Children’s Baptism including why we chose to baptize our babies and what to wear

Baptizing Jimmie on April 24, 2022

Jimmie is wearing a short set by Strasburg Children. Linked here.

Infant baptism in the Church

As is tradition in the Episcopal church, most families baptize their children when they are still babies. The sacrament of holy baptism is considered “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church.” Furthermore, The Book of Common Prayer contains the liturgy for a baptismal service, and stipulates when and how an infant should receive this sacrament.

Significantly, when we choose to have our child baptized, we are demonstrating our intention to adhere to the Baptismal Covenant and raise our child as an active participant of our local church. We baptized our older children in the Presbyterian church when they were each less than one year old. (Leeland’s baptism and Trinity’s baptism)

Easter at home, April 2020

Delayed because of Co¥!d

Jimmie was 9 months old when the pandemic began. We were in between churches at the time. I served at an Anglican Church as the worship pastor up until we were expecting baby Jimmie.

At the time of Jimmie’s birth, we were basically without a church home. We went back to our church where we attended from 2008-2014 and where I had previously been employed as a worship leader. Our church family and pastor were welcoming, but it was strange and we didn’t feel like we belonged anymore. So, when the time came to baptize Jimmie, we talked with our pastor (at the time) about it and began to look for a date.

Easter 2021, Our first Sunday visiting The Church of St John the Divine as a family

Our new (post pandemic) church home

Once the pandemic hit, attending church moved completely away from in person and exclusively to online. Fast forward to early 2021 and I was hired by The Church of St John the Divine as a worship leader and keys player for the contemporary worship band. We officially joined the church after attending for seven months in November.

We wanted to baptize Jimmie before he turned three. Moustapha and I are eternally grateful for our church community at The Church of St John the Divine, as we commit to fully support Jimmie’s walk with Christ.

Easter Sunday 2022

Jimmie gets baptized

Jimmie was baptized during the Children’s 915am service which is called Awesome Worship. He was so nervous. This was a completely different experience compared to our other babies who were all much younger. Jimmie knew what was coming and he had some anxiety over it. We talked him through it and showed him videos, but he was still anxious.

Watch how Jimmie responds to being prayed over. We love him so much!
Jimmie’s baptism with a few tears
Jimmie’s baptism candle

Top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Meaningful and Unique Gifts for Her

We are grateful to present ELMOMMA’s 2022 Mother’s Day gift guide.

Momma is like no other. We want to celebrate her today and always. We’ve put together lots of options for you to pick the perfect one for your moms and grandmas and grandmothers. We think the most important part of gift giving is putting in the thought and effort, so mom really knows how appreciated and loved she is. We recently did a gift guide for Valentine’s Day featuring different gift ideas. Many of those would be perfect for Mother’s Day too. Click here to view the Valentine’s Day gift guide. Now, let’s get to it!

1. For the Mom who loves flowers

Personally, I love bouquets of flowers and can never get enough around my home. You can often find flowers locally and most places will have beautiful selections available on Mother’s Day, although they may be a little pricey. If you want to have your flowers delivered, we found these gorgeous bouquets by Urban Stems. Please note- they do not come with the vase. Click here to order. For first time orders, you will receive 15% off. The “wow” bouquet I selected at the top of the photo is actually a double bouquet of my favorite flowers, peonies. It’s stunning! I would be one happy momma with any of these bouquets.

Mother’s Day Bouquets: https://liketk.it/3Envr

2. For the Mom who loves to read

I love you, Mom! is a cherished book of beautiful words written by Mother Daughter duo, Blythe Daniel & Helen McIntosh. I love you, Mom! includes devotions and highlights scriptures specifically for Mommas, meant to encourage her as a mother and lift her up to be the woman God made her to be. There is space near the beginning of the book, where you can write a note to your mom.

“You are…a treasure…I am grateful to you for always making me feel like I am a treasure to you. You have lovingly taught me to find value in others and to care for my family and friends. I thank you for holding out the treasure of a mother’s love for me.” – I love you, Mom!

This book is for the momma-to-be and the new mom. In fact, the author recommends the expectant mom read the book and that she reread the book once baby is in her arms. Powerful Postpartum by Kelly Van Zandt and Powerful is an appropriate word. For the Mom-to-be and new mom postpartum can be a very strange time. As Kelly talks about, we mostly associate this time with either the word “depression” or the word “fine.” That definitely doesn’t tell anywhere near the story of postpartum life. Kelly is a spiritual person and refers to God throughout the book by different names. As a believer, this doesn’t bother me, but I do want you to know in case this would bother you or, more importantly, your mom.

