Tag Archives: baby

YOUR ROLE

This Christmas season is my first being a mom, and it’s really got me thinking about what Mary must have gone through. She was scorned for becoming pregnant before marriage, her birth experience was full of discomfort and inconvenience, and she raised this perfect baby boy to later watch him die right before her eyes on the cross. I’d like to think that knowing he was the Son of God gave her a bit more peace and understanding, but he was still her child.

Mary was the only person to watch Jesus come into this world and leave this world. She held him as a fresh warm newborn and also as a cold lifeless man. We can imagine that even if she’d known all this suffering would take place, she still would have said yes to being Jesus’ mother.

Would you have said yes? Would you have endured all the pain that was required of Mary? And if so, why weren’t you the one God deemed fit to fill this role?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

The thing is, we all have a part to play. Maybe we weren’t Jesus’ mother or father. Maybe we aren’t called to leave our homes and go overseas. Maybe all we’re meant to do is get up and go to our 9-5s and live life with the people in our office. But whatever it is, it’s been assigned to you specifically by God. The same God that chose Mary has chosen you. You have a special role to play in fulfilling God’s will, and it is just as important to accept your task as it was for Mary to accept hers.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. -Exodus 9:16

We’re all in this for the same reason. Our decision making should begin and end with God. Ask Him what your job is, and work fervently towards it. There will be ups and downs, but you were created with that purpose in mind. This is your part. And He’s trusting you with it because He knows you are exactly who He needs.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. -2 Timothy 1:9

#thingsadored

BABY FAVORITES

So. Many. Options. When I first started registering, I had no idea where to even begin. Should I get a swing or a rock and play? What kind of stroller do I need? How much should I spend on a diaper bag? The struggle is REAL.

Here’s the good news: you’re the mom. You get to choose. Here’s more good news: there’s not much you need in the very beginning, so there’s plenty of time to feel out what’s going to work best for you.

If you’re just now beginning your registry, or even if you have a little one and you’re still searching for some things you may need, here are a few companies that I’ve really enjoyed. These have all been my go-to’s in the first six months.

When I started my registry, I used the BabyList app. BabyList allows you to register with multiple stores while keeping all the registry links in one place. This was perfect because you can access bigger registries like Target and Babies ‘R Us as well as small shops and boutiques all in one app. Having everything in the same place makes it easy for family and friends to see what you like/need.

The stroller we went with was a Doona (this link takes you to buy buy Baby, but they can be purchased from multiple locations). This is hands down the best baby purchase we’ve made. It’s not only a stroller but a carseat as well. The wheels on the stroller collapse and fold, then everything clicks into a base that’s installed in the car. I cannot even begin to explain how convenient this stroller is. With the amount of traveling we do, I don’t know that we’d survive with anything else. Even the amount of times we’re in and out of the car throughout the day is made easier by having a stroller/carseat combo — not to mention when he’s passed out and I don’t want him to wake up, there’s no moving him from one carrier to another. They’re a little on the pricier side, but after purchasing both a stroller and carseat, you’ve almost spent the same amount anyway. Do yourself a favor, Doona is the way to go.

The only downside to Doona is that there is no undercarriage storage. That’s why I purchased a backpack as a diaper bag. My KiKiLu is so cute and super spacious. I love that it doesn’t scream DIAPER BAG while I’m wearing it, and everything I need plus more fits inside. This thing gets compliments everywhere I go, and it comes in a few different colors. Definitely glad I registered for this.

Another stroller accessory that I’ve loved is my nursing/carseat cover from The Baby Abode. This cover has come in handy when I’m out and need to nurse or if weather conditions aren’t great and his carseat needs to be covered. It’s also useful while shopping anywhere with a cart — plus it makes a super cute scarf. I love that this serves so many purposes because I only need to remember one thing instead of three or four when I get out. They come in lots of cute colors/patterns, plus they’re thin so when you’re feeding your little one, you both stay cool.

