Why You Should Renovate Your Bathroom


It’s most likely the first room you head towards when you wake up and potentially the last room you leave before going to bed at night. It’s the bathroom.

With the Holidays upon us and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s the perfect time to think about sprucing up your home with some remodeling projects and what better place to start than your bathroom?

Why should you renovate your bathroom?

Several reasons.

  1. It should be a sanctuary. Whether it’s a steamy shower on a cold winter day or a relaxing bath, everyone deserves to have a bathroom they can consider a spa or a retreat. That’s hard to do if it’s outdated and not functional.
  2. It’s a fairly small space to tackle. The average bathroom is typically one of the smaller rooms in the home. This makes a major remodel a little more realistic.
  3. It increases the resale value of your home. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck bathrooms and kitchens are going to be your best bet as a renovation investment. Updating these two rooms will help increase equity. What’s not to love about that?

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the bathroom renovation then you need to come up with a bathroom design plan.

Think about your bathroom lighting, fixtures, and furnishings.

Dream big. There is nothing stopping you at this point from having fun with your design. Once you’ve got an idea of all the things you want for your bathroom design then you can narrow it down to a more concrete plan. This is the part where you can decide what really works for you and the specific space that you have to work with.

You’ll need to figure out how much you want to change, how much you can spend, and what you can realistically do on your own according to your skill set.

As someone who has remodeled multiple bathrooms watched my husband do multiple bathroom remodels I wish we would have known about plumtile.com sooner. This is the place to get all of those must have dream items on your bathroom wish list.


Not only do they have a huge selection, but shipping is FREE, there is no sales tax (outside of California), and they have guaranteed price matching.

I got really excited about this website and so did J once I showed it to him. Seriously, you need to go check it out!

I am really looking forward to our next bathroom remodel now and I think you’ll feel the same way after you see all that PlumbTile has to offer. They are an authorized retailer, with exceptional costumer service available online or on the phone, and I already mentioned the low price guarantee. You can’t go wrong.

Go to plumbtile.com and start designing your dream bathroom today.

By |November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Frugal Living, Projects|2 Comments

Guest Post on Airman to Mom

It’s been about a year since I connected with Amanda from Airman to Mom.


I was so excited  last spring when I learned that we were pregnant at the same time and due shortly after me. We both have a lot of interest in natural parenting styles including cloth diapers and giving birth with a midwife. So when she asked me to be a part of a series on natural birth I didn’t even have to think about it. Here is the opening to my feature titled “Why I Would Choose Pain for Childbirth”


It happened again . I was at the Doctor’s office for a prenatal visit and a conversation started between myself and another pregnant woman nearby. The topic came up about where I was giving birth and she quickly exclaimed how she could never give birth without the drugs and thinks it’s a bit crazy. Her final statement was “The end result is the same so why suffer?”
I think this is a pretty common philosophy among women and my canned response is always “Well, it’s definitely something you have to be passionate about”…
Check out Airman to Mom read the rest.
By |November 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Birth Timeline According to Technology

I know there are some disadvantages to being so reliant on smart phones, computers, and the internet, but there are plenty of benefits too. When I was in the hospital after giving birth the whole experience was a blur (as you can imagine). So I thought it would be fun to see how much of a labor timeline I could piece together a according to my personal digital paper trail.

Just call me detective Messy Mom!

Here is November 9th, 2015 (the day I went into labor… but didn’t know it until the very end). This is not everything I did, just the stuff I retrieved from my phone and computer.

The first thing on my call log that day is to Once Upon a Child consignment store at 9:50 am. I called them before I dropped a bunch of stuff. Of course I had no idea I was going to have a baby that night.  Then I had to worry about about when we would be able to pick it up and get my money (don’t worry it’s been taken care of).

Then I can see that I wrote a blog post where I revealed her name. This is funny to me. The first two sentences of that blog entry are

“Let me just start by saying the baby is not here, but we have a name. Yes, I did say I was going to wait until she was born to reveal the name, but apparently I am not good at waiting. ” Little did I know I would have only had to wait a few more hours. HA!

This is the last line of that blog post

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 12.04.37 AM

“We should be meeting her soon.” I should have said VERY SOON! 

Also, ironically I did a GOOGLE SEARCH about the lack of pre labor  activity. I had been having braxton hicks, but that weekend there was almost nothing. I went through my search history and got a screen shot. That’s how little of a warning I had that day that I would be going into labor. This is proof!


