Why We’re Still Using Wipes In a Diaper-Less House

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

I really wish I would have know about WaterWipes when we had babies in diapers. With all three babies, we used wipes and detergent with no added fragrances because sensitive skin runs in our family. Our middle son still struggles with sensitive skin and eczema, so we’ve kept to fragrance-free as much as possible.

We’ve been done with diapers in our house for over a year now – HALLELUJAH! We had a bunch of wipes left over and, even without bottoms to wipe, I found myself still using those wipes for everything. Over the baby years, I didn’t even realize how handy and convenient they had become to me for all kinds of messes. Ice cream cones, sticky suckers, marker-covered hands, and more were no match for my stash of wipes!

WaterWipes Car

Fast forward to several months ago and my introduction to WaterWipes – the timing could not have been better as I was running out of my previous fragrance-free wipes and needed to restock. I’m so glad I didn’t buy more because WaterWipes were just the thing I had been hoping to find over all these years!

WaterWipes are a chemical free baby wipe with just two ingredients: 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. I feel great about using these for all sorts of messes with my family because there are no harmful chemicals! All of the usefulness of baby wipes with none of the extras – what’s not to love?!

Why we're still using wipes in aDiaper-less house

Why do I keep using wipes even though we are diaper-less? One word: convenience. My three boys are always getting dirty and I’ve been known to make a few messes, too. I keep a pack of WaterWipes in the minivan, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and in my purse, so I am always ready when a mess pops up!

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I’m pretty sure our latest road trip to Colorado would have been a whole lot messier without WaterWipes! We used them on the car ride, for picnic lunches, and on our hikes. It was so handy to have them in my backpack to clean off hands before a mid-hike snack or clean up extra mud.

One more reason to love WaterWipesthis beautiful video on the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby!

My boys may be growing up fast, but this video has me fondly remembering those newborn skin-to-skin snuggles. Such a sweet time in motherhood! I love the emphasis on purity by WaterWipes, both in love and in the product!

How are you using wipes in your home?

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Hoodwinked: Truth + Motherhood

I received this book to review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

God has been putting the word “true” in front of my face a lot lately.

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It started with a new theme for our women’s ministry at church and I didn’t even know I needed to hear it. But the word served as a wake-up call to all the lies I had been believing. And the truth I was missing.

Many of the lies I’ve believed have been about motherhood. I feel inadequate. Every bad choice my child makes feels like a big flashing arrow pointing at my mistakes. Seeing another mother who seems to enjoy her children all the time brings on feelings of guilt for the times I don’t enjoy my own.

The enemy seems to know how to get under my skin the most in this area. I need more truth spoken into my life as a mom. And I have a book in my hands now that is bringing that truth.

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My dear friend Ruth Schwenk (The Better Mom) teamed up with the amazing Karen Ehman to write Hoodwinked for moms just like you and me. The tagline says it all: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off. In other words, I’m ready for this book to kick all that junk I’ve been believing about motherhood straight out of my head!

If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of “parenting” books. There is not one formula that works for all families because we – moms, dads, kids – are all so unique, and I don’t like books that claim to be that one way to “succeed” as a family.

Hoodwinked is not one of those parenting books I dread. Instead of making me feel guilty for not doing this motherhood thing one particular way, Hoodwinked points me to life, freedom, and most importantly, truth in motherhood.

Hoodwinked Recipe

I wanted to share with you just a few pieces of truth that stood out to me in this honest + encouraging book:

“Do not tether your identity to the choices of your child—whether stellar or stupid. We are not our child’s choices.”

Didn’t I just mention this earlier in this post? I’m still working on letting go of the lie behind this one, but this line was exactly what I needed to hear.

“On the one hand, we worry that we are ‘just a mom.’ On the other hand, we think being a mom should be the most fulfilling, most rewarding, most thrilling thing EVER! All. The. Time.”

This quote made me laugh out loud, but it also hit me deeply. I don’t struggle with the “just a mom” thoughts very often – probably because there is never a quiet moment to think – but I definitely have wrestled with the second part. And if motherhood doesn’t feel AMAZING, I must be doing it wrong, right? WRONG. Motherhood is not all hugs + smiles + happiness and that is ok!

“Parenting is a tightrope that requires walking carefully between patience and pushing. No child’s timing is the same.”

I needed this reminder as our kids have entered school this year. They handle school and friends in completely different ways. Each day feels a little different. I can’t follow one formula and expect the same results every day from all of our children. The tightrope is such an accurate description of how we must pay close attention to the needs of each child, balancing out waiting and pushing, moving forward and pulling back.

Moms, I feel like so many of us need to dispel these myths that have taken root in our heads as we walk through motherhood and Hoodwinked is an amazing resource to lead us to truth!

Hoodwinked is out now, so go order your copy! You will love it! Hoodwinked also has a companion bible study with a study guide and six sessions on DVD! Wouldn’t it be great to discover these truths together with other moms? What are you waiting for?!

