Spring + Summer Baby Items Haul

It’s Bethany and Tera here on the blog today, and we’re so excited to share our favorite baby and toddler items for the Spring and Summer! Baby stuff can get so overwhelming because there’s so much, well, stuff. We are proud thrifters + D.I.Y.ers , but we thought it would be really fun to share our favorite special items, and we’ll save our thrifting list for another time (although we couldn’t help but to add a couple). Whether you’re searching for some new brands to follow, fun items for a friend’s baby shower, registry ideas, or you’re just doing some digital “window” shopping, we’ve narrowed it down to some our favorites!

spring and summer baby haul

◊ MEET THE MOMS + LITTLES ◊

Bethany (@bethanympoteet)

If we haven’t met before, I’m Bethany, and my husband Denver and I have an infant boy named Oliver Finn. I’m a work at home mom (which gets a little bit crazy) and I enjoy taking Oliver on little weekend adventures. I’m figuring out this whole boy mom thing, and it’s such a fun and crazy ride!

Tera (@terapianalto)

Hello, and to all the newbies here on Oak and Earth, I’m Tera! I’m a wife, homemaker, and mom to two little gals, Norah and Elsie. This stage of life is a lot of messy bun and t-shirt days, coffee breaks, and peanut butter bread crusts for lunch. We’re embracing this new season of crazy and having a blast along the way!

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◊ HATS + BOWS ◊

Madrenido Bonnet: Ash (Bethany’s pick)

We use this bonnet, or as Denver likes to call it, hood, all the time! I love it because Oliver doesn’t have much hair, and it’s provided sun protection without having to have on a hot beanie. I love this small shop, and they have both boy and girl options. I hopped on the boys-can-wear-bonnets trend pretty quickly and I haven’t looked back!

Little Green Radicals Sunhat: (Tera’s pick)

This bonnet has been one of my favorites for Elsie, mainly because really, who can resist a baby in a bonnet? I love it because aside from it’s practical functions, it’s such a cute design, the fabric is lightweight, and of course, #baeinabonnet. C’mon.

Kinship Cap Co: Infant cap (Bethany’s pick)

This is one of my favorite items on my list. I searched long and hard for an infant 5 panel flat bill cap. This one can be used through 12 months of age, so I decided it was worth it for me to purchase. I have NOT regretted it one bit. We use this every day on walks and especially on weekends when we are out and about. It provides eye protection as well as head protection, and I finally found one simple enough to match so many of his outfits.

Amelia Hand-tied Baby Bows:  (Tera’s pick)

I was on the hunt for some cute hand tied baby bows for the girls, and I stumbled upon Ames + Olivia Etsy shop. She has lots of sweet hand tied bows in tons of colors for some really reasonable prices, and you have the option of ordering them as a one size headband (SO soft and comfy), or as a clip! I ended up ordering some of each, and we wear them nearly every day right now.

◊ SHOES ◊

Starry Knight Design: Sea Glass Sunrise Sandals (Bethany pick)

Tera and I both love this brand.  These moccs are really well made + they have breathable cutouts for spring and summer, and it’s the best pair I found for boys (as many boy moms can attest, not an easy search)! It’s so hard to choose a color with their massive selection!

Starry Knight Design: Mint T-strap Sandals (Tera’s pick)

I love these little baby moccs for Elsie! They are so comfy and soft, they’re versatile, and the design is adorable and perfect for spring! Plus, there are so many color options available for them–I’ll probably order another pair for fall!

Pretty Brave (Bethany’s pick)

Oliver was gifted a pair from a shop I collaborate with, Minted Method Shop, and we absolutely love them. It’s another great brand for boys!  I’ll admit that before having a babe, I never understood why babies need shoes. Oliver’s feet are pretty much always ice cold, and he likes to put leg pressure on surfaces, so I like having his feet protected. These are on the higher end of a shoe budget , but again, they would make for an investment piece (like sandals for all summer), or a splurger registry gift! The cutest stinkin leather shoes you ever did see.

Salt Water Sandals  (Tera’s pick)

So Norah’s little Sun Sans sandals were a consignment find, as is much of her wardrobe, but I added them to our list because she wears them All. The. Time. They’re comfortable on her feet, great quality, and so versatile! I’ve linked toddler’s salt water sandals because they are very comparable in price, and almost identical in style!

◊ PLAY ◊

Hazel Village: Oliver Mouse  (Bethany’s pick)

This was also gifted to Oliver by Minted Method Shop. Oliver the mouse (a beautiful coincidence in names) quickly became a favorite of ours for many reason. From day one, Oliver loved playing with all the skinny limbs, it’s small enough for us to put in the travel pocket of the diaper bag, it’s made of organic cotton fleece, and it has stood the test of time of Oliver’s biting + pulling.

Wooden Sensory Rattle + Lexy Pexxy: Wooden Teether – The Baily  (Bethany’s pick)

These wooden teethers and rattlers are fantastic for on the go entertainment! Oliver loves shaking these and chewing on them when his gums are sore. They’re practical and can double as a nursery decorations as well. I get asked on a daily basis where I get them both, so here you go!

◊ MOMLIFE GEAR ◊

Solly Baby Wrap (Bethany’s pick)

This is my practical pick! I love the Solly Baby wrap for spring and summer because the material is light and I take a lot of walks! As a mom you really need 16 arms, and I feel like this is as close as I’m going to get.

Milk Snob Cover (Tera’s pick)

These little multi purpose covers have been a staple for us since Elsie was brand new (one of Bethany and Oliver’s favorites as well). We still use it almost daily, only now, if I’m not using it for a car seat cover, Elsie is using it as a lovey (don’t worry, it’s constantly being washed)! It’s so funny how it’s become a security item for her after being around it since day one. I love these covers, and almost 9 months later, we’re still getting daily usage out of ours!

Plum and Sparrow Moses Basket (Tera’s pick)

Another piece that we are still using a ton is our Moses basket! We ordered it for Elsie to sleep in during her newborn stage, and though she’s since been upgraded to her crib, we still love to use it during the day as a play place! She loves sitting in it when we’re outside for a picnic, or more likely watching big sister do “super good gymnastics,” as she calls it. I love how portable it is, and it’s still one of my favorite baby purchases I’ve ever made!

Tadpoles Palm-Woven Moses Basket (Bethany’s pick)

I wanted a simple basket for Oliver, and I couldn’t be happier with this thrifted find. We found this basket at a consignment shop for a $15 steal, but it’s less expensive than most Moses baskets, even at full price. We use this for picnics, and when Oliver was a newborn we used this as a napping basket. When he’s not in it, we use it as a really cute storage basket in his nursery.

◊ BLANKETS ◊

Muslin Swaddle Blankets – Modern Burlap (Bethany’s pick)

Our organic cactus muslin swaddle is probably the most “fun” item I had on my registry, and it’s been a favorite of ours! We have a few of their swaddles, and I can’t say enough about them. We used it for newborn swaddling, and now we use it for play and a light blanket to pack for travel. I LOVE these for spring and summer because they’re so light. Oliver loves the black and white patterns, and I also use them for decor in his room. Win, win, win, win… you get it.

◊ THREADS ◊

L’oved Baby via Minted Method Shop (Bethany and Tera’s pick)

We love these because they’re great for all seasons! They’re soft and come in the sweetest muted pallets. We have footed ones as well the kimono body suits + the long sleeved ones come with built in mits (cue hallelujah chorus). A fantastic gender neutral registry gift!

Sparrow Designs (Bethany’s pick)

About 90% of Oliver’s wardrobe is consignment based, but I added this to my onesies’ list because this material is super light and soft for spring and summer, and they’re perfect graphic onesies for minimalists! I get asked about these frequently, and they’re some of my favorites for sure!

