One year of breastfeeding 

One year has passed since my Pipsqueak made her unbelievably calm entrance into the world. It was so surreal how easy my labor and delivery was, and after she was born she just calmly laid on me and stared into my eyes. It was a perfect moment in time. A moment I will cherish forever. 

(9lbs 2oz of pure joy)

I’m not sure I anticipated how much this child could and would change me. Or how different it is having a baby as an adult versus as a teenager. Or just having a baby as well as a smart phone (obsessive Googler alert). Either way this past year has been one hell of a learning experience and one of the best of my life. 

The biggest concern/obsession/activity/learning experience/life changing event of her first year has been breastfeeding her. I would say that nursing came relatively naturally to us. Her first latch was a great one! She nursed for an hour straight within minutes of her being born. I can still remember the fuss my nurse made about how much she peed in just a few hours. Her name was Gia, and she reassured me what a great job I was doing and she said that we would be successful. It’s amazing how much being given even the slightest amount of confidence that early can stick with you. 

I was super lucky that I didn’t experience any of the dreaded cracking and bleeding that you hear so much about. I was sore for a few days and that was it. Thank God, because she nursed 24/7! Not exaggerating. I truly didn’t prepare myself for how much she was going to want to breastfeed. My husband was a saint! He took care of everything, even cutting my food up so I could eat with the one hand that wasn’t trapped under Penelope. 

It wasn’t until Penelope was one month old that we hit our next hurdle. She was very fussy, congested, gassy and spit up all the time. She had an intolerance to the dairy that I was eating. And I was consuming A LOT of dairy! But at this point I was 10,000% committed, I was going to do whatever it takes to make it work. I went completely dairy-free for 6 months. That was a dairy-free thanksgiving and Christmas. 😳 I’m still looking forward to rubbing that fact in her face when she’s older and won’t clean her room! 

This was my original goal, one year with no formula. We did it! And when I look at her and see how healthy and happy she is I know that every struggle was worth it. The bond that it has created between us is remarkable. I am her calm, her comfort, her safe place. 

I won’t attempt to wean her until she’s two. Think it’s weird? Educate yourself Here. Im hoping that she self weans, but  not holding my breath. She’s a boobie baby through and through. 

Happy World Breastfeeding Week 2016! 


PCOS by Jessica Childs


How I loathe what those letters stand for. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Growing up, I thought I was lucky to not have regular periods. I mean, hell, I had ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) as a child and figured I was getting a break. As women we tend to grow up hearing how horrible that “time of the month” is. Going through cancer treatments at the same time you are going through puberty TOTALLY SUCKS (well, let’s be honest. Going through chemotherapy at anytime totally sucks). Just imagine, your boobs haven’t developed that much yet and you are completely bald. Yep, people think I was a little boy and it was mortifying. So, yeah, I took having irregular to nonexistent periods and thought nothing of it. It was a gift, right? To not have to deal with it.

Now…I turn 30 this year. I am about 70 pounds overweight. I am insulin resistant. I could probably grow a very nice mustache if I didn’t handle that situation. I have to take medication to have a period. Sometimes, I get a taste of “normal” womanhood, and will start without medication. Because of the whole period thing, I have no babies. I want babies (well, baby…but I will take what God gives me). At the beginning of my marriage, I told myself that I didn’t want children. That was because I knew something was wrong. So, I swallowed that lie that I told myself and used it for protection, until I could not. So, then it was we don’t have the money and do you really want to share your time with your husband? Plus, it’s a HUGE responsibility. When I finally admitted to myself that I wanted all of it, I knew I was in trouble. I suck with emotions and vulnerability. But most importantly, I feel like I have to be strong, tough, stoic…pretty much a robot. I don’t know why.

•thank you so much to Jessica for sharing her story here on Penny’s Lane. 

Totlife unboxing 

Over the last few months I have developed a great appreciation for small businesses owners. More specifically stay at home moms that are selling handmade clothes and accessories. I love supporting my fellow creative mamas! 

I discovered Totlife through Instagram, which is actually where I find most of the small shops that I love so much! Totlife is a subscription box service that features small businesses from across the globe. There is no commitment, you prepay for the amount of boxes you want to receive. And I didn’t realize this until I opened my box, but every single box has an item that’s personalized with your child’s name! 