Another trial and error product for us was diapers. Thankfully, we were gifted a few different brands, but we ended up using Pampers the most. I loved having the little line that goes from yellow to blue when they get wet. We also experienced the least amount of blowouts and leaks with these, especially once he started sleeping 10-12 hours a night.

As we all know, babies are messy. Bath time is a daily occurrence, and I’ve found a few things that make it fun for both of us. The tub we registered for was the 4mom Infant Tub. As a new mom, this was really great because it reads the water temperature. If the water gets too hot or too cold, it sounds a small alarm letting you know to adjust it. I was thankful for this because I wouldn’t have known what too hot/too cold for a baby was. Once I got a feel for the correct temperature and he could hold his head up a tiny bit better, I started using the Blooming Bath Lotus. I loved this because not only is it soft and comfortable for the baby, it also travels really well. Fold it up, put it in your suitcase, toss it into any sink, and TA-DA!! You’ve got yourself a bathtub. The second thing that we use during bath time is Babo Botanicals soap. The first soap we tried dried Daniel’s skin out a bit, but we’ve really enjoyed their products. Plus, when they sent the soap to us, they included some BOMB lip products for me. Brownie points were scored for sure.

Nighttime… this is where babies tend to differ the most. Some sleep 4 hours a night, some 12. Some stay in your room for the first 6 months, some go to the crib after just a few weeks. Some stay swaddled for a long time, some don’t. For us, we kept Daniel in our room for the first 16 weeks then moved him to his own room. No rhyme or reason, that’s just what worked. The decision I had a tougher time with was when to stop swaddling. He was wiggling those chubby arms out from about 3 weeks on, but it’s safest to keep them swaddled until they can roll over. So, how do you bridge that gap? With the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit! It’s a great transition from swaddle to complete freedom in the crib. Their arms and legs are a little more free, but they can’t roll over with the suit on. It’s amazing. He also started sleeping much longer stretches once we put him in this… Just sayin’.

One of my favorite little contraptions is the Baby Shusher. It makes a subtle shushing sound that’s gotten Daniel to sleep in the most dramatic of public meltdowns. It’s small enough to fit in the carseat/stroller with them and hardly takes up any space in the diaper bag. I take this thing everywhere, especially when we’re going to be out for a while and I’m counting on him napping on the go. You can purchase them from multiple locations, and they make great shower gifts.

One piece of advice I would give is not to have too many clothes. I know, I know, there’s so much out there and everything is adorable and you want allllllll of it. But honestly, I’ve grown tired of digging through outfits he barely wears to find my favorites. I would suggest choosing 10-12 pieces per size and nothing more. I do laundry everyday, so it’s not like he’s ever going to run out. Here are some of my favorite clothing brands: Rylee + Cru, Jax & Lennon CoMurray & Finn, June IsleKid WildZara Kids, and H&M Kids. For some fun accessories, check these out: Kinbe, Noble CarriageBriar Handmade, and Petite Soul Shop.

Moms need clothes, too, and I’ve found the one piece of clothing that EVERY pregnant/breastfeeding mom needs: Dwell & Slumber dresses. The buttons in the front make it easy to nurse, and the flowy one-size-fits-all design stretches for even the biggest bumps. These dresses are pretty much glorified pj’s, and I’m not sure I would have made it without these. They sell out super quick though, so set your alarm when they restock and be ready to POUNCE!

Woolf With Me is where I found nursery linens such as his crib sheets, changing table pad cover, and Boppy cover. Their stuff is so cute and comes in tons of different patterns. I had a really tough time deciding what I wanted!

As far baby wearing, we’ve really loved the Solly Baby Wrap. It’s cozy and cute and you wrap it yourself, so there’s no such thing as outgrowing it — until your child is so heavy you wouldn’t want to wear them anyway. The colors are beautiful, so I don’t mind having what I’m wearing covered up by it. And don’t worry, it comes with instructions for how to put it on. If I can figure it out, you can, too.

Something else I’ve been using a lot lately is our Gathre mat. It’s made with real leather and is super easy to clean. We’ve taken ours for picnics, to the beach, and we also put it under Daniel while he’s eating because it’s a quick clean up. They come in some really fun colors, however, we chose the streetcar pattern so he’ll be able to play with it for years.

