friday close-ups with: Angelique Barron

1. How many kids do you have?

3 boys Brayden 6 Levi 3 & Jaxson 13 months

2. How did you decide on their names?

My sister and I had baby boys around the same time, Jaeden was born 10 months before and I knew they were going to be bestfriends so I went with a name that rhymes (I know dorky right) but they love that they are a duo "Jae and Bray" . Levi my second I wanted a Christian name Levi Means "attached" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, Levi is the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites (the tribe that eventually became the priests of the Israelites). In the New Testament this is another name for the apostle Matthew. As an English Christian name, Levi came into use after the Protestant Reformation. Right before I got pregnant with my 3rd Sons Of Anarchy was the big hit show everyone watched who wouldn't love a handsome bad boy and Jaxson "Jax" was a keeper for sure ! 

3. How and when do you do your errands with 3 kids?

I am currently a SAHM so I am pretty free for morning and afternoons when I have to do errands without dad I always make sure I have lots of snacks iPads and little toys to keep them distracted so I don't have extra little hands throwing things into my cart . I also go around my youngest morning nap so he just naps in the cart or in my ergo that makes errands and shopping so much easier . 

4. What is your favorite age group or stage?

My favorite age is probably 18 months - 2years they're not so much toddlers who get into everything but more social able they are like little parrots who say everything you say and can interact with others and aren't so dependent on mom . 

5. What is your go-to meal for dinner?

My boys love to eat ! I'm sure they'll eat me out of a house and home when they're older . My go to meal would have to be vegetable lasagna takes a while to make but it's a meal that I know they love and will actually eat it ! Plus I load it with veggies and they're so distracted with noodles sauce and cheese they pay them no mind and gobble them right up ! 

6. What advice would you give a new mom?

Follow your mommy heart ! Others will try to give you advice on what to do and what not to do but only YOU know what's best for your baby ! 

7. What do you do to take time for yourself?

BUBBLEBATHS ! After long and exhausting days there's nothing better than soaking in a hot bubble bath . 

8. What has motherhood taught you about yourself?

It has taught me the true meaning of love, what its like to be responsible for another life and it has made me want to be a better person and make the world a better place for my children 

friday close-ups with: Jane Gray Bledsoe

This week for Friday Close-ups one of my very best friends, Jane Gray shares with us a little bit about her motherhood journey. Jane Gray is one of those moms who I can call or text at anytime and know I will be getting great encouragement and advice from.

How many kids do you have and how old are they?

Hello :) My name is Jane Gray and I am the blessed mama of two little boys. James is 3 1/2 and David is 5 months. They absolutely steal my heart on a daily basis and time needs to freeze. I am loving these ages!

What was the hardest thing about becoming a new mom?

The hardest part of becoming a new mom was getting to know my little one. They have an advantage because they have gotten to hear your voice for 9 months and so instantly they are comforted in your arms. What a glorious birthday it is! You meet at last! I learned that it took time to get to know James and slowly (snail pace slow) I figured him out. Once I figured him out, things got much much easier. It turns out that he is the carbon copy of my husband!  I learned what he liked, how he liked to be swaddled, his favorite sleep position, etc etc etc. So, if you are a new mom, with patience, you will get to know your baby. Give yourself much grace as you learn to take care of this little stranger that will forever steal your heart! 

What helped you the most to get through the newborn stage with your babies?

Encouragement from my mom, mother-in-law,  and the other friend moms around me (shout out to Gina & Sarah N.!!)  I listened closely to their advice and listened to the motherly instinct within me to care for my newborn. I'll never forget how calm my mom was with James. She taught me how to be a mother by just watching her take care of him when I was feeling scared or inadequate to do so. She always gave me encouragement and helped to build my confidence by just being there with me the first 2 weeks. She gifted me with her time and took care of all of the housework so that I could just focus on feeding my newborn and sleeping. And I am SO blessed to be very close to my mother-in-law as well. She also gifted me her time and took such good care of me and my babies when they were born. I'll never forget one night she drove to CVS @ 3 am to get something we needed for James.   Just having friends in the same boat helps a ton. This blog is so wonderful for this very reason! Coffee and espresso didn't hurt either! lol 

Do you co-sleep or does your baby sleep in their own crib and why?

Both my boys sleep in their own beds. It was important to us at an early age that they develop good sleeping habits and this just worked best for us. They know their routines so it makes bedtime easy for us. We eat dinner, take baths, read books, sing sings, and get in bed. They both love their beds and have early bedtimes (7 pm)  so that my husband and I can enjoy a peaceful night of watching TV, reading a book, drinking a glass of wine, and catching up on our day.

