Lost and Found: My Testimony

Some church sermons hit me harder than others. There are always great messages from our pastor but this past Sunday was one of those messages that left me thinking “man, I needed to hear that 10 years ago”.

God has definitely worked in my life in my 33 years even when I wasn’t listening or when I was flat out disobeying Him, which I have done a lot of.

Our pastor spoke of a very famous rock song of the 70s, “Highway to Hell”. I could totally relate to this particular message because for a long time, I was on the highway. God tells us in Matthew 7:13:You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” While I was so busy “having fun” in my 20s, I didn’t realize the path I was on. The worst part is I don’t even think I cared. I was selfish and lost and completely unhappy. Sometimes I wonder how I survived that time of my life.

I wasn’t raised that way. In fact, I grew up going to church and ever Bible school around. My grandparents were the definition of God fearing Christians. I remember as a child always hearing hymns being played in their house.

When I went off to college, I was in such a culture shock. This little girl from the middle of nowhere Kentucky went off to college (albeit a local college) and was given total freedom. I was not prepared. It didn’t take long for me to get lost in the partying and drinking. I am naturally very shy, so I would drink to “loosen up” and have the confidence (false confidence) to talk to people. I just wanted to fit in. But fit into what?

Most of my 20s was spent in this state. I was on that broad highway to hell. It wasn’t until I finally realized that something needed to change and moved home to my mom’s house in 2011. Talk about change. 27 and living with my mom. I’m so blessed to have family that took me in so I could re-evaluate my life.

I began going to church again on Sundays and remembering the important things. I started working on my relationship with God and spending time with family. I also worked on finding who the heck Laura was. I realized I was a child of God and that I truly needed Him and his Son in my life.

Fast forward to Spring of 2012 when I moved to Evansville with my future husband. After we were married and had our twins, we began going to church regularly. We found our church home and I loved it. I remember one Sunday in particular, we watched as several people were baptized. I got super emotional when I realized that was what I wanted. I went home and prayed about it. I asked Him for forgiveness for all that I had done and I knew I wanted Him in my life. A few months later, I stood in that same pool and publicly proclaimed Jesus Christ as my Savior.

What has God done in my life? Well, for me, he kept me alive while I was on the wrong path. He loved me despite all the sinful things I was doing and all the self-sabotaging behavior. He brought an amazing man into my life when His timing was right. He has given me beautiful children and a beautiful life. He has given me forgiveness and grace. So much grace. And he is teaching me to give myself the same.

Is life perfect since I’ve been saved? Um, no. That’s not how it works. Perfection doesn’t exist but His love does. And His promises are real. I go through trials and tribulations. Before I would sulk and feel sorry for myself. Now, I go to God. I give it all to Him. And I know that everything will be good. I am surrounding myself with people who lift me up and encourage me to dive deeper into my faith.

I can’t tell you what He will do for you. I can only share my story. If you feel like you are on the wrong road and want to chat, I would love to hear your story.

 

 

 

Friday Favorites

The Honest Company

(Some links below are affiliate or business links where I may be compensated for your purchase. )

I love products! I know, I know, who doesn’t?

I have decided that periodically, I will post some of my favorite products on Fridays. Fun, right?! So let’s get started…here’s my first Friday Favorites!

Before I became a mom, my drawers and cabinets were full of different products. I was the opposite of a simplistic person. I would spend tons of money at Sephora and other stores to try the latest product. I never cared or knew anything about what was in the products. Carcinogens in my makeup? No way! Chemicals in my whitening strips? Who cares?

Fast forward to today. Last year, I started to become aware to the foods I was putting in my body. Along with that, I began learning that it’s not just food that we have to look out for. Every day, we put products on our bodies (or in our bodies) and we have no idea what is really on the ingredient list. Some of this things are down right dangerous.

Let me preface this by saying that my home is in no way 100% clean and free of harmful products. I am learning new things and researching. Along the way, I have found some awesome products and I would love to share those with you!