Old Navy: Cami Rompers  (Tera’s pick)

These little cami rompers have legit been a staple at our household! I love how easy they are–I mean one piece for a whole outfit–PLUS not to mention how stinkin’ cute those little baby rolls are in them. They’re just cute, simple, trendy, and a score.

Toddler Jersey Shorts +Toddler Sleeveless Swing Dress (Tera’s pick)

Modest is Hottest, right? Well, that’s my motto. I’ve added these shorts because we really have gotten a ton of wear out of them this season, because A). You can wear them with t-shirts and tanks, and they come in dozens of colors and prints…so cute! And, B). As I said before, with Norah constantly wearing dresses, I usually always have her slip a pair of these shorties on underneath for a little underwear coverage, and they work perfectly! Go on and flip, spin, run, and twirl to your heart’s content, Norah.

So, I don’t typically buy my girls a lot of “new” clothing–we find a lot of our wardrobes for them at consignment sales and hand me downs. Ain’t no shame in my game. BUT, when I do “splurge” on them, it’s most usually at Old Navy! They just consistently have the best sales on kids clothes! These little swing dresses are a huge hit for my dress lovin’ little gal. They come in lots of colors and styles and they have a great price point. These have by far been Norah’s favorite for her spring and summer wear.

◊ SWIM ◊

Grovia Swim Diaper – Onyx (Bethany’s pick)

I wanted a really simple swim diaper for Oliver, and this one has done the trick + it has appeased my stripes addiction. It keeps all his messes contained, and then we can wash it when we are done!

Swim Zip // baby + toddler suits (Tera’s pick)

Okay, so I found Swim Zip on Instagram a few months back, and when I checked out their site and browsed their suits, I knew right away I’d be ordering some for the girls! We got ours in the mail a couple of weeks ago and they’ve both already been in them multiple times! I love the patterns, they have different styles, and the price point is really great. We’re leavin’ on a jet plane (aka in my super cool mom van) in a little over a week for the beach, and these will be perfect for protecting their sensitive skin from the harsh sun rays!

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We hope you enjoyed our spring + summer haul for our fun items! We want to reiderate that we are very real moms with very real budgets, and these are some of our special pieces that we mix in with our thrifted items and these are pieces we get asked about frequently! You asked, we answered! We have a few ideas in mind for our next tag-team #momlife posts, but we would love to hear from you! What would you like to see next?

To keep up with our crazy motherhood adventures you can follow us at @BethanyMPoteet and @TeraPianalto. We would love to keep in touch!

XOXO

-Bethany + Tera

 

Fast, Furious, and Natural Labor: My Birth Story

This post is written in collaboration with The Honest Company. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

At 12:00 A.M. I felt my first contraction. At 4:10 A.M. I was holding my child. I’m a first time mom, and I had a 4 hour natural labor. This is my story.

Let me preface this story by telling you that every labor is hard. Natural, epidural, cesarean section, fast, dreadfully long, hospital, home-birth, water-birth, and everything in between. It’s emotionally taxing, and it tests every physical part of you! Sometimes there is the assumption that fast is synonymous with easy. I can assure you that this is not the case.

So it begins.

Denver and I were expecting to have little Oliver on December 31st, 2016. As the new year came and went, I knew he had to be making his appearance soon. Being 40+ weeks pregnant is incredibly uncomfortable. We were SO beyond ready to meet our little boy and every hour past our due date felt like ages.

In the weeks leading up to his arrival, I had been walking 2 miles a day, climbing a set of 99 steps up and down, and I had been using an outdoor gym. Anything to spur on labor!

natural labor exercise

I used an exercise machine that my husband and I have now deemed “the contraction machine”. Essentially, it spreads your legs apart and you squeeze them together (no weights attached). On New Years day, I did rounds of the above listed exercises. That night came and went and I didn’t feel anything progressing.

Bummed out and getting impatient, I decided that the next night (January 2nd) Denver and I should have a date to distract ourselves and to celebrate our last days as a family of two. We grabbed a coffee and walked around town, went out to eat, and then decided to go to the theater. When Denver and I were at the movies I legitimately felt like I was sitting on Oliver’s head. Little did I know, I was in early labor as I was chowing down on popcorn. Oliver had been low for quite a while, despite not being dilated at all at my previous exam (which is not what you want to hear at 40 weeks).

We had so much fun on the date, and we ended up getting home at about 10:30 P.M. We had decided to watch Vine compilation videos on YouTube because we are still mourning the loss of Vine (R.I.P.), and at this point the night felt like any other. At 11:45 P.M. Oliver was kicking around as per usual, but I had a little bit of back cramping. I had back pain my whole pregnancy, so a little back cramping was pretty normal to me at this point. I grabbed a heating pad and we continued watching videos.

Midnight.

I started to notice that my dull back cramps were coming and going in waves. It hit me. This might be the start of something! I told Denver, “Hey, I might have him in a couple of days!”. I texted a few of my friends to tell them that labor could be starting in the days to come, and upon hearing my symptoms, they all agreed it might be possible!

About 10 minutes later the cramping got worse. I felt like I just needed to live on the toilet. But nothing was coming out. Denver and I had been to a birthing class so I knew that this was a sign of early labor. I informed Denver and he was excited and started to pack up our toiletries into the hospital bag. I told him to calm down and that it could be days before we go into active labor. Then I realized my cramps were coming in stronger waves. I texted my friend Kylie (a nurse and a recent first time mom), and she said, “Time those. They could be contractions.”

I felt excited.

Now, I knew I would have back labor. Every hormonal occurrence I have had leading up to labor has been carried in my back. What I didn’t know is that with back labor, you might not ever feel one single contraction in your stomach. I didn’t feel any tightening, but I started to feel a lot of pain.

While standing in the bathroom with my pants around my ankles, I tried to determine whether I wanted to sit on the toilet or walk around. Denver came in, and asked if I was okay. I said, “I need to braid my bangs back, I think things are happening!”. Denver threw off his house shoes and put his tennis shoes on. I told him to take them off because we wouldn’t even go to the hospital until the next day. He looked at my face and said “Okay, but I still think it’s going to be sooner.” Silly boy. Didn’t he remember our class? Our instructor had said that in many instances, early labor can last hours and hours or even days before it transitions into active labor!

Early labor was likely with my symptoms, and I knew it was time to put our birthing class knowledge into practice. Move, move, and keep moving. I grabbed a microwaveable corn bag so I could start walking around the house. I told Denver to grab the timer and I would tell him when I needed him to time the “contractions” I had felt.

At this point, I had only felt a few waves of pain. We timed my waves of back pain for about 15 minutes. Denver said “Babe, these are 3 minutes apart and lasting close to 1 minute long”. We were confused. In our class we had learned that a good time to go to the hospital was known as 4-1-1.

Contractions 4 minutes apart.

Contractions are lasting around 1 minute long.

You’ve had these consistently for 1 hour.

Well. I had contractions less than 4 minutes apart lasting 1 minute long, but I had only had them for 15 minutes. We were confused. Why did my contractions start out at the point you’re supposed to be heading to the hospital? Don’t you usually get to work up to this point? The pain was getting stronger with each contraction and I was practicing everything I had learned. I was breathing through them, moving around, squatting, leaning over the bed, swaying, and making low noises to push through it. While leaning over the bed, I felt a really horrible wave of back pain. I popped up and told Denver, “I think we need to go to the hospital, how many have I had?” To which Denver replies, “You’ve had 8 contractions”.

That’s when I felt fear.

