Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

Babes in Toyland July 31, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Emma — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

When we had Emma, we knew she would get a lot of toys from us and from friends and family. And maybe from some strangers, too. There’s something about giving toys to babies that is addictive. Let’s not lie- there are a TON of cute toys out there for kids that serve so many different purposes. It blows my mind the options you have. If you dream up a toy, I’m sure it’s out there or it will be created very soon. JR and I were talking shortly after we got our iphones about how cute it would be to have something to put our iphones in since Emma loves to play with them and guess what? Fisherprice created such a thing! I’m not going to lie- we bought into this one and got one for Emma for her birthday. It simply offers a protective casing for your phone and an easier way for your child to hold onto them. We’ll have to let you know how it works come August 24th. Emma plays with our phones on a regular basis and has already broken two of my cases so I figured, “why not?” With that being said, I wanted to go over a combination of Emma’s favorite toys as well as our favorite toys for her:

*Binky and Savannah (stuffed animals)- Binky should go without saying. She goes everywhere we go but she usually stays in car when we’re places she might get lost (the store, daycare, etc). Binky is always with us when we are taking naps and at bedtime. It’s just an understood thing. She reaches out for Binky any time she’s tired and there’s nothing like it to take its place. I can’t tell you the countless times we’ve had that “sick-at-my-stomach” and “I’m-going-to-vomit” moments when we thought we’ve lost Binky. One time, we went out for the day and panicked because we couldn’t find Binky. We couldn’t get home fast enough. Luckily, she was on the den floor and Allie hadn’t bothered her. Two miracles in one day! We bought back up Binkys, too. I personally think Emma will know the difference but JR is certain he can fool her. You all will know how that went down if you find a Binky in one of your baby gifts. Ha! Savannah is her second in command. We bought Savannah when we were on vacation this summer in Savannah, Georgia, and she loves her, too. She’s about the same size as Binky and I can’t decide it they’re good friends or competing with one another. Either way, they both have Emma’s love and she spends a lot of time playing with them. Unfortunately, however, Savannah is one eye short as Allie did find her. Allie always goes for the eyes first and Savannah didn’t make it out unharmed.

*Sophie the Giraffe- this giraffe rocks my socks off. First off, it’s French. It won in my book right off the bat, but it took some convincing for Emma. We got it as a gift and for several months Emma never gave it a second thought. We would bring it places in her diaper bag and try to offer it to her. One day, we noticed Sophie was missing and we panicked. Where could she be? And let me tell you, Sophie isn’t cheap. Losing Sophie rocked our world and I racked my brain for days. The last place we had Sophie was at church so I decided to visit the nursery in hopes that someone had seen her. Sure enough, Sophie was waiting for us in the toy bin with her highlighter marks and all (don’t ask how I did that…). About two months ago, when Emma was first getting teeth, she met Sophie for the first time. Apparently, she’s great for sore gums and her squeaking makes her extra fun. Who knew? So now Emma chews on Sophie and Allie wants her. This is our life- our child and our dog will be sharing toys for the rest of their lives.

*Shape blocks- When Emma was just a wee bit, probably 4-6 weeks old, we received a set of shaped blocks that go into a little container with one condition- we didn’t use them until she was age appropriate. Someone used them for a project and didn’t need them as they had much older kids but didn’t want to cause Emma harm by giving them to her too early. So, as they requested, we waited until she was 6 months old and then gave them to her. She LOVES them. It’s hilarious to watch her attempt to put her blocks into the container- she still hasn’t figured out the shape part completely. Whenever she gets fed up, she just sticks them back in the area where you pull them out. I guess that’s easier. She also hides her paby there. I can’t tell you how many pabys have mysteriously disappeared and then reappeared…when she plays with her blocks. Crazy child.

*Books- Emma loves a good book. She’s not sure she loves to read them yet but we’re getting there. The other night I tried to read a book to her in French and she could care last about what I was saying but was way more infatuated with the idea that the pages moved. With this, cards come as an equally liked toy. For my birthday, our great friends Darren & Anna got me a card that sings music from The Little Mermaid. My FAVORITE. Apparently, it’s her favorite, too. When she opens it up, her face and eyes light up like she’s found a long lost friend and the best toy known to man. It amazes me that she knows how to open and close it over and over again and that makes the music play. How are kids this smart? It’s beyond me.

