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.}

Diaper Bag Tour

I have shared many products at many different price points on the blog before, and I’ll go ahead and say that this Lily Jade bag is one of the higher priced items I’ve shared. I love making sure my readers have a variety of products to compare especially for your own personal budget!

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3 Practical Ways to Avoid Hormone-Disrupting Toxins

Tonight I had a great friend of mine named Baldwin, a yoga and wellness instructor, join me on Instagram for a Live chat about how the products we use and the things we put in/on our bodies affect our hormone levels and our wellness as a whole. Sadly our Wifi connections did not mesh well, and our sound ended up effing up a majority of the time haha. BUT. Baldwin had some really good tips for 3 ways we can practically implement some better choices for wellness. 3 ways we can limit the influx of toxins we get from food or products we encounter multiple times a day.

I will be the FIRST to admit that I do not really pay attention to this. I use Clorox all the time. Lysol. Makeup for which I’ve never even read the ingredients label. I eat whatever….really. Haha.

I don’t consider the importance of food and makeup and related products very often, and I do feel bad about that because deep down I know that there are probably TONS of horrible chemicals and dyes etc in the things I consume each day.

The things my kids consume.

But the hard thing is, as a mom, I don’t have the time I used to have anymore. I wish I had used my time before having kids more wisely and researched more. Because now, my go-to is to hit the “easy button” or the “whatever is on sale/cheapest” button, and that’s typically not the most healthy item available to me.

Anyways.

Here are the 3 simple and practical ways Baldwin said we can improve the things we are putting on and into our bodies. And by maybe choosing some better options we will eliminate or risk for hormonal imbalances, cancer, skin problems, sickness, etc.


  1. Choosing glass over plastic. So I probably won’t give my infant a glass bottle. Because he’s already really strong and grabby and has no fine motor control over his arms and hands. So he would probably smash the glass and kill himself. Kinda the same with my hyperactive (yet sweet) toddler hahaha. Therefore I will be choosing BPA free plastic for the kids to use right now. BUT! I could definitely switch to glass water bottles and toss the plastic cups etc that I use and that my husband uses. That’s a start. If glass isn’t an option for you either, keep your eyes peeled for “BPA free” and opt for that product instead.

  2. Buying Organic foods when possible. Yes, organic is much more expensive than non-organic. Just today at the store one dozen organic eggs was almost $6 while the non-organic ones were not even $3. It’s soooo hard for me to spend DOUBLE. But I also don’t buy EVERYTHING organic. I think making sure your meat and dairy products are the most natural and organic you can get is the most important thing food-wise. Let’s be honest, we are on a BUDGET. So at least by choosing organic meat and dairy, which don’t contain harmful hormones/chemicals, we can feel like we are making a positive and healthier change choice in our home without breaking our entire grocery budget.

  3. Check the label, barcode, ingredients on your makeup and other items. The last thing Baldwin talked about tonight was the Think Dirty app. It’s an app that literally reads the barcode of anything you’ve got and rates how dangerous or how safe it is to use. Talk about conviction. It’s very easy for me personally to turn a blind eye and just use what is easy or what I like. And I will be honest, there are probably a few things I will still use now and again. But I definitely will be using this app from now on to make sure that what I’m rubbing on my skin and on the skin of my babies is not harmful to them or to myself.


Thank you to Baldwin for sharing these practical tips! And I’d love to hear what other ideas you all have for making our lives more healthy.

Nothing is wasted.

If you had told me 10 years ago when I was sitting in an eating disorder recovery center that I would one day be a recovered mother of two, I would have laughed in your face. I was so far from God and from myself that I was a shell of a person. I remember not being able to finish sentences without losing my thoughts. I was addicted to the control my eating disorder gave me. I was angry. I was depressed and lying to every person in my life about my real struggle.

But God. He moved my parents to do the bravest and scariest thing by sending me to Remuda Ranch for treatment. Their courage changed the path I was on, saved my life, and showed me how RELENTLESS and steadfast Christ is for me. I will never forget their decision and I will use that same decision making for my own children. I will fight for them the way my parents fought for me at this time in my life.

You never really see what your struggle’s purpose is when you’re in the midst of it. I know I didn’t. And I’m not here to tell you that every single bad thing has some specific future purpose to it. Although God is a God of purpose-making, a God who wastes NOTHING.