3. For the Proverbs 31 Woman-

personalized woodwork-art

The Proverbs 31 woman is described in scriptures as a woman who “loves the Lord with all her heart and soul. There is peace and joy there and fearlessness about the future. She is ready to face anything with God, unafraid of the future. She also reflects God’s glory in her daily actions. Her reverence for God directs her thoughts and actions, bringing honor and praise.” Quoted from Agape Woodwork’s website. The woodwork pieces are absolutely beautiful in person. I also love this as a reminder of who God made us to be as momma’s. We are strong. We are clothed in strength and dignity. We do not fear the future. I especially need a reminder not to fear and to put my trust in the Lord.

Agape Woodwork Proverbs 31 art

4. For the mom who loves to cook

I am definitely this mom. I love to cook and love to try new recipes. Y’all know I have my favorite recipes which you can see right here. But, as a Texas gal, I definitely get excited when I find new salsas and double bonus if I can cook with it. These two items are from KYVAN foods: Honey Apple Butter and Honey Apple Hot Salsa hit the mark for me. You can access recipes from their site here. Let me know which ones you make!

KYVAN Honey Apple Salsa
KYVAN Honey Apple Salsa

5. For the mom who deserves to wake up refreshed with glowing skin and hair

I just discovered these nightly beauty products by Blissy. I love them!! There’s the Blissy pillow, Blissy pillowcase and sleep set. Mom can treat her hair and skin…while sleeping. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with gorgeous skin and hair?

6. Mom is aging backwards? Yes, please!

We have a few favorites for this one. First, Intensive Anti-aging treatment by BEL Essence. It’s basically magic wrinkle reducing cream. We also love the Skin restoring body butter cream also by BEL Essence. Body butter is just like you would imagine it would be. Click on the image for BEL Essence on Amazon.

7. For the Momma who loves Essential oils

Organic Aromas Opulence diffuser in white and grey marble. This was my first time using a diffuser. This diffuser is lovely. We’ve never used essential oils before, but we were able to pick this one that matches our decor and we chose three oils. Link to a similar style on Amazon here and to the Organic Aromas site here.

8. Mom’s Life Story

Have you heard of Storyworth? We have actually been talking about giving this gift to our moms for years and never have.

How it works. First of all, the initial gift is digital. So, there are no worries about shipping and making sure the item arrives on time. You will provide your loved one’s email and the date you would like the initial email to arrive. Storyworth will give prompts every week and your loved one will provide the answer in their own words. They will tell the story.

Storyworth also will help you, the gift-giver with story prompting ideas. They can make suggestions and you can also come up with your own questions about stories you may already know, but want preserved for your family.

Once the year concludes, they will receive a beautiful, hardbound book full of their stories. It’s truly a lovely idea and I can’t wait to share how it turns out. We are giving this to both of our Mommas this year.

For more info and to order, click here. The subscription is currently $10 off through Mother’s Day.

9. Jewelry for Mom

I’ve been a momma for nearly 18 years and some of my most treasured items are personalized keepsakes which include all of my babies. Clockwise from top left, https://www.jalpapandit.com/shop features lovely mother-daughter pieces, including this “Piece of Me” necklace. Please look at Jalpa Pandit’s site to see the amazing work she does in restoring and repurposing heirloom jewelry. The next image is of personalized stacking rings. I personalized mine with the first names of my babies. I ordered 6 of them and love mixing and matching, as wearing 6 stacked rings on one finger is a little much. Shop link is here *The mother-daughter photo includes mother-daughter bracelets by Feather and Rose, accessible here. Another absolute beauty by Jalpa Pandit is the Mini Love Letters Mother’s necklace. Jalpa’s work is definitely something momma will treasure always and keep in the family forever.

*Photo credit Iris + Honey Photography and Jesslan Lee Photography

10. For the mom who loves simplicity

Let’s remind mom how much we love her! We recently came across ZOX wristbands. Let your mom know she’s loved with special wristbands. ZOX bracelets are $12, made from recycled water bottles, and are available on zox.la and through Amazon! We are featuring the She Is and I Love You Mom wristbands perfect for Mother’s Day to remind her who she is and that she is loved! I believe these two featured items are only available on the zox site. Love them!

ZOX wristbands

For my Momma, who is with me every second of every day, in my heart and in my spirit.

Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

Happy St Patrick’s Day with kids and easy Crafts

Jimmie enjoying St Paddy’s Day!

Okay parents. How many of you get a little frustrated with the whole Elf on the Shelf craze at Christmas time? Me too! And, with a toddler at home, I wanted to do something extra special. Last year, I decided to get help with our elf on the shelf and I bought a kit from an account I found on Instagram. (www.Instagram.com/craftyholidayhelper ) CraftyHolidayHelper, Jaime has a small business focused on holiday crafts for families. I am so thankful to have found Jaime! Her craft kits are amazing!

I love having holiday parties for our littles. Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Fourth of July are holidays we don’t miss celebrating! In addition to adding Mardi Gras, we also added St Patrick’s Day with a party box and scavenger hunt from CraftyHolidayHelper to kick us off!

St Patrick’s Day Party in a Box

Jimmie is in awe of everything. He loves the rainbow centerpiece and all of the tiny details. My older kids said it’s not a party if other people don’t come. I disagree! I think Jimmie does too. It’s a party if you say it’s a party! Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Table-scape View from above
St Patrick’s Day Party in a Box

El Momma, Rebekahmemusic and CraftyHolidayHelper collaborated on this post. Thank you for your support!

Best Gluten Free King Cake Recipe and Year Round Holiday Tree Decorations

Does anybody remember El theme weeks? Click here for a refresher if you weren’t with us then. Recap: We had a theme for every week during the summer when the kids were little. We had simple themes like WATER WEEK, ZOO ANIMAL WEEK, WEATHER WEEK and more. It was super fun and kept us all busy.

El Momma and Jimmie (2 years old) enjoying Mardi Gras

We haven’t had theme weeks since the Els got older and summers got much busier. But, I feel like our year round holiday tree is sort of moving us back in the theme week direction! And, I am here for it.

El Mardi Gras Tree

The Valentine tree was a super easy transition from the Christmas tree. We published our first Valentine’s Day Gift guide here, so it was great to be in the theme of Valentine’s Day from mid January through Valentine’s week. Next up, Mardi Gras.

Check out two Videos below highlighting our GF King cake and Mardi Gras tree!

Gluten Free King Cake

We transitioned the tree from reds and pinks to gold, green and purple and added Mardi Gras ornaments. On Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday we celebrated with dinner and our first attempt at a Gluten Free King Cake. Click here for the recipe from Gluten Free Jules. This cake was so delicious!! And could easily be made as a gluten free coffee cake, using sugar in place of the green, gold and purple sugar.

We are having so much fun with our holiday tree. Comment below to let us know what you think. Any ideas for the St Patrick’s Day tree?

Gluten Free King Cake

Valentine’s to Mardi Gras TREE

Do you have suggestions on how we should decorate our tree next? We will likely decorate for St Patrick’s Day next, followed by Easter. Any ideas after that?

El Momma's Valentine's Day Gift Guide

LOVE THESE BEST VALENTINE GIFTS FOR HER, HIM, TEACHERS AND ALL

We are thrilled to present the 2022 Valentine’s Day gift guide. Please note that, although we have loosely categorized “who” the gift is for, many of the gift ideas we share can work for multiple recipients. We love giving more than receiving and know that your loved ones will feel loved, if you put that extra thought and effort into their gift.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you give and receive love this year.

Love,

Rebekah, El Momma

For Her

At FindItGirl, she has gifts for every occasion. FIND IT GIRL We especially love the curated items for the home with the love theme. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a little more reminders of love around the home throughout every season? The velvet hearts and heart dough bowls are just a few of our favorite finds from FindItGirl this Valentine’s season.

FindItGirl

Glow Like A Mother set of 3 beauty items for mom. https://gorgeousconfidence.com/ Momma deserves to be pampered! The GLAM set includes Cleanse, Hydralux Serum and rich Hydration cream. This has become my go to beauty routine day and night. My husband says I already look younger.

The Pink Enamel Heart Twist Cuff in gold by Isabelle Grace is one of my favorite gifts. https://www.isabellegracejewelry.com/products/enamel-heart-twist-cuff A portion of the proceeds from this cuff are donated to the fight against breast cancer. PS. everything from this line is handmade in the USA. Order soon for Valentine’s Day delivery. Click here to see more options “for her” this Valentine’s.

