How to Not Wear Maternity Clothes While Pregnant

You're pregnant, and starting to show. Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "how can I avoid buying maternity clothes, OR find maternity clothes that don't LOOK like maternity clothes"?

I have a solution to your maternity style & pregnancy outfit struggles! And the best part? It's inexpensive, and means that you don't have to buy maternity clothes! *Queue, happy dance*

*Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*

How to not wear maternity clothes while pregnant

How to not wear maternity clothes while pregnant

Being pregnant is financially stressful enough! When I was pregnant, I was on a mission to avoid buying maternity clothes - and it was MISSION : ACCOMPLISHED!

If you're interested in inexpensive maternity clothes, here's a start. Use the code "MMM100" to get a free maternity band. This is how you wear regular pants during pregnancy, for as long as possible!

The band goes over pants button area, and turns virtually any pair of pants or shorts, etc. into pregnant friendly fashion. Talk about DIY maternity clothes!

Another way to not wear maternity clothes, is buy regular shirts and tank tops a size or two up! Your bump grows so quickly, and you can even grow out of multiple size maternity clothes!

I went to my local supermarket/discount store (Target, Walmart, etc.) and bought the cheap $4 shirts in medium & large. They make such a variety of sizes, and it is TOTALLY possible to get by just doing this!

I never felt uncomfortable, or found it hard to move. But I did feel happy about all the money I saved!

Clothes that are classic for acting like maternity clothes, without actually looking like maternity clothes, is DRESSES & LEGGINGS.

Both of these items of clothing act as a comfortable, stretchy, alternative to your traditional pregnancy wardrobe. 

I wore maxi dresses, stretchy dresses, and leggings almost EVERY single day during my pregnancy. 


I know buying maternity clothes is part of all the excitement of finding out your pregnant, but try to hold off! Saving that extra money before the baby gets here, is really a life saver!

Hope this helps you on your pregnancy journey!



Sleep Training 101; 4-6 Months

Hey friends! If you're curious on sleep training methods from 0-3 months click here to read up on that! 

As for us, we have progressed! We hit the 6 month mark this week so I guess I'm writing this a couple of days early but OH WELL

These couple of months were rough. Right when you think you're getting to know your baby, and their exact next move - BAM they change. Seriously. They change all the freaking time and they don't do it on purpose but DAMN I need a break! (excuse my language? Is damn bad? idk????? help??) ANYWAYS We have prevailed friends! And we made it through another sleep deprived couple of months! I keep telling myself dang I can't wait for our next baby (yes I can) because I feel like I'm going to be totally prepared with my online journal aka my blog. (I know this is unrealistic haha - let me dream okay!)

I had a sleep training epiphany though, last week. I realized that at different points of her life, different sleep training methods work...... differently.

Who woulda thunk it?

SOOOOOOO the first 3 months of her life we were ALL about swaddling, and it totally worked for us! But now that she has a better grasp on rolling over, it's not in our routine any long. Ttem permanence & cry it out totally did the trick for us from 3-4 months, but it just hasn't been working for us as well lately. So last week, when I was convinced I would never sleep again, I did some research.

At 3 AM. My favorite time at night if y'all didn't already know. 

I basically found that at this point in her life, a similar but totally different (are you still following?) method is working for her. I'm definitely not opposed to doing crying it out again at a different point of her life, but right now this other method is working best for us.

*Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*

sleep training your baby

Basically, our nightly routine (and nap time routine - consistency is key, besides bath time, of course) goes something like this :

7 PM Bath time

I try to make sure I don't do bath time any earlier, because then it throws off her entire routine. So we do bath time, which honestly takes us a solid 10 minutes, because who knew bathing a small human was super quick, Less surface to cover I suppose! After bath time, we do our normal baby lotion massage, and sometimes read a bedtime story depending if she's really fussy or not. She is different every single day, but also the same. I know, I sound insane. 

Jammie switch up!

If you read my last sleep training post, we weren't dressing her in those warm footie pajamas everybody swears by, because she was swaddled and we didn't want her to overheat! Well you guessed it! We are now in the footie pajama stage. I still stick to my word on 0-3 months about not doing it, but like I said before - she changes constantly! Since we are no longer swaddling, we have now switched to those warm and fuzzy footie pajamas! Not only are they absolutely adorable, but they keep my girl nice and warm at night (since we are not letting her sleep with blankets because of the risk it raises for suffocation and SIDS). 


For us anyways. If you're formula feeding, this is where your bedtime (or nap time) bottle would come in. So we sit in our rocking chair, while I nurse. I usually turn her bedroom light off and nurse in the dark to set the calm atmosphere vibes. 

Independent crib time

I used to be pretty huge on rocking her to sleep, and then putting her in her crib and tip toeing to sleep, but more often than not she would wake before I could even leave the room. I thought she was regressing or maybe her "startle reflex" wasn't quite gone yet. Turns out, she just wanted to self soothe and be left alone. Since she can now understand item permanence and knows when I am no longer there, I talk to her. I know she doesn't understand exactly what I'm saying with my words, but she can sense my emotions and the different tones in my voice. So I coo at her, and turn her mobile on, and she smiles and coos back. Then I tell her that I'll be back to check on her soon. I quietly escape to our room, and watch her on the baby monitor. She continues to coo and play with her pacifier, as well as puts the pacifier in her mouth on her own when she wants to. Most nights, I go in her room about 3 times, just to let her know I am there and I am checking up on her. Then I tell her again each time that I will be right back in a calm happy manner. Make sure you are taking lots of deep breaths - even if this takes forever! Remaining calm is huge! 

Now, that being said - she does have bad nights when we try to do this. Where I leave the room, and she screams at the top of her lungs. In this case, I kind of let her cry it out. BUT by cry it out, I mean I let her cry and when she stops for a moment, I rush right in. I am trying to basically "reward" her for not crying. Does that sound terrible? I feel like it does - but it really works! These nights are far and few between and I feel like it's because she knows that if she doesn't cry and scream that I will be more likely to come in. Maybe I'm crazy who knows. But it's working. And usually, after about 3 times in and out of her room, she falls asleep on her own. I mean out of nowhere passes out, and doesn't wake up for 3 - 4 hours. (she still eats a lot throughout the night - we are working on that!) When she does wake up, I nurse her, she passes out, I put her down, and that's all.

