Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Motherhood"



I believe we are all hard on ourselves as parents.  Constantly questioning whether our decisions are the best for our children.  Sometimes we need a little reminder that we should forgive ourselves for all of the "wrong" decisions we make.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The Mom Stays in the Picture"



I just wanted to pass along this wonderfully written article from another Mom who wrote some words that resonated with me.  Anyone who has had a baby knows that your body goes through some crazy changes during pregnancy.  It has been difficult at times for me to look in the mirror to discover my body changed so much in order to bring our daughter in to this world.  I am not ashamed of how I look, but I am hard on myself when my postpartum pictures are concerned.  No longer will I be because I know how much I treasure the few pictures I have of my family growing up.  I want that for my daughter as well.  Thank you, Allison Tate, for writing such a beautiful article!

Read Allison's article here:

P.S.  Grab some tissues before you read this one!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby Food Basics

It could have been our lack of enthusiasm for the rice cereal, or it could have been that it tastes awful to out daughter, either way the rice cereal was a complete whammy at our house.  We did, however, find some things that she simply adores!

I never though I would be so very excited to make baby food for our daughter.  We knew from the beginning that we were going to, I just never though I'd find so much joy in it.  Though watching Little Bean eat the things she likes is adorable and makes my heart flutter.  Even better is watching her tell us she dislikes something. 

At 7 months she is very adamant on the flavors she is not so fond of.  For instance she could not get enough of the avocado and banana Hubby made for her the other day.  She slurped it off of the spoon and kept practically begging for more.  It was not the same experience with peas and carrots.  She tried one bite (which she was so very excited to get in her mouth) and instantly spit it back out!  Then she tucked her chin to her chest, wouldn't look at either of us and refused to open her mouth for more.  I caved after trying to coax her for 5 more minutes and gave her some butternut squash with pears - which she loves!

The next concoction will be something with apples in it.  We've got a few that are in need of using before they are no longer good to eat.  I'm thinking of putting them with some pumpkin because we know she really likes that already.  Plus it is fall and those two are made for each other!

Prior to our baby-food-making experience we searched the internet for tips and hints on the basics.  What to put together.  How to prepare the food so it is safe.  How long to store the food.  How to properly store the food.  Then we realized if we're feeding her what we are eating we do it all the same!  It was like some sort of epiphany! 

Here's what we do to make our baby food:

1.)  Cook anything to the normal specifications.  Examples: I boiled 2 cups of fresh carrots until they were soft.  I boiled peas until they were the temperature we would normally eat them at.  Fruits I left raw because that's how we eat them.  We have not yet introduced meats.  When we do I'll post about it.

2.)  Put the cooked or raw food in to the food processor or blender.  *I feel a disclaimer is needed here.  There are a few very cute baby food machines on the market.  They are expensive and come with many, many pieces.  We use our food processor (which we already owned) or a blender (which we already owned).  Either has work perfectly and I know you can get regular blenders for less than those fancy pants baby blenders.*

3.)  Push that button until your baby food is mashed sufficiently!  That's right.  Make it good and mushy.  We discovered our daughter does not currently like the chunks so we just make sure that there aren't any.  Once we reach that point it is blended well enough for us.

4.)  Scoop the baby food in to ice cube trays and freeze.  Once frozen remove from the ice cube tray, put in to a storage container of your choice and label when you made it so there are no questions.  For us plastic freezer bags work perfect.  I can write on them what is inside and the date. 

5.)  When it is time for baby to eat thaw a cube or two.  Stir and serve.  Baby will thank you for putting in so much effort and for making such good food for them!  We take out some cubes in the morning which allows them to thaw in time for lunch and dinner.  I warm her food to just above room temperature that way it isn't cold.  We've saved money, time and effort since we're just making extras when we cook for us!

Have you got any other tips or tricks you'd like to add?  Please share!

Here are the combinations that we have tried. I'll make a separate post about all of them later so it will be a quick resource for anyone interested.  If you add any combinations I'll put them on, too (just leave your name and/or link so I can give you credit!!)

1/2 of an Avocado + 1 Banana (made about 6 ounces, not an ice cube tray full)
1.5 cups Peas + 2 cups Carrots (made more than an ice cube tray full)
1 Avocado + 1 Pear
2 cups Butternut Squash + 1 Pear

Have you got any great combinations to share?  Please do!  Don't forget to leave your name so I can give you credit!

Happy baby-food-making!

Tidbits

After a very different few weeks here at the house I think we may just be able to fall back in to our routine again.  Which means more time to get to the things I have been wanting to do - like catch up blogging : ) I've got some pretty stellar Pinterest posts.  I'll get them up as fast as possible because I'm sure your mouth will be watering when you see what I've cooked up.  There is also a couple baby related topics I'd like to get out there for some advice and to possibly help other parents out in the process.  So after too long of a break let's get to business!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

As a Mom I'm Quite Crappy!!





After this photo sparked a gigantic debate for being posted on Life with Levi's Facebook page an astounding number of Moms (and a few Dads) have spoken up about the awful, ignorant and downright rude comments that came from other parents.  The comments were directed towards any parent who had chosen/would choose to circumcise their son.  The comments were hurtful.  The comments were disgraceful.  The comments were unnecessary.  I completely understand that there are parents out there who choose not to circumcise for their own personal reasons, but there are also parents out there who choose to circumcise for their own personal reasons.  Who is anyone to judge whether or not a parent is a good parent based solely on this practice?  I agree that everyone is 100% entitled to their own opinion, but those opinions DO NOT need to be so blatantly hurtful to other individuals.  I feel that as adults we should be able to support each other, especially in the parenting community, through our differences in child rearing.  The purpose of this photo was to highlight the different choices these four particular women made in raising their children and how each is still loving their child unconditionally.  I feel like this is an easy task for any parent - loving their child unconditionally.  "Let's celebrate that."

Joining the other inspiring "Moms who are Crappy" here is my list of why I just don't cut it as a perfect Mom:

-  I had a mostly all natural birth. 

-  Labor and delivery for me was 4 hours and 45 minutes from first contraction to holding my daughter.  I'm happy about that because I don't know if I could have gone all natural if I had had a long labor.

-  I yelled at my husband (which made the doctor laugh) during delivery.