*Random stuff- Emma plays with some serious random things. She likes napkins. And cups. And my bracelets. Her more recent fetish is Allie’s water bowl. She has poured it on herself once and attempted to drink it, but failed, multiple times. I dread the day I come in and she’s taken a sip or two. I pray this day never happens. It really makes me cringe to even think about it. We took JR out for Father’s Day to Mellow Mushroom and Emma played with her napkins and straw papers for what seemed like hours. Give her these and she’s set for life. It cracks me up that we try to invest so much in toys that will change our child’s life and teach them all kinds of things when it’s the simple things that they love. It truly makes no sense to me but I’m glad these things make her happy. And I’m glad she can keep herself entertained with her imagination. It means a WHOLE lot to this momma. Along with these random toys, she considers her toothbrush to be one, too. When you’re a teething baby, there’s nothing quite like brushing your teeth to ease your discomfort. She could let me do this for hours.

There are other toys that Emma loves and she also plays with her battery-operated toys. I don’t mind these but they can get expensive so they’re not on the top of the list of toys that she plays with all the time. And to be honest, they’re not her favorite. It seems she gravitates more towards the other toys, which doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

These are a few of Emma’s favorite toys as well as mine. What are the favorite toys your child has, for you and for them?

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The Bottomless Pit July 30, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Emma — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

When Emma was still in vitro, I found my dream diaper bag. I loved it. I would visit Target regularly to check it and make sure it hadn’t gone on clearance. No such luck. Then one day I was browsing on Baby Steals and voila! There was my diaper bag for HALF PRICE. I scooped it right up and when it arrived, I packed it right away. I knew we would need it at the hospital so I thought the sooner it was packed the better. It sat in Emma’s room for about 4 1/2 months waiting on her arrival. Yes, I’m a little anal about stuff like this.

Emma arrived and along with it came everything we thought we needed in her diaper bag. Can I tell you that it would not fit in my dream bag? I tried and tried. We would stuff it so full and it would never zip. Finally my husband had enough. He traded out my diaper bag with his man bag. I was leery at first and then let my guard down. This bag fit everything in it AND had room for more! Wow! That’s just nuts to me- my husband was right and I was wrong! Document this as the first and last time. Ha! Anyways, we have finally got to the point we don’t need as much and have gone back to the good ole faithful bag that I fell in love with so long ago. JR still doesn’t agree so we leave his bag in his truck as a back up. It makes him feel better even though we don’t use it. We are currently on the hunt for an even smaller bag so any suggestions you all have would be greatly appreciated. I love the Ju-Ju-Be brand but just can’t get my cheap self to pay those prices. Ouch! We have learned overtime that we don’t need quite as much as we thought we did and I’ve included a list of essential items to carry around in your diaper bag for mom and for baby:

*Diapers & Wipes- This is an essential. You always need to be prepared to change a diaper, even if you’re only going to be gone for 5 minutes because that will be the 5 minutes that your child has a huge blowout. We always try to pack more than we’ll need just in case we’re out longer than we expected. This would be true of those of you who use cloth diapers, too. You can bring these and a wet bag to store them in or you could always have disposable diapers for on the go moments.

*Toys- Everyone once in awhile we need something to entertain Emma. Mostly she entertains herself with what’s around but sometimes it’s good to have things prepared. We try to keep about 2 small toys in her diaper bag that are easy to wash off. This way if they’re dropped we can take care of it quick. We don’t usually bring toys that take batteries as that’s even more work to keep up with and who has time for that when you’re on the go? Not us.

*Blanket- We got some amazing blankets that I’ve talked about on here more times than I can count, but I thought I’d bring it up once more since it’s something that we carry regularly in the diaper bag. We have four different ones so as soon as one gets dirty we are able to switch it out pretty quickly. We are able to use it on cold days or when we want to play outside or somewhere we don’t want her to sit on the floor. It’s good for all kinds of things and is so comfortable. She loves the texture and it works great to keep around- I think we’ll keep doing that for at least a few more months.

