The Third Year

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We celebrated Echo’s third birthday! One thing I love to do after his birthday every year is write a post about what we have learned and positive things from this past year. So here we go!

  1. Holy Rollercoaster of Emotions! This was definitely the year that E found more of his voice. That meant that he was using more words and talking more (YAY!), but there was also the tantrums and testing. I’m going to speak to our situation for a minute and share what worked for us. Pretty early on when he was yelling at me, flat out saying no to me, and having complete meltdowns, I realized that Echo responded better when I was firm but calm. He didn’t respond to me or my husband yelling at him. We were just basically telling him that yelling was okay by doing that. Not to say I don’t have my bad days and lose my patience completely. For us, I give him the “mom look” (you know the I mean business look) and firmly correct him.                                                                                                                                                                      IMG_1641
  2. Next Level! To go along with the first point, Echo found a whole other level of energy. He is always doing laps around the house, his school, and exploring outside. This is honestly something that I love. We can go to the park, play outside, go on errands and E is totally up for it. Sometimes it can get him in trouble (point number 1), but I honestly love that he is an active energetic toddler. We have daily dance parties, and love being outside.
  3. Unique! Each kid has their own personality. E has always been very observant and slow to warm up to people. That’s just how he operates. I was so happy that he has made friends at school! It took a little adjustment period, but he loves playing with his friends now. There are still moments where he gets overwhelmed and will pull back. For the most part though he is becoming more social. We just had to take it at his own unique pace.
  4. Treasure Each Moment! This is a personal one. A few weeks ago I wrote about our losses in 2017. I think it just made me treasure each moment with Echo more. He is our first baby, so every moment is a first with him. Time is going by so fast! I love our little adventures, everyday moments, the rare toddler cuddles, and conversations with him. Everyday I try to be present with Echo and soak up these moments.                                                                                                                                                                IMG_1656

I really enjoy doing these recaps of our year. Sharing little thoughts as we head in to the next one as a family. I’m ready for more firsts and learning lots! What was your favorite thing this past year? Comment below.

 

Loss (*Trigger Warning*)

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I have struggled with the right way to write about this subject. What do I say? How do I encourage other women and families that are going through this same thing? My number one thing with this blog is that I want to honest, authentic, and encouraging. Beyond this point is the raw emotions and words of what I have gone through this past year. I’m not looking for pity, I am hoping that in sharing my experience I can let other women know they aren’t alone in this.

Why was the first time so easy? 7 months into marriage, Sterling and I got pregnant with Echo. I gave birth to a happy, sweet baby boy and we were over the moon. We went back and forth for a bit as to whether we wanted to have another baby. It has now been over a year and half since starting to try and conceive. January and May will be forever in my heart. Though I lost the pregnancies very early (at 5 & 6 weeks), I hold onto the thought of meeting those babies one day.

I struggle to find the right words and even questioned whether I wanted to share anything about this. My family never talked about infertility or miscarriage. They always talked about how easy it was for women in my family to get pregnant. In January when I got the positive test and then lost the pregnancy, I was not sure how to feel. I was confused, sad, and overwhelmed. I thought I did something and it was my fault that the pregnancy didn’t stick. How was I supposed to cope with losing a pregnancy? I didn’t cope well. Then in May having the same situation happen again, really took a toll. Just after the second loss  I met with my midwife where we discussed it all. She referred to the pregnancies as “chemical pregnancies”. I walked away from the appointment confused and frustrated again because I felt like my losses were minimized and brushed off. It is really tough getting a positive pregnancy test and then have that taken away. The highs and lows of these emotions have taken its toll on me.

It is now January, and I still don’t know how to feel. I don’t have the right answers. We have not gotten pregnant. And I’m emotional. I tell my story and share my emotions in hopes that I can encourage other women who are going through loss. Each story is different, but you are not alone. You don’t have to grieve alone. One thing that really helped me was sharing all this with my closest friend. Knowing that I wasn’t alone, and that I had my husband and my friend in my corner. You are so strong, and this hurt will be healed.

I started this blog to take you through my journey of going green, and to share family life with you all. This is my real life. It’s hard, not perfect, and crazy. I really hope that in sharing my struggle and hurt, that it helps you in some way. If you are feeling depressed or hopeless please talk with a doctor or counselor.

Thank you so much for reading! How have you overcome loss in your life? Comment below.

Great Finds at JBF Issaquah!