What is something you would go back and tell yourself as a new mom?

GRACE GRACE GRACE. It's OKAY to cry. It is GOOD for the soul to laugh. It is OKAY to get frustrated. It is OKAY to not know what you are doing.. and then laugh about that. It's also okay to completely lose it and cry at the drop of the hat just because of hormones. Throw the books away (!!!) and just listen to the motherly instincts that God gave you. My BFF Bella gave me that advice. I took it to heart and instantly became more relaxed because I was no longer trying to fit my son into a puzzle piece that wasn't working. Get to know your baby with lots of snuggles, cuddles, and kisses. Rock them. Rock them to sleep. Wear them around. Rock them some more. And take in their new baby smell and praise the Lord for them! YOU were called to be this little one's mommy and you are the only mommy that knows what he or she needs. It is so wonderful to have advice from moms that have gone before us, but sometimes that advice can get overwhelming. Listen to your mommy heart and do what you think is best for your baby even if it goes against all the rules…you'll never get the teeny tiny newborn weeks back! They go so fast so enjoy them :) 

How has having kids changed your marriage for the good or bad?

Having kids has changed our marriage for the good. Daily, we cannot believe that God gifted us these precious children that we get to love and nurture. We strive to "date" each other often and put the kids to bed early so we can enjoy the night together. We love to talk about their quirks they get from us and how we may do our VERY BEST as parents, but somehow and in some way, we will mess up… and that's okay because who wants to be perfect parents anyway!??? Our marriage is stronger having had kids. Children take sanctification to a whole new level!

What resource has helped you the most in your journey of motherhood?

Kara Tippetts. She wrote a blog titled Mundane Faithfulness and she wrote a book called The Hardest Peace. Both of these resources absolutely rocked my world as a mother. Her insight and biblical wisdom has been so foundational as a mom. If you have not read her blog or book, I highly recommend you obtain a copy asap. She helped me to understand that my role as a mom, as mundane as it can be at times, is so significant to Jesus. He is crazy about the mundane details of being a mom. When we are wiping dirty faces, cleaning spilled milk, sweeping crumbs, or singing songs, our work is so important to the King! We are showing our little people the love of Christ and this absolutely changed the way I lived as a mom. She also helped me to pray for patience, kindness, and love towards my little ones. I am forever thankful that the Lord brought her in my life when he did. I still read through her book over and over and over again. 

What is your go-to meal to make?

Tacos! My favorite brand is Tortilla Land and they are uncooked.  I keep tortillas in the freezer (best brand here  and seasonings on hand for taco night. It's so easy to sauté some veggies to go with it for a quick and easy meal.

How do you juggle kids and getting errands and chores completed?

I have to follow a routine for the week or I will get overwhelmed. I try to put a load of laundry in at night and fold in the morning to keep up. I've got a cleaning schedule I *try* to stick to and this helped tremendously. I'm not sure that I will ever fully complete all my chores while I have little ones around, but i know the dishes and the laundry will be around FOREVER so if i am behind, i give myself grace. This is so hard for me because I am OCD when it comes to keeping a tidy home. I THRIVE on order and organization. My mood often reflects the tidiness of my home. I'm still trying to figure this one out. And i don't have it together. Not sure if i ever will. But today, i'll give myself grace that the dishes are over flowing and the laundry hasn't been put away. 

friday close-ups with: Kristin Brancaleone

This week for Friday close-up my friend Kristin Brancaleone will be sharing with us some insights from her journey through motherhood. 

How many kids do you have and how old are they? Siena (5) and Matteo (1)

What was the hardest thing about becoming a new mom? I'm a highly sensitive person (HSP) so all the brand new sensations- the cries, the smells, the vomit, the mini emergencies, the sleepless nights- hit me really hard.  I think I was very overstimulated and stressed out the entire first year of my daughter's life because each day I was bombarded by so much "newness."    

What helped you the most to get through the newborn stage with your babies? Being able to vent my sometimes ugly feelings- to my husband, through blogging, to my friends, and my therapist, and to receive validation from them instead of criticism.  

Do you co-sleep or does your baby sleep in their own crib and why? No.  We intended to cosleep, but my kids are really loud, grunty sleepers.  We couldn't handle it.  With our second child, he was in his own room falling asleep on his own from Day 5.  It's been wonderful!

