Posted by: littlebitofparadise | November 14, 2015

Come On In (House Tour Part Two)

Hope you all are having a fabulous week so far! Today I’m sharing Part Two of our home in pictures as I had promised. So many of you prayed for and encouraged us through our six months of post-disaster renovation, so I wanted to welcome you into our newly constructed home so you could see the finished result of what you prayed for.

Part One (upstairs) can be viewed here.

PART TWO: DOWNSTAIRS

DINING ROOM

Our dining room used to be a deep Tuscan red, but we changed it up with a smokey blue with gold and black accents and I love how it turned out. My husband is a member of the Knights of Malta, so this is the room we honor that connection, with a large painting of the famous Battle of Lepanto on the wall, and the portraits on the opposite wall are of some of the most famous/influential Knights from the history of the Order. I’m glad we were able to incorporate some historical elements in this room, since it’s something that means so much to Peter.

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KITCHEN

Our kitchen was entirely gutted down to plywood and drywall after our house fire, so it was a chance for us to pick out everything for our new kitchen. I must admit this space is all my Pinterest/Joanna Gaines/HGTV dreams come true. I especially love the white subway tile, farmhouse sink, and white counter tops. I’ve always wanted white.

Here’s a “before” pic of what the kitchen looked like when we moved here 3 years ago:

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And here she is now:

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BREAKFAST NOOK

Right off the kitchen and looking out at the backyard – we spend most of our time and create some of our happiest memories around this table.

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FAMILY ROOM

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SCHOOL ROOM / PLAYROOM / HUB’S STUDY

Our study serves a bajillion purposes for our family – this is where most of the kids’ toys and books are stored, it’s where we homeschool and play, and it’s also the Hubs’ desk/home office space. Someday I’d love to bring in a professional designer to help me figure out how to utilize this space to the max for our family, but for now it’s cozy and functional and we spend a lot of time here.

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GUEST BATHROOM

Tiny little room across from the study:

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MUDROOM

When we bought the house this tiny space was pretty much empty and unused by the original owners, but I knew right away I wanted to put in a mud room, since the door leads directly out to the backyard. I used Pinterest to search “IKEA Hacks” websites until I found an IKEA furniture combo that would fit this small space. It’s been a lifesaver for getting sand, dirt and mud off our boys before the invade the rest of the house after play. :o)

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MY “OFFICE” / STORAGE PANTRY

Right behind our mud room is the pantry, and for the first year we lived here it was also used as our storage/dump all room. I had wanted a little desk and some space to myself for writing and work, and our home just didn’t offer a good space to make into a “mom office” area. One day it occured to me that if I got rid of all the junk and boxes and storage crap from our back pantry, I could turn it into a little mom office while still storing all my kitchen equipment, pans, cookbooks, etc here.

I painted the room, bought a $25 desk and hutch from Craigslist, and made it bright and girly colored compared to the rest of our home. This room has become such a blessing for me! I hung a shower curtain over our shelves of kitchen stuff to block it from view.

I also store the boys’ Legos in here, so that they can play at my feet if I need to work at my desk. Also, during nap time I clear my desk and let my oldest do Lego work there. He can shut the door and keep his works-in-progress safe from exploring younger siblings. It’s been a much better plan than having him do Legos in the study where they were never safe from the Destructoids.

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BACK PORCH

Our favorite “room” of the house in spring and fall. Looks out at the backyard.

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That’s our home! If you’re ever passing through Charlotte, please let us know when to put the coffee pot on!

…And I’ll be sure to post lots of postpartum home life pictures on Instagram to make up for the fact my house is clean in these pictures. :o)

XO,

Steph

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | November 13, 2015

Everything is Grace

Introducing our newest gift, Grace Bernadette Weinert!

Born November 19th, 7 lbs 6 oz and 20 inches.

Her name means “Courageous Favor of God.” Grace is named after my patron saints, Saint Paul, who wrote extensively of grace, and Saint Therese of Lisieux, who famously wrote “everything is grace.”

And her middle name, meaning “courageous” or literally “brave like a bear” as her brothers like to remind us, is after Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, one of my husband’s favorite female saints and a patron of the Knights of Malta, of whom the Hubs is a member.

We are madly in love with this little sweetheart.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers and good wishes.

Much love from all of us and wishes for a happy, fun, blessed, Thanksgiving weekend!

Steph and Peter, Mark, Luke, Garrett and Grace 

 

  
  


Posted by: littlebitofparadise | November 13, 2015

Come On In (House Tour Part One)

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Welcome to our home in pictures!

I so wish we could do this in person, and after showing you around I could make you a cup of tea and we could sink deep into my droopy IKEA couch and settle under the throw blankets for a nice long chat. I’d even turn up Pandora on the TV so we could better ignore our kids playing dress-up in the upstairs puppet show closet or Hot Wheels on the car rug in the study. And I’d wish you could stay for hours and hours. Because that’s the reason for having a house and loving the design and decorating process: so you can make it a home…so you can fearlessly fling open the doors and give hugs and say c’mon in!, and stay a while.

I try to be as authentic as possible on my blog, and I must admit this post feels a little bit less so, because before I took these pictures I did the crazy 39-weeks-pregnant-fully-nesting thing and cleaned and dusted every room. And when I took the pictures I told Mark to pick up the Lego pieces from the family room floor, and I had Luke and Rett hold off on dumping all the stuffed animals on their floor and making a fort (again) until after I snapped their room pics. It was also the day I washed their sheets and actually made their beds.

I guess this is my way of offering a disclaimer that when you DO come over for tea, please expect to find more dust, more Hot Wheels, a heckuva lot more Legos, and the throw pillows and snuggle blankets in the family room will be vastly re-arranged when you come, and not by me. :o)

Some bloggers like to offer details on where all the furniture and design elements in the space come from. I don’t plan to do that here. Mainly because the answer 88% of the time is “Craigslist”, and at least 10% of the rest of the time can be filed under “thrifted”, “eBay,” “hand-me-down,” “IKEA” or “DIY/handmade” (read that last one as “probably spray painted.”)

I paint everything. All the time. And when I get sick of a color, I buy a different $4 can of spray paint at Home Depot and spray it again. It’s either a sick addiction or my personal therapy, I suppose. There are less than 4 new pieces of furniture in our home post-fire, with the added touches of all new downstairs rugs and lamps and linens, since those were all permanently lost due to smoke damage. If you have a specific question about where something you see came from, or how I made it, please post about it in the blog comments to this post and I’ll go through and answer each one, promise! If it’s a DIY thing, I’ll try to share the Pinterest pin that inspired me or where I got my zany idea from.

