Top 5 Products for January

I love it when people share their essentials, tips etc to making the everyday hustle more enjoyable. I find it interesting seeing people’s favorite beauty products, home decor, baby favorites, and inspirational goods that they find useful!

I thought I’d share some of my new favorite products that I’m currently loving, and am excited to test out this month!

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Collagen Peptides

Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the benefits of collagen. I just recently did some research on collagen, as I’ve been trying to make significantly better gut health and overall health choices. I first heard of Collagen Peptides through a Youtube channel I watch.

Here are just a few benefits of incorporating collagen peptides into your diet:

  • COLLAGEN SUPPORTS A LEAKY GUT.
  • COLLAGEN IMPROVES DIGESTION.
  • COLLAGEN STRENGTHENS HAIR, SKIN, AND NAILS.
  • COLLAGEN AIDS THE LIVER IN DITCHING TOXINS.
  • COLLAGEN EASES ACHES AND PAINS.

    Pottery Barn Slippers

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Oh my word, these are something I “asked” for, this Christmas from my hubby. They are so soft, perfect for house wear. Slippers to me make waking up that much more enjoyable. I am a total morning person, so this just adds the cherry on top.

Calendar white boardtarget whiteboard

I love organization, routine, minimalism, you name it. I have one of these white board calendars and I love it. It’s simple, interchangeable, and for people like me who constantly change plans, or want to add to the list, it’s perfect. I love using it for monthly meal planning.

Nutribullet

06269e7d-136e-4c95-aaec-403995671018_1.3057f3f47994f449444de21ab0433a41Our Nutribullet has been a game changer for us. We bought ours over black Friday this year, we’ve used it literally almost everyday since. Wyatt enjoys drinking protein, yogurt and dairy in his smoothies/shakes and I try to stay away from dairy and yogurt. I love that I can make ours separately with little mess and hassle. Opal also loves her morning smoothies! I usually make the three of us smoothies now about 3-5 times a week thanks to this little gadget!

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation

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I am obsessed with this foundation. I bought it in November and I’ve been using it almost daily. Since becoming a mama, I’ve found that I often times only have fifteen minutes to get ready in the morning. I usually just swipe this on my face, blend it out, add some concealer and a little mascara and wa-la! Super simple and I still feel somewhat put together. I love this stick foundation because it only takes a few seconds to blend it out, it doesn’t feel heavy, and I personally like wearing lighter coverage.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

How to Sew Christmas Stockings

I recently made my family’s first Christmas stockings, and I thought I’d go through a step by step tutorial, to show you how I sewed our sweater stockings. It’s my baby girl’s first Christmas this year, and I wanted to have her first ever stocking hanging by the tree before Christmas day. Somehow amidst the sleepless nights we’ve been having, I managed to finish all three of our stockings just in the nick of time.

Here’s how I did it!

Things you’ll need:

Sweaters- (I thrifted ours from our local Goodwill)

Quilting Thread- (this is the kind I used: Quilting Thread)

A paper bag – or you could use this pattern

Pins- I like these pins because they don’t get lost in the thickness of the sweater

Scissors

Basic Sewing Kit

Sewing Machine- My sister let me borrow hers this one is similar

To Accessorize/Personalize:

Pom Poms, Tassels, Felt (etc) Whatever suits your fancy!

Thick String or Yarn to create your loop to hang your stockings

OK now that we’ve covered what you’ll need to make the stockings, here’s how I made mine, step by step:

First, pin your stocking outline down onto your sweater, you can use an old stocking to trace your new one, or use the pattern above. Pin through only one layer of the sweater. Then, once you’ve got your sweater outline in place, cut your stocking out of your sweater. Repeat the process until you have both the front and back of the stocking, and pin them INSIDE OUT together.

Thread your bobbin, sewing machine and get your seam ripper just in case!

Second, begin sewing your pinned stocking. Start at the very top of your stocking, back stitch a few times to ensure the threading won’t come undone. Continue sewing the rest of the stocking until you reach the top. Back stitch again, take all of your pins out and turn the stocking outside in. Check to make sure the stitching looks secure on the top part of the stocking, where you’ve back stitched on both sides.

Third, sew on your accessories. I used a pom pom garland I found at my local Michaels. I then hand stitched them together with some of my own pom poms I found. Be sure to use the quilting thread as it’s much thicker than normal thread. I combined a few of my favorite pom poms and stitched them onto the stocking. After completing my details, I stitched on my loop for my stockings, in the right corner just inside the stocking.