What is something you would go back and tell yourself as a new mom?  Do less, enjoy more.  

How has having kids changed your marriage for the good or bad? Definitely for the good- we've tried to cultivate a really simple, calm,  loving household for our kids.  Can't help but bleed into the marriage relationship, right? 

What do you do for yourself? Listen to podcasts (The Lively Show and Sorta Awesome Podcast are my favorites) while folding laundry and cooking.  I sell masquerade masks on etsy to make a little travel money on the side.  I surf every other Thursday before the kids wake up.  

What resource has helped you the most in your journey of motherhood?  By far, the blog has helped me figure out my parenting philosophy and given me so much piece of mind.  

What is your go-to meal to make? We're paleo, so everyday is some kind of meat/fish, sweet potato drenched in butter, and roasted veggies.  

How do you juggle kids and getting errands and chores completed? Maid service every 3 weeks so I just have to tidy up and maintain the house.  Not buying a lot of stuff (we're minimalists in many ways.). And keeping errands short and sweet, and then ending with a fun outting like the library so errands are fun for all of us.  

friday close-ups with: Shayleen Kurtz

This weeks Friday Close-up is with one of my very good friends from Northern California: Shay Kurtz. 


1. Was your first pregnancy planned? Our oldest daughter was a honeymoon baby, and no that was not a part of the 3-5 year plan...

We were 19 and 21 when we got married and we thought we would wait awhile and "just be married". Two weeks later, and two little pink lines later...we are headed for parenthood faster than we could comprehend it.  But I'm sure glad that we aren't always in control of making all the plans in this life, because I could not imagine life without our little girl! That pregnancy and our sweet daughter has taught us so much, I would not be the same without her. 

2. What was your reaction when you found out? Being a young newly-wed, I was completely shocked, scared, nervous, hopeful, excited... pretty much any and every emotion you could imagine! 

3. Who did you tell first? My husband was out of the house for a bit and I had felt funny that day, smells were stronger than normal and I felt dizzy and tired. So I ran to the store for a test, came home..freaked out...and ran over to my Aunt's house! I asked her what this meant, like I didnt already know. And she helped me process all that was going on. Of course she was so excited for me, because the day after my wedding she found out she was expecting #4! 

4. Did you have morning sickness? I thought I was experiencing what they all call "morning sickness". I thought, this must be how all the other moms feel, why can't I function and be stronger like them? From 2 weeks after conception, the dizziness, increased sensitivity to smells, and slight food adversion began. From there at week 4, I began to get very sick. I almost had to be hospitalized because I was so dehydrated. I was violently vomitting  for days on end. With strong medication, I could get by with maybe only throwing up 8 times a day. This lasted for months, until I was about 24 weeks pregnant. I didn't understand it, I wanted it to end, and as I waited for each milestone to pass, I got more and more discouraged that I was not getting better. Now I realized that I was dealing with something far more than simple morning sickness, many women suffer from it and they don't know. People tell them to suck it up, go to work, eat some crakers and they will feel better. But what those well-meaning people don't understand is that this is a different kind of sickness, one not talked about much, and highly misunderstood. But little by little as women share their stories, it is bringing light to a place where many have felt in the dark. Hypermesis Gravarium is a serious illness that thousands suffer from. And saying that you have experienced it doesn't give you a crutch to hold to, but freedom in knowing you weren't alone in those dark, lonely places. It brings hope to know that this isn't "normal", and we together can work towards finding a cure, ways to make it better, and support moms who have had to walk through it. It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through, but then again, aren't those the things in life that define you? 

5. What did you crave during your pregnancy? Considering my extreme sickness, I just craved to eat food again! But oddly enough the only thing that would help settle my tummy and sounded good, was oranges. So I ate multiple oranges every day!

6. Did you find out the sex of your baby? Yes! I am terrible at surprises! My sister had a dream the week after our wedding of a little girl dancing, and that was before we knew I was even pregnant.  She told me about the dream as soon as we announced that we were expecting. So my curiosity drove me crazy from then on. I felt it was easier to connect with the baby when I knew what the gender was. And it helped with all the difficulty I had experienced to bring some joy and excitment to those challenging times.  A name was important to us and so we wanted to begin calling our baby by their name and praying over their life. We named our little girl Naomi, which means: my joy, my pleasant one. 

7. How far along were you when you delivered? Our sweet girl came on her due date! From day one she didn't want to miss a thing so she came on time and ready to experience life!