1) Ameo toothpaste. I used to be obsessed with whitening strips. I searched for a safe whitening toothpaste that actually works and I found that with this product. Tastes great, not an overpowering taste (which is awesome when you are pregnant) and I feel safe letting my little ones use it as well.

2) Beautycounter Nourishing Cleansing Balm. This product is incredibly hydrating. Use it nightly to remove makeup. When my skin feel extra dry, I use it as a nightly mask and remove it in the morning and my face feels so soft. Bonus: it comes with a reusable 100% muslin cloth that’s softer and easier on your skin than a traditional washcloth.

3) Ameo essential oils. I used to think essential oils were crazy. Ameo oils can be using aromatically, topically or internally. Not all essential oils are created equally so it’s important to do your research as not all can be ingested, but these can. My favorite to use is lavender. If I’m having trouble sleeping or the girls are really grumpy before bedtime, I put some lavender oil on our feet and we sleep so much better.

4) Honest Company bath products.

Love these products. I have used the body oil on myself and my daughter’s eczema. I use the bath products on the girls. The lavender body wash and lotion smell fantastic! I haven’t tried the diapers yet, but I will.

5) Coconut oil. I use coconut oil so much for cooking and topically. Any dry patches I have on my skin, I apply coconut oil. Boo boos on the littles, I apply coconut oil. Dry ends of my hair, I apply coconut oil. Growing belly bump, I apply coconut oil. I’m one of those momma’s that believe breastmilk and coconut oil are cures for all that ails us.

6) Beautycounter Nourishing Cream Exfoliator. An exfoliator is so important to use.  What I love about this particular one is that it does the job without being abrasive leaving my face super smooth.

 

What are some of your favorite must have products?

If you haven’t checked out EWG I highly recommend it. The Environmental Working Group tests different brands of cosmetics and other products for carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. It’s a great place to start learning what is in individual products and the possible effects they make have on us and our children.

**If there any products you think I should check out or you have your own and would like to collaborate, comment below or email me at lauranau17@gmail.com

37 Week Bumpdate

Hello 37 weeks!

This week is week 37 of my pregnancy. Just like with the twins, this pregnancy is flying by. We are so excited to meet her soon. In less than 3 weeks, we will be bring home our newest addition!!

 

Here is my 37 week bumpdate:

Weight Gain: 27 lbs. (I’m getting close to what I gained with the girls)

Cravings: My cravings have pretty much subsided now. I guess since the baby is getting so big, I’m not as hungry as I was before. Plus, my acid reflux has kept me from wanting to eat too much.

Sleep: Still not getting any! Waking every hour on the hour is definitely for the birds.

Mood: Hello mood swings! If you read my Mommy Meltdown post then you know that I’ve been a bit on the moody side. I’ve also been super emotional. I had to fight back the tears at church this past Sunday because they put the decaf coffee away earlier than usual. Seriously?!

Movement: She is still a wild animal. She has also been having the hiccups every day which is such a crazy feeling.

Dilation: I went in today and I’m not even 1 cm dilated. I definitely haven’t progressed as much as we had hoped, so fingers crossed that next week, things start moving.

Birth plan: I am hoping for a VBAC this time. I received my VBAC consent form today. That just makes the entire process that much more real. If my body doesn’t cooperate then I am prepared for a Csection again. As long as our baby girl is brought into this world safe and healthy, the means of delivery aren’t that important to me anymore.

Any other preggo mamas out there? I’d love to hear how you are feeling! Comment or message me!

Mommy Meltdown

Last week was one of those weeks. Not a bad day, but the entire week was rotten. We were all just “off”. Ever have one of those weeks?

By Wednesday, I was over it. I’m usually pretty good at keeping my cool. Well, goodish. (Yea, I know that’s not a real word) By the time my husband got home, I was on another level. Maybe it was exhaustion. Maybe it was pregnancy hormones. Whatever it was, I know he was not prepared for what he was coming home to.

I was finishing dinner and yelling about everything. Not one of my finer moments. Finally, I just went to the bathroom, slammed the door, locked it, and got in the shower in hopes of escaping for a few moments. I cried. I cried harder than I had cried in a long time. In the meantime, one of the girls camped out on the other side of the door, kicking and screaming for Mommy. I cried more.