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Are you ready to get your shopping on? I attended the Primetime shopping at the Issaquah “Just Between Friends” sale on Thursday night. The Issaquah sale goes until Sunday, so you still have time to shop this great sale! Today, Friday, is a regular shopping day. Saturday is the half off day, and then Sunday is the 75% off day (everything without a star and marked donate). You can go to “Just Between Friends” website for all the details on the Issaquah sale.

Here’s the fun part of shopping these sales, I get to share with you the great deals I saw or purchased at the sale!

One of my favorite things at the sale is the “Melissa & Doug” toys and puzzles. I have found a tool set and some chunky puzzles at previous sales. This sale I checked out the food and kitchen accessories because Echo LOOOOVES his kitchen. There were so many different sets and ranged from $12-25 for the small ones. I picked up this wooden Velcro cookie set (so cute!) for $16. That is a 20% savings from it’s retail price of $20.

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One thing I was on a mission to find was rain/snow boots! We live in a town that gets a bit of snow, so I wanted to gear up for the cold weather that is quickly approaching. I found these red “Land’s End” boots that are in great condition for $8. These boots retail for $50-80. For this calculation I assumed it was the $50 boot. That is an 84% savings! Love it!

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The next item that I purchased was an “H & M” fleece lined coat for $12.50. Echo didn’t have a heavier coat for this winter so I snagged this one! These coats retail for about $35, which means the coat was 64% off. It is in such good condition and am excited for Echo to wear it.

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The last item I purchased, that I’ll share with you, is a long sleeve flannel button down from “Gymboree”. The flannel shirts from Gymboree retail for about $32, and I paid $5. That’s another 84% savings!

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There are so many great items at the sale. One item I saw but didn’t pick up was a pair of white high top Converse (personally can’t do white with a toddler). They were priced at $18, and retail is $69. So someone can grab them for a 74% savings.

Anything you need from nursery to toys to clothes, the Issaquah sale has you covered. This sale they have lots of Halloween costumes for the kiddos. Hope you all get a chance to go check it out! There is still time to shop!

Thanks so much for reading! Do you shop consignment clothing?

JBF Issaquah Sale & Giveaway

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Shopping for outfits, toys, and gear for our little ones is so much fun… until you see the hefty price tag that comes with it. Have you ever walked into a kids clothing store, just to walk right back out the door? I totally have, because I refuse to pay a ton of money on clothes that will be outgrown in no time at all. Well I found the perfect solution to this issue! The “Just Between Friends” (JBF) sale!

JBF is a consignment sale, of gently used or new items, that has many events all over the nation. You can head to jbfsale.com to find your local event. Here are just some of the things that may be available at the sales: clothing (infant-teen, as well as maternity), diaper bags, pack & plays, strollers, toys, items for feeding, nursery gear, and so much more. I love going to my local sale because I can get clothes 50-90% off retail, Melissa & Doug toys 25-30% off retail, and pretty much anything Echo could need at a deep discounted price. I have gone to every JBF Issaquah sale since finding out I was pregnant with Echo. It has helped my family stick to a budget while still getting Echo super cute clothes.

Here are some of the items I picked up at the March sale!

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$90 for so many clothes and shoes!

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My favorite shirt I picked up for Echo, rhino shirt.

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Osh Kosh Tan Skinny Jeans

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Tucker & Tate black sneakers

If you sign up to consign or volunteer, you get to shop a pre sale before the public is able to. This is a great opportunity for families to make some cash for all of their gently used or new baby gear. I would definitely encourage any families with lots of clothes, toys, or gear to consign.

If you live in the Seattle area, come shop the Issaquah sale! I am giving away a Primetime shopping pass for the Issaquah sale which starts at 4pm on Wednesday October 4th. This is an opportunity to shop before the public. I will give one ticket to 2 winners and will announce them on Friday September 29th! Here’s how to enter: sign up to my email list (click the “follow” button and enter your email), like “Just Between Freinds Seattle East” on Facebook, like “The Lil Things Blog” on Facebook, then come back here and comment “done”. Super simple! Good luck!

Thanks so much for reading this! Share this with your friends so they can enter too. Hope to see you at the JBF Issaquah sale!

 

Happy Little Camper Review

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Have you ever looked at what is in your baby’s wipes? It is shocking what some companies want you to use on your child. Up until now I have made my own baby wipes from paper towels, pure castile soap, coconut oil, and water. Recently I started looking at better options than conventional baby wipes and found “Happy Little Camper”.

