Finding Rest

It’s amazing how a simple word can be continually placed on our hearts, a constant reminder of what God wants us to do. The sermon at our church on Sunday wasn’t necessarily about the word “rest”, but our pastor did bring up Mary of Bethany. And when I think of Mary, I think of rest. On the radio, THREE times this past week, I’ve heard sermons and speakers talk of resting within Jesus. It’s obvious to me that I have chosen the right word for me… and then while at the women’s planning meeting at our church, our pastor’s wife brought up an activity we will be doing at our next event. We will be making little cards with our word of the year on them to display at home or in our bible’s as a reminder. It’s been a constant thing these past two weeks!

So, because of all these constant reminders I’ve been thinking about ways I can rest. How can I find rest in Him? How can I teach myself to rest and let Him take on my burdens? I started with prayer. I’ve been praying the word rest over my life, my family, my children’s education, all of it. Am I stressed and anxious? Well, yea, I don’t think that’s going to go away in the blink of the eye. Do I feel rested? Well, no… I have four children ages seven and under, one of which who still nurses ALL night. But I feel more relaxed. More even. More at peace.

The first thing I’ve been doing is making a habit of washing our dishes twice a day. I know that sounds silly, but this is the first time we haven’t had a dishwasher in a while. If I don’t stay on top of them, they pile up and then at the end of the day everyone’s too tired to do them and I wake up anxious and overwhelmed because there’s a giant pile of dirty dishes waiting to be washed. BUT, if I take the time to do them at least twice a day (and J will usually do them a third time), not only does the task get done and there’s not nearly as many to do, but I also have time to talk to the Lord. I can pray, I can sing, I can worship. My hands are busy, but my mind, soul and voice are available to worship!

The second thing I’ve been doing is relaxing about homeschooling. I’m a pretty strict routine follower, I like having a calendar of what we are doing, and a structured schedule. While I do have a tentative plan set for the rest of this semester, I’m relaxing about when/where and how we are going about our schedule. Today for instance, Boogie needed to finish up some spelling/handwriting tasks that we had planned to finish before our move before we moved on to the next lessons. Normally I’d have her sit and do them all at once and just get them done, which really she’s cool with, but this morning the three big kids were playing in the playroom and they were having fits of laughter together. Joyful, wonderful giggling and carefree banter between them. Honestly, it’s been a while since I have heard them play like that, lately it’s been a lot of bickering and fighting and screaming… but this was beautiful. So instead of sticking to our routine, I let them play… and did the dishes!

The third thing I’ve been doing is I’ve been working on getting more involved at church, I know this doesn’t sound like rest, but for me it is. Getting involved means making friends, blessing others, and having a life outside of my children. Because let’s face it, as a stay at home mom who also homeschools… my life revolves around the kids 24/7. It’s not healthy, and I have to take care of me as well. So I’ve been helping plan events and activities with the women’s ministry, I’m going to be starting up a mom’s group (so excited about this!) and I may be working on helping with the nursery and getting it running more efficiently. Beyond church, I’m hoping to take some classes on pottery… something different that I used to enjoy as a teenager when I went to summer camp. I think it’ll be fun!

The fourth thing that I have been working on is spending quality time with my husband. Relationships can get lost and pushed to the side when you have littles running around. It’s especially true when your life has been as crazy as ours has been the past few months. Now that Bear is a bit bigger and we’ve tested me being gone for a couple hours, my hope is that we can start going out and find some activities to try together. We’d like to do one of those paint dates, maybe a movie night (it’s been SO long y’all), a cooking class, a concert… whatever we find!

Have you thought about what your word for 2018 will be? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be praying for you and your word this year! God Bless!

Omaiki Reusable Pad Giveaway

Reusable menstrual pads from Omaïki’s Lötus line are a great way to go green! They’re trim, absorbent and made in Canada with Canadian materials. With a waterproof PUL backing, they keep your clothing dry and have wings to secure around underwear. Available in multiple sizes including thong-liners, they are a great way to keep toxins away from your most intimate areas. Read Mama Banana’s Adventures Omaïki Lötus review for full details and enter to win a set below!