-  I needed stitches (because my daughter came out in 4 pushes) and while I was getting them I cried (it hurt so much worse than actually having the baby) and had to hand off my daughter to my Husband.

-  My daughter was away from me after birth for over an hour (Hubby was with her) and the nurses took her both mornings for inspection by the doctor for about an hour.

-  I stayed in the hospital as long as they would let me.

-  I asked for and received help from lactation consultants.

-  My daughter had been exclusively breast fed up until last week when we tried solids.

-  I plan on continuing to nurse my daughter until we both feel it is time to stop.  At which point she will most likely have pumped breast milk in her diet.

-  My daughter dislikes rice cereal so we are not going to make her eat it anymore.

-  I try very hard to eat healthy because whatever I eat, she gets through my milk.

-  My daughter had to be in the hospital for jaundice at 3 days old.  After the worst night of my life - watching her scream and cry herself hoarse and not being able to hold her or console her (yeah, try nursing a baby you aren't supposed to hold) - I yelled at the head doctor of the hospital and two residents.  They were a little more understanding after that and finally made her a little more comfortable.  

-  The first food our daughter had was pumpkin (because I had some left from the can I used to bake with).  Which she loves.

-  My daughter wakes me up every morning.  Sometimes, after I nurse her in the morning, we sleep a little longer snuggled up in bed together.

-  My daughter's first night in her own room was 3 nights ago.  I cried like crazy!

-  I shower (or take a bath) with my daughter every single night. (YAY for conserving water & time!)

-  My daughter is sleeping by 8:00 every night.

-  My daughter sleeps about 11 hours a night....

-  My daughter wakes up 2 - 5 times to nurse during the night.  I do not make her cry herself back to sleep hungry and alone.  I nurse her and she happily goes back to sleep with a full belly.

-  My daughter is dressed in a little girl outfit, with matching bow and socks, every single day.

-  I wear my daughter as often as possible when we are out.

-  My daughter wears an Amber Necklace around her neck and has worn it on some body part since she was two months old.

-  My daughter loves her binkies (pacifiers).

 -  My daughter is, and will continue to be, vaccinated.  

-  I plan most of my outings around her nap time (though we sometimes run late getting home).  I do this because she sleeps better at home than in the car seat (plus she is a social butterfly so she won't sleep if people are around!). 

-  I do every silly thing I can think of just to make my daughter smile.

-  I sing every song, read every book and recite every poem I can to my daughter because she responds to it and it makes her smile.

-  I give my daughter hundreds of kisses a day.

-  I say "Please" and "Thank You" to my daughter as often as possible so she learns her manners.

-  When I need a minute (or 15) from my daughter, and Hubby is not around, I put her in a baby toy (exersaucer, bouncy chair, swing etc.) and go about my business while she is contained.

-  I cry when I pack up my daughter's clothes that she has grown out of.

-  I buy only clearance or used toys and clothes for my daughter.

-  I don't have a calendar dating every milestone my daughter has reached.

-  I don't have a baby book filled with pictures.

-  I don't plan on hovering over her when she gets bigger.

My daughter is only 6.5 months old so I know this list will get much, much longer as time goes on.  For now it really appears that I am one "CRAPPY" Momma!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Little Bit of Rice, Please.

Our daughter has finally reached the point where she needs more than breast milk.  We had visions of being part of the Baby Led Weaning movement, but our daughter has had plans otherwise.  We do still intend to feed her whatever we are eating, we may just have to mush it up a little more than we had originally planned.  We also had not planned on using rice cereal - at all.  Studies have been done that prove it disintegrates much faster in breast milk than in formula.  Thus, baby is hungry again sooner even with the rice cereal.  We just wanted to skip over it like so many people we've read have done.  Even our doctor was behind us on the decision.  Well, as all parents should be aware, plans changed.

Our little lady decided about a month ago that she wanted to eat more during the night.  No more nights of almost 6 hours straight before she woke up the first time.  She was getting up around 5 times and it was becoming more and more the longer time has gone on.  Last night she woke 7 times in 11 hours.  This is not a good sleep pattern for anyone and it makes for a very cranky Momma, Baby and Daddy.  I need more than 1 - 2 hours at a time, otherwise I just feel ill when I do have to get up and function.  I don't need much, 4 - 5 hours of solid sleep would be a blessing. 

When the doctor asked us today at our well baby visit if we had any questions I posed this one to him.  He gave us the same remedy we had heard from so many others - rice cereal.  Just for a few nights before bed mixed with some breast milk then add in veggies and switch it over to just the veggies once she has the hang of it.  So, tonight, we're giving it a go.  Hopefully we all get some much needed rest tonight.  

We do both realize there is nothing bad or wrong with rice cereal.  We just did not see a point of giving her something to help her stay full if it would disintegrate so quickly and she'd be hungry again within the same amount of time as if she had only breast milk.  (You should check out the videos on You Tube documenting the tests.  It really is impressive to see the difference!)  We would rather it be something with a little flavor and those wonderful healthy vitamins to help her stay full longer.

Here's to using that old Scientific Method way of determining if it will work for us ; )

What plans change for you and your little ones regarding the starting of solids?  Did any of your visions change or were your plans carried out exactly as you had foreseen?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mom Art



Sometimes we just need a reminder.  I may not have as many years or children under my belt as so many other ladies out there, but I do need the words that it takes time.  Before our daughter it was so easy to be selfish with my time.  Now to give it all up, in the quest to find what works best for us here, in our home, is a rather humbling experience.  Even at 6.5 months old our little girl has taught us the importance of taking our time, moving slowly and above all patience - like we had never needed before now.

What are the virtues your little one has helped you to find again and again?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer Strawberry Coconut Cake

In order to use up the remaining strawberries (from the icebox cake on my last Pinterest post) I searched for a cake that had them specifically.  I love fruity things and I am cuckoo for coconut!  Fruity candle scents.  Fruity salads.  Fruity and coconutty cake? Yes, Please!




Here is the original post if you'd like to check it out:


Summer Strawberry Coconut Cake

Here is the link to the actual recipe (it is not on the original post):

Summer Strawberry Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 (18.5 ounce) box white cake mix
4 T. strawberry gelatin powder
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
2 T. granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. pureed strawberries
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. coconut extract
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced
1 c. coconut, finely shredded in food processor
several strawberries to fill cake and garnish


Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 16-oz. boxes powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl and stir together. Beat in oil, eggs, water, strawberry puree, vanilla, and coconut extract. Mix well. Stir in diced strawberries and coconut. Pour into two 8- or 9-inch round pans, greased and floured. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the cakes are pulling away from the sides of the pans.

