Friday, January 23, 2015

Baby Stuff I Like... and a Little Unsolicited Advice

It just so happens that two of my sister in laws and myself are all prego and due this year with baby boys. Madeline is due in June, I am due in May and Jenny is due in February. And yes, I know they both appreciate me posting this pic since I pretty much had to beg them to take it haha... ;0) I'm so excited they are having boys too though, it will be fun for them to all grow up together so close in age!

All the Campbell Grandkids... we are adding #9, #10 and #11 this year!
One sister in law has no need for this post because she is having her 5th child but my other sister in law is having her first! She messaged me a couple of days ago saying that they were going to be registering soon and asked if I had any advice on what they should register for... this made me smile because I totally remember that overwhelming feeling of walking into Buy Buy Baby and them handing me that scanner gun... and then just standing there staring at things with Jacob thinking, "Will we really need this?? Or this?? What about this brand?? or that Brand??" I mean really, it can be truly overwhelming in a store like that, not to mention that your brain is flooded with hormones and really is in no condition to make decisions. I told her I would get back to her because seriously, that is not a question you can answer in a text message! 

So I sat down, during nap time of course hehe, and started making a list of all the baby stuff I like. And that's just what this is. Baby stuff that we like. Every baby and family is different, so part of the game is finding things that work for you, figuring out what your baby likes and what fits your lifestyle. I organized it by categories... nursing/feeding, strollers, carseats, swings, bath stuff... it goes on and on and on... and on some more. I added some links to show pictures of things I wasn't sure made sense, or if I found them on Amazon  instead of in store, I linked them as well. I also explained why we liked those things and how useful they ended up being. I've wanted to do this for a while because she's not the first person to ask me that question. So while I was working on this my sweet hubbie said, "Hey! You should put this on your blog!" And now it is. So if you are interested in a huge pdf full of baby things and some of my "non-expert" advice (because I am definitely no expert, just a momma trying to make it!), click away on the link below! 

Hopefully there is something here that can help you make some decisions, or answer some questions you have and maybe even help you think ahead for occasions or stages you haven't gotten to yet. If anyone has anything to add, I would love to hear about it in your comments! I can always revise the word doc and repost it later. 

My last piece of advice would just be to try not to stress and have fun with it. You can always return things, or if you realize you need something just run to the store/order it from Amazon and have them bring it to your doorstep. ;0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Look No Further... The BEST Blueberry Muffins!

So if it isn't already obvious... I am somewhat OBSESSED with muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls... the list goes on and on... I have been trying to find some good muffin recipes though that I can make at home that involve real ingredients and I think I am done looking as far as blueberry muffins are concerned! Of course, it was a Pinterest find, but if you are looking for a good recipe, this one should do it! We also are big fans of streusel toppings, so that was also a nice addition to these guys. Top one of these puppies with a slice of Kerry Gold Butter and you are good to go!

I used frozen blueberries just because blueberries right now are so expensive in stores! But I am looking forward to trying this again later this spring or summer once they come into season more. Frozen ones worked out fine though, and are super convenient if you just keep them on hand to grab and throw in. The batter in this recipe is also pretty dense, so frozen berries don't get smushed as you fold them into the batter.

More please! :0)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finding Joy in the Journey

A few weeks ago a good friend of my mine sent me a card that was really sweet and thoughtful, but one of the things she said was that "I seem really happy now" and she was glad things seemed to be going better for me. That phrase really got me thinking... about how I am perceived by others... because up until now I guess I just assumed that people didn't see the stress I carried around or the frustrations I might have been harboring about my child not sleeping at night in my face. I started considering how I come across to people and maybe just how I was reacting to frustrating things in my life. Along with that, I read a few Bible plans off and on with my Bible app and began one called "Living on Purpose" with the start of the new year. One of the first devotionals it had in it was a story about a basketball coach at UCLA, John Wooden, and how he said that he enjoyed practicing for basketball games more than the games themselves. Moral of the story is that he "found joy in the journey." The devotional explained how we tend to find joy from huge accomplishments or the greatest experiences in our lives, but we ignore those day to day activities that build up to those big things. We miss out on finding satisfaction in the small mundane things of life and don't see purpose in them, especially if they don't go our way or if they are hard. 

I will tell you right now, the last 18 months with my son have been hard. Part of that is just becoming a new parent, part of it is because he was not a good sleeper (just started sleeping consistently through the night at 18 months! eek!) and I NEED, like really NEED my sleep to be a happy person. Day after day, week after week of waking up every 1, 2 and 3 hours starts to wear on a person! Maybe that is why I seem happier lately haha... but what makes me sad about the last 18 months with him is that I did miss out on enjoying some things because I was focused on what wasn't going the way I wanted it to go. Yes, I have found a lot of happiness in him and with him, don't get me wrong, but my point is that I wasn't always finding joy in the journey. And I think I did this while teaching too. I would get really worked up about bad days, or I would get very discouraged when things weren't progressing like I thought they should. That's the problem in those statements though... the way "I thought" they should go. 

So one of my goals for this year, call it a resolution if you must, is to find joy in my journey. God has graciously blessed me with another son, and I am hoping that we will have a better start this time around and that he will sleep better and eat better and that I won't be sick, but if not, I want to find joy in my journey with him and Jackson in all things as much as possible. We aren't promised time from God, we aren't promised that we will have tomorrow. God doesn't promise us that things will always go the way we think they should go, and even though that can be disheartening, hard and discouraging at times, I have to look for the joy in them and what He is trying to show me in those experiences. That has been the hardest thing for me this last year, truly relinquishing control to God. I still have a long way to go, but hard things absolutely force you to give up control to Him and trust Him, and for that I am thankful those experiences, because I needed to trust Him more. 

I also just want to try and dwell on the day at hand. Yes, we must make preparations, I must buy groceries for the whole week etc, but I want to try my best to make good use of my time and focus on the good I can do that day. I think if I truly start focusing on those little things that make up my days and finding joy in them, I will have more satisfaction in my life and not feel so overwhelmed at times. We'll see how it goes. :0) I have a lot to learn, and this year will provide many more of those "learning experiences" going from one to two kiddos! I keep telling people that if I disappear for a few months not to worry about me, I'll just be sitting on the couch with my twos boys trying to keep them both happy, fed and rested hehe! And yes, your prayers would be appreciated because I am nervous about the change! I need to put a BIG star on this post so I can come back and look at it every day of those first few months when I'm wondering how I will make it haha! How do you find joy in your days? How do you find joy in your journey?

A few verses to consider, the first being from the devotional I referenced earlier...

"I perceived that there is nothing better for them that to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil - this is God's gift to man." - Ecc. 3:12-13

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." - James 4 13-15

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." - Prov. 17:22