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Tuesday, July 19

4 clothing rules that help me feel confident

Affiliate links are used in this post to link to similar items of what I'm wearing. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase from these links. 
What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!
What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!
What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!
What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!
What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!

There are a lot of things about my body that I wish I could change. A lot of them are things that could change if I worked on them, like losing weight, and some of them are things that I'm stuck with forever, like being five feet tall. But, regardless of which category my body issues fall in,  I've found that focusing on the negative aspects of my body doesn't help me feel confident in my body right now.

I love this quote:

"Loving your body only when it's in perfect shape is like loving your children only when they're well behaved." 

I love Benson through all of his fits and breakdowns and I need to love myself the same way. A lot of times we let our size or insecurities dictate what we wear, but I've found that the right clothing can actually make me feel more confident. I've developed a loose set of rules for myself so that I make sure to invest in pieces that will help me feel better about my body. 

What I look for in tops to help me feel more confident


Shirts with longer sleeves

I am not a long sleeve person. Anytime I have long sleeves on they're rolled up because I feel so constricted in them. To compensate for this I used to wear a lot of cap sleeves but I always hated how my arms looked. I found that I need a longer sleeve-not necessarily a long sleeve-just a longer short sleeve in order to feel good about my arms. I love anything that hits mid-biceps because it hides the bigger part of my arms but starts showing where my arms actually look good. 

Loose fitting shirts

Ever since I had Benson, loose fitting shirts have been my favorite. The "mom pooch" is real you guys. I used to wear tighter t-shirts and they always made me a little uncomfortable, especially after a big lunch, so I've been so happy that loose t-shirts have been in style! They're way more flattering on almost every body type and they're so much more comfortable. I've even been able to wear a lot of my pre-pregnancy t-shirts during this pregnancy because they have plenty of room for my expanding belly. 

What I look for in bottoms to help me feel more confident


Knee length or midi skirts

I've always worn knee length skirts for modesty reasons, but I'm an even bigger proponent of them now that I'm a mom of a toddler! I bend over a lot more often and there's nothing more comforting than knowing that when I'm on the ground helping Benson that no one can see up my skirt. I also love getting a variety of skirt styles; pencil skirts are my absolute favorite (they make me feel so classy!) but I love a-line skirts too because they can be so fun and breezy! 

Neutral colors

I have big hips. Always have, always will. In order to not feel like a boat I use neutral colors on my bottom half because they are way more slimming on me. Dark colors are even better because they help make me look thinner. I love blues and blacks but I also like to have a little bit of fun with my bottoms so a good olive green, like the shorts I'm wearing above, help add more color and dimension to an outfit without drawing attention to my hips and thighs. I definitely stray away from bright colors because they draw too much attention to my lower half and make me look shorter as well. 

What are your go-to pieces to help you feel more confident? Do you have any clothing rules you swear by?

What we wear and how we look contribute a lot to how confident we are. Click through to see how I use my clothing to boost my confidence!



Tuesday, July 12

One mom's plan to change the world

One Mom's plan to change the world.

I've felt guilty the last few months because with every new tragedy that I hear about I don't feel angry or sad or heartbroken. I've become numb to those events. It feels so far away and so different from the life I live.

I try to put myself in the shoes of those families who have lost their brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, and I can empathize with them. But, I also dread the arguments that will pop up after the event is over because I know the arguments these events kick up end up doing more harm than good.

The posts across social media spew more hatred and lead to friends and families fighting over what should be done. We don't fight about how we should change to improve the world; instead we fight about how the government needs to make changes to stop the violence.

This is what annoys me the most. No matter what legislation the government passes, no matter how hard they make it to buy weapons, no matter how much money they throw at studies and laws it won't change a thing. Because these incidents aren't caused by just gun owners; they're caused by people who have deep hatred in their hearts and you can't legislate someone's thoughts and feelings.

I can't stop anyone else's hatred but I can stop it from influencing my family. I truly believe that the only way we can stop these tragedies is to stop treating people like they're enemies when they have different beliefs than we do.

So, you want to know what this mom's plan is to stop the hatred? I plan to raise better children.

I will teach my kids to love. 

The first thing that we need to teach our kids is to love everyone. I've struggled over what loving everyone and accepting everyone's decisions means. I believe that I can disagree with a person's beliefs and choices and still love them. 