Isn’t the packaging so simple and lovely?! 

Every month they offer 4 different themes to choose from. June’s themes were “Popsicle, pineapple, watermelon and donuts”. I chose pineapple. 

The box included a handmade personalized tshirt, a handmade hair clip, two packs of Neat Cheeks and a handful of coupons. 

I’m so in love with every item that we received! 

The boxes start at $22.95 and you can get yours Here

And you can use code TOT10 for 10% off

Disclaimer: this box was provided to me at a discount in exchange for just the photos. All opinions are mine and we’re not bought. 

Breastmilk: It Cures What Ails Ya 

The more I learn about breastmilk and breastfeeding the more in awe I am at the human body. Not only did my body grow a person, at 10 months old it continues to sustain that person. Breastmilk is the perfect food for a baby, it has everything that she needs. Literally everything! It’s food, water, medicine, a multivitamin and so much more! 

It wasn’t until recently that I needed to start looking for other uses for breastmilk. I spent the first 5 months of Penelope’s life diligently pumping and freezing breastmilk. Only to find out she refused to take a bottle. So now I have a few hundred ounces of breastmilk that’s past its “use by” date that I can not bring myself to dump. This is me refusing to waste all of that liquid gold! 

I wanted to donate it. But as I mentioned a few post back, I’m on an antidepressant. That unfortunately disqualified my milk for donation. 

Breastmilk is loaded with antibodies, vitamins, immunological compounds, anti inflammatory properties and so so much more. But because these are present it can help clear up eczema, acne, pinkeye, ear infections, congestion, small cuts and burns, bug bites, diaper rash…. You get the point. It’s good stuff! 

I recently had my first opportunity to test this, Penelope had her very first diaper rash. It was a minor rash so I said “what the hey”! Right before bed I applied some milk, let it air dry and put on a diaper. In the morning it was completely gone! Gone! 

That was all the convincing it took! So when Roxanne got a mystery rash on the back of her neck I tried it again! 

She said that it completely stopped the itching and it’s barely visible. 

I didn’t think I could be more amazed with my own body and its ability to care for my children. I truly hope that I never stop being amazed. 

 So I guess that this is this story about how I’m slowly transforming into this guy 

Baby wearing/ ring sling review 


Let’s talk about baby wearing for a minute. 

Not only does it make my attachment parenting loving soul sing, it actually benefits your baby! Especially newborns. it keeps them close to you (duh) but that means that your baby will cry less. Wearing your baby a few hours a day can decrease crying up to 50%!

 It helps keep babies in a calm alert state, which is the perfect environment for brain development. 

Being close to you regulates baby’s body temperature and breathing, and stimulates breastmilk production (for you moms having supply issues). 

And you get to keep your baby close and happy while also having your hands free! 

I have had a really hard time finding a baby carrier that doesn’t kill my back. I’ve had issues with my lower back for as long as I can remember. 

I’ve tried a stretchy wrap, I loved it, but it was too much of a hassle. 

I’ve tried a basic inexpensive structured carrier, just to see if I liked it before I spent any money on an upgrade. 

Then I got an Ergo, I really did love it but after about 15 minutes my back hurt so badly that I had to take it off. It also had way too many buckles. 

So when Mamaway offered to send me a ring sling for review I was so excited! In theory it offers a solution to every problem that I’ve encountered so far with baby wearing. Convenience and no strain on my lower back. 

I received my carrier in the mail yesterday. The packaging is sturdy and better quality than I was expecting. 

It didn’t come with any instructions, they really should include some kind of pamphlet. I had to find videos on YouTube to figure out how to put it on. The first time I tried was a disaster, It hurt my shoulder and Penelope seemed uncomfortable. It just didn’t feel right. So I started over and got it without any problems.

That’s a happy baby! 

I was able to wear it for about an hour without any discomfort. Another plus of a ring sling is that once you have it adjusted the way that fits you and your baby, you don’t have to undo it to take it off. Just slip it over your head and it’s still good to go for the next time!