Put pans on wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and leave on racks to cool completely. While cooling, make icing.


Icing: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until desired consistency. Add a tablespoon or so of milk if icing is too thick.

Spread some icing on first layer, then top with sliced strawberries. Place second layer on top and ice the rest of the cake. Cover entire cake in shredded coconut and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Cost for ingredients we did not have on hand:
Box of white cake mix: $1.98
Strawberry J-ello: $.68
Coconut Extract: $3.56
Shredded Coconut: $1.28
Total: $7.50

Total prep, mixing, and  baking, cooling and decorating time:
1 hour 45 minutes

As you will see in the pictures I cut the recipe in half.  I didn't see the need for Hubby and I to eat another entire double layer cake ourselves!  It worked out perfectly (though for some recipes this is not possible).  Our cake was sort of short, but super cute!

I diced the strawberries in the food processor, so they were a little more wet than they would have been if done by hand.  However, they worked out perfect.


Since I cut the recipe in half I had some leftover J-ello.  I added in the rest of the leftover strawberries, a little water and refrigerated.  We had some good fruity J-ello to enjoy as well!  (Now, if I could just figure out what to do with that extra cake mix...)

Here are photos documenting the process:
 





 

Taste and evaluation:

This is one of the most refreshing cakes I have ever tasted!  It is so light and full of flavor.  We kept the cake in the refrigerator so it was quite chilled when we ate it.  I think it added to the enjoyment to have our cake cold.  It is a perfect summer cake - very refreshing!  I was pleasantly surprised that the strawberries did not overpower the coconut.  I was worried since there were so many berries.  The coconut added a soft tone to the strawberries and really complimented them well.  

Overall:


This is going to be in my permanent collection of cakes to make!  This recipe was very simple to follow and the ingredients were easy to find.  I am very pleased at how beautiful the cake turned out!  The pink is so vibrant!  This would be a perfect 4th of July cake as well as a little girl's birthday party.  I would be willing to guess that you could change the strawberries for raspberries, but don't hold me to it (I'll try later and let you know).   I give this recipe and it's creator kudos for a job well done!










Saturday, September 8, 2012

All's Well that Ends Well

I feel that it has been way over do to write my next post.  The past week and a half has been quite tiring on this end and I would like to explain.  I'd also like to say that I hope to never have such a long time away again for such a reason.

My Husband is in the Navy.  His current job is quite exciting  - he's a Hovercraft Craftmaster!  He flies hovercrafts.  He spends his days at his command either flying, providing maintenance to his craft or doing boring paperwork.  He is a very physically fit person and thoroughly enjoys his mornings PTing (physically training).  Last Wednesday while running the obstacle course on base he fell, landing on his rear end.  Normally this type of fall would warrant a little rub on the area and not much else.  However, he fell over 8 feet off of a platform. 

It had been raining (like it does so often in our area) and the course was slippery.  He usually just jumps down from the platform and continues on, but for some reason on this day he decided to be careful.  He tried climbing down and dangling so he'd only drop 2 feet or so.  In the process his hand slipped before he was in position resulting in him falling and landing on his bum.  He stayed put for a minute, got up, checked for tingling/pain/numbness, felt nothing out of the ordinary so continued on the course. 

Later in the day he was sore.  Sore enough that he actually went to see someone about it.  In typical Navy remedy fashion they gave him some Ibuprofen for the discomfort.  But the doctor felt it was a serious enough incident to take some x-rays.  Thank goodness!  It turns out he really did do some damage to his back (not his booty).  The next step was to head over to the hospital for a CT scan.  After lots of waiting in the emergency room (because that's how the military healthcare works) he finally got to see a doctor who...ordered more x-rays. Again, the doctor was concerned enough that he said my Hubby needed a CT scan (Duh!  That is why he was there in the first place!!).  Well, those results came back and it turns out that he had a compression fracture in his T12 vertebrae.  It was serious enough that the doctor admitted him immediately, put him in back brace and told him he'd be there at least overnight.

As you can imagine Hubby was less than thrilled at this whole occurrence. Fast forward to the following morning.  I pack up the baby and head over to see our wounded man.  After a few more doctor visits, a consultation with a prosthetic technician, and some not-so-good hospital lunch food my Husband was released on the terms that:

1.) he was getting a custom brace made and should be in it on Monday (Labor Day).

2.) he had to be back Tuesday for more x-rays to see if the brace was helping.

3.) he had to leave the brace on whenever up and moving or lay down without it all weekend.  No out and about.  No lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk (which our daughter is).  No bending, twisting, working out, etc.  No driving.

4.) he was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday if the brace was not doing what it needed to be.  The surgery would fuse together 5 of his vertebrae (T10-L2) permanently.  He would lose about 10-15% of his mobility due to this surgery and most likely have pain in the area later in life.

After a very long, tiring, and boring weekend we all headed back in for the follow-up.  We got the most amazing news!  He didn't need surgery!  The doctor was very happy with how the brace has been supporting him and feels that if he heals how his back is currently holding he would be able to live a very active life.  Then came the bad news.  No working for 30 days (minimum).  No driving.  No lifting. 

It has been hard on my Hubby because he is usually so active.  The brace is uncomfortable, keeping him in a strange position and itchy.  And he wants to be doing much, much more with our daughter. 

It has been frustrating for my daughter and I because we have become accustomed to him interacting with us both more often than he is capable of right now.  Plus, I'm whooped from 100% baby time! 

We are looking at the positives of the situation and focusing on his improving status.  We are very thankful that the outcome wasn't more serious (because it could have been so much worse).  I am impressed with the level of care he received at the naval hospital.  It was unexpected and is apparent that they had concern for my Husband's welfare.  There have been a few emotions surrounding this incident, and I'm sure more will come as he heals (he could be in the brace for 3 months or longer which means the same limitations apply).  I am just so very thankful that he is o.k..

Have you had scary medical moments in your or your loved one's life?







Thursday, August 30, 2012

Feed Me Friday

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Winter Wonder Week Sign Ups



Sign ups are now open for the Winter Wonder Week December 8-15, 2012! 

