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


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!



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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


-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.


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,


Natural Labor

Make Christmas Memorable for Your Family While Keeping it Simple

Merry Christmas season, readers! It’s Tera here on Oak and Earth today. This time of year is by far my favorite, for so many reasons! It is a time for family, a time of giving, a whole season of yummy foods, a time for Christmas lights and hot chocolate, and most of all a time to celebrate and remember the true reason for the season: the birth of our Lord and Savior! I have the most special memories of the holidays from my childhood years, and the excitement and fun my family had during the Christmas season has most certainly carried on in me into adulthood!

 I was reflecting recently on Christmas time and my own little family, and I tried to think of ways to make this a memorable time of year for Norah (and us), while keeping our main focus on the true meaning of Christmas and not getting wrapped up in the common mindset of, “more is more.” I want to instill meaningful and treasured memories into Norah’s core for Christmas time that teach her what principles are important to have and to pass down, and that will tug her heart strings (in a good way) for years to come. Simple moments that create a lifelong impact. So, I have created a list of some simple things you can do as a family that will make great memories, give quality time, and can respect even the most frugal holiday budget. I’m sharing my list below, and I hope you can be inspired for your family by some of these ideas! ‘Tis the season!

1.   Christmas Lights Outing  

Photo Dec 06, 2 25 00 AM

Downtown Siloam Springs, AR

This is an easy way for you and yours to have some fun during the Christmas season! My family would do this every year after our Christmas Eve service, but this is something you could do any time during December! Many of your local neighborhoods will have some fun light displays, or your downtown square (for us NWA folk, the Fayetteville square, for example). Some houses even connect their light displays with one of your local radio stations, and it’s really fun to see the lights flickering to the rhythm of the music! Your kids would love it if you all dressed in your comfy, festive Christmas pj’s, whipped up some hot chocolate, and hopped in your car together for a ride around town to see the pretty lights! It’s a nearly free activity (minus a little gas), and the kids will love starting this tradition with you!

 2.  Trim the Tree as a Family 

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My Christmas mantle in my pretty new house!!

Another fun memory I have from my childhood is helping my mom and siblings decorate our Christmas tree together each year! We would all get a new hallmark ornament every year to add to the collection. My own Christmas tree now is full of all of these ornaments (plus Jeremy’s and now Norah’s). There is something super special about those homemade ornaments and little hallmark collectibles that make a Christmas tree so sentimental and nostalgic! Pick a day where the whole family can be a part of this; and if you want to make a whole afternoon of it, visit a local tree nursery and choose a real tree to take home and decorate! The prices are usually very reasonable and it’s a fun and neat experience for the family. Set your tree up, stick some cookies in the oven, and choose a favorite Christmas movie to watch while you all have fun decorating (our tradition is The Polar Express). Let your little ones have a role in making the tree pretty! You can “touch up” some bare spots after they go to bed and disperse the ornaments that are stringing around the bottom half of your tree up and throughout (they’ll never know the difference), but, in the meantime, let them feel special and like they have an important part of this Christmas tradition! They’ll grow to love it, and their decorating skills should improve over the years ;). For the teeny tots who are still trying to grasp what a Christmas tree is, and from whom you’d like to spare some of your favorite glass ornaments from the game, “throw it on the floor,” try purchasing a mini tree and some plastic ornaments and set it up next to the big tree. We did this for Norah and let her decorate her special tree while we did the big tree and she loved it, (and we purchased her tree for $8)! Until they can better understand the concept of the ornaments and the tree, this is another way to get the littlest tots involved, and they’ll have their own special tree to decorate!

3.  Do an Advent Series Together 

Make some time during the month of December  for everyone to reflect on the ‘reason for the season’ by doing an advent series together. There is nothing more important that you can instill into your children’s hearts (or your own for that matter) than the love of Christ. Make sure in the hustle and bustle that your family stays grounded and that you make some quality time for this! I realize we are already part way through December, but this is something so important that I am adding it anyway to encourage you to do! You can play a little catch up, or just pick up where you are! It will help your whole family remember what matters most during Christmas, and you will instill this most important thing into your kids’ lives–and this is something you can’t put a price tag on! I am linking a great advent series for the whole family to partake in HERE. If you want to save money for budget purposes, there are some great online resources to pull verses and stories from to read each night as a family. Try doing this at a time where everyone is always together, like at the dinner table either before or after a meal (while everyone is still gathered). Making a routine like this is a good way to keep from having to try and squeeze it in at the end of the night while kids are dispersing to bed, or forgetting to do it altogether! After a long day at work or school, this is a great way to end each evening this month and will be so impactive on your kids’ hearts!