The quality is good for the price and they offer plenty of colors and prints. You can buy one Here

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Breastfeeding Hypocrisy 

I have been seeing so many comments across social media condemning breastfeeding mothers. 

“Why is it so difficult to just Put a blanket over your baby?” 

“Have some decency and cover yourself!”

“This isn’t Africa, be civilized!”

“Can’t you do that in a bathroom?”

“Peeing is natural, so can I just pee in the middle of a restaurant?”

“Just pump before you leave and bottle feed!” 

I have so many issues with these statements. I could go through and write entire posts about what is wrong with them individually, but I’m not going to. Simply because it wouldn’t accomplish anything. People who think this way are either selfish or ignorant. They think that their comfort trumps the comfort of everyone else, Including the baby. 

But if you take a look at our society it would appear that the baby is the problem. No one takes issue with every magazine having a half naked women on the cover. No one seems to care that a woman’s body can be used to sell everything from cars to cheeseburgers. 

No one seems to care or become uncomfortable with breasts until a woman uses them for their biological purpose. Ya know, feeding a baby! Put a bottle of perfume in between completely exposed boobs? Sure!! Feed a baby? Ugh have some decency and cover yourself up! 

Am I the only one who can’t stand the hypocrisy? 

I am guilty of letting the opinions (or potential negative opinions) of others prevent me from feeding Penelope in public. She hates covers, she will scream until she’s uncovered all the while flailing about trying to get the blanket off of her head. So I usually go to the car and that’s super inconvenient! I actually just got the nerve to feed her openly and uncovered in a restaurant a few weeks back. She’s 9 months old. And guess what happened… Nothing! No one noticed. But you better believe I had a speech ready in the event I was confronted! 

My point is that it shouldn’t be such a big deal to do something so biologically normal and natural and beautiful! I should be able to feed my baby in the way I’m most comfortable without fear. 

That’s my goal for future breastfeeding mothers, and it’s my duty to help advocate and support however I can. If that means I have to step out of my comfort zone to ensure that future moms won’t have to, so be it! The more it’s seen the more normal it becomes. 

This is not one of these issues that will just go away with time. Babies will always need to be fed, and I truly hope that one day all women can feel confident enough to feed their children however they’re comfortable. Whether it’s covered, uncovered, with a bottle, in the car… Whatever it is you do make sure it’s because it’s what you want. Not because it’s what you think others want you to do.   

You’re protected by law to nurse your child! Know your rights. 

Everywhere I look I see hypocrisy associated with breastfeeding. Somewhere along the way formula and breastfeeding started being compared too closely. Being held to the same standards (scheduled feedings, supplementing with vitamins and rice cereal, stopping at age one). They’re not the same. Formula is a wonderful invention that can and has saved lives, but it’s not breastmilk. 

I guess my frustration stems from people that have been given incorrect information for generations. I think it’s time to stop the spread of misinformation. Educate yourself before you judge others. Don’t assume that your experience is/should be the same as everyone’s. 

And if you find that you’re uncomfortable with a woman breastfeeding her child, instead of condemning her ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable. Because she’s not the problem. 

Nurse on, Mamas! 

Get this shirt Here

Domestic Abuse 










How could this happen. How could I, an intelligent and relatively secure woman with a stable, Christ centered upbringing, fall prey to domestic abuse? Furthermore, how could I endure it for years without even realizing the reality of it? Without calling it what it is- abuse? Because it can happen to anyone. 

Planted seeds of doubt.

Verbal, emotional, and mental manipulation that warps the core of your psyche.
He’s so kind when he’s not drinking.

He has a mental illness. I do too, so I can’t hold it against him. 

I’ll get through this. He’ll get through this. We’ll get through this. 

He was the nicest person in the beginning; so genuine. 

This isn’t who he is. 

It’s not him talking, it’s the alcohol. 


