People in Our Path

This week was crap.  I was just over it by the time Friday rolled around.  Stress and exhaustion and ridiculous issues and bickering and travel…it was just crap. 

So when I crawled into the cab at the airport in San Antonio, I just wanted to get to my hotel, have a drink and some guacamole and go to bed.  I had zero desire to be friendly.

But, I have this thing about talking to cab drivers.  I think that it is easy for people to be so caught up in their own lives and ignore the people driving them around and that bothers me.  The idea that we don’t see other people in our paths is something I just cannot handle.  I mean, I could lose sleep over it.  And, as a result, I have just met the coolest people and heard the best stories in the back seat of yellow cars over the years. {I adore this song about this topic.}


Anyway, because of this little belief of mine, I struck up a conversation with Jesse.  And, as I feel like God does so often, he slapped me with a big ol’ dose of perspective. 

Jesse is from Algeria.  He says most people some knownthat is in Northern Africa. And no, he is not black, he stayed out of the sun, he likes to joke. He has lived in Paris and London and New Jersey and San Antonio.  He put himself through community college recently while driving a cab and got a degree in IT.  

He has had a couple of contract jobs, but recently one ended and he is now having to re-group and is back in the cab in the meantime.  He almost got a job with the government, but they wanted him to give up his Algerian passport.   Which he could not do. 

Because he has a wife and a little boy in Algeria.  He has to be able to travel back to see them.  His little boy is 3 and may have a mild form of Autism. And the prettiest curly, black hair.  Jesse is trying to get approved to sponsor them to come to the United States, but last year he only made $23,000 and it is required that a person make $25,000 to be a sponsor.  He will keep trying.

He lives in a one bedroom apartment, but dreams of being in a small town and having land and goats.  He is well-read and told me about some really interesting natural remedies that he has seen work in his country. Camel’s milk, for one.

After telling me his life story, he said, “What about you? I am so sorry to just be talking about me, but usually people don’t ask.”  I told him I was from Amarillo, and God Bless him, he broke out in Amarillo by Morning, my absolute favorite song. 

I told him we lived in a tiny town and had a few cows and my family owns a farm. I showed him pictures of my kiddos. 

He responded with, “I am so jealous.  That is just what I want.  You are living my dream.”

All week, I have been ungrateful. But you know what? I live in the same country as my husband and kids.  My children are healthy.  We have a little house and some land.  We have good, stable jobs.  We are in a position to help others in various ways, and doing that is important to us both.  We have cows and dogs and sheep and a cute little yellow cat.  

We are living the dream.  And shame on me for pouting about a rough week.  I am vowing now to be more intentional with my gratefulness.  How dare I not be.  Mercy. 

Hey, do me a favor.  Say a little prayer for Jesse and his family.  I probably won’t ever see him again, but I sure hope he get his family to the states and a little place to raise his goats one day. 

And the next time you are in a cab, strike up a conversation with the driver.  You’ll never regret taking the time to really see people in your path. 

World Down’s Syndrome Day

In 2015, I got the phone call while I was in the Dallas airport, on my way to Minnesota.  I remember feeling like the wind was knocked out of me and tears immediately started running down my face.  “Your baby screened positive for Down’s Syndrome.  But a lot of times people get false positives, so you will need to come back in for another test.”

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And while my world seemed to be spinning out of control, everyone around me continued their day.  They are their ice cream and pulled along their suitcases and boarded their flights.  The world just goes on, even when we fell like it has stopped.

After a tear filled call to my husband, I boarded the plane to Minnesota in a fog.  And I took the first aisle seat I found. When I took a minute to look up, I realized it was next to a father and his little girl…who had Down’s Syndrome.

Ok, God.  Well played.  I watched that father be so sweet to his little girl and as we got off that flight, I slipped him a little note telling him about what was going on in my life at that moment and thanking him for being an unknowing inspiration to a scared, pregnant mama on that airplane.

By the time I got home and took the second blood test, I had researched more than you can imagine.  In fact, my doctor said I knew more about the details of the screening than he did and he has never seen a patient who had researched like this.  I don’t really think he meant it as a compliment, but if you say that type of thing to a Type A lawyer, it’s taken as one.

The next two weeks were filled with a lot of praying and impatiently waiting. Novenas to the Infant of Prague.  Prayers for strength, regardless of the outcome.  The sweetest words my husband has ever said: “If he has it, then we will have a baby with Down’s and we will love him and he will have a good life with us.” Amen.