Loving everyone means seeing them as valued people. Race, religion, social class, ethnicity don't affect a person's worth. My personal beliefs teach me that we are all loved children of a Heavenly Father, who created us in his image. We're all different, but he loves us all the same, and I want to feel that way about people too, even the ones who drive me crazy. I know I'm not perfect and sometimes I don't like a certain person, but loving them means rising above those feelings and wishing the best for them no matter how much I don't get along with them.

I want to teach my children that having different views and beliefs is normal. People make choices that you won't think are right, but that doesn't make them a bad person. The best way to overcome differences is to learn and talk and love. 

I will teach my kids to disagree without hate. 

I love politics. I studied political science in college and loved when my professors worked to have us see both sides of an issue. I believe that everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, wants what is best for the world, but we just see different ways of how to accomplish that goal. 

The problem we face now is that we are so unwilling to listen and try to understand the other side that we see them as an enemy, not as a a person with valid opinions and feelings. We disregard anything that comes from "the other side" as stupid and wrong without even taking time to consider the argument. When we jump to conclusions or refuse to listen to the other side we miss out on vital opportunities to compromise and see things from another angle. 

I want to teach my children to listen, without rolling their eyes, to other people's opinions; you can disagree and still be friends. I want to teach them that listening and considering another opinion doesn't mean they're abandoning their won beliefs. Most of all, I want to teach my children that compromise leads to better outcomes than sticking to your own guns, just because you don't want to be wrong. 

I will teach my kids to help. 

It's easy to see that there is too much hate in this world. The rise of bullying in children is astounding to me. I never felt bullied as a child, sure I was picked on but never to the point where I wanted to harm myself or others. 

I don't think I would have stepped in and stood up for other people if I had been in the situations that kids are in every day now. However, I want my children to be better than me. They can be leaders for good. My kids will know my expectations and that if they are ever the instigators of bullying they'll have their mom and dad to answer to. We won't allow it. 

I want to teach my children to step in and help those around them that are being hurt. I want to teach them that they can make a difference with their words and actions. They need to choose to be kind and to use their words to build people up not tear them down. 

Motherhood is so much more than cooking meals and cleaning the house. Motherhood is raising the next generation to be better than we are. I do not take that responsibility lightly. I live in a small town in Idaho, where it feels like the world is a million miles away. I may not be able to influence the whole world, but I can influence my world. Raising better children who love and listen and care is the best contribution this momma can make to a better world. 

Thursday, July 7

The best marriage advice I've ever received

On my wedding day my great-grandpa gave me the best piece of marriage advice. Click through to see his wise words and how I strive to follow them.


Jason and I have been married for just over five years. We've left the newlywed phase, started our family, bought our first home and we continue to pass new milestones every day.

With each stage we've passed through, I've always remembered the one piece of advice that my great-grandpa gave us right before he married us: never say "I told you so."

We live in an age where being right trumps everything else. It's so easy to make your point and prove someone else wrong with just a quick Google search. But, when we're quick to be right and point out how wrong everyone else is it hurts relationships instead of building them.

Being right doesn't have a place in marriage. Sure, one person is bound to be right in a situation, but pointing it out and making your spouse feel bad for being wrong certainly won't help build a strong marriage.

There are varying degrees of "I told you so." Little arguments, like trying to remember what time a store closes, ultimately won't hurt your marriage if you accidentally let those four little words slip, but it's the bigger arguments you really have to watch out for. Like, telling your husband that your child won't go back sleep if your husband picks him up, or that if your husband doesn't do the dishes your way they won't get clean. Those are the situations where saying "I told you so" after his failure start to hurt your marriage.

Saying "I told you so" doesn't seem like a big deal, but it slowly chips away at your spouse's confidence and feelings because what you're really saying is, "Your way is wrong and the only way to accomplish such and such task is to do it my way, the right way." Ouch.

People like to have their thoughts and feeling heard and considered. When you tell someone what to do, how to do it and then belittle them when they do it wrong it just makes them feel inferior. And no one should feel inferior in a marriage. Marriages are meant to be partnerships. You're supposed to learn and grow together not pick each other apart.

When the occasion does arise when I'm right I try to ask myself the following questions before I shout my right-ness from the rooftops.
  • How would I want Jason to treat me if I were in his shoes?
  • Will making a big deal out of being right make anything better?
  • Will I embarrass Jason by announcing "I told you so!"?
  • Does it really need to be said?
If the answers to these questions aren't positive then I don't say anything. I know I wouldn't want to be put down for trying something or thinking one way, and I don't want to do that to Jason either.

