A Few of My Favorite (Baby) Things [Part One]

After I birthed my fifth baby, exactly five years ago, my husband and I thought that we’d never have any more babies.

Fast forward to our fifth baby’s second birthday and I found myself drowning in tears from both weaning her and deciding the baby items should (finally) go.

So…we donated everything. Everything except for the crib, that is.

Much to our grand surprise, last August we found out we were expecting number six!

He uncharacteristically rejoiced.

I panicked.

We had to start from scratch again. And, knowing right well that mamas of nearly six children do not get baby showers, no matter how in need, I started saving up.

I was shocked at how much had changed in the way of baby gear since having our fifth.

This time around, I was determined to have the best time ever researching items and getting rather large boxes in the mail.

Testing out new and unusual baby items is like an addictive drug to me. I adore bypassing the “norm” and going right for the lesser known items.

Here are my new, favorite, baby must haves:

Mumbelli

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Mumbelli is a name you may not have heard yet.

Created by a very sleep-deprived mama, this is the only womb-like portable bed on the market!

Each Mumbelli bed comes with a fabric carry case, an adjustable Velcro barrier, an acid reflux wedge, a removable mattress, and is completely washable! *(Score!)

This is the perfect baby sleeper for newborns, ages 0-3 months.

Price: $129 US (price has increased by $20 since I purchased mine back in April 2019)

Graco Dream Glider Sleeper Swing

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Before the big Fisher Price Rock and Play recall, I was already on the hunt for another co-sleeping option for our bedroom.

While I loved the Rock and Play for those early months with our baby girls, I was excited to try something new. Something that could be used far beyond that newborn period.

This was and is that product. However, it’s not flawless. I have some beef with this product, no matter how much we’ve loved it.

The upsides: It has three recline settings, six speeds, music and white noise sounds, and vibration. It also comes with a detachable mobile, and is machine washable.

When baby outgrows it as a bed, it doubles as a baby swing. Huge bonus.

The downsides: It’s rather a girthy item. It’s not recommended for a bedside that is lacking in space. I had to reconfigure our own room in order to accommodate it bedside, but we made it work.

Furthermore, every positive thing I listed above, also double as downsides to this product. The speed on 1 can be gentle, or sometimes, in the middle of the night, I would see it just completely almost blast off into outer space. It would scare the life outta me to jump awake at 2am and see my two week old about to make history as the first baby in space.

I’ve never used the speed beyond level 2 because, it’s frankly quite scary.

It’s not a quiet product. But, the noise it makes when it’s rocking can become the best white noise for baby.

Unfortunately, the music is annoying and the white noise is just garbage.

However, while I wouldn’t give this product five stars, I’d definitely recommend it for any parent that wants to double up on an infant bedside option and a swing.

Price: $130-$170 (depending on retailer and fabric theme you choose).

Evenflo Pivot System

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Hands down, THE BEST product I’ve EVER purchased for any of my babies.

This forever Graco mama has now moved to the Evenflo side of things with this zero-regret purchase.

Worth every penny, Mama’s.

The Pivot system is so versatile and easy to use, and the fact that it’s style rivals that of more high-profile brands is a humongous win!

This amazing travel system comes in many stylish colors, strolls like a dream, and the pivot feature on the bassinet is just pure love.

Even my husband loves it. And, when my husband loves something enough to mention it verbally, you know it’s gotta be good.

I can’t say enough about this product. This is the MUST HAVE out of all must haves.

Price: $279 US (I used a 20% off Buy Buy Baby coupon to bring the total down about $50).

Infantino Cuddle-Up Carrier

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I’ve had my fair share of baby-wearers over the years. From the infamous Moby to Mei Tei’s and the like, none of those have been as good to me as this Infantino Cuddle-Up.

I love all of the support it gives my body. There’s waist support, extra arm and shoulder support, and a removable hoodie for those hot summer days or cool, blustery mornings when baby needs some additional protection.

It’s easy to put on and remove, and you don’t need to watch any YouTube videos in order to figure it out. (HUGE bonus, am I right?)

Price: $39 US (Lesson learned: you don’t need to spend a ton to get a good, quality carrier that you’ll just adore!)

Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Entertainer

So, it’s a hard knock life out here in baby entertainer land.

I was bound and determined to find a baby entertainer that didn’t look like a daggone circus.

Let’s face facts: most entertainers are literal eye sores in your living spaces. And not only that, they make the most hideous noises imaginable.

This product is the opposite of that.

While it’s a bit of a boon on the old wallet, it’s truly a grow-with-me experience for baby.

The adjustable foot platform doubles as a chalkboard. Yes, a real chalkboard. I know. Amazing, right? And this chalkboard will pop right into the chair bit of the entertainer and the entire apparatus will transform into the cutest kiddie table you ever saw.

The toys are easily removable and can be reconfigured with so much ease, you could do it with your eyes closed.

And speaking of eyes, it goes easy on those, as well. Because, quite simply, this entertainer is anything but another eye-sore circus show like 99% of the entertainers on the market.

The only downside is that I wish the table automatically came with the little stools needed for the toddler table it eventually becomes. For the price, it would’ve been fantastic to include those. But, I digress. No matter, this product is wonderful.

Price: $130 US ( I got mine for $20 less on Amazon).

Do you have any of these items? What are your reviews? Share with us in the comment section, below!

*Part 2 (Diapering, feeding, and other necessities) will be posted very soon!

the spider.

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About ten days ago, a medium-sized spider came to nest at my bedroom window. 

