets dressed, brushes his teeth, and eats breakfast. I'm thankful he can do most of this on his own, as I can't do much of anything while nursing.

Friday, January 22, 2016

One Month Old

Little Miss Hannah was officially one month old as of yesterday! I can't believe how much has happened this month!   Today I thought I'd share an update, which I'll probably continue throughout this year.  

Height: 21" (as two weeks old)

Weight: 8.08 pounds (at two weeks)

Clothes: 0-3 months clothes, although a few sleepers are seeming short on her, I guess she's longer than most babies.

Milestones: She has actually just started to smile in the last few days. She definitely has more serious faces than I remember Grant having, but she's' smiling when she sees me and that's pretty amazing!

Likes: She's a big fan of her play mat, more so than the swing or bouncy, although she thinks those are ok for a short time. She also loves a good swaddle for night and naps, and she is definitely fascinated with her brother and the mirror above her changing table.

Dislikes: She doesn't like "too much" of anything.  Her first "whine" means "get me out of here, I'm ready to sleep"-miss that and there could be trouble!

Sleep: 4-5 hour stretches at night, hoping to go from twice up at night to once soon.

Mom and Dad are looking forward to: Hannah beginning to interact and "play" more.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Armor of God

I mentioned I was attending a women's Bible study at my church, which is something I haven't been able to do previously as most of them occur during the day while I'm working. Since I'm on maternity leave, I'm take advantage of getting to go. We are studying using this book, The Armor of God by Pricilla Shirer.  There are five daily devotions that go along with it and then a video and discussion the Thursday mornings.

If you're not familiar, here are the verses on the armor of God:

 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
This is the first week, so I'm just getting into the content, but what Pricilla wrote on the first day really stuck out to me.  She asked us to write down the biggest challenge we're facing right now. Honestly, I feel like mine is a lack of control with our "new normal" at home.  Hannah seems to be so much more "touchy" than Grant was and seems to be so overstimulated so quickly. Putting her down for a nap can either be really easily or really hard. It's the hardest in the evening and although I want Grant and Brian to be able to play and have fun, noise makes me a long angrier than it should. I just honestly want to control everything, and that's not possible.

After I wrote down "control" as my issue, Pricilla wrote something that totally caught me off guard: "Everything you wrote is not your real problem" The real culprit is the one working behind the scenes to try to take away all the joy and peace we are given though a relationship with God, and you guessed it, it's Satan.  This is a pretty bold statement, but I believe it is entirely true.  She goes on to reassure us that once we are God's we can't be taken from Him, but Satan will do what he can to get us off track and make our lives as free from peace as he can.

My anger at lack of control shouldn't be directed towards any one person, but I need to understand the real source of the problem, then take up the full armor of God to defend myself and my family in the midst of trials.

I'm really excited to see where this study goes and what it really looks like to take up the full armor of God. I plan to share what I'm learning with you all in the coming weeks, but I hope you'll begin to consider your life and struggles too. Consider what you think your issue is, and then work with God to do something about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3 Hours at a Time

For someone who is forward thinking, I've been living life three hours at a time for the past month. Everything seems to revolve around Hannah's eating and sleeping schedule. So many things are going well, but I am leery to leave the house and go do things. Going to church and Bible study are priorities, but Hannah isn't too thrilled to be there once she's tired...I guess that's the side effect of training her to sleep in her crib...not her crib, not wanting to sleep.  

I think we go through different seasons in our lives. Before Hannah got here, I'll have to admit we had it pretty easy.  Grant was getting big enough we could go anywhere and do anything, and he can do a lot independently too.  It was easy to be forward thinking, now it's a new season where I really think I'm supposed to be soaking it all in....the easy and the difficult. Before I know it I'll be back to work and the one-on-one time I have with Hannah will be gone. 

Now believe me when I say some days are much easier than others, and I'm still really trying to work on balancing life as a family of four.  Grant is pretty good at understanding I need to take care of Hannah and feed her, then a short time later put her down for her nap. However, I still feel guilty when I'm going into Hannah's room for the fifth time to put that darn pacifier back in her mouth, because it feel out and she work herself back up, interrupting the time I have with Grant to play whatever it is he's dreamed up. 

I appreciate Brian helping with dinner and errands, but I feel pretty worthless in the evenings with him, when all I want to do is sleep, because I was up with Hannah for two feedings the night before....and the night before...and so on. 

I'm so thankful for my family and feel so blessed to have each one of them, so I'll take living life three hours at a time, because I know before I know it time will begin to fly and I'll forget what this time was like.

I recently got this top from Shein and it's so fun and different than anything else I have.  I did get a medium, and the reviews said it ran big, but was I nervous about getting a small, but I do think sizing down would have been good. I'm so happy to be able to wear my normal shoes and boots again! I love these black ones, but they didn't fit while I was pregnant, so glad to wear them again.