Instead of saying "I told you so" the best thing you can do is drop the issue completely. I'm a really proud person and when I'm wrong I don't want to think about it anymore. Even a well intentioned encouraging word can sting sometimes. Letting the issue go will defuse the situation and help everyone's egos recover.

My marriage isn't perfect; Jason and I don't agree on everything. Sometimes my ideas prevail and sometimes Jason has the better plan. I'm not perfect and there are plenty of times when I've tried to rub Jason's nose in my rightness, but whenever I do that it ends up causing more problems than our initial disagreement.

When I do let those four little words slip out of my mouth I instantly regret them because I don't want to cause my husband more harm. I want to build him up and saying "I told you so" doesn't help me do that.



What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given? 

Thursday, June 30

Dressing for the 4th of July (without looking flashy!)

Affiliate links are used in this post to link to similar items of what I'm wearing. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase from these links. 
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!
Do you feel like you're always overdoing it in your red, white & blue on the 4th of July?  Check out my tips to dressing for the holiday without looking flashy!

The 4th of July is seriously one of my favorite holidays because I love the fashion aspect of it. When everyone feels that sense of pride for their county and shows it through their clothes it makes me feel so much camaraderie.

At our house we spend all day on the 4th outside. We hit up our local parade in the morning, BBQ all day, and catch a firework show in the evening. It's hard to find an outfit that can hold up to all the events that go on during the day.

This year I really wanted an outfit that would be comfortable, for my pregnant self, and wouldn't be super flashy. I wanted to feel like I was enjoying the holiday rather than trying to win a 4th of July contest. I put together my quick tips so that you can pull together a non-flashy patriotic outfit too!

Pick your flag article

I love flag clothing so much! I've slowly been trying to add to my collection of flag clothing. However, I really would only use one item for your outfit. This item will be the focal point of your outfit. It will bring all the patriotic colors into your look without you having to go over the top. After I have that item I build the rest of the outfit around it. 

If you aren't into flag clothing choose another print. Stripes or anything nautical has a very patriotic feel to it without being so blatant. 

Choose two colors to focus on

When I try to fit all the patriotic colors into my ensemble I start to feel too flashy. I prefer to take a more casual route to 4th of July fashion. I let my flag accent piece stand out as my patriotic pride then I pick only two of the colors to focus on. I chose white and blue for this outfit and the neutral palette really helped the boots stand out. 

It's also fun to mix in other colors that aren't red, white and blue, but still have a patriotic vibe to them, like olive green. It adds another element to your look without screaming 4th of July!


Don't forget your hair and makeup. 

When I think patriotic I think braids, but I don't want to look like a little school girl with braids. So I tried this variation on double braids. This half up dutch braid was perfect because it kept the majority of my hair off my neck, but I still got to have a little bit of hair down, making me look like the mature adult I am. 

I'm not a makeup artist, I've been doing the same thing since high school, but if I was really into doing something fun I would have paired this outfit with a bright red lip! It would have added that little splash of red to the outfit without making me feel like I was trying to hard. 


What are your go-to 4th of July styles?

A few fun flag apparel options for your 4th! 


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Tuesday, June 21

Overcoming the anxiety of an unexpected pregnancy

"I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation."

I used to get really annoyed with people who got pregnant "accidentally," or at least super easily, and weren't happy or excited about it. Before my pregnancy with Benson, Jason and I had tried to get pregnant for what felt like the longest time, then once we did, we had a miscarriage. I thought people who got pregnant quickly and with little-to-no effort should be grateful and should be be nothing but happy, since it had come so easily to them while other struggled with infertility. I felt that way right up until January when I was unexpectedly pregnant and felt so scared.

I've always wanted more kids. Jason and I still aren't settled on how many kids we want. I say a million and he teases that he's fine with just one, or two now. But, regardless of how many kids I want, I was not ready to get pregnant when I did. I had just set out some big goals for myself and I knew that things would need to stay the same in order for me to accomplish them. Getting pregnant was not even on my radar for this year.

But, God had something else in mind for me. He blessed me with another baby. I spent the first several weeks of my pregnancy overcome with the challenges that having another baby would bring. I worried about how I would balance two kids while working from home, how having another baby would mean pushing back my personal goals, how I hadn't gotten back into shape like I wanted to before having another baby. All the negatives were glaring at me and I started to get anxious instead of excited about adding a new member to our family.