Only 8 contractions had occurred and I already felt like I had been in a mild car accident. I have a high pain tolerance, so thinking we were probably in the earlier stages of labor was devastating to say the least. “How do people do this for 18+ hours?“, I wondered, not knowing I was already in active labor. I decided to try to labor for at least an hour at home so that it would be consistent with the 4-1-1 instructions. The pain started to get really intense, but I still never felt any tightening in my stomach or abdominal area. I hated this. Why was my labor so strange?

After an hour and a half had passed, I allowed myself to go to the hospital. Then I saw it. The car. How was I going to have a contraction in that thing. I found myself thinking, “Why do we have a Prius? It’s so small.” We got into the car and I felt a contraction coming on as soon as I got in. I pulled back the passenger seat and straightened my body out and took a big breath and groaned it out. Denver drove to the hospital and I had two contractions in the car and one in the hospital parking lot. We only live 7 minutes from the hospital (now so thankful for this), so I knew they were close together.

We walked into the hospital lobby at exactly 1:30 in the morning. The nurses politely asked me how long I had been in labor. When they learned that it had been just over an hour, they looked a little calmer and said we had time to get things together. I was breathing through the contractions but felt like I was going to vomit all over the lobby. I began pacing around and felt incredibly embarrassed knowing it could be a possibility that I came in too early. They wheeled me back to see how dilated I was.

I was terrified. What if I was barely dilated? I couldn’t imagine going back home.

When the first nurse came in to check me, she told me that she didn’t know how dilated I was because she couldn’t reach my cervix. I knew my cervix was far back because my doctor had told me the same thing in prenatal appointments. The nurse brought someone else in to try. I’ll never forget the pain as I looked up at the florescent lights in the little holding room while someone struggled to reach my cervix. This nurse couldn’t reach either. They said that Oliver’s head was in the way of checking.

I was freaked out. I’m a Type A personality! I like to know what’s going on.

The nurses came in and told me that they would check me in 30 minutes, and that I might not be far enough along for them to feel the dilation. I looked at Denver and I felt the panic in my heart. 30 minutes sounded like a lifetime. It felt almost impossible to breathe through the pain at this point. I hadn’t told them how much pain I was in, and I felt really alone. Why was this happening? Why could no one tell me how far along I was in the process? Denver sat there clutching my purse, and he and I exchanged silent glances of frustration.

After about 20 minutes had passed I had started grunting and holding the rail of the tiny bed I was on. When are they coming back? I told Denver someone needed to come in and check me, because I felt like I was going to poop him out! They sent in an entirely different nurse. She was tall, and strong, and she told me she wouldn’t leave until she knew how far along I was. As she was putting on her gloves, I felt a rush of warm fluid all over my legs. It was at this point that I realized my water had broken.

When this nurse checked to see if I was dilated, I screamed. It felt like it would never end. She took her glove off and got the other nurses. They started speedily wheeling me into the hallway and they told me that I was dilated to an 8 and progressing very quickly.

Two thoughts went through my mind almost simultaneously. Relief and fear. Relief that I was justified in my pain, and fear that I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural.

Going into labor, Denver and I had decided that we would listen to my body. I would like to try naturally, but if I felt like it was too much to bare, that I would get the epidural. In our birthing class, someone had asked how far along you have to be to not get the epidural. She told us that it was incredibly rare to be too late for an epidural your first time, and that you can even get it when you’re 10 cm dilated, so not to worry.

As they wheeled me into an actual labor and delivery room, I asked this question: “Am I able to get the epidural?”. They all looked at each other, and one sweet nurse looked at me and said “We’re going to try.” Did you hear that? Try. 

Every ounce of pain that I was feeling was in my back and my rear. It was excruciating.

The nurses quickly hooked me up to an I.V. and told me that they didn’t have time to move me to the nice delivery bed. That’s when I remembered, I wasn’t even admitted to the hospital yet! They started the I.V. drip, and I asked again about the epidural. The nurse looked at me and told me I had to get I.V. fluids for an hour before they could administer it.

An hour.

I looked at the clock and I felt defeated. I was clinging to the fact that it might happen and relief would be right around the corner. At this point I was starting to get light headed and I felt like I could simultaneously vomit and pass out. I wanted to push him out so bad. But all I saw was clip board after clip board of paperwork being handed to me. Signing agreements  in between frequent contractions was not my idea of a serene natural labor experience, but it’s exactly what was happening.

Although I had been breathing through contractions thus far, this is when I started screaming. I never thought I would scream! Why couldn’t I hold it together?

Denver looked at me and mouthed that I was doing well. I couldn’t even think about doing well, nor did I feel like I was doing well. I felt like I was screaming and was embarrassed to be doing so. The nurses told me that I was the only one in the wing and to let out whatever I wanted to. So I did.

I clung to the rail and laid on my side. My arms were shaking. I felt like I was on a ride and no one was letting me off. Denver moved over close to me for support. That’s when a labor and delivery nurse came in. This nurse would be my saving grace. She was confident, to the point, and supportive. She looked at me and told me that I had to breathe. That it wouldn’t get better until I could breathe.

I felt like my back was breaking.  I knew I would need to look into the eyes of the nurses and my husband, because  they were going to help me through this. The delivery nurse told me that it was time to push. I asked her about the epidural. “Can I please get the epidural now?”. She looked at me, and I knew. “Sweetheart”, she said. “You’re not getting the epidural”. I said, “Is there any way?”. That’s when she gave it to me straight. “If you sit up to get the epidural, your body will start pushing. He’s coming”.

I looked at Denver and I said “We got here too late.”

This is when I had to make a decision. I was either going to be strong, or I was going to crumble. As I grabbed my husband’s hand, he nodded at me in support. This made my decision easier. I chose to be strong.

Denver called my mom to tell her that we were close. They rolled my body over to push. I held my legs up to my chest, grabbed the back of my thighs, and listened to everything the nurse told me to do. Through pain and exhaustion, I asked the nurse a very important question. “Is he going to break me in half?” Although my husband and I laugh about this question now, at the time it seemed valid. She grabbed my feet and put them on her arms and assured me that he would not break me in half.

“He has dark hair.”, she said.

I could feel my eyes get big. That one statement made it all so real. I looked at the clock. It was 3:40 in the morning. I couldn’t believe it was all happening so fast. I had to grin and bare it. There was no turning back. I was going to have this baby with no epidural, and I was going to have him soon.

I began to push. It was the best feeling I had ever had. Pressure relief.  I pushed for a while and the nurse was assuring me that I was doing well. I kept asking the nurse how many more pushes she thought I had. She said that if I brought my legs up to my chest more he would come quicker. That’s when I got down to business. I was desperate to meet my son and wanted the agony to be over. I relate this feeling to the likings of pushing a watermelon out of a straw.

At about 4:00 A.M. she said it was time to go get the doctor. The doctor sat down in front of me and I began to push again. That’s when I felt it. I had heard about it.

They call it the ring of fire. That’s exactly what it is.

I could feel Oliver crowning. I remember in all that pain all I could say was, “Ow”. And that word felt so funny. I let out the tiniest laugh, the word “ow” had never held so much weight before. The doctor looked at me and Denver, and he told us that the baby had come so fast that I wasn’t stretched out enough.

This is where a fast labor has a downfall. I felt so blessed that I wasn’t worrying about him days on end or having contractions for hours and hours with slow progression. What people don’t often think about with this quick of labor is that your body goes from 0-60. The severe pain was coming from my body not having enough time to work up to it. And since every one of my contractions were in my back, my stomach and abs couldn’t help push him along.

The doctor told me that he never does these anymore, but that he suggested I get an episiotomy. I was surprised. Basically they wanted to make a small incision to help things along. He calmly looked at me and told me that I would rip badly, because of how quickly I progressed, but that the decision is totally up to us and to only do what we felt comfortable with. I looked at Denver and we agreed.