8. Did you deliver vaginal or c-section? I had a wonderful, uncomplicated vaginal birth. I was so blessed with the whole experience. Considering the hardship of pregnancy, birthing was a breeze! I was ecstatic to meet our daugther! I was filled with so much joy and love, becoming a mom was a life long dream and it was incredible to finally experience it!

9. What was the hardest part about becoming a mom? Honestly for me, finding the right balance in my life can be challenging. So, being a young newly-wed and a young mom was hard to adjust to. Being so many different roles is hard, and making your priorities evolve and stay in the right order is a constant job! I couldn't do it without the Lord as my rock. He reminds me of what should come first, and He demostrates it through love. I am so thankful for God and the supportive people I have intentionally surrounded myself with. They keep me with my eyes pointed in the right direction, my feet planted on the rock, and my heart open and full of love and forgiveness. We all need it.

10. What was the best part about becoming a mom? There's nothing quite like a dream fulfilled. So many parts of you experience it. The longing you have had is gone, and it is replaced with extreme fulfillment, joy and gratefulness.  I could just sit for hours with our newborn baby girl and dream for her life and all the joy and greatness she would experience. It brings brings Hope, Faith and Love; and those are the greatest gifts. 

11. Best piece of advice to give a new mom? From the beginning, enjoy every moment. You will have challenges, failures, victories and some of the best memories you could ever imagine. Stay true to who you are, don't loose yourself in all the nurturing and care-taking that you do. Remember that your children need you to be a whole and healthy person to give the most you can to them. So stay happy and hopeful, no matter what your day just looked like. God's mercy is new everyday, you can count on it. 

12. A baby item you could not live without would be? Oh Dear! This is the hardest question yet... As easy as it is to get to wrapped up in all the baby gear and convenient gadgets and things, I would say: STAY SIMPLE! With Pinterest and hundreds of baby blogs telling you all the things you need to make motherhood easier, and though some of that it true...don't be overwhelmed by stuff! Obviously by the second child, you use way less than with the first, thats just the way it goes.  So by baby two, I couldn't live without my Bobby newborn napper pillow in the play pen, and my Maya Wrap. And of course since she was a binkie baby, the Wubbanub Pacifier was a life saver!

Thank you all for letting me share my story! I hope it blessed you, and I look forward to hearing more of your stories! And thank you Gina for providing this amazing community of moms where we can share, learn and grow together! I adore you! xoxo

friday close-ups with: Cristal Porter

I am going to be starting a fun series on the blog here on Fridays where I ask moms some questions about their motherhood journey. Each week might have new questions or the same as the week before but I will interview a new mom each time. If you are interested in being featured or have some questions you would like answered be sure to email me at:

Our first Friday close-up mom is my friend Cristal Porter:

1. How many kids do you have?  1 child 

2. How many weeks were you when you delivered? 39 weeks when I delivered. About 4 days from due date.

3. Did you have a vaginal birth or c-section? C-section

4. What was your pregnancy food craving? Was obsessed with Mexican food. Beans and rice. 

5. What baby items you could not live without? Can’t live without long sleeve onesies. Put them under her clothes every day for an extra layer of warmth and sun protection. Also socks because they constantly disappear. I should seriously just have a new pair for each day. 

6. Best advice ever given was this, “The baby will be fine. What matters most is that you’re OK.” Really validated how hard it is to be a mom and also how it’s ok to work at taking care of yourself. Such a discipline.  

7. What was the biggest surprise of being a mom? Biggest surprise of being a mom was how difficult it is. No matter how much I was warned. It’s like a slow death of self! And also how much I would enjoy it. On the days where I don’t listen to the temptation to be bitter or covet my old life, I truly enjoy the moments with her. Working on this!

8. What was/is the hardest part of being a mom? The newborn phase. It was SO hard. Perhaps because you never know what on earth is making them cry and because Olivia was particularly big on communicating when something was wrong. Whether it was in the car, protesting of naps, during a tummy ache, when she was cold, etc. Man…that newborn cry was tough! 

9. What is your go to snack?  Right now I’m all about bananas in the AM. If I’m really hungry I’ll eat a piece of leftover protein and a portion of a baked sweet potato. Typically in the late afternoon. 

10. What are your favorite mommy resources? My favorite resources are: Wellness Mama, Weston A Price, Dr. Sears and a few other moms with similar parenting styles. 

11. What is/was your favorite stage? My favorite stage is the one we are in so far. She is 9 months and honestly the most incredible little human. I’m enamored by her personality and I'm enjoying watching her mature. Gah just love her so!