Shaking Off These Heavy Chains

Since I was a teenager God has ALWAYS always spoken to me through music. Whether it be a song on the radio, a song at a concert, at church… or even a song I wrote myself. I don’t sing or write or play music as often as I did before, or as often as I would like… but He still reaches out to me and speaks to me through song. On my worst days I can rely on Him to bring me back to the surface with an uplifting song. Today was no different.

I haven’t written anything personal in a while, and for good reason. On March 18, J was asked to resign from his job. We were NOT prepared. Not even a little bit. We used our entire tax refund to pay off debt, to purchase things the kids needed and a few other things we needed for our home. We thought we were being responsible by paying off that debt, and now we have nothing. Our emergency fund is depleted, J is still looking for a new position, and while thankfully he found something to get us by temporarily, it does not pay anywhere near what he was getting before.

It’s been scary and stressful and we feel like the world is just falling down on us. It seems like every day has thrown something new and even more awful at us. Boogie and Bubby’s insurance wasn’t renewed as it was supposed to, so we had to deal with that. The puppy, Arrow, you may have “met” on my Facebook fan page started getting sick, we took him to the vet over and over and over… and then J lost his job and we could not financially keep taking him and hoping they found what was wrong with him. So we had to take him back to the rescue that we adopted him from, it was heartbreaking… my children were devastated. A lot more than that has happened, it just feels like we can’t get our heads above water again.

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to throw in the towel. We had a good morning, I took Boogie (and Bird) to her ballet class, Bubby spent the morning with Mamaw and J went to work. We got home and we had to balance our checkbook register and figure out what bills to pay this coming paycheck and what not to pay. Let’s just say the “not to pay” list is too long. After that, as he tends to do when things get stressful, J popped his head back into his tortoise shell, so to speak, and hasn’t surfaced yet. I tried to explain to him that while things are stressful and not fun right now… life still goes on. It keeps on trucking and we have to just hang on for the ride. But sometimes it just doesn’t feel that easy.

We had to run to the home improvement store down the road to pick up a few things to fix our pantry and my clothesline, so we were going down the road and I was explaining that to J and this song came on the radio:


These are the lyrics I heard as I finished my conversation with J…

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face… because of Christ, because of His sacrifice and His suffering… I am REDEEMED. He set me free so that I could shake off all of this stress, anxiety and worry… those heavy chains are gone, the stains are washed away… and I am REDEEMED.

What are the chances that this particular song, on this Easter weekend, would come on as storm clouds started clouding my mind? When all I wanted to do was just go home, lock myself in the bathroom and cry? His timing is perfect and He has a plan for my life, our lives. So like I told J… I’m just going to hop on, hang on for dear life, and keep on trucking until this hard period passes. God is on my side, and He’s showing that to me little by little.

How has Christ spoken to you? I’d love to hear how He has blessed your life! God Bless, and Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!

Family Update

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I thought it might be about time to do a little update, lately all I’ve been posting is reviews and giveaways, but honestly that’s all I have the energy and time for! If you don’t blog… then you probably don’t know how much time it takes to keep one going. I’ll be back in full swing again at some point, but right now I’m focusing mainly on my family and reviewing some products here and there, so keep an eye out for some great giveaways (there’s one live right NOW!)

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Baby Bird is 1 month old as of yesterday… how did that happen so quickly? She is so incredibly precious, she’s super laid back, easy going, and she handles the craziness of our household so well. She, just like every other baby, gets fussy now and then (like now… she’s currently wrapped tight to my chest and listening to “Baby Got Colic” while I type), but really… she’s just perfect.

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Bubby is his normal, ornery and naughty self. I love that kid, he constantly keeps me on my toes and is the BEST at getting belly laughs out of anyone around him. He’s also, and I say this with SO MUCH affection, kind of a turd. This child already knows how to get on his big sister’s nerves, and let me tell you… he is a professional. He tortures that poor girl and finds it HILARIOUS, taking her dolls, throwing her toys, pinching her, just being downright naughty. BOYS. Boogie will figure things out eventually, but I’m afraid Bubby may regret these days eventually when he realizes he has TWO sisters to gang up on him! Uh oh! No, really he’s a fantastic little boy and he absolutely lights up my life.

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Boogie, my sweet, beautiful Boogie turned 4 last week. I need to post a birthday update for her as well, I’ll probably work on that this weekend. You think Bubby’s birthday update had a ton of pictures… you just wait! Boogie is trying to figure this whole “big girl” thing out, meaning she’s testing boundaries, learning how to cop an attitude (ay yi yi), and is trying to find her way in this world. It’s hard on her and it’s hard on mommy, that’s for sure. I’m trying some new things in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, things will go a little smoother. My hope is that she and I will have a good relationship throughout these many trials and battles… Lord willing. Anyways, Boogie is super excited about trying some new things for school with me, she is smart as a whip and has been asking to learn how to read, so we’re starting that, I’m also creating some workbox drawers for her, and she also received a “big girl” Tag Reader/pen for Christmas and has really enjoyed using that during Bubby’s naptime. I can’t wait to start posting some more home school posts about all of those fun things!