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My sweet little family at our church; New Life Church, Fayetteville

Free online resources:

4.  Christmas Cookie Decorating 

You can’t go wrong with a fun day of baking and decorating (and eating)! Tune in on your favorite Christmas pandora station, and you have a festive party right in your own kitchen! Google or Pinterest some easy sugar cookie recipes, pull the sprinkles from your pantry, and check Target’s Christmas aisles for some adorable (and cheap) Christmas cookie cutters! This is something you can do whether you have two or twelve people, and have fun doing it without breaking the bank! Take it to the next level on your baking day by trying a salt dough recipe and making some homemade ornaments that the kids can decorate and hang on the tree! This is a low stress, low cost way to get festive and celebrate the holidays, and will be a fun tradition the whole bunch can look forward to each year.

Fun cookie cutter set HERE ; Delicious sugar cookie recipe found HERE ; adorable and easy salt dough ornament recipe HERE !

5.  Christmas Caroling            

This is an outing to get your extended family and friends involved in! Take a big group around the neighborhood and sing some popular and well-known Christmas songs together! My family has not ever done this, but I think it sounds like a super fun way to spend an afternoon, and would love incorporating this into our yearly festivities! The more the merrier for this activity, so a little planning may be required to get the group together, but it would be well worth the effort, and would create fun memories for the whole family! End the night with some hot chocolate and a nice fire (because you can’t go wrong with hot chocolate)! This is a free way to lift people’s spirits and put a smile on their faces. If you want to go the extra mile this season, look into caroling at your local nursing home and share some love and Christmas cheer with our beloved elders…no one would love and appreciate it more! This is a totally free and fun way to get the whole family involved in some fun times together, and share some great memories!

6.   Gingerbread House Contest

  Nothing like some friendly competition to make for a fun night! You can purchase gingerbread house kits for fairly cheap at the store; why not buy two and make a friendly contest of boys vs. girls and have some fun?! You can have as small or as big of teams as you want, and that makes this activity super universal and accommodating to any family size! Spend the evening dressing your gingerbread houses up, and have some friends be the judge (without them knowing whose is whose). Let the winners choose the next Christmas movie for movie night, or spice it up with a bigger incentive for the winners! This is a tradition that your kids will want to repeat next year, and they’ll cherish their memories!

7.  Downtown Parade (or your town’s Christmas festivities)             

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Aren’t my besties totally adorable holding children?? 😉 We were able to enjoy the downtown parade together this year!

Going to our annual downtown Christmas parade is a tradition my family has held for years. It’s always a fun night of warm bundles, a hot drink in hand, and lots of pretty Christmas floats! Check your calendars for your town’s holiday festivities and make it a family affair! Bundle up, grab some extra blankets and a warm beverage (you know what would be great for this? Hot chocolate), and share some laughs together. If you missed this year’s, make it a goal to try it next year and start a new tradition together!

8.  “Christmas” Game Night


“Louie” themed socks and hot cocoa are my secret to winning 😉

Here’s another fun idea for the entire family and even some of your friends to join in on! For the last few years, my husband’s side has done a fun game night together for our Christmas tradition, and it has been a huge hit! You can find some Christmas themed minute -to -win it games for your inspiration on Pinterest, or even google, and most of them look super fun! Get the group together, share some yummy snacks (and maybe some hot chocolate), split into teams, and let the laughs begin! What’s nice about these games, is that any supplies you may need can most always be found at the dollar store, so you can stretch your dollar and enjoy lots of games. Make your prizes as big or small as you want, or nix them all together and play just for the fun of it. There will be guaranteed a ton of laughs, and with or without the prizes, everyone will look forward to next year’s annual game night! Here are a few links to some very fun minute to win it ideas you can try:  Here , here , and here !