No need to secure a sponsor – the hosts do it all for you! 

Five prize packs will be available so this will be one interesting and exciting giveaway!

There is a free option as well as paid ones if you want more than one link included. Co-hosts and follow page options are also available.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Strawberry Crunch Icebox Cake

I have been seeing these pop up all over Pinterest, so I thought I'd give it a try.



Here is the original post if you'd like to check it out:

Strawberry Crunch Icebox Cake

Here is the link to the recipe (it is not on the original post):

Strawberry Icebox Cake Recipe


Ingredients:
1 box Nature Valley Granola Bars
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1  lemon
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups freshly chopped strawberries

Directions:

Put the Nature Valley granola bars in a food processor and process until you achieve a course crumb. In a large bowl, add the crumbs, brown sugar, flour and melted butter and mix together. Then spread into an 8x8" pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then divide in half and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, combine eggs whites and sugar and mix on high. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing for another five minutes.  Continue to add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and softened cream cheese. Mix on low speed until incorporated.  Fold the fresh strawberries into the cream mixture.  In a buttered glass cake pan, press half of the crumb crust mixture on the bottom. Top with strawberry mix and then add the remaining crumbs to the top.  Cover and freeze for three hours or more and enjoy!

Cost for ingredients we did not have on hand:
Nature Valley Granola Bars: $2.98
Heavy Whipping Cream: $1.98
Total: $4.96

Total prep, mixing, and freezing time:
35 minutes + 5 hours to freeze

I did not chop the strawberries, instead I put them in the food processor so they were a little more squishy for me.  I think it worked awesome and took less time than hand chopping them. 

I also did not use parchment paper.  We have wax paper on hand and it does the same thing for this process as the parchment paper would have.  But, considering the crumbs stayed super crumbly I don't know that you'd need a liner at all.  Use one though - just in case!
 
Here are photos documenting the process:







Taste and evaluation:


This is a very light and summery flavored cake.  So refreshing that it is cold!  We ate it out of the freezer the first time, but after that we cut small pieces and put them in the fridge for about an hour to soften them up.  I liked the very subtle flavor the lemon added to the cake.  The amount of available crumb for the crust was almost a perfect fit.   


Overall:
Though this cake was quite tasty I do have to point out that the crumbs did not solidify at all for me.  I'm not sure if more butter should be added to half of the mixture and the bottom layer be baked separate so that it hardens in to a crust or if there is another alternative.  The bottom for me stayed crumbly, which made a mess getting it out of the pan and usually meant that they weren't any left on the filling by the time it got to my mouth.  I would have preferred it to have been solid so when you take a bite with your fork it doesn't fall apart.  The crumbs on the top of the cake were great and seemed to be just the right consistency.  This is the only thing I would change when making it in the future.

I could see adding any kind of berry or fruit to this recipe.  I will try it later on (with a different bottom layer) and let you know how it turns out!

This recipe is so super easy I would let kids help.  It would be fun for them to break up the granola bars, stir in the strawberries and put it all together.   


Monday, August 27, 2012

Good Morning!

Is thoroughly impressed by all of the wonderful people that said "Good Morning" on our walk this morning, which was every single person we passed!!!  What a difference a friendly hello makes :)




Do you say "Hello" or greet people on a regular basis?  Why or why not?

Mom Blog Monday

As a new blogger I'm very excited to be linked up with other fabulous Mommy Blogging sites!  Check them out and add yours to the linky!!




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Check them out, then follow the links in the hop :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Half a year already!

My oh my how time does fly!!

Six months ago today we went out looking for a clock.  My husband and I realized how much we really just needed to have one in the living room.  One of those fancy looking, hang on the wall as art types of clock.  We drove around to a few places and cruised the typical big stores in hopes of finding something either of us liked.  By the end of the trip we were tired, hungry and empty handed.  We had lunch at a great place called Red Robin (anyone else a fan??).  Then it was back home to relax and put my swollen feet up!

I was sitting on the couch (playing Bejeweled, which is so not normal for us) when I had some tightening across my belly - the time was 4:45 pm.  I didn't think anything of it because I had Braxton Hicks contractions in the past.  Well, the longer I sat there the more I had.  I still didn't think much of it, but told the Hubby just so he knew what was going on.  My good friend Jen called to have a friendly chat during which I realized I couldn't talk through the contractions.  I knew this was an indicator that things were progressing so I did what any smart woman would do.  I called my Mom.  She, of course, told me to call the doctor, but I was hesitant because the contractions were not regular (6-12 minutes apart) and lasted less than a minute.  I didn't want to end up in the hospital just to be sent home, so I figured we'd wait.  Not too long after I was really feeling some pressure during the contractions.  I called the doctor.  The nurse I spoke with was concerned because I had gone in to early labor at 24 weeks and insisted I get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Well, we had other ideas.  The bag was not packed (I was only 36 weeks).  The swing was not put together.  We had no clothes ready for the baby when she came home.  My husband set to work putting the swing together while I packed the bag and did some laundry between contractions.  We had literally only been busy about 30 minutes when we put our shoes on to walk out of the door.  I had to stop twice walking to the truck.  The Bradley Birthing classes we attended had taught us that about the time you NEED to be going to the vehicle is when you least want to be going to the vehicle.  This was very true in my case.  The thought of sitting in that confined space was not at all appealing to me.  We realized that the contractions had sped up to every 3 minutes and were lasting about a minute each.  They were intense, but nothing I couldn't handle.  My Husband started making the necessary phone calls to our parents letting them know we were headed in to the hospital.  The ride was 20 minutes though it felt like an hour and a half.  I kept yelling at him to drive faster because I did not want to have the baby in the truck!

We got to the hospital, signed in and were shown to our room.  The nurse was great and asked questions about our preferences.  We were easy:

-No drugs.
-No pacifier.
-No formula.
-I didn't want to know numbers (like centimeters dilated or length of time between contractions) because I tend to focus on numbers and did not want to do that here since those numbers can slow down or speed up without notice or reason.
-Dad would be with baby if she needed to leave Mom
-We wanted to wait to cut the cord.

