Poems from the NICU.

wide eyes search me
smile right at me
alive and awake
from the deepest of sleeps.

she grasps my finger
and all within me
falls back together
even now, it is well.

my every move and word is watched
by this little human life.
I steel my resolve,
tell her “be strong”
even now, she learns to hold on.

new moms and dads
in line at the door
carseats full.
balloons galore.
they’re homeward bound
but I watch from afar
while monitors beep
and tearful prayers fall
over my smallest, strongest one.

the day is ending
her fight is not.
our goodnight song carries her off.
I whisper to her “it will all be fine”
as I turn and leave my heart behind

in a room we did not build for her
in a bed we did not plan.
with machines that breathe & live for her
as she no longer can.

I can feel her every second of the day.
she’s stronger than I’ll ever be
she’s beauty, bright, and brave.

I’ve never believed or hoped so hard
or walked in such deep faith
as when my warrior’s story
was written in this way.

words from the very mouth of God
are spoken night and day
so she will know her Maker
and firmly stand to say
that she is no accident,
that this was no mistake.

Blue eyed fighter
home is waiting
sleep within my arms.
Live to tell the story of
the purpose in your scars.


{Ansley Allen. 2014.}

Postpartum Depression: Warning Signs

I finally shared a lot of my journey with Postpartum Depression, anxiety, and psychosis during an Instagram Live discussion this week. After the chat was over, I got flooded with messages from other moms who wanted access to my list of resources, my list of warning signs to watch for, and my list of Scriptures to use for prayer and for fighting lies with truth. So I figured I would actually post all of that on the blog as well so anyone could download it and save it.

So here is a graphic I whipped up for the warning signs that you or someone you love may be dealing with PPD or PPA.

Keep in mind, these are only some of the main things to look for, there are MANY different ways PPD and anxiety can present, and every woman is different. These are just the things I personally felt like were my main warning signs. 

I used Postpartum Support International as a source. When making this graphic, I used Canva.

5 Surprising Things About Having A Second Baby

I’ll be personal.

Timmy and I debated for a while about having more than one kid. Firstly because I was in school at the time and secondly because our first experience was so traumatic that we were afraid to go through that again. We couldn’t wrap our brains around doing the whole baby thing one more time. It felt scary and like the timing would never be right. Isn’t that the case for every parent?! I’m convinced it is. But after much prayer and debate we realized that our little family, which was already perfect, would be even more awesome with one more little one. Continue reading

When Breast Isn’t Best.

First of all, let me go ahead and preface this with: FED is always, ALWAYS best. It is no question that evidence and science proves that breastmilk is the most amazing and the most natural choice for a baby’s nutrition.

But guess what. Not all babies can breastfeed. Not all moms can make milk. Not all moms WANT to breastfeed, and not all babies can even tolerate breastmilk. And y’all, that’s more than okay! Whether by choice or by necessity, formula can be LIFE SAVING and SANITY SAVING. Ultimately a mother’s first and most important job is to feed, love, and protect her baby however she can. A baby who is fed and growing is a happy one, no matter what that looks like. So with that being said, here’s what our feeding journey with Owen has looked like. Continue reading

Let them be messy

Getting messy doesn’t come easy to me. Letting her get down in the dirt, the mud, and bug infested nature…definitely doesn’t come easy to me and my type A personality.

But she lights up when she gets free outside. She thrives in a wet playground sandbox with no shoes on. She bolts like lightning to giant brown puddles to splash in, and wants to get every inch of herself into anything hands-on and muddy that she can explore. So she goes for it, and I grin and whisper “please God don’t let this cesspool contain ringworm or diseases or west nile”

Why is it so hard for me to just let her make a huge mess and get all up in it?? She’s a kid. She’s meant to make mud pies and to learn how not only to make a mess, but how to clean it up when she’s done too. It takes so much patience and relinquishing of my instinct to control to let things just be crazy sometimes. I don’t know why my personality has always wanted to strive for being all tidy and put together. But something I have LOVED about becoming a mom is how the Lord has used it to break down my need to control and have everything be “put together.” I love that through my daughter and her wild personality, I am learning how to let life be messy and unbridled.