9.  Christmas Angels

Teach your kids the importance of giving during this holiday season. Magnify this and make it a higher priority than being on the receiving end. If we are honest, most of our kiddos who live in a warm and safe home do not really need much for Christmas! I’m not saying our kids don’t deserve gifts, or that we shouldn’t let them receive any. It’s so fun to watch Norah open her gifts and seeing her face light up! But, the more important thing we can give them is to teach them selfless love and share what we have with those who go without. Go to your nearest Christmas Angel tree and choose a couple angels to give a nice Christmas. Let your kids have a big part in choosing the Angels and the gifts. It’s important to show our kids that there are some big needs in our communities, and that they can have a part in making Christmas special for someone who otherwise wouldn’t have the same experience. Partake as a family in spreading love this season, and make it a tradition to give to others in a very tangible way every Christmas! If you don’t have Christmas Angel trees in your area, research some places that you can donate items and help make Christmas special for someone else!


Here is our littlest angel, to give you all the feels!! *sigh*

10.  Wise Men Gifts

One principle we really want to keep incorporated into our Christmas as a family is simplicity. The excessiveness that is so common during this time of year we believe takes away from the specialness and “sacredness” that simplicity holds. Keep your gift giving simple with your kiddos this year by trying the Wise Men Gift method. This is a concept I first heard from Oak and Earth’s Bethany, whose family started doing this several years ago. Whether your budget is $3,000 or $300, this is a concept that you can easily incorporate into your family’s traditions. It’s very simple: each kid (and/or spouse) would receive just three gifts, and their stockings. You can arrange them however you choose; two smaller gifts and one big gift, three small gifts, one “Santa” gift, and two from you–there’s no method to it other than keeping the number simple with 3. We loved the idea and decided to start this tradition with Norah! It’s an awesome way to keep the sweetness of Christmas time by not drowning our kids (and our finances) in “more.” Our little ones will expect only what they are used to when it comes to gifts, so why not start this tradition now and keep your gift giving sweet and simple. 

If you want more ideas for gift giving methods, here are a few others you can try:

  • Do the “4 gifts” (something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read)
  • For older kids (this is what we do for my husband’s side), draw names and each person gets one person a gift or two.
  • Sock exchange (buy your kids some christmas socks and fill them up with goodies, much like a stocking), or just their stockings!
  • Encourage your kids to read and grow their imaginations by giving books for gifts!
  • If you are opting for “no gifts” this year, try donating to a charity in honor of each of your children. It’s a great way to give back and will be a special way to honor your kids.

I absolutely love getting to start new traditions with Norah, and I’m excited to start with some of these ideas together as a family! Keeping our holidays sweet and simple by focusing more on the memories and fun, and less on the “things” will hopefully create a special place in Norah’s heart for this time of year, much like it did for me! I hope I have given you some ideas that you can start incorporating into your family festivities each year too! No matter how you choose to spend the holidays, try to do some fun things as a family that will make it memorable for everyone!  If you want some fun and creative date ideas to do with your special someone, make sure to check back in a couple days for Bethany’s “12 Dates of Christmas” post coming soon! Also be sure to keep up with Oak and Earth this month, as we have several holiday inspired posts that we can’t wait to show you!! Follow me on Instagram @terapianalto if you don’t already, so you can stay informed on all of our blog happenings, and make sure to hashtag any Oak and Earth experiences you have with #OakandEarthBlog. We love your feedback and would love to know what you would like to see us write about on here! We’ll do our best to try out your ideas! Wishing you the sweetest and merriest Christmas yet!

