Four Month Update: What are the Essentials?

Gemma Raine is four months old!!  We are officially out of the “newborn” stage and I am excited and devastated all at once.  Sweet baby girl is still such an easy going baby.  Don’t be fooled though because she has a hidden temper and a strong will.  She is constantly moving.  Her legs are kicking, she plays with her toes and she twists and turns.  I’m going to have to start baby proofing really soon.

Since she is leaving her Newborn stage I’ve had to start brainstorming items we will need to find and shop for as we enter these next few months.  I created a newborn essentials list but what are the 4-12 month essentials?  Sadly, only time will tell what I’ll actually consider essential, but I’m going to share my current list with you.  Any and all advice is appreciated.

Continue reading

Tips and Tricks for Creating a Family Budget

Budgeting… a dreaded word for some.  I’m going to take a minute and show you how I created the very first Smith Family Budget that’s currently taped to our refrigerator.

Before we start a little back story:

I was a girl who had no clue how to handle her finances.  Before getting married I took out student loans, financed a car AND used a credit card to buy things I wanted but didn’t have the money for.  Then I married a man who was a little better with his money… but not much.

Continue reading

Organize and Simplify the Home: Desk Space & Files

Welcome to the first blog post in a new series!  It’s called How to Organize and Simplify… and then we get to finish the rest of the title.  That’s right my friends.  You get to follow along in my journey to minimize and arrange the Smith Home.  Hopefully you’ll walk away encouraged because if I can organize and simplify then you can too!  For this post I’m organizing and simplifying my desk space and filing cabinet.

Continue reading

My Favorite Summer Looks for Baby Girl

I know, Summer is almost over! But if you live in Texas like I do, we will be wearing summer clothes for another two months. So I’ve decided to compile my favorite summer outfits for Gemma and I’ve even included a wishlist for some items I’d love to have!

Here’s the thing… I’ve never been a fashionista.  Seriously.  You can usually find me in jeans (or jean shorts) and a comfortable t-shirt.  My hair is in a braid or top knot.  No make-up and no accessories (except my wedding ring).  When I go shopping I can’t spend longer than 30 minutes inside a store.

So when I found out I was having a baby girl I wasn’t immediately excited about little girl clothes.  I couldn’t imagine myself shopping for little girl dresses and bows.  Then Gemma was born and it all changed!  I could spend hours and hundreds of dollars (if I had hours and hundreds of dollars) on clothes for our little Gem.  I am so thankful for cute, affordable clothes (and hand-me-downs)!

Here are my favorite summer outfits so far (all below $20):

Continue reading

Focusing on your Marriage after having a Baby

Recently I had someone ask me how my marriage was doing after having a baby.  I answered them really without thinking much about their question.  But then the question lingered with me.  I was touched in a way.  After having a baby people will ask you how you’re doing all the time.  They will ask how the baby is sleeping, or how you’re handling being a mother, or just how you’re coping. But no one had intentionally asked about my marriage.

Ya’ll.  Being a brand new parent is hard and if you’re not careful your marriage can get tossed to the back burner.  My husband and I had some dark moments those first two weeks Gemma was out in the world.  But we also had some of the most intimate moments.  Our marriage is stronger now.  I love my husband deeper after weathering through those first weeks and after seeing him love our daughter so deeply.  But it didn’t happen by accident.  We didn’t coast into a stronger and happier marriage.  We worked for it, day by day, choosing to make sacrifices for each other.

Here are five ways you can intentionally focus on your marriage after having a baby.

PRAY TOGETHER.

There is something powerful and intimate and about prayer.  It brings you to your knees and into a place of humility.  In a time when emotions run high and arguments can spring up out of nowhere it’s important to remember to pray.  And specifically pray together.  Praying together allows you to see each other’s heart.

{RELATED: Prayer for my Daughter}

SPEND TIME ALONE.

Get away together.  Now, I don’t mean go on vacation.  I just think you and your husband should have intentional time with the two of you.  It might have to happen on baby’s schedule.  Dallas and I would always try to give each other attention once Gemma would fall asleep.  Even a few minutes a day could make a big difference in those first few weeks.

LIST OUT REASONS WHY YOU LOVE YOUR SPOUSE

Okay, this is going to sound horrible (unless you’ve just had a baby) but in those first few weeks I needed continual reminders as to WHY I loved and married Dallas.  Yeah.  Post Partum hormones are NO JOKE.  I couldn’t control them and sometimes when I was hurt or jealous or sad or mad or a million other emotions, I needed to take a deep breathe and write out or repeat to myself why I loved my husband.

But the same went for Dallas as well.  In his words, I was a “handful”.  He needed reminders that the emotions would pass, that he would have his wife back.  So there were times that he had to tell himself all the good things about me.  Even when I wasn’t acting any of those things out.

TRY AND EXPLAIN HOW YOU’RE FEELING
& LISTEN WHEN IT’S THEIR TURN.