In the end, it was a false positive and our son did not have Down’s.  That experience, though, forever changed my heart. My faith grew in those two weeks more than I could have ever imagined.  It causes me to have a strong interest in people with Down’s, their lives, their rights, and their stories.  It led me to learn that it is estimated that 90 percent–90 percent–of babies who are diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome in the womb are aborted.  A statistic that gives me nightmares.  It made me so, so grateful that I had a doctor who never once suggested that was an option, and was so encouraging about the baby we would have, regardless of his chromosomes.  It imprinted this cause on my heart, and while I don’t know where that will lead, for now, maybe all I can do is write and love and pray.

And, maybe somehow, God will use my words.  Because I just think he uses every hard experience for good.  And  I have to think He is still at play in all this, because yesterday, the day before World Down’s Syndrome Day and almost 2 years to the day after I got that call in the airport, I boarded another flight.  And the first aisle seat I saw? Next to a young man…with Down’s Syndrome.

God bless all of the people living with Down’s Syndrome and their brave parents who said yes to God’s important call on their lives.

Recipe Card: Salisbury Steak

As with most of my favorite recipes, this one comes to us via the Pioneer Woman, but with a few modifications I have incorporated.

Salisbury Steak and Noodles

–Steaks

1 pound ground beef

1/2 C crushed saltine crackers

1T ketchup

2T dried mustard

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 cube beef bouillon (crumbled)

Salt and pepper to taste

1T butter

1T olive oil

–Gravy

1 bell pepper, sliced

2C beef broth

1T ketchup

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1T cornstarch

Salt and pepper

Combine all steak ingredients except for butter and oil.  Form into patties or meatballs.  Place in skillet with butter and oil and brown on both sides until cooked through.  Set meat aside and pour grease out of skillet.

For the gravy, saute bell pepper until soft.  Then add all ingredients except for 1/4C broth and the corn starch.  Stir and let reduce for 3 minutes.  Make a slurry with remaining broth and corn starch. Stir in and let thicken.

Return meat to the pan and cover with gravy.

Serve over egg noodles.

Look for the Helpers

Years ago, I heard a quote by Mr. Rogers.  He said that when tragedy strikes and everything seems so dark, you should look for the helpers. The firemen running into burning buildings. The people opening their homes to strangers. The folks offering anything they can to help lighten the load.  It makes things a little less scary when you see people helping others cope with the unthinkable. 

When wildfires roared through the Texas Panhandle on Monday, it didn’t take long to see the helpers arrive.  People began organizing to get food for firefighters, hay for ranchers, money for grieving families, materials to rebuild fences, tooth brushes and clothes for people who lost their houses.  Cowboys offering to help round up cattle and women offering casseroles and communities gathering up any donation that people can give. The helpers are everywhere!


My own sweet husband spent his afternoon delivering hay from a donation point to a rancher who lost all but 300 of his 10,000 acres to the fire.  When he arrived, the rancher broke down and was so grateful. 

Listen up world, you need to take a look at what Texas is doing.  Because we are getting it right. 

Absolute strangers are coming along side people in their darkest hour.  Money, time, labor, prayers are all being given freely. And although none of us are able to give enough to solve every problem, everyone can give something and together, we can make a huge difference. 

And you know what? No one asked about political parties or what church the person in need attends or what their position is on the freakin’ bathroom debate in Congress.  There are people who are hurting and that’s all we need to know.   

Thank God for the helpers. And please continue praying for everyone affected by these terrible fires. 

If Jamie Ivey Interviewed Me…

Y’all.  I am obsessed with my girl Jamie Ivey and her podcast, The Happy Hour.  She lives in Austin.  I’m not even kidding when I say if anyone knows her and can get me the hook up, I will love you forever.  I am probably not cool enough to be on her show, but maybe I can like buy her tacos in Austin one day or something.  So, that said, hook me up if you have a contact.  FOR REAL.

Anyway, she does a podcast called “Happy Half Hour” where she asks her guests a list of questions each time.  I’ve been thinking about how I’d answer the same questions and decided that I’d just write them down.  Here we go.

HHJI
If you don’t listen to this podcast, it will change your life.  Seriously.  Here’s a link to her page!

 

What is something that you’ve read or watched lately that you cannot stop recommending to people?

Okay, I’m still raving about the book “Love That Boy” that I read last year.  I wrote about it here and, seriously, I  feel like it’s a must-read for parents.  I also really loved “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker.  (Who, by the way, Jen is real life friends with Jamie and the thought of having tacos with them both one day in Austin is basically my dream in life right now.  I’d probably be so excited, I’d faint.)