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Happy Month of December, and Holiday’s best,

Tera (with Jeremy and Norah, and Louie)   -xo

Homemade Baby Food Pouches

Hello, reader! It’s Tera again. This week, I thought I would share with you my experience with dabbling into the world of homemade baby food (in squeeze pouch form). The idea for this post was sparked by my sister in law, and fellow baby mama of a tot, as we visited about how we want to learn some good ways to incorporate healthy foods into our children’s diets, without having to pay Gerber (and other brands) the big bucks. Initially, $1.72 doesn’t sound too bad, but when I total up the cost of weekly pouches devoured, it nears the $30 mark…that’s a week’s worth! If I totaled that number for a whole month, it puts a dent into the grocery bill. But of course, toddlers tend to be a bit finicky, and this is no exception at our household. So getting them to try carrots, broccoli, spinach etcetera, is not an easy task. Having these pouches is so convenient for this very reason, and for many of you moms out there, it’s justifiable to spend the money to get your tots to eat veggies and love them (without them even realizing it)!

For me and anyone else out there who is on a budget, or who likes to find easy ways to save back some money each month, recreating these pouches at home was worth the try. I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating and seemed like it would take forever and be more difficult than what it’s worth. And honestly, it was a bit of trial and error with a few of them. But, I am here to tell you what I did right (and wrong), and to tell you that it is actually quite easy!

closeuppouch pouches

So first in my process, I needed pouches to store the food in. I went with this brand from WalMart:


For the general process of filling and storing the food, this system works just fine, and for this starter kit, it was only $10. However, these pouches are not reusable, and a pack of 50 pouches is $15. Depending on how many pouches you go through a month, it may or may not be monetarily beneficial for you. They do make reusable pouches like these that I would probably choose to use for my future endeavors, just to be the most efficient.

For this post today, I’ll share with you four recipes that I tried and liked. The really nice thing about doing these at home, is you can be as creative as you want to with mixing different veggies and fruits. Most of the combos I did were some that I have bought before and knew Norah would like. But there are really endless possibilities of different combos!

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal


For this breakfast recipe, there are a few simple steps before pureeing. Here are the ingredients I used (roughly measured out for you):

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


You’ll want to cook your oatmeal first so that it is tender. I also steamed the blueberries for about 1 minute in the microwave to make them extra soft. Once these steps are done, add ingredients to a food processor or blender. If you steam blueberries, add some of the liquid steamed from them. Otherwise, you may need to add some water until you get your desired texture. When all the ingredients are blended and smooth, store fresh in these pouches, or freeze and use throughout the week/month! That’s the best part about making these yourself. I found it easiest to store in an ice cube tray, for what it’s worth, but find what works best for you! This recipe makes a yummy breakfast for your tots! Super easy, and toddler approved. You could also sneak some spinach in this recipe to add some healthy greens. Just make sure to steam the spinach beforehand!

Broccoli, Peas and Pear

broccolipearpea peas

This next recipe is also fairly easy. My tip for this (and any recipes with leafy greens, or harder veggies), would be that if you find you can’t get a smooth pureed texture from a food processor, to stick with a blender. Sometimes the blades blend this stuff up better. I have also heard that the Ninja, Nutribullet, and Baby Bullet work wonders for this kind of stuff…next investment?

Ingredients for this:

  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3/4 cup broccoli (or spinach)
  • 1 whole pear

The most time consuming part about this process is steaming the fruits and veggies. Though it only takes a matter of minutes, the more ripe you can get your produce, the faster. Make sure you steam all of these ingredients to make them soft. If you’re making a few different recipes like I did, steaming a lot of your ingredients together saves time and saves you a step for each one.

steamvegggies steamedapples

After you steam the pears, broccoli and peas, and they are tender and soft, they are ready to be blended. If you have a food processor with a grater, it might be helpful to grate them before pureeing them, but it’s not necessary. This combo needed some added water to make it thinner. If you have water from steaming, try adding some of it! The steaming process brings a lot of vitamins and nutrients into the water, and adding that to your recipe gives your baby the most nutrients possible! When you have a smooth puree, store fresh in the pouches or freeze and save for later! Getting the system down? For this recipe you could also try spinach instead of broccoli, apple in place of a pear, or try adding a big spoonful of plain greek yogurt for added protein!

Avocado Banana

avocado avonana

This one is by far the easiest. There is no steaming involved, and takes no time to blend up!

