Review of Mabel’s Labels

I received a sample of Mabel’s Labels for review purposes. All opinions here are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

Quinn’s daycare requires that EVERYTHING be labeled: her diaper bag, angina her clothes, her sippy cup, her diaper cream, her socks… everything. Thank goodness for Mabel’s Labels. I got a sample in last week, and they really do make labeling Quinn’s things much easier. Mabel's LabelsYou’ll love the look and versatility of these personalized labels — lots of fun designs to chose from. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, plus they are UV resistant. You can label everything from lunch boxes and water bottles, to toys and sports equipment. You name it!Mabel's LabelsThese are the personalized name stickers that I am using. I just peel and stick to a clean, dry, smooth surface. I am trying them out on clothes too (they make clothes labels, but I don’t have those yet), so I’ll see how that goes. Mabel's LabelsMabel’s Labels also has:

  • household organization labels (like for spice jars)
  • shoe labels
  • allergy alert labels
  • mini name stickers (like for pencils)
  • book labels
  • iron on labels
  • write on labels
  • personalized books
  • combo packs when you need a little of everythingMabel's Labels

So far, I am very pleased with Mabel’s Labels. Now I need to order some clothing labels for Maya’s jackets that she seems to leave on the playground almost weekly.

 Free shipping on all orders at Mabel‘s Labels

Gymboree’s adorable newborn collection

The World Just Got a Little Sweeter at Gymboree

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, pilule your cost will be the same, stomach but I will automatically receive a small commission.

One of my favorite things to do is shopping for newborn clothes. They are so small and precious. Our babies grow so quickly, glands so my philosophy is to adorn them in the cutest clothes possible before they get an opinion of their own and only want to wear pajamas all day long. (My six year old would live in her pj’s if I’d let her.)

Gymboree has great baby clothes. From the colorful Alphabet Onesie to the blue and white striped Bear Beanie, you will fall in love with these adorable newborn essentials from Gymboree.

Gymboree’s new Tiny Panda outfits will make you feel all the warm and fuzzy feelings inside.

And if you think things couldn’t get any cuter, just wait until you see their Little Pals collection. The Bundled Pups Bodysuit and Kitten Booties are sure to be a hit.

And don’t even get me started on the precious new “Fun at Heart” collection:

Gymboree newborn collection
So don’t delay. Get these baby clothes before they are gone! They are great for shower gifts too.
Shop Gymboree’s Baby Girl Collection
Shop Gymboree’s Baby Boy Collection
Shop Gymboree’s Unisex Baby Collection

Diapers & Menopause

I understand why you should have kids in your 20s. My first daughter was born when I was 40 and my second when I was 46. Both girls are adopted and are incredible additions to my life. But let’s be honest here. I will be 65 years old when Quinn graduates high school and leaves the nest. SIXTY FIVE. I am an old momma. And my body reminds me of that constantly. See, discount I’m in the throws of menopause. Hot flashes. Insomnia. Sudden outbursts of fire-spewing mania. It’s not pretty. I just hope my pleasant moments out-shadow the alien moments in my girls’ memory when they are grown and retelling their stories to their therapists. Because diapers and menopause do not go together. 2015-09-29 15.58.57-1




Boogie Wipes: Why didn’t I think of that first?

Sometimes the simplest invention can transform your life. I often see a product and think to myself, sale “Why didn’t I think of that first?” Case in point: BOOGIE WIPES.

My 13 month old has had a constant runny nose since birth. I’ve taken her to more than one doctor to make sure nothing is wrong with her. (There’s not.) She is just a snotty kid. And now that her back teeth are coming in, pill the snot is flowing with abandon.

Boogie Wipes is sending me free samples of Boogie products –a thank you from the Boogie Wipes team for simply helping them spread the word. Baby Girl will be so happy. #NannyNoseBest

#GIFTGUIDE: Personalized Children’s Books

**This post contains affiliate links, viagra order and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Throughout the coming weeks, I’m going to share gift ideas for the holidays. Today I want to tell you about I SEE ME! personalized books and gifts. This company creates custom books that incorporate your child’s name, skin tone, hair color, photo, hometown, birth date and favorite color throughout the story.

my-very-own-name-storybook-26.jpgMY VERY OWN NAME: In this classic personalized children’s book, animals bring letters one by one to spell out your child’s first and last name in rhyme! At the end, they celebrate because they have created the perfect name for the child. Click here to order “My Very Own Name”, a personalized children’s book from!  $34.99


These high quality personalized books have been featured nationally in People, In Touch and Parents magazines as a unique gift for children ages 0-12.