*Pabys- As you know, Emma loves her paby. It’s one of her favorites. Since they make more than one and she is willing to take more than one, we carry them in a little bag inside her diaper bag. This come in handy when one drops somewhere we won’t pick it back up. Also, she gets mad sometimes and throws it in the car and we can’t reach it but we can always reach the back up bag, thank goodness! It’s also good for days when we’re in a hurry, Emma’s talking a mile a minute, and then we run out of the house without a paby. The back up always wins and doesn’t take up much space. Double win.

*Snacks- There are times that we don’t have food for Emma as it’s not time for her to eat but she gets hungry. It’s good to have something to help her hold on until meal time so we carry snacks. We have a little plastic container full of her organic puffs that we keep in her bag and let me tell you, puffs go a LONG way. That little container of puffs lasts forever. We also make sure to have water. Emma loves water more than anything else and it’s good for her, in moderation of course. I can’t tell you how many times the back up snacks have saved us in a crisis where we didn’t have anything else to make Emma happy. Long live the puffs and long live the happy baby. Let me note here that if we’re gone for more than a few hours, we bring a bottle, any solids we may need, and water. We try to be ready in case the places we go are not.

*Change of clothes- This is one item that we don’t need as many as we use to but we still need them on occasion in case of a random accident. We try to keep an outfit that is good for cold or hot weather. During the summertime, we’re doing leggings and a short sleeve shirt. We’ve had to use this outfit once or twice so far and it’s been so helpful.

*Hand Sanitizer & Tissues- Emma has been known to have a runny nose or two. I have been known to have these myself. It’s always good to have some spare tissues in case there’s ever the need. I can’t tell you how many times having these have saved us from being up a creek. There are some things you just don’t want to bring home on a bib. That’s what the tissues are for and thank goodness! On the other end of that, carry around some hand sanitizer. You’ll be so glad you did.

*Bib- Emma is a messy eater. When you pull out something that’s bright purple, it’s on. For that, we always go to the bib. There’s nothing like prunes all over a nice, pretty dress. I understand there will be times when messes just happen but if I can help it, that’s what I’ll do. Do I wash the bib every time she uses it? Nope. It’s been known to get pretty nasty before trading it in for a new one. Thank goodness for stain remover. Can I get an amen?

*Book- The last thing we try to carry is a book. Emma needs continued education and whenever we have a spare moment of time, we try to pull it out and read it to her. It can be the same book over and over but I like to use her books from Dolly. She gets a new one every month, so we just replace the old one with this new one. It’s a good reminder to trade out and also offers her some variety.

We are currently in the process of upgrading our diaper and moving to a smaller one. Will all these items stay? Probably not. But this is what we currently carry and what makes life on the go just a little bit easier.

What have you found as a diaper bag necessity? Any recommendations for a smaller more suitable diaper bag as we enter the toddler stage?

 

Doctor Doctor! July 27, 2012

I hate that moment. You know the one. When you look at your child and you just see SICK. It’s one of the saddest things ever and scariest, too. When you have an infant, it adds a whole new level of concern to it all. Your baby can’t tell you what’s wrong. They can’t show you. And you better hope that you know what to do when you find your child in need of medical attention. Here’s a little lesson in the life of doctors at the Linkous house.