You’ll just need:

  • 2 avocadoes
  • 2 bananas

Slice both and add the “meat” to your blender. You may need to add a little bit of water to thin it out. Once it’s done, store fresh or freeze for later. Since avocadoes brown quickly once they’ve been sliced, make sure you freeze if your little hasn’t eaten within 24 hours. Also try adding a pear or some greek yogurt for added protein and flavor!

Pumpkin Apple


This recipe is also very easy. I didn’t have a sweet potato for this combo, so I used some canned pumpkin!

You just need:

  • 1 can of pumpkin ( or a steamed sweet potato)
  • 2 apples
  • (optional) 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Steam your apples beforehand until they are tender. And if you use sweet potato, it will need to be peeled and steamed too. Once this is done, add all of it to a food processor or blender and mix up! Also add some of the steam water until you get desired texture. Make sure it is well blended. Store fresh in pouches or freeze! This combo is great because you could easily mix it up. Use sweet potato or carrots (steam first) instead of pumpkin, or add some cooked oatmeal and cinnamon to make a healthy breakfast pouch! Just make sure if you use tougher veggies, that you blend them until smooth and a soft puree.

The process of making baby food seems much more intimidating than it really is! It was fun taste testing and mixing different combos. If you can dedicate 1-1.5 hours a week making and storing, your tot will have tons of fresh, healthy snacks that won’t break the bank! Try choosing a few ingredients to mix and match each week, and switch up ingredients the next. If you freeze and store, you’ll have all varieties to choose from. It also gives you a chance to ad-match and get weekly deals on different produce items so you can be cost efficient!

Here are a few more combos I’ll be trying next:

  • raspberry, banana, brown rice (greek yogurt)
  • blueberry, sweet potato, oats
  • avocado, fig, mango
  • green bean, pears, greek yogurt

berryrice spinach closepouch pears

What are some of your combos and tips from your experience?! Keep up with Oak and Earth through my instagram handle @terapianalto for weekly updates and posts, and hashtag your Oak and Earth experiences #OakandEarthBlog !



#Momlife (Norah is ONE)

Norah Edited011

A WHOLE year of baby goodness has flown by. That was so fast and so slow all at the same time! Is that even possible? Yes. The days are long but the years are short…I think every mom would agree with me on that one!

In light of this milestone, I thought I would attempt to list a few “then vs. now’s” in order to reminisce and share what I have experienced. I’m also hoping I’m not the only one who is at the “removing dog food from child’s mouth,” and the “nightly trash can rummage” to make sure there aren’t any magnets, books, or dad’s glasses somewhere amidst the coffee grounds phase. Otherwise.. [insert nervous laugh here]

Let’s share some of my motherhood snippets.



1. Lots of sleeping 

Sweet, sweet newborn baby cuddles, all day long. Norah was my tiny 5lb. 10oz. baby orangutan (see above pic for comparison). I remember thinking how I never thought it possible to love such a tiny little thing with so much intensity. We moms have a capacity to love so extraordinarily! Norah may or may not have been a pretty typical newborn (I mean really, you have to take all the newborn facts with a grain of salt). But man, the sleeping part, Norah had down! Girl loved her naps. I would just love to watch her sleep (and make sure she took another breath) *paranoia*. Babies are just so darn sweet when they sleep! The way they move their hands and their little newborn grunts make me want to squeee! Norah slept through the night very early on, and napped many times a day, and now? We’ll get there in a bit. But then? We loved us a nice 3-4 oz. bottle followed by a luxurious nap.

2. I have no clue what I’m doing!

Though the newborn stage was sweet, and I cherish my sweet orangutan memories, I was a big hot mess most days. I think the newborn stage has probably been my least favorite of the baby stages thus far. And I don’t mean this in the way that it sounds..I was so terrified at the thought of doing anything wrong that I was stressed most of the time.

Even before she was born, I was so scared thinking “I have no clue how to be a mom. What if I am a bonafide bad mom?” And when she came, she was so tiny and fragile! I felt like a failure when breastfeeding didn’t ‘work’ (for either of us), I worried she didn’t gain enough weight at her monthly checkpoints, I was paranoid when she slept, I tried to follow the newborn rule book to the ‘t’. Remember when I mentioned taking those rules with a grain of salt? Well. I was the opposite for a long time. I thought that when Norah wouldn’t do what the books said she should, that I was not doing something I should be, and I was failing at the mom thing. *classic first time mom syndrome* It’s quite comical to me now, but then, it was so not!