So come on in and see!

PART ONE: THE UPSTAIRS (Part Two with Downstairs Pics Coming soon!) 

MASTER BEDROOM

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All of the furniture in this room was a really rough oak color – we purchased the cheapest master bedroom set we could find on Craigslist when we got home from our honeymoon. Neither of us loved it but it was functional. I decided to chalk paint the entire set in Annie Sloan Graphite and Pure White, and now we love it! Chalk paint is my new favorite – so easy to work with and so forgiving for a messy painter like me.

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Until I met Peter I didn’t know that there was a Saint Stephanie, a second century Christian martyr along with Saint Victor. Peter had this icon of St. Stephanie commissioned for me shortly after we were married, and it took the artist several years to complete. He gave it to me for a 5th anniversary gift. Isn’t it amazing?

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This corner will be my nursing nook very soon, and the baby’s bassinet will be set up here by the window. We’ve never had a TV in our room before, but Peter just moved it up last week in preparation for “operation keep Steph and newborn baby in bed for as long as possible.” If you have a good Amazon Prime or Netflix series addiction up your sleeve do share!

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HALLWAY LANDING

The hallway landing on our second floor is small, but we use it a lot. The dark little desk under the stairs is my great-great Grandfathers. It was passed down to my great aunt who lived inn the midwest, and when she passed away I won this item in her home’s antique auction. I love having a piece of my past here, and we use the desk mainly for storage and display. The white dresser across the space was from my room as a teenager, and I use it to hold all three boys’ clothing. We have an upstairs laundry room and I LOVE being able to put their clothes away right here in the hallway, even during naptime when their room is occupied. I keep their coats, vests, church clothes and shoes in their little closet, and the rest of their (minimalist to the max) clothing is here.

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BOYS/GUEST BATHROOM and LAUNDRY

I painted the bathroom and the laundry room, which is behind the bathroom, Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware (via Sherwin WIlliams) and I love it. Costco prints and posters from our travels make the room look cute for guests and not all about the kids, which I actually really like. It feels cleaner, minus the occasional tub full of bath toys. :o)

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BOY’S ROOM

This is a new combined room for our three boys. It used to be our Peter Rabbit-themed baby nursery before the fire, but after 6 months of sleeping in the same bed in hotels, we knew they were most definitely ready to share a room together. I kept the firetruck theme that had been in Mark and Luke’s room, and found a third matching firetruck quilt on eBay for Rett’s bed. The walls are painted light blue, and my accent color was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Empire Red (my childhood desk is painted, as well as accent pieces, my “firetruck ladder bookshelf” (thank you IKEA spice racks) and a few other touches to pull in the rustic red/vintage look.)

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(One of the best ideas I ever had was to take their 2yo picture in the exact same clothes. By the time this outfit got to Rett it’s a bit frayed – but I love that I can see all three of them at the same age in the same outfit!) 


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The original owners built a small puppet-show closet in this room for their only daughter. My boys use it for building block cities or Hot wheels track. I also have a bin with all their dress up clothes in there.

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BABY’S ROOM

Get ready to see some PINK!!!

Instead of going with a baby “theme” for the baby’s room, which will also double as our guest room, I just wanted to keep things simple with some basic colors, and use my mom’s vintage baby things and my baby things as a few baby decor pieces.

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The dress hanging on the wall was my mom’s, someone embroidered the blanket for my mom, and the framed embroidery on the wall was made for me by my great grandmother when I was born. The vintage trunk was my mom’s toy chest as a child.

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The framed pink picture is actually a greeting card that my great grandmother wrote to my parents on the occasion of my birth. So fun that my mom kept it for me! And the baby doll was my 7th birthday present. Shes’ wearing one of my baby outfits.


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So that’s the upstairs! Will post our main floor soon. After the baby arrives I’ll post some postpartum life pics on Instagram to make up for these vacuumed floors. LOL.

Have a blessed and happy weekend!

XO,

Steph

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | November 9, 2015

There and Back Again (Family News from the W’s)

Home

We are home!!! Six hotels and an apartment later, we are finally sleeping in our own beds and unpacking our newly renovated home. Thank you all so much for praying for us through this crazy post-house-fire season, and during our move home. Unfiltered house tour pics coming hopefully later this week!

I wanted to share a little update about each member of our family, since it’s been so long and I’ve missed capturing so many memories here these past 6 months.

Mark, age 5

Mark turned 5 exactly one month after the fire, and it turned out to be the day we moved from our second hotel into an apartment. My mama heart kind of grieved the fact his birthday wasn’t a bigger deal than we were able to give him – we packed and moved, and then took him out for a pizza dinner and ice cream that night. He still loved the extra hugs and attention, and a week later we had a family party at my parents’ house with the “barn cake” he had been dreaming of.

Mark is officially in kindergarten this year, although last year during our first year of homeschooling I discovered he was much farther advanced than I had realized, so we ended up completing most of kindergarten last year. This year he’s doing some kindergarten recap and some first grade materials. He’s a fantastic reader. Most afternoons you can find him curled up in our family room rocking chair with a book, or several. His favorite things to read right now are children’s encyclopedias and science readers. He’s a facts sponge, just like his Dad.

Mark is a great conversationalist and is inquisitive a bit beyond his years and quite a bit beyond my ability to keep up with him, that’s for darn sure. This past week he’s regaled me with stories of his future trips to Egypt (can’t recall why he wants to go there, something he read about the country inspired him) and Africa (he wants to see lions, thanks to a favorite episode of Wild Kratts.) Tonight while I was doing dinner dishes he sat at the counter and asked me questions like “which is heaviest: gasoline, diesel fuel, or water?” and “what would you like to drive for your next vehicle?” and “did you know that honey badgers actually don’t love honey?” 

This fall Mark started Tball, giving our family our official entry into the world of sports. I love seeing him in his uniform – he’s adorable. I must admit now that the season is winding down, I’m relieved to have my weeknights and Saturday mornings back, but it has been fun for all of us to cheer Mark on and enjoy this new season of life. His brothers can’t wait to join him on the field when they’re old enough.