Okay, next up I took some photos 6:03 pm like this one of Z’s homework assignment that which was to count the fingers and toes in your family. The cute part is he put two answers, one including the baby (in my belly) and one without. By the time he turned in the assignment we would officially have 120 fingers and toes.


It should say “If baby counted” not conuted

8:30 pm was the last text before going to bed it was to my sister in law and I was making plans for Saturday. I was going to Women’s Brunch at my church  and then all the ladies in my family were going to make decorative Bible verses to have all around the room in the birthing center. So that ended up not happening, but it was a nice idea.

Then I went to sleep and woke up with one contraction which I documented in my notes app.

first contraction

10:41 is when it happened. The rest were recorded on J’s phone.

At 10:49 pm I texted my best friend saying that I couldn’t talk as we had planned because I didn’t feel well. At this point even though yes I did have one contraction I didn’t know that I was in labor. Not at all or I would have definitely told her. It’s funny to look back on now though.

text 1

So then we called my parents at 10:58 because I knew at that point something was happening even if it was a false alarm I couldn’t risk waiting any longer.

parents call

Then there is this text message to my neighbor at 11:43 because I was panicking about not having to bring the kids with us. It was my last effort to hopefully have her come over and wait for my parents to get there, but she didn’t get the message until the next day so we just left and brought the kids with us.

text 2

The never mind was sent 12:06 am so I was texting about 15 minutes before I had my hands on my baby and was delivering her! CRAZY!!!

Here is a screen shot of the contraction timer app


These are not completely accurate because we were calling the hospital and coordinating with my parents and such, but as you can see by my 9th contraction they were coming less than a minute apart (the left side is how long they lasted). It was intense!

The next significant call was at 12:27 when we called the hospital and told them we had had the baby in the car.

Anyway I just got kick out of piecing all of these things together. It confirms that I did not ignore any signs of labor. I just didn’t have them!

As I’ve said before I don’t know when or if the reality of this will really sink in!


By |November 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Her Birth Story

When I planned to have my baby at a birthing center that was an hour from our house I got a lot of different reactions from concerned people thinking that would be too far of a drive. However, this was my 4th baby and all three of my other pregnancies and deliveries were very consistent. So I felt like I knew my body well enough to get there with time to spare.

Monday (November 9th) gave me NO indication that I was anywhere close to being in labor. It was nothing like my other births where I had mild contractions that built all day long. Nothing was happening. Not even braxton hicks. Plus I was only 37 weeks along.


That night I fell asleep earlier than usually, but I woke up at 10:30 pm and that’s when things got weird.

I was confused by the signs. I had lower back pain and some pressure, but I hadn’t had any contractions. I told J (my husband) that I didn’t feel good and then I felt the first contraction at 10:41 pm.

I called my parents to come stay with the kids who were asleep in bed. I had only had one measly contraction at this point, but my parents live an hour and a half away and I just knew something was up! I tried to relax in a bath which is supposed to slow things down if it’s false labor, but instead I just started freaking out. Not because of contractions, but because I felt pressure. I felt nauseous. I was trembling and it looked an awful lot like transition!

I told J that I was scared and I wanted to go to a closer hospital. I had no idea where or what that would be. I felt so confused and panic set in. J said we just needed to get in the car and go, but I was insistent that we couldn’t go because I didn’t want to bring the kids.

At about 11:40 pm we loaded up the van with our partially packed bags and three groggy kids who were all in footie pajamas. My parents would have to meet us at the birth center. The contractions were strong, but they were still only 10 minutes apart and I was relieved because I assumed that meant we would have plenty of time.

About 11:50 things started getting intense. I was praying out loud. I would sing worship songs through contractions and really tried to stay focused.

Moments later the contractions were coming one on top of the other. As soon as one would stop another would begin and I vocalized this to J. Then we began to pray. I started praying with authority

“Lord, you are in control. I trust in you! I will not have this baby in the car. We are going to make it to the hospital in JESUS NAME. Labor has to stop until we get to safety!”

I was declaring very specific things and I can look back and laugh at it now, but I was serious about it. I have never wanted an unassisted birth. I was not comfortable with the idea of having the baby in the car.