I also adore this bag I scored from thredUP. It's real leather and was only $29, plus I had credits. Use this link for $20 off your first purchase from thredup, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hannah's Newborn Pictures

We just got Hannah's newborn pictures back, and I'm in love. Big thanks to Stacy Ideus Photography for taking them!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I feel like I'm getting in the groove of staying at home with Hannah, I've also realized that I all I really want to wear is leggings and t-shirts.  With it being winter, we don't go out a whole ton, so most of my working wardrobe does not function well for staying at home. I have a few long-sleeved tee shirts, but I love this tee from Target I got recently, as well as this cardigan I got on clearance, but I can't find the link to it on Target's website.  Mossimo's leggings are also nice and thick and really fairly priced too. 

Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up and definitely look forward to my nice clothes once I go back to work, but it's going to be a lot of cozy outfits in the meantime. 

P.S. It was really cold outside when I came out to take these, I actually can't believe I stayed outside to take them!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The War Room

When Brian and I were in the hospital with Hannah one night we rented The War Room.  I'd been wanting to see it, and it didn't disappoint.  The premise of the movie is that in the midst of any struggle, you need to wage your war with prayer.  It was a powerful look at how prayer can transform your life.  

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says: "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

I mentioned on Monday's post that I felt like my devotion time was not super focused lately.  I think some of that has been the anticipation of Hannah and the changes in our life. However, it's during these changes that my prayer and devotional life should be stronger and more focused, not less.  I definitely feel a need to refocus on my devotion time and my prayer life too. I want to "pray without ceasing" and be in constant communication with God.  It's through this he'll help me to refocus on the right things and cause me to be a better mother and wife too.

I'm working on my list to constant prayers and also working to use the time I have nursing Hannah to be in prayer.

I got this blouse when I was down in Kansas City visiting my sister right around Thanksgiving.  I totally took a chance on it because I was nine months pregnant. I actually tried it on and laughed, but then figured it would fit once Hannah was here, so I took a change and got it.  One thing I've noticed is my lack of casual(ish) tops to wear while I'm on maternity leave that are long enough for leggings and easy for nursing. I'm glad I got this, because it fits my needs perfectly! I tried to find it online, but it's boutique specific and couldn't find one that wasn't wholesale, sorry!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Kitchen House

I recently read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  It had been on my to-read list for quite a while, and I finally got to reading it.  When I posted on Instagram a lot of people said it's a book that stays with you, and I totally agree.

Set in the south when slavery still existed, we meet Lavinia, an orphan from Ireland who becomes and indentured servant on a plantation amongst slaves.  She finds family within the community of slaves, but is also tied to the "white world" by the color of her skin.  We also meet Belle, whose mom was a slave and fell in love with the plantation owner, and actually was living in the "big house" with him and their daughter Belle.  She suddenly dies, the plantation owner meets another woman, and Belle is removed from the big house to live amongst the slaves.

This story is gripping and twisted in many ways, and shows the evils of slavery and an awful side of plantation families and owners.  This isn't always a pleasant read, but it's very powerful.  I would definitely recommend adding it to your to-read list today!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life Lately

Today I thought I'd share some details of life lately that I shared on Instagram.  First off, this marks the beginning of my second week at home alone with Hannah.  After so much busyness the first two weeks, its been nice to have time to settle into a routine at home.

One of the first things I set off to do was to focus on a better quiet time with God each day.  I had been feeling like I was not being very focused each day and honestly feel like it was something I was checking off my list, but not digging deeply into.  I decided to go back to the basics and read Romans again, one chapter each day, and journal along with it too. I'm setting aside time each morning after I get ready and while Hannah is napping to take time do really focus.  I'm really enjoying it, and I think it'll help me to be a better mom, wife, and friend too.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mother of Two

No one tells you that the rest test of motherhood begins with your second child being born, but let me tell you, it totally does!  The last few weeks have been great and crazy at the same time.  Having a Christmas baby isn't something we planned, we just wanted a second child, and we didn't care when she was due.

We did have a lot of activity and craziness around the house during the first week with family in and out.  Hannah was learning how to be human and Grant was learning how to be a big brother.  I'm thankful for family who could love on Grant while Hannah needed my attention, that's for sure. If she had been born while school was still in session it would have given me immediate time one-on-one with her, instead of diving into taking care of two kids right away, just like a stay at home mom with little ones would have to do.

