My Favourite Accessory

get 10% off my favourite accessory: a custom gold bar accessory. // rachelaz

While our daughter was in the NICU, Daphne, with DM Charm Co. made me a gorgeous, custom “Finnley” necklace. It was such a sweet reminder of my daughter, and it was always so nice to wear our baby girl’s name around my neck. Even though she’s out of the hospital now, I still love my little gold bar necklace. It’s quickly become my favourite accessory. Dress it up or down; it’s an awesome no-brainer for any outfit, and it goes with everything!

Check out Daphne’s shop. And now through May 31st, get 15% percent off your order with promo code: “FINNLEY15.” I just love how you can personalize your pieces with whatever you like — your anniversary, a loved one’s birthday, names, or initials. And they make gifts that much more personal.

Happy shopping mamacitas!


    – RACHEL


gold bar necklace: dm charm co., c/o etsy. // sweater: h&m. //

Discriminating Mommies

Let's make motherhood a beautiful thing. Can we learn to support and encourage fellow mamas? rachelaz.com

dis·crim·i·na·tion          noun: discrimination;
1. the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.
2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.”discrimination between right and wrong.”

Prepping for motherhood can be absolutely terrifying. To co-sleep, or not to co-sleep. Wide-mouthed bottles, or traditional… oh wait, should I plan to use a bottle at all?

As a first-time momma, I felt absolutely overwhelmed through pregnancy. I was terrified. Petrified. I was bombarded with all kinds of statistics, opinions, articles, and research on the daily. Nursing, immunizing, birthing, professional care… all the options and arguments circled my thoughts and closed in on my emotions. It was an overwhelming, constant feeling of, “I should be doing more.” And if I’m perfectly honest, I still fight it today.

So, let me just start out by saying that I’m not arguing for or on behalf of a particular parenting topic. But instead, my heart is to hopefully broaden our perspectives and face the real issues.

We live in a society that lives and breathes to replace one idol with another. If it isn’t fame, it’s fortune, or success, or goal achievement, or superficiality, or a certain relationship, or self-improvement, or a particular job position. We’ve become convinced that we are sovereign over our own lives. And while we are indeed responsible for our actions, we’ve lost the freedom that comes with entrusting our Creator with our lives and worshiping Him alone.

We’re bombarded with and constantly reminded of what we don’t have, what we do have, or why we aren’t good enough. We obsess with what we believe in, or the choices we make; to the point that they themselves become a part of our identity.

With one year of motherhood under my belt, I can confidently say that the same struggles come with motherhood.

When we have a good mommy day; we’re great. And when we miss the mark or it’s challenging; we’re miserable. Just like everything else, motherhood can quickly become an idol. And our preferences, routines and parenting styles can easily become a part of our identity.

We allow them to define us and take it personally when people don’t agree with our styles or share similar perspectives. We get bent out of shape over feeding techniques, oils, health standards, professional advice, and physician care.

We allow the real enemy to come between us. And before we know it, it’s high school all over again, full of mean-girl cliques, “she said’s”, peer pressure, and “did you see what she did’s.” It’s silliness. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And yet, I fight it, and have found myself guilty of it many times.

How did we get here? Where did it start?

The older I get, the more I recognize my desperate need for Christ. Comparison, gossip, and judgement are not new tricks. The enemy’s just really good at disguising them. And now more than ever (even more than in high school.) I need Christ.

I need Christ to lead my husband and me as we seek out wisdom. I need Christ when it comes to bridling my tongue against gossip. I need Christ when it comes to guarding my heart against judgement. I need Christ when it comes to loving my family well. I need Christ to silence the voices of insecurity, pride, and selfishness. I need Christ when it comes to encouraging my sisters and fellow mommies.

I need Christ more than motherhood. More than my husband. More than my daughter. More than anything. I need Christ. He alone is worthy of my worship. He alone must be my source.

While I was pregnant, I fought so many feelings of insecurity and judgement when it came to our original plan. We chose a hospital, high risk doctor, and epidural, for Finnley Haven’s birth. I was told all about articles, horror-stories, and statistics which had underlying undertones of fear. Well-meaning people whom I love and adore lovingly tried to me that we weren’t choosing what was best for our daughter. I fought feelings of being judged, bullied, and almost discriminated against.

We didn’t get to our much prayed about “birth plan” due to severe pre-eclampsia at 29 weeks. But I am so very thankful for our doctor whom the Lord led us to. She stayed up all night while I was in critical condition, on her night off. She performed an emergency c-section the following day (on her other day off) and saved our lives– by no exaggeration. We’re also so very grateful for the hospital and incredible nurses who literally kept our little preemie girl alive for her first two months of life. God used our little “plan.” 

I say all this to say, that I understand this is the plan the Lord led us to. It was His sovereign hand on our lives. He led us, and He kept us. So, I mustn’t judge anyone if they’re being led in a different way than myself. Because who am I to know what the Lord has planned for their lives? 

There are risks to all kinds of births and parenting styles. Fear shouldn’t ever be the deciding factor. There is no perfect, fail-proof way to have a baby. Which is why we must put our trust in Christ alone as we seek out wisdom. If you seek the Lord He will lead you. Entrust the outcome to Christ. Trust His best for your family– through the boatloads of articles, opinions, statistics, and options. He has a plan, and He’s not up there freaking out. He is with us.