If your girl (or your guy) is a chocolate lover, let me introduce you to Blissfully Better. Made in small batches and handcrafted in copper kettles, Blissfully Better’s Almond Toffee, Crunchy Quinoa Toffee, Caramel, Coconut, and Mint Thins are the perfect indulgence. (I am gluten free and although not certified gluten free, there is no gluten used) Certified Organic and sweetened only with low glycemic coconut nectar, Blissfully Better is better for you and you will definitely taste the difference!

I love LOVE and I especially love ♥️ 💗 💕. These jewelry pieces are of good quality and are reasonably priced. I’m also pretty loyal to Nordstrom as they accept returns with no cost to the customer and no questions asked. If there ever is an issue, as long as they can find a record of your purchase, they will stand by the products they sell. I love that!

Click here to shop at Nordstrom online

For Him

Awaken his senses with the feeling of a hot towel shave. The Art of Shaving Heated Razor Starter Kit includes: Heated Razor, 2x GilletteLabs blades, and charging station. And the reviews are top notch!

Barrel and Oak Hair Thickening Shampoo. Does your guy worry about the appearance of hair loss? I got this product for my husband. According to Barrel and Oak’s website “Coffee is nutrient & antioxidant-rich, which is good for scalp & hair health. Our Caffeinated Thickening Shampoo helps rebalance pH levels, which reduces dry damaged hair & breakage. Invigorating for all hair types.” He loves it so far!

Barrel and Oak Caffeinated Thickening Shampoo

For the Pet Owner

For anyone concerned with leaving the house covered in lint, the De Novo Deluxe Self Cleaning Lint Brush is the gift for them! The De Novo™ Deluxe Self-Cleaning Lint Brush is a revolutionary way to keep your clothes lint-free and in tip-top condition. The magical bristles on this brush attract the pet hair and lint directly to it, making it so much easier for you to clean.

Unlike any other lint brush on the market, the De Novo™ Deluxe Self-Cleaning Lint Brush comes completely apart, designed to make it easier for you to rinse the inside bristles so that the self-cleaning component lasts longer. Did I mention they offer a 100% money back guarantee?

For Family (kids-adults-anyone)

Send a stuffed animal package! https://sendafriend.co/ Through Send a Friend, you can send a care package with an adorable stuffed animal. Not only will you spread smiles and joy, but when you send a friend, they donate 10% of your total purchase to nonprofit organizations. See a list of recent donations here made through SendAFriend.co

You can customize a gift on collage.com. We chose to create a custom family calendar at https://collage.com In 10 minutes, I uploaded pictures from last year and placed them in the design in the appropriate month. We love how it turned out. Plus, we now have wonderful memories to look back on and hope for in the future.

Customize Products for Everyone at collage.com

We recently discovered QUOTEBOOK. https://quotebookjournal.com/ Quotebook is a notebook for recording the things people say to each other. When I read about Quotebook, we had to try it. Our kids, especially, and sometimes Mom and Dad are always saying the funniest things that I hope we remember, but we sometimes forget. This is a great way to keep the whole family involved, as we say those funny things that we never want to forget. Our very first quote written in this book was by baby Jimmie and it’s the cutest memory ever. We can’t wait to fill this QUOTEBOOK!

QUOTEBOOK
Click here to shop these Valentine Finds at Nordstrom

Here we have curated several Valentine’s Day themed items for most of our family members. The heart print lounge set for our teen daughter plus the grey heart sleep pants or shorts with a scrunchy are her favorites. We also have a couple of pajama options for Mom. My top choice right now are the navy pajamas. They are incredibly soft. Moustapha picked out these leopard print pajama pants for him. I must say, he looks so hot in them! In addition, we found this super soft Little Giraffe Luxe baby blanket also available in pink and so many adorable outfits for your little girl.

For Kids

Feltman Brothers makes clothes for little ones that you will never want to give away.  This Scalloped Contrast Trim Knit set is perfect for your baby girl on Valentine’s Day.

We also love this color block knit set in baby blue for our Jimmie. It comes in blue shades (pictured) and pink shades. We have always loved Feltman Brothers and have many keepsake outfits our children can hand down to their children one day. I love getting gifts that last for years and generations to come.

Mabel’s Labels are perfect to label all of your kids items. Mabel’s Labels are laundry and dishwasher safe. We got heart shaped labels with the kid’s names on them. I also got some personalized for me too.

For Teachers

Mabel’s Labels are also a great teacher gift. Mabel’s Labels are custom made and a thoughtful gift for that teacher that seems to have everything, but loves to be organized. Plus, they are super cute.