When Emma was first conceived, I knew right away who her doctor would be. I went to Dr. Makres at Bristol Pediatrics as a child. My parents trusted him with my life so why wouldn’t I do the same? When they asked us towards the end of my pregnancy who our pediatrician would be I didn’t even pause. Dr. Makres is who we picked and boy am I glad we picked him. Right after we had Emma, at 11:30 at night, Dr. Makres made his way to the hospital to check on our precious little girl and make sure all was well. Emma’s sugar levels were low so he began monitoring her right away and had her on an iv during her stay at the hospital. He checked her and other than this, all seemed well. The next morning, he was back bright and early. He found a tongue-tie and clipped her tongue, but first asked our permission. I loved how everything he did he consulted us first. I’m pretty sure this is standard and pretty much required, but he just made us feel involved as new parents. After this visit, he was back to check on her every few hours, including Sunday. He got there early in the morning to check her sugar levels and after verifying they were back to normal, gave us a time line to stay and once her sugars had been at that level for so long, we were allowed to go home. We were SO glad to go home but also so glad to have a doctor that cared enough about her to not just send her packing but continue to check on her throughout her stay at the hospital.

After a few well baby visits, we encountered our first real scare with Emma. While she was sleeping in her swing during the night and she fell out. Talk about scared. We didn’t know what to do. I was crying, JR was fumbling around, and our next thought was to call Dr. Makres. We called the hot line number and were given his direct cell number. I wasn’t too sure how long it would take for him to call back after we left a message, but guess what? At 2 a.m. he picked up. He sent us to the ER right away but assured us that with her reaction she should be just fine. Guess what? He was right! This man is a pure genius. He let the ER doctor do all the basic check ups but called two separate times during our hour visit to make sure Emma was ok and that he didn’t need to come down as well. I love that kind of care. I’m sure he had to be at work bright and early the next morning but he took the time to check on his patient and her terrified parents. He made sure to check on us in the days to come, which meant the world to us. Have I said how much we love Dr. Makres?

Emma is also a daycare baby. Right now she’s in daycare two days a week but began at four days. We love where she goes and the fact that she’s with her aunt, but let’s be honest about one thing: daycare babies get sick a lot in the beginning. I felt like Emma was coughing and sneezing constantly and had an endless runny nose. Dr. Makres was quick to calm our nerves after visiting him about 20 times. He reminded us that the congestion would be constant for these first few months, as she had already come into contact with a cold. He also reminded us that we didn’t need to go to the doctor every two seconds or every time she sneezed. It would make more sense to stay at home than to expose her to all the other diseases awaiting her in the sick child room. He encouraged us to get a humidifier for her during the dry winter months and made it clear that unless her temperature spiked to 101.5, he didn’t want to see her in the office. Wow. It’s crazy to me how a doctor can care about his patients enough to tell them the truth than to take advantage of the money that comes in from visiting every two days. Does this mean we never go in? No. When Emma was about six months old, she developed RSV and he wanted to see her immediately. They took great care of her and had a follow up a week later to make sure she was improving. They also calmed our nerves as parents and reassured us that all would be ok.

The most recent episode we had was just a few weeks ago when Emma was teething for the 4th time (4th tooth). The first 3 came in wonderfully and we didn’t even notice them it went so smoothly. However, the fourth came in with a bang and wanted to be noticed. Emma’s temperature spiked to 100 and instead of panicking as normal, we sat back and waited. We remembered the advice our wonderful doctor gave us. There are some things that we can handle it at home. There are some things that just a little TLC can fix. We spent a lot of time loving on Emma and giving her some Tylenol to ease the pain and drop her temperature, and surely enough, within two days she was doing much better. We went through a few nights of difficult sleep but I think the storm has finally passed. Thank you, Dr. Makres, for saving us some money and also empowering us as parents. I can now see why my parents trusted you with my care and why I trust Emma’s with you as well.

What have you learned from your doctor and what good advice have you received from him/her?

 

Time for Baby July 26, 2012

When it’s time to go to the hospital, it is one of the most exciting times ever. I remember the morning we left to go have Emma. It was the most surreal experience leaving and realizing we would be returning WITH our baby. She would no longer be sleeping in my belly, but rather, in the pack n play beside our bed. It was absolute craziness. Along with that, I packed our diaper bag about four months before she arrived. I know, I’m nuts. I am OCD about several things and packing is one of them. Or at least it was. Since having Emma, I’ve had to be a little less compulsive about some things. Along with packing her bag and about all our belongings, there are several things that we needed and other things that we didn’t need. This is for all you moms-to-be and some ideas on what to pack and bring to the hospital during your special time of meeting your sweet little one. Let me note here that some of things would make wonderful gifts for friends you have that are expecting.