Fun fact: we use Nutcrackers to display our Christmas stockings just add a hook and ta-da, stocking holders! I love picking different Nutcrackers for each member of the family.

And Waaa La. There you have it, the simplest stocking tutorial known to mankind. If you have any questions please leave a comment below, or contact me! I would love to see a picture of your stocking! Leave me a comment below with your stocking, or any tips you may have when making a stocking.

-Piper

 

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

 

 

 

 

 

Moving the Pieces

23120026_2037633509805420_8503133926943402732_oI usually attempt to summarize the past 12 months come December each year. I don’t always share what’s been going on, or what the year consisted of, but I’d like to begin to do so. Even if it’s on paper first, and archived just for me, I love reflecting and exercising gratitude.

This year I have come to grips with the fact that I am quite honestly, an impatient person, if not the most impatient person. I think I’ve cried more (both happy, and hurt) tears this year, than any other year of my life. I’ve been wrestling with a lot, and I don’t think it’s even shown to the depth it’s impacted my heart.

This year I became a mama. Not just a mama, my sweet Opal Brightly’s mama. She rocked my world, stole my whole heart, and patched a hole only God knew needed patching. I have so much freaking love for her, I’m literally tearing up. I cannot express the deep, deep, overwhelming gratitude I have for her. She has brought so much LIGHT, love, and clarity to me. She has the most fiery spirit, gentlest eyes, and the most precious heart. Truly she does. I can’t tell you how many people, both strangers and friends that have told me how genuinely BEAUTIFUL, she is. And believe me, I know. I know because I see so much of the LOVE Christ has instilled in her little beating heart. She exudes the kind of sweetness I only wish I could glisten. And you guys, I know she’s mine, and I’m biased, but for real she has this look, the kind that makes friends right away. She makes my heart swell with so much pride, and love, because I have the privilege of being her mama. She has been by far the best thing about this entire year, and probably my entire life, aside from marrying my husband, and being baptized.

Wyatt and I celebrated 3 YEARS of marriage in early October. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years. I’ve known him my whole life practically, but this year, becoming parents and experiencing so much change and growth, I feel that I’ve married him all over again. I am so beyond thankful for you, Wyatt. No one has loved me with the kind of sacrifice and gentleness like you have this past year. Wyatt you are the most patient when I have least deserved it, and the most reassuring person I’ve ever known in my life. Beyond that you are the best daddy to our Opal, and the best husband to me. Thank you for giving me 3 years of all of you, for all of life, in every season, every disagreement, and every hurdle we’ve overcome, and have yet to face. Thank you for going above and beyond, for letting me go to Target when I feel like it, encouraging me to write my book, for being my personal artist, and for always holding me in your arms. There’s so much more that I could say, but that’s where I’ll start. XO.

I dealt with some really hard baby blues during Opal’s first 4 months of life, I never anticipated that to occur or that I’d deal with that, but I did and it was by far one of the hardest things for me this year. I’ve come through it with so much more appreciation for my health, and my mental state. I am grateful I didn’t have anything worse than a few hard months.

Opal went to Disneyland for the first time this year, at just a whopping 2 months old! I think she would enjoy a lot more at this stage, but it was an adventure nonetheless!

Wyatt starts his last year of classes this January, to complete his Bachelor at WSU. I am so proud of him for conquering his classes, accomplishing his goals, and making our family’s dreams come to life.

Opal is about to start crawling/walking any time now, and I am so excited but also trying to hold back those tears of my baby becoming a toddler. She can say mama, dada, hi, and mmm. She started waving this month, and basically thinks I’m the funniest person ever. I am pretty much obsessed with her little giggle. Opal gives the sweetest hugs, somehow I feel my dad’s gentleness through them.

I am the boring one in the bunch but I’m hoping to get back into writing and begin exploring nutrition/type one diabetes education. I am passionate about my battle with #t1d and I’m so grateful for the awakening I had when I became pregnant with Opal. It’s changed my mindset, my health, and my well-being. #grateful

I am anticipating one of the best years yet come 2018. I know it’s going to be filled with change, opportunity, growth and goodness. I know God is continuing to move the pieces in my life, and reveal more of the truth that needs to be said, lived, and contentment that resides in simplicity. I can hear the Savior say, “there is no room for you here satan”, and that couldn’t reign more true for me. For this new year, for this life.

So from my heart to yours, here’s a glimpse into our year, and a new beginning to come this beautiful new year of 2018!