On the tv front, I’m still such a huge Chicago Fire fan.  It’s about the only show that I keep up with these days.

How do you recharge?

The gym.  I’m telling you, I am just a better person when I get 30 minutes of exercise.  I don’t know if it’s the sweat or the endorphin or what, but something flips a switch in me when I’m done running and it cures me.  I’m hoping that as the weather gets nicer, I can get outside and run maybe even with the kids in our double stroller some!

race

If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self something, what would you tell her?

Lighten up and enjoy the journey.  Looking back now, man, my 20’s were the life.  I could sleep in on Saturdays and watch whatever I wanted on tv and travel to wherever and eat Wheat Thins for dinner….it was good times.  I think that sometimes we are so caught up on looking for the next chapter–the husband or babies or kids in school or new job or whatever–that we miss the chance to really enjoy the journey and embrace the great parts of the now.italy

What do you want your legacy to be when you’re gone?

I think I want people to say that I loved well.  In the end, I really feel like that’s what really matters.  Loving my family.  Loving other people.  Loving Jesus.  I just think all of the other stuff is just….stuff.  So I hope that I can spend my time loving well.

What equals success to you?

I think this is the hardest question that she asks.  I thought about this one for a long time, but I think for me, success is when I am able to help someone else.  Whether that be me helping someone through a legal issue at work, or offering advice to a kid who thinks they might want to go to law school, or somehow having become the person that other moms with new babies call with questions when they just don’t know what to do…I feel successful when I am able to help someone else.

What’s a pet peeve that you have?

Okay, a lot of people on the show say they can’t come up with anything for this  question…Shoot, I bet I have 15.  For now, I’m going with cupcakes that look like other food, you know how they make a cupcake that looks like a hamburger or a corn cob or something.  I know this is a popular thing, but I hate it.  HATE it.  I want my cupcakes to look like cupcakes and my hamburgers to look like hamburgers.

If you could live anywhere for the next year, where would it be and why?

San Francisco.  It’s my absolute favorite city.  I worked there for a summer in law school and it was just life-changing for me.  I had a job offer there when I finished school and ended up turning it down and taking another path, so having the opportunity to live for a year in San Francisco would almost be like seeing what things would have been like had I chosen the road not taken.

trolley

What is a goal that you have for yourself this next year?

I’ve got a “10 in ’17 list” of goals that I previously published on the blog here.  The two key ones for me are getting Uncle Buddy’s book published (deadline to have it to the publisher is March 31!) and running a race.  This post-partum running thing is no freakin’ joke and I’m really hoping to get myself in shape well enough to at least do a 5K and hopefully a half marathon this year.

 

 

Update on Amina

On Monday, I sat in my office with a headset on in front of my computer waiting for a Skype call to occur.  I’ve done this probably 100 times before, but this time, it was different.  I was waiting to talk to Amina, the mother of the Syrian Refugee family for whom I am leading a fundraising campaign.

What would she look like?  Would she want to chat or be shy?  Would she care that I am Christian and she is Muslim?  Gosh, what will I say if that comes up?  I wonder if she’s had her baby yet.

And then, the computer began to ring and when I answered, there sat a beautiful girl in a gorgeous black and gold hijab.  She was smiling from ear to ear and holding a 2 week old baby boy, Ahmed, who was bundled up and sleeping away.

Amina.jpg

I got a bit more of her story.  She grew up in Syria, one of 6 children.  She married very young and now has three babies at the age of 21.  She lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon with her husband, three children, and her brother and his family of four.  She is happy to be with her brother, as the remainder of her family is still in Syria and she has no way to contact them or know if they are okay.  She and her husband hope to get their own tent in the camp, and are saving money to purchase mattresses, carpet, a fridge, and a washing machine.  They also have an outstanding bill at the grocery store that they want to pay off.

As I sat there and looked into the eyes of a girl who is so different than me in so many ways, I couldn’t help but be really struck by the ways in which we are the same.  And while our lives are vastly different because she lives there and I live here, we are both people.  Both mothers.  Both just trying to do the very best we can by our little families.

And you know what did not matter?  The fact that when we both promised to pray for each other, those prayers would be directed at different Gods.  The fact that she wore a hijab and I wore a red tunic.  Any political discussion of refugees or immigration or terror threats.  What mattered is that we were two people, on opposite sides of the world, doing our best to show love to our families and to each other.  We’re more alike than we are different.