Mark really became my big boy helper this summer. It’s amazing once that transformation happens in a mom’s life – to have a child old enough to be a real help, even a little bit, throughout the day. He’s been such a gift to me that way. I’ve also seen him step into the role of big brother consoler/counselor/champion this summer. He really takes care of the younger two, making sure they are safe and doing what they should…or at least doing what he wants them to do, haha! He’s as bossy and argumentative and opinionated and controlling as a firstborn could be. I personally wouldn’t know anything about that ;o) eh hem.

Luke, age 3

Luke is my emotionally charged, sensitive, loud as heck, goofy, squishy, gives-the-best-hugs, makes-the-best-jokes, middle child. He brings SO much color to our family and keeps us laughing, cleaning up his messes and “mistakes”, and bringing balance to the Weinert universe after his oh-so-different cerebral older brother. Honestly it’s a proof for the existence of God that two brothers could be so different. And also the very best buds! Along with the usual “is this next one a girl?” and “are they all yours?” and “are you done?” questions I get every time I step out in public, everyone still asks if Mark and Luke are twins. They’re 17 months apart, but Luke is still just as big as Mark, wears the same size clothes, and beats him by a pound on the scale and five seconds on the wrestling mat.

My crazy wonderful Luke. By far the most musical of my children, Luke sings to himself nearly constantly. While he plays. Or rides in the car. Or eats his dinner (hence the new family rule “no singing at the table, just talking and stories with our family.”) He loves musical instruments and can be found strumming his guitar several times throughout the day. He’ll also proudly tell you that he “knows French.” He’ll make a saliva filled, nasal-with-a-little-guttural sound and put it in front of any English word…and declare that it’s the “French word for it.” His particular loves include his older brother’s bicycle (he steals a turn on it any chance he can, and can’t wait for his 4th birthday wish of his own bike to come true), one-on-one errands/trips with his Dad, spending time with his aunts and uncles, and food. He’s my foodie, truly a guy after my own heart.

I haven’t made any formal attempts to start school with Luke, but he’s soaking up nearly everything Mark is learning, it’s been crazy! He seems to have a particular gift for writing and penmanship – just by copying what he sees me doing with Mark. Since his personality is so vastly different from Mark’s, I’m really fascinated to see what teaching him will be like next year. I’m sure I’ll learn the most of all of us.

Garrett, age 2

I have three sons and love them all equally (aka to the moon and back times infinity) but I have to admit it: This one melts my heart into a pool of butter on a daily basis. I could gobble up his fat rosey cheeks and toddler squeals in kisses and snuggles pretty much all day every day. He adores me, his “Mommy Bear” as he calls me. The feeling is mutual.

Because Rett has big brothers to teach him all the things, he’s my “earliest” at just about everything. Earliest to walk, run, talk in full sentences, learn his ABCs and numbers and Mother Goose rhymes and how to talk back, throw a fit, and show mom big doe eyes when he wants his way.

In August Rett broke his tibia by falling off a dining room chair and twisting his leg as he fell. He spent almost a month in a cast, and he was so brave. Much braver than I was about the whole thing. Of all the calamities that befell our family these past 6 months, this was the one that sent me into the greatest emotional spiral. Give me a dozen housefires over a toddler screaming in pain because his leg is broken. Poor sweet Bubba.

The Hubs and Me 

Peter and I are doing really well, all things considered. I think we both “grew up” quite a bit this summer. There are certain major life events that change you, like getting married and the birth of your first child. But sometimes there’s a period of intense struggle or trial that you go through as a couple that refines and greater defines your relationship with each other. A refiner’s fire of sorts, and the past 6 months have been that for Pete and I on every level. It hasn’t been incredibly fun, but it has been good. Very good in most ways. We are better for the hurt, the hardship, the stress, the letting go. And we are both so very extremely, obscenely grateful to be home.

At 39+ weeks pregnant we are on daily baby watch at our house. Both of us can’t wait to see how our family dynamic will change and evolve adding a little female to our testosterone filled home. Follow me on Instagram and I’ll be sure you’re one of the first to meet her! Hopefully VERY soon. (please oh please oh please!)  

Since moving home we’ve had so much fun hanging pictures, decorating, working on the yard. The boys and I are thrilled to be baking and cooking in a real kitchen again. I love having my little helpers swarm to help me make a delicious mess!

And of course Halloween was a blast with our three little Superheroes…

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Thank you again for all the thoughts and good wishes and prayers and offers to help us during our transition home. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for the support and encouragement so many of you have been to our family.

I hope y’all have a wonderful, very blessed week. I’ll be sharing our home tour pics in a few days, and hopefully announcing Baby Girl’s arrival.

XO,

Steph

“But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”  – Quoting Samwise Gamgee, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings 

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | October 20, 2015

A (Long Overdue) Family Update

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I can’t tell you how many times his words from the park bench have played over and over again in my head this summer – because I have found them to be as true as they are classic:

“Mama always said LIFE was like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.” 

You never know. Truth. When our home caught on fire in early May, I never imagined that nearly 6 months later I’d be composing a blog update from the desk in our hotel room. The 6th hotel room we’ve lived in this summer. I could never have dreamed all the adventures, tragedies, mishaps, stresses, sorrows, and yes, joys too – this season would hold for our family.

I had not planned to take such a long blogging sabbatical, but I learned something about my introverted self this summer…when life is really hard, I hold it in instead of type it out. There’s been so much to tell and yet much of what my family experienced this summer was deep and hard, and I couldn’t get the words passed my fingers onto a screen. My hubby kept asking “this has been so crazy are you blogging these stories?” and I’d shake my head and shrug my shoulders. The verse from Scripture about Mary holding all the things in her heart kept coming to mind – I feel like that’s where I’ve put the summer – somewhere deep where I’ll think and process when I can, as I can.

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Since the fire we’ve had too many setbacks on our home rebuilding project to count, a car accident, several physical injuries with our children (the worst being Garrett’s broken leg),  and two deaths in the family, a relative on each side. I’ll be honest, my heart feels heavy, burdened. And yet, at the same time, I feel hopeful and grateful.

I’m hopeful for a season of joy, of peace and comfort as we move home and prepare to welcome a new baby. I think sometimes God allows us to walk through the really difficult, weighty times so that the everyday blessings of life are more visible to us when we get to the other side. Hardship has a way of purifying our hearts and clearing our vision, doesn’t it? Funny how life works that way.