*Your boppy- I love my boppy. I loved it the most when I was in the hospital with Emma. I used it before she was born with all the awful back pain I had during my pregnancy. I used it afterwards for all the back pain I had as a side effect of labor and the awful bed I slept in during my time in the hospital. Talk about pain. I spent my first 2 weeks home from the hospital putting heating pads on my back and sleeping on my boppy. Even though I was hurting, this gave me extra support and was very comfortable. It also came in handy when I would nurse Emma. When you’re brand new to the world of baby, your arms get sore quick and the boppy added quite a bit of relief and supported her while she ate. It’s also good for bottle fed babies. I got both of mine for $5/each. I spent $10 on $60 worth of boppies. Long live the boppy!

*Snacks- we had great friends who brought us great snacks. We had some but nothing like this. From the moment my labor began until the moment it ended, it was about 15 hours total. 15 hours of not eating. By the time I finished, I was starved. Jordan and Farris had me chickfila waiting and I chowed down. And then I wanted more. I was thankful for all those snacks that showed up as well as the ones we had packed. I know JR was thankful for them, too. Insurance only covers (1) serving for every meal so JR had to share with me. We weren’t about to pay additional for hospital food. The snacks came in handy to go along with our meals and make them more filling.

*Extra clothes- when we went to the hospital, I was scheduled to begin my induction at 6am and we planned on being home no more than 2 days later. We went in on a Wednesday morning and got home on a Sunday evening. Talk about not being in the plan. We had to call in favors to my family to pick up clothes for JR as he had to wear the same outfit about 20 days in a row. I’m sure he was thankful. I got to wear the same gown for half of my stay so my clothes definitely lasted a lot longer.

*Pump- if you’re going to nurse and plan on pumping any at all, bring your pump along with you. I was expecting to have Emma and nurse non-stop but the reality is, your baby is going to be so sleepy. You think you’ll be tired? Think of all the hard work your little one is doing. This is your little one who spent a lot of time resting and is not use to all the hard work involved in delivery, much less entering a strange new world with twenty thousand special visitors.  My momma had to bring my pump for me so I could do this in between her feedings. It definitely helped me out. I remember running down the hall in excitement every time I had something to bring to the nurse’s station. Oh, the little things.

*Electronics- those first few moments of your child’s life are some of the most memorable as well as some of the easiest to capture. When you have twenty people coming in every five minutes, you have someone to hold baby while you snap pictures. You also have someone to take pictures for you of you and your precious family. A lot of hospitals won’t let you record the birth any more, but we were able to record the sound and our faces. We have Emma crying for the first time and then placing her on my chest on our flip video, which was awesome to have. I was so glad that JR brought it as it didn’t take a lot of effort to use. JR was able to video but also focus on me and help me out during delivery. I was a nervous wreck. I was throwing up every few seconds and crying in between. Thanks to the combination of anesthesia, nausea meds, and a last minute c-section. Plus pregnancy hormones. Shewy! Along with this, make sure to bring your chargers for these items and your phones. You definitely want to have these things charged well!

*Beautification items- this will be different based on the person. You need to bring something that makes you feel beautiful. I know one of the best parts of my morning was taking a shower. After laying in the bed all day and night, a good shower felt great. I would shower, pull my hair up, and put on a little make-up. It was enough to make me feel human again after having a baby. It’s crazy how much a catheter takes away your sense of humanity. Yuck. And no one tells you it’s going to hurt taking it out until they’re doing it. What’s up with that? I personally would like a little bit of a warning prior to 5 seconds before they rip out my insides, thank you.

*A journal- one of my favorite things I did for Emma was bring her journal to write in during our time in the hospital. I didn’t write in it every day, but I tried to write in it regularly during our stay at the hospital. I was exhausted after I had her, but I took 10 minutes to write down all my thoughts and emotions after having her. I knew it would be fresh and real, and wanted to share that with her. I want her to read it when she’s twenty and be able to feel and know how much I love her in what I wrote just a few minutes after she was born. It’s amazing how much you forget and are able to look back and remember when you write it down.