I pray that one day, you will take the opportunity to look into the eyes of someone so vastly different than you and see, really see, the humanity there.  Because, I predict that when that happens, you will forever be changed.  And, maybe, the world would forever be changed as well.


If you want to help Amina’s family with a monetary donation, please click here.  Any amount is so welcomed and will make such a difference for Amina and her family.  She is so grateful for our help.  If you are interested in having a Skype call with Amina, that is something that Humanwire sets up for anyone who donates $45.  All you need is a computer with Skype, and Humanwire will get you all set up with a translator in Lebanon.

Helping a Refugee Family

The Syrian Refugee crisis absolutely breaks my heart.  I am not exaggerating when I say I have lost sleep and shed tears numerous times thinking about the absolute hell these people are going through.  I know that somehow, this issue has become political, and frankly I think most of the rhetoric going around is inaccurate.  In my mind, politics aside, we have to take the time to really see the suffering of the poor people in the Middle East.  Here are a couple of articles that have really shaped my thoughts on this issue and have been instrumental in placing this calling on my heart.

Love in a Time of Refugees “You have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

Dear Children of Aleppo “The world can’t afford to lose you, Children of Aleppo.  We can’t afford to lose the music only you can make, the ideas only you have, the inventions and dreams and hope the world can only be if we do whatever it takes to keep you with us here and from the relentless hound of death and its screaming bombs.”

Jamie Ivey podcast with Ann Voskamp  Listen to the last 15 minutes or so of this podcast, where Ann shares about her family helping a refugee family settle in Canada.  It’s life-changing and a good reminder of what kindness can do.

Honestly, if my life looked different in this season, I’d probably want to be on a plane to Syria to do something.  I’ve been looking for an opportunity to help, and I’m excited about the one I have found.

There is an organization, based in Colorado, called Humanwire.  It is set up to pair refugee families fleeing Syria with “hosts” who help lead campaigns to raise money and get them items that they need.  Additionally, if folks are interested in helping this family–even with small donations–there is an opportunity to have direct contact with the family.  We can talk with them on the phone and mail items directly to them.  I have signed up to host a precious family (more about them below) and am going to be soliciting monetary donations and useful items for them.

———————————————————————

Now….the family for whom I have volunteered to serve as the host.

syrian-kids

This sweet family of four (almost 5) are from Syria.  The father is 26 years old, the mother is 21, their two sweet kids are 3 (a girl) and 2 (a boy), and they have a baby on the way.  They lived in the Syrian countryside, but when bombing started in their hometown, and their children were terrified and constantly crying, the parents fled to Lebanon, where they now live in a refugee camp.  Eventually, they want to return to their home in Syria, if the war ever ends.

Right now, they have some very basic needs.  Medical treatment for the pregnancy, a refrigerator for their tent, carpet for their tent, clothing for the children, a washing machine, and a doll for their daughter.

Don’t miss this here…this is a family living in a plastic tent in a country that is not their own.  They are raising two little ones and shortly will be having a baby in a plastic tent.  They want carpet.  They want clothing for their kids.  They want prenatal treatment.

And I am going to do my best to be sure they get these things.

I need your help.

There are basically three options to help.

(1) You can make a monetary donation. The money will be given to them to purchase their needs like the carpet and fridge and washing machine.  Please view the Humanwire page   here.

(2)  If you want to pay for items to be directly delivered to them (rather than boxing them up and shipping them yourself, click here. They have a lot of options like food and clothing, and the great part about this is it gets there fast and you don’t pay shipping.

(3)  You can gather up some stuff and send them directly to the family.  Let me know if you need the info for how to do it!  This is good for stuff that’s not on the online store.  I just went and got a doll and stuffed animal, some warm hats, and some socks to send them.

 If you don’t want to do a credit card there or can’t figure it out, contact me in the comments below, text me, email me…and I will be sure we can get your help to them.

Stitch Fix Report: Box #19

I hadn’t done a fix in almost a year, but when they offered to waive my $20 styling fee, I figured, what the heck! I wouldn’t lose any money even if I didn’t keep anything.  

If you’ve not heard of Stitch Fix, they send you a box with 5 clothing items. You pay $20. If you like any item, you keep it and pay the cost for that item (less the $20 fee) and if you don’t like them, you just put them back in the envelope they send and drop it in the mailbox. 

If you want to give it a try, use this link and I will get a little referral credit.

Now, let’s get to the report from Box #19:

1. Level 99 Sandy Bootcut Jean (Navy)


These jeans….I don’t know. They fit fine and were comfy.  But they were too pricey for me and I really couldn’t tell what color they were–tag says Navy but they almost look sort of grayish/black.  