Let’s get him out.

I was scared. I didn’t have an epidural and I really didn’t want to get cut. How scary is that! He gave me a topical numbing shot and made the incision without me even noticing. There was too much pressure to feel a cut! He told me to push. I shut my eyes and pushed as hard as I could. I felt the worst burning and pain of my life, and I remember yelling, “I feel him”. That’s when I saw him cross over my knees and onto my chest.

He was here. If this moment doesn’t make you sing “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce, I don’t know what will!

We had done this. Denver stood over us and I felt blessed beyond belief. He had dark hair and I immediately knew that he looked just like my husband. They took him away to wipe him off and Denver went over to give our son a closer look. The doctor stitched me up and then I was handed my son once again. Being able to breast feed him right away was an unforgettable experience, and I couldn’t believe what was happening.

I was expecting to be bawling, and I was expecting my over-emotional husband to be bawling along with me.

What I felt was shock.

I had just been through a blur of the most unbearable physical pain, high adrenaline of my life, and then I had the emotional reality of holding my first child. I looked at Denver and said, “Well, you better text your family and tell them that he’s here.”

It had all happened so quickly and in the middle of the night, so we didn’t even have time to tell people we were at the hospital! We sent out our texts and pictures to family and friends and my mom came back to visit us.

The nurses came in and told me that it was an incredible delivery, and they hadn’t seen a first time mom deliver that quickly before. They also congratulated us because Oliver was the first baby of the new year born in our hospital! It was all so unbelievable.

I started to see light pour through our blinds. As I looked at my son, I said a prayer. A thank you to God for giving him life. A thank you for allowing me to be the vessel. He was my baby. He was my joy. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I felt like I had just won a battle. My heart swelled with the greatest and rarest love I had ever known. I was holding the embodiment of the love between my husband and I.

I was holding family.

Tears are rolling down my face as I write these words in a coffee shop, because I still can’t believe God’s gift to me and Denver. A four hour labor from start to finish was never what I expected. But I love it because it’s our story. Be it genetics, all the working out leading up to it, or by chance, I still don’t know what I can attribute the fast delivery to. But believe me that I will go to the hospital right away with our next!

While Denver and I still can’t believe his epic travels to get here, our journey as a family is just beginning! At three months old, he has the sweetest personality and is a reflection of the love I have for my husband. To keep up with our adventures as a family, you can follow my personal Instagram at BethanyMPoteet and our blog Instagram at OakAndEarth (my co-writers have lovely adventures as well).

Thank you so much for reading my story. We feel so blessed for our healthy little one. Every story is unique and special. The Honest Company is sharing many birth stories to unite us all in this beautiful journey we call motherhood. You can view their video about it here! Go celebrate other moms!

Until next time,

Bethany

Natural Labor

Downsizing: The Simple Life

My husband and I began talking about a pretty significant idea back in April of last year: downsizing. (Side-note: I cannot believe 2016 is now past tense…where does the time go?!) It was our 4th anniversary weekend, and we had sent our oldest with some family and had a mini stay-cation at a nice hotel here in NWA. Being just the two of us, we had all the time in the world to discuss things that are many times otherwise interrupted and pushed aside these days. On our last morning “away,” while we ate our breakfast, we flipped our hotel television on to our favorite channel: HGTV. Of course a show popped on that we didn’t ordinarily watch, but it was immediately intriguing to us so we kept it going; it was a show on ‘tiny living’. “That is so cool, but I just don’t see how these families do it. Especially with kids!”

I remember saying this to Jer a few times while we watched these families (some with kids, some without) take their belongings and their space and condense it all into a space of about 400 sq ft or less. We marveled at the idea, and slightly envied the people who nipped America’s stereotypical house in the bud, dropped 80-90% of their belongings, and headed straight for the simple life. It was a concept that we just couldn’t get out of our heads.  “What if we did this?”

At first we thought it would just be too hard. After all, we had one toddler and had recently found out we would be having a second baby in the fall. How in the world would we make the (lack of) space work? We lived in a decent size home, about 1800 sq ft, and we had “stuff” in every room! I should also note that we had only moved into this nice home months before, adding even more insanity to our scheme. But what we finally realized, was that much of our living space was not utilized; it was just holding all the stuff we’d accumulated over the course of our marriage, much of which we could certainly live without.

The idea of simplifying our lifestyle grew more and more compelling to us, and the more we researched and read, the more we loved it. Not just for the mere fact of getting rid of “things,” though that was a large portion of it. We also loved the idea of taking our girls out of the cycle that we tend to get caught up in of not being content unless we have the latest and greatest, the nicest, the biggest and best, [insert ‘thing’ here]. Taking them out of this cycle and raising them in an atmosphere that was safe, promoted creativity, created closeness, and of course was always truly ‘enough.’ We were sold.

Downsizing Simple Life

A few days after listing our house for sale, we placed an offer on a small home in my childhood hometown, and were accepted. A couple weeks after our house was on the market we were under contract, and thus officially began our downsizing! “Simplify” quickly became our word for the remainder of 2016. Bit by bit we sifted through our things, donating a substantial amount of our belongings that we would no longer have the space for. A few weeks later we packed up what was left of our things and moved into a home that is just under 1000 sq ft. Of course, this was our version of a big downsize, and we didn’t move into a truly tiny home. But those of you with kids know that moving a family of four into a very small, 2 bedroom home is quite a feat! Simplify.

It is in no way an easy thing to accomplish, especially with kids, and we are still in the process of slowly downsizing more of our things even 6 months later, but as we’ve moved into 2017, we haven’t once looked back! I believe our word to live by this year is “intentional.” One of the biggest things we’ve had to do in our downsizing process has been to be so intentional with our space and how we utilize it. Do I love this piece, and does it make me smile? Like (Emily Gilmore, anyone?) Every piece we own must serve a purpose, and if it can serve for more than one purpose, even better!

Our space is very intentional. One of the main things we wanted to fit into our small home was our full size dining set. We wanted to have a space to bring people into our home and have good food, good discussion, and close relationships. I have my reading corner, the girls have a play space…every part of our home has been thought out, and is utilized! As far as the girls’ things go, we haven’t cleaned them out of all their toys, and they have a substantial book collection in the making, but we do have regular “sorting” days where we filter through and weed out the toys that have since become unexciting, and make room for the new. I can tell you our oldest never misses a thing!

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Since downsizing and simplifying, we’ve decided we love it so much that we are working toward ways to simplify even more! There is such a freedom in knowing that there isn’t a wrong or a right way to “live,” and for us this lifestyle has been so rewarding! Don’t get me wrong, we see nothing wrong with consumption, and having “things.” We still have things, and we still love to buy certain things! But where I have seen a difference in our consumption is in the intent behind our purchases. Is it compulsory, or is it intentional and for a purpose? Let’s be real, in this small space we live in, there isn’t room for anything but intentional and purposeful–and I love that!

My favorite thing about downsizing has been that it consistently makes us reflect and consider the things that are most important to us, and then the freedom we feel when we condense down to only those most important things! Living small may or may not be forever for our family, but the idea of working toward more freedom with how we use and spend our time and where will be a theme that sticks with us wherever we go from here on out.

I am excited to share more about our downsizing, different projects that have ensued in order to make a small space the most efficient, and updates as we progress to an even more minimalist lifestyle. My husband jokes that our next downsize will be our wardrobes…okay, he’s only half joking (insert nervous sweating emoji).

For more updates and peeks into our day to day, follow me on Instagram ( @terapianalto ) and be sure to follow all of Oak and Earth’s social media accounts!