Her childhood is meant for times like this! So for any other mamas who struggle with letting go and letting it just happen sometimes…I so get you. I’m challenging myself to jump in with her, and challenging you guys to do the same. The memories will last longer than the mess. Here’s to letting them get messy. 

Hospital Bag: Mama Edition Part 1

Well this post is a bit late, but as I’m sitting in the NICU watching Owen sleep, I wanted to finally share the outfits I packed for myself to wear while in the hospital. I couldn’t have found more beautiful or comfortable pieces for delivery, for directly postpartum, and for nursing!

Continue reading

Postpartum Recovery Basket

Since this is my second time preparing for the extremely glamorous task of recovering after childbirth, I thought I’d put together a cute basket for myself ahead of time with some of the things I will need to get me through it. (The basket itself is cute, not the items inside for clarification.) Really, there’s nothing cute about the hot-wreck that is recovering from childbirth haha. It ain’t pretty, but it’s so much easier when you’ve got these items on hand!

Continue reading

making some new habits.

Going through pregnancy with a toddler in tow feels a lot like you’re drowning. And someone hands you a small drunk person. Don’t get me wrong! Toddlers are fun as crap, hilarious, and so sweet. At least mine is. But she can also be super moody and irrational, she’s learning how to use her free will, and she moves way faster than I can keep up with a lot of days. Ya know, the normal toddler-hood stuff! And adding a pregnancy on top of it is surely a challenge no matter who you are. A HUGE blessing, but a challenge.

Continue reading

Maternity Style: Date Night

We’ve addressed my lack of red accessories…I’m still patriotic inside, I promise. I just seem to gravitate towards greys, navies, and white lately. I think navy is so classy and summertime just begs for it, the month of July especially! Luckily there’s a ton of beautiful navy options this season, and here’s one of the best to me!

Continue reading

Maternity Style: Kimono Love

Happy Friday! How was everyone’s week?? Honestly this week was a harder one, and I’m wiped. But I’m 34 weeks now and we had our 34 week ultrasound and checkup! Which I’ll be posting an update on later, but the baby boy is measuring just over 5 pounds already! I have a feeling he’s going to be a big guy…Lord help me haha. Continue reading

Shop Highlight: Gigi & Max

When you’re pregnant with the second (or third or fourth) kid, the amount of stuff you need to prepare for him or her is *usually* much less since you’ve already done it all the first time around. Continue reading

Feeding Tube Update: Part I

This is my freaking cute kid, my little Quinn girl! Here’s an update on how things are going with her feeding therapy and her G-tube {who she calls “Buddy”}.

Continue reading

Miscarriage. Hope.

This story is deeply personal, but I think that in light of all the negativity and hatred going around, it needs to be told.

Continue reading

How to travel with an infant without wanting to jump out of the plane window

Yeah. I said it. Traveling with an infant can be freaking stressful, especially when said infant has discovered a) sitting still is for the birds b) everything is shiny and must become her personal toys and c) that apparently gravity is hilarious. “HOW DOES GRAVITY WORK!? LOOK HOW FUNNY IT IS WHEN I THROW EVERYTHING IN THE AIR AND IT LANDS ON THE GROUND!” Oh yeah, Quinn is just really loving life. Which is awesome. But how do you channel that on a plane ride??

we survived!
we survived! Timmy is happy, promise…

I think we actually did a really good job for our very first time on a plane last week! We flew to Florida to visit my dad and family for a few days for the first time since Quinn was born. Luckily, the flight from Nashville to Florida is only about 2.5 hours at most, so it’s not tooooo horrid a plane ride.

For all you mamas who have yet to brave traveling, here are some of the tricks we found helpful with our 1 year old! OBVIOUSLY not all of these are going to work for everyone, but here’s what we did.

image1Top 10 Tips for Flying with a Baby:

1. Try and schedule baby’s nap time to happen on the flight. We know Quinn falls asleep really easily when she’s being held or worn in her wrap, so we purposefully scheduled our flights for when she is usually going to sleep so that I could be holding her tightly on the plane. She ended up sleeping the entire flight home! WIN. She didn’t sleep on the way there because our flight was delayed by 2 hours….so she napped while we waited. womp womp. Oh well.

