Life · Spiritual Things · Uncategorized

A Joyful Mother

Two years ago, I wanted nothing else than to be a mommy. I remember, at some point on my journey to motherhood, laying on the floor of our “nursery” crying and asking God for a baby. I understood all too well what Hannah was going through when the Bible talks about her weeping in anguish and pouring her soul out to the Lord (I Samuel 1:10 and verse 15).

As I was reading my Bible this morning, my baby girl, my child of promise, wanted to join in. She loves the Word of God and loves to be near me while I read the Bible aloud to her. Today, as she started grabbing at the pages, I saw Psalm 113:9 underlined.

“He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children.”

I teared up as I remembered all the tears I cried, prayers I prayed, scripture I spoke, and how God was faithful through it all.

If you are believing for a baby, know that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. Every woman who asked God for a baby in the Bible had at least one baby. Speak the truth of God’s Word over your body. Pour your heart out to the Lord because He listens. He is good. He is faithful. Keep speaking His truth and watch the victory unfold. Keep praying. Keep believing, and don’t give up.

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Life

Motherhood

Motherhood. There’s nothing quite like it. At times it’s hard and exhausting, but it is always amazing. It’s the hardest yet easiest thing I’ve ever done. I say easiest not because I’m the perfect mother or never have challenges. But because there’s nothing I would rather do. Every sleepless night is worth it because one day I’ll sleep. Every day I don’t get my house cleaned it’s okay because someone was more important to me. Every diaper I change I do with joy because someone needs me. Every time I miss out on the fun things I used to be able to do with friends isn’t so bad because I’m not missing out on what really matters.

Motherhood is a beautiful gift. I cherish these moments. The hard ones, the happy ones, the in between ones. They are all precious and I don’t want to take them, or my precious child for granted. They won’t last long. So I choose to soak up every last drop of it! God chose me to be the mother of this wonderful child. I don’t take that lightly. He entrusted her to me. He knows and trusts me to raise her the way He needs her raised. He knows and trusts that I will fight for her. He knows and trusts that I will teach her to trust Him. It’s an honor and I’m not ashamed to be a mother. It is a gift. A beautiful gift.

Life

New Year – 2018

I usually pray about the upcoming year the day after Christmas, and the Lord lays something about the new year on my heart. It always varies, but He always gives me something. Last year He laid it on my heart that it would be a year of hope and fulfillment. And was it ever! I was filled with hope of having a baby, a promise not yet fulfilled. On January 8th, 2017, just 8 days into the year God said was a year of hope and fulfillment, we found out I was pregnant. In September, our beautiful first born baby was born. God fulfilled many other promises in 2017.

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God” Deuteronomy 28:2

This year, I believe God has put it in my heart that it is a year of increase and blessings! Not just in the financial realm, but in every area of life. I am excited to be overtaken by the blessings of God! I am excited to grow in my relationships and see them blessed. I am excited to see how God uses me and my family to be a blessing to others this year as well.

I wish you and your family a very happy new year full of the blessing of the Lord!

– Ashley

Life

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I think it’s so awesome that we, here in the United States, have a day that’s set aside to be thankful. I am personally trying to be more and more thankful everyday, but it’s still nice to have one day a year devoted to thanksgiving. I believe that being thankful is a huge part of not only the Christian life, but living in victory! The enemy can’t get you to focus on all the wrong and lack of things if you’re focus is on being thankful for all that you do have! And we have a lot as Christians! Even if the only thing we have is our salvation, then we’ve already won and have the victory! There’s so much that was included in our salvation. But that’s a whole other thing. I’ll stay on topic!!

Isn’t it awesome that a day set aside to be thankful is the start of the Christmas season? I hope to carry the thankfulness from today into the “crazy holidays.” Instead of being focus on the things and stuff we “need” or want, I want to be thankful for the many blessings I already have.

All that was just “extra” as I really wanted to just keep this brief (haha).

I also love Thanksgiving because it’s the kickoff to Christmas! Every year, on the car ride home from our big family Thanksgiving meal, my mom would put in Amy Grant’s Christmas album, “A Christmas to Remember.” And that was the start of the most wonderful time of the year (no pun intended)! I love this time of year. I am especially looking forward to Christmas this year since we have a baby! I’m so excited to see her reaction to Christmas lights, the tree, and everything else!

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and start to the Christmas season.

-Ashley

Life

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

 

How To Pack Your Hospital Bag (2)

When I was pregnant and approaching the time when I needed to start packing my hospital bag, I read every list and article I could find so that I had the perfectly packed bag! Actually, I had three… one for labor and delivery, one for after labor and delivery, and one for baby (it was just the diaper bag). It was my first time and everything I read made it seem like you just had to pack all these items. Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t. At least I didn’t need it all.