Happy Little Camper is a 100% non-gmo cotton baby wipe. They are hypoallergenic and biodegradable. These baby wipes contain organic Aloe Vera which leaves the skin nourished and refreshed. They have a great thickness to them and are very soft. It’s important that the wipes aren’t super wet and also not too dry. These are the perfect balance. They are durable and stand up to any mess (pee, poop, and after meal clean up). I am really happy with how these wipes perform!

These wipes are free of fragrance (known to be a huge toxin), silicone, parabens, polyethylene glycols (polymers of ethylene oxide), and polyethylene terephthalate (synthetic plastic polymers). It is also free of chlorine and ethyl alcohol! I liked that these wipes are free of some of the big nasty chemicals!

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Most families are on a budget, mine included. We aren’t made of money and the diapers and wipes cost adds up quick. These baby wipes are the same price as conventional wipes, but without some of the nasty chemicals. A 72 count pack is $3.99. They also have to-go wipe packs (3, 20 count packs) for $5.99.

If you are looking for a better baby wipe option, definitely check out Happy Little Camper!

Have you tried Happy Little Camper? Comment below 🙂 Thank you for reading!  Remember to click follow to get email upsdates on new content!

 

Sun’s out, Bugs out!

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Since Seattle has gotten a little bit of warm weather, the bugs are starting to come out. Insect repellents are full of crazy toxic chemicals. Last year I started hunting for better alternatives that still perform!

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Every year I get sooooo many bug bites! I do not know what it is about me, but mosquitos love me. Last spring/summer I made my own bug spray that I used. It is an essential oil mixture that performed AMAZING! I did not get any bites on the places I sprayed. I don’t use this on Echo, because I don’t know the exact dilution of my mixture and it hasn’t been tested. It is super easy to make and works great. Here’s the recipe:

-4 oz. blue glass spray bottle

-Fill 3/4 of the way with water

-Add 2 Tablespoons Witch Hazel

-Add 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil & 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (I use Young Living)

-Shake before each use & spray on

Puracy Natural Bug Spray

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For Echo, I really like using the Puracy Bug Spray! One of the big things that I like about it is that it is 100% DEET free. It’s also free of other nasty substances like Formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. It is made up of essential oils and botanical extracts which smell great! The peppermint, citronella, geranium, lemongrass, and Vanilla all blend well together. It isn’t greasy when you spray it on your body and then rub it in. It is recommended that you consult with your child’s physician if you intend to use it on a baby younger than 6 months. I used this on Echo last summer when he was 17-21 months old. He had no reactions or anything to the spray itself. He didn’t get any bug bites, so it performed great! It is also pretty budget friendly at $12 for a 4 oz. spray bottle. We only used one bottle last spring/summer. Puracy was definitely a better option than conventional bug sprays for my family!

Hope you are all enjoying this Spring sunshine! Have you tried natural & non toxic bug sprays? Comment below 🙂 share with friends.

Thrive Market

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Due to my health struggles and how difficult it has been to live a normal life, I was on a hunt to find a place to buy natural/organic foods for my family online. I kept seeing other green living bloggers post about this online market called “Thrive Market” and decided to check it out! I think I have been a member for about 6 months now and love shopping through them.

To shop you create a profile and start a 30 day trial, then at the end of the trial period you start a membership which costs about $60 a year. One of the really cool things about Thrive Market is that when you pay for your membership, you are also sponsoring a low-income family so they have access to healthy foods! I have looked at other healthy/organic stores for the products i like to buy through Thrive, and you really are getting a good deal.

A feature that I really like about Thrive is that you can shop according to diet restrictions. Each product has multiple “values” which could include gluten-free, vegan, made in the USA, supports charity, and many many more. It makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

Some of the things I buy from Thrive Market:

One Degree Organic Foods- Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Cocoa Crisps

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We eat this cereal as a dessert most of the time. It is very sweet and chocolatey, so it makes the perfect sweet treat here and there. These cocoa crisps are organic, non-gmo, gluten-free, and vegan. Our whole family can eat them. The only negative is that for my house full of guys, the 10 oz. box doesn’t last long haha. But that isn’t that big of a problem.

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

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We used to use a lot of olive oil, but I was reading about smoke points (I’ll write about this in a different blog post) and wanted something with a higher smoke point. We tried out this avocado oil and love it! It is 100% avocado oil, and comes in a dark glass bottle.