Other popular titles include:
My Very Own Fairy Tale Storybook
My Very Own Pirate Tale Storybook
My Very Happy Birthday Book – for girls
My Very Happy Birthday Book – for boys
The Super, Incredible Big Sister
The Super, Incredible Big Brother
God Loves You! Personalized Book
Who Loves Me? Personalized Book

The I SEE ME! books and gifts also make wonderful baby shower gifts. They will become treasured keepsakes for years to come.

It's Fancy to Be Me!

One Year Ago Today My World Crumbled

September 8, viagra dosage 2014: I was home with Anthony getting the house ready for Baby Girl. She was born the Friday before, and at the request of Elle* (birth mom), I was there for her delivery. See Elle and I had history. I adopted her first child back in 2010 after fostering her for almost a year. During that time, unbreakable bonds were formed with Elle, her mom, and the rest of their family. So when she found out that she was pregnant again, she asked me if I would adopt this child too. I was uncertain if I wanted another child. Anthony and I already had three daughters. But we decided to get open as a foster home, and if this child ended up in foster care, we would foster the baby as “fictive kin.” Fictive kin is defined as people not related by birth or marriage who have an emotionally-significant relationship with an individual. And since we had the biological sibling, our DCFS resource worker said we would qualify.

On deliver day, Elle was scared and asked me to be with her in the delivery room. The nurse placed a chair for me near Elle’s head. She was draped with hospital blue cloth and prepped for a c-section. I reassured her that it would be okay. (I was reassuring myself at the same time.) I was so fidgety, about to explode with anticipation. I asked Elle if she minded if I moved from behind the blue draping to watch the actual delivery. She didn’t mind, so I got permission from the nurse. The nurse agreed after I told her that I’m also a nurse and that the sight of blood didn’t bother me. I had seen a c-section in nursing school, but this one was different. With each cut of the blade, with every move of the surgical team, I felt my child coming into this world. It was like I was on that table and having an out-of-body experience watching myself give birth. The doctor exclaimed “It’s a girl!” as I witnessed Baby Girl take her first breath outside the womb. IMG_1232She was big. She had a strong cry. Someone asked me if I wanted to cut the cord, and I did. It was all a big blur, like a surreal made-for-TV movie. I was taken back to another room where they cleaned up Baby Girl, inked her feet for precious footprints on her birth record, and then I got to hold her for the first time. She was very pink — not the dark brown that I was expecting. She had big, bow-shaped lips. I was overjoyed and so nervous.  IMG_1230Sometime later I joined Elle in the recovery room. She was given two armbands for access to the NICU. She gave me one of them, so I was able to stay in the room with Baby Girl. Elle came down to visit periodically and a few times a day she would request that I go up to visit her in the postpartum unit. Every time I would see her, she begged me to raise Baby Girl — to fight to keep her — to not let DCFS place her with anyone else. I said I would. Elle told me that she wanted her daughters to grow up together. I liked that thought too.  IMG_1250Then Sunday came. Around noon or so, Elle came down to the NICU to visit Baby Girl. A DCFS caseworker was with Elle. They asked that I wait outside the room so they could visit. Anthony arrived shortly after that and met me in near the nurse’s station. I just knew that Elle was in there telling the caseworker about our plan — about how Anthony and I became foster parents just so we could foster this baby as fictive kin, and if the case led to termination of parental rights, we would be open to adoption since we already had her sister. Then the nurse on duty came out and said that we were being asked to leave and for me to tell her what things in the room were mine. I couldn’t even enter the room to get my things — the nurse had to gather them for me — and then Anthony and I were escorted out of the hospital. No explanation was given. I was in shock.

The caseworker called me later and told me not to worry. That was reassuring. The plan would work out. I waited all day Monday for the call. Finally mid-afternoon we got the call that Baby Girl was being released into DCFS care and that we would hear from another caseworker about placing her with us. Whew — what a relief. Then about an hour later we got another call that the caseworker was buying a few things for the baby, but we’d get an ETA call soon. Then a third phone call:

She’s being placed with another family.

My heart dropped. What? Surely there’s been some mistake. I called my resource worker and was told that Elle said that I was trying to take her baby from her, and therefore it was assumed we would not be a good foster placement because we wouldn’t work toward reunification. I tried to explain that wasn’t the case. I wrote emails to the resource worker to reconsider. I wrote the area director. Over the next two days, I wrote and called everyone that I thought could help, finally talking to the director of DCFS for the entire state of Arkansas. She basically told me to back off and let the system work.

It was out of my hands. For the next week, I was a mess. I cried and laid on the couch in a crumbly, depressed pile of brokenness. Those were dark and uncertain times. My faith was tested, and I didn’t take it too well.

