Essentials for Moms of Infants | this heart of mine

In all honesty, I haven’t felt the shift from two children to three to be as shocking to my system as I thought it would be. From reading articles and talking with others about their experiences, I expected a staggering, mind-boggling change but it’s been fairly ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, three children are a lot of work and require lots of attention and monitoring. My older two still squabble about the most inane things, my arms are almost always filled with baby, the volume of the house at times gets to ear-piercing levels and there are days when I seriously consider running away. But that is life with children. They are my babies and no matter how crazy the night before might have been, I’m always eager to start a new day with them.

As I experience a newborn again, I am reminded of the newborn stages for Love Bug and Sweet J and how much I loved our time together. I love newborn sounds, their squishy bodies and their sweet aroma. Some details I remember from the former experiences but others I have forgotten and have to relearn, like packing extra clothing in the diaper pouch and knowing that the one time you don’t cover your shoulder, the baby will burp up a large amount and it will cascade down the backside of your real-clothes outfit right as you are headed out the door.

When it comes to baby stuff, I am a minimalist. I don’t like lots of gadgets and equipment and if I do buy something, it is really a can’t-live-without essential. Here are five things I’ve found very helpful during the newborn/infant stage.

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The Design Mom Book

Design Mom Book

Have you heard? Gabrielle of Design Mom wrote a book called Design Mom: How to Live With Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide and it’s beautiful.

I’ve been working with Gabrielle of Design Mom for over three years now. How I started working for her is one of my favorite stories because it totally speaks to putting yourself out there and seeing what happens. In the fall of 2011, I saw a tweet sent out by Gabrielle stating she was looking for contributors. The magic starts here because I am not a big fan of Twitter and, after signing up for an account months before, I had never actually logged into my account. That day I thought I should finally look at it and that’s when I saw the tweet.

Not expecting much and with nothing to lose, I applied. And then forgot about it. A couple months passed until one morning, while laying in bed with Bug and Sweet J, I checked my inbox and there sat an email from Gabrielle asking me to create a DIY for Design Mom. I was thrilled; I got up and jumped on the bed. The children didn’t know what was going on but they were excited with me. It was a happy day.

One post turned to two which turned to three and three years later, my life, work and home, is completely different. I’ve grown as a creator, photographer, maker and blogger, I’ve been featured in magazine, spoken at conferences, contributed to many other places and worked with a number of huge brand names. In working with Gabrielle, I’ve gotten a front row seat to watch a top performer in my field do business and do it well. Working alongside her as afforded me knowledge and experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I am forever grateful. And before I get anymore goopy, let’s talk about the book.

As I said, it’s a gorgeous book, from cover to cover. Gabrielle has a expert eye for design and style and is meticulous and I can see that in all aspects of the book from the color combinations, the embossed cover, font choices to page layout. One whose job doesn’t involve those topics might miss the specifics but they too would see a beautiful book.

I love Gabrielle’s written voice. She has a way of telling stories you want to hear and in a way that feels like a good friend is speaking. The book is filled with great practical tips on creating a beautiful home while living with children and I look forward to using a few of the tips when we find our permanent home. And guess what? I actually created and photographed three projects for the book. I have to admit – it’s really cool to see your work in a book. Do you remember this disaster Instagram shot? It happened while I styled and photographed one the projects, seen below. Oye. It still hurts to look at. Haha!


A lot of work when into the Design Mom book and you can tell. It’s approachable, down-to-earth and, I’m going to say it again, beautiful. As she says in the afterword, …making a beautiful, happy home is not about what we don’t have or what we want to buy….It’s about how we spend the days we’re given with this family of ours, and making the home we share a place our kids will love…

So get to making your own!

First photo styled by Seth & Kendra Smoot

*Affiliate links used 


April Link Love

April is almost over. Despite not being nearly as exciting (read: chaotic) as last month, this month was packed to the gills with as well. Spring is in the air though winter is still hanging in there (it snowed huge flakes on Tuesday). Love Bug and Sweet J are loving the warmer weather and have been using their new scooters to race around the development. There is a group of similarly aged children they run around with and it’s great. Pipsqueak is nearly two months old already and next month brings the start of birthday season for my big babies. Life never ceases. I feel like I’m getting my feet back under me after March’s upheaval and it feels good however I would love a few days where everything else is on pause so I can catch up. Oh well. I’ll get there eventually. Until then, check out these bright links I found this month!

April Link Love | this heart of mine



Digital Creativity & Children with HP® Sprout | this heart of mine

This post is sponsored by HP® Sprout

I am certain the new HP® Sprout is the exact computer I dreamt about when I was younger. I can remember many times wishing I had something that could capture my creations exactly, not like a photocopy, or could turn a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional image so I could use it on a card (like cool rocks and other priceless items). I knew how to work with my hands but my drawing skills have always been lacking and this was before digital cameras or any understanding of digital creative programs. Who knows what I would have done if I’d had the Sprout in my youth. The Sprout is this whole new system that combines physical creating with digital. It’s part hands-on and part magic (as labeled by Love Bug).

So I introduced it to my children.

Digital Creativity & Children with HP® Sprout | this heart of mine

It was kind of a last-resort, end-of-the-day, give-me-five-more-minutes-to-work idea and for not being well thought out, it was a great decision. Living with me, my children are exposed to the various aspects of a creative and online career. They watch me make lots of items, style photos, take photos, edit and manipulate images and they are eager to try all those things too; I’ve taken a number of photos of scenes they’ve set up. After shunning digital programs myself for so long, I am keen on them learning about digital creation and the Sprout is a great device to get them started.

Digital Creativity & Children with HP® Sprout | this heart of mine

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You Are Enough

you are enough | this heart of mine

Do you believe it? I sure have a hard time accepting my enough-ness. I am perpetually striving to do better and be better in all areas of my life. I aspire to be a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter, sister, in-law, friend, member of my community. On top of that, there is so much I want to accomplish and do too. Grow my business, create, cook and bake more, travel, learn about the bajillion topics I find intriguing. Unfortunately, my striving often leads to feelings of failure. And when the days come, the ones when my only accomplishment is managing to keep my three children and myself alive until the next day, accepting my enough-ness is hard.

But accept it we must. If we stay down, down in the muck of our shortcomings and imperfections, it’s harder to get back up. One lousy moment leads to two, one day into more and then we are just wasting time.

No one is perfect. No one does it all. So believe it. On the good days and the on the lousy days, the days when we aren’t our best self, the days where we just survived, we are enough.

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