Now, if you're just tip-toeing into crib transitioning, I suggest doing the 3-5-7-10 minute method. Put the baby down in their crib, leave for 3 minutes. Go back, soothe them, lay them down, repeat, but this time for 5 minutes. Then 7, and finally 10 minutes. The hope is that after that 10 minute mark they will be asleep! 

Remember that attitude is everything!

If you remain calm, and tell yourself this is something you can do - then you totally can do it! Babies can 100% sense our anxieties & our stress, so once we calm down, they tend to as well!

Back to bed for mama.  AHHHHHHHH


Final thoughts


  • Reward not crying
  • Dress in warm footie pajamas
  • Self soothing in the crib


    This is what's working for us right now, but I'm sure it will change for 7-10 months!


    Happy sleeping!





    An Open Letter to Overweight America

    I have found lately that I come up with the best blog topics when I'm rocking my baby to sleep at night. Maybe it's because I'm at complete peace with my little babe in my arms. Or maybe it's to get my mind off the fact that I've had to use the bathroom for 30 minutes now, and my arm is falling asleep. Who knows. 

    What I do know (and some of you who know me on a personal level also know) that I have a weird anxiety issue with death. It started when my friend passed away a couple of years ago. So every night, before bed, and most recently during my rocking chair time with my baby, I pray. I pray for so many different various things, and one of those things is the health of my friends and my family. I literally start to list off their names, and sometimes think OMG WHAT IF I FORGET SOMEONE??? and then remember that If they're in my heart, God knows I'm praying for them too.

    What does this have to do with Overweight America? 


    I hate the word 'obesity' because I feel that it's so harsh and if you're apart of Obese America you feel like you are approximately 1 million pounds, and it just doesn't feel good. I understand Obesity is the reality of the situation, but it's still harsh. And if you're overweight, and have visited a doctor's office like, ever -  chances are they give you harsh realities about obesity all the time. This letter is a change from that information, but also equally important to know. 

    Have you ever tried to talk to an overweight family member or friend about their weight and health? If so, then you know how absolutely hard and uncomfortable it is for all parties involved.

    In fact, it is so uncomfortable, that I was on the fence about this post, because I am terrified that every single person I know that is overweight is going to come yelling at me for even writing it because they could possibly feel like it's aimed at them.

    Well, it is aimed at you, and sometimes things that need to be said are uncomfortable, but that is also what makes them beautiful. The point of an open letter, such as this, is that it isn't aimed at any one single person.

    SO if you're reading this, and you're overweight, or have been diagnosed with obesity, here are some things your family and friends want you to know - truly from the bottom of our hearts.


    You are beautiful.

    So important. You are beautiful - absolutely gorgeous, in fact. Your beauty is not only within. Every crevice that God hand crafted of yours, is so so beautiful. Just like your soul, and your heart. Your weight does not change the fact that you are beautiful inside and out. And it never ever will. Do not look at yourself as less beautiful, because you are overweight right now. Stop putting yourself down.


    Your loved ones do not see your weight.

    When we look at our family, and our friends, we do not see fat, or an excess in weight. I see the amazing person who I love to spend time with. I see the person who talked me through rough breakups. I see the person who held my hand at my friends funeral. I see the person that I laugh with on the couch on Friday nights. It is so hard for me to tell my loved ones "Yes you have gained weight." because it is so so hard for me to see. But the scale speaks numbers, and sometimes those numbers are scary for us, too. So do not get offended, or hurt, when we talk to you about those numbers.


    We want to help.

    In absolutely any way possible. I will help you meal prep, and I will pay for a gym membership (which is huge, because I'm such a cheap-o). We do not want to see our loved ones go down a path that ends in cardiac arrest. We do not want to watch as our loved ones leave this Earth far too soon. Let us help. Obesity is a disorder, and you need a support system to overcome something like that. Let us struggle with you, just like we would for cancer. 


    and lastly but most important -



    There is nothing you can say or do, or any amount of weight that you can gain, that will make us love you any less. You are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, best friends, and soul mates. You being here is part of what makes our lives whole. You are apart of something much much bigger than yourself, and we know that you can overcome your weight challenges. We believe in you, and will never ever stop loving you, especially not because of your weight. 

    Please understand that every unpleasant talk or uncomfortable mention about your health is nothing but love. Nothing but concern. Nothing but genuine, heartfelt, curiosity as to what we can do on our part to help your situation.


    This is such an uncomfortable situation to talk about, and I'm sure this post will get a minimal amount of views because of that, but I hope that somebody out there takes these words to heart. 


    Do you have trouble talking to your friends or family about their health? Share this post, in the hopes that they read it, and understand.





    The Story Of Us - Part 3

    Thanks for joining me on the final segment on my three part series, "The Story Of Us". If you need to catch up, you can read part one here and part two here 


    Part Three

    the story of us part 3


    Somewhere around September we really started kind of "talking" and really getting into this whole thing with each other. Somewhere in October we started officially dating. We say October 11th but we both really have no idea, it just sort of happened. I decided that I would move home when my lease was over in March. We started visiting each other whenever we could. He came to Jacksonville for about 12 hours one time just to see me. He drove 3 hours after school, and we went to a Scotty McCreery concert that night. This is us that night :

    It got to the point where I was trying to make the commute every time I was off work, and it was getting expensive. Thanksgiving came, and my heart was just so full. I had Matt, my niece was 8 months old and growing so quickly, and I just didn't want to be far anymore. I decided I wanted to move home. December 8th, I came back and I will never leave again.


    For the sake of shortening, (I know, bummer) I have left out some stories such as :

    • Our first rental home 
    • Bringing home our pup, Ruxin (ugh - didn't want to leave this one out)
    • Buying a truck
    • Buying a home (miserable process, happy to leave this one out!)