Verdict: Return.

2. Brixton Ivy Kalu Lace Sleeve Blouse (Cobalt)


I struggled with this.  I love the color.  I think the sleeves are cute. But, in the end, I decided against it. I have a couple other shirts this color, it was at the top end of my price range, and I liked another item better. 

Verdict: Return.

3. Market & Spruce Jermaine Flannel Cotton Top (Red)


I hated this.  Second worst thing I have gotten from Stitch Fix.  It looks like a lumberjack.  Even worse, it was super thick flannel. No, no, no. 

Verdict: Return.

4. Papermoon Bastille Tulip Sleeve Blouse (Green)


I had pinned a similar shirt, so I was excited to see this.  I love the color.  It is so comfy.  And it was priced right for my budget.  I have already worn it with my suit and thought it was perfect.  I now want it in more colors!


Verdict: Keep.

5.  41Hawthorne Carryn Jersey Faux Wrap Dress (Black)


I usually like wrap dresses. They are comfy, don’t wrinkle, and make me look thinner.  But I just couldn’t get excited about the pattern on this one. If it was a solid color, I might have kept it. 

Verdict: Return.

So…I ended up keeping 1/5, but I absolutely love that one!  I paid $38 total for the shirt and sent the rest back.  Not too shabby!

The Perfect Baby

It’s time for another in our Best of 2016 blog series. 

Things are about to get real serious here on my usually lighthearted blog.

I’m a member of a group on Facebook and last week someone asked for prayers for her friend who was pregnant.  The woman had long wanted a baby.  But when she had the genetic screening tests done, she learned that her child tested at an increased risk for Down’s Syndrome.  And now, she has decided to abort the baby because of these results.

My heart is broken into a million pieces.

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Genetic Screening Tests Are Often Wrong.

Having lived through a positive result to a Down’s Syndrome screening test myself, I sympathize with the fear and worry this mother is facing.  And although I never thought of killing the baby (let’s call a spade a spade, I’m not a fan of terms like “terminating the pregnancy”), I cried for days worrying about my unborn son and what this would mean for him and for our family.  It is scary.  It’s not part of your plan.  There are unknowns.  You are hormonal and emotional and fat and it just seems like too much to handle.

For us, in the end, the test was wrong.  Our nearly 4 month old son was born without Down’s.  Had we taken this woman’s approach and killed our baby, we’d have missed out on the joy of his little face every single day.

But I will tell you what that incorrect positive test did for us.  It allowed us to grow in our faith, because we realized that God was in control and the baby he had created for us was going to be just that…the baby for us, regardless of the number of chromosomes he had. And, should our next baby be born with an extra chromosome, well I think we’ll just be even more ready to love him or her after all of this. It allowed us to grow in our love for one another.  Hearing my husband resolve that if the test was right, that baby would have a good life with us is easily one of the moments I have loved him most.  And, I believe, it has given us an understanding and a perspective from which to encourage others facing a similar situation.  Not only to tell that the tests are frequently wrong, but also to encourage if the test is accurate.  As difficult of a test as this was to walk through, if God can use it and use us for good, I am more than happy to have born that cross.

Babies With Downs Tremendous Blessing.

Knowing several people who have children with Down’s Syndrome, I know what a huge blessing those kiddos are to a family. I am sure there are huge challenges raising a baby with Down’s.  But…hello…there are huge challenges raising a baby period.  But there are amazing blessings as well.

My friend in Chicago has a precious daughter with Down’s, and I absolutely adore her stories of Jen’s humor, love, and mischief (like swiping cash from anyone’s wallet she can get her hands on).  If you don’t follow #Benstagram on Instagram, get over there this minute and you will see the cutest little Asian boy with Down’s.  I have a co-worker whose teenage son with Down’s is my favorite thing to see on Facebook….had you seen this kid in his Where’s Waldo Halloween costume, you’d agree for sure.  My friend from law school has a precious little girl who is frequently recorded playing rock song drum solos with her dad.

I thank God for all the Down’s Syndrome babies I know, and for all of their parents who are fulfilling their challenging, yet beautiful vocation, of loving these precious souls.

You’re Not Going To Get a “Perfect” Baby.

I despise the idea that if a baby is not “perfect” he or she is not worthy of living. You know who thought this way?  Hitler.  Let that sink in a minute.  Newsflash: There is no perfect baby.

That cute red head of ours?