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opal Brightly’s Birth Story (T1D pregnancy)

I’ve been waiting to share Opal’s birth story. I just haven’t had the heart to admit it’s already been this long, and she’s already four months next week. I am so proud of her, so proud of the 9 months I grew her, nourished her and loved her, while dealing with type one diabetes.

So in celebration of her spunky little heart and her joyful soul, here is Opal’s birth story.

( ALSO- I’d love to share anything I’ve learned about being pregnant with type one diabetes. If you or anyone you know has any questions please reach out! OR if you are curious about my birth plan and how I went about that, please feel free to comment, email or PM me!)

(WARNING this is a birth story/DETAILED)

Early on Friday, May 5th 2017, I had my membranes stripped. That’s where it all began, and it all ended. Little did I know my sweet Opal girl would be joining our lives Tuesday, May 9th 2017, just two days before her due date. Following my sweep on Friday I had some mild cramping; I was already 1CM and 50% effaced, baby was a 0 station and my cervix was moderately soft. So my chances of having a successful strip were about 50/50 at this point. My OB was sure it wouldn’t send me into labor but boy was she wrong.

By 10PM I was having irregular contractions about 7-10 minutes apart. They were mildly uncomfortable, and only got worse as the weekend progressed. They became painful enough I was not able to sleep through them, and woke up because of the discomfort. The contractions stayed 7-10 mins apart all weekend. I was tired, discouraged, and very, very uncomfortable. Not to mention impatient. I was so ready to meet my baby girl.

Wyatt and I walked, and walked and walked some more, we hoped it would encourage the contractions to become more regular and  develop a pattern.

(MAY 8th 2017)

Monday came around, I was so uncomfortable, and still experiencing irregular contractions. Wyatt took the day off knowing labor was near, and that I needed him.  At 4AM Monday May 8th, we finally checked in at the hospital to see if I was in labor and or dilating. I was dilated to a 3CM- 100% effaced. I was told by the nurse I would most likely have my baby within 24hrs. She was right!

We left the hospital knowing things were progressing and wanted to get things together for the arrival of our Opal Brightly. The day went on, and my contractions became stronger and stronger. By 7PM they were 2-3mins apart and VERY painful. I had spent the day dealing with contractions trying to get my body to progress quicker. My mom, and doula were in constant communication with me as they knew I’d be giving birth soon. I was experiencing back labor, so we decided to pay a visit to a recommended prenatal chiropractor. She was hopefully going to help encourage baby’s positioning and get labor progressing.

By late afternoon I was 4CM dilated, and progressing. I decided I wanted to go home and labor for as long as I possibly could. Wyatt was amazingly encouraging and so supportive. After laboring at home from 7-10PM I decided it was time to go to the hospital knowing I’d have to be at least 6cm! Nope, I was still stuck at 4CM.

We got checked in, my mom and doula met us at the hospital. I was having very consistent, painful contractions 1 ½-3 mins apart. When my mom walked through the door I remember feeling so much emotion and appreciation for her. My blood sugars were running a little bit higher than normal, maybe it was the stress? Or possibly the fluctuating hormones? My body was exhausted, my whole mindset of looking put-together went out the window as I was in a state of discomfort I had never experienced, and all I wanted was an hour nap to power through the next 24hrs.

My first nurse had only worked at the hospital for a year, she was young and seemed very inexperienced. Wyatt was not happy with her care during the first hour of my stay and requested we please have a new nurse (at this point I didn’t care who the heck my nurse was, I wanted rest and comfort!) Turns out, she was the only nurse on the floor. (Straight face emoji). She was offended Wyatt requested someone else, but she seemed to get over it as the labor progressed.

(MAY 9th 2017

After laboring from 10PM-3AM, my water still hadn’t broken and I was only dilated to a 5-6.

I decided because my water was bulging I wanted to break my water (hoping that it would help move things along). My OB came in around 4AM and broke my waters; I remember feeling such a relief as it happened. I was nervous of course, as the nurses go over risks, but I felt that’s what my body needed to encourage progression.

The nurse (the first one) wanted to put my heplock IV in before things got too crazy; she then proceeded to find a good vein in my hand. She kept fidgeting and telling me I had valves in my veins. She was quiet. She then stuck my the first time, no good, second time, still no good, and a third time, still no good. At this point I was fed up, my hands were swollen from her failed IV’s and I was having more contractions closer together, and more intense. Not to mention I was strapped to the hospital bed on the hour every hour for 10 minutes to monitor the baby’s rate rate to ensure baby was doing okay (being high risk is such a bummer). I was already in the midst of trying to monitor my blood sugars throughout labor.