Since it’s not all work and no play, I’ll also share some of my favorite toy companies. These are toys that I find to be aesthetically pleasing (because we all know kids stuff can come in… interesting colors) and safe incase they end up in their mouth — as most toys do. Check out Fanny & Alexander, Hazel Village, and Little Cottonwood (they also have great clothes).

Hopefully, some of you that were as lost as I was have found something helpful. Like I said, these were all my first-six-month go-to’s, and they’re all companies I trust using for an infant. If you have any questions, reach out or leave a comment below. I’d love to help out more if I can! And don’t get overwhelmed. We all make it out alive :)

 

#thingsadored

KINBE MOCCS

Hurricane Irma has begun it’s destruction while many Texans are left dealing with the devastating aftermath of Harvey. If you’re like me, you’ve been in constant search of ways to serve the victims and their families during this time of loss. It’s so easy to feel helpless in these situations, but thankfully, there are countless ways to show your support.

One company I’ve recently partnered with is Kinbe, a socially conscious lifestyle brand with a dream to give back to the world in a more meaningful way. Kinbe gives 25% of their profits towards helping orphans in Guatemala because they believe all children are deserving of love. Something I didn’t know about Guatemala is that they don’t allow inter-country adoptions meaning orphaned children can only be adopted within their country. Most children under 3 years of age in the orphan system there will sit in cribs most of the day with little human touch. As a mom to a child under 3, this breaks my heart. Kinbe’s proceeds allow the orphanage that they’ve paired up with to provide family style housing for these kiddos. This is important because most children there aren’t fortunate enough to be adopted, and although they remain in the orphan system, they’re still able to experience parental love. For more on this and how you can help, please visit the Kinbe Village Donation Drive.

Aside from their heart for giving, what I love about Kinbe is their actual product. Their moccs are adjustable, so they grow with your little ones! We got our first pair a few weeks ago and are in love. They come in lots of different colors, patterns, and sizes making it easy to find a pair that’s just right for you!

In an effort to support the victims of Harvey (as well as Irma if need be), Kinbe is giving 10% of all sales during the month of September to the families affected. I encourage you to check out their page here. This company is doing so many wonderful things, and I’m so proud to be in support.

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DANIEL MORGAN COX

On March 28, 2017 at 7:15 pm, we welcomed our beautiful son Daniel into the world. He has changed my life in so many ways and all for the better. People try to explain how much you’ll love your babies, but it’s impossible to anticipate that love until you experience it for yourself.

We chose his name shortly after we got married. Daniel is one of our favorite books in the Bible. It’s a beautiful reminder of what it looks like to be true to your faith, obedient to your leaders, prayerful in times of trouble, and loyal to God above all else. Daniel in Hebrew means God is my judge. As Daniel grows, I hope he knows just how important prayer life is and how effective we can be when we surrender everything to God.

Becoming a mom is hard work – both mentally and physically. He changes into a completely different little person each week. It’s so fun watching him grow, but with every new beginning there’s also an end. He started smiling right about the time he outgrew his newborn diapers. Tears. He spent a few hilarious weeks with his left fist in the air, but that came to a screeching halt right about the time he wiggled his way into 3-6 month clothing. Tears. I could go on, but you get the picture.

God has blessed us incredibly though. He’s been happy, he’s been healthy, and I’ve gotten to be home with him to watch all these changes come about. As fleeting as the first few months have been, I’ve loved every second of it, and I know I’ll cherish all the upcoming milestones just the same.

One piece of advice I’ll give you moms is this: make time. If you’re in the middle of doing the dishes and you get the sudden urge to hold them, do it. If your laundry has piled up, let it sit. And if your house has been a revolving door of visitors, it’s ok to say no. These days may seem long, but they’re not as long as you think. Squeeze that tiny human as tight and as often as you want because they grow so fast.