If you’d like to connect more with the authors, check out Ruth and Karen on Facebook, and follow “thebettermom” and “karenehman” on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

What lies or myths have you believed about motherhood? How do you cling to truth?

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It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

This is the philosophy I live by when cleaning and organizing: it gets worse before it gets better.

When my desk area gets out of control with papers and books and an array of other things that shouldn’t be in a desk area (Legos, food wrappers, running watch…you just never know), I know the only way to tackle the mess is to spread it out all over the dining room in order to be sorted and organized properly. My husband would say it’s easier to keep it organized little by little as I go, but how is that fun?! (Truthfully, I’d really like to be able to operate his way when it comes to organizing. Maybe when I grow up.)

The “worse before better” mentality must be applied when approaching potty-training as well. Trust me – we’re nearing the end of this process as I type this. To be perfectly honest, I might have been okay with #3 staying in diapers a little while longer because diapers are easy. Diapers are convenient. And potty-training is neither easy nor convenient. I knew he had to be potty-trained, but I may have been dragging my feet a little as I thought about the time and energy that must be spent to get a kiddo out of diapers.

I put aside my fears two weeks ago and the potty-training began. It had been almost four years since my last experience, but I was suddenly thrown into the world of asking Double J every 15 minutes if he needed to go to the bathroom. Of running to the bathroom at any “sign.” Of coaxing him to sit on the toilet just a little longer so we wouldn’t be back there again in five minutes because he wasn’t actually done. Lord, have mercy.

Now, two weeks later, boy #3, our last, is now in underwear and I feel triumphant. I really do. But I’m honestly a little tired of all the time we’re spending in the bathroom. I’m reminding myself that this is part of the “worse” before the “better” of him being able to go to the bathroom independently. It’s a process and I know where we’re headed and that’s where I’ll keep my eyes fixed.

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The cleaning and potty-training have been real life, in-my-face examples of something God has been trying to teach me about my heart lately. I’ve been holding on to some ugly stuff for a while because I just don’t want to deal with it. The ugly stuff is stuff many of you are probably struggling with as well. It feels “easiest” to just push it aside to work through another day. Except “another day” never comes.

This weekend, as I was making my way through another toddler-bathroom ordeal, I realized my spiritual eyes are too focused on the right now, when they should be looking to the “better” God wants for me. I will have to face some hard truths, make some sacrifices, go through a lot of discomfort in the “gets worse” part of the journey, but I have to trust God that it will all be worth it. And I will have to keep declaring to Him, as one of my favorite songs says, “You’ve never failed me and You won’t start now.”

It may seem easier to slap on a smile and stuff my stuff deep down to handle in the future, but I want to rip off the bandaid today to face the worst, work through it with my Savior, and get to the best He has promised me. And I know a clean heart will feel even better than having that clean desk and potty-trained toddler!

Are you facing a “gets worse before it gets better” situation today? How can I pray for you?

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MOPS: The Community I Needed at Just the Right Time

As if having a second child isn’t enough of a change, we also went through me leaving my job to stay home, trying to sell a house, and The Hubby starting medical school all at the same time back in 2008.

I’m pretty sure we had gone insane.

Being these things we are life changes we really wanted, we were happy to go through them. But I also knew I needed a little help getting into my stay-at-home mom groove. You may think being a teacher would have prepared me to be at home with little ones all day. Um, no. It’s very different.

And that’s when MOPS entered my life. Actually, I had been jealous of all my stay-at-home mom friends attending MOPS for two years after I had Big J while I continued working. I was ready for it.

The first morning of MOPS arrived and I was getting the kiddos – 2 years old and 2 months old – and Little J had one of his biggest blowouts EVER. Yes, it was that memorable. At least it was at home, but all you mamas out there know how that can just throw off your morning, right?!

We made it to MOPS…somehow in clean clothing…and Big J had no trouble going to childcare. I happily settled in to a table with some warm breakfast foods and pretty tables and I was surrounded by other ADULTS! I was still reeling a little from our messy morning, but it just felt so good to sit there and have a conversation.

Now here’s my favorite part, because this is when the community of MOPS became just what I needed at just the right time…

The MOPS coordinator got up to introduce the leadership team and each one was giving away one of her favorite things. She started and said her kids were prone to massive blowouts and that a stain stick had become her best friend. The person whose child had most recently had a blowout would win the stain stick! BINGO! I was the winner!

It may sound weird that I bonded with these moms over poop, but it’s true. It doesn’t get much more real than that, people, and in that moment I felt like they GOT ME.

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Some of my MOPS friends at our glam end-of-the-year awards ceremony!

I continued in MOPS for three years, with two years as a co-coordinator, and stopped going to homeschool Big J. Those three years of connecting, bonding, encouraging moms really changed me in so many areas. It was great for my transition to staying at home because I was surrounded by moms going through the same daily joys and trails, as well as ones who had been there, done that, and SURVIVED!