Here’s to a fresh start to your 2017!

Tera, xo

 

 

Holiday Roundup: Our Favorite Seasonal Posts

Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, presents are wrapped and nestled cozily under the tree, the kids are out of school, and their parents’ sanity is hanging by a thread (of tinsel, obviously). It’s Christmas Eve!! Would you like an early present? We thought so! Our gift to you this year is a holiday roundup of some of our favorite seasonal posts. We hope you enjoy!

The 12 DATES OF CHRISTMAS

Bethany’s “12 Dates of Christmas” post is sure to light up the holidays for you and that special someone. A list of 12 holiday inspired date ideas, designed to bring you together during the most joyous season of the year. Once you get out of your comfort zone, you’ll be surprised at how much closer it makes you as a couple. Don’t worry, she threw some binge watching dates in as well. After all baby, it’s cold outside. (PS – these ideas are good all winter long!)

diy holiday dreamcatchers

One of our favorite things about the Holiday season is decorating! If you’re looking for a fun DIY project to do with your kiddos while they’re out of school, or just with your besties, Shelby has the perfect thing – Holiday dreamcatchers!

This is such a fun project, and we are so excited about it! So, grab some cocoa, slip into your comfy clothes, put on your favorite Christmas album, and get ready to craft the night away!

Making Christmas Memorable

This most wonderful time of the year happens to be Tera’s favorite (Going in her house anytime from November to February is a little like stepping into the North Pole). With a growing little family of her own, she wanted to be certain they were making Christmas memorable, while keeping their main focus on the true reason for the season. She created a list of simple things you can do as a family that will make great memories, provide quality time, and can respect even the most frugal holiday budget. Check it out!

Oak and Earth Holiday Roundup

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little roundup, and that you’ll try some of the ideas found within. This season is all about making memories with those you love, while always remembering the true reason for the season.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” – Luke 2:11

From our families to yours, have a very Merry Christmas.

– Oak & Earth

Three Years a Mama

One thing you hear a lot when you are expecting a baby is, “your whole world is about to change,” and it’s true. Nothing is ever the same after having your baby! I learned this myself after having our first daughter, Norah. A month and a half ago, we welcomed our second daughter, Elsie, into our family, and again I say, our world has forever been changed. Of course I mean this in the best way possible! She has been such a treasure to get to know and love, and we are all smitten–especially her older sister!

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Elsie Jo Pianalto:: sweetest little pumpkin

Along with the life changing experience of becoming a mother, and then again recently for the second time, I’ve learned some life lessons for myself and my fellow mama friends who may be reading this. So with this being my first post up since Elsie’s arrival, I felt it appropriate to compile that list on here today!

First, I’ve learned that no matter what stage or season of motherhood you are in, you’re a mama! Whether it’s the first week of baby’s conception, or your last week of pregnancy, you’re a mama to that sweet life inside you. Whether you only carried your baby for a short while here on earth, you are a mama. Whether you are an adoptive parent, a foster parent, or are still waiting for that call, you are a mama. This is something to take pride in.

I’ve learned that your heart triples in size when you have your first baby, and that a mother’s love is rooted so deeply into your soul that nothing here on earth can quite compare to it. When you welcome your second (or fifth) baby, your heart triples again, and that unconditional love is equally felt for them.

I’ve learned that no two pregnancies are the same. Not your pregnancy and your friend’s pregnancy. Not your first pregnancy and your second. Stop comparing your beautiful preggo baby body and be thankful to have a baby body.

I’ve learned that no two babies are the same. Don’t place expectations on your baby to match your first baby or your friends’ babies; they wont meet those expectations! Enjoy getting to know your baby, enjoy watching your baby meet his/her own milestones, and soak it all in.

I’ve learned that when it comes between a nap and a meal, many times, a nap wins.

I’ve learned that when it comes down to having that nice shower you were hoping to get, and lying on the bed with your baby because it’s the only way she’ll sleep right now, you decide that your shower can wait.

I’ve learned that your baby body will linger, and that’s okay. Those extra pounds and stretch marks won’t go away over night (or in two months). Your post baby body is a beautiful representation of being a mother…it’s part of it. Allow yourself some grace to give it time to heal!

With this, I’ve learned that when your baby pounds do come off, your body really won’t ever be the same. Sure, you may fit into your old jeans and bras, but you’ll notice your boobs have taken a new shape, and your hips maybe changed ever slightly. You’ll take on a new woman’s body, and it’ll never be what it was before children. It’s okay; it’s beautiful, it’s sexy, it’s a new you.

I’ve learned that breastfeeding comes easily to some women, and to others, like myself, it is a huge obstacle. It hurts, you bleed, your supply isn’t overly abundant, your baby doesn’t latch to you, it puts you into a depression. Or, it works. No matter what end of the spectrum you are on, that’s okay.

Along with this, I’ve learned that fed really is best. There is no right or wrong for you, mama. Is your baby happy, and growing? If so, it does not matter what route you take. Don’t cause yourself so much stress and angst over this–your beautiful baby will be absolutely okay.

I’ve learned that you just can’t compare yourself to other mamas. Be inspired? Sure. Be encouraged? Yes. Ask advice? Okay. Learn from? Absolutely. But you can’t compare. Stop comparing.

I’ve learned that sometimes, the days seem never-ending, but I promise when you blink an eye you’ll be staring at your once tiny newborn who now is a beautiful, spunky, witty little girl. During those midnight feeds when your tired body and brain are tempted to wish for the day she sleeps through the night, try, try to remember this, and soak in every last hour with your sweet baby. Every day they are growing to need mama a little bit less, and someday, you’ll wish these days back.

I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. It’s okay if you can’t get your picky toddler to eat anything but a pouch and a hot dog for lunch one day. Tomorrow, they won’t even like hot dogs! It’s okay that you napped with baby instead of doing that load of laundry today. Soak all that cuddle time you can get; laundry will be there tonight.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no to some things. If you aren’t the mom type who has a Pinterest home, goes to social gatherings every day, runs a small business, has a homemade meal in the oven every night, spends quality time with your kiddos and saves an extra hour for a bubble bath and a book, I deem you normal. It’s okay to say yes to some things and not feel guilty to say no to others! Say yes to the things that are Kingdom work, and say no to the things that aren’t purposeful and intentional.

I’ve learned that you are watched every minute of every day. Be intentional with what you watch, listen to, say, how you treat others, how you react to things. Our kids’ minds are soaking it in and learning from our actions.

I’ve learned that children are the easiest way to bring us to our knees in prayer. It is a blessing and a privilege to be a mother, and we need to be in constant prayer for those sweet babies.

I’ve learned that our children are our biggest and most important ministry.

I’ve learned that raising children is the best way to grow yourself; in patience, in character, in wisdom, in love, in creativity, in discipline, and on a spiritual realm. Norah and Elsie bring out the best and the worst in me, but they also make me want to be better!

I won’t tell you I’ve mastered all of these life lessons, but I am thankful for all that my girls have taught me so far! Being a mama to Norah and Elsie has truly been my biggest blessing, and the greatest adventure that my hubs and I have ventured on together! To my fellow mamas out there: what are some of the most important things you have learned on your motherhood journey? I’d love to connect with you and hear!

I don’t know about you, but Oak and Earth is super excited for the upcoming holidays! Keep an eye out for some fun holiday inspired posts that will be coming your way really soon! Follow @oakandearth on instagram, and my personal handle @terapianalto for blog updates and my every day snippets!

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Peace and Love,

Tera -xo

An Open Letter to My Unborn Child

This is Bethany here, and I wrote this letter to my son, Oliver.