    Here are some pictures that document those amazing times :

    Okay, now back to the good stuff!


    Everything was going so good for us for awhile. We had our bumps in the road, but we were working hard and doing what we could to survive and enjoy ourselves. We had our little babe Ruxin, and the puppy stage was SO FUN. (No, not really - still dealing with is 2 years later! But totally worth it!) We went out with our friends, binge watched Netflix every night, and just really enjoyed being together (still pretty relevant to our lives now). And then July 6th 2016 came. I was nauseous all day at work, and friends joked that I was probably pregnant, I said no way! Matt had told me to take a test a couple days prior, and my dog was following me around crying all day everyday. (Dogs are super smart - weiiirrrdddd) Finally after being nauseated all day I said what the heck, and took a test that I had laying around. I thought I'd be able to go vacuum or something in the mean time, because it takes a couple of minutes. That test turned positive instantly and I thought the world was ending. I wish this part of the story was different, because my little girl is so amazing. I panicked, and called Matt 1000 times with no answer. I called his department, and our boss answered. She knew I was a mess. She told Matt to call him. He did, and I shared the news right then and there. Over the phone. At work. Freaking out. This was not apart of the plan. Per usual, Matt was as calm as can be and said "okay, I'll be home soon." Meanwhile I'm losing my mind, and had to have my mom come over. I made Matt bring home like 4 more tests, and of course all positive. We we pregnant. It was real, and it was happening. We were stressed about money, about where we would live, how we would afford diapers, a nursery - everything. We basically didn't talk about it again for another solid 3 weeks. We pretended it wasn't real. Finally I started to get excited and we did a cute announcement, pictured below. Still, Matt pretended it wasn't real. This part of our story is very important to me, because it's very real and very raw. I'm not going to tell this story like everything was perfect. Like Matt was perfect, and we were the perfect couple. We have had plenty of downs, with our ups. Matt pretended it wasn't real, or it wasn't safe to talk about. I was always "still early on" and we always "still had so much time." This is really the first time and place I'm talking about this because it's hard. It's hard to watch everybody you know have babies, and their significant others just be over the moon excited. I did not have that. But we hustled on, and I tried my best to just be the best I could be and take the best care of myself that I could.



    The ring

    Eventually after much much stress and craziness, we bought a house. This was the most stress I have ever experienced in my life, and honestly I don't know if I would do it again. I love our home. I love owning it. But I hated the process that much. Being pregnant was going awesome for me. I was feeling great in my second trimester, everything was normal and healthy. I had a cute little bump. Matt was finally starting to come around. He monitored every single piece of food or drink I took in. I knew this was his weird way of trying to show he cared. A couple of weeks ago, he told me he wishes he would have reacted differently. He said coming home to her smiling face everyday is the best feeling in the world, and he wishes he would have known then how amazing this whole experience was going to be. (heart wrenching ugh!) The holidays came and went, and it was a wonderful time. We got lots of baby gifts and everybody is just plain obsessed with you when you're pregnant. Being the attention seeker that I am, I was loving it. (Nobody tells you that goes away when you have the baby 😂)  My baby shower came and went and it was beautifully thrown by my sister and my mom and I just felt so loved and thankful for all of the amazing things we received from family and friends. I felt so lucky for more than just that. We had amazing friends that had helped us get to this point as far as moving (thanks Taylor & Kaitlin for those horse trailers - serious life savers) and cleaning up our yard for the party (again Thank you Kaitlin, Mike, Mr. Chieca - you guys are amazing people) Matt really hustled and got everything put together just how I wanted it. We had so much help, but as always Matt worked like 60 hours that week AND made sure the house was perfect for me. The following week we went on our "babymoon". This was so much fun! Our last vacay just the two of us! We ate some amazing, food, walked enough to put me into preterm labor that Monday, and most importantly we got engaged. If you know me at all, you know I begged for a ring, basically since the day we started dating. Poor Matt! He took me to St. Augustine for the weekend and it was gorgeous, but cold! He had this elaborate plan to propose at this beautiful restaurant on the beach, that had a lit up dock descending into the ocean. It was gorgeous. But we got there, and there was an hour and a half wait because the inside was at capacity, and the heaters outside were broken. I was 34 weeks pregnant and totally could not afford to get sick. So we jumped back in our car, and searched for a place to go. Dumb us, it was a Saturday night and we didn't make reservations! So we finally drove around downtown, mostly searching for a parking spot , for about an hour. Finally, we just parked by the Fort, and got out and walked into Al's pizza. It's so funny, because while at Al's I went to the restroom, and thought to myself "Man, the polish on my right hand looks so bad, but my left hand is looking pretty good. Not a bad time to propose!" I was gonna say something to him as a joke but thought, nah, we are on vacation. I give him enough crap! After dinner, he begged me to walk over to the Fort at night. I said no you're crazy that place is haunted! You guys, he dragged me to that fort at night, and I was literally crying. He asked these random teens walking around to take our pic in front of one of the lights. Still crying and freezing. Finally, he gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. Now I am crying like somebody just hurt me. Ugly crying forsure. Can't even catch my breathe to say yes! But I did, of course! Here's the super sweet part/terrible thing on my part. I had been giving him crap about not proposing FOREVER. I used to cry daily about it (I know, dramatic). He went to the HR department at his job a year in advance, and had them set aside a certain percentage of his check, every check, to be put into a secret savings account. So he could pay for my ring. So he had something in the works for almost a whole year! How terrible am I?! But how sweet is he?!!! And smart! He knows, that I know, where every single penny of ours goes, so he had to be sneaky! Best day ever!