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J has been at his new job for about a month and 2 weeks now, he’s so much happier and I’m so glad for him. I dislike how far he is from us (almost an hour commute, and it may be an hour or more commute when they place him in his own facility), but hopefully this will be his forever job and will create amazing opportunities for all of us in the future. We’re praying that they place him in his own facility by next month so we can get into a normal routine around here.

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As for me, well… I’m just doing the mommy thing, taking care of my babies, my hubby and home. Not much time to do anything else, but honestly I’m good with that right now. The moments when things ARE quiet and I’m not overloaded with chores and tasks to be accomplished, I’ve relished in having a new baby in my arms.

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I mentioned in a recent Facebook status on my private profile that I can understand why Michelle Duggar kept having baby after baby after baby… they are pure bliss. I think I finally have J convinced that one more wouldn’t be so bad, I think I’ll feel like our family is complete after that! And I’m secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for another little girl… I’m not so sure I could handle another Bubby, ha!

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That’s it for now, like I said, things are busy busy around here, but I’ll be around. Look for a (late) birthday update on Boogie and some more reviews/giveaways soon! Until next time, God Bless!

He Calmed the Storm

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He is SO good. I posted before about how rough things were around here. The stresses of what we were experiencing in regards to J’s job and being stuck at home without a vehicle with both kids AND pregnant were triggering situational anxiety and panic attacks for me. We were overwhelmed with everything, worried about our future… we cried out to Jesus over and over and over. And honestly… it felt like we were being ignored. How foolish of us. But we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

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God calmed our storm… He stopped the downpour and He did so just a short few weeks before our sweet Baby Bird is due to arrive. I think perhaps He wanted us to learn something. Maybe I was a little impatient and started doubting. Maybe I wasn’t faithful enough… perhaps I didn’t live up to the name of my blog. Perhaps my faith wasn’t even as big as a mustard seed.

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Guess He gave me a reality check, eh? He has blessed us abundantly. J starts his new job  on the 1st of December (yea… my EDD is December 6th… but I’m trusting that all will be well!). The new company that has hired him owns and operates many facilities in our area, and the way they train their managers is phenomenal. They start them at the bottom of their department, so in J’s case he will train as a dietary aide, a dishwasher, and then a cook so that he can learn how their staff is expected to work and operate. From there he will learn the policies and procedures, their computer systems and what will be expected of him as the Certified Dietary Manager of his facility. Once that training is complete (his district manager said that would be within 30-60 days) he will be sent to his permanent facility.

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There are things that aren’t super amazing, like his commute will be longer and there’s a possibility that we may have to sell or rent our home in the future and move closer to where he is working… but God is showing us that change is okay. And I think He’s also showing us that we have to be flexible and willing to see His purpose in all things. We are very thankful that because he was offered more salary per year from this position that we can now afford a second vehicle again, so the kids and I will have our freedom back. That I am very very thankful for.

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Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for praying for us… for praying for me and for being encouraging and uplifting when I was so down. Your comments and messages meant the world to me. Continue to pray with us, we still have lots of transitions and changes coming in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to share them with you! Look for my 36 week update on Saturday and I’m hoping to share some more of our maternity shots next week! God Bless!

ZenKid Premium Baby Stroller Organizer Review + Giveaway

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If you’re familiar with my blog, then you probably know that I’m an avid babywearer. Very rarely do we utilize strollers, HOWEVER, since I am very much pregnant and J prefers not to wear our 25lb toddler anymore we have been using our strollers much more often. Boogie is big enough to walk, but when she prefers to sit we have a roomy double stroller that has lots of storage room for diapers, bags, etc. It’s SO nice having that extra storage space when we’re out and about. When it’s just Bubby that needs to sit we have a basic umbrella stroller. The bad thing about that? NO storage.

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Then I discovered the Zen Kid Premium Baby Stroller Organizer. This thing is AWESOME! It easily velcros to the handles of your stroller and is sturdy enough to hold quite a bit of your belongings. So far my only complaint has been that there isn’t quite enough room to put cloth diapers. We are currently using disposables (have to replace our diaper covers… total bummer) so a few of those and a small case of wipes fit well in the front zipper pocket, but more than that would not. There’s room for two cups, we carried two sippy cups yesterday but I feel confident that it would hold a water bottle (I would definitely use something with a stable lid though, umbrella strollers are unpredictable!). There’s a small compartment in the center we stored snacks in, and then there’s room for your phone, keys and cash! Perfect for a day out when you don’t want to lug around a diaper bag or purse!