I also feel grateful – so grateful – to be a Christian. I honestly don’t know how I’d ever deal with a season of hardship without the comfort of a loving God and the immeasurable gift of grace – his constant outpouring of free and undeserved favor. Grace is everywhere for the asking. I’ve felt it and tasted it in a thousand ways these past six months. It has held my husband and I upright and together through a tough season, and we both feel it so powerfully.

Tonight is hopefully our family’s last night in a hotel room. The moving truck is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at our home and begin the pack-in for a move into a freshly reconstructed house.

After that, I start nesting like a crazy person. Haha! I never imagined that I’d be unpacking our home and packing my hospital bag in the same week, but that is the piece of chocolate we’ve been given. I’m grateful for friends and relatives who have offered to help me with these next few days and weeks – at 37 weeks pregnant, my work ethic is a bit, shall we say, constrained by circumstances (aka the beached whale syndrome). ;o)

As we transition home, I thought it might be fun to blog an update on each person in our family. My sweet boys have grown up SO much since I’ve shared their antics on the blog! I couldn’t be more proud of how well they’ve handled so much chaos and stress this summer. They’ve been heroic. And the Hubs – I’ll share more about him in a Team Weinert post too. I’m so grateful for him and his (at least outward) calm as I’ve whined and stressed about being due imminently and still using a key card to open my front “door” this month. He truly is my “Rock.”

Secondly, I’m hoping for your feedback on the idea of giving you a little “new house tour” here on my blog. I share small bits and pieces of our home here and on Instagram, but I’ve never given a full picture tour of our casa. Since we were able to redesign some things according to our tastes and preferences after the fire, our home really feels like “us” now, and I’d love to invite you in for a peek if it’s something that you’d like to see on my blog. I don’t edit pictures, especially in my last weeks of pregnancy, so I pinky swear it would be the “unfiltered” house tour. I’d especially love to show you the boys’ new firetruck bedroom. Yes even after “fire” not being the most positive theme of our year, my boys are still as ga-ga over firetrucks as they’ve always been, and I’m rather ga-ga over their new digs.

I hope this brief update post doesn’t come off sounding too heavy – I much rather share the happy and fun parts of life here with you, even though most of all I want to be real and honest in this space. But I wanted to wrap up this little bit of late night rambling by sharing that amidst the hardest summer of my whole life, there have been so many sweet moments, too.

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We’ve bonded as a family – as “Team Weinert” as the boys now refer to our gang – in a much more intimate way. We’ve rallied each other’s spirits, born each others’ stresses and fears, and stuck together through late nights and early mornings and lots of moving all over town. We’ve done everything together, all 5 of us, and I think we all feel our family closeness in a new way. Each night I go in to check on my boys in their bed – all three have been sleeping together in a queen size hotel bed, and each late night I find the three of them cuddled together in the middle of the mattress. Last night I found Rett’s (age 2) head resting on Mark’s (age 5) chest, with Mark’s arm around him. Moments like that melt my heart like butter. I’m learning that even when life is most unpredictable and hard and stressful, the sweetness is still there, if we’re willing to reach out and taste it.

Just like a box of chocolates.

Gump

Via

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | June 24, 2015

Our Most Shocking Announcement Ever… !!!

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I’ve got some news to share with you! And honestly, this is a post I never thought I’d get the chance to write. But here is my news, as surprising and shocking as may be:

WE. ARE. HAVING. A. BABY. GIRL.

GIRL!!!!!

Can y’all believe it? I think in my head and my heart I was on track to be a #boymom for life – and then in the span of a 30 minute ultrasound earlier this week, I’m utterly transformed. Oh yes. ALL the GIRL things. I’ve already started a new Pinterest board for redoing the nursery. I am daydreaming in ruffles and smocked dresses and hair bows – HAIR BOWS!!! – and then of course there’s the new fantasies of having a pedicure buddy a few years down the road….


When all five of us walked into the ultrasound room yesterday morning, my belly was barely covered with gel when my 5 year old turned to the Tech and said “excuse me, does our baby have a penis?” We all nearly died laughing, it was perfect. After checking out our baby’s anatomy for a few minutes, she turned to Mark and said “are you ready for the news?! NO PENIS!” And we all stared at each other in disbelief. We asked her to double check.

So, so fun and exciting. We can’t wait!

…for different reasons, of course. The boys can’t wait to introduce her to the technical names of every vehicle on a construction site. And teach her all about Hot Wheels and Legos and dirt. But that’s okay….I’ll make sure there’s adequate pink bows and tea parties and baby dolls in her life too.

Pinky swear. ;o)


         

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | June 12, 2015

My Summer “Mom Self Care” Manifesto

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A few weeks ago, I started to notice a real connection forming between my lack of personal time and self-care attention and my attitude about…everything. By day 5 of not washing my hair, or day one hundred and who knows what of wearing yoga pants, messy bun, and flip flops – I just start to slip into this “grunge” mentality that not only affects my outward appearance, but also my attitude, my hormones, my treatment of the kids and my spouse, and my ability to deal with external stresses.

This summer kicked off with more stress, distraction, and exhaustion than usual. Between our house fire and living in a hotel, to pregnancy, to a very full calendar and to-do list, life has just been fast paced and distracting. And I’ve finally come to an honest place with the fact that the less I take care of myself, the more depressed and messy my outlook on everything becomes.

I’m fed up with feeling gross, and I’m determined to do something about it. I’ve made some lists, I’ve made a few modest purchases, I’ve enlisted the prayer/accountability support of a friend, and I’m praying and working my way to a self-care change for this summer.

This is my “self care” manifesto to me, and I’m sharing it here in public in case some of you feel gross too, and could use some motivation in this area.

[Disclaimer: I’m going to talk about self-care habits that are important to ME, but that does not mean they have to be important to you. Just because I love pedicures, for instance, does not mean I’m judging whether or not your toenails are trimmed and painted. This is pure and simple a list of what external care habits affect my inside self, and your list probably will look entirely different from mine.]

My Summer Self-Care Manifesto: 

1. Limit caffeine intake. 

I have a bad habit of jacking myself up on coffee early in the morning, and I know it directly correlates to my blood sugar spikes/crashes, and my desire for sweets or carbs later in the day. So I’ve resolved to limit my coffee intake to a cup of Bullet Proof in the morning.