Why cloth pads? Cloth pads are free from the toxins found in disposable menstrual products and many women report that they seriously reduce or stop menstrual cramps. In this fantastic starter set, you get 2 panty liners, 2 mini-maxi, 2 maxi and a matching wetbag! It’s a great way to try out reusable pads, add to your collection or to give as a gift. The Omaiki Lotus starter set can be found on their website and at select retailers. More information:

Omaïki Lötus Features

  • Made in Canada with Canadian fabrics
  • Organic cotton and bamboo
  • Washable
  • Thin but absorbent
  • Waterproof PUL backing
  • Nature-inspired prints
  • Serged edges for minimal panty lines
  • Available in 5 sizes for Menstrual Care
    • Panty liner 8.5″
    • Mini-Maxi 8.5″
    • Maxi Pads 11″
    • Maxi Plus 11″
    • Thong liner
  • Available in Incontinence
    • Light, Medium and Premium
  • Wings that snap around your underwear
  • Matching web bags with zipper and pouch

Enter the giveaway below! $60 arv open to USA & Canada 18+, void where prohibited. Good luck!

Disclosure: This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. Event organized by Mama Banana’s Adventures. Open to legal residents 18+ of USA and Canada. Confirmed Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Mama Banana’s Adventures & participating bloggers are not responsible for lost or stolen prizes. For questions about this event contact MamaBananasAdventures@gmail.com

Our Top 10 Baby Must Haves

You will find that there are MILLIONS of products to choose from when you start your baby registry. I know as a first time mom, seven years ago, I was overwhelmed by all of the options and choices we would need to make for our precious little bundle of joy! Not only are there lots of different types of things you need, but their are different brands, colors, sizes, etc etc. It’s almost too much to comprehend.

Have no fear my friends… this seasoned momma has a list of top ten products you SHOULD put on your registry. These are things I have used (and am still using) for all four of our children and you can find every single one of these over on The Baby Cubby!

  1. A good quality baby carrier: Ergobaby Original – We use several different types of carriers for our children. You’ll see us using woven wraps, ring slings and soft structured carriers. It all just depends on where we are and what we are doing. The carrier we reach for the most however is the Ergobaby soft structured carrier. You can use this with the smallest member of your family (in our case, Baby Bear, who is currently 7 weeks old) with an infant insert, to the toddler of your family! Bird just outgrew the Ergo, but we were able to use it up until she was 2 years old! You will also find ring slings and stretchy wraps on this particular website, as well as the newer Ergo carriers that allow you to carry facing out (I prefer to not do so, but to each their own!) 
  2. Swaddle Blankets: Aden + Anais Organic Swaddles – These are by far the BEST swaddle blankets you could own. They are the perfect weight and just the right amount of softness to swaddle your baby. Our older kids also used these for the longest time as their naptime blankets. They are also amazing to use in the car for those times you have to have naptime on the go – you don’t have to worry about them getting overheated under these! They have the most adorable prints, I’m really digging that fox print! 
  3. Nursing Cover : Covered Goods Multi-Use Nursing Cover – If you plan to breastfeed, I always recommend this type of cover. No, it’s not necessary to cover, but I know that I feel most comfortable and more modest if I have the ability to cover. These are great because they also work as a scarf, a car seat cover, and even a shopping cart cover. I know that as a mom of four littles, it’s nice to have one product that has multiple uses! 
  4. Reusable Breast Pads : Bamboobies Nursing Pads – I LOVE these breast pads, not only are they super cute, but they are super absorbent and you can just throw them in the wash so you can use them again and again! I never liked the disposable pads because they irritated my skin, so these were the ticket for me! 
  5. Breast Pump : Medela Pump in Style Advanced – If you plan to breastfeed, even if you choose to exclusively nurse, it’s good to have a high quality pump. Whether you intend to go back to work or if you want to have a stash set aside, the Medela brand pumps are the way to go. I don’t use mine as much now, but with Boogie and Bubby I used them a LOT in the beginning to set up a stash as a backup and to help alleviate some of the engorgement I had with my body getting used to producing milk. It hasn’t been a necessity the third and fourth times, but I still use it occasionally after nights of SLEEP (hallelujah!) when my little doesn’t nurse as often as usual. 
  6. Pacifiers/Pacifier Clips : WubbaNub Pacifier Lovey – Alright, so this isn’t something I thought we would ever use. Boogie, Bubby, and Bird… none of them would take a pacifier. I was their pacifier. Sounds like a blast, right? Well, sweet Bear has thankfully been taking a pacifier a little bit better than his siblings. Mainly in the van, which is a lifesaver because none of our babies have enjoyed being in their car seats at this age! These WubbaNub Loveys are FANTASTIC, they can hug those sweet little stuffed loveys while finding comfort in their pacifiers… perfect. Bear has a blue bear in his Easter basket, but this fox is super cute too! 
  7. Burp Cloths : Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs – Burp cloths are a necessity, especially with Bear (he’s a very happy spitter). These however are another product that have more than one use! Those first 6 months of nursing and burping, you can use these as a burp cloth! Then, once your little starts eating solid foods, you can use it as a bib! How cool is that? And even better, these are the same soft material as the swaddlers I listed above. 
  8. High Quality Body Wash/Lotion: Tubby Todd Lavender Gift Set – This is one of my favorite bath and body products to use with my littles. Tubby Todd is made with plant based ingredients and natural extracts, you can rest assured that they will be gentle on your baby’s skin and they smell AMAZING! 
  9. Soft-Soled Shoes: Freshly Picked Moccasins – When your little starts cruising and taking their first steps, having a soft-soled shoe is ideal. This allows their chubby little feet to continue growing and developing, while still having some protection for the soles of their feet. You may have seen my review of Freshly Picked Moccasins here on my blog. We LOVE these, they are high quality and absolutely adorable. 
  10. Baby Utensils : Re-Play Utensil Set – We actually have lots of Re-Play utensils, cups, and plates, but the utensils… they are seriously the best. They are super sturdy, high quality and they are made from recycled milk jugs! Our kids love how colorful they are, we have purchased a variety of colors. These are perfect for the babies learning to use utensils and your older kids. Boogie, at age 6, still uses these! 