3. Milk drunk for days

The days of six bottles a day are long gone, folks (and also the days of spending $150 a month in baby formula..hallelujah chorus). I always thought it was so strange that Norah, and every baby, was just so satisfied with a big, warm bottle of milk. All day, e’rday. I am not a milk fan myself, so this particularly grossed me out. And after about two months of painful, dreaded, and unsuccessful breastfeeding, I opted for baby formula. Baby formula is odd (though a life saver), and it has a funk to the smell. And a formula smelling baby burp is just so adorably disgusting. I’ll never forget the short, day, of trying out Nutramigen–a formula for babies with cow based milk allergies. Thank the good Lord she did not need it because that stuff smells like fish dipped in Dorito batter, and based off Norah’s reaction to the bottles, it tasted like it too. We soon after settled on Gerber good start and loved it hard for a whole year.

Those were the days. Many different brands and trial runs of formulas (because they make approximately 1 billion types). Alas, a day I will not long miss, EXCEPT for the cute, adorable, milk drunk expressions we saw on an almost daily basis. Full tummy, happy heart, happier baby.

4. Sweet innocence


I thought it was a good time to add another sweet, sugary baby picture. Givin’ me all the feels. Sigh.

Babies have a precious innocence to them. Everything is so beautiful and so new to them. The first time they discover their hands, the first time they roll over, the first time they discover their own voice (that may be when things start to change)..all of these milestones they hit are so precious and shows such a pure innocence about their nature. When they poop, it doesn’t smell, even if it does. Why? Because it’s coming from your sweet bitty baby’s bottom and it’s too cute to be gross. When they spit up on you? Adorable. They didn’t mean to spit that entire bottle on your shirt, they couldn’t help it. Baby toots are hilarious, not repulsive. ‘Oops,’ you tell them, ‘someone’s a little gassy today’. Everything they do is so precious. I mean it, too. I was just like this; Norah could not have been any cuter!

It is bitter sweet as they leave this stage of innocence as they grow and develop. It’s so fun to see them learn new things and develop their personalities, and sad at the same time to leave their newborn snuggly stage. Always precious, not always so innocent.

5. Let’s just hang out

And just like all the other newborn stages are over, so the stage of immobility has also come to an end.

Babies are so easy to entertain when they are still young. Stick them in the baby swing for a while, then tummy time on the floor, then perhaps the baby bouncer, then the cute playmat (with a lot of milk breaks and naps in between). The land of many baby stations is what we referred our home to for the first several months. Lots of rotating to keep them entertained? Sure. But still, much easier to keep an eye on them, and to always assure that they are in the same spot you saw them, oh, 20 seconds ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I still felt tired and busy. They do consume a lot of your day no matter what age! But as soon as Norah started crawling, we knew we seriously had no idea how busy and exhausting life with a baby really was. Though we’ve always been the type to like having an agenda of some sort, Norah really just rolled with it and sort of just “hung out” with us wherever we were. No opinions or defiance, just a ‘sure mom, I’ll be good in my carseat while we drive.’ Oh, the days.


Norah Edited007

1. But first, coffee.

I’ve found that the older Norah has gotten, strangely enough, the more tired I am on a pretty normal day-to-day basis!

Coffee in the mornings has become a morning ritual for us, and let’s be honest, sometimes in the evenings. There is just something about a baby with a new spurt of energy and activeness that takes tired to a whole new level. I think it must accompany the constant redirecting, constant feeding (ms. cookie monster), constant going, going, going. I truly love this stage of life with her, but girl is cray cray. Sometimes I would like to say, “okay, you’re fighting your nap today? I’ll just crawl in your bed and take one in your place.” So. Much. Energy.

Short pause

Sorry. I was just reminiscing on the days where naps for me were a reality. Time for another cup of coffee.