These are some of the suggestions JR and I have to give as well as things we will definitely bring next time. Do you have anything to add that you brought or wished you had brought to the hospital?

 

Splish, Splash July 25, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Emma — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

Splish, splash I was taking a bath…I sing this song to Emma almost every time we have a bath. The main reason? Emma almost always splashes in the tub. The other reason? We have fun in the tub. Some of my fondest memories so far have involved Emma and water. She loves it. Our first few experiences of having a bath were in the net of her baby bathtub without any water and a stinky umbilical cord. It was AWFUL. She hated bath time and we did, too. I was sad to think this would be our future in the world of bath time, especially with all the fun stories I have heard from other mommies and daddies. Then the day came when the cord came off and we were able to submerge Emma and at that moment she fell in love. A smile spread across her face so big we couldn’t believe it. We then realized that yes, the time in the bath would be fun and provide Emma with some awesome memories. Here are some things that we do with Emma that makes bath time extra fun and what bath time is all about at the Linkous house:

We take a bath with Emma. JR and I aren’t above jumping in the tub with Emma. In fact, she takes more baths with us than without us. We started this when we were terrified of her not being able to hold her head up and accidentally getting water in her mouth and ears. It just grew into her getting older and became a normal thing to do. We jump in and play along with her. It gives us additional time to bond with Emma during our day and gets to see the fun from her side of the tub, so to say. This doesn’t mean we’re always in the tub with her. Sometimes we put her in our sink and let her have bath time there, however, we’re still very involved in not just bathing her but also having fun and playing.

We take our time. We try not to rush this time as it’s one of Emma’s favorite times of the day. I think it might be what she considers her down time so we try to allow her this time. We let her take her time discovering the water, her toys, and anything else lying around the tub for her to play with and investigate. It’s a great time to unwind from our day and allow Emma time to relax and settle down in preparation for bedtime. You know how relaxing it is use to be to take a nice, hot bubble bath at night? Yea, I remember the good ole days. Every once in awhile, JR will take on all the nighttime responsibilities so I can soak in the tub. I love him a whole lot. It’s a lot to do nighttime at the Linkous house so this is a huge sacrifice he makes for me. Anyways, it has the same effect on a child. It just gives you time to wind down and breath. There were times the first few months that we would have to fight Emma to stay awake to eat after bath time.

We PLAY. Emma has several different toys for the tub but her favorite items are two plastic toys we got as a shower gift. She will just hold them and look and look at them trying to figure out what their purpose is in life. Whatever the purpose, Emma loves them and trying to take them away will surely create a hazardous environment. They usually follow us to the changing table afterwards. Emma has also discovered how to spray Allie with these toys which is hilarious to me, but not so much to Allie. Allie usually keeps her distance at bath time now except for the occasional dip in the tub to drink some bath water. Have I ever said that Allie is crazy? Because sometimes I think she is. Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t let Emma get all wrinkly and turn into a raisin, but we also give her enough time to enjoy the time she has in the tub. What fun is it to hop in and hop out?

We use healthy products for Emma. We want bath time to be fun and safe all around and that includes the products we use. We order a lot of our products from Vitacost and use this site to discover what products are paraben free, kind to animals, sensitive to baby skin, and more. It’s such a comfort to know that we’re using bath time items that keep our daughter safe and will hopefully promote a cancer free lifestyle for her along with several other health risks from using over processed items.

Memories are made. Emma has made so many memories in the tub and had a lot of “first” moments. One of the first times she held her head up was in the tub. She sat up by herself for the first time in the sink. The tub was also the first place she pulled up to stand. Crazy, huh? It must promote learning for children. I’m sure if we looked back in history, people like Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin spent a lot of time taking baths, too. Geniuses are born in a world of bath toys and bubbles. I won’t be surprised to see Emma begin walking in the tub.