Then when we were about 15 miles away I knew God wasn’t answering my prayer in the way I was hoping. The baby was coming. There is no fighting it. I had done this before and when the baby is ready to be born you can not stop it. So I gave in, and let me tell you the grace and peace of God was all over that van. My mindset changed to being very assertive. It’s weird. I became my own midwife and I narrated everything that was happening out loud. I can’t tell you why I did this, but hey, it worked out.

Here is the dialogue that transpired. J and I were both completely calm. It had to have been the Holy Spirit because even the kids were calm (one was asleep).

Me: Okay. I feel the urge to push. I am taking off my seat belt. I am going to have to take off my pants now. 

I had on a long T-shirt and a sweatshirt, and I quickly removed my cotton sweat pants. I was in the front passenger seat with my body slightly tilted and right leg lifted up and apart from my left. Luckily I had brought a towel and had it under me.

J: Do you want me to pull over?

Me: No, by the time the paramedics get here we would have already been to the hospital. Just keep driving.

Plus it was a dangerous freeway and dark and rainy. We both felt this was a safer option given our proximity to the hospital.

J: Do you need any light?

Me: No.

Then I reach down to see if I am imagining it, but I do feel the top of the baby’s head crowning.

Me: Okay I feel the head.

After another contraction her head was out and I had my hands gently cupping her head.

Me: The head is out. Alright. We need the body to come out now. Come on baby girl with the next contraction I am going to push the body out.

Another contraction and a slight push from me. I felt the shoulders and the body being pushed out. I kept my right hand under her head and my left hand scooped her up under her armpit and behind her back.

Me: I am going to wrap her in my pants and put her on my chest now.

And I did

J: She is crying. Good. Does it look like she’s okay?

Me: Yes, she’s fine.

I looked over at my husband as I held my now calm daughter who was so peaceful and perfect. Everything was quiet as we rode along in the dark .

Me: Is this real? Did that really happen… or am I in a dream?

J: Yes. It’s real.


After that we called the birth center (which is inside of a hospital by the way). This was at 12:27 am. There was a team of nurses with a wheel chair waiting for us at the entrance. I felt like a million bucks as we rolled up and they congratulated me and helped me get my shoes back on. I was fully prepared to hop out of the car when it hit me. The adrenaline drained from my body. I was light headed. I felt pain. My “super powers” were gone and I was bleeding. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it really did happen like that.

Since I couldn’t get out of the car they had to put me on a stretcher and roll me into the hospital where a Doctor would check on me and the baby. That’s when I delivered the placenta.


They reminded me to breath and as I did I felt relief. It was over and we were both doing fine, but I knew it would be a while before it all really sunk in.


My parents showed up shortly after that. We all chatted in the hospital room and watched in awe as they washed, weighed, and measured the miraculous little package that had turned our world upside down.


I didn’t expect her to be 2 weeks early. I didn’t expect the labor to be so fast. I wasn’t prepared for any of it. Still, God is Faithful and in the end I am really glad our entire family was together in the brand new mini van that no one is allowed to even eat or drink in! It was really special.


So that’s my fourth birth story.


There’s the one at the birth center, the one in the bathtub at home, the one at the hospital, and now the one in a moving vehicle. Yes there are more options for birth locations, but I think that’s enough adventures for me, at least of this nature.


The End.

Or in Ellis’s case the beginning.


By |November 15th, 2015|My Life, Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|46 Comments

She’s Here

The review I posted Wednesday was already written and scheduled, other than that I haven’t blogged at all since Monday November 9th when I announced baby Elle’s name. The reason for this is because I had baby Elle on Monday night. Technically it was Tuesday morning because it was about 12:25 am when she arrived. There is so much more to the story. SOOOOO MUCH. But for now I just wanted to a quick blog announcement and I will be back next week with lots of photos and updates. Love you all. Have a great weekend!


Messy Mom announcement edit

By |November 13th, 2015|Babies, My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|6 Comments

Have Stylish Maternity Clothes All Season Long


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Bella Gravida. I received a complimentary subscription and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

The holidays are here and finding the right maternity clothes for this season can be tricky. For me it’s not only about the Christmas parties, and family gatherings, but our Anniversary is in November too. Most of you have already heard me rave about Bella Gravida which is Italian for “Beautifully Pregnant”. It’s a maternity clothes rental service. You pay a flat rate per month and the clothes are sent to your address. There are no return deadlines, unlimited exchanges, and my favorite NO NEED TO DO LAUNDRY because dry cleaning is included.