When a person is degraded by another human being, this is abuse. The picture of this is painted differently in every situation. 
Mine was beautiful at first. It looked a lot like love; genuine, once in a lifetime, authentic young love. I was a teenager in high school with my attention on many different things and people. I met him, but barely noticed him. He was just another face at first. But he kept hanging around and eventually I noticed him. He was different. A shy, calm spirited person. Easygoing, easy to please and get along with kind of person. His company and presence became comfortable to me. He listened. Listened better than anyone else, even my closest girlfriend. He became a confidant; a close friend. And not much longer, feelings developed. Strong feelings. We were in love. And it was pretty wonderful, intense, and even stable for a couple years. Long enough to have a deep rooted belief in this person. That I knew him and who he was. I developed a need for him. And he was always there. For a while. 
The true nature of an abuser often comes out in such small doses at first that you believe it’s just a bad day, a stressful time, a need that you have to meet to help get this person back on track. They need you, your comfort, your touch, your love, and encouragement. And with enough of it, they’ll get back to themselves. 
Eventually over time, I was witnessing equal amounts of both people; personality 1 and 2 of him. The good was good. So good that I remembered it when personality 2 showed up. And I stayed. I excused it just as much as he apologized for it, and didn’t even realize that it was abuse. 
                         Love is patient.

(But no one is patient all the time.)

                            Love is kind.

(He was so kind to buy shoes for strangers and take meals to that homeless man. Calling me a selfish whore doesn’t line up with that. He didn’t mean it. He is kind.)

                      Love does not envy.

(I’ve never heard him say he wished for something someone else had. I shouldn’t have talked to that guy. He loves me so much, that’s why he’s jealous. I’d be jealous, too.)

                    Love does not boast.

(He’s so humble and exalts others. Except me. He reminds me of everything he’s done right and everything I’ve done wrong. I’ve done more for him than anyone. Why doesn’t he see it? Why doesn’t he acknowledge how hard I’ve tried? What’s wrong with me that he doesn’t see it in me, but praises everyone else?)

                         It is not proud.

(His acts of kindness are not on display. He doesn’t tell anyone of the nice things he does for people. Only I know of these things, and his family, and the people he treats with such kindness. Except for the things he’s done for me. Why is he so angry about doing something nice for me. Aren’t you supposed to do nice things for people you love? Why is he constantly reminding me of the nice things he’s done for me, but desires no credit for kind acts to strangers or acquaintances?)

             It does not dishonor others.

(He has such respect and honors people so much. Except me. Why doesn’t he honor me? I’m closer to him than anyone.)

                   It is not self seeking. 

(Wow, he’s so selfless. He works so hard at his job. He always helps others and encourages them. He offers help to everyone with no expectation of anything in return. People are always telling me how kind and helpful he is, that I’m a lucky girl. He doesn’t expect anything from anyone. But me. Why does he expect these things from me? What am I not giving to him that he needs from me. He says he gives and gives and gives to me, but I give nothing back. I’ve given my time, my love, my ear, my heart, my prayers, a child, my body when I didn’t want to at all, rides, meals, time, more time, gifts, more love, more forgiveness, everything. Why does he want more from me but nothing from anyone else? He’s so selfless with everyone. What is about me?)

                It is not easily angered.

(Everyone gets angry. He did call and I didn’t answer. He did invite me over and I wouldn’t come. He did offer my favorite things, but I rejected him. He does take so much from the world and keeps his cool and is so nice and gives so much, he’s just taking it out on me because he knows I love him and he can be real with me. I’m special because he can be honest with me. He’s just venting. He’ll be so thankful tomorrow for me letting him vent to me, and those names he called me were just anger towards other people and situations coming out. He’ll spend days showing his gratitude for me letting him de-stress on me.)
Truth is truth, and lies are lies. You can’t  add to, take away from, or change it.

A painted picture of verbal abuse would look something like a grungy, mean, dirty faced adult, screaming degrading obscenities at a child. A child who’s malnourished and afraid, locked in the basement, so alone. At least that’s what I imagined it to look like. Then it dawned on me, (and by dawned, I mean years of abusive incident after abusive incident), I was WRONG.

Although I’m not a child locked away in a cold, dark, dirty basement. I am an adult; a woman, emotionally malnourished, afraid, locked in a basement of my abusers grip, and left alone. So alone. Or so I felt. The worst part of enduring abuse is feeling so alone. We as humans weren’t designed to be alone. We were created for relationships, and although we can’t always choose how a relationship will go, we CAN choose WHEN it should go. When I realized this, I started to gain back. 