I start the third trimester of my pregnancy next week! My husband, Denver, and I (that’s our family above) are so excited for him to arrive. This is a sentiment close to my heart, and I welcome you to peek inside our little family.

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Pin this image!

Oliver,

As I sit down to write this letter, I’m overwhelmed with the thought that you have been in my tummy for almost 7 months. Even though there are times when you knock the wind out of me, my heart swells with so many wonderful emotions. When I found out I was having you, I was so surprised and happy! Even though I was excited, I was also a little bit scared.

My mind was abuzz with thoughts. Had I taken care of myself when I didn’t know that you were inside of me? Would daddy and I have to move, make more money, and would we be able to shuffle our busy lives to make enough time for you? As I looked at the positive pregnancy test, I realized that all of these little questions could be wrapped up into one heavy one. Would daddy and I really make good parents?

With these questions looming, I still had to do one important thing — tell the love of my life that we made you!

When I told your daddy that we are having you, he hugged me and cried. He was so surprised and so beautifully happy! This is one of our favorite days. What a special memory you made for us, Oliver. We made an appointment to see the doctor. You know, the guy you’re always shy around! As the doctor was searching for you in my tummy, all of those scary questions started flooding back.

Then we saw you.

You were nothing but a white speck in a sea of black. As small as you were, we saw the flash of your precious heartbeat. Oh my son, I will never forget that moment. Do you know what I found out? You are a strong and perfectly healthy baby. This made me realize that the love we already have for you overshadows all the worry! God is so good to remind us of how blessed we are to have you in our lives.

I want you to know a few things about your daddy. As soon as he found out about you, he started praying for you every day. I am always so grateful for how much he does for us. Daddy and I work really hard so that we can have a happy home, but daddy works especially hard. Aren’t you proud of him? He brings us food when we are hungry, and he even eats ice cream before bed because he thinks it helps you! That’s your silly daddy. He kisses you goodnight, and he waits by my side to feel you kick and roll.

He held my hand so tight when we went to a big check up to see how you’re growing. On this day, God gave us peace about you. Your daddy lit up when he saw your face and features in 3D for the first time! You were just 22 weeks old! He thinks you have my nose, and when you wake up from a comfortable sleep, I think you scrunch up your forehead just like he does! We got your picture taken, and he took it to the office and showed all his coworkers. He’s already so proud of you.

Most of all, I want you to know how much your daddy and I love and respect each other. In fact, we love each other so much that we asked God to bring you into our lives! When God said yes, He let us learn so much about you.

This is what we know about you so far — You like to roll around my tummy at work and hide away when we visit the doctor. You love it when I rest, and when I sing and play my guitar. The only time I feel you take naps is when I exercise! I even know a few things you don’t like. You don’t like spicy food at all. Don’t worry, your daddy doesn’t like it either. You must not like it when I try and bend over to tie my shoes or paint my toenails, because you stick your little feet in my ribs when I try. It makes me grunt and laugh. You sure are a stinker. You’re so active, and I love it when you circle around my tummy and play.

Do you want to know my favorite thing about you? You’re so sweet and loving to us! When I am sad, you dance around. When I am tired, you kick me and remind me that you’re there for me. And when daddy and I are overwhelmed with how busy we are, we pull out the pictures of your face and you remind us to slow down and to count our blessings. Thank you for all of that, little one!

Although your room isn’t all the way put together yet, and we aren’t rolling in a big pile of money, all that really matters is the love and time we share together as a family. We have to wait a little bit longer to share this time together. You’re due to be here very soon after Christmas! Don’t worry little one. Whenever you decide to come, we will make your day so special. I know right now you think somersaults are fun, but you should see all of the wonderful and colorful things of the world! Your dad and I like to draw, play music, hike around, and see friends. Some people have told us that we can’t do these things when you get here. But we will find a way to make our own special and fun memories with you by our side. We can’t wait to share all of this with you!

Oliver, whenever this day arrives, I want you to know the world you’re coming into. Not everyone in this world has peace in their hearts, and this world can be a scary place. Despite all of that, know that God is always holding you in His hands. I have a few important promises I’m making to you. I want you to remember them when the world seems too much to bear.

I promise to show you love and understanding. I promise to guide you when you’re unsure of what to do, and I promise to listen to what you have to say. I can also promise you that I will make mistakes. Some days will be hard, and on those days you might not like me very much. So when those days come (and they will come), know I still love you because you are my son.

Do you know how I can promise you this? You have already helped us know a kind of love we never knew we could feel.

We still have so much to learn about you, but we can’t do this until we meet you face to face! All of your cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are so excited to see you too! Some of your little cousins have been practicing your name. So be sure you answer to the name of “Obbaler” when you come out so that you don’t hurt their feelings.

Daddy and I are ready for the sleepless nights and for our world to be turned upside down. Because that means that you have arrived.

I can’t wait to meet you, son.

Mom

Thank you so much for reading! I enjoyed opening up my heart to my son, and to you as well. You can follow our family journey on Instagram @BethanyMPoteet.

-Bethany

Our New Normal

As my second pregnancy comes to the finish line–nearly 36 weeks and counting–I suddenly feel the reality hitting me of going from a family of three to a family of four. I anxiously and excitedly prepare for and await the arrival of our second daughter, and though I daydream about how incredible it will be to watch our little girls growing up together and the bond that we pray and hope they will share, tears come to my eyes at the thought of our sweet Norah going from our baby to our oldest daughter as we welcome our newest little one into the family. So many blessings that await our nearly family of four, yet such a bittersweet-ness to saying goodbye to our budding family of three.

These thoughts that have been on my heart recently have me truly soaking up every bit of my Norah that I can before our new love is here. Not because I feel I am losing anything by adding a sweet new blessing, but because I know that my care, my time, my attention, my energy are all about to soon be divided.

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Soaking up even the long, hard days of raising a sassy toddler because I know that soon, the moments of just Norah and mama will be a rarer thing. Our every day routine will be shared with our new baby. Though I know this will bring even more special moments with my girls, my heart clings a little bit longer to Norah’s hugs. I will myself to remember the  special and tender moments of holding my first girl, the countless times I’ve read “Where are You Going, Smitty Baby?” as she sat on my lap begging for just one more book, and the undivided attention that allowed me to cave in (most times). The endless hours I’ve sat on the floor with her and played with her dolls, and the extra time (mostly from saying: “the dishes can wait”) that I had to sit and marvel at how creative and sweet she was (is) as she plays with her toys and brings them to life. The extra snuggles at night that make my heart swell as I listen to her say her sweet and innocent prayers, and sings her favorite songs. I want to cherish these times more than ever before because I know these last few weeks of just she and I will be fleeting, and they’ll all feel like just a few moments.

I know these moments won’t be totally lost on me; I’ll make time for my oldest treasure, and she and I will continue to have special memories together. But another part of me realizes that these moments will have to be fought for. That our new little love will become a part of our new normal, a part of our story time and our play time, a part of our nighttime prayers. Life with two babies will be a whole new ballpark and learning experience for me, and Norah’s role will go from being our only baby, to being an older sister. My heart bursts with anticipation and pride as I picture this new normal, though I realize the changes and adjustments that Norah and I will have to make may not be as easy for a while. I am so excited to grow our family and begin a new journey, but also so nervous about this transition.

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I look at Norah, and I picture how big she will look standing next to our newborn, but also how much of a baby she really still is. How dependent on her mama she still is, and how I hope (and to be transparent, worry a tad) that she never feels like she can’t depend on me. How she was entrusted to me by the One who gave her life, and how much I rely on Him to help me raise her (and our next) with grace. During my last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m seeing how God is doubling my love. How much love I have for my sweet Norah, and already the love I have for our unborn daughter. How I would do anything for Norah, and already could say the same for our littlest. Though there are moments with my first born that I will miss, there is nothing that I anticipate and look forward to more than becoming a family of four. The bittersweet-ness it is to say goodbye to one season that holds so many memories so near and dear to my heart, and to trade it in for even more love and more precious memories to be shared together.