2.  I got this…never mind, no clue what I’m doing

Now don’t get me wrong, I have become a much more confident mom and woman over the course of a year. But let’s get real. By the time you get used to a baby stage, they change it up on you! Feelin’ good about your baby’s sleep schedule? Well unfortunately, they just hit their 4 month sleep regression. Got her feedings down? Bam. She just decided she would rather have more bottles later in the day instead of earlier. Think your baby’s tummy hurts because she’s been super fussy, so you try and figure out how to fix it, or if you are feeding her something that is causing it, and a week later she’s got two teeth popping through. *lightbulb*

One thing I have been able to do over the course of this year, is relax and be totally confident in my cluelessness. Every stage has presented its challenges, and always rewards that far outweigh them. I’ll never know what’s next for us, because I’ve never been through it! Maybe by baby #2, I’ll have some of these things down, but even still, each baby is different and picky in his or her own ways. It’s a constant learning thing for us. My name is Tera and I am clueless!

3. Eat all the things

We have moved out of the milk drunk phase, and moved into the clearing our pantry out phase in full swing.

It amazes me how much this child can put away at meal time, not to mention the constant snacking throughout the day (despite her most recent take to pickiness). It’s a great sign of growth, so I am grateful. But Norah is a disposal when it comes to food. So much so, that she’s even taken a liking to her favorite puppy’s food (don’t worry, we’re working on it). The girl is ravenous and will sometimes eat a majority of what is on my plate, even after having her own!

I understand now why the kitchen is just such a key space in your home. It’s because that is where your children corral all day long! I am constantly preparing snacks and meals for my daughter who is always wanting food for on the go. So cute. So ravenous.

4. GUILTY as charged

Remember that sweet innocence we discussed and reminisced? Those days are long gone. There comes a time when babies go from their sweet stage, and transform into these little heathens who are ALWAYS into something!

Tell me this is not just me. I love my daughter more than the world, but she is such a…well, we’ll call her an adventurous spirit. ‘I wonder what would happen if I turned this knob’; ‘I wonder what would happen if I put all my belongings in the trash’; ‘I wonder if my book would look good in the toilet’; ‘I wonder if I should wash my hands in the dog’s water bowl, and then proceed to turn it over onto the carpet…yeah, I probably should.’ These are all thoughts that I’m assuming have to go through my daughter’s brain on a daily basis. She knows that these things are not allowed, yet I still find myself redirecting her from these very things. A lot. The biting, pinching, hissy-fit throwing, stanky poop diapers…no longer as innocent.

Norah tests her boundaries with me. “Hot” she says, as she points to the fireplace. “Yes, very hot, do not touch it,” I reply. Slowly a tiny, guilt ridden finger gets closer and closer to said fireplace. I tell her no 100 more times, and the finger is ever slowly but surely moving closer and closer. Did I mention she’s staring at me with her “adventurous” eyes the whole time? Yeah. First they’re sweet, then they’re sour.

5. Let us explore the world

This is the most fun part of Norah’s stage of life, in all seriousness. She is so intrigued by life, and loves exploring! She loves animals, other babies, and she loves being outside. It’s truly a blessing to watch her bloom and beam with so much joy when she gets to have fun exploring.

Now, the house is constantly a mess from her indoor explorations, and I usually have 3-4 times a day where I am cleaning up the same piles of toys and messes. Exploring every single toy in our home, exploring on our book shelf and dvd collection, exploring her closet, exploring her bathtub…we do a lot of indoor exploring. I’m all about that exploring! I’m already tired; why not?! She has become quite the explorer throughout her first year. Very curious, and very experimental.

Norah Edited001-2

I love this about Norah. It’s part of what makes up her beautiful being. It keeps us on our toes, for sure, but it keeps life interesting, entertaining and fun!

Norah’s first year has been the hardest and most rewarding year of my life. She has learned so much, but she has also taught me so many things! The greatest and hardest job on earth that one can have, I believe, is being a parent. It is also the most rewarding and fun! You learn to toss the rules aside (using them more as a guideline), and learn by experience. You learn patience on a whole new level. You learn how to be a teacher, and you learn discipline. You learn to change poopy diapers really fast and effectively. And you learn how to love well. #fellowmomsunite

Happy Earth Day, live healthy, love hard.

Xo- Tera