2. Wear your baby in a wrap or Bjorn or something of the like. This will help the baby to feel safe in a new environment AND it gives you the freedom to use your hands. Which is really necessary when you’re carrying any bags or whatever else in the airport and on the plane. Also to eat snacks duh.

we use this kind because it doesn't get really hot, not a ton of fabric to mess with, and it has easy access to Quinn's tube for me.
we use this kind because it doesn’t get really hot, not a ton of fabric to mess with, and it has easy access to Quinn’s tube for me.

3. Feed that baby during take off and landing! I’ve heard that for babies who are still nursing, that letting them nurse or drink their bottle during take off and landing really helps them not to freak the heck out when all that drama is going on with the pressure in the cabin and the loud noise of the plane. Obviously Quinn isn’t drinking anything at the moment, but we did let her have a few sips of her water (which she likes to play with too haha) and we let her use her paci so she was content.

4. For older babies who are snacking on solids, bring some snacks! Quinn is doing really well taking bites of soft foods now. So we gave her a soft chewy Nutri-grain bar and part of a banana throughout the flight to Florida that kept her entertained.

5. Ipad. Ipad. Ipad. Look down on screen time for kiddos all you want to, but when you’re traveling, the iPad comes in handy. We do not make a habit out of letting her play with it or watch it, so when she does, she LOVES it. She loves to swipe it with her fingers, and there are tons of cute little toddler aged games out now that are both educational and colorful. She also is IN LOVE with the Curious George movie on Netflix. So, when she was tired of her snacks and tired of playing the games, we put that movie on and she was so chill.

6. Small toys. Bringing a million different things on the plane isn’t ideal, seeing as how you’re already carrying a handful between the baby and your own bag. So, we tried to pack as light as possible. We brought 2 or 3 of Quinn’s favorite small toys to play with, and even brought some extra special, typically “off limits” toys like car keys *gasp* and mom’s jewlery *double gasp* that she went wild over.

7. Change the baby right before boarding if possible. Giving your baby a dry diaper right before boarding was great for us because it helped us avoid that teeny tiny smelly airplane bathroom that nobody wants to find themselves in. But at this point, as a parent, you can’t ever predict if and when your kid is going to have a huge blowout or accident haha! So this could still not end up working, but for us, it was good because it was one less thing we had to take care of on the plane.

8. Line up baby gear to borrow from friends or family at your destination! This was HUGE for us! If you are traveling to a place where you know some people, ask them if they would mind helping you borrow a car seat, stroller, and pack and play for while you’re in town. My dad and his awesome fiance borrowed a car seat and pack and play for us to use. That way we didn’t have to pack that junk and travel with it! It made all the difference in the world. Highly suggest doing that.

9. Pack light, carry light. As I mentioned before, it’s hard not to bring a million things for fear that you might need them. But, it’s really hard to try and carry so many things and attend to a baby. As a family of 3, we fit all of our stuff into one suitcase that we checked. Then, Timmy carried a backpack with all of our carry-on stuff inside it, and I carried our diaper bag with some more things inside. We had all we needed and we made it work. Light, easy, still effective.

10. Remain calm no matter what. I can’t say it enough, stay calm and collected on the flight because your kid will pick up on that, and so will others. I’ve seen some kids on planes who are in a mood, are over tired, or are just hating the whole flying thing, and the parents are yelling at them or getting upset, and it just doesn’t help anything. Quinn had moments where she got frustrated and would fuss or wiggle about, and we just did our best to quietly talk to her and offer her something else to do. I have never seen any situation on a plane get better when the parent loses their mind on a kid.

And that’s all I got!

Sorry that Happily has been so slow lately! I’ve been working on quite a lot of music stuff lately, so it’s been taking a bit of a back seat for now. But hopefully it will be more regular soon 🙂

Share with me your tips and tricks for flying with kids of all ages!!

A day with a Tubie

Our decision to have a Gastronomy Tube placed in Quinn was not an easy one. She had already been through anesthesia quite a few times, so I was terrified for yet another surgery or milestone. I was praying so hard that she would surprise us and just eat and drink before needing that tube. But she wasn’t ready, and we knew it was the best way to get her home and healthy. So we switched from the feeding tube in her nose to the more long-term one in her stomach. Continue reading

The pregnancy announcement

Here’s how we announced that we were pregnant with our first baby! Shot with a go pro. That we rigged up to a bar stool and like a lamp, a dog, a book, and Jesus. #StillFun