I am so thankful to God that He extends His love and grace to us so that we can give it. Multiplying the love of a mother so that though her life may look different by adding a new baby to the mix, she doesn’t have to divide her heart and her love for them. Giving mama’s of multiples the energy to get through a sleepless night with one baby, and still do the ‘mama thing’ with the kiddos the next day and with a thankful heart. I am thankful that God has painted a picture of our family and that His picture includes both of our sweet babies.

My time with Norah as my only baby is coming to an end, and it is a precious season that I am thankful to have gotten with her. And though I will miss these moments with her, I am so blessed and grateful to begin our new normal.

-xo,

Tera

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My sassy, yet oh so sweet Norah 🙂

D.I.Y. Pom Sandals

Hey, readers! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the warm summer sunshine! My family and I have had a crazy busy few weeks, but we’ve managed to hit the water park a couple of times, and we’ve indulged in quite a few milkshake nights…it’s how we like to roll. If you follow my personal instagram or Oak and Earth’s instagram page, you may have seen that us girls of O&E have recently started participating in the Whole 30 meal plan (basically a diet eliminating grains, dairy, and legumes and of course any processed foods). We plan to share with you guys how each of our Whole 30 experience goes, but so far I can tell you it’s been a challenge on my end! I am keeping some dairy and tiny bit of grain in for pregnancy purposes, but for the most part, those things are not in my diet. I’m a lover of bread and pasta and cheese, so this has not been an easy feat! Aside from this lifestyle change, we have some big house news going on that I’ll share after things settle down a bit, AND not to mention we are on the homeward stretch to meeting baby girl (10 weeks left) EEK! Starting to feel a little bit of stress and a lot a bit of crazy, but we are trucking through. Nothing a fun little DIY project can’t distract me from for a bit anyway!

I’ve been so excited to share this post with you because I really love how these sandals turned out! It’s such a fun accessory to add to your summer wardrobe. These pom sandals are super trendy this season and they’re all over Pinterest and Etsy. It plays up any outfit, so you can be comfy in your boyfriend shorts and a tank, and slap these puppies on, and BAM! You’ve gone from comfy casual to super adorable in .5 seconds! The best part? If you go online to buy these pom sandals, you’ll see that many of them are selling for $100+…I was able to buy my supplies and shoes all for around $30! You can look super cute and trendy without it costing you an arm and a leg, which is always my kind of style!

These did take me a full day to whip up, mostly because it’s a bit of trial and error–especially for the first sandal you assemble. So this makes a perfect summer weekend DIY where you can either spend a Saturday creating them, or split it up over two days!

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Okay, now for the fun part! To make your own pom sandals, you’ll need:

  • Sandals  (Here are some similar ones to mine)
  • Pom Poms
  • Wooden Beads
  • Mini Tassels (if wanted)
  • Thread/Needle*
  • Scissors

* I chose to stitch my materials on to the sandals to make them a little sturdier, but there are some great Pinterest DIY’s for these that just use a hot glue gun!

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To assemble these, I started with trying the sandals on in front of a mirror and placing poms (with a sewing pin) in the desired areas. This part took some trial and error to get them where I wanted them! You can leave sewing pins in place or just make tiny marks with a pen to remember where you want them. Once you have an idea of where you want your poms, unlace the sandals and before making the poms permanently attached, string the wood beads along the sandal straps in desired places. I tried my sandals on during this process a few times to see where I wanted beads once the sandals were actually wrapped around my leg. It helps to do this so that you can see where the pom poms are, and where you’ll have some naked space on the straps! Here is a photo of mine about midway through my second sandal: (You can see I had the beads strung in place and the poms are temporarily pinned with sewing pins)

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After the beads are placed along the straps, then you can begin stitching or gluing your poms into their permanent place! I just did a couple simple stitches to secure them to the sandal, and voila! It was the easiest part of the process. For the strap around the toes, I bought some pom pom trim (from Hobby Lobby), measured across, cut, and stitched. Other than figuring out placement for the poms and beads, it was the most time consuming part of the project. I think hot gluing would do just fine for this part and would save you a good chunk of time!

The last thing I did was assemble the mini tassels to the ends of the straps for a cute added touch. I just looped them on the end of the strap and stitched them to make sure they were secured.

After this was done, I had some super adorable and colorful sandals! They look super cute gladiator style, which is how I wore them here, but they also looked super cute wrapped and bunched closer together! I deemed this to be a very successful DIY and can’t wait to wear them around town!

This was such a fun and cute DIY for summertime, and for the steal of a price, I’d do it all over again! I’m obsessed over this look right now!! We can’t wait to hear what you all think of these pom sandals!

Keep up with us by following our social media pages, and stay up to date with all Oak and Earth happenings! Until our next summery post, stay cool and eat ice cream!

 

Peace and Love,

Tera -xo

5 Ways to Know You and Your Tot are Totally BFFS

Hey, readers! Self proclaimed nap time writer is back at it this week (it’s me, Tera). When I’m not drowning in last night’s dishes and days of laundry, I love getting to use Norah’s nap time to squeeze in a little down time for myself, and let’s be honest, sometimes a nap of my own (second trimester insomnia has me dragging these days)! Today’s nap time is consisting of a few of my favorite things: a bowl of fresh raspberries (all to myself), burning the best candle ever made (Capri Blue’s Volcano…mmmm), and this–blogging!

Since motherhood is one of the biggest roles in my life, I love getting to share little snippets of my everyday happenings and experiences, mom fails, and mom successes! This week, I wanted to share something light-hearted and something that all moms of toddlers (maybe even more specifically, moms of little diva tots) can relate to. We mom’s need to give ourselves a break every now and then from the pressures we feel with doing this mom thing the “right way,” and just have a good laugh. Motherhood is messy, tiring, never ending (I mean like 24/7 all day, everyday, whether you work or stay home), humbling, and completely wonderful! Now, have I done research and created this compilation based on facts? Yeah, basically. No better way than living it first hand, #amiright?

So, with that, I share with you my list of 5 Ways to Know You and Your Tot are  (Totally) BFF’s

Mother and daughter

  1. You’re Attached at the Hip

You and your tot go everywhere together. You’re the inseparable duo, two peas in a pod. You’re the peanut butter to their jelly, the glaze on their donut, the cheese to their macaroni–catchin’ my drift? So much so, they want to go everywhere with you. Literally. You wanna just run and pee really quick? Not without the ying to your yang you don’t! Thinking about taking a nice bubble bath to soothe your sore muscles at the end of your day? Funny you should think that, because that’s exactly what your tot would like to do–and look! You’ve got it all set up and everything…how convenient! Wanna make a quick run to the s-t-o-r-e for a few to grab a couple groceries? They see that glance over to your spouse. Spelling the words don’t help, they know that glance, and they “pobby need to come get sum snacks too, tay?” In true best friend fashion, you two are attached at the hip; many times, very literally. They don’t want to be separated from your actual hip. If this sounds anything like you and your tot, this could mean that you two are BFF’s.