These are ten of our MUST HAVE products for all of you new parents out there, it’s possible to keep things simple and still have amazing products that will work for your child… especially those that have multiple functions and long term uses!

This post was sponsored by The Baby Cubby, however all statements and opinions are my own and I truly do recommend every product in this post! 

Baby Bear is Finally Here!

I realize I have been pretty terrible posting pregnancy updates and such these past few months. To say that life has been a little bit crazy would be an understatement.

Baby Bear finally made his debut in the wee hours of February 21st at 41 weeks gestation. I was having mild cramps all day on the 20th (Monday). Basically felt like mild menstrual cramps, I was able to act completely normal through them. I didn’t even tell my parents, who were in town for the week, they had no idea! I texted Janelle that morning to let her know so she could drive into town and be here for Bear’s birth, we weren’t sure if she would be able to make it but I wanted her to have the opportunity if she could! Justin knew I was cramping, though I told him not to panic, because I knew that nothing was happening yet.

Later in the day I ran to the store to pick up some things for dinner and while walking around the store and in the parking lot the cramping started feeling more significant. We went home, made dinner and after putting the kids to bed I laid down and tried to read to relax. My dear, sweet wonderful husband was being a butt however and being obnoxious of course. The menstrual like cramping started feeling more like mild contractions, and while I tried to time them, they weren’t regular at all. I went ahead and texted Janelle again around 8pm to let her know they were becoming more significant and she headed this way!

The cramping was still very irregular, but becoming slightly more painful. Nothing I couldn’t talk through though. I was dreading having Bear in the middle of the night… I knew that’s probably what was going to happen, but I also knew that I was going to be exhausted and have a hard time catching up on sleep afterwards! It worked out for the best though, because Janelle arrived at our house a little after 11pm and I was starting to feel contractions that I couldn’t talk through. Again, they were still very irregular and it was strange… it seemed like every other contraction was stronger and hard to talk through, while the others were like the earlier cramping. Nothing like my previous births.