Other than that, nothing major.  We just basically wanted to know what was going on. The nurse checked, said that the baby was coming and went to call the doctor.  We had only been there about 15 minutes!  I couldn't believe they were already calling.  The nurse came back to check on us and ended up staying in our room.  We joked that it was so she could catch the baby if need be.  She didn't see it as a joke, more like a possibility.  Soon our doctor walked in the room.  Checked things out herself then told the second nurse to go ahead and set things up.  She put on the awesome Doctor Cape, a smile and asked if we were ready to do this :)

Four sets of pushes later we were holding our daughter!  The time was 10:38 pm.  We were fortunate our birth plan was able to be carried out according to our wishes.  I can say first hand that it wasn't too bad going through labor and delivery without any medications.  I had the amazing support of my Husband, a wonderful staff of nurses and our awesome doctor!!  Plus, I have a lot of faith in the idea that our bodies are made to have babies no medications necessary.  ***TMI ALERT***There was some serious pain for me afterwards though while the doctor was stitching my woman parts back together.

Holding that little 5 pound 7 ounce baby girl I was in awe!  I couldn't believe after 9 months I was finally able to see her, touch her and snuggle her.  I couldn't believe our daughter was in our arms and lives from that moment forward.

It has now been six months since that amazing experience.  I am sitting her now, with my feet up, remembering all of the sweet - and tiring - moments we have had up to this point.  We have both learned so much about our baby as well as what it takes to take care of a little one.  It is life changing and not for the faint of heart!  You learn very quickly what priorities actually are and how to properly go about getting them done.  You also learn that the love you feel for that teeny bundle of joy is more different than any love you've ever felt before.

Please, share your story with me!  What were your thoughts and feelings during labor and delivery?









Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

Since our kitchen was dismantled while my Husband laid down our amazing tile floor I had to opt for a non-cooked dessert this week.  We both love anything involving chocolate and peanut butter so the Peanut Butter Eclair Cake from Plain Chicken fit our desires perfectly!


Here's the original post if you'd like to check it out:

Plain Chicken: Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

The recipe is so simple and very low cost!

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate graham crackers (there will be a few graham crackers left over)
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 can chocolate frosting

Directions:
Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with whole graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk and peanut butter; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

Heat the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

Cost for ingredients we did not have on hand:
Chocolate Graham Crackers: $2.58
Creamy Peanut Butter: $2.98
Vanilla Pudding: $1.18
Chocolate Frosting: $1.28
Whipped Topping: $1.98
Total: $10.00

Total prep, mixing, and  time: 25 minutes

Our daughter did not take as long of a nap as usual so I had an assistant making this cake.  I bundled her up in the Moby and let her help me make a mess in the kitchen.  This recipe was super easy.  I love that only two things need to be measured. 

I did two things the differently on this recipe.  We do not use cooking spray so I substituted by coating the bottom with a very thin layer of Crisco.  We also do not have a microwave so I melted the icing in a pan in the toaster oven (the regular stove was unplugged and in the dining room during our renovation).  It worked out perfect!




Here are photos documenting the process:















Taste and evaluation:

Again, my Husband will be helping to evaluate.



My Husband:  This particular dessert was delightfully scrumptious!! Initial impression was that it would be likened to the ordinary "Graham cracker crust, Jello pudding filled" pie. That certainly is not the case. The multiple layers give the cake a solidarity that is missing from a lot of pudding filled desserts. The combination of flavors is exquisite. The peanut butter is present, but not overpowering, and the cool whip lends it's fluffy texture well to the entire dessert. This dessert must be served to a group of people though to avoid devouring the entire dish by one's self.

Me:  I adore how simple this recipe is and how tasty is was!  The cake was fluffy, but sweet enough that I couldn't eat too much at once.  The peanut butter was so subtle in this dish.  It was amazing how the ingredients complimented each other.  This would be the perfect picnic treat!

Overall:

This recipe is a keeper!  I could easily whip this dish up in a very short period of time for any type of event.  I love how inexpensive it is and how many it would actually serve for the cost.  I definitely recommend the Plain Chicken's Peanut Butter Eclair Cake!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wrapped up Tight

Our daughter has loved to be swaddled from the time she was born.  I'm sure she loves the feeling of being hugged and secure.  She has slept soundly this way for almost six months now.  We tried for a little while about two months ago to break the swaddle and allow her arms to be free (her legs have been since she was about a month old).  Her little arms just kept waking her up by hitting her head or knocking our her binky.

Up until this point we have kept her by our bedside in an inclined sleeper but are hoping to move her in to her own room, and her crib, soon (since she now has one!!).  Our little lady sleeps very well whether we are in the room with her or not, so I am not at all worried that she will feel lonely or abandoned in her crib. 

I have been vigilant recently that during two of her naps throughout the day she is not swaddled.  During those two naps she sleeps for about 20 minutes to an hour.  She is usually woken up because she spit out the binky or knocked it out with one of her arms.  I have tried to not swaddle her while she is in her sleeper for her long nap in the middle of the day, but she does not sleep well.  She wakes up repeatedly and is generally very cranky after that nap.


Previously we tried to take her less active arm (which is her right) out of the swaddle.  It seemed ok for a short while, but eventually she started moving it around and waking herself up.  I attempted, at one point, to try the "cold turkey" method and leave both arms out but wrap up her torso.  This attempt was an awful failure.  Now we are at a point where we would like to try again but are at a loss on where to start. 

Should we just repeat what we've already done?  Do you have any advice on how to break a swaddle or transition to a crib?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birthday Gifts for Meegs




Meegs from A New Day is celebrating her 30th Birthday this week! And she's decided to give you the presents.

How generous and exciting!

Check out her blog for all sorts of interesting information and great reviews.

Here's the link for her Birthday Giveaway:


Good Luck!

 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Too Big Too Fast

Our daughter was born at 36 weeks according to the doctor's calculated due date.  When the nurse assessed her she determined she was actually 38 weeks gestational age.  Either way you look at it, she was a little bit early.  Considering she tried to join the world at 24 weeks, I was not a bit surprised she didn't make it to full term.  She was a tiny baby weighing in at 5 pounds 7 ounces.  Her little arms and legs looked so small and frail.  Her fingers weren't long enough to wrap all the way around my thumb.  Her toes were the size of grains of rice. 