I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I was hormonal. I cried because I was desperate for some quiet time to myself. I cried because I had no idea what I was doing or how I could make the littles get along and stop biting and pulling each other’s hair. I cried because I felt like such a bad mom for losing my cool.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

I love my children more than anything but seriously they can be such turds! Toddlers are turds. Plain and simple. And this season in life is tough. In a few weeks, I will be the mom to 3  girls, 3 and under. I’m sure I will have more of those days because this season is so dang hard.

One thing I’m learning is to give myself GRACE. And I’m not great at that. I’m doing the best I can to keep us all afloat during the days when I just want hide. I have days that I text my husband “when you get home, I’m running away.” Of course I’m not totally serious. I mean, I’d come back before bedtime. I’m not perfect. Heck, no mom is. We are all just doing the best we can. My only hope is that my Mommy meltdowns don’t traumatize them too much. And if it does, I guess that’s what therapy is for, right?!

 

“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.” Ricki Lake

My Journey Breastfeeding Twins

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When I first found out that I was pregnant in 2014, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I did a bit of research and talked with my sister (who was one of the very few breastfeeding mamas I knew at the time) about the breastfeeding journey. When I found out I was pregnant with twins 2 weeks after, I began to wonder if I would be able to do it. Everything I had read up to that point wasn’t very supportive, but I am quite stubborn so I said “I will breastfeed my twins and I don’t care how hard people tell me it will be.”

What a journey it has been..Immediately following my C-section, I was wheeled into recovery and these sweet little girls were placed on my chest for the first time. The nurses helped them latch and they stayed latched for almost 3 years.

I remember being in the hospital and every 2 hours, it would be time to nurse. I would nurse the girls (tandem, which was sooo dang hard with 2 teeny, tiny babies), pump, give them my colostrum, or what we liked to call “liquid gold” with a syringe and then bottle feed them donor milk from the nursery. I was so happy and blessed to know that there were sweet, generous mothers out there that would donate their milk to little babies like mine. This process seemed to take forever each time, but I was determined to do it.

Once we got home, the twins and I camped out in the living room for the first 3 months. The girls were pretty small (birth weight for Baby A was 5 lbs 10 oz and Baby B 4 lbs and 14 oz, both being much smaller when we left the hospital) so I knew that we had to nurse every 2 hours, no excuses. Every 2 hours, I would wake one baby, nurse her for probably 15-20 minutes, lay her down, wake her sister, do the same, then pump for about 20 minutes. I would then lay down, sometimes after eating a gigantic turkey sandwich and chugging a bunch of water, close my eyes for maybe an hour and then do it all over again.

I was beyond exhausted. I was more tired than I had ever been in my entire life. I’ve heard people say that their babies started sleeping through the night at this age or that age. Not these girls! They loved that boobie milk. Sometimes they would go 3 or 4 hours of straight sleep, but that was very rare. I would be lying if I said the first year with twins wasn’t a blur. There were so many tears, mostly from me I think. It was difficult, but I would look at those tiny faces and remember how absolutely blessed I was. They say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I was genuinely shocked at how much He trusted me.

I thought that at 1 year, I would begin weaning. I felt some pressure to do it. My family never pressured me, but I guess hearing some many opinions, especially on social media, I thought, well maybe it’s time.

I remember sitting in the exam room at the girls’ 12 month check up and crying because I didn’t want to wean them yet. I knew in my heart that they weren’t ready and it just didn’t feel like the right decision to make. Our pediatrician was very supportive and told me that I didn’t have to stop if we weren’t ready. My husband agreed and I said “let’s get to 18 months”.

Eighteen months came and went and the next thing I knew we were still nursing at 2 years old. I looked into gentle weaning and half-tried different methods without success. To be honest, I was just too lazy to give any method a real try because I like to sleep. We were co-sleeping and it was just so much easier to let them nurse when they wanted and Mommy could still sleep.