Have you tried Bullet Proof coffee? The stuff is awesome – so incredibly delicious, and super healthy for you too. My mom introduced me to Bullet Proof about a year ago – now she and most of my sisters drink it instead of regular Joe. I whip mine up in my Magic Bullet blender in the morning and it is frothy, delicious, and reminds me of a fancy Latte. The biggest shock is that with the butter and oil, it tastes both sweet and milky without having either sugar or dairy in the coffee! You can add honey to your recipe but I usually just stick with cinnamon.

The crazy thing about Bullet Proof is that you feel full, energized, and not craving more caffeine or other things after you’ve sipped one cup. Here’s a recipe that closely resembles how I make it – just be sure to use grass-fed butter and not regular butter for the health benefits!

bulletproof coffeeVia

2. Nails/Brows

When my nails and toenails aren’t cared for and my brows aren’t shaped, it’s weird and superficial of me, but I feel unkempt inside and out. Just taking a few minutes a week to take care of nails and brows makes a huge difference in the way I feel about my appearance – so I’m determined to keep them up this summer.

For mani/pedis, I do my own at home except for very rare occasions. I use OPI or Lancome nail polish, and finish nails and toes with a coat of CND Vinylux Top Coat. The stuff is amazing – it keeps my nails chip free for an entire week.

3. “Do” my hair

I have naturally curly (read “wild”) hair, so especially in the summer time I’m inclined to wear it up in a messy bun or ponytail nonstop. I’m trying to “let my hair down” a bit more and every time I do, I feel more put together. Thanks to my sister Susan, I recently discovered the art of using a curling wand, as opposed to a curling iron, and it’s been such a mom-life time saver! I can quickly add some put-together curls into my wild curly hair in 10 minutes or less, and I can get at least 2 days out of it, sometimes three. I bought the cheapest wand I could find on Amazon and it works great

4. Easy, light makeup routine 

I love to wear makeup – it makes me feel dressed more than clothes. I don’t know if that’s a southern thing or a my sisters and me thing, but I like to wear at least light makeup. In the summer I keep it simple – tinted powder, bronzer, Revlon lip butter, and mascara. Takes 5 minutes tops, and it makes me feel so much less “grunge” for the day.

5. Wear nice, pretty pajamas to bed

I remember an older, wiser woman telling me shortly before my wedding years ago “wearing nice pajamas to bed isn’t for the sake of your husband – he’ll be into you no matter what you wear – it’s for your sake – you’ll feel more romantic and feminine on the inside if you look it on the outside.” 

How RIGHT she was.

For the first 2 weeks after our fire, I wore my husband’s old flannel pajama bottoms and one of his undershirts to bed every night. I looked like a floppy, unkempt mess, and I felt like the antithesis of feminine and sexy. I’m still shopping around for some cooler, summery pajamas to get me through the warmer months (AND accommodate my growing bump), but I’m committed to staying out of my husband’s dresser drawers and building a comfy but tasteful collection of pajamas. It truly makes a difference in my life (and my marriage!) that’s worth a modest splurge on a few nice pieces.

6. Exercise – in some way – 5x/week

The amount of sweat I produce in a day is directly correlated to my mood, my energy, my eating habits, and my sleep. Of all thee self care commitments I make, this one is most important to me, because it truly affects everything.

I’ve started doing Tracy Anderson’s The Pregnancy Project DVDs. I’m shocked how hard her stretches and ballet moves and basic workout system feels! I am deliciously sore and stretched out after each workout, so I’m determined to keep up with Tracy and add in some extra cardio whenever I can.

7. Protein shakes

Protein shakes and smoothies are the bomb. They fill me up and keep my blood sugar and energy levels where they need to be throughout the day. They also help me refrain from raiding sugary or carb heavy foods that I’m preggo craving but make me feel awful later.

I’m hoping to incorporate at least one smoothie into my diet every day. My husband formulates our family’s own protein blend from an online company (we can choose what type of proteins we want to add, and we can keep other additives and fake sugars out of the powder). Then I throw in all kinds of greens and fruit and good for you stuff. Blythe just blogged a great smoothie recipe, and my friend Whitney also has some delicious, healthy ones on her blog 9 Kid Fitness.

BONUS Commitment: The Sun 

In an age of “slather SPF on yourself and stay out of the sun at all costs!” this is a controversial self care commitment, I suppose, especially for someone “my age.” But I’ll be real – I’m a sun worshiper, and precious few things make me feel happy, healthy, invigorated, and at peace more than 20 minutes of sitting outside and soaking in some God-made vitamin D each day. Bring on the slow-grow tan, too – it makes me feel alive. During the kids’ nap time, I plan to sit outside for 20 minutes, soak up some rays and read a book. It’s my definition of the summer good life.

So there you have it – my Mom Self Care Manifesto. I really hope I can maintain these few minutes a day, or a week, for some personal time, because even in just the few short weeks I’ve been trying to get better about self care, I already see it positively affecting my life, and those around me.

Do you set self-care goals for yourself? Does it make you feel better inside and out? Or is this whole post just crazy talk. ;o) Do tell! 

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | June 9, 2015

Motherhood is hard. But FIRST…

MotherhoodButFirst

Our house fire the night before Mother’s Day was scary, but the hardest moments for me happened the following day. On Sunday afternoon Peter and I drove back to our home to survey the damage. My husband and I had opposite reaction: Peter felt encouraged seeing it in daylight – he thought it looked better than it had the night before. I must have been so focused on our children that I didn’t get a proper look around after the fire. Because I thought the house looked and smelled utterly horrendous the next day.

Now that the dust had settled – or in this case, the soot and ash – the house was covered in a black and white flour-like film that smeared when you touched it, and reeked like you cannot imagine. The house smelled so bad from the smoke damage that my preggo self was only able to stay inside for a couple minutes. My husband stayed inside just a bit longer to collect a few belongings, and earned a headache and stomach ache for his troubles.

I said goodbye to Peter, who would stay in a local hotel that night, and started the drive back to my parent’s hometown to be with our children. It was in those quiet moments on the road that the full weight of what lay ahead for our family sunk in. I realized we wouldn’t be moving back home next week, or next month. I thought of all the work and DIY projects we had done in our house to truly make it a much loved home, all sitting there covered in ash. I let the pregnancy hormones and the pitty party feelings take over – and I gripped the wheel and wept.

After I had drained my emotions, I popped in a CD my sister Catherine had just given to me. The first track of Lauren Diagle’s CD How Can It Be started playing. The song was called “First.”