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels 

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One thing that I struggle with is finding things that fit with the restricted diet that I stick to. These chocolate morsels were a great find for me because they are gluten, dairy, soy, and nut free (and free of a few more common allergens). We are a house full of cookie monsters, so this makes it possible for us all to eat chocolate chip cookies!

Primal Kitchens Chipotle Lime Mayo w/ Avocado Oil

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This is one of our absolute favorite products to order! It is seriously so yummy! It has a good kick and great flavor. We use it on sandwiches, sweet potato hash, and also use it as a dipping sauce for meats. This product is also another great find that fits with my restricted diet. It is gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar free. It is also organic and uses cage free eggs. This mayo is added to my cart with every order haha.

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

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This is the number one cracker in my book! Simple Mills has three flavors that are dairy free: Sundried Tomato & Basil, Sea Salt, and Rosemary & Sea Salt. They also have a Farmhouse Cheddar flavor which is rBST free. They are all gluten and soy free as well as organic and non-gmo. These crackers are also toddler approved! Echo’s favorite is the Farmhouse Cheddar flavor, but he likes them all.

I also want to add that their customer service has been very helpful. Recently one of my sauces broke during transit, and I contacted them on how to replace it. Because they are an environmentally conscious company, they won’t just send out replacement products (which I thought was really cool). As a customer, it would be easy to freak out and say no I want my product. But as someone who is environmentally conscious I admire that they stick to their guns and just give you store credit so that you can purchase it with your next box of products.

No matter what your diet, definitely check out Thrive Market! What was your Thrive Market experience? Comment below 🙂 like this post and follow the blog.

“Just Between Friends” Consignment Sale

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If you have seen my Instagram stories, you know that last night was the “Just Between Friends” (JBF) Sale. Every fall and spring there is a sale near me. It allows me to get good quality clothes for 50-90% off retail prices. There are sales all over the Puget Sound area and the entire nation. To find a location near you, check out Just Between Friends.

My mother-in-love and I go to every sale to stock up on the upcoming season’s clothes. The one last night was the sale that I shop for spring and summer clothes, which Echo had none of. We spent a total of $83 on clothes. All the clothes and shoes were gently used and in great condition! I even scored a few designer brand items for super cheap. Below I will go through a couple of items that i picked up and what I saved.

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I am obsessed with this rhino shirt! So cute and different! It is from EGG baby and retails for around $50. At the sale I snagged it for $3, seriously. That comes out to 94% savings. It takes time to look through everything but there are such great clothes at the sale.

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We are a Vans and Converse family, so I really liked the style of these sneakers. They look like good shoes for church, since they are a little more dressy than the usual sneaker. At the register, the cashier was like “Oh! Tucker & Tate, good find!” and I had no clue what was so special about them haha. Well then I looked it up and these are sold at Nordstrom for $45+. They are in great condition and I only paid $9. That’s 80% savings.

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Along with Converse and Vans, we are a skinny jean family. These Osh Kosh skinny jeans would retail for around $28. At the sale they were $3! That is 90% savings.

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As a whole, based on this receipt, I saved 78% by shopping through a consignment sale. All the items would come out to around $400 at full retail price, but I paid $86 total. Children can totally dress fashionable on a budget :). Honestly, if I paid the full price for a lot of these clothes I would be paranoid about them getting dirty. I feel like I can relax and let Echo be a kid in his clothes!

Do you shop consignment sales? Comment below with your experience. Remember to subscribe to my blog for email updates on new blog posts!

 

Dealing with Emotions

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Health, relationships, finances, etc. can all stress us out and cause us to be emotional. It is hard not to get caught up in the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Life happens and we become overwhelmed.

I have been dealing with health issues for a while now. My health issues have made it hard for me to leave the house, and completely stopped my social life. After a while of struggling through each day, I started feeling down and lonely. The people that I saw all the time before I got sick, when I was out and about and that I did life with, I no longer saw or interacted with. Our church campus was an hour away along with most of our friends which was not doable for me and body. So we switched church campuses to one that was only 35 minutes away, but didn’t have many friends. I was embarrassed to share what was happening with me to the people that used to surround me. My physical limitations, extreme anxiety, and embarrassment led to me feeling completely alone.

One thing I didn’t really do was open up about what my struggles have been. Very few people knew what I was going through because I was embarrassed about my health issues. I also didn’t want to complain or “burden” people with my struggles. Looking at it now, I definitely would communicate what I have been going through. Friends are their to walk with you, pray for you, and love you through your journey. Let your friends in, so they can give you support. I am extremely thankful for those that have been there to encourage me and pray for me along the way.