When the girls were almost 28 months old, my husband and I decided to start trying for another baby. Coincidentally, that same month was the return of my period. Yes, it took that long for mine to return. I wasn’t complaining though. As luck would have it, I got pregnant that very same month. Now, I found myself pregnant and still nursing twins. That was when I decided I was 100% ready to end the journey. I wanted to have my body to myself for a bit before I began nursing another child and quite frankly I wasn’t prepared to nurse 3 kiddos.

I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about how we would make this transition. In May, our sweet Carley took a tumble and bit a pretty big gash in her tongue that prevented her from eating solid foods and nursing. This was not the way I wanted her to wean, but it just happened. The first two nights were pretty rough on her, but then by night 3 she had stopped trying. 

Then we were left with only Sophie nursing. Both girls are stubborn, but Sophie may be the most stubborn. If she wanted to nurse, you better deliver. Not questions. No hesitations. Give her the boob and no one gets hurt. She had been only nursing once to go to sleep and then once during the night. All of a sudden, she was waking every couple hours to nurse. One day, 2 weeks ago, she said, “Mommy, I nursed and your milk tasted so yummy!” Oh boy, I was not prepared for that. I can only assume that my milk was changing in preparation for the new baby. I knew that if I continued letting her have the yummy milk then I would for sure be following her to college.

I decided to try something that I hadn’t tried before. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I sat her down and told her that Mommy’s boobies had boo-boos. Yes, I told my almost 3 year old a little white lie. I had put band aids on my boobs because I knew she would ask to see said boo-boos. I told her that she wouldn’t be able to nurse that night. We talked about it a couple more times throughout the day.

Then the moment of truth came. Bedtime. Our routine had always been. Lay down. Say our prayers. Say “I love you”. Pull out boobie and nurse. Sophie said, “Mommy boobie hurt, no nurse.” She laid next to me, whispered her prayers two more times and then rolled over.

That was it. Just like that our breastfeeding journey had come to an end. The next night was a rough one, but we made it through and she has been weaned for 2.5 weeks now.

Breastfeeding twins has not always been easy, but for us, it was the best decision we could make. The right decision for OUR family. Breastfeeding my sweet girls was definitely an adventure, but one that I am so grateful I was able to do. Yes, there were so many sleepless nights, but you forget how tired you were and instead remember how sweet those rare, quiet moments were at 3 am when the rest of the world was sleeping.

If you are needing encouragement through your journey, I am here. I am no expert. I’m just a Mom that’s been there and done that and want other Moms to know that I care and support you.

Mommy’s Hospital Bag Checklist

It’s that time! Time to for this Mama to start packing that hospital bag.

With the twins, I had a scheduled C-section at 37 weeks due to blood pressure issues. Of course, I could have gone into spontaneous labor before that time, so I had my bag packed just in case. This pregnancy has gone by even faster than the last, so I feel like I should get that bag ready. Plus, with the combination of mom brain and pregnancy brain, if I don’t do it this week, it may never get done.

I put together a Hospital bag checklist to share with you of what I will be packing for myself, husband, and baby. Feel free to print off and use for yourself.

I will tell you that as far as the baby stuff on my list, the hospital actually provided diapers and swaddles. We didn’t use clothes for the girls because they had jaundice and were wrapped up like glow-worms our entire stay. If you want your baby to have a pacifier, I would pack your own. Most hospitals don’t provide those.

When I’m packing for a vacation, I always over pack, but when it comes to the hospital stay, I believe in simplicity. As long as I look semi presentable for pictures, (yes, I pack make up with my toiletries. Hospital lighting isn’t the best) then I am good to go. And don’t forget the dry shampoo! A mom’s best friend for sure!

I definitely don’t recommend stressing out too much about the contents of your hospital bag. If you forget something, most likely the hospital has it or hopefully a loved one can run to the nearest Target and pick it up. The hospital stay is so crazy and such a whirlwind. You don’t need a lot.

Do you want a super cute printable of my hospital checklist? Click here!

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