Our little lady did lose some weight, like most babies, in the first few days.  Once the weight started to come back her little parts began to grow and the newborn clothes she was swimming in begin to fit.  She donned to newborn sizes until she was just over a month old.  Then we moved up to 0-3 month sizes.  She outgrew them so fast she didn't even get to wear all of the adorable outfits she had been given.  The 3-6 month clothes lasted about the same amount of time.  Now she is in 6-9 month clothes.  However, if she keeps growing the way she has been she'll be out of them in no time!

It makes me pretty sad to know she won't be little for much longer, but it also makes me look forward to a future with a growing and healthy baby girl!

How much did your baby/babies weigh at birth?  Did they ever wear newborn clothes?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A change of tile

Since moving in to our new home a few weeks ago we have made some minor improvements.  The walls are painted in four of the rooms and we've installed blinds and/or curtains. We had bought a few tile samples to put up a back splash in our kitchen.  Hung them.  Stared at them.  Debated about them.  Then, finally chose one of them.

We thought we'd get fancy and were planning on using small 1/2 inch tiles to "frame" the larger 2 inch tiles we chose.  Thankfully those tiny tiles were on clearance so we bought as many as we'd need just in case those were the ones we picked (we could always return them later if we changed our minds).  The day had come to go get the supplies along with the rest of the tiles.

Now, I'm a fairly easily excited person so to me this was really exciting!  We head on out to our local Lowe's with the intent to spend some dough.  Of course, when we get to the isle we find that they don't have enough stock for our needs.  I find a very helpful lady who tells us to check out the next closest store for the rest.  We bought what we had found already.  Put the baby and our selves back in the truck and drove on over.

As we are getting closer to the shelf where our chosen tiles are I start seeing yellow.  For anyone who shops at Lowe's often you know this means CLEARANCE.  For anyone who doesn't you just learned something : )  I can't help but wander over.  The tiles are the exact size, shape and design we are planning on purchasing - just a different color spectrum.  I show my husband.  He is leery at first but when I point out that we could purchase the tiles needed for the back splash, the supplies and enough tiles to do the entire floor for the same price he starts to reconsider.  The major difference here is that the original selection is a soft beigey, peachy, greyish color while the new found ones have quite a bit of blue in them.  After another minute and some quick math we load up one of those monster carts then head to the checkout. 

I can't believe the amazing deal we are got on these tiles!  We saved over 80%!  We'll save even more on installation since my handsome Hubby is going to be tackling this project.

We get home, unload, put the babe to bed then discuss a timeline.  We decided it would be best not to wait too long (me because I'd want it done before our little lady starts walking, him because he loves new projects) so we are planning on completing the installation by the end of the week.  Well, last night my Husband decided to start peeling up the current floor (which is vinyl).  What a mess that is going to be!  And what a lot of work, too!  Though it's going to be quite a bit of elbow grease for him, I know it is going to look outstanding when it is complete!

What home improvement projects are you working/planning on? 


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roley Poley Oley!

We have hit a major milestone for our little lady these past few days!  She is rolling over fully - back to front then front to back - and moving her little self all over the place!  It is so fascinating to watch her as she tumbles across the floor.  She hasn't yet figured out how to make herself go in the direction she wants so there is usually a meltdown at some point, like when she sees her toy and she just keeps getting further and further away. 

A few weeks ago I was with some other Moms doing what Moms do when they all have little ones to watch over.  One of the children there was the same age as our daughter, only a couple of days older.  I came home almost in tears because of the things that baby girl could do.  Now, I know that all babies develop at different rates.  All babies will have things that they do ahead of schedule and behind schedule.  The milestones are just an average.  I know this.  But I was still as upset as a Mom could be that our little one was no where near as advanced as that other beautiful little girl.  Of course my Husband (being the sweet man that he is) reassured me over and over again that our daughter is perfect and developing just like she should.  I knew he was right.  I knew that!  I knew how many skills she had mastered up to this point.  I knew how hard she was trying to move on to the next one.  But, I was still upset.  Well, not anymore because there is no stopping her rolling all over the house!

I am very much looking forward to what is coming next.  She is already pushing herself up to stand when we're holding her.  And just yesterday she started to fall forward when I was holding her between my legs.  She reached out an stopped herself by putting her hands on her legs.  She sat there for another minute or so, fully supporting herself!  She's so strong and healthy!  It makes me a very, very proud Momma!!

What has your little one accomplished recently?  What was the most amazing accomplishment for you to watch your little one do?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rootbeer Float Cookies

Here it is!  My first Pinterest review.  What better way to start than with something that sounds like it's too good to be true?!?!



Here's the original post if you'd like to check it out:


 The recipe is a pretty straight forward cookie and icing combination.

Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp. root beer extract or concentrate
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

 Frosting Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar (or icing sugar)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. root beer extract or concentrate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in buttermilk and root beer extract. 
Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. 
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375º for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. 
In a mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients. Beat until smooth. 
Frost cooled cookies.

Cost for the ingredients we did not have on hand:
Rootbeer concentrate: $3.28
Baking Soda: $0.58
Butter: $1.68
Total: $5.54

*I do not buy buttermilk.  I make it by adding 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes (in the fridge).

Total prep, mixing and baking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

I feel that this recipe is very simple.  Mix butter and sugar first - typical of cookies.  Add wet ingredients, then dry.  Mix until well blended.  I used a large soup spoon for dropping the cookies on to the cookie tray, so they were bigger than suggested.  The icing was a great confectioner's sugar blend!  I used to be pretty bad at making frosting this way, but this exact recipe would work with any flavoring.  The top of the icing gets firm but stays soft underneath, which is perfect!

A few things I would like to note are that I made these cookies pretty big and still ended up with 44 cookies.  You could easily cut the recipe in half to end up with only a couple dozen.  My baking time was a little longer than suggested.  I baked two full cookie sheets, one on each rack in the oven.  The bottom rack finished in 12 minutes, the top finished just over 13 minutes.  Also, the amount of icing is the perfect amount for this many cookies.  If you are too generous in the beginning when icing your cookies, you may run out!  Finally, my cookies turned out light in color, not brown like the original picture leads you to believe. 

Here are photos documenting the process:









 Taste and evaluation:

I have solicited the input of my husband on how this baking expedition turned out (he says he doesn't like all sorts of sweet stuff, but he sure does like to help make it disappear!).   We tried them with and without the icing, because sometimes things are pretty good both ways.