    Our greatest adventure yet. Like I said, we walked so much in St. Augustine that the following Monday I was in the ER having some bleeding and some contractions. Luckily, we got them to stop, because I was only 34 weeks along. So I took it easy at work, and tried resting as much as possible until I hit the "safe" mark. At 36 weeks we were walking like maniacs. I was over being pregnant. You can have the greatest pregnancy ever, but I feel like all you really remember is those last few miserable weeks! At 38 weeks, I went into labor! I woke up at 6 AM when Matt left for work and was starving. I heated up some pizza from the night before, ate it, and went back to bed. At 9:30 AM I texted my friend Kaitlin and said : "I'm going to walk from my house, to the river, and back. It's 3 miles round trip. If I go into labor, can you come and get me? Everybody is at work." She said yes of course. Matt was at work, my parents and sister were both at work, and my best friend Capri was also at work. Perfect timing! Right after I sent that text, I stood up from laying down, and heard a pop. I ran to the bathroom, and it took a couple seconds, but my water was officially broken! I called Matt to head home from work, and my mom also rushed home from work. I finished packing my bag, and we rushed to the hospital. I finally got my first hard contraction at about 11 AM when we arrived at the hospital and were getting registered. They brought us up to L&D. I was already 4 cm dilated, so I was good to go for the epidural - thank God! We both worked at this hospital, so we picked our anesthesiologist, which was great. From there on it was honestly smooth sailing. I had a wonderful labor. It was 12 hours, which isn't terrible for a first time mom! At 9:59 PM our perfect little girl entered the world. Becoming a mom was an amazing, indescribable experience. I love our little girl so much, and I feel that we are so blessed to call her ours. My bestie Capri raced over from her job about 45 minutes away, and made it just in time. Thank God she was there, because she literally hand fed me while I was trying to figure out breast feeding. She's the best, and we are so lucky to call her Abigail's Godmother!


    The rest is still unwritten...

    These days Matt is working like a maniac so I can be a stay at home mama, and be with my girl. He works about 100 hours a week to provide for us, and we really are just so grateful to claim him as ours! Nobody warns you how crazy a relationship really can be, and how many different obstacles you may cross together. Finding somebody to ride this crazy train that is life, is what it's all about. Writing it all down has really brought us back down memory lane, and really helped us remember exactly where we started out as a couple. I will never forget the nights that I would lay in bed alone in Jax, trying so hard to imagine his scent and his touch just to fall asleep. I will never forget how he saved me when my best friend left this world. I will never forget the smile on his face when Abigail entered the world. 

    Moral of story : Find you a Matt. And don't ever let him go. 




    Brian Storey Photography

    Brian Storey Photography

    Photography by V

    Photography by V

    Postpartum Realities

    As a new mom there are so many different things constantly running through your mind. A new problem I never expected to have postpartum arises every single day. You think you know, but you have no idea, until you are actually in that spot. 

    Last night my daughter slept through the night in her own crib in her own room. This wasn't the first night this happened. But still, somehow I am exhausted this morning. Why? Because I sat and stared at the monitor as every single minute  passed.

    postpartum realities


    1. Sleeping through the night

    WOW. Nobody warned me how miserable this was/still kind of is. Is it just me mama's? Am I crazy? Don't get me wrong- I totally enjoy my evenings with my other half. But 3 AM hits, and she still hasn't made a peep - and I am losing it. Why did everybody talk about this moment like it was magical? I know I SHOULD be taking advantage of this moment right now, but I can't because every fear in the world is currently setting up camp in my brain. Then she rolls onto her belly - and now I'm really hyperventilating. This is NOT all it's cracked up to be. I miss her, I'm worried about her, and I'm still exhausted the next morning. I feel like this is really a lose lose and I should prob go pick her up and cuddle with her right this instant, right? 😩



    So I knew she had a huge wardrobe even prior to our baby shower, but WOW. Nobody can prepare you for the amount of decluttering you're going to be doing AT LEAST the first 6 months of their life. It doesn't just happen in spurts like you would think. I'll go through her clothes at 3 months, then 6, so on so forth. Nope. Every. Single. Day. I go through clothes. I have a permanent gift bag in her room that I am forever throwing things into, so I can pass it down to my friend who is having a baby next month., And don't even get me started on YOUR clothes. You find something comfortable, that fits, and then your weight fluctuates AGAIN. You go from super preggo, back down to 3-month-preggo look-a-like postpartum, and then kind of back to normal... but not really? Clothes = clutter = madness = I-dont-have-time-to-declutter = AHHHHH!!!!!!

    postpartum recovery + healing after birth


    3. Unwanted parental guidance + Negativity

    Okay, third time is the charm. WOW. I can't believe the things people say to you as a new mom. I mean I heard horror stories prior to being a mom, but it's an entire other level when you are actually a mom. Let me break it down for you in the simplest terms - you will never win this battle. It doesn't matter how long your kid is rear facing, or how often you homemake their baby food, or whatever it is you do. You will never be able to please everybody. People are going to constantly question every single method of your parenting. Why don't you cut their hair? Why don't cut their nails? Why don't you feed them this way? Everybody has something to say about everything. Accept it early on, and ignore them. Don't let it consume you! Why are we so negative towards each other? Why do other moms feel the need to constantly tell me "Oh, it's only just started" or "It gets worse" Like??????????? Can we stop?! And how about the judgement and questioning? Why do we feel the need to question each other about how we parent? I am all about advice from other mama's who have struggled before me - educate me! And I love to educate others from my experiences as well! It's why I started blogging! But do we have to be so negative? Stop putting each other down, or telling people that it gets worse! Seriously?! We can do better mama's! This goes for all of you, I don't care what generation! Grandma, aunts, cousins - it's not okay! 


    With everything in life, "this too shall pass"!

    But until then, I'll be enjoying my growing babe, staying up all night watching the monitor, and ignoring the negativity! I hope you choose to do the same!

    What kind of postpartum surprises did/do you run into? 




    The Story Of Us - Part 2

    Hiya! Thanks for reading along so far, if you need to catchup, click here to read Part One! 