“Before I bring my need I will bring my heart

Before I lift my cares I will lift my arms…”

“First” taps into a truth about the Christian life – a truth particularly relevant to motherhood – that is so simple, so reasonable, and yet so easily forgettable.

Have you ever wondered how in heaven’s name Job endured losing his wife, his children, his house, his wealth, his friends, his health, his self respect, and STILL had the courage to say, “Blessed by Your Name”?

Have you ever wondered how the mother of the seven brothers in Maccabees endured watching her six sons brutally – horrifically – murdered before her eyes, and then has the strength to turn to the seventh son, her baby, and say “Son, you better live up to your brother’s example and not disappoint me or your family.”

Where does that love for God, despite the difficulty, come from? How does anyone, especially a mother, have her heart in such a right place that she can survive anything, endure anything, be grateful and thankful and hopeful…in the midst of anything?

Job and the Maccabean mother, they had figured out a timeless truth. Saint Paul understood it, too. In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp also taps into this very same mystery. And Lauren Diagle sings about it in her song “First.”

“Before I speak a word Let me hear Your voice

And in the midst of pain Let me feel Your joy…”

The “secret” to endurance and joy in the midst of pain, suffering, and hardship is to first come before God and to focus solely on Him. To focus on how wonderful He is, how truly awesome in a way that our minuscule human brains cannot begin to fathom. He is a Father, full of mercy and tenderness. He is a Son, ready to love and bleed and die for His beloved. He is a Spirit, so eager to come as the “Great Comforter” to the one in need.

“You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before I seek You…”

When we can come before the Lord with a heart of thankfulness for who He is, before we ask for what we need, it changes EVERYTHING. I dare you to try it, because after you have focused completely on God for His sake, there is precious little room left in the human heart for pity parties.

I listened to Lauren Diagle’s song on repeat as I drove through the Carolina foothills that Mother’s Day night, and my heart changed. I started thinking of all the little miracles that had already taken place to protect our family and our home. I thought of the outpouring of grace, of friendship, of prayers, that was already overflowing. My heart worshiped, and truly, my feelings of despair and self pity and annoyance and worry and stress started to melt. He is so good. So beyond good, all the time, even in the trials.

Let’s be real, I don’t have this gratefulness and right worship thing all figured out. For every moment of thankful perspective I’ve had about the fire, I’ve had ten thousand stressed out, annoyed, ungrateful, wit’s end moments this past month. Tomorrow is the one month anniversary of our fire, and we are still living in a hotel, waiting to move into temporary housing for the summer. When I find myself falling into dark thoughts about our situation, I listen to Lauren’s song again, and try to shift my focus. It really makes a difference.

I share this song and this experience with you because I have listened to you; I have walked with you as a friend; I have experienced many of your same struggles, and to the mom reading this right now, I know that your heart is full of struggles and needs too.

My house fire is small stuff compared to what many mothers are going through. Miscarriage. Divorce. Lost jobs. Stressful finances. Single parenting. Addiction. Depression. Exhaustion. Overwhelmed and losing all sense of who you are or who you want to be. Motherhood is hard, whether it’s the struggle to change the latest blow out diaper or get up for one more middle of the night feeding or face the next smart mouth comment from an ungrateful teenager….it is hard.

But before you bring all of that to the One who knows the hard best of all, bring yourself – your heart – and focus on Him instead of on you.

Heaven gazing makes it nearly impossible to continue navel gazing. And sometimes, that’s what us moms need most of all: a shift in focus, and a shift in perspective.

Each of us, in spite of the crosses, is blessed beyond measure. Sometimes we just need to put Him first to recognize it.

Could y’all humor me with a request today? When you have 3 minutes and 46 seconds to yourself, could you put on your earbuds, click on this link to the song FIRST and let the words soak in. Even if you hate the voice or hate the tune, let the words wash over you. I hope and pray it ministers to your heart the way it has to mine.

xo,

Steph

MotherhoodButFirst2

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace….This is the fuel for joy’s flame.”

– Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts 

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | May 15, 2015

The Mothers Day I Learned the Most About Motherhood

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This year our Mother’s Day plans included church, brunch, naps, and steaks and key lime pie for dinner. Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that just 37 minutes before the stoke of Mother’s Day, all our plans would change, not just our Mother’s Day ones.

That’s the way tragedies usually happen though, right? You never think it’s going to “happen to you.”

Just before midnight on Saturday evening, we had a fire in our kitchen, started by a malfunction on the electrical system on our dish washer.

The Lord was watching out for us in so many ways that night. The Hubs and I were up later than usual since we had stayed up for a movie, and so by the time I got in the shower that night with a house full of sleeping boys, it was later than any of us are usually up. I stepped out of the shower, got dressed, and immediately started hearing the “beep beep beep” of the upstairs fire alarm. At first I thought it was a routine check, which our alarms occasionally do, but they quickly became more insistent, louder, and by the time I got into the hallway upstairs and started opening bedroom doors to check on kids, the alarms started sounding out the word, over and over again, “FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE.”

I smelled it before I saw it, flying down the stairs in my pajamas. And I knew we were in for the real deal emergency before I saw our kitchen in flames, because the reflection of the angry orange glow danced in our front windows, picture frames, and all sorts of objects in the front room of our home. As soon as I saw the kitchen, I turned and ran back upstairs, screaming my husband’s name.

I flung open our front door on my way back upstairs – that tidbit surprised me later, as I did it without consciously thinking about it. I grabbed my phone and was already dialing 911 as I scooped Rett out of his crib in the nursery. Meanwhile Peter helped the other boys safely down the stairs and out to the front lawn.

Even though what I described above happened in the space of 90 seconds or less, by the time the kids and I were outside, the house was filled with a cloud of white angry smoke. Peter went back in, grabbed our fire extinguisher, and was able to put out the kitchen fire very quickly. Those fire extinguishers are no joke – they work amazingly fast and effectively, especially on a contained fire like we had.

Emergency dispatch was most concerned that we stay far from the house because of the danger of smoke inhalation. Three minuets – 5 tops – and three firetrucks came screaming around the corner, along with the Fire Chief’s truck and at least one police vehicle.

