Sunday, June 28, 2015

Totspot {convenient consignment}

I'm a practical person. I usually agonize over purchases and have had my fair share of buyer's remorse. I'll admit this trait has served me well over the years, especially since I'm married to more of a spender. It came in especially handy when I was pregnant with my daughter because despite the temptation of ridiculously cute baby girl clothes, I barely bought anything for her myself.

In fact, my first baby purchase didn't even happen until about halfway through my pregnancy and it was this adorable chambray romper, which no one in their right mind would leave the store without. Obviously. (I did manage to balance it out by making a practical purchase of diapers as well. Ha!)

Once she hit about 6 months old, her wardrobe options were dwindling down. I quickly learned that consignment was a great option for her age - kids outgrow things so quickly in the first year and many items are practically brand new. I even found THE most perfectly hilarious little leotard for her 80's baby Halloween outfit at a local consignment shop. FOR FOUR DOLLARS. I mean, what are the chances. It was fate.

As great as it can be when you really luck out, the most frustrating thing about shopping second-hand is that it's completely hit or miss. You never know if you'll actually find something that makes the time investment of sifting through endless hangers worth it.

Thankfully there is another, much more convenient option. Totspot is a reliable and easy-to-use resale app for kids clothing and accessories. The best part? You don't have to leave your house - homebodies and mothers with small children, rejoice! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

nursing diaries. {what helped us succeed long-term}

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Hey, expectant mama, this one's for you. Or maybe you're the mom who is in beginning stages of learning to breastfeed your new baby. If you're like me, you just assumed you would breastfeed without too much thought or preparation in place to boost it's potential for success. You have probably also heard all the horror stories. It seems like everyone has one, right?

Well. I'm here to tell you that it can work. It can work beautifully.

I know there are so many variables at play contributing to whether or not a mom will be able to breastfeed at all, much less long-term. Many of them are out of our control completely, so please don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't work out as easily (or at all) like you had hoped. I encourage you to be patient with yourself and your baby. Nursing is a lot of work and much more complicated (at first) than I had ever guessed. But after that initial learning period, it becomes your new normal. Not to mention - it costs zero dollars! One of my favorite things about nursing. FOR SURE. 

My ultimate goal was to make it one year. Shockingly, we did it! And even went past a year, right to the 13 month mark. I am just overwhelmingly grateful and thankful that it worked out for us. Toward the end I was ready to be done, I'll admit, but still so appreciative that we got through it together. 

Here is an overview of what I feel contributed the most to our successful nursing journey, along with some things I would have done differently:

Monday, June 1, 2015

what Thailand taught me.

I can't believe I've already been home from Thailand for almost a month. 

Several years ago, an amazing family from our church uprooted and moved to Thailand where they began a ministry. Their ministry is now thriving and a group of us traveled to serve with them in Pattaya. 

Last week, my team shared about our mission trip with our church. 

Well, they shared. I'm less of a talker, more of a writer. #introvertsunite

So instead, I wore my bright orange t-shirt with Chinese characters on it in solidarity, and I listened. I listened again to the stories and powerful encounters that we experienced together, halfway around the world. It stirred up all those emotions and memories again, and the Lord told me it was time to finish this draft I began when we first got home. A significant experience like this deserves to be remembered and shared.

This city (and nation) of so much heartache and yet so much potential is on my mind daily. I'm not just saying all haunts me. If you've ever been on a mission trip outside the US, you know how strange it is to assimilate back into American culture. Like for example, I can now flush toilet paper instead of putting in the trash can (gross), and I also don't have to pay to use a public restroom. Now, I come home to my (average by American standards) house and without even realizing it, I'm counting how many children from the slums would have a bed to sleep on here instead of the floor. Seeing exorbitant waste of money and resources around me makes me feel upset and physically ill. I think about these sweet, precious people DAILY.

I can't unsee what I've seen. It's going to be with me forever. 

I can't unsee the terrible living conditions and filth of the slums. The 200 empty-eyed prostitutes lined up on one street (not exaggerating)? I can't erase that memory. I'll never forget about the precious Chinese students who have risked e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. by coming to faith in Christ. Nor can I leave behind the pure joy on the kids' faces when we gave them something as basic as a new pair of flip flops. That's the kind of stuff that sticks with you.