One month subscription to MyYogaTeacher yoga platform as a wellness gift for teachers. MyYogaTeacher provides LIVE (not pre-recorded) yoga lessons (private and group) with expert Indian yoga teachers. I’ve really enjoyed the two-way interaction which has helped me practice safely and stay motivated.

MyYogaTeacher

We would love to hear from you!

Email me at rebekah@elmomma.com

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DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission at no additional cost to you-- 

Casual February Style ♥️

It’s February, which means it’s the month of love, at least around here. We love to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year, we took it a step further and transformed our Christmas tree into a Valentine’s Tree.

When the Els were little, we would host parties and decorate cookies and eat pizza or some other yummy dish. As they’ve gotten older, we often have conflicting activities on Valentine’s Day. So, I like to make the whole month about love with a focus on our love for family and each other.

While working on our Valentine’s Day gift guide, I wanted to get into the spirit early with these adorable Valentine’s Day themed tops. You can shop these looks at this commissionable link.

❤️Tops by Caslon. Jeans by Madewell. ♥️

For the Love of PJs…for the gal who loves Pajamas

Our Valentine’s Day gift guide is launching next week and I have a confession to make. I’ve been this way for years. Pajamas are my love language. Some may say they are a gift. Others may say they are an act of service. Some may even call them physical touch or quality time. Maybe pajamas are the five love languages put together?!

Pajamas are my love language.

El Momma 2022

As we prepare for our first ever VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT GUIDE launching next week, I am going to be sharing my work outfits. And, since I work from home, and I’m trying to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what better to work in than adorable, super soft and stretchy V-Day PJs?

Nordstrom Exclusive Valentine’s Day Pajamas

For those moms or dads looking at ideas for the classroom, here’s an adorable craft we did in Trinity’s classroom when she was little. I LOVE old school crafts. If you are able to volunteer in your child’s classroom this year, this is a great idea.

Holding the Space Between

Tw: blog post discusses loss
Christmas Day with the El-Hakam family

This is our fifth Christmas without our daughter, Mary-Linda. This reality shocks my system. I can’t believe it. Five Christmases. How? We actually never had a Christmas with her alive on earth. We were pregnant with her in April of 2017, she passed in Mid August and was due to be born at the end of December, beginning of January 2018.

As a grieving person, I’ve learned that we can be both- we can be thankful for what and who we have in our lives and grieve those who are no longer with us. That’s okay. And, as far as I know, it’s normal. The happy and joy-filled times come a little easier for me now. But, I’m still sad. I’m happy and I’m sad. I’m thankful for all I have and devastated that I don’t have two daughters on earth.

I am also very aware that there are people who long to be mothers and don’t have any living children with them. I promise you, I do not take my living children for granted. But, just as each person has unique characteristics and DNA, so do our children. Our living children are not replacement children for our baby in heaven.

Our living children are not replacement children for our baby in heaven.

El Momma
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

Years ago, in the space between losing Mary-Linda and expecting Jimmie, I would attend a support group with a non profit org called MEND. There I met mothers who had also experienced the loss of their babies in pregnancy, through stillbirth or in the first year of life. These women became dear friends who I love very much. One thing that was always said before the start of each meeting was that we don’t compare our losses. We look at every loss as devastating for that precious momma and daddy. And each baby matters, whether or not they were an early loss or late term loss. They matter. That has impacted me so much as we have faced more grief in the following years.

Our grief is unique to our story and our experiences. We can share our grief and our burdens with others without comparing our grief.

El Momma
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

The space between is different for me now. I am constantly in the space between celebrating the wins and accomplishments of my living children and wishing Mary-Linda was here sharing a room with Trinity and loving on Baby Jimmie. I am also in the space between the struggles with raising three teenagers and a tween and trying not to compare them to a daughter in heaven, who can do no wrong.

And then there come the holidays in the middle of the crazy of the last several years. As author, Ashley LeMieux stated last week, I find myself using the word AND a lot. For example, I am incredible grateful to spend the holidays with my husband and five living children AND I’m deeply saddened and heartbroken to have our fifth Christmas without Mary-Linda on earth!

I honestly don’t know any other way to be. I believe it’s acceptable and should be encouraged that we feel all of our feelings. It’s valid to be happy AND sad. Angry AND grateful. Depressed AND hopeful.

As a grieving mother AND a celebrating mother, I wanted to share with you that it’s okay. I am comforted knowing that the Lord meets me exactly where I am and gives me comfort and strength that is not my own. I pray you find comfort and peace this year, friends. Time just seems to move faster and faster. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Our Mary-Linda Angel topper