So if you’ve been been dreading shopping for a Holiday maternity dress that you are only going to wear once I have a solution. Bella Gravida can get a shipment out to you within 48 hours after filling your virtual closet.

When I wore this black lace Everly Gray dress for my 15 year anniversary last week husband’s jaw dropped.

Bella Gravida

It’s amazing how the right outfit can change the way you feel entirely and there are thousands of designer maternity and nursing outfits to provide you with a rotating closet of style.

Now is the perfect time to do it because for a limited time the first month is FREE!


Maybe you are not pregnant, but know someone who is. In the coming weeks Bella Gravida will be launching their ‘Give The Gift of Style” feature which will allow you to give a subsciription to an expectant friend or family member! Any mother-to-be is sure to love this gift. Plus it truly is the gift that keeps on giving because eveytime they find another beautiful dress or outfit at their doorstep with a handwritten note from a stylist it’s like Christmas all over again.


At least that’s how I’ve felt receiving all of these gorgeous clothes in the mail.

What are you waiting for? Go check out BellaGravida.com now. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


By |November 11th, 2015|Uncategorized|3 Comments

And Her Name Is…

Let me just start by saying the baby is not here, but we have a name. Yes, I did say I was going to wait until she was born to reveal the name, but apparently I am not good at waiting. First of all, I do use blog nicknames. It’s for privacy, but at the same time I am really laid back about it. I have said things or posted things with all of our names at some point. So if you were ever curious here is the real name run down.

J= Jeremy I have talked about this before when I have written about “the other Jeremy and Natalie”

Z= Zion He is our first born and we had his name picked out long before we were ever pregnant. It definitely has biblical significance, but it’s also inspired by a Lauren Hill song.

SJ= Sedona (or Sedona Jean) she was named after Sedona Arizona.

Ezie= Ezra and he is named after his great grandfather


Elle= Ellis

I announced it on my personal Facebook page the day of our anniversary. The significance there is because J and I met, married, and started our family in Ellis county and we really liked the name. It reminds us of Alice or Ella which are both girl names, but Ellis itself is more predominantly a boy name. Because of this we were reluctant to choose it for our girl (even though there are other girl’s named Ellis), but we kept on coming back to it over and over. Her name will be Ellis Evelyn. It’s fitting that she has a name so intricately connected to our marriage since she will be born the same month we celebrate 15 years.


The middle name is after her grandmother. All of our children have family middle names. Z’s is my dad’s, SJ is mine (and it’s also my aunt’s name from my mom’s side) and Ezie shares his grandfather’s middle name.

Obviously we put a lot of thought behind the meaning and history behind our children’s names and in Ellis’s case her name means God is Jehovah.

I threw this post together at the last minute, because I wanted to start doing daily updates about the last days of pregnancy and I really long to call her by name. I do already at home and the kids have for a while now, but now I can finally say it on the blog even if it is the “Elle” nickname.

So Ellis Evelyn it is!

We should be meeting her soon.

By |November 9th, 2015|Uncategorized|6 Comments

My Best Guess

Just a heads up, things are starting to get a little more quiet here on Messy Mom as my due date approaches. My focus is on other things right now as you can imagine. Today we are 18 days away from the big November 24th due date. I am really tired, but in a way I am also revved up because I have been nesting like crazy. J and I plan to spend the whole weekend preparing the house for the arrival of our little one and for our parents who will be coming to help in a week.

I have a tradition where I try to guess the stats before the baby comes. Everyone is welcome to join in. There are no prizes other than bragging rights. I think my dad won last time with Ezie. He came a little sooner and was a wee bit smaller than the rest of us thought. Speaking of which, Ezie was born just shy of 39 weeks. I am 38 weeks on Tuesday so it would be like going into labor next week. Ahhhh! I am still blown away that I could be that close. On the other hand, while none of us are expecting me to go past my due date because all three of my children have been early, wouldn’t it be interesting if I went past my due date this time? Or what if she came on Thanksgiving!? So many unknowns. I’m getting really exciting!

Now then, given that history here are some of my predictions for baby #4.

Birth date/time: November 17th 11:04 pm

Weight: 8 lbs 4 ounces

Height: 21 inches

I’ll hopefully have more clues on Tuesday after my next appointment. I guess they’ll check me since I’m full term now. I am lucky enough that I dilate some beforehand so it’s like I get some of my laboring out of the way by just walking around doing my usual thing. With the first two it was just a matter of a centimeter or so, but with Ezie I found out days before that I was 70% effaced, at a zero station, and about 4 cm dilated! So we knew after that appointment that I was more than likely going to go into full blown labor that weekend and I did.