We have a routine. We try to have bath time every night. Does this always happen? No. During the week of Amplify she had a bath ONCE at my momma’s house. I felt at first like we may be the worst parents ever and then I thought, there is no where else I’d rather her be than seeing lives changed at our church. If that meant no bath time, that was ok. It was for a better cause. For the most part, we have a routine of bath time/play time, drinking her bottle and eating her solids, and then going to bed. We’re trying to begin regularly reading her a book before bedtime but this is still a work in progress. I keep telling myself if we can do it for 3 weeks straight the habit has been made. We WILL make this goal. Dolly Parton is definitely helping us along the way. A routine is always helpful but we don’t stick to it so much so that Emma is in a tizzy if we don’t make it every night. We try to be flexible as our schedules are so busy and make Emma the type of child that goes with the flow. She gets this somewhat naturally. She is her father’s daughter, you know.

We hope Emma continues to love bath time as much as she does now. I can’t wait to see how much she continues to learn and explore as she gets older. I’ve been told on more than one occasion to prepare for her to drink her own bath water. I’m still working on a plan in my mind to keep this from happening, but I have a feeling her and Allie will be taking the team effort to accomplish this task. It still makes me queasy to think about but oh well. I guess it’s true that bad company corrupts good character. Thanks Allie, thanks a lot.

What do you enjoy about bath time with your little one? Is there anything you had to do to make them enjoy it a little more?

 

Twins! July 24, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Fashion,Embracing Everything Mommy — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

Let me start this post with NO, I am not pregnant with twins! Good grief, if I was pregnant at all I might be in the looney bin, not writing a post for this blog. God blesses us and never gives us more than we can handle, and twins right now would definitely be more than I could handle. On another note, I love to match Emma. I think it’s cute when we can put outfits together that coordinate. It’s super cute! The downside? It can be VERY expensive! There are several clothing companies that offer outfits that match/coordinate but it will be well over $100 to get JUST the outfits, not counting any accessories that go along with it! So today I’m going to share some ideas on how to match your sweet baby!

First, don’t make plans to go out and buy an outfit from start to finish. The whole point of this is to NOT spend more than $100, preferably not to spend any money at all. The way we work at the Linkous house is we work with what we have. Sometimes that isn’t much. That’s why we can match AND coordinate.I think it’s just a good rule to never go out and buy stuff “just because”. If you get stuff in advance, you can pay a much cheaper price and get more bang for your buck. I hate having buyer’s remorse and I always do after I pay full price for something. Always.

Second, go to your closet or your baby’s closet. Find an outfit that you like and play off that. I’ll start with Emma’s closet because her clothes are way cuter than mine.

Exhibit A: Cute orange & brown safari top/skirt. I LOVE this outfit. And am so jealous it’s not in my size. We got this as a gift from our friend, Anita. Her little boy, Kipton, was born 2 weeks before Emma. She is destined to marry him. It’s good he knows the way to her heart and is buying her clothes early. Smart man!

We don’t stop here. What would work with this outfit for Emma? I found some animal print leggings I got on clearance at Target back at Christmas time. Have I told you all lately that I love Target? Seriously, if it were a person I would marry it. That and King’s Produce which is another story. I have a wonderful brother who works at Target. I love him, too. He is always available for me to ask questions and helps me know where everything is located. What would I do without him, and Target?  Anyways- these leggings will work great with this outfit on a cool day or if we will be indoors in a chilly location. Shoes aren’t hard to come by at our house. Emma has about 20 pairs of shoes so I’ll grab one that coordinates and go with it. Lastly, a cute headband we were able to put together thanks to our friends, Jillian & Paige. Thanks girls! We love these headbands and how we can constantly switch out colors.

Exhibit B: Time to go to MY closet. Yikes. This could get scary, but I’m not giving up! As I begin to look through all I own, I see a white skirt peaking out from behind my jeans. That dress has orange at the bottom! Orange & white. Emma’s outfit is orange and white (and brown). Score! The wheels are turning and I decide to put a plan brown top with it. I love fitted tshirts. Remember my maternity post? Since it will be warm out and I get hot all the time, no need for a jacket (but if I decided that I need one- it would be my jean jacket. Everyone needs one!). I decide some simple shoes to go with it and decorating with jewelry is the way to go as well as throwing on one of Emma’s flower hair clips (thanks Emma!) to add some flare.