Finally a meeting was set for September 19. Anthony and I went before the area director and a bunch of other DCFS staff to be questioned. And fortunately, our pure motives came to light. A few hours after the meeting, a caseworker brought Baby Girl to our house. She was two weeks old at this point, and I wondered what I’d missed in those 11 days apart. And I knew she wasn’t mine forever yet — or if she ever would be. The following months were fairly easy as far as foster care cases go. Soon we knew that reunification wasn’t the goal, and we would probably get to adopt her. We were cautiously optimistic.  IMG_1252Almost a year passed until we adopted Baby Girl, now called Quinn, on July 29, 2015. Over that year, God taught me several important lessons. The first and most important one is that HE WILL DELIVERY ON HIS PROMISES IN HIS TIME. I have to remind myself of that daily. I have to relinquish control, open my clinched fists and release my right now to Him. That’s not easy for this control freak, this planner of all things. But I’m learning, one hard lesson at a time.

* name changed


Baby’s Got Back

Somebody should design a diaper for “full figured” babies. My baby girl has got a BIG BOOTY (guess she gets that from me), more about and often times her diaper just doesn’t cover it all.

It’s more like a DIAPER THONG.
IMG_1078So where are my Shark Tank millionaires? What name do you like best:

  • Apple Bottom Diapers
  • J-Lo Diapers
  • Baby’s Got Back Diapers
  • Big & Beautiful Diapers
Let’s do this.

Adoption Day!

After waiting for what seemed forever, nurse Anthony and I adopted Baby Girl last week! It was a glorious day surrounded by friends and family. Our older girls, Kennedy, Madison and Maya were all smiles too. adoption2Judge Warren is the same judge that did Maya’s adoption back in 2010, so it was really special that she was our judge this time too.

So without further ado, World, meet Quinn Aria Valley… IMG_1058Special thanks go to my mom and dad, Gran Gran, Kristen and Carol for coming to be a part of our big day. adoption1adoption4It’s hard to explain how I feel now that the adoption is final. Relief mainly — no chance that Quinn will be taken away from us. She has been a part of our family since her beginning. Even before she was born, we loved her. I was in the delivery room when she entered the world — I even got to cut the cord! helloShe has been smiling and laughing and bringing us joy since her days in the NICU. I mean really — look at those lips!

I can’t wait to watch her grow up and to see her personality blossom and her talents emerge. She is already trying to stand up unassisted, so I think walking is in the near future. She loves music and is very curious and busy. She’s a sensitive soul and can get her feelings hurt easily, but she easy going and happy most of the time. Honestly, she is just perfect, and I’m so proud to be her mom. Quinn8.2.15

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I am not a patient person. I hate waiting. I hate waiting in traffic, grip at the doctor’s office, for things to happen MY WAY and in MY TIMING. And I guess that’s pretty normal.

Today was supposed to be ADOPTION DAY! We’ve been waiting for months to finalize Baby Girl’s adoption and introduce her to the world as a Valley. But instead we get to wait another six weeks.

Last week, DCFS decided that they needed to run a Maryland background check on me first since I lived there in the last seven years. Of course, it didn’t come back in time, so that’s the reason for the delay. So we wait…

Surprisingly, I’m taking it quite well. I know that God’s timing is PERFECT. He was not caught off guard by this delay. And He was a beautiful story for our family, and Baby Girl is a big part of it.

So hold on a little longer, World. I’ll introduce Baby Girl (and reveal her new NAME) to you later this summer.

* Swimsuit by Kate Mack.

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Starting Her Love of Shoes Early

I received a complementary pair of Lili Collection shoes for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

My 8 month old baby girl already has about a dozen pairs of shoes thanks to a sweet friend, prescription Jodi, who gave us her girls’ hand-me-downs. So I was super excited when Lili Collection approached me to review their handmade baby and toddler shoes.

Megan Linke, the founder of Lili Collection, was inspired to start the company in 2013 after the birth of her son, Liam. She made him a pair of moccasins that quickly became a hit with the hip babies across Manhattan, and Lili Collection was born.

My baby girl will be sporting a pair of the Blush Animoccs. Animal faces + Moccs = Animoccs. Megan’s friend came up with the name “Animoccs” which are becoming one of the hottest crazes in the baby shoe market. IMG_9681These are a size 6-12 months and still a bit large for Baby Girl. I’ll update this post in a few months when they fit her better, so you can see how cute they are on.

You can follow Lili Collection on social media:

I’m sure these won’t be our last pair of Lili Collection shoes!