So the fact that I now parent a daughter who is tube-fed and struggles with swallowing/eating is no coincidence to me. And baby Owen is in that same category as he struggles with the same swallowing disorder Quinn has. I know that I am their mama for many reasons! But this is one big reason that I just know I was chosen for them and them for me.

We may not understand they “whys” but we can always understand the “who.” And that’s Jesus Christ the savior of all the world. The Savior who parents ME with love. We may never understand the “reasons” behind things. But we don’t need REASON when we have REDEMPTION.

Y’all. Contact me. Tell me your story.

Never give up.

Scriptures to Fight Postpartum Depression

In addition to the Warning Signs and Resources, I wanted to share this.

There is nothing as powerful as God’s truth over your life and over your struggles. Especially one like PPD/PPA and Postpartum Psychosis, that are so heavily grounded in the mind and thought-world. I’ve put together this list of Bible verses for anyone who wants it.

When I was in the depths of my anxiety or depression, admittedly it was hard to pick up my Bible, to care about memorizing scripture, or even to pray. There are still days (5 months later) that I have a hard time doing those things sometimes.

Satan loves nothing more than to make us detach from the Lord and fall deeper into the pit. Satan loves nothing more than attacking when we are already weak, exhausted, and dealing with big life changes….so it’s no wonder to me that new mothers are so often a target.

I’m STILL 5 months later having to choose daily to say positive things out loud, to speak truth instead of getting overwhelmed by my circumstances, and to read what God says about me. It’s truly a battlefield! And I’m not trying to preach what I don’t do myself, so I felt like I needed to admit all of that up front.

But my goal now that I am on the other side of the pit is to NEVER let myself slip back into it, to intentionally fight my way to the light every day, and to bring my children and husband along with me.

One of the most important things we can do as women who deal with PPD or anxiety is to pick up our sword and take our territory back.

So even when I don’t feel it, I will say it. Even when I feel numb, I will declare with passion the word of God until it changes my heart and mind!

These are some of the verses I have kept on hand and will be trying to memorize this year. (Another special thank you to Ann Snyder who shared some of these with me!)

You can write them on notecards. Carry them around. Tape them to mirrors and cabinets. Hang them wherever you’ll see them all the time and be reminded.

And when those thoughts and feelings start to creep in, use these.

If you’re like me, sometimes you don’t even have the right words or know what to say. But that’s one reason why God gave us his word! So that we would know.

So here is a graphic with all the verses you can save to your phone/computer, share, or screenshot. Look them up and keep them handy.

Mamas, you are strong. God calls you “overcomer!”

xo. Ansley

Postpartum Depression: Best Resources & Tools

There were TONS of people who asked for some of my favorite resources on PPD/PPA, so I decided to make it a public post so that it could be shared and saved by anyone who needs it.

This amazing hooded top is from my favorite online shop. You can shop the Women’s section here.

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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.

Holiday dress: Featuring Pink Blush

Yup, Pink Blush is one of my most featured shops because they are one of the BEST places to find clothing for all stages of motherhood—heck, womanhood!

Plus being a partner with them is so much fun and I truly love showing y’all the styles I get to put together that will hopefully give you some ideas for how to style your mama life 🙌🏻

This was one of my semi-casual and easy holiday looks from this past weekend.

I love the pleats and the color!

Check it out here, and don’t miss out on their amazing sales that go on all the time!

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

Kute’n’Koo Diaperbag & Discount

Since having two kiddos, I have realized even more that HEY, I need both of my hands at all times to survive haha.

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Postpartum Style: Maxi Dress Love

I love a good maxi dress, and Pink Blush takes the cake for some of the most beautiful and versatile maxi styles. While I was pregnant I wore a ton of Pink Blush’s Maternity line, but now that I’m not pregnant (is it weird that I miss my baby bump sometimes??) I’ve become just as obsessed with their non-maternity section!  Continue reading

Hospital Bag Mama Edition: Part 2

This is short and sweet, but here are the non-clothing items I brought to the hospital that I couldn’t have done without! (Note: none of this is sponsored and I have not been given or paid anything to talk about these brands and products. This is solely written from my honest opinion.)

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby products. Their bottom balm, which I’ve already shared, has seriously helped my healing so much. Can’t recommend it enough. The nipple butter is just as amazing! And you don’t have to wipe it off before feeding the baby, because it’s all natural and organic. It’s gentle and super helpful in these first days and weeks. 

