Carseat Shopping with Preschoolers- Britax Endeavours

As you know, I’ve been confined, a prisoner, if you will, on bed rest for the last month. For someone who LOVES baby things and happens to be pregnant…and in need of baby things…this was torture. So, one of my first stops on my first day of freedom was Buy Buy Baby to check out all that has changed since Bug was cooking in my belly. And, woah! It’s a LOT! One of my favorite things we checked out was the new Britax Endeavours infant carseat. This seat goes from 4-35lbs, which for a mama with a high risk of birthing a premie, this is great news!


Obviously, Bug exceeds the max weight limit! But he approves the comfort level!

With the steel anti-rebound bar, there is 30% less rebound in a front or rear crash.

Even Chuck could maneuver its user-friendly design.

“Baby” the cabbage patch doll appreciates the safety measures present both with or without a base. With latch or auto seatbelts, Baby is riding with exceedingly high safety standards.

Chuck really enjoyed learning about how she can help take care of her new baby sibling in this #1 safety-rated seat. Bug, on the other hand, enjoyed torturing his sister. What can I say, they were stoked to get out of the house, too! I dare you to watch to the end without laughing!

Carseat Shopping With Preschoolers- Video


*I was compensated to check out this rad seat. All children and their wackado behaviors are my own.

30 Days

Thirty days of confinement, rest, restrictions and caution. Thirty days of figuring out a new normal and a new sense of purpose. Thirty days to dwell in my thoughts and fears and hopes for this baby and our family.

I haven’t done them well. I don’t know how one does. Two young children who need every piece of me that I can’t physically give and one deep-rooted character of pride sitting in my heart; these have been my companions. I didn’t realize how dependent I am on being INdependent until this last month. Ladies from bible study asked 10 times before they finally TOLD me they were coming to clean my kitchen. A meal train that ended up being a literal lifeline for my family was set up without me signing off…and I am so, so glad. Several friends grocery shopped, played mom-taxi and entertained my minions…all just by DOING. Because, you see, if there is one thing us moms are great at, it’s LOOKING as if we have it all under control….even if that’s not logistically possible. So, I dedicate the last thirty days to those who just DO. Thank you.

Now, the next thirty days? Who knows?! I was tentatively released from strict bed rest! It turns out the complete placenta previa that was aggravated by a pretty large subchorionic hematoma just…moved. I mean, last week it was bad. Really, really “you’re gonna have a c-section if you don’t go into preterm labor before,” bad. And this week, God said, “move!” and it did! Even my high risk doctor was surprised at the level of progress. The hematoma is still there and relatively large, but without the concern of the previa, it’s not as big of an issue right now. I am still on “light duty,” but I am able to leave the house. I can take Chuck to our Classical Conversations community day without reprimand and I can resume our normal dance/Awana/mops routine. Most exciting to me….TARGET! I know, so basic, right? But really, Chip and Joanna have been waiting for me. I must go!

I am 18.5 weeks at this point and while spending so much time with my own thoughts, I began to count down to different milestones. The most pivotal of these to me is 24 weeks. Twenty four weeks…the point of viability. The placemarker in gestation where I will never hear the words “there’s nothing we can (will) do. Just go home and manage your expectations.” Those words still burn in my ears after our traumatic night in the ER in Vegas. So, 24 weeks comes, get this, on Dec. 24! My little minnow will be statistically “viable,” a saveable miracle on Christmas Eve. How’s that for divine?!

This Sunday, Bug turns three and I can’t help but remember these milestones with him. His pregnancy was easy, for the most part, until the end. When I was 18 weeks with him, we were camping out in the mountains near Kern river, roasting marshmallows, blissfully unaware of just how much could go wrong. And here we are with this one, thanking God for each day closer to viability. It’s that way with life in general, right? We go along whistling until someone bumps us…and then someone bigger, then maybe a car or truck and then the whole dad-gum train runs us flat over and we are like, “good grief! I get it now! Life isn’t promised. Each day is a complete and utter gift. I get it.”

So, on Sunday, we will celebrate another gift of a day with our baby (middle) boy and we will once again get on our knees to thank our Heavenly Father for all the days we’ve had, and hope to have, to bring glory to Him, raising our tribe, sewing seeds of grace and mercy and working so very hard on clipping those ties to pride. Grateful for days and the ways, He shows us gently (or sometimes not SO gently) the reflection of the parts of ourselves we need to give to Him. I do get it now.


Secondary Infertility and losses

Last summer, I decided to take a break from facebook. We had just experienced the heartbreak of our second miscarriage. The ridiculousness of political rants and petty complaints became a very unwelcomed distraction from processing our pain. Leaving was good for me. I learned to cling tighter to my Savior, instead of drowning my mind in constantly refreshing my feed. Brent and I worked through our raw hurt together, again, this second time, and came out on the other side stronger than ever.

Then, it happened again. And again. And again. And again. During this year hiatus, we have grasped to a tiny life, five different times, only to be shattered as it slipped away. That’s six in total. Six babies in heaven. I’m still jaw-dropped at those words. Our most recent beloved went to be with Jesus this month, almost a year to the day of his sibling.

I’ve been reminded over and over again that God put us on this earth to live in community, to glorify Him. His love is only reflected by ours. So, this village, the people who’ve brought coffee or embraced snot-drenched sobs on their shoulders…these are the Hands and Feet. These are the ones who, without always the right words, show with action, the cross. Thank you.