2.  You Tell Them Everything

Here’s the thing: it’s not a true BFF unless you tell them everything. You tell your tot the things you never imagined telling anyone! I mean it. You don’t tell just any friend not to eat your family dog’s dog food, or to please not pick up said family dog’s poo from the yard to bring inside to show you that said family dog did indeed poo in the yard. No, this is BFF level talk. I’m fairly confident you wouldn’t inform just anybody that yes, panties are a must when walking out of the garage, and no, wearing them on top of your head is not an acceptable form. “Get down,” and “don’t jump off of that!” and “no, we don’t poo in the yard like the family dog,” might not be things you’d say to the average Joe of a friend, but BFF’s get down to the nitty gritty. You’ll tell each other the things that no one else will. Is your tot an actual good secret keeper? Negative. She’ll tell every stranger at Walmart that she saw mom’s boobies today (speaking from experience). BUT, you can expect some real honest talk moments–like, “Let’s not talk about mom’s boobies to people, ok?” If you tell your tot things you don’t tell anyone else in the world, you might just be BFF’s.

3. You Share All the Things

Best friends share the motto, “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours.” Mom’s food tastes better. No, it doesn’t matter that it’s the exact same thing…it might taste completely different on mom’s plate than it does on theirs. Or, that last cookie you hoped to enjoy to yourself…it won’t matter that you’ve already given your tot 2 cookies to eat, they will still give you the sad begging puppy eyes and ask “petty peas, jus one more bite?” until you give in, and it’ll be a bite the size of a large mouthed bass. That warm bubble bath we mentioned earlier? Your tot will insist that it’s more enjoyable if they join you. I mean you could run a separate bath for them, but it just isn’t the same as the one you currently have waiting for you; no, yours is way better and bubblier and the perfect amount of water. Your ice water is what your tot prefers. Not their ice water, not their juice. Your ice water. “I hab some of your dink, mom. Iss perfec’ for me,” they’ll tell you. In the early am when your tot sneaks in to your bed for some morning cuddles, your pillow becomes 3/4 their pillow. No need for them to bring their own pillow; your pillow will suit them just fine. You share potty time together, movie time together, you toot together and laugh together, all day. Have you been an excellent sharer lately? I’m sensing some BFF action–sharing is caring.

4. They Wanna Be Just Like You

Monkey see, monkey do. There is no greater role model in your toddler’s life than you, mom. You’re the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas. Whatever you do, wherever you go, your tot wants to do and go also. When you leave your bathroom with a fresh face of makeup, little tot will sneak in and apply that bright red lipstick on her lips (and let’s be real, her cheeks and forehead). She’ll layer her neck with half a dozen of your blingiest necklaces, because she wants to be a superstar like mom. Your tot sees the strange contraption you wear across your chest, and they want in on this action. You’ll need to find a nearly identical bra and assemble it for them, and yes, it’ll be a fight to get it off when you need to leave the house because, “mom wears her bra!” If you’re leaving the house in your sandals, your tot won’t leave until they change out of their sneakers, and into (you guessed it) their own sandals. Are you wearing your sunnies? Well, then I hope you brought a spare! And when you say a phrase that is deemed the funniest phrase ever spoken (by your tot of course), be prepared to hear that phrase for the rest of the day, from them. You’re a rockstar, mom! If only we could get our tots to copy cat us when we ate all of our veggies at mealtime (sigh). If you have a little mini me at your heels all day, then I’d say you’ve found yourself a little BFF.

beautiful young mother daughter smiling each other summer green grass

 

5. You Could Talk for Hours

A sure sign of a BFF: you two never run out of words. Best friends never shut up (I mean this in the nicest but most sincere way possible). From the moment they wake up, to the moment their eyes close for the night, words are spewing out of your tot’s mouths. If your tot could text, you’d have 56 unread messages by 7 a.m. Questions of “what’s dat,’ ‘what happened,’ ‘what you sayin’ about,’ and ‘why?” are oh so commonly asked by your tot, many, many times in a day. You’re even graced with the occasional 3 a.m. wake up call from the monitor with: “Mom, I wake up!” and an hour’s worth of conversation that follows. No matter if you’re in the bathroom peeing or showering, there is never a short in small talk with your tot; they do not run low on exhaust. Cows, princesses, toots, boogers, feet, raisins…do you see what I’m getting at here? The conversation is endless. Throw in 500 questions in the mix of small talk, and you have a whole 27 hours worth of words exchanged! What’s that you say? There are only 24 hours in a day? If you’re close to losing your voice and your eyes are nearly crossed at the end of the day from all the question answering, pretend phone call taking, and smorgasbord of conversation, you and your tot may just be best friends forever status.

 

There’s no one that loves you, looks up to you, wants to be like you, and who’s always by your side like your BFF.

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Me and my BFF

Thanks for reading! We are excited to share some fun summer DIY’s, recipes, and more, so keep an eye out for more posts! Follow our insta page @oakandearth or my personal handle @terapianalto for updates, and more!

 

XO,

Tera

Waiting on the Lord

It’s no question that I am an impatient person. When I am working toward a goal or dream of mine, or when I have an idea in my head, I want those things to come to fruition right away! I want to see the fruits of my harvest before I’ve even taken the time to till the soil and allow my ideas to mature and bloom. I want immediate results with minimal time and effort. I am bad at waiting. 

So naturally, when it comes to waiting on the Lord’s timing for certain things, I struggle. When we have a need or a desire deep down in our hearts, and we ask the Lord to part the waters for us, we kind of mean, like, “now.” Sometimes, He does do this right away. But many times, whether it be for a short or a long duration, He puts us in a season of waiting. This is never an easy test of faith for me (and maybe some of you), and the wait to us seems unwarranted, especially when the intentions of our hearts are good and pure. In one of my very favorite songs, one line says:

“In the process, in the waiting–You’re making melodies over me.”

I love this song, as it speaks to my heart in a lot of ways, and this line in particular has always stood out to me; maybe because I’ve found myself in this season many a time. In any case, I love it, and I truly believe that is exactly what the Lord is doing for us in our times of waiting!

I think about how long Israel waited for their Messiah–thousands of years, and nearly five hundred years after the prophecies were made! God said He was sending a Messiah, and He was faithful to Israel; but, not before a long period of waiting. He made sure every last detail was in place and aligned first. Sure, it took thousands of years, but His timing for sending Jesus to earth was perfect! He waited until Jesus’ time and ministry on earth would be most effective and make the greatest impact–and boy, did it! I’m not saying God is going to make you or me wait a thousand years to fulfill our dreams and goals (thank goodness), but I do take comfort in knowing that He is going to wait until every little detail is just so for me, too–and you! Even the things that right now, we can’t know about or that we have no control over.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. -Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

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Our season of waiting is so much more than what it seems. God is carving out every detail and paving a path for us to walk on. While we wait, He is making a beautiful melody over our lives. He is working on the toughest, darkest parts of our hearts. He is shaping us and maturing us. He is working on us to relinquish control over the parts of our lives that we cling to so tightly. He is growing our wisdom. He is teaching us that there are beautiful moments in our waiting, and that His timing for the things in our lives (that we want so badly right now) will bring greater blessing to us and glory to His name, rather than in our own timing.

I can’t help but picture a budding flower. Every flower has its season, and before that season approaches, the flower must change a lot. We tend to the soil, give the flower  plenty of water and sunlight, and protect the flower from damaging bugs and insects, or weather that can cause premature blooms, or no blooms. Eventually, when the right season comes to be, the flower blossoms, and it is beautiful! God is growing us and protecting us, so that when He says our season is here and our dreams and callings are in bloom, they will be the most impacting, most glorifying, and most fulfilling. He is preparing us while we wait, for when that time does indeed come to be, it is going to be even more magnificent and beautiful than anything we could have given ourselves.

Whether you are waiting on the Lord’s timing for motherhood, divine inspiration, a new opportunity, or the love of your life; in any season, take comfort and know that a beautiful story is being written over you, and  in the meantime, there is beauty in the waiting.

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Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

Love,

Tera   -xo