Shortly after the firemen surveyed our situation, they called in the station’s hook and ladder truck (my boys, as scared as they were, sure didn’t mind seeing the Hook and Ladder pull up to the driveway!) The firemen had three main missions once they confirmed the flames were out: 1) do the best they could do get the smoke out of the house (they blew the house out with huge fans they brought in), 2) get the dishwasher culprit outside and the electricity and water turned off in the kitchen, and 3) test the whole house for carbon monoxide levels).

emergency!

I learned a lot that night but here are a few things I wanted to share with you.

1. If you’ve ever doubted that you “had it in you” to do what needed to be done in an emergency to protect your family, especially your children, doubt no more. The Mama Bear and Papa Bear genes runs deep and powerful.You will have what it takes, and you will do exactly what you need to do. Pinky swear.

2. Make sure your house has good fire extinguishers well placed, and test your fire alarms to make sure they are in good working order. Do it today. It’ll never happen to you, until the moment it does. Preparation is priceless when it saves lives and property like it did for our family.

3. When the “stuff” we fill our lives and dreams and desires with is stripped away (or in our case, covered in a thick coat of ash and soot and saturated with smoke) it’s amazing how clearly the heart sees what is important. Faith, family, being together, good health. Those are the greatest gifts. Everything else is just that: stuff. Sometimes the greatest gift God gives us is the stripping away so we can see so crystal clearly.

As the firemen began wrapping up their work shortly before 1am, a firefighter sought me out on the driveway: “Ma’am, I know this is not how you imagined starting your Mother’s Day, but I just wanted to tell you, I’ve seen a lot of fires, and you are VERY blessed. This situation could have turned out MUCH worse. I know that Someone up there was looking out for you. Don’t forget that you are blessed.” And he pointed skyward and moved on.

Even from those first traumatic moments, I knew we were blessed. Here I was, standing barefoot and bra-less in my driveway at one in the morning, surrounded by pajama-clad, tousle-headed, wide-eyed little boys, with a husband on the front porch literally covered in soot and smoke. Everyone alive, safe, and healthy. The greatest gifts I could ever ask for.

This was the Mother’s Day I’ll never forget, that’s for sure!

From the bottom of my heart I wish all my mama readers a belated happy Mother’s Day! Love you all so much!

xo, Steph

P.S. How Can You Help Us? 

My husband and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and offers to help from friends and family. Y’all are the best and we’re so grateful! Our insurance company has been truly awesome so far, and work has already commenced on the cleaning of our home and the gutting and reconstruction of our first floor. We’ll be in interim housing for most of the summer as the house is under construction. Truly, our greatest need right now is for prayer support and verbal encouragement. My husband and I could use prayer that we see the blessings and not allow the stress and the burdens to steal our joy and perspective. Our children are dealing with some post-trauma issues, which is totally understandable after going through such a scary ordeal, so we ask for your prayers for their healing and comfort as well. THANK YOU!!!

[Note: the images used in this post are not actual pictures from our home. The only times I picked up my phone that night were to call 911, and to inform my parents that five smelly, barefoot, exhausted creatures would be arriving at their doorstep around 2:30 in the morning. :o) ]

Posted by: littlebitofparadise | April 23, 2015

7 Effective Ways to Help a Child Fight Allergies

ToddlerAllergiesHelp

My son Mark suffers from severe environmental and seasonal allergies. Of all his allergies, he’s most allergic to oak tree pollen. Translated, this month is ground zero for his symptoms.

Markallergies1If I left him untreated his face would look like this ^ and his eyes would swell shut all through the yellow pollen dump. 

Watching a child suffer from allergies or asthma is heart wrenching. If you don’t live with an allergy or asthma sufferer, I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe it to you – except maybe to say it’s like having a child suffer with flu symptoms for months – perhaps a whole quarter of a year –  without relief. Sheer misery.

However if you have a child with allergies or asthma you certainly need no descriptions from me. You know. In fact if we were in the same room and started swapping stories, I’d probably get a bit teary listening to yours and sharing mine. It breaks my heart when children suffer so greatly from these ailments.

My son still has allergies, but this has been our best year yet for providing him with comfort and relief. Since “how do you help your son with his allergies?” has become one of the most frequently asked questions I get from blog readers, I decided to put what we do all down here, in one place, in case some of what we do could help your allergy sufferer too. Here are my:

7 Effective Ways to Help a Child Fight Allergies

1. Clean and Purify the Air in your Home.

During the rest of the year, my husband buys mid-range air filters for our home. During allergy season, he buys the most expensive, top of the line air filters made for house vents. We’ve found it makes a big difference in trapping allergens before they get into our house.

We also keep our house closed up during allergy season. After a long, cold winter, it’s a big sacrifice to keep the windows closed and not let that balmy breeze and the sound of chirping birds come wafting through the screens, but it’s a price we gladly pay to keep that nasty yellow pollen out of the house. We run the air a bit if we need to, or just run the fan to keep the air circulating.

I’ve also discovered that diffusing 100% pure essential oils with a good quality diffuser makes a tremendous difference in keeping the air purified in our home. We first started using Young Living essential oils to treat Mark’s allergies topically, and I wrote about our amazing success with that here,  However I later began to appreciate the enormous impact diffused essential oils had in killing bacteria, pollen, histamines, and allergens of all sorts in our home. A Young Living Starter Kit comes with an oil blend called Thieves that is highly antibacterial. Diffusing Thieves for just 20-30 minutes in a room kills 98%+ of the bacteria in that air space. Another blend that came in my Kit, called Purification, is the bomb for purifying the air when diffused. I now diffuse these two essential oil blends in our home at least twice a week, and I diffuse them in my son’s bedroom every other day, in rotation. It’s made a world of difference for his allergies.

2. Clean the floor.

I have a bag-less Dyson vacuum cleaner, and I use it often during allergy season – particularly in my sons’ bedroom and in the main living spaces. It’s amazing how much that Bad Boy sucks up from our carpets and wood floors. Since we track pollen into our house every time we’re outside, I’ve found frequent vacuuming to be a big player in keeping the allergens at bay.

3. Change and wash everything. Daily. 

This allergy-fighting habit is my most time consuming as a mother, but also one of my most effective strategies. I make sure my Mark has clean clothes every time he comes back into our house. Even if he’s only walked to the car and back from a trip to the grocery store, I still change his clothes when we get back inside. Even a little bit of pollen on his t-shirt can send him into an allergy attack, so it’s better safe than sorry.