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Here’s why this stroller organizer is perfect for you and your family…

– Deep Insulated Cup Holders: Your baby and water bottles will stay in place and preserve their temperature.
– Roomy And Spacious: Tons of room to keep your valuables such as keys, wallet, tissues, small snacks, sunglasses, etc.
– Custom IPhone/Smartphone Holder: Your phone will be safe and secure.
– Universal: Designed to fit almost all brand name strollers.
– Safe And Secure: Very stable design makes this organizer extremely reliable.
– Easily Collapsible: Takes up very little space and easy to store.
– Quality Material: This organizer will serve you a lifetime because it’s designed with top grade material that lasts!
– Easy To Clean: Just simply wipe it down with a wet paper towel or a wet cloth.
– Guaranteed For Life: Hassle Free Replacements

 

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This stroller organizer has a 5/5 star rating on Amazon and is on sale right now for $23.95 with FREE shipping!

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This stroller organizer fit perfectly on our Babies R Us brand basic umbrella stroller, it was easy to clean and I was able to just un-velcro one side in order to break the stroller down for storage!

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Want to win one for yourself!? It’s easy to do! Just fill out the giveaway widget below, and please remember that your entries will be verified if you are the randomly chosen winner! Giveaway ends November 14th, I will contact the winner within 24 hours and the winner will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen! Good luck!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Ultimate Hospital Packing List and Dot&Dot Small Packing Cubes Review

Yes, indeed… the time has finally come to start packing our bags and preparing for the arrival of Baby Bird! I know, I know, I can’t believe it either! I’m 35 weeks (and 1 day lol), and while I know for sure she won’t be here until probably at the VERY least 39 weeks (Boogie came at 39+3 and Bubby came at 40+1), I like being prepared ahead of time. I’m a procrastinator, so I knew that if for this, I put it off, it wouldn’t get done and I’d be hurrying to pack things while in labor. Frankly, I’m not okay with that. So I personally think 35 weeks is a great time to start packing, that gives you time to pick up some last minute items you might need and to remember any things you may have forgotten if you had packed last minute!

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I was really excited to have the opportunity to review the Dot&Dot Small Packing Cubes, I knew they would be PERFECT to help me stay organized!

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These packing cubes are great, they are small in size (11″ x 6.75″ x 3″) and you get 4 in a pack. I actually only ended up using 3 for my hospital bag packing, but I love that I had the option of the additional one (and I’m sure these will come in handy on vacations as well!) These also come in an array of colors including black, navy blue, gray, green, light blue, orange, pink, purple, red and yellow. As you can see, I chose red.

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I chose to use my cubes for my main bag that I will have J bring up to the hospital room once Bird is here and we are settled into our Mother/Baby room. I have a large bag for that which includes everything Baby Bird and I will need for our stay. And yes, I always overpack, though really… I usually end up using everything I packed. Does that even make sense? LOL! Meaning, I always pack a little more than I THINK I will need, all of us rookie mommy’s know how messy things can get after birth… so sometimes extras come in handy!

I then packed a small bag for J (just basic toiletries and a change of clothes in case he has to meet me from work – he dresses up for work), a bag of just the few things I’ll need for labor, a bag for the van (towel, garbage bag and pads in case my water breaks), and then overnight bags for the kids. At the end of this post I’ll share more about my ultimate packing list AND you can download a free checklist!

In my first cube I packed panties, socks, slipper socks, nursing pads (reusable mainly, but I included a few sample disposable ones I received in the mail as well), and nipple cream.  Everything fit snug and with the mesh cover I can see what’s inside so that everything is easily accessible and easy to find!

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In my second cube I packed my basic toiletries including toothpaste, travel toothbrush, comb and hair ties, basic make up (I’m not a big make up wearer but it’s nice to have some mascara and gloss to put on for pictures!), face scrub, lotion, glasses case, deodorant, and bathing toiletries.

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In my third cube I packed the smaller items for Baby Bird, such as socks, mittens, hats, bows and headbands (not a necessity and I didn’t include it on the list… I just know that we’ll be doing photos and wanted to have some on hand!), and her going home outfit. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo! Bummer! (Though you can see the organizer in the packed bag below!

Here, you can see that everything for after the birth and everything for Baby Bird is packed in this sports bag, I love how organized I packing cubes! Everything fit perfectly! Mission accomplished!

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Now, onto our Ultimate Hospital Packing List! As I stated before, I packed several different bags for different purposes AND I created a list (which I put in red and large print) of things we needed to grab as we head out the door.

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You can download the Ultimate Hospital Packing List HERE!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.