There’ve been other tragedies and joys and endless hours of news, both personal and public, through the last year. It’s documented in my heart, instead of my page. Our actions, and inactions, haven’t always been understood or appreciated by those around us, and that’s ok. Healing and grieving and growing are processes, undertaken in intimacy with Jesus. Everyone does it differently. But, all you who’ve suffered, too, know, I know. And I love, too.

My babies all have names. They’ve all been loved for every second of their existence. Every bit of their being was felt and cherished. They will be remembered at due dates and loss dates…even if I have to reference my “list,” because there are so many. What mother doesn’t remember her baby’s birthday? I’m trying.

So, I suppose the point of this is…well, I’m not really sure. Maybe to try to express courage? Or insight for those who’ve wondered? Or just to document some late night, wine-induced rambling from an aching mama-heart.

Chuck and Bug are our world. They perfectly stretch our parent wings and if they complete our family, we are joy- filled. But, we stand in utter confusion at God’s plans for our family. It’s a sense of paralysis. So, I humbly ask, for those who’ve walked through the fire of secondary infertility or recurrent losses, please reach out. I need some anecdotal hope, one way or the other.

And to my husband, thank you for being mine. Thank you for holding my hand so tightly when I’m crashing to the ground. Thank you for carrying the weight this year. You have. All of it. This life hurts, but it’s also full of sweet, sweet joys and I’m so glad you’re the one by my side for them.


A Date With Chuck At Stonefire

I was asked to attend a media event where food and beverages were given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As always, opinions are strictly my own.

As a blogger, sometimes opportunities come your way that excite you even more than they probably should. Usually for me, those opportunities involve food. Because I love food…free food is even tastier!

When I had Chuckles, our church family rallied around us with support and dinners. For two weeks after we brought our little bundle home, we had dinner magically delivered to our door by our brothers and sisters in Christ who wanted to help a new mom and dad to just relax and enjoy bonding with the new baby. It. Was. GLORIOUS! One of those memory-making dinners was from Stonefire Grill. I had never eaten at this place before, but whether it was post-delivery hormones talking or not, I was hooked on that scrumptious barbecue and garlic bread to write home about!

Lucky for me, I was presented with the chance last week to be a part of a media tasting event at Stonefire Grill introducing their new summer menu options. I, of course, jumped at the chance! I rsvp’d for me plus one, thinking this would be a wonderful date night for Hfoe and myself. After all, it’s not so hard to shell out $10 an hour for a sitter if dinner is comped! But, alas, hubby had to work on the night of the event. So, with a very deep breath and a few meditative  moments of preparation for the unpredictable toddler emotions, I took Chuck as my “plus one.” My good friend Melissa over at has a daughter that is Chuckles’s age and they are buddies. She was in the same boat, so we made it a double mama-daughter date.

On the drive over, the girls sang Disney songs and held hands across carseats….this was looking promising for good dinner behavior! And they didn’t disappoint. From the moment we walked into the restaurant patio, both girls were so well behaved. I am sure they were just as impressed as I was at the reception we received from the Stonefire crew. We were greeted by the owner’s son and summer menu co-creator, Justin, and presented with our choices of seasonal brews, wines or in my case, passion fruit tea. Sensing the toddlers’ short attention spans, Justin intuitively asked if he could pull together a couple children’s menu items for the girls to get them started. Sure! And the mac ‘n cheese was the hit of the evening for one blondie with discerning  taste!

Leave me alone, mother. This mac ‘n cheese is divine!

Now, for the mama food. Yum! That is pretty much the summary of my experience. My first bite was from the new Keen Green salad, with it’s kale, quinoa and avocado. It’s not something I would probably generally order at this place I love for barbecue, but I was pleasantly surprised at the fresh, delicious flavors that were perfect for summer! Next came the roasted cauliflower pita and the Capresse sandwich. Which one is my favorite? I can’t choose. I never prepare cauliflower at home after I had an unfortunate experience once with a mushy restaurant side dish, so when I saw the pita, I was hesitant. But, so as to be able to give an accurate review, I tried it anyway. I am so glad I did! Chuckles even liked it! My highlight of the sandwiches I tried, though, was the turkey salad. Oh my goodness…and I mean GOODNESS! I would NEVER have thought to order this light of an option and receive this explosion of flavor! Over all, the dishes presented to us this evening were a smorgasbord of tasty choices fit for warmer weather, but still filling enough for lunch or dinner.

Golden State Kale Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Pita and Keen Green Salad
Capresse Sandwich and Traditional Turkey Sandwich

The cherry on top of our evening was dessert. With a powder sugar-covered brownie and a slice of cheesecake, my plans of taking the girls to get yogurt after dinner for their good behavior quickly went out the window…gladly! Chuck couldn’t even wait for me to snap the picture before she dove right into the brownie!

Someone was a little impatient!
Baby bug approved, too!

To say the food was delicious would be redundant and an understatement, but my overall experience for this fun evening at Stonefire Grill was exceptional. I was happy to see how kid friendly the staff and menu were and how mama friendly the new summer menu additions are. It’s good to know on those nights Hfoe has to work late and I just don’t have one more creative dinner in me, I can take the kidlet down to Stonefire for a thoughtful, healthy meal.

My girl and me…excited about the full bellies!

We visited the location at 6405 FALLBROOK AVENUE
WEST HILLS, CA  91307, but please visit to find a location near you and run there for dinner tonight!

Thank you so much to the folks at Stonefire Grill who made our evening so enjoyable and yummy!

I was asked to attend a media event where food and beverages were given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As always, opinions are strictly my own.