Daniel, mommy loves you. You’ve taught me so much about Jesus in these first few months, and I can’t wait to teach you about Him, too.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever, wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he disposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells within him.” Daniel 2:20-22

 Photographer Kellie Conlon

FOR NOW

This year hasn’t been a big journaling year for me. Part of that was my busy schedule, and some of it was me hiding from what I had to say. There’s been a lot of shifting and moving and readjusting that I’m still wrapping my mind around. And as we all know, it can be a lot easier to mask our feelings than it is to let the monster out.

My experience in LA this year was incredible. I was taking on bigger projects, moving forward with my writing, growing stronger in my relationships with friends, and most importantly, I finally had Morgan there with me for part of it. Los Angeles went from being a temporary address to a home. So, when it came time to say goodbye in June, I was devastated – not because I had to leave, but because I didn’t know when I’d be coming back.

Despite all the excitement and this newfound sense of familiarity I so longed to discover, I was battling something the entire duration of my stay. I felt like I was being called in a different direction, so I fought. I fought really hard.

And it made me miserable.

I realize now that I was miserable because I cannot control, nor can I foresee, the future. In my mind, this career path was a straight and narrow one: you focus on your job, train like crazy, keep convincing the casting directors that you’re only 22, and soon you’ll get your big break. Anything and EVERYTHING else gets eliminated. But here’s the problem… I was eliminating God, I was eliminating my husband’s needs, and I was pretending like that was ok.

A while back when I heard that the Rams were relocating to LA, I thought, Lord, here’s our chance to both get what we want. We can work in the same city, not have to spend months at a time apart, and everyone wins. I just need You to make it happen. It was a no-brainer. But it was also a no.

So I became mad again, and I stayed mad until we found out we were expecting a baby. It was the first time all year I took someone besides myself into serious consideration. We went home to tell our family + friends and made the announcement around 12 weeks. And for those first two to three months, I joined in on everyone else’s celebration for this precious baby until one day I found myself crying alone at home because I wasn’t in control anymore. The plans I had fought so hard to make for myself no longer looked the same, and I was scared.

God, how am I supposed to pull off both? There’s no way to give parenting and a career my full attention? Why did You bring me out here for the past three years if You knew all along I was going to have to take a step back? You know that’s not how this industry works. This isn’t a good stopping point for me. They’re all going to forget me…

And that’s when I felt Him laugh.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8

I wanted perfect timing, and I thought I knew what that was. Turns out, I was wrong. There is no time limit for God, and there is nothing He can’t make happen later on down the road. In my mind, the time for my career was now because that’s what society wants us to believe. The world teaches us, especially women, that giving up something we care about to start a family is weak. Well, it took a bit of time to figure this out, but it actually makes you strong. Submitting to God’s timing was difficult. Raising this child is going to be extremely difficult. And if in a few years God calls me back to LA, relocating a family is going to be ridiculously difficult. But perhaps He has allowed me these opportunities for something coming later. And I’m ok with the wait. Because right now, I have another job to do…

Right now there are tiny little arms and legs moving inside of me, reminding me that life is about to get really fun. God has graciously blessed us with a son that I get to love with all my heart for the rest of my life. I’m the one that gets to hold him in the middle of the night when he’s scared. I get to bandage him up when he plays too rough outside. When he wants to go watch his dad play football, I’ll be the one sitting next to him in the stands. And when he grows up and experiences hard times of his own, I’m the one that gets to tell him how much Jesus loves him and has amazing things planned for his life, too.

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16

I’m ashamed of the times that I let the fear of the unknown steal my joy. I shouldn’t have been scared. I should have trusted Him more. Our Father in Heaven has known this little boy for as long as He’s known me, it’s just that I came first. Now it’s his turn to enter the world, and I’m counting down the days until he’s finally here.

Only God knows what my future holds, and one day He’ll show me that all these experiences I’ve had weren’t for nothing. They were for something. But they’re not for right now. Now, it is time to be a mom. And I’ve never felt more blessed.

Lauren

#thingsadored

Photography by Sarah Culver