I have read about the “baby blues” that happens for a couple weeks after childbirth. I have seen it in myself and other young moms that are adjusting to their new season of life. This was definitely something I struggled with. I had to adjust to not being able to go out to coffee with all my girlfriends on a whim, going shopping whenever, serving at church, and being on the go 24/7. Just to clarify, I am NOT saying that having a child is bad or an inconvenience. I am wanting to encourage other mamas out there to embrace this new season and pace of life. This is beautiful season of raising this little one you brought into the world.

After struggling with my health issues for some time, my physical limitations  and anxiety started to get to me emotionally. I was becoming depressed. I have dealt with depression before and did not want to go back to that place! This is when I mentioned my emotions to my doctor. I would encourage anyone dealing with depression or anxiety to talk with their doctor. Sometimes it might be a small change in attitude or habits that is needed, it might be a need for therapy, or it might need medical intervention.

Every single day I have to deliberately choose a positive attitude. When you are struggling to get out of bed and complete daily tasks, it is so easy to have a “why me?” attitude. If I’m letting that creep into my mind and stay in that dark space, I won’t get better. Health is mind, body, and soul. To get better, I have to choose joy everyday and trust that God is going to pull me through this. I shared this verse previously in my “health struggle” post, but this is what I have been reading over and over in this season:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is forever mine.” -Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

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Along with being positive in my attitude and surrounding myself with supportive people, I push myself to get out of the house. This is not pushing myself to where it hurts me more, but challenging and retraining myself gradually. For me, going to the grocery store, the park, the lake, the pumpkin patch, or the end of the block and back is all helpful and encouraging to me. These little victories help me physically and emotionally so much! Celebrate these little victories and soak up the moments!

I am by no means perfect, and am going through all of this as I type it. I am here to share with you my struggles/be transparent, encourage you, and believe that we will be whole and healthy. What is one of your little victories that you celebrate?

The Second Year

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Photo by Brittany Copenhaver

My favorite advice I got from a mom (before I was even married or had a baby) was “the days are long and the years are short, so soak up every moment”. A year feels like it goes by so quick! It’s my baby boy’s birthday and I like sharing the good and the not so glamorous moments from each year. So here we go!

  • Pets are great!

This year I noticed how good it is for Echo to have a furry friend to play with and adventure with. As Echo became mobile, started walking and running, Beefy and him had so much fun throwing the ball around or playing “tag”. They love each other, and I can’t wait to see what adventures they go on in the future! I would definitely recommend having an animal in the home whether it’s a cat, dog, or whatever animal you prefer.

  • Cuddle Often

Babies grow soooooo quick! Enjoy the infant stage, and then in the toddler stage soak up those cuddles. Echo isn’t the cuddliest child, but every now and then when he wakes up from his nap he will sit on my lap and snuggle with me. Take those moments! The to-do list can wait, it may only be for a minute or two, but these are times you’ll cherish as they grow.

  • Say I love you often

Your child needs to hear that you love him. I feel like I say “i love you” all the time, and nothing beats the little smile i get because Echo loves hearing it.  I also feel that if you are married your child also needs to see you and your spouse being loving and affectionate. I think it was in September or maybe over the summer, but Sterling and I were laughing and kissing and Echo was watching us from his high chair. Sterling’s mom came up and said it is so good for Echo to see that. It just stuck with me. I want Echo to see love and respect between Sterling and I.

  • Have Patience

This is one I remind myself of daily! I am your normal mom that struggles with having patience and keeping my cool in frustrating situations. The toddler attitude/tantrum stage is no joke. Pushing buttons, whining, throwing objects, throwing tantrums, pinching, and doing things that he was just told not to do, are all a part of my day with Echo. In these moments, I discipline when needed but remind myself he is learning how to handle his emotions and I need to have patience with him. I literally remind myself, whether in my head or out loud, because I don’t want to yell or get caught up in the moment (which still happens).

  • Every child is different

I said this in my “The First Year” post, but it is so true that every child is different and develops at their own place. Echo is struggling to say words or meet the amount of words he should have by now. It’s so easy for me to get discouraged and compare him to kids that had a ton of words super early, but that is not beneficial for him or me. The best thing I can do is continue to encourage him to say things and focus on helping him develop the way he needs. Every child is unique.

What have you learned this year with the two year old in your life? Comment below 🙂