Last week Brian went back to work and I was home with Grant and Hannah alone for a few days.  I talked with Grant about his need to entertain himself while I had to feed Hannah, as well as when I had to put her down for her naps.  Grant really did pretty well, but it has to be a difficult transition for him being an only child for 5 1/2 years before Hannah got here! We have a ranch style home and I think all of us had gotten accustomed to yelling across the house to each other, a habit we really need to break with a sleeping baby. I feel like a spent a lot of time asking Grant to use a quiet voice. I really think I need to be understanding of the fact that he's just five, but sometimes it can take quite a while to get Hannah to sleep and I'm get anxious about her waking up.  I really need to get over this and focus on it being quiet while I'm putting her down, and not worry a ton once she's asleep.

Hannah is on a pretty consistent three (ish) hour feeding schedule and is following the pattern of eat, play, sleep. With so much activity for the first two weeks, I feel like I can finally work on getting to know her one-on-one and begin to "read" her too. It seems like she is much more serious than Grant was as a baby. I'm also working this week to record her daily routine to see if there are certain times each day she's wanting to be awake the longest and when she wants to sleep more quickly too. It seems like if I watch her signs (yawning, stare, etc.) she goes to sleep much more easily than if I miss the signs and she's overstimulated.

Now Grant is back in school, which is great for him to have some structure back and it's given me time to spend with Hannah and tend to her the best I can too. I'm really working to get in extra snuggles with Grant when I can and making sure he know just how very much we love him. Being a mom of more than one kid is no joke, that's for sure.

So, moms of multiple kiddos, share your wisdom with me. How do you #momlikeaboss ?

I am crazy about these sneakers from Vionic! I got to work with them earlier this fall and tried out these booties, so I was excited to try out there new sneakers too.  First off, I love the design and styling of them. They will be perfect for the gym as well as for with casual outfits like this one.  They are also super light-weight and comfortable.  The orthotic technology that goes into all of Vionic's shoes is perfect for being on your feet, like I am as a teachers.  If you haven't checked out Vionic, you totally should!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Life Now

Here's my first style post since having Hannah about ten days ago. For the next few months I'll probably be showing some pretty casual outfits, as I'll mostly be at home or going out for quick errands.  It's cold out there!

A lot has changed with my body in ten days! Within a week of having Hannah I had lost 30 pounds-8lbs of baby and 22 of water, which puts me 5 pounds smaller than I was before I got pregnant, this happened with Grant too. Insane how much water I was retaining! I attribute it all to nursing and I'm thankful that Hannah is doing well with this and that my body is too. I nursed Grant for about nine months and will plan to do the same with Hannah-up to a year. I've also weirdly lost another five pounds this week and don't have the biggest appetite. Any other moms go through this?

I also had so many weird body ailments while pregnant and it's crazy how quickly they went away.  Bye, bye acid reflux, nausea, and aversions to some of my favorite foods like cereal and coffee. I'm thankful I no longer have to take a half dozen pills each night!  My tingly fingers and issues with my hands falling asleep at night has stopped too.  I'm also sleeping much better, but have super crazy night sweats.  I guess it's normal, but I'm soaking the sheets and my clothes nightly.  I'm hoping my hormones regulate soon and it stops, it's the weirdest thing!

I'm also thankful for my real clothes and to get rid of my maternity clothes.  I've officially landed in the "leggings are pants" camp, which I think is due to the fact that I wore them for the last five months straight while I was pregnant.  As long as my butt is covered, I'm fine with this.  Once I'm back to school I promise I'll wear real pants again, but while staying at home with Hannah I plan to be comfy. I'm also excited my shoes fit again! The ones I'm wearing today haven't fit for my entire pregnancy, so I'm so glad I could pull them on easily!

I've also made it a habit to shower and get ready while Hannah takes her first nap.  Even if we don't leave the house I feel better and at least look like a fairly normal person. I'm really excited to get to spend the next few month with Hannah at home and thankful for maternity leave!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hannah's Room

Miss Hannah and I are beginning to get into a groove here at home. She's taken to a three (ish) hour feeding routine and stretches to four or more hours at night.  At this point she still isn't awake a ton after each time she eats, and I feel like we spend a lot of time in her room. It was so much fun to decorate and I found some really cute things at Gordmans to help make her room extra cute.

Monday, January 4, 2016


I was excited to learn about the concept of Lalabu recently.  The make a high-quality soothe shirt which also works for nursing, and in the front is a pocket, perfect for your little one. Like I mentioned last week, we had a lot of people over for Christmas, and if you have baby, you know they don't also plan to go by your schedule.

Right as it was time to sit down for dinner Hannah woke up. I decided to give my soothe shirt a try and Hannah was all over it.  There is even a built in head rest, which is really nice too. Getting Hannah into the shirt was easy, and it'll be great for at home use, but also for when we are on outings as a family too!

If you are about ready to have a little one of your own, I'd definitely recommend giving Lalabu soothe shirts a try!