When I started having to lean over the counter in the kitchen and the railings on the porch outside to get through those harder contractions we decided to head out. I had called my midwife’s office a little while before Janelle had arrived, and I am pretty sure they didn’t believe that I was going into active labor, so I had to pretty much tell them that we were coming in around midnight and to expect us. Since we moved out of state, the midwives I’ve been seeing have been wonderful, but truly didn’t believe that I would have this baby quickly…

We arrived at the birth center at midnight and I was at 3cm dilated. The midwife wanted to send us home, but not only was I adamant about staying, Janelle and Justin both knew that if we went home we would be turning right back around the moment we got there. I bounced on a birthing ball for a while but then decided that while my contractions were manageable I would lie down and try to rest some. I didn’t really sleep, but being able to just lie there and rest really helped. The midwife came back in at 1am and I was 6cm dilated. Things were becoming more intense at this point and I was no longer able to lay down to rest. I asked to have the tub filled, and during that time the contractions started picking up in intensity and speed. There wasn’t much of a break between contractions anymore and during each I used Justin as my support and swayed through each one.

I was much calmer and in control during this birth than previous births. While my body was obviously doing it’s job and taking over, I was able to talk myself through the pain. When the tub was finally filled I immediately got in and went from sitting on my knees between contractions to being on my hands and knees during contractions. I think I got in the tub around 1:30 or so, but I could be wrong. All I know is that once I was in the tub it was game on! My body only pushed one big time in order for my water to break, I pushed once more and felt his head come out… and then another large push and he was born into the water!

I think I was a little shocked, not only was he born super fast, but he was born much faster than the other three. My births with Bubby and Bird were also fast but I pushed a little longer with them. This was amazingly fast. I got to immediately hold Bear skin to skin and let his cord finish pulsating. By the time it finished I was able to push out the placenta and get out of the tub. Justin was so much calmer and relaxed this time around, he was a great support and I couldn’t be more thankful for him! I’m also very thankful that Janelle was able to be there to pray over us and be an extra support person as needed. She is the BEST Aunt Janelle my kids could have, I’m so glad she and Nathan are our children’s godparents!

Having him at a birth center was amazing, it was very hands off, calm, relaxing and I was able to just bond and love on my sweet boy as long as I wanted. They came in to check on us and do his newborn check up a few hours later. After all was said and done, he was born at 2:06am and we were able to come home at 6:45am. If you ever have the opportunity to give birth at a center, I highly recommend it. It’s the best experience you could imagine and the next best option to a home birth in my opinion.

Baby Bear weighed in at 7lbs 12oz, 19.5″ long on February 21st, 2017 at 2:06am. We are so in love with this handsome boy and he has been such an easy, laid back baby so far. I can’t wait to post more about him in the future! And I’m even more excited to feel like our family is finally complete.

Those Last Firsts

When J and I got married we knew we wanted to start trying for a baby right away. We wanted a family but we weren’t sure how many children we wanted yet. I was pretty set on having a large family while J was set on just two or three. I think it’s evident who won that battle!

I was excited about first seeing those red lines pop up on that first positive pregnancy test. And hear our baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. Feel the soft kicks and nudges in the second trimester, and the harder more pronounced movements in the third. Holding that sweet baby for the first time and taking in every smell, yawn and adorable face she made…. so on and so forth. What I didn’t anticipate was how I would feel experiencing our last firsts.

Baby Bear will be our last baby, with that comes a lot of last firsts. The last time I would tear up seeing those red lines pop up on the first test I took. The last time I would hear his heartbeat for the first time. The last time I would feel his first kicks and nudges. The last time I would have a pronounced bump for the first time. I didn’t realize how excited and how devastated all of those things would make me feel. Bear is going to be the last baby I hold for the first time, the last baby I smell and touch and kiss for the first time. He will be the last baby I see smile for the first time, hear giggle for the first time, crawl and walk and talk for the first time.

There will continue to be firsts, some that I have yet to experience. But in this period of my life, I’ll be saying goodbye to the pregnancy first, and soon after the new baby firsts, then the toddler firsts. I’m not sure where life is going to lead us, or what crazy adventures we’ll have as these babies grow and mature… all I know is that I will always look back and treasure all of the firsts from these stages.

Something I’ve learned after having several babies is that you become so busy with the mundane day to day, the cooking and the cleaning, the kissing boo-boos and reading board books that you don’t realize how fast the time goes by. You don’t realize how quickly those firsts will fly by and you learn to appreciate them just a bit more. So mommas, take a moment to treasure those moments, even if you have to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce those magical moments.