I wash his sheets at least twice a week during allergy season, and I change his pillowcase every single time he goes to bed (if he’s taking a nap that day, that means I change the pillowcase before nap time, and again before bedtime). Pain in the you know what, but so worth it to make sure his head is resting on a pollen-free surface.

4. Strategize time outside

It is absolutely impossible to keep a toddler or preschool aged child indoors all spring, especially after he or she has been cooped up most of the winter. Trust me. I’ve tried this strategy in years past, and it’s a toss up who will be more miserable – you or the child – following this strategy.

A little boy must get a good dose of sunshine and fresh air and dirt in his life, even during allergy season. The only solution I’ve found is to be strategic about when he gets his outside time.

If the pollen count is very high, as it’s been in the Carolinas all month, I’ve found the best time to let Mark outside is late afternoon, after his siblings have gotten up from their afternoon nap. I let him play outside from around 3:30 to 5:00pm, and before he goes out I make sure he’s wearing a ball cap and sunglasses (my attempt to keep the pollen off his hair and out of his eyes). I also rub Young Living lavender essential oil on him, which is one of nature’s most powerful antihistamines.

When it’s time to come in, I ask Mark to completely strip in our mudroom. Everything comes off, and we go right upstairs to a hot shower. After some time in the steam and a good scrub down, I put fresh clothes on him and do another treatment with essential oils using the popular “Allergy Bomb”.

I find that even if Mark has an allergy attack from his playtime outside, at least it’s close enough to his bedtime that I can get him into a steamy shower, and then start treating heavily by diffusing essential oils and applying them topically.

5. Shower!

Here’s where I’m going to sound like a crazy drill sergeant, but I make my whole family shower, or at least get a wet washcloth scrub down, after time outside. And everyone has to put on a change of clothes after we’ve been in the pollen. Since our kids are little they crawl on each other and on their parents constantly, so it’s no use keeping one child fresh and showered and the rest of us pollen laden. So we go through an obscene amount of laundry from March through May. Such a bother, but a worthwhile one.

6. Diet 

Of all the things I’ve learned about treating allergies, one of the most fascinating topics is how our diet affects our body’s ability to fight allergens. We process everything in our gut, and it’s in our gut that our body fights allergies. So the not-rocket-science truth is a healthy gut is able to fight allergies a whole lot better than an overworked, overtaxed gut.

Keeping my son’s consumption of gluten, diary, sugar, and processed foods to a minimum definitely helps his ability to deal with seasonal allergies. It doesn’t take away his symptoms entirely, but there’s definitely a difference when he’s eating a very clean diet. Since I am fighting my way through the first trimester of pregnancy, I admit that we are eating our share of unhealthy, gluten-full, processed and sugar-full foods right now. We’re in a bit of a survival mode situation for a few more weeks. But when I can provide him with a more ideal diet, he does better with his allergies, for sure.

I also find that giving Mark a tsp of local, raw organic honey helps quite a bit. I add a drop of Young Living lemon oil to the honey, which helps to break up any mucus build up caused by his allergies.

Finally, a good probiotic and good quality vitamins helps a little guy’s gut fight hard too! My husband did a lot of research and consulted with our pediatrician to find the right cocktail of vitamins and minerals to give our son. We try to be very consistent with his supplements regimen.

7. Essential Oils

If I had written this post a year ago, my 7th tip would’ve been to dispense allergy drugs and Benadryl as needed. Because for the first four years of Mark’s life, the doling out drugs story was our story.

Exactly a year ago, I went to my first Young Living essential oils class for the sole purpose of finding out more about this “allergy bomb” I kept hearing about from friends. I was a desperate mom with a suffering toddler, and if there was any truth to the “oils help allergies” claim, I figured I had a responsibility to find out.

OH. MY. WORD. I couldn’t have imagined how much these little brown bottles with colorful labels would change my son’s quality of life, and our whole family’s health and wellness. But they have.

The “allergy bomb” oils are lavender, lemon, and peppermint. Lavender is a natural antihistamine. Lemon breaks up mucus in the body, and peppermint is very effective for calming respiratory symptoms. Together, they fight allergies effectively and naturally.

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We diffuse 3-4 drops each of the allergy bomb oils while my son sleeps, and in our living spaces during the day. We also rub lavender on his sinus zone, behind his ears, on his wrists, and apply a drop each of the allergy bomb combo on his feet. We also diffuse the blends Thieves and Purification frequently in our home to keep the air clean and purified.

So far this allergy season, my son has never come to me and asked for allergy medicine. He knows I have it, and he knows I’d give it to him if he had a serious attack, but still – he’s never asked me for drugs. Every single time he comes to me with worsening symptoms, he says “mommy, I need some more lavender.” I find it fascinating that 4 1/2 year old seems to know what his body most needs to fight his symptoms.

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I joined the Young Living company after trying 5 other brands of oils, including some of YL’s top competitors. After two years of research and reading, I am absolutely convinced it’s the purest, highest quality oil I can offer my son and my family for their health and wellness. Young Living’s ‘Seed to Seal Guarantee’ and their control over the whole process from planting, growing, harvesting, distilling, and bottling, gives me confidence, knowing where the oils came from and that the plants were grown without any harmful chemicals or pesticides.

I never dreamed that I’d get into the “business” side of Young Living, but the more positive results we had from the oils, and the more I shared our testimony, it just became such an easy “fit” as a hobby and a project and a side mission for my life as a stay at home mom. If you’d like to give essential oils a try, I’d LOVE to have you on my team. We offer so much support, encouragement, and resources to the families using essential oils on our team. We have dynamic Facebook support groups, webinars, video tutorials, free classes, and so much more.

If you’d like an info packet, an intro to oils booklet, and free sample of Young Living Lavender Oil, email me [stephanie.weinert@yahoo.com] and it would be my pleasure to send you a care package in the mail. 

I’d love to hear YOUR story! 

So those are the top 7 ways we fight allergies at our house. I’d love to hear YOUR story too! If you are fighting allergies yourself, or if you have a child who suffers from allergies, what have you found that works best to alleviate symptoms? If I was tech savvy enough to figure out how to add a link-up to this post I’d do it, and invite you to link up your allergy stories. In lieu of that, if you have a story or a blog link for how you fight allergies, please feel welcome to throw it up in the comments section of this post, so we can all benefit from your story.

[Special note: this post is not meant to treat or diagnose anyone or anything, it’s simply sharing our experience and our passion for fighting awful allergies. Please always consult with your physician and health care professionals.]

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