Power- a sensitive word for a victim of an abusive relationship.

Power is something an abuser tricks you into thinking you do not have in an attempt to gain it for themselves. They’re good at it. Great at it, even. Often times abusers are master manipulators. Charming with their words and body language, and their interactions are well crafted. They often appear to be wonderful, kind hearted people to strangers, friends, coworkers, colleagues, acquaintances, and even family members, while only showing their secondary personality to the one or few persons they’re abusing. They’re often afraid of anyone else finding out about their dark, abusive nature.

“I love you.”


“You’re stuck and I don’t wanna be stuck with you.”

“I need you.”

“I’m the best friend you’ll ever have for helping you see what’s wrong with yourself.”

“Let me put this in childlike terms so you can understand.”

“I didn’t say that.

“You’re such a liar.”

“I wanna be with you.”

“It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t around for a year, that’s in the past. You were probably sucking a n***r ____ the whole time anyway, whore.”

“I don’t remember saying that.”

“You know that’s not me.”

“You make me better.”

“I have no one.”

“You’re the only one I can talk you.”

“I hate you.”

“You’re a c**t.”

“I do everything and you can’t even meet me halfway.”

“I don’t wanna talk about the past.”

“I don’t remember doing that.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Shut the ___ up and listen to me, whore.”

“Your day is coming.”

“I hate your fat _____ family.”

“You’re better than them.”

“I hate them but I love you.”

“I don’t give a ____ about your God.”

“I love God.”

“Your family doesn’t understand you like I do.”

“I know you better than you know yourself.”

“You don’t deserve to have your child.”

“I’m not drinking anymore.”

“I hate you.”

“You make me sick.”

“You’re a piece of s**t hanging from the hairs of my a** hole.”

“Why do you make things so difficult?”

“Please just come be with me.”

“You’re such a beautiful person.”

“I wanna spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”

“You are my family.”

“You’re a waste of space.”

“You just sit on your a** doing nothing all day.”

“It’s your fault.”

“What did you feed Millie (my daughter) today?”

“Are you not capable of doing the smallest thing.”

“You’re toxic for me.”

“It’s your fault.”

“You need me.”

“I love you.”



These go together. Once you get help for yourself, then you can help others. When you help others, your hope restores. As your hope restores through helping others, you start to heal. When you heal, you’re on top of the world. I asked God why on many dark nights in my secret place of grief. I didn’t tell anyone of the abuse I endured but God, and he started to replace the role I was letting my abuser fill. I didn’t tell anyone about the abuse even after I realized that I was being abused because I didn’t want anyone to think badly of him. I didn’t want to catch grief when he changed and we ended up being the family I thought I wanted. And I was afraid of the consequences I would face for exposing him. I asked God if this was His best for me, although I knew it wasn’t. I asked him to not let this person disrespect or degrade me any longer. I asked him to open my abusers eyes and change his heart. But instead he gave me a greater answer by opening my eyes and changing my heart. I asked God for everything according to my plan. God’s plan was different, and filled with much more purpose than mine. And although my abuser hasn’t changed and still attempts to break me down for his gain, God is answering my prayers. Through the strength and healing he is giving me, my abuser may still be abusive, but now it’s MY choice whether or not I’m at the receiving end. I have a choice. I have a voice. I have a story. And so do you. I have a beautiful, messy, undeserved life, and my identity lies in Christ and as a mother to the gift he gave me at the end of such a dark and lonesome road, my daughter. Dignity is mine. Respect is mine. Love is mine. Peace and happiness are for me too. And they’re also for you.

If you’re a victim of domestic abuse please call 1-800-799-7233 Or visit The hot line

**huge thank you to Dana Smith for sharing her heart and guest blogging for Penny’s Lane! 

Being a Mom With Mental Illness 

A few weeks ago I was talking to my therapist when she pointed out how often I apologize for things that I have no control over. She said that she consistently sees that behavior in adult children of an alcoholic parent (which I am), and when I really thought about it all of my sisters do it too. It made total sense to me! It was one of those “that explains a lot” moments.