By 8AM in the morning I had met a new nurse, she was fantastic. She was 100% behind my natural labor/delivery choice, and encouraged me throughout the entire process.

Things began to stall earlier in the morning so they monitored my contractions to ensure they were productive and that I didn’t need pitocin to assist in making them stronger. I ended up passing and didn’t need the pitocin (my contractions were very painful at this point and I could barely hold my head up.) Mind you- I had been in pre term labor all weekend long, experiencing contractions 7-12 minutes apart consistently. 

I labored in the tub throughout the entire night. Wyatt brought me water, ice, and my mom brought me hard life saver candies. Those two were my rock throughout the entire labor. Wyatt, I love you.

I used the peanut ball in the shower to lean over to help with the contractions and to provide my body the support it needed to relax. This really helped toward the late morning when my contractions were most intense.

By 10AM things had progressed significantly, I was dilated to a 7, I was finally in the transition phase! This lasted a good hour until I started pushing. I started pushing around 11AM. This was by far the most satisfying part of labor, and the least painful. I recall very vividly feeling the most exhausted, lightheaded, and tired I had ever been in my life. I was hungry, and nauseous, I was worried about Wyatt as he had literally passed out on the couch for a good hour prior to my pushing, his skin color was a shade of white I’d never seen before. He was exhausted, emotionally and physically.

Pushing came around and I felt the most encouraged at this stage than any other point in my laboring process. I tried multiple positions, the toilet, squatting, and lying on the bed with my feet up, knees bent were the most productive, and efficient. I pushed for a solid four hours until Opal was born. The pain didn’t intimidate or hinder me. Because I had been pushing for so long, my body was dehydrated, my energy was low, and I was light headed. 

Opal Brightly Backholm

 1 minute later. Beautiful, thick brown hair like her daddy, chubby little cheeks, she weighed 8lbs 10oz, and 21 inches long, with pretty olive skin, and a perfect button nose. Our sweet Opal Brightly Backholm entered the world at 3:21PM on May 9th 2017 (Tuesday)

Was it worth it? Absolutely yes. This was the most beautiful, empowering, and humbling venture of my life. She is light, and love, and spunk all in one. And I can’t wait to watch her grow (but don’t grow too fast my little love).

I remember praying out loud during the beginning of pushing, Lord help me get through this, help my body do what it needs to and keep baby girl safe.

The Lord fought alongside me for my natural labor, and delivery. He protected my sweet Opal, and protected my body. I can’t believe I had my all natural labor and delivery. I am so grateful I controlled my blood sugars exceptionally tightly, my medical team was for me and my family, and that God ultimately held me the entire time. Grateful doesn’t touch what this moment felt like!

Thank you Wyatt, my mom, and Jesus for holding my head up when it was tired, for encouraging me when I grew weak and weary. Wyatt- thank you for giving me this sweet life, for loving me through the pregnancy, and for supporting the crap out of me when it got tough. Thank for loving us, I love you.

Opal, I’m writing this as you sleep, only ten days old. One day I’ll let you read this, but for now, stay little my love, and know that you are the greatest gift I’ll ever receive. You are precious, loved, and so incredibly beautiful.

 

2016 a year in review

2016 was a good year & a trying one, through it I saw the light unfold in my heart & by God’s grace I get to carry a little life. I have seen the Lord redeem some of the hardest of circumstances in my life & through it He has enveloped in me a deeper appreciation for joy. I can see through all of my questions, an escape. He’s always been faithful & that reigns true even amidst the trials.

this past year stripped some of the grief that had swelled my heart from the loss of my dad. i found myself constantly discovering little pieces, things, thoughts, quotes my dad left behind. things i had never seen, read, heard, or tasted before reminded me of him. God revealed bits of His glory through this past year, through the doubt in my heart, through the what if’s, small triumphs, and incidents that came my way.

Wyatt worked harder than anyone I know this past year. he had a vision to create a more financially stable marriage, to give us more experience, more learning opportunity and it blew my heart away with his genuine pursuit after his goals. we were able to purchase our second car together, take a long vacation to Maui, put money away into savings, go to California, donate to families in need, and so much more. God was in the midst of our finances this past year and I am SO grateful.

in August we felt the healing of Jesus during an experience at Bethel Music Worship Nights that took place in Seattle this summer. we had prayers answered and chains broken. we both left more in love with Christ and one another because of it.

in early September we found out we are becoming parents to our sweet girl. I thank God for her already. she is such a gift to our hearts. I already love her so. she has already healed a part of my heart I didn’t know needed healing, until seeing her little heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. in many ways she has proven the odds of my disease, and has already given me back so much of what I felt was stolen from me at a young age. I’ve always dreamt of being her mama, of being a mama at all, and now my heart is so full knowing even God sees the pieces of my heart I had abandoned years ago. he is always pruning the branches of brokenness flawlessly and faithfully.