 

Every morning since then, I would do my morning ritual, of pulling up the blinds, and there he would remain.  

 

Quiet. Steady. Waiting.  

 

I really didn’t pay him (or her) much mind; until this morning. 

 

As I stood at my window, wiping away tears cried over dwindling bank accounts and an endless bout of morning sickness, I could hear His voice. 

 

God wanted me to watch the spider. 

 

It was then that I realized that this eight-legged artist was sent by God, for me.

 

The spider didn’t budge.  

 

 

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Completely still. Fully content. Waiting for God’s provision.  

 

The spider was surrounded by a masterpiece. A reflection of his hard word and perseverance. 

 

As a master web-weaver, the spider’s God-given ability to create something so incredibly complex and beautiful, is quite a feat for something so small.  

 

The fact that he can’t even see the full picture of what he’s created, at least from our vantage point, is inspiring. 

 

As the spider trusted in the abilities God gave him long ago, he seemed to dance his familiar dance, and then: this masterpiece of effectiveness was born. A tool for God to use to provide for the little spider.

 

Only a tool. God does the providing.

 

For the little spider, there’s simply no time to admire his work. Now he must wait, as he stills himself to nothing more than a tiny breath, waiting on God. Waiting for that next provision.  

 

The same goes for our own lives.  

 

Such potentially beautiful and effective webs we weave, yet never seeing the full effect, we trust God’s vantage point as He gives us the abilities to further His Kingdom.  

 

I’ve lived my entire life as an unwavering arachnophobe. But, I guarantee you, I will never look at a spider the same way again.  

 

I wonder if he’ll be there tomorrow morning. I almost think he won’t be, having effectively taught me the lesson that needed teaching.  

 

Let me ask you:  

Do you have trouble waiting on the Lord? Trusting Him?  

What about actively using your embedded gifts and talents and giving the outcomes to God? 

 

Do you even know the gifts God has given you? You do have at least one, you know!  

 

If not, ask Him to reveal those to you today.  

 

And then wait. Wait for His answer. 

 

And always remember to do your very best, but allow God to do the rest.  

 

Be like the spider.  

 

Love, Alicia  

 

 

 

 

The Tomato: A Story About the Details

Last night, I was cranky.  

 

We had just gotten home from celebrating our soon-to-be-born niece at a baby shower. 

 

We brought home our older niece, this baby’s big sister, to have a sleepover with her cousins.

 

As I heard the giggles coming from our little ones down the hall, I felt myself becoming more and more the opposite of what I was hearing. 

 

I was completely, utterly frustrated.  

 

I was angry. Down. Depressed. 

 

Without going into detail, we’ve, once again, been finding ourselves severely attacked by Satan.  

 

We have found ourselves confused as we see others not struggling, others that have what we’ve asked for for years, and haven’t received.  

 

One of those things being, that we’ve dreamed about potentially adding on to the side of our house. More bedrooms, a much needed garage. Nothing fancy. Just basic.  

 

Now, for the past four weeks, as we leave our nook in the woods, we are greeted by the very addition that we want for our home, but cannot afford.  

 

The house directly across the street, newly remodled and purchased by a family of three, is building a very large, albeit, slightly overkill addition for their home. 

 

Its exactly what we’ve been hoping for. 

There’s more to why we feel this way. There’s a lot more I cannot tell you, and will be revealed in eternity. But, trust us, there’s several perfectly good reasons why we feel almost forgotten in the financial blessings department. 

 

So, we had this conversation about how it’s very difficult to see beyond this life. It’s very difficult to keep our eyes on an eternal reward we can’t effectively imagine.  

 

In fact, I have no idea what is waiting for us.

I’m sure it’s great. I’m sure it’s worth the struggle here, but it’s tough to trust that God still cares about the details when He doesn’t allow things for us, but for others. 

 

Do you ever feel this way?  

 *Click thru the photos.💗

Around 8PM, I was in the kitchen cutting a juicy, plump, fresh organic tomato.  

 

A warmth came over me. A familiar warmth.  

 

And I stopped cutting for about half a minute, allowing His Spirit to speak. 

 

I really saw the tomato for what it was. I mean really, really saw it. With spiritual eyes. 

 

A beautiful, detailed, amazing creation of God. 

 

It was full of purpose, beauty, and provision.  

 

If God can care about the details of a tomato, surely He even more so cares about the details of my life.

 

Of your life. 

 

But He went on further.  

 

The redness of the fruit: representing the freedom found in the shedding of His blood. 

 

The fruit itself: a representation of how He is the vine and we are the branches. We have the ability to bear fruit.

 

Tomatoes grow on vines. Are you actively growing thru your times of struggle?

 

It’s easy to grow when it rains, but what about times of drought? Are you willing to allow the elements to dry up your fruit?  

 

The seeds inside the tomato: a representation of duplication. 

 

Are you trying to actively duplicate yourself, starting first with your family, and then with your communities? Making disciples of Christ is what we are called to do. No matter if we’re in the valley or on the mountain top. 

 

Purpose. 

 

Cared for. 

 

Perfectly loved and designed to nourish the lives of others. 

 

I must say, I was so thankful for the reminder in this little tomato.

 

I was thankful for the reminder that God, always, always, always cares about the details of our lives.  

 

Why? 

 

Because He’s a detailed God.  

 

He’s an orderly God.  

 

And He certainly never ceases to show us His perfect love, even when we don’t remotely perfectly understand.