 So when I was discussing this with my husband the next day I had a thought, will MY mental illness make my children victims of their childhood? Am I screwing them up by being so screwed up? My husband reassured me that my problems are being managed and I’m not causing irreversible damage to our kids. But I can’t help but think about how this will affect the rest of their lives. What weird side effects will they be left with?  

Depression makes me feel irritable and lethargic and anxiety makes me feel constantly terrified, uneasy and like the world is out to get me. Every thing feels chaotic and impossibly hard. That’s not everyday anymore, thank God, but I do still have bad days. When I’m having a bad day the world doesn’t stop. My day to day responsibilities don’t just disappear. So my children get a front row seat. 

I honestly believe that I’m doing my best, and that’s all I can do. I have open and honest discussions with Roxanne about my mental illness. I feel if she understands it, that it will somehow lessen the blow. 

I wish I had more advice or insight to lend to those who are struggling. But the best I can give is to be honest with yourself. Seek help before it becomes unmanageable, I didn’t seek help for years and ended up being hospitalized. I was forced into getting the help that I needed. There is never anything wrong with asking for help. That’s something I have always struggled with. If I were a character in a sitcom my catch phrase would be “I got it!”. But the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family was admit that I didn’t have it. 

What I’ve found helps me the most in my recovery is having a constant goal that I’m working towards. If I’m actively working to better my life it’s harder to fall into old habits and destructive behavior. My long term goal when I first got help was to eventually have a baby. My husband and I knew that we wanted a child together, but we also knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me before I was ready. So I started walking every day and lost 20 pounds. I went to therapy every week, I never missed a dose of my medication. Finally I quit smoking cigarettes! 

It was then that my husband and I decided that I was healthy enough to get pregnant. So I talked to my psychiatrist to make sure she thought I was ready and to make sure my medicine was safe to continue during pregnancy. She gave me the go ahead! 

We got pregnant immediately, it seriously happened so fast! Now we have a healthy baby girl. She was my goal, my light at the end of a proverbial tunnel. 

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I Was a Teenage Mom 

Stigma be damned, I was a teen mom. I was 17, a senior in high school and in my first “real” relationship when I peed on a little piece of plastic that would determine the rest of my life. My period was more than two weeks late before I allowed myself to admit that I could be pregnant, and even then I didn’t believe it. 

I had just started working at Walmart, my first part time job. I figured I would buy a pregnancy test after my shift just so I could see that it was negative. You know, to put my mind at ease. I honestly believed that I wasn’t pregnant. So I go home lock myself in the bathroom and start to pee. I sit the test on the edge of the bathtub, I figured by the time I got my pants buttoned and hands washed it would be ready to look at. Then I would see its negative and I would call my best friend so we could laugh at this silly thing that I did. 

I dry my hands and pick up the test, it only has a vertical line. My mind goes crazy! You can’t have a negative with a vertical line, but you can’t have a positive without a horizontal line! The only test that I bought was defective. This test didn’t give me the clear negative that I knew that it would, but it did plant the idea that this could be real. It slapped me in the face with my current reality. But I would have to wait until the next night to re-test. 

The next night after my shift was over I bought another pregnancy test. My coworker and great friend, Mia, went with me to the very public bathroom in Walmart. No way I could wait until I get home. So I nervously pee on it and watch as it immediately shows a perfect little plus sign. The full weight of my stupidity hits me in this moment. What have I done? What does this mean for my future? My mom is going to be so mad! 

Mia is there to double check that it’s positive and she hugs me and walks me to my car. I cry the whole way home. Knowing my mom is home and I’m in no way ready to tell her what’s going on. I run to my room and avoided everyone until my face wasn’t so red and swollen from crying. I didn’t actually tell anyone for another week. I needed to come to terms with it before I could face people’s reactions. I knew the disappointment that awaited. 

I eventually told my family and they were all surprisingly calm. I’m sure they all freaked out behind closed doors, but I was fragile and they knew it. I finally went to the doctor and found out I was 7 weeks pregnant and was given instructions on how to proceed. Because we were all clueless as to what to do next. 

Everything with my pregnancy was textbook. I continued to work and go to school, I graduated 8 months pregnant. And on July 19, 2007 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. My life was forever changed. 

On that day I became a mother. 

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