I love the wealth of information that’s out there, but at a certain point I think the best thing we can do to love our mama friends well is to pray for them, hold our tongues and wait for them to ask us for advice, and be okay if they don’t.

I want to trust that God knows my friends. He will lead my friends in the best path for their children. Just like there’s a reason He made Johnny and I Finnley’s parents; there’s a reason why He chose my friends to parent their littles.

Can we as mamas encourage and empower each other instead of sizing each other up and trying to convince each other of our own personal convictions when it comes to birthing/immunizing/parenting? Can we be a safe place, and extend grace to others when they struggle? Can we lean on Christ while fighting against pride and gossip amongst us? Can we point others to Christ, instead of some article?

Our mission as moms should be to make Christ our foundation, as we seek Him for wisdom and entrust our children to Him. He is good. He is for us. He is with us. 

There’s no easy or perfect way to parent, so let’s do everything in our power to support and encourage our fellow mamacitas. Let’s build each other up in Christ and stop discriminating mommies. Let’s love each other deeply, and make sharing the bond of motherhood a beautiful thing.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]



Valentines Gift Guide For Him

Why are men the most difficult to shop for?

With Valentines Day, Johnny’s birthday, and our anniversary all within the next few weeks, I’ve been brainstorming. And I think I found some great ideas to honor the hardworking man in my life. Here are a few of my favourite finds for your baby padre, hubby, or daddy. I hope they help!


    – RACHEL

1. Kiwi Shoe Shine Kit ($12) Put a little spring in his step– or more specifically, in his shiny new shoes. Men don’t have a lot to work with when it comes to accessorizing their outfits, so spruce up his business life and help him put his best foot forward.

2. Creative D100, Bluetooth, Portable Speaker (on sale $40 / reg $80) Change up his workout, or hook his garage/shop up with his favourite sports station or music. It delivers wireless audio from any of your compatible stereo Bluetooth wireless devices, or listen to music from non-wireless MP3 players via the integrated AUX-in port.

3. Mr BBQ Stainless Steel Set ($48) Forget ruining your beautiful kitchen tools, and give him his own manly set! This rustproof, dishwasher safe (glory!), 21-piece grilling tool set has all the accessories he needs for successful grilling: a brush with replaceable head, an oversized 4-in-1 spatula, tongs, fork, basting brush, knife, 4 skewers, 8 corn holders and salt and pepper shaker. All in an aluminum storage case.

4. Personalized Canvas + Leather Toiletry Bag ($40) This rugged canvas dopp kit has genuine leather trim, waterproof lining and ample room to hold all his essential toiletries.Personalize it with his initials.

5. “I’ve Got Mad Dad Skills” Baseball Tee ($40) One of my hubby’s favourite new shirts, this sporty, SlyFox Threads reglan tee’s man-approved and yet equally adorable. (*please note: it comes 1-2 sizes smaller than normal.)

6. Dad’s Remote Caddy ($45) If you’re anything like us, you’re always misplacing the remote (and it always seems to be right before the game’s on.) Well, lose it no more! This faux leather + wooden caddy is just what he needs to keep his TV accessories neat and organized. It has 6 compartments to hold remotes, gadgets and whatever book he’s reading. Plus it spins!

7. Subsidy Shades Sunglasses ($12-$24) Without a purse to keep them in, my hubby’s expensive sunglasses always seem to get away from him. Save some money, and replace your pricey shades with these 100% UVB protected (and awesomely stylish) shades! The best part is, proceeds go to fund adopting families!

8. Manly Moccasin House Shoes  (on sale $18 / reg $36)  Keep your man’s feet comfy, and tootsies warm. Comfort? Of course. But why not some handsome details, too? A little pop of color, a top panel cut on the diagonal, a sole that lets you step outside… these are men’s slippers for a new generation.

9. A Sports Photobook (sale: 50% off cover books or 30% off other items with code: SWEETSALE, through Feb 10) Does he coach little league? Or did he play sports in high school / college? Make a book of his sports memories, and help him relive the glory days. 

10. A Couples Massage Men carry most stress in their neck and shoulders. Bless your man with a romantic couples massage, or take it up a notch and sign up for a couples massage class and learn how to give each other professional(ish) massages.

11. Sushi Making Kit ($24) Does your man enjoy cooking and love sushi? Then this is for him. Have fun creating DIY sushi with this comprehensive kit. Housed in a giftable wooden box, the kit includes (almost) everything you need to make your own sushi: a wooden rice paddle, bamboo scroll, pressboard, sushi knife, mold and base.

12. Men’s Shaving Kit ($25) *not pictured* With unique blends of botanical ingredients and 100 percent pure essential oils, these shave-perfecting formulas are ideal for men with sensitive skin, ingrown hair, razor burn, or tough beards.

13. Ticket Stub Diary ($12) *not pictured* Never forget those front row seats at a Bruce Springsteen concert,  or the roar of the crowd when the Red Sox won the World Series. This book comes with clear sleeves that fit a variety of ticket sizes, plus space in the margin to write down your memories from the event. Acid-free pages will preserve your memories; so that one day you can tell your grandkids that you met The Boss.