Without icing:

My Husband: I can taste the rootbeer, but the texture is somewhat alarming because it is incredibly similar to a pancake.  The cookie does not have the desired cookie crunch that I feel it should.

Me:  Rootbeer flavor is definitely present in the cookie itself. They are a soft, chewy texture and moist. Without icing I feel they would be best paired with a glass of milk or maybe a scoop of ice cream!

With Icing:

My Husband: I do not feel that the icing compliments the cookie very well. Depending on how the cookie is eaten (icing to the tongue or vice versa) one always overpowers the other. I also feel that the icing required for this type of cookie should be a much creamier type of icing, more similar to a cake frosting. The Confectioner sugar icing can feel somewhat gritty at times, and overpowered the amount of rootbeer extract that was used.

Me: I think the cookies are surprisingly light, which may cause you to eat many more than you would if they were very sugary or heavy!  The icing is quite sweet, so be careful how much you put on top!  Too much would completely overpower the subtle cookie.  These would be a good addition to a themed party (a 50’s sock hop, perhaps) or for something different than your average chocolate chip cookie.

Overall:

This recipe is easy to follow and most of the ingredients are common kitchen staples so it would be low cost to prepare.  The cookies turn out to be a generous size with plenty to hand out.  Since there is milk in the recipe I stored them in the refrigerator, and I have got to say that they are absolutely delightful cold!  I would recommend the Six Sisters' Stuff Rootbeer Float cookies.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Are you a pinner or a maker?

I haven't been on Pinterest for very long.  I guess you could say it was because I didn't understand what all of the buzz was about.  I am not one to surf the internet without a purpose, and to me, that's what Pinterest was.  However, after my older sister found a really cute pattern for a Spring Wreath I decided to check it out.  I waited almost a week for an invitation!  This of course made me feel more annoyed than special to be joining. 

Well, it took some time, but I have grown to very much enjoy the Pinterest boards!  I love to see what others are posting and get cooking and crafting ideas.  I kept pinning and pinning with visions of spiced pumpkin dip and little ruffly dresses dancing in my head. 

After seeing all of those cute pictures and seemingly simple recipes and instructions I decided to dive in - head first.  I've gathered bits and pieces of crafting supplies for some of the projects, but have not yet completed anything.  So here is the next step in my blogging life.  I will take those mouth watering and eye oogling projects, complete them, then report back here on cost (as close as possible), time, difficulty, pictured steps and actual end result.  Keep an eye out for the weekend posts.  I hope that you read along for the duration!!

P.S.  If there are any pins you'd like to see completed, but are just not sure how hard they'd actually be send them my way.  I'll see what I can do : )

Thursday, August 2, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week 2012

I am a breastfeeding Momma.  Before I even knew I wanted to have a child I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  To me we make milk for a reason.  The reason is that little life that we produce.  Our milk is the healthiest treat that we can give to them.  And boy, do they want it!!

I understand it is not every mother's desire to breastfeed.  I understand that medically a small number of people cannot breastfeed.  I do, however, wish every woman would give it a try before ruling it out. 

I am one of those people that will scour the internet or read a bunch of books to get all of the information on a topic that I possibly can.  I read (and my Husband did as well) a number of books on breastfeeding.  I searched through many sites to find every possible ounce of knowledge I could on the subject.  I attended La Leche League meetings and Bradley Birthing classes (with Hubby) from the time I was 4 months pregnant.  I felt like I had a pretty solid foundation to get the process started. Not to mention a very strong and supportive group of women (and a Husband) who were very willing to help. 

When my little girl was born I was so overwhelmed with many feelings but was 100% determined to nurse her as soon as she was in my arms.  I tried.  She seemed interested, but I was distracted by what the doctor was doing.  I'll spare you the details.  I handed her to my Husband who went with the nurse to thoroughly check out our beautiful little lady. We were blessed to know that she was, in fact, given a perfect bill of health.  After I was all cleaned up and in the room that would be our home for the next two days I finally got to see that little bundle again!!

Of course I wanted to try nursing her again as soon as I had her near me.  We tried a few times.  She latched on and gave a few hearty sucks, then stopped.  I knew it would be a learning process for us both so I didn't want to push her too hard.  Plus the little one was so tired.  We tried to feed a number of more times.  Each time she seemed to get a little better, but just not as good as I had expected the process to go.  I gladly took the advice of the nursing staff when they asked if I needed help.  After showing them what we were doing they all said things were going well.  I felt so great about it all, thanks to their encouragement, that when the lactation consultant came to visit as we were getting discharged we talked about things not involving breastfeeding. 

The following day when we took our daughter to the pediatrician he showed concern for her color.  She was a little orange, but to us, jaundice is totally normal in breastfed babies.  She had been tested several times at the hospital before we left with no worries.  He wanted her tested again.  So, reluctantly, we did.  It is so hard to know your little one is going to really hate what you are about to allow happen to them. Well, the test came back a little high, but not alarming.  Either way the doctor wanted us to take her in and undergo light therapy.

When we got to the hospital they were planning on giving me a bed to sleep on so I could be there all night to nurse her.  My husband was permitted to stay as well.  The shortest version possible is that the "bed" I was given was a slab of wood with a sheet on it.  My Husband slept on the three feet of floor space we had available beside our daughter's bed.  We didn't even have a chair.  Our baby girl screamed through most of the night.  She hated having the protective coverings on her eyes.  Can't say that I blame her it had to be so scary.  We were not encouraged to pick her up and take her out from under the lights so for most of the night we just got to listen to her howl.  So much so that she eventually lost her voice.  The staff was concerned at how often we were feeding her so they told us we had to nurse her every two hours (she was on a consistent every three hours schedule for the first three days of her life).  After the first two feedings she refused to nurse.  The staff brought me a pump so that we could measure her milk intake.  I declined using the bottles that they brought us.  Instead we fed her with a dropper.  By the morning my Husband and I were completely exhausted and our daughter would not latch on to my breast at all.

After a very heated conversation with the head of the medical staff at the hospital a lactation consultant showed up in our "room."  She immediately handed me a nipple shield and showed me a different hold (I was extremely full and her little mouth didn't have much to grab on to).  Things worked exactly how they were supposed to instantly!  From that point on she ate like a champ (every three hours)!