2. Labor Pain Relief. I wanted to labor and deliver naturally, so I brought some small things to help. Some lavender essential oil, an EO rollerball for stress relief made by Essentially Hood, our diffuser, and a rollerball for back-labor and pain relief around the body. Basq makes this awesome cooling gel that you could also use in any area to bring some relief. 

3. Basic makeup, toiletries, and a hair dryer. I brought just the basics to clean myself up, mostly because we had planned on doing a Fresh 48 session in the hospital. That didn’t end up happening. But I  suggest bringing your own shower stuff too because what they give you doesn’t feel or smell all that great. Just bring something gentle and not perfumey though. 

4. Some good socks! My sister in law gave these to me and I love them. 

5. A nursing cover. My favorite is by Milk Snob because it’s so versatile in use. My friend Anna gave one to me and I brought it to the hospital also. I’m usually not shy at all about whipping a boob out to feed my baby in public or in front of people…but not ALL the time and not in front of everyone…like my brother and dad? No. My baby is also extremely curious and the cover helps him not be so distracted while nursing. (Our nursing journey has been hard so far but more on that later.)

5. A birth plan. My advice: keep it short and simple. There are so many things you cannot predict or control about labor and delivery, and having a multiple-page plan is not only impractical, but it sets you up for a lot of disappointment. Also your hospital staff usually does not have time to read a huge lengthy document. We chose to include the most important/non-negotiable things to us. We kept ours at 1 page, and we held it all loosely. As you fight for what’s important to you, just keep an open mind about it, and give yourself the freedom and grace to change your mind when you get into the process. 🙂 It can be really hard to have to give up some of the things you wanted for you birth if medical need necessitates it, but just remember that “healthy mom, healthy baby” comes above all else. 

6. A little something-something for the nurses/doctors at the hospital. So when I was in labor, my contractions were so all over the place and varying in length that I didn’t really know if it was time to go to the hospital yet. So I baked cookies while I did squats in the kitchen haha! Brought all the cookies with us and it made for some VERY sweet, helpful, and extra-attentive nurses 😉 They loved them and I love our nurses so much that I wanted them to feel appreciated! I’m glad I did it.

7. Chargers!! We forgot our phone charger this time! Such NOOBS. 
And that’s pretty much it! I hope this was helpful! 
Xo. Ansley 

Owen’s Nursery

We live in an apartment, so it’s always challenging to make a space “home” when it doesn’t belong to you. Obviously painting walls isn’t an option, and keeping the amount of nails/screws in the walls to a minimum is ideal. We have lost security deposits before over these things….oops. Haha. We are wanting to buy a home to call our own soon, but timing just isn’t right still! Nonetheless, we are SO thankful for a roof over our heads and for the ability to give our sweet babies rooms of their very own. That’s a huge blessing that we don’t take for granted! Especially right now when so many don’t have that luxury.

I am NOT a great designer and decorator, and I tend to rearrange things about a million times even after they are “put together” ha! I’m definitely not that blogger who has the magazine-looking house, and that’s fine with me 😉 But here are a few shots of the nursery we put together for baby Owen. We kept things simple and went with navy, grey, brown, and some yellow/orange here and there.

Hope you like! I’d love to see your babes’ rooms too! All details are listed at the end of the post if you want to know where anything came from. Xo.

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. 


Babies party all night?! {feat. Snuggle Me Organic}

Soooo since we didn’t bring our first baby home until she was 2.5 months old, we didn’t get to experience newborn life. It has been awesome to do that this time around, even if it did come a week late! I’m grateful! UMMM but it has also been EXHAUSTING! I had no idea how difficult a newborn was to manage as far as their sleeping and feeding habits haha. It’s been precious and special to me, and I’m already emotional that he’s our last baby. But y’all, I am so tired it’s not even funny LOL and I’m laughing LOL which tells you how psychotic I am right now.

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Postpartum Style: Loose Dresses and Cardigans

You can’t go wrong with a loose fitting swing dress and a lightweight cardigan, especially when you’re dressing yourself after popping out a kiddo. I wouldn’t even be wearing real clothes if I didn’t have to take my daughter to school, take Owen to his appointments, and be out in public for longer than 20 minutes honestly haha.  Continue reading

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!

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