This is going to sound crazy but it’s honestly how I felt.  In the pits of breastfeeding, when I was crying from pain and stress, Dallas would try to encourage me.  He would tell me how good breastmilk was for our baby, he would encourage me to push through and be strong for our Little One.  And you know what?  Instead of feeling encouraged and confident, I felt jealous.  I was jealous for my husband’s love.  I wanted him to be focused on MY feelings and MY pain… ME.  HIS WIFE.  Seriously, I was jealous of his love and wanted him to give it to me over Gemma.

As shameful as it was to admit that to Dallas, and even though he couldn’t really understand it at the time, it helped.  Speaking it out loud allowed me to hear how crazy it sounded.  But it also gave Dallas a tiny glimpse into the magnitude of my emotions.

And when he would tell me that my attitude was wearing him down, when he would admit how hard it was for him.  I would listen.  I had to.  Even if I ended up crying and needing him to comfort me afterward.

We had to continually let each other know how we were feeling and offer grace to each other.

THINK OF EACH OTHER.

Last thing.  Try, to the best of your ability, to keep your spouse and what they’re going through at the forefront of your mind.  I did my best to include Dallas in every aspect of taking care of Gemma those first few weeks because I know that’s what he wanted.

Dallas would stay up with me at night while I fed Gemma because he knew I needed that support.  I would grow bitter seeing him sleep when I had to get up to feed our baby.  So there were many nights that he would be up as well keeping me company.

 

The truth is having a baby is difficult but it is also so worth it.  I can not describe how much more I love my husband.  I hope these tips can help you through those rough few weeks with a baby!  Let me know of any great advice that you heard or practiced in those first weeks of parenthood.

-Brittany Smith-

A Prayer for my Daughter [at 3 months old]

prayer daughter baby girl pray

Father,

Thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood, of blessing me with a daughter to raise.  Even now, as she sleeps in her crib, begin to stir her heart toward you.  May she not only continue to grow healthy and strong but in wisdom and kindness.

baby girl bed black bow

I pray, Father, that she would grow to know you.  That she would trust in you and find peace and grace at the feet of Jesus.  Help me raise her in a way that always points her back to you.
Fill her heart with compassion and kindness for others.  Help her to see your design inside every person and living thing that she meets.  May she love others deeply.

<<Related: A Story of Bonding With My Baby>>

baby girl bed clothing

Father, bless her adventurous spirit.  Let her curiosity continue to grow as she learns and explores the world around her.  Strengthen her mind and fill her with wisdom so she can make wise choices and learn from her mistakes.  May she always continue learning and stay humble in her pursuit of knowledge.baby girl bed rolling over

I pray for her health and growth.  Lord bless her little body and help it to continue growing strong.  Thank you for her good health so far and if any sickness or disability enters her life I pray she has the strength to persevere in faith knowing you are sovereign.

baby girl tummy time black bow

Father, I am grateful for every second I’ve been given with my baby girl.  I pray there will be millions more.  Fill her with the shining light of your joy and grace.  I pray that she sees your beauty everywhere she looks and that she lives each day to the fullest!

Thank you.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

-Brittany Smith-

Also, join my email list for a fill-in-the-blank printable to help you pray for your baby!

Celebrating the Fourth of July Simply and Frugally

I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July tomorrow!

Now that I am married with a baby I’m looking forward to family time during the holidays.  I can’t wait to try out and establish some fun traditions for each holiday and time of the year.  It would be so fun to have decorations for each season along with some family activities and cute outfits and of course FOOD that pertains to each special occasion.

{RELATED: Welcome to Our Home Tour!}

Independence Day is just the epitome of summer time!  Grilling, Swimming, Fireworks.  I love it.  So I was excited to go ALL OUT with Gemma’s first Fourth of July.

But time is moving faster than I can keep up (anyone else?)  So I realized… uhm, it’s already July!  I had no time to go and get a ton of stuff set up for the 4th.  I also had no money. (A post about that will be coming soon)

So I hit up my trusty pal Pinterest.  Praise the Lord I live in the time of Pinterst.  I don’t know how you did it without.  After browsing for a bit… You can check out my Fourth of July Board (TONS of Ideas)… I made a quick trip to Target for the absolute essentials.

$3 Banner | Cute Outfit for G | Strawberries, Blueberries and White Chocolate covered pretzels (I plan on making this American Flag Food Tray)

We are also are going to a local parade in the morning, then spending time with family.  Holidays don’t have to be jam-packed with events.  They don’t need desserts that take 2 hours to make.  You also don’t need to spend a ton of money to make them memorable and fun!  Just stick to one or two things and be flexible with everything else.  Focus on being present and making memories with your loved ones.  Also mamas, remember to try and get in front of the camera for a picture or two!

I have also made three simple printables for you to enjoy as well.  Feel free to print them out for the food table or hang them around the house to keep to the Fourth of July theme!

I’d love to hear what free or frugal things you are planning this Fourth of July!  Leave a comment below!

-Brittany Smith-