The problem with anxiety is that it steals the happiness out of life. Instead of being excited about all the pregnancy milestones that were coming up, I was buried under a pile of fear. Finally I realized, I didn't want to miss out on anymore of this pregnancy so I decided I had to change my focus.

I used these tools to help find the positives in being pregnant until I didn't have to focus so hard on being happy. Now, I really am excited about bringing baby girl into our family!

Think about the baby not about yourself. 

It's so easy to be overwhelmed during the first trimester when you feel absolutely terrible and you're completely zapped of energy. I found that it was during those first 13 weeks that I had the most doubts about being pregnant. I worried about every little thing and couldn't see the joy in pregnancy and in having another baby because I was so consumed with stress and anxiety. 

It takes a strong change in perspective when things are tough to make the most out of a bad situation. Every time I was hovering over the toilet feeling nauseous, I had to remind myself that these were good signs. This all meant that baby was growing strong and healthy. When I didn't want to eat because nothing sounded good I had to remind myself that the baby needed me to eat. It wasn't all about me anymore. It was time to focus on her.

Find an aspect about pregnancy to be excited about

Finding out the baby's gender is always the most exciting part of pregnancy for me. Before 20 weeks I try not to worry about decorating or buying clothes, but as soon as I have the gender ultrasound I go into hard core planning mode. Picking out a nursery theme and filling my registry always help me get excited about the baby. 

I also love picking out names. When I was pregnant with Benson, Jason and I thought about names but couldn't agree on any boys names until after we found out that we were having a boy. Once we had a name picked out it made the whole thing seem real. We don't tell anyone our baby names before they're born but it's so fun to call the baby by name when it's just the two of us.

Realize just how blessed you are. 

Because I've been on both sides of the spectrum I know just how blessed I am that it didn't take another year, or more to get pregnant. Sure, I would have liked to have gotten pregnant on my own schedule. It might have helped me to not have to deal with the anxiety that this pregnancy brought, but that wasn't what was right for me and my family.

Instead of focusing on my plan and my schedule, I'm learning to trust in God's plan for my life. Maybe my kids will be best friends because they'll be close in age. Maybe they'll resent me for making their birthdays so close (they'll be a week or two apart.) Either way this was what was in store for me and I need to be grateful that God blessed me with another baby.

I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation. 

So, to all the women that I secretly judged, I'm sorry. I had no idea what you were going through. I'm just glad I'm able to understand a little bit better now. 

"I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation."

Photos by Kelly Gubler
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Thursday, June 16

Five teething tools to make your life easier

Affiliate links are used in this post to link to items I recommend. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase from these links. 
Are you fighting a teething baby or toddler? Having the right tools on hand will make all the difference. Click through to see my favorite products and routine to ease the pain for your kiddo!

Teething snuck up on me way before I thought it would. Benson was about three months old when his first tooth popped through, and then disappeared again an hour later, but I was not prepared for it at all! Since then I've learned a lot about soothing a teething babe and even developed my own system depending on how much pain he is in. After 15 months of teething I think we're finally out of the woods and I want to share my tips with other moms who are starting the same journey! 

**Please note that I am not a doctor, I don't know all the side effects of any of these suggestions. These are just tips that worked for me and my son. 

We have a three part system that we do when Benson really starts to show signs of pain. 
  1. We always start off with a teether toy. I mention a few of my favorites below, but I like to see if just chewing on something can help relieve the pain before I give him any medications. 
  2. If toys just aren't cutting it, then I step it up to teething tablets. This is a great medium between ibuprofen and just a toy. I'll share my favorite teething tablets below too!
  3. Finally, if nothing else seems to cut it we give Benson Ibuprofen. When things were really bad we would rotate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help ease the pain. 
You will find millions of teether options online, but these are my absolute favorites; both because they helped ease the pain for my little guy and because some of them were just plain cute! 

Are you fighting a teething baby or toddler? Having the right tools on hand will make all the difference. Click through to see my favorite products and routine to ease the pain for your kiddo!