    Part Two



    So a lot happens from that day to this next point in our story, but none really relevant to the story of US. We dated a couple other people, were both going to school, but as always keeping in touch and forever convincing our boyfriends and girlfriends that we were JUST FRIENDS. I guess you can say we were both in the friend zone. I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time, I was working full time at a restaurant, living on my own, and I just wasn't happy. Something had to change. I had never left home, and I just wanted to be a normal college student and leave home. SPOILER ALERT. I was and never have been a normal college student. So I moved to Jacksonville, and I LOVED it. I chose Jax over Orlando because I just felt like I couldn't be in the center of the state, away from the beach, There is just something therapeutic about living close to the beach. I made a ton of friends, had some more insignificant flings of course, and NATURALLY as I'm just getting settled in Jacksonville, what does Matt decide to do? Move home. WOW, GREAT TIMING HONEY, THANKS! A lot happens at this point in our lives. On June 1st 2014 one of my best friends died in a car accident. I will never forget the way the world just stopped spinning for a second. Everything stopped. I was in the middle of a shift at work, and my friend Dana I'm pretty sure carried me to the bathroom while I tried to catch my breath in the middle of a breakdown. My whole entire world changed from this point on. 


    Stephanie is a very relevant part of our story, because the end of her life was the beginning of something special for Matt and I. I hope you understand what I'm saying. Sometimes I hate that fact, other times I know she is in heaven watching this all go down, and just smiling.

    Matt was my saving grace.

    I struggled for so long with aspects of life, and death, and everything in between and he really pushed me through that. One of the things I admire most about Matt is his knowledge. If you know him, you know he is extremely smart (don't let ya head get too big, babe!) and one of the subjects I admire him being SO knowledgable on is Faith. He is the reason I got through the darkest time of my life thus far.

     I used to go to Steph's house and sit on her bed and tell her that "Matt was in love with me, I'm pretty sure, but I don't think we will ever act on it" She lived in the same neighborhood as him at the time. Although Stephanie never got the chance to really meet or hangout with Matt, she plays a huge role in our relationship, still to this day. When I say I thought the world was ending that day in June, there is no exaggeration in my voice (keyboard? idk) You get the point. May 31st 2014, Matt randomly texted me at about 11 pm. (the rest of these details are so clear - there is something about losing somebody that you remember every single event in that 24 hours - because it felt like an eternity.) He sent me this picture :

    and he said - "I miss this girl" Remember - this is all before I knew anything had happened with Stephanie. But for some reason, something in my life just didn't feel right. I felt all of a sudden EXTREMELY emotional and I just called Matt right then and there and I just cried. About everything. What was I doing in life? What was my purpose? (Spoiler alert - I still ask him these questions, LOL!) Why did I even move to Jacksonville? Why aren't these programs at the college ever accepting me? Just everything you could think of. He, as always, calmed me down and made me feel so much better. We talked that night until about 3 AM. I found out later, that Stephanie died somewhere between 2 AM - 6 AM (I know, pretty large radius there). I am totally a believer in the Good Lord above, and know that He works in the craziest of ways and I honestly think this was apart of his plan. Not Stephanie leaving us so soon, but re-placing Matt into my life at this exact moment. Literally. The moments she took her last breathe, Matt was re-entering my life. We promised to keep in touch more often, and I went to work the next morning, It was a Sunday, and in the restaurant business that's an insane day. He texted me "Hope you're feeling better today :)" (Before emojis were a thing) and I texted back : "Matt, my best friend just died." Later that day I bought one of Steph and I's close friends a plane ticket from Jersey so she could be here. I had to pick her up at the Orlando airport that night. I needed Matt. I picked him up for dinner and we ate and sat and I asked him to talk to me about absolutely anything else because I just wasn't even ready to admit what was happening, actually was happening yet. So he told me all about how him and his girlfriend broke up, and how he's moving home after paramedic school to go to fire school at our local college. It was like a breathe of fresh air, being with him. It was like our stars were aligning, and I know this is all sounding so cheesy right now but I'm serious, he entered my life again at the exact moment I needed him. I went to drop him back off at his friends house so I could head to the airport, and y'all like a true Nicholas Sparks type novel, it started pouring down rain. He drove my car to and from the restaurant because I'm TERRIBLE with direction (that's still the same) and also terrible in Orlando traffic at 5 PM (FUN!!) So we had to switch seats. We stopped, in front of the headlights of my car, in the pouring rain, and he just hugged me so tight. It was like he was putting figurative pieces of my heart back together with that hug. I can't help but cry writing this point of the story, because wow. I literally feel like this is the exact definition of a rainbow after every storm. And I was getting mine... LITERALLY. A couple weeks later, Matt and I were talking every single day all day at this point, and I woke up to this on my ceiling :

    I had to take a picture instantly without moving too swiftly and scaring it away. I knew nobody would believe me if I didn't! You guys, if this isn't God's work then I REALLY don't know what is. The TINIEST hint of light from a broken blind on my window was hitting a cd on my nightstand just perfectly, and created this. Somewhere around this point Matt and I FINALLY confessed our love to each other, because was there really any other reason not to? Yes, I was in Jax and he was back home, but that didn't even matter at this point. I had my rainbow.

    The storm was finally ending.


    Join me next #tbt for the final segment of The Story Of Us!




    Sleep Training 101; 0-3 Months

    So you spend 40 weeks of your life growing a tiny human, about 20 (give or take - hopefully take for your sake!) hours in labor, 2-3 days recovering in the hospital with countless visitors and being woken up what feels like every 5 seconds for meds and vitals, and then they send ya home and tell ya to "rest". Let's laugh together, ladies. If you are in this stage right now I have two things to say to you :

    1. It is not forever. I know it feels like forever, but it is not.

    2. You will sleep again, I promise.

    I know if you're reading this  you're probably just desperate for these tips and tricks so let's just get right into it!

    *Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*

    sleep training your baby

    Okay, so first things first. Your newborn is not going to completely sleep through the night. They need to get up and eat. This is normal. There is no magical method to make them not do this. BUT you CAN use my method to help them sleep in longer stretches. My baby would do 3-4 hour stretches at night on average. She would more-so do a 5-6 hour stretch, wake up, eat, and then do another 3-4 hour stretch. 

    New Mamas : How does 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep sound?! Woot Woot!