Anyway, all this rambling and still only God knows when that special birth day will be. I’m just so curious. I am probably going to give my login info to a family member which is what I’ve done in the past so that I can update all my social media accounts and post a pic when she comes so you’ll be informed.


Let the games begin!

By |November 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|5 Comments

How Low Can You Go?

The title might sound lighthearted, but I am actually dealing with a serious medical condition. I think I have mentioned before that I am anemic. This is not unusual for me during pregnancy. That’s why I crave ice like an addict. In fact it’s not that uncommon for any pregnant woman to have a dip in red blood cells during this time. The problem is that despite taking all the prescribed supplements, upping and even doubling the dosage of supplements my iron levels continue to drop. Right now my blood count is an 8.3 and it should be twice that amount. I am really close to needing a blood transfusion and since I loose a lot of blood during birth it’s just not looking good.

After months of supplements it’s safe to say my body just isn’t absorbing the nutrients through the pills. So my mom hit up the health food store and stocked me up on everything the midwife recommended.


I am eating iron rich foods at ever single meal and then some. I am drinking all kinds of crazy things that I have to forcefully swallow. I am eliminating or decreasing a lot of things that block absorption (like milk which is probably a big culprit since I love milk).

The more I research the more overwhelmed I am. I was going to explain why iron absorption is so complicated, but that would be really boring. Let’s just say it is a big balancing act! So I am doing the best I can and I’ll have another test in a week for my 38 week check up.

So that’s the bad news. The good news I got another test result back today and I am GBS negative!!! With the boys I was positive and had to have antibiotics and an IV which is not fun for water birth, even if it is capped off. So I was really relieved by this news.


Anyway, I just wanted to give a brief update and ask for your prayers. I will let you know next week what the test results show. Thanks for being so supportive during this time.

By |November 3rd, 2015|Uncategorized|6 Comments

Halloween/Anniversary/Baby Moon Weekend

We packed in a lot of activity this past weekend I think it almost sent me into labor!

Friday morning I volunteered at Z’s school for Pumpkin Math.


I was in charge of leading a small group of kids through various hands on math problems that involved predicting, measuring, weighing, carving, and gutting a pumpkin.


The seeds were sent home with all the leaders to roast and send back in for the kids on Monday. It was my first time roasting pumpkin seeds, but I plan to do it again!


Right after leaving Z’s school I went to the Halloween party at SJ’s school. By this time I was already getting a little tired and achey, but I’ve gone every year she’s been at her school so I’m glad I got to participate again.


After that we went home and I frantically got all dressed up just in time to turn around and hit the town with J for our anniversary/baby moon. I wore a black lace dress that was a rental from Bella Gravida. The tags were still on it when it came in the mail.


We originally wanted to go on our first cruise for our 15th anniversary, until we found out that we would be having a baby instead. So we had to take things down a notch and that’s okay. Being together is really what matters to us. Getting to wear a fancy new dress doesn’t hurt either.

Before our date would officially begin we had to stop by the birth center to go over some final details and paperwork with them because as of today I AM FULL TERM! This means I could go into labor any minute and go straight to the birth center. That doesn’t mean that I will (Thank goodness! I am not ready yet). It’s still such an exciting thresh hold to have crossed and I feel like things are really starting to line up!

After our appointment we went to the Cheesecake Factory. This was significant because the last time we ate there was the night we found out we were pregnant.

The next day was spent walking around, shopping, eating and just enjoying being alone. I think the last time we did an overnight was very similar circumstances when Ezie was about to be born, and that was three years ago. So we were thrilled to have the opportunity and soaked up every minute of it.


The only thing that was a bit stressful about our relaxing getaway was that I had a slight concern that I might actually be going into labor. So we downloaded a contraction timer app and got to spend some of our afternoon practicing timing contractions while shopping. Luckily it ended up being a false alarm.

Lastly, we still managed to squeeze in trunk or treat with the kids that night. They had a great time and walked away with far too much candy!


That’s the weekend in a nutshell. I’m so glad it all coincided with turning the clocks back. We needed that extra hour.

By |November 2nd, 2015|Uncategorized|4 Comments