I ended up needing a C-section so I was in the hospital for a total of 4 days, 3 nights and I did not need every item that’s on most hospital bag checklists. It’s too much stuff and just makes your hospital room cluttered Now I will say, I think a lot of these items are dependent on what the hospital provides for you. The hospital I delivered at provided me with things like pads, those lovely mesh panties, baby hats (we received two), diapers and wipes, baby blanket, baby top, etc. I would highly suggest checking with your hospital about what they will provide so that you can skip those items. I’d also ask if it’s something you could maybe opt out of if it saves you money. Some hospitals will let you bring your own diapers and wipes and then not charge you for theirs, but others won’t do that. Every little bit helps! So here’s my hospital bag checklist.

*Please know that I will be sharing some details about labor so if you don’t want honest details, maybe don’t read the extra comments after I list the item 😉

Mommy’s Laboring Bag:

  • Clothing of your choice – So I’m going to tell you what all I will bring with me again to future births as well as things I didn’t need/use, but it’s really up to you.
    • Bathrobe – You must bring a bathrobe. Not only will it cover up your backside while walking around, it will also make you feel more at home. I am going to mention how messy this, labor, is though… I had bought a pair of cheap Wal-Mart slippers to wear around the hospital before and after delivery. While I was in labor, I wore them to the bathroom…. they went straight to the trash can after that trip. No one ever told me that your water does not just break or leak a little here and there… when it breaks, you leak until after delivery!!
    • Something for your feet. My choice; cheap flip flops – Unlike my slippers, these can easily be washed then tossed out once you go home. Or kept if you want to keep them. If you want slippers, socks, or flip flops, it’s totally up to you. I brought all three items (and extra socks), but next time I’m only bringing flip flops and maybe slippers for after delivery.
    • I skipped purchasing my own birthing robe because quite honestly I didn’t want to spend money on a piece of clothing that would get messy and I’d probably never wear again. I had no problem wearing the hospital gowns. Although, I did always ask for a regular hospital gown instead of the nursing-friendly ones because I always felt exposed and uncomfortable. I just unbuttoned the shoulder part of the regular gown and was totally fine.
    • Nursing bra – Wear this to the hospital. It will help you feel covered up and not so naked. Also, once the baby is born, you’re not just hanging out for all to see. I will also mention that your nipples are going to be very tender and maybe even a little sore while you and baby learn how to breastfeed, so having a nursing bra between you and whatever you’re wearing will be most comfortable.
    • Underwear – You’ll most likely be rockin’ the mesh panties with the mattress-sized pads at least for the duration of your hospital stay, but if you want to bring your own panties, feel free. I brought my own undies and pads and never used them.
  • Chapstick – Your lips and mouth get dry.
  • Hair accessories – Hair ties, clips, bobby pins, hairbrush, etc. You don’t want your hair in your face. You want it out of the way.
  • Toiletries – The norm; toothbrush, toothpaste, any shampoos/conditioners, body wash, etc.
    •  Eyeglasses, contacts, etc. – Make sure this is all packed in your labor bag if you need them. Don’t forget the eyeglass/contacts cases and contact solution!
    • Face wash – Seriously, you’re gonna wanna wash your face!
  • Something to keep you entertained – A book, music, etc. Something to help pass the time and take your mind off the contractions. I listened to Christian teachings on YouTube from our pastor. My daughter loved hearing our pastor peach even in the womb so it was calming for both of us.
  • Wallet/ID and insurance card – Unless your hospital does pre-admission and you don’t go into labor before then, you’ll need ID and your insurance card. I brought my wallet with ID and insurance card and never needed it since I had done the pre-admission appointment prior to going into labor.
  • Electronics – Camera, phone, video camera, etc.
    • Don’t forget batteries and/or chargers!
  • Pillow – I personally did not bring my own pillow from home, but you may want to bring yours.
  • Cash and change – I packed a zip-lock bag of cash and change just in case hubby needed to run to the cafe or vending machine. We didn’t end up using this either.
  • Snacks – I packed a couple little snacks for my hubby (you can’t eat anything once your admitted). For future births, I think I’ll pack more snacks for after the baby is born so that we have stuff laying around the room. Our family always offered to bring us food, and my mother-in-law packed us some snacks like cookies and bananas and brought them to us when she came to the hospital. And I know we could have asked any one of our family members to bring something and they would have done it. We are very blessed with amazing family who all live nearby!
  • Whatever else you want – Some women want to bring a birthing ball, essential oils, lotions, etc. I didn’t. It’s your birth so think about the things you may want with you and for the birth of your child.