He has severe acid reflux.  And a heart murmur.  And he’s started this yelling thing that can drive you just about batty.  Does that mean somehow we should not have wanted him?  That we should not have loved him?

And where is that line?  Why is Down’s something that justifies killing the baby but acid reflux is not?  What about allergies?  Bad knees?  ADHD?

You are not going to get a perfect baby, but you will get the baby that is perfect for you.  I have no desire to question God’s plan by thinking I know better.  Been there, done that, learned my lesson, have the t-shirt.  I never know better.

Please pray.
All of this said, please pray for the particular woman mentioned in our Facebook group, and for all women who face a positive genetic screening test.  That their hearts will be open.  That they will find support from those around them.  That they will find the strength to fulfill the important vocation to which they have been called.  And that their baby will be loved.
Lord, hear our prayers.

10 Newborn Must Haves (Updated)

Well, now that I am two kids in, I figured an updated “Must Have” list was necessary.  If you have friends having little ones, feel free to share.  The registry process is super overwhelming, so maybe this will help a bit.

These are items I cannot live without.  My two kids could not be more different (one boy, one girl; one hot natured, one freezing; one with reflux, the other with no issues), but these have worked well with both!

Diapers. Duh, you are saying. First decision is cloth or disposable. I think poop is disgusting so disposable was a given. My kids have been fine in either Pampers or Huggies, but when I tried to switch BB to the Target brand, he broke out in a bad rash.  My advice is to build up a good stash of diapers before the baby comes.  Go easy on the Newborn size because they do not stay in those too long and you can get a bunch of free ones at the hospital!  If you keep an eye out (follow me on Instagram @littlehousebiglife and I share them!) you can find great sales, coupons, and rebates on diapers.  I try and never pay over $.20 per diaper, and often I can get them down lower than $.15 per.



Diaper pail. If you don’t want your room to smell like poo, get a diaper pail. There are all different kinds. We have an Arm & Hammer one I like quite well. It’s bigger than the diaper genie so you don’t have to dump it as often. Also register for bag refills for whichever pail you choose. That’s the only downside to our Arm & Hammer bag, sometimes it is hard to find refills in the store.

Pacifiers.  I thought everyone used a pacifier. I now know it’s controversial. Whatever…my kids both use one! We like the Mam brand that are flat on the  front so if they are sleeping on you or something the binky doesn’t Jan them in the face.  Get plenty. These things will grow legs and walk off I swear, so you want to have lots of then around!  Also, once they get older, Mam has a larger size.



Burp Cloths.  However many you think you need, get double. Then probably double it again. If your kid spits up as much as BB did with his reflux, you need lots to avoid doing laundry three times a day! Our favorite are the ones that are actually cloth diapers. We have done of those that people sewed cute material down the middle and some that are just plain cloth diapers. They seem to be the most absorbent.

Plenty of bottles. If you are feeding with a bottle, get plenty.  I would have at least 6 or more.  When you are exhausted and finally get that baby to sleep, you do not want to have to wash bottles all the time in order to feed him or her again in 3 hours.  As for type, both my kids have done well with the Medela bottles.

Sleepers or gowns that are easy to get in and out of in the dark.  Confession: My kids do not look like they are from Baby Gap. But sleepers keep them warm and cozy and are easy to get off and on. Unless they have buttons, which are the devil. Sleepers with zippers is the way to go.  With LL, we got some cute sleeping gowns that work great, until the baby gets too tall and their poor feet stick out and get cold.  But for a couple months, I loved these!

Husband’s cousin got us this adorable gown from Etsy


Something your kid will sit in. Swing, bouncer, mamaroo, nap nanny, we have tried it all. Probably the best liked and most convenient for us is the boppy newborn napper or the chair that disconnects from our swing.  Whatever works, just get something where your kid will sit so you can have two hands for  things like cooking or going to the bathroom.

Swaddle blankets. My sweet friend, Britt, told me to get Aiden and Anias bamboo swaddle blankets and not bother with anything else.  As usual, she was right. We love them. They are great for swaddling but also just as blankets especially in the summer or if your kid is hot natured.
Car seat cover.  If you have a winter baby, get one of these for sure.  I did not have one with BB, but got one with LL and it’s the absolute best.  Mine cost less than $20 from Amazon.  It fits on the car seat so you do not have to take it on and off, plus you can put th cover down over baby’s face when you are out in the cold or in public with germy people.



Gas drops. Baby gas is no freaking joke. Whoever invented these deserves the Nobel Prize. They are a must have in your cabinet for the first couple months of life.