Voila! We match and it didn’t cost us a dime. What are your suggestions on matching and coordinating with your little one?

 

Blessed in Life July 23, 2012

Filed under: Embracing Everything Family,Embracing Everything Mommy — erinnlinkous @ 6:00 am

I awoke on Friday morning refreshed and ready for the day. My mood quickly changed in the time it took for me to turn on the news (I love to watch the Friday concerts on the Today Show) and see the tragedy that had taken place in Colorado. My heart broke for the people who had lost loved ones. For the people who lost their lives. For the people who felt guilt and remorse for having survived while others did not. It caused me to do a lot of soul searching in my own personal life and remember what was important, what mattered more than anything else and what I take for granted. I quickly came to the realization that despite some of the ups and downs, I am blessed in life. I thought I would give myself the opportunity to express the things in life that I am grateful for and encourage each of you to do the same.

*A relationship with my Lord and Savior- I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. He saved my life when I didn’t even know it needed saving and when I finally did realize it, He accepted me with open arms. I didn’t have to do anything more than admit that I was a sinner (and still am), believe that He died on the cross for me, and choose to live a life following Him. I would like to invite any of you who do not know Jesus as your personal Savior to consider doing so. I am always open and available to talk and would love to be here for any of you that need me. One thing I would like to make clear is that God loves and forgives us no matter what we have done. There is no sin that can separate us from the love of Christ once we choose to have Him as a part of our lives. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

*A loving and caring husband- I am beyond grateful to not only be married, but to have an amazing husband. Is he perfect? No. Was he created just for me? Yes! I love him more than I could have ever imagined and realize that what we have is truly special. There are so many couples who go through life and never experience love like we have been able to experience. I think a huge part of this comes from the example God set for us in Ephesians 5:22-33. He works hard to love me like Christ loved the church (being us- Jesus gave His very life for us) and words cannot express how grateful I am for the love He shows me and the example He is setting for Emma to find in her future spouse.

*An amazing daughter- despite the struggles we had to conceive her, the bottom line is we did. We were able to not only get pregnant but have a beautiful, precious, healthy daughter and Emma is the light of our world. She is the best example I have ever been given when it comes to experiencing the love that Christ has for me. God loves me because I am His child. I did nothing to earn His love and yet He loves me and cares for me despite this. I cannot imagine life without Emma and I am so thankful that God allowed us to be Emma’s parents.

*A wonderful family- a lot of times I hear horror stories about families and how difficult they are. Ours is certainly far from perfect, but there is a lot of love and forgiveness in ours that makes things work. From my parents, to JR’s parents, to our siblings, we are blessed to have one another. We spend a lot of time together and they love Emma as if she was their own. Not many families have the bond we are blessed to have with ours and despite our differences, we are able to find love in the midst of it all. This even includes our amazing puppy, Allie. She gives us complete and unconditional love and it doesn’t matter if she has seen us in 5 minutes or 5 days.

*Fantastic friends- we are blessed with more friends than we can name. We are able to look back at moments in our life and cannot believe how many people we’ve had love us. We have been able to have friends in our lives that have been with us throughout all the ups and downs we have gone through and have loved us through them. They have cried with us in times of sadness, prayed with us in times of need, and rejoiced with us in times of happiness. We could never name everyone so we just owe a great, big THANK YOU to all our friends who have loved us along the way and pray we can be the same friends in return.

*A great job- JR and I both are blessed with the ability to work at our church, Highlands Fellowship. We work among friends and fellow believers in Christ and wouldn’t have it any other way. Highlands is a church that loves people where they are and who they are. No one is expected to be perfect and all people are loved despite what they’ve been through- it’s such a true example of what and who Christ is. We are just a bunch of imperfect people serving a perfectly amazing, loving, caring, and forgiving God. Wow! So blessed.

What are you grateful for today?