Baby’s bag:

  • Clothing – Even though the hospital I delivered at provided blankets and little tops, we put baby in little footed sleepers we bought.
    • Footed sleeper with mittens – For real, this is my favorite piece of baby clothing! Footies so baby’s feet stay warm and built in mittens that won’t fall off your baby’s hands. I would say bring 4-6 little outfits of some kind so that no matter how long your stay, you’ll be covered. We ended up having an unplanned C-section, so our stay was two days longer than we anticipated.
    • Swaddling blanket or sleep sack – Our hospital provided us with a sleep sack and we ended up using it more than blankets or the sleep sacks we brought.
    • Hats – Once again, our hospital provided us with two hats; the standard hat they give all babies, but then we also got to pick out a special little hat that volunteers make for all the babies.
    • Going home outfit – Even though we didn’t know the gender of our baby beforehand, we went out and bought one outfit for a girl and one for a boy to take with us to the hospital so that we could put baby in a cute, special little outfit to go home in. We returned the one we didn’t use.
  • Diapers and wipes – Our hospital also provided diapers and wipes, but if you want to bring your own, you’re obviously more than welcome to do so.
  • Bobby pillow – I packed the bobby and it stayed in the car the entire time. I personally don’t breastfeed with a bobby much anymore, though.
  • Car seat – You’re probably laughing at me right now thinking, “duh! Who would forget the car seat?!” Well, I know people who have forgotten the car seat in a mad dash to the hospital. Although, I’d encourage you to just leave it in your car.
  • Baby book – I did not pack this item, but didn’t really need to.

Mommy’s bag for after labor and delivery:

  • Clothing – I personally ended up staying in the hospital gown and hospital socks the hospital provided the entire time I was in the hospital. I really didn’t mind. I had packed nursing tanksnursing sleepwear, sweatpantscasual wear, etc., but never wore any of it. I literally stayed in my gown and nursing bra the entire time.
    • Going home outfit – I packed a couple different outfit choices just in case I didn’t feel good in one, or it was too hot/cold for one, etc. I’d encourage you to pack either very loose clothing, or maternity clothes because you’ll still look about 5 months pregnant. Plus, you’ll wanna be comfy. I thought for sure I’d curl my hair, way the cutest outfit… just leave that to Kate Middleton. I opted for a comfy loose top and lounge pants. Also, if you have a C-section, you’ll want pants that are really loose so they do not rub against the incision.
    • Nursing bras – You’ll probably want to pack extra bras.
  • Breastfeeding stuff – Nipple creams, nursing pads, etc.
  • Sanitary items – Our hospital provided pads and mesh panties for me, but you may want to bring your own. I packed ’em and never used them until I got home from the hospital. You may even opt for adult diapers if you prefer. Even though I had a C-section, I still bleed. A lot. For about 6 weeks.
  • Bathrobe – You may want to think about bringing a second bathrobe just in case the first one gets dirty during labor.
  • Makeup and hair tools – I used my makeup, but never bothered to do my hair. When I showered, and what a glorious thing that was, I washed my hair and just put it in a braid.

Well, I think that about sums it up! Keep in mind, I did have a C-section, so had I delivered vaginally, I may have a slightly different list. Also, if you live near the hospital, you can also send hubby or someone else to run out and get something you may have forgotten or needed.

Let me know if you’d like to know what items specifically I bought and loved! I’d be happy to share with you 🙂

Life

It’s A Girl!

I know I haven’t written a new post in several months, but I was busy nesting and becoming a new mommy!

Daniel and I decided before I was ever even pregnant that we did not want to find out the baby’s gender until he or she was born. It was a long wait, and everyone asked us how we did, but it was so worth it! Literally, the best surprise of my life!

We did a very gender neutral nursery which we’re still putting the finishing touches on (and making more girly now that our little princess has arrived). We also received a TON of wonderful gifts from family and friends before she was born that were more on the practical side since no one knew the gender. We were blessed with a TON of cute clothes after she was born, too, from family and friends. This little girl’s closet is jam-packed with cute things 🙂 I like to say, “her closet runneth over.” Haha!

Olivia was born on the evening of September 12th. She is perfectly healthy and brings so much joy to this family. She is the best baby ever. I know every mom says that about her kids, but seriously… Olivia is only 10 weeks old (today) and is already sleeping through the night!

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Life

24 Weeks Pregnant

I am 24 weeks pregnant today! WOOHOO!! There are not enough words to describe how blessed I am. I have longed to be a mommy ever since I can remember. I got my very first baby doll when I was a mere 6 months old for my first Christmas. From the video and photos I’ve seen… I never put that doll down unless it was time for a diaper change.

God has been so faithful through this journey. I am so thankful I did not give up on this dream. It took longer than I expected and the road wasn’t always a smooth one, but I am blessed. I’m not saying I’ve had it worse than most women. I know so many women who have had a much more difficult journey to motherhood than I’ve had. We all have our own journey and obstacles to get through.

I remember last Mother’s Day (2016), I spent the day crying because I still did not have my baby. This Mother’s Day, I cried but for different reasons. I cried because I have seen the faithfulness of God. I woke up to the feeling of my baby moving inside my womb. It’s a feeling that I cannot describe. It’s beautiful. With every little kick and jab, I am reminded of the goodness of God. Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for this child of promise!

Baby is:
the size of a ear of corn
about 11.8 inches long
about 1.3 pounds
VERY active 🙂