I resigned my position at the PT office I had worked at for the past two years and I have been adjusting to the idea of becoming my own #girlboss. I have wanted this for the past year and it is finally happening. I can’t wait to see what doors are opened this new year. my hope is to write (to publish).

October brought on the grand opening of Olympia’s 222 market, Wyatt and I had the opportunity to be a small part of that. I had a photo featured in Seattle magazine, and Wyatt designed their website.

November and December brought more joy to our marriage knowing Wyatt is finishing his degree in just two semesters, we are close to having paid one of our cars off, our little girl is healthy and strong, we have two free flights to use for the new year, & we have high hopes for so many things this new year.

a few of my goals for the new year include:

  • visit our grandparents more often.
  • write here at least monthly.
  • get my a1c down to a 6.2 (or better yet 6.0).
  • learn to cook.
  • replace our couch.
  • buy a dinner for a family when we are out sometime.
  • pray over baby girl & her daddy daily.
  • wear the color pink more.
  • take more home videos.
  • establish a morning routine.
  • spend more time with people who help me grow.
  • write down a scripture for the week every Monday to put on the fridge.
  • learn to swaddle a baby.
  • perfect a winged liner technique.
  • kiss sweet little baby cheeks 24/7.
  • work on myself for myself for the sake of my family.
  • become less focused on things and enjoy the now.
  • throw a surprise party for someone I love.
  • tell my siblings more often how proud of them I am.
  • do one thing every day for Wyatt that will bless him (little or big).
  • wash my sheets every week (because cleanliness).
  • meet for coffee more often.
  • love Wyatt deeper.
  • Serve Jesus better.

happy new year to you! here’s to a brand new 2017!

 

 

won by perfect love

I am terrified by the news reports. By the uncertainty of our Nation, and our presidential election for 2016. I want to know my prayers have an impact the process that will take place in November. I want to know that my voice, my vote and my raised hands make a difference. I want to know that we are not compromising our freedom or faith, for fear. I want integrity, leadership, and God’s mighty hand to guide the way of our next president. I want to be brave and not swept up by fear of what I can’t see. I want to be led by compassion. I challenge all of my beloved sisters in Christ, to be bold in this upcoming election, and in our current worldly happenings. Pray for our Nation, and take comfort knowing that  there is hope in the promise of the cross.

“Jesus is the anchor of my soul”-Hebrews 6:19

I take refuge knowing that He holds the world in His hands, and that ultimately we have been won by perfect love! And His perfect love casts out ALL fear.

” Praise be to the Lord to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens”- Psalm 68:19

Let’s begin to ask the Lord how we can become active in our society, in our current National happenings, and how to pray over our future president. I pray that as we begin to hear from the Lord, that we follow through with the guidance he’s given us. That we show compassion, strength, and faith in the Lord over all. I pray the companionship of the Lord brings peace, clarity and vision. I pray that we are empowered by the Spirit to change the earth and bring heaven closer to our hearts, seeking first eternity’s crown. Amen.

“As you obey, the impressions from the Spirit will come more frequently, becoming closer and closer to constant companionship.” —Henry B. Eyring

Piper

 

There is hope in the promise of the cross. and this hope is an anchor for my soul. God will stand unshakable.

pumpkin spice & everything nice

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When I make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I think of all of my favorite things about fall; watching Anne of Green Gables, reading Bob Goff’s book, “Love Does”,  in my cozy chair, or waiting anxiously for my sweet husband to come home from work on a stormy night.

After trying numerous pumpkin muffin recipes, my childhood family recipe has held 1st place in my husband’s heart (& mine too!). I thought I’d share it with you!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1 2/3 Cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside. Next, add 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of shortening, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and 2 large eggs. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. While mixer is still going, add in 1 cup of white sugar, then add the dry ingredients. Mix to combined. Pour evenly into your muffin pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes.

Pour a tall glass of milk, or perhaps a nice brewed pot of hot coffee or tea and you are set!

Happy Fall baking!

-Piper

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