    I cannot guarantee this works for absolutely everybody, but it did work for us, as well as some friends we have suggested it to. I also am not going to lie and say she's a perfect sleeper every night. She definitely has had her gassy or colic-y nights, But all babies do! I found that if I can do something that works 90% of the time for us, that the other 10% is not so unbearable.

    1. Routine

    THIS IS CRUCIAL. I had a "friend" one time look at me like I was a lunatic and say "Why do you already have her on a schedule?" with a nice little eye roll to follow. Routine is SO IMPORTANT. At every stage of their lives! It helps them THRIVE! Our routine went as such :

    7 PM - Bath time 

    7:45/8 PM - Story time

    8/8:15 PM - Nursing (or bottle)

    8:30/9 PM - SLEEP.

    I know they say "don't bathe your baby every day" but I felt that for routine purposes it really helped us, so that is obviously up to you. But I would suggest filling that space with something else familiar on the nights you chose to not bathe them. For us, bath time insinuates to her that it's time to settle down and get sleepy. Although she does not personally tell me that, I can tell, as her mother, that during bath time she really relaxes and starts to settle down slowly. During bath time, we use Lavender Shampoo and Lavender Body Wash as well. When actual bath time is complete, we do a short baby massage with Lavender Bedtime Lotion. Lavender is everything. It is said to help babies soothe and the one we use, which is fairly common, is formulated with "NATURALCALM" essences, which release a blend of gentle and calming aromas.
    sleep training

    Now the clothing is tricky. Did you know that heavy clothing can increase the risk of SIDS? How you dress them for bedtime is REALLY important for what's to come in the next few steps. We found that the onesies, that are long sleeve, and have the flip over mittens on the end work best. See what I'm talking about here. After we got her all dressed, we would read her a quick story book, and I would nurse her in the rocking chair in the nursery. A bonus tip : make sure you are spending plenty of time in the nursery! It's very important to get them comfortable and familiarized with their room, if you ever plan on them sleeping in there. If you don't plan on that, or that isn't an option, I just suggest at least nursing or feeding in the same spot every night. Usually she would get very sleepy, but not quite asleep, after eating. Now it's time for the real key to the equation.


    2. Swaddling

    Okay don't exit this screen! I know you probably think you know everything about swaddling, but so did I! Like every other mom out there, you're going to come home, try swaddling them, and come to the conclusion that your baby "doesn't like to be swaddled." This is normal. They absolutely fuss and fight the swaddle, no doubt. But once they are swaddled - that's where the magic happens. There's a reason they are swaddled and quiet in the hospital, people!! Aden + Anais Swaddles are a must, they are thin and light but still get the job done, and I absolutely consider this a necessity for all new moms. Practice also makes perfect! Once you get past the fuss and the fight, it is so worth it, I promise!!
    The swaddle method can be tricky, but this image I found on  buzzfeed  is really a huge help!

    The swaddle method can be tricky, but this image I found on buzzfeed is really a huge help!

    ... but wait, there's more!


    3. Double Swaddling

    Okay this was the real magic for us. She would easily kick and punch her way out of the single swaddle. I don't even mean using another muslin blanket to add the double, you NEED one of THESE!!!!!

    Make sure you have the correct products at hand, because The Swaddle Me is another necessity!! Not only are they going to fight being swaddled, they still have their Moro reflex, which is their "startle" reflex. This will wake them up out of a dead sleep! Double swaddling them is nothing new, though! They also do this at most hospitals as well! The double swaddle method helps them feel secure and supported, similar to the womb. and although they will fight it at first, a couple of rocks and bounces later, they will be passed out! 


    Final Thoughts

  • You need Aden + Anais Swaddles
  • You need a Swaddle Me Sac
  • Do not dress them in heavy clothing when double swaddling.
  • Don't sleep on this method!!! It may not work instantly on night one, but NOTHING does!! (except my baby acne cure)

    Hang in there, mama! Your baby is going to be sleeping in no time! 

    I hope this method works for you, too! Subscribe to my blog, and look out for my next Sleep Training 101 post on 4-6 month babes! (Currently working out the kinks on this method with my 4 month old!)

    As always, please feel free to reach out to me if any of this seems confusing or you need any extra help! Mama's gotta stick together!

    Until next time!




    The Story Of Us - Part 1

    Love stories are my favorite! Even though ours will always be the best one, in my opinion (might be a little bias), I LOVE hearing others stories too! I feel like in a relationship there is so much history, and sometimes writing it all down really makes you appreciate how far you've come together, I love that! I love telling the story of how Matt and I met, fell in love, and started a family. I feel like I tell it so often, and every time I tell it, I wait for a reaction out of my audience because I just feel like its THAT good! haha! Not bragging - I'm just a little crazy, that's all! 

    Another reason I'm writing this is because I love going on other bloggers' websites and really reading into who they are, their families, and just understanding who I'm reading from. I think that's so important!

    Part One

    This post may contain affiliate links. I would never suggest something I do not trust or use myself.

    This post may contain affiliate links. I would never suggest something I do not trust or use myself.

    High School

    Ugh such a love hate relationship with high school! I think everybody can agree on that. Matt and I originally met through our school's rowing club - shout out to you Coach Lange! But more importantly, shout out to my bestie Angela who totally introduced us. I will never ever forget it. We were 15, and obviously couldn't drive at the time. Angela was BEGGING me for WEEKS to be a coxswain for their boys team with her. Finally I was ready for something new, and honestly rowing was an awesome sport! Coxswains don't do much physically for the boat, but you have to be small and loud, and I thought wow thats basically the best description of me. Like I said, we couldn't drive and I asked Angela how we would get out to the canal for practice after school (it was quite the trek down there). She said her friend Matt was going to take us. Matt was nothing what I imagined. He was about 6'2 and 140 pounds. Tall and skinny! I thought rowers had to be jacked (if you're reading this - Jk babe, you're totally jacked)! So we walk up to what I thought was prob a 'donated for parts and experimenting' type of vehicle for the auto program our school had. Nope. This was his actual vehicle. IT RAN. I could not believe it, but it ran. I think I was terrified for my life, because this truck was just.... I don't even know but I can't help but laugh right now, and want to call it junk so bad but 1) Matt will kill me & 2) It ran (kind of) for like 3-4 more years??????????? Still in shock with that one. Anyways, here is a photo of Matt and I around that time :