Icy Chew Teethers

Like I said, Benson started teething before I had even thought of it and I was so lost at first as to what to give him. Luckily, I had gotten these Munchkin Fun Ice Chew Teethers as a baby shower gift and when I found it in my toy bin I was so relieved. I gave it to him right away and even unfrozen they helped so much. Now I constantly have that foot in the freezer, ready to bust out anytime Benson starts to get cranky or show signs of pain. 

Appeteethers

I came across this adorable bacon teether when I was frantically searching Amazon for teethers that first day Benson started showing signs of pain. I knew Jason would be ok spending a little bit more on this cute bacon teether. It always gets compliments and questions, and they have a lot of other cute food options; I was very tempted by the broccoli teether. The bacon teether was a little hard for Benson to use at 4 months, but as he's gotten older he's loved it. 

Mesh food holders and ice

Put an ice cube or some frozen breast milk in a Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder and let baby chew on that cold stuff! The cold helps sooth the inflamed gums plus this is probably the easiest way to sooth those teeth when you're in a pinch. I didn't discover it until Benson was older, but it would have been great when he was young as well. Now, when he's in a lot of pain I'll just hand him an ice cube and he loves that as well. 

Teething Tablets

I have Hyland's teething tablets stocked in my diaper bag and in our house so we're never without them. I love that Benson can have a fair amount of tablets without me having to worry about side effects. Benson even knows that these will give him relief and now will grab them out of my hand and eat them himself. 

Amber teething necklaces

Let me start this off by saying I'm not a "crunchy granola mom." I'm a huge believer in modern medicine, and like I said, I've given Benson drugs for teething, but I also think there are a lot of holistic approaches that are effective too. 

That being said, I'm a huge believer in Amber teething necklaces. I am still amazed by how well this necklace works. Before the necklace Benson was constantly drooling, but now he doesn't drool at all. He can also tell he difference when it's gone. We usually take it off at night and the couple of times I've forgotten to put it back on in the morning he is fussier and grabs at his neck for the necklace. I think they are definitely worth a shot if your baby has a lot of pain while teething. However, make sure you do your research because there are a lot of scams with teething necklaces. Read reviews, make sure it's certified and spend a little more if you have to. 

What are your favorite teething methods? What works for you and your family? 

Tuesday, June 14

Cute + Cool = The perfect summer outfit equation

Affiliate links are used in this post to link to similar items of what I'm wearing. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase from these links. 
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!

I should have learned from my last pregnancy that heat and a pregnant me don't mix very well. But I must be glutton for punishment because here I am heading into June 6 months pregnant. 

Being a hot pregnant mess is tough enough when I'm in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, but actually trying to look cute during these hot months can be a real challenge for me. I like to look at least somewhat presentable when I leave the house so I've had to find a way to put together an outfit that's going to keep me cool and make me feel beautiful at a time when it can be hard to feel that way. 

I've boiled my summer outfit equation down to these three parts. 

Keep my pieces simple

I've always been a fan of basics, but I've found that when I'm pregnant all I want to wear are loose t-shirts and pants. I don't have the energy to coordinate mixed prints and I don't want a ton of layers. Instead, I've found that having a couple of basic tees on hand make getting ready quick and easy, plus I don't have to worry about over heating while wearing them. When I am worried about being cold, I love pairing a denim jacket over an outfit. It gives it a little more depth but I can take it off at any time. 

Make sure my clothes aren't adding heat

I'm all about shorts and skirts in the summer, but I'll be super honest, sometimes shaving is the last thing I want to do! Especially as the summer goes on and my belly gets bigger shaving becomes such a chore! I love these joggers because they're light-weight and super breathable so I can slip them on and not worry about dying of heat exhaustion, or be nervous that someone will notice I haven't shaved today.

Wear comfortable shoes

I am not typically a comfort over fashion person when it comes to shoes. I'll rock a 4 in heel just because they're pretty, but in the summer I never know what kind of opportunities will arise, so I like to make sure I'm wearing a comfortable shoe in case I get an invitation to go out and enjoy the weather. A pair of slip on tennis shoes in a fun color or print make me feel like I tried without actually having to do any work.  I also have a couple pairs of cute, but functional sandals that I like to rotate through during the summer. If your shoe can go from day to night, it's an even better pick!

Pregnant or not, summer fashion has always been a challenge for me since I feel like there's less you can do with your clothes. Ultimately, I think erring on the side of simplicity really helps you feel laid back and relaxed, which is just how summer should feel!

Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
22 wk bump

What are your summer staples? What do you like to wear to stay cool and look cute?