And what makes MOPS different is that faith is at the center of it all. Even when we are home along with our kids, we’re never actually alone. He is walking with us every step of the way. One year, the MOPS verse of the year was from Psalm 139 and I think of it often…

even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast. ~Psalm 139:10

Even there represents EVERYWHERE. He is always with us, always seeing us, always guiding us, even in the laundry room and the kitchen and the doctor’s office and the playground and the grocery store.

I am feeling very blessed today to share with you about MOPS because I believe so strongly in what they are doing to connect and empower moms in Christ, but I’m even more excited because I get to giveaway a one year MOPS membership! Just enter below!

Thank you to MOPS for asking me to be a part of this fun month and giveaway! Check out the MOPS site for all the benefits of membership and to find a group near you. And take a peek at their brand new blog, Hello, Darling while you’re there!

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Getting My Spark Back

It’s not just because of winter. I’ve felt a little dull for a while now.

Not dull as in boring, but dull as in not bright, not sharp.

I used to be bubbly and optimistic and a total social butterfly. Yep, I’m the one who constantly got a check next to the “talk too much” box on her report card. In elementary school.

I’m not sure what exactly to blame the dullness on – lack of sleep, the hormone rollercoaster that comes along with being pregnant and nursing, a never-ending to-do list that felt like it was swallowing me whole – I can’t really pinpoint it. I have not felt sad or hopeless or depressed – just BLAH. And the strangest part is that 2012 was a GREAT year for me and for our family – one of the best ever. But still…

Late last year, partially thanks to reading Desperate, I started to realize that I did NOT like my current frame of mind. I related so much to this quote from Sally…

Sitting in the dark, I could suddenly sense the Lord whispering in my ear, “Don’t neglect to see the beauty of life around you while being overwhelmed by the duties of life.”

I don’t know that many people would notice much of an outward difference in my behavior, but ho-hum, cynical, sometimes pessimistic thoughts had taken the place of my old eternal optimist self. I wasn’t feeling like there was much to get excited about in my day-to-day.

I kind of felt like a punch in the gut to make this realization, but a good one, if that makes any sense at all.

What in the world do I have to feel pessimistic or cynical about? Nothing, I tell you. And allowing those thoughts to take over had stolen some of my spark for life as well.

Then God got a hold of me in a few ways to say, “You have LOTS to be excited about, my dear, and I’m going to help you find that spark again!”

It started with my word for 2013: celebrate. Celebrate isn’t about parties and presents, but about the way I want to live every day: celebrating the life God gave me, the calling He has placed on me, the people with which He has surrounded me! One day it meant dancing in the kitchen with Double J, another meant making homemade donuts just to see the smile on the faces of all of my guys. Challenging myself to find reasons to celebrate has made me smile and be silly and I’m loving the word He gave me for this year so much already!

The word of the year choice also naturally led into my commitment to take Ann’s Joy Dare – counting 1,000 gifts in my life in 2013. I used to write a Multitude Monday post here every Monday counting my blessings, but it started to feel unnatural to share those blessings for all to read, so I stopped for a while. Now, I’m craving the counting and, just 14 days into 2013, I’m so glad I took this dare! I have a little moleskine notebook next to my bed to record these gifts each night and my soul rests well when I end the day with gratitude.

Desperate also helped me realize how good creating is for the well-being of my mind. Sally wrote this in a note to Sarah Mae…

Celebrate life in your home in the ways that bring your pleasure. Cultivating the art of life in your home not only brings you happiness, but it makes your home a lively, fun, fulfilling place.

I love making beautiful things, whether it is food or a crochet project or decor for our home. Creating is calming and exciting for me, all at the same time. And a creative project can be completed, which feels like a major accomplishment in the world of laundry and dishes and diaper changes that just don’t stop! I’ve made it one of my goals to do something creative each and every day, even if it is only for five minutes!

And to round this all out, God sent me one more way to bring my spark back. The opening sermon series at our church for 2013 is called “Ignite.” I kid you not. It’s all about bringing back the spark in our relationship with God. He really does give us the desires of our heart when they are lined up with His, doesn’t He?! I know my joy and spark for life are truly found when I am regular communion with Him.

This week’s sermon was about the study of God’s Word. My passion for daily morning study of the Word has come and gone in recent years, but this Advent, I dove into the Good Morning Girls Advent study using the SOAP method and rediscovered how much I LOVE starting my day that way! I’m now working through the current She Reads Truth: Fresh Start plan on YouVersion using the SOAP method. I crave that time in the Word as much as I crave my morning coffee. I call that a “win” towards getting my spark back!

I’m not content to live a dull life, expecting each day to be just like all the rest, missing out on the joy of living with Him and for Him and surrounded by His blessings. The life of a mom is full of routine and responsibility, but it does NOT have to put out your spark for life!

If you’re feeling like I was, let me pray for you and me and all who feel like life is making them dull. There is joy in the midst of the every day and we must each find what ignites the spark in our own lives and make those things a priority!

And if you are a mom feeling this way, I must recommend you read Desperate. You will find encouragement and hope and understanding there. Read it with a friend. Share your feelings with someone who will listen and pray and help. You are not alone.

 

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