    Circa 2010 - Crew Banquet

    Circa 2010 - Crew Banquet



    SO RED! Okay, onward here, We were REALLY close friends (literally that's it) for the next well... still really great friends now, to be honest, haha! Our parents used to ask us when we would get married and we would be like UGH GROSS NOT HAPPENING. We had no interest in eachother that way.... until Matt decided to leave for college 1.5 hours away! (how dare he!) I literally realized the. day. he was moving that I MIGHT have a crush on him. But I just let it fizzle out, and never told him, because he was moving, and I didn't want to be THAT girl... also he was 18 and I was 16 so I obviously just thought it was a dumb fling and my feelings would change. And honestly they did, but mostly because I'm pretty sure I just convinced myself it would never happen. Out of sight, out of mind. But that wasn't it.



    A huge chunk of Matt's life thus far was Orlando. He lived there for about 5 years and him and his goofy friends (yes, I'm talking about you Spenser) have INFINITE stories about their adventures there. Honestly, I will never get tired of hearing these stories. I don't know what it is, I feel like Tracy from 'How I Met Your Mother', never getting tired of her husband's stories with his friends. (If you've never seen it before - oops spoiler alert and also wtf go watch it right now!) This is where it gets good! No matter who we were dating, where we were, what we were doing - we alllllways kept in touch. By keeping in touch, I mean every. single. night. at 2 AM like clockwork, when Matt was out drinking with friends, and got a little tipsy, he would call me. It never failed. I have this weird fear where I HAVE to answer my phone, because I'm terrified my friends may need me. So 16/17/18/19 year old me always answered. Everytime he called I still asked - why are you calling me right now?! But we just talked and laughed and laughed and laughed. Nobody can make me laugh like him! Laughter is the key to a happy relationship and I'm so thankful that we laugh to this day, every single day. At this point, his friends knew what was up. If his ex gf is reading this right now I would also like to publicly say that even though everybody (including you) knew something was there between us WE LITERALLY HAD NO IDEA. When we said we were just friends and had no interest in each other, we honestly were not lying! I'm sure she just wanted to text Matt the second we became Facebook official saying "I knew it!" (Oh wait, I think she did?!) haha! 

    Out of all of that time all of this was happening, there was only ONE time (when we were both single) that something KIND of happened (but not really?) I went to visit him in Orlando for his birthday right before he started paramedic school. We had so much fun! I got to meet all of his Orlando peeps, and we had a nerd party! Here we are pictured below, young and really dumb. Also, as a sidenote, I'm very happy that we have grown into better looking people, haha!

    Matt & I - Circa 2012 - such an unflattering time.

    Matt & I - Circa 2012 - such an unflattering time.

    Matt's best friend Spenser & I - Circa 2012 - also unflattering.

    Matt's best friend Spenser & I - Circa 2012 - also unflattering.

    So the night went on, and eventually I was really tired and a little tipsy so the original plan was for me to just sleep on the couch - but all of his friends were nowhere near leaving, so I went by myself, and slept in Matt's room. Eventually he snuck in an hour or so later. I pretended to be asleep, because I was a little nervous he might hit on me or something since he had been drinking, and I wasn't sure how I wanted to react yet. So I pretended. But he was a sweet gentleman, and he crawled in the bed giving me plenty of space, and we basically just shared a bed, which wasn't weird, he was one of my best friends! Another sidenote, 'How I Met Your Mother' was on in the background, which idk why it's super relevant to me, but for some reason that show just reminds me of all different stages of our lives. We watched it together as friends, as a couple, and now as a family! Anyways, right before he fell asleep, he rolled over towards me, and gave me the most innocent and sweet kiss on my forehead. I will never ever ever forget this moment. Then I was internally freaking out, not sure if I should say "SURPRISE! I'M ACTUALLY NOT ASLEEEP!" or just keep "sleeping". I kept pretending because well ummmm the other option was a little weird, haha. The next day we drove back home together, he was visiting our hometown and working with his dad the next day. He had to get some papers notarized by my mom for paramedic school, and when he left my house my mom asked me : "Why aren't you marrying him, Amanda?" My response : '"I have absolutely no idea." 




    Thanks for reading along! Join me next #tbt for part two!



    CHOOSE YOU : Self Care For The New Mom + Self Care Ideas

    As a new mom, it's so hard to find time for yourself. I honestly give credit to every mom with a full time job hustling out there, because I can't find time to do anything, let alone work 40 hours a week. I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it must be for them to find time to treat themselves! This is not an optional thing, it is a necessity to survive motherhood! When I say "Choose you" I obviously don't mean to necessarily choose yourself over others, especially your family, but I do mean that occasionally you to need to CHOOSE to take care of YOU, too.

    * Side note : this is actually a necessity for EVERY human out there, but especially mamas! * 



    *Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*


    There are so many countless things you have to worry about as a new mom, that treating yourself definitely gets put to the back burner WAAAAAYYYY too often, (Don't even want to discuss how long I have gone without a haircut). But we HAVE to find time to do it! This weekend, thanks to my long time friend Kara, I was able to help her as a hair model and get an amazing and fresh new hair style! Something like this is just life changing! I have not given my hair any love in probably two years. No exaggeration - and that is just awful. It really got me thinking on how much more often I need to be doing this for myself. Here's my before shot.

    Wish I could describe my fancy new hairdo in cosmetology terms, but basically she took trash and made it into a masterpiece and I just cannot figure out how she does it. She does all of my friends' hair, and everytime I think she can't get any better - she does. Okay enough of my girl crush on Kara, here are the afters!

    Annnnnnd a side by side Before and After... for dramatic effect, duh.

    I feel like an entirely new person! You can follow Kara's hair journey as a stylist here ! And if you're a local (or even visiting) the Treasure Coast of FL give Calvetti a call and book with Kara ASAP!

    I honestly felt SO good after this haircut, that Matt & I ended up planning a last minute date night to get dressed (semi) nicely and have a quiet meal together (at Moe's LOL)  followed by a movie. It was the greatest domino affect and that is exactly what I'm talking about today y'all.


    We are so worried about making sure our husbands are taken care of, and their laundry is done, and they have a meal to come home to, and making sure the baby is dry, fed, happy, the dog is protected from fleas, and oh wait you have to pay 3 bills and sit on the phone with the cable company for an hour today, and oh no your husband lost his wallet for the 12th time this week and you need to find it (true story, actually happened while I was in the chair LOL) and now your lawn mower is broken so you live in a jungle, etc! (I know that was the worst run-on sentence) But that's my point! We have to STOP putting ourselves on the back burner. I went Into this Monday morning feeling READY for the week, and it's because I did a couple of things this weekend to take care of myself.

    Here are a couple of self care ideas you can do that are simple, quick, and affordable. Even if you  can't possibly find the time to get away for a couple of hours, this self care plans are pretty close!

    self care


    What Kara did for me was definitely more than just a haircut and took more time than just your average haircut would - but I needed it. If you don't have time for something like this, I still suggest at least getting your run of the mill haircut/trim/whatever it is you do. Sitting in that chair, not having anything to do with my hands for more than 20 minutes was indescribable. It DEFINITELY took time to get used to, but once I was adjusted it was SO NICE to relax. *Bonus* If you get your hair washed when they cut it, that's prob one of my favorite things in the world. It's the little things people!


    LOL I know this should be a must no matter what, but once you're a mom this is literally something you have to work to achieve and that's rough. Give your baby to your hubby, mom, significant other, whatever and take a hot shower. I SWEAR by this method. Whenever I am overwhelmed and feel like I need a break, but know that it's not in the cards anytime soon, I take a super hot and steamy shower. I don't know what it is about steam that just completely calms me down but it works. I sit there and just breathe until I feel ready to clean myself and start fresh. Yes - I literally SIT in the shower sometimes. Don't knock it until ya try it, okay! Sometimes I will do this mid day, and when I get out I feel so refreshed and motivated to finish whatever is at hand that day. Sometimes we need that mid day pick me up! 


    Or the longer alternative, get them done. While your babe is napping in the other room (being watched via monitor of course) treat yourself to that cheap nail polish home manicure girl! I know this sounds silly, or like you can do a million other things during nap time. I know how hard it is to try getting so much done in and hour or two period without a baby in your arms. But fresh paint is another thing that makes me feel like I semi have my life together.

    Sometimes taking care of yourself can be something as little as putting on some lipstick and dressing nicely, and whatever it may be just do it. Do it for yourself, because it's not just a physical type thing, its mental too. And if you don't, you will probably eventually have a mental breakdown and be overwhelmed from doing so much for others and never taking care of yourself - mentally and physically.



    I love chatting about this stuff, so if you ever feel like you need more suggestions or help in this area of your life please, just contact me, I'd be so happy to help!





    Thank God for 3 AM wake ups.

    It's 3 AM. Your baby is screaming, and you can't make it stop. They are fed, they are dry, they are swaddled and they are rocked. Nothing is working. It becomes frustrating. If you say you've never been frustrated at this moment, you're lying. I know I get frustrated as a mom in these situations more often than I'd like to admit. But I know my baby is just tired and doesn't know any better, it's her only way of communication right now. So I continue to rock her, sometimes until I'm crying, begging for sleep, and she eventually closes those eyes and gives in to the inevitable sleep she is fighting so hard. 

    Last night this happened. Last night, one of the very few nights my other half was home. We are spending it awake, at 3 AM, frustrated, with a screaming baby. I would never blame her for this. I blame myself, for allowing myself to even get frustrated. So I rock my baby and I cry because this is the second night in a row she's woken up every hour, after sleeping through the night most of her life so far. Karma for bragging about it I suppose. So I continue trying everything I know until finally she gives in and is suddenly so peaceful and quiet. And then I pray. I pray that she stays asleep until morning, because mommy is just exhausted. And then God speaks to me. What if she didn't wake up at 3 AM and cry at night? What if she weren't here at all? And then my eyes really open y'all. Some people pray every day and every night of their lives to have this exact moment. Some people pray to just hear their babies scream. Doesn't that sound a little crazy? It isn't. Somewhere out there at this exact moment, there is a soldier awake wondering when he's going to hear his baby cry for the first time. And on the other half of the world, his wife is also wondering when she will get help with this screaming baby. And then there's parents who never got the chance to meet their baby, and are probably awake at this exact moment, crying themselves. And then there's the parents who have been trying to conceive for days, weeks, months, years; who are probably awake at this exact moment crying and begging and praying for a positive pregnancy test. And then there are the parents who did get to meet their baby for a split second, and that was it, just a second. Those are the ones that hit me hard. Those parents, they are laying awake, enduring pain I can't even imagine, begging and praying to just hear their baby cry at 3 AM. 

    Life is all about perspective, and God is so good at reminding me of that. So I crawled in bed and I cried because how selfish am I? There are so many people in this world begging for this exact moment and I am begging for it to be non existent. Never again. I can't promise I won't ever get frustrated again - that's normal. But never will I ever take for granted my beautiful, healthy, baby girl crying at 3 AM again. So I cried as the love of my life pulled me closer and just held me and kissed my forehead, because he knew exactly what I meant when I said "Some people pray for this exact moment." And I can't help but even cry right now when writing this because wow. God is so good to me, and I am so grateful to be in my home with my hardworking fiancé and my healthy, beautiful sleeping baby. 

    If you're a mom who gets frustrated at 3 AM (or any time of day) and you find yourself asking "Why does this happen to me?" Instead, say : "Thank God for 3 AM wake ups." When your baby is awake, screaming at 3 AM, it means they are breathing. It means they are communicating with you to the best of their ability. It means that they need their mommy or daddy. How special is that? How amazing is that? 

    I am so grateful to be awake at 3 AM.




    My beautiful family.

    My beautiful family.