The next seven weeks I tried very hard to get my daughter to latch on to my breast without the nipple shield.  It was frustrating for everyone.  She cried.  I cried.  My Husband tried intervening.  I called the leader of our La Leche League group about five times asking what I as doing wrong.  She continually encouraged me to keep trying.  She suggested trying to nurse her without the shield in between our regular feedings, starting with the shield and removing it halfway through the feeding and vice versa.  She relayed stories to me about past experiences of others and their trials with discontinuing the use of the nipple shield.  I tried harder and with more patience for the health of my daughter.  Finally, after weeks and weeks of struggle she took my breast without the shield!!!

During one of my first meetings at La Leche League one of the mothers told me, "You just have to get past your hardest day."  I am so thankful for that piece of advice.  I kept repeating it over and over during those very difficult times reminding myself how important breastfeeding was to all of us involved.  I have since had the opportunity to pass on that very wise information to other mothers who are going through problems of their own with nursing.

For us, breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience.  My daughter has almost tripled her birth weight at 5 months old all because of the milk I have produced for her!  I look forward to each feeding now and cherish those moments as the very special times that they are.  I hope to continue this beautiful act with my young one until she decides to stop.  At which point I may have "to get past the hardest day."

What have your experiences been with feeding your newborn?  Did you have difficult times?

Monday, July 30, 2012

To sun or not to sun

Our daughter is 5 months old.  At our most recent check-up with her pediatrician he said we could go ahead and start using sunscreen if we were going to be outside.  Living in a place where it gets hot has kept us indoors most days this summer.  However, our new home came with a pool and I am not one to sit and look at the pool from inside the house.  I want to be in it!  So, I lather myself and baby up with sunscreen.  Put on our swimsuits (and her hat) and off we go. 

This simple act has become topic of debate in our home because the sun is shining when we go outside to swim.  Mind you, the baby is wearing a full bathing suit.  Covered in SPF 50.  Plus wearing a sunhat that covers her entire head.  The only exposed parts are arms and legs.  We are in the pool no more than 30-45 minutes.  Then we dry off on a towel in the shade for a few minutes before coming back inside.

Our daughter loves to be outdoors!  She would stay outside all day if possible.  She loves to look at the trees and plants.  I wish we could have her out more often, but it's just too hot right now.  We do take a walk every night (all 3 of us) before her bath time.  This gives her another chance to be outside with her father and I.  They aren't long walks, but she enjoys them so very much.  It's funny how someone so small knows what she likes : )

What are your thoughts and feelings on taking little ones outdoors in the summer?  Do those thoughts change when it gets cold out?  Please share!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Java, joe, espresso...

Many years ago, during my first couple years in college, I started having some stomach troubles.  No matter what I ate (and you could imagine how healthy I was eating as a college student living on my own) my stomach did not feel well afterwards.  Finally I had to go see someone to help figure out what the issue was.  It ended up being that I was lactose intolerant, but that was discovered after many, many tests and tracking my diet (after all of the tests).  The news wasn't exactly shocking because there are plenty of people who cannot properly digest cow's milk.  However, it did impact my eating habits quite a bit at the time.   

During the process of elimination my doctor asked a number of questions about daily intake of certain foods or beverages.  He was a little surprised that I really didn't drink pop - and still don't very often.  He was extremely shocked at how many ounces of coffee I was drinking in a day.  He was determined that the cause of all of my issues was the amount of caffeine I consumed daily.  So, through a long and awful withdrawal process, I cut out the coffee.  All of it.  Since then I rarely drink the stuff because of the effects it now has on me.  (Of course, after I found out that wasn't the issue I was pretty bummed, but decided to not start up again since I was feeling better.)

Well, due to all of this moving business and having to be top notch taking care of the babe I had a hankering and caved when we got to Panera for breakfast.  I ordered the smallest cup I could get.  Drank about 1/4 of the cup.  Then operated in hyper-drive the rest of the day and well in to the evening! 

Now you could say that it's great to know coffee will boost me like that so on days that I'm really dragging I can take a few swigs and feel wide awake for hours on end.  Or you could wonder, like I do, about the effect of drinking so much that it really doesn't keep you awake anymore. 

I learned through a very wise woman (whom I'll rave about in future posts) that an apple has more good for you boosters in it than any other food or drink you could consume.  I experimented with this for a couple months before I gave in to agreement.  That saying "An Apple a day keeps the doctor away" had to come from somewhere!  There is also something to be said for the power of mint.  Try rubbing some mint on your palms and taking a whiff of them when you feel drowsy.  Does it perk you up?  I know it works for me!  (Mint also has many, many other great benefits.  Look for them in upcoming posts!)

What do you do to energize or stay awake on days that you are tired?  Is caffeine a regular part of your day?  Have you tried other sources to help you energize?  If so, will you share them please?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unpacking

Watching the movers put all of our belongings in to boxes is nothing new to us.  We've both moved many times.  As a military family we have moved twice across an ocean. We figured moving right down the street would be easy peasy!  Not so much.  We did take some considerations and moved our very sentimental or valuable stuff ourselves to save our worries.  However, most of our things were packed and moved by hired movers.  There were some things damaged and broken, which irritates me, but I feel that is what we get for not doing it ALL by ourselves.  Though with a small baby it seemed like an impossible task for the two of us!

Now the process of unpacking has begun.  Some parts of the house have been easy such as the kitchen and bathrooms.  Our room wasn't too tough either, just debating over who gets what part of the closet.  The nursery has taken me some time.  I believe this is because of the vision I have in my head of what it should look like (cue nesting instinct).  It will get there, it's just slower than the rest.  The other room that will likely pose a hitch is the office.  Up until this point we have either sat on the floor or at the $50 desk.  Now we have a whole room to dedicate to a desk and maybe some bookshelves for all of the books I've held on to over the years (not to mention my pottery and artwork) or a seating area.  The possibilities are endless and intimidating!

As I take our belongings out of the boxes, or watch my husband put our dishes in the cupboards, I can honestly say I am flooded with so many memories.  Good ones.  Bad ones.  New ones and old.  It is very humbling to know that so many unforgettable times were created around the objects we have obtained through the years.  What is quite exciting though is to think ahead to the future and what wonderful memories we will be creating while we grow as a family in our new home! 

Do you have a particular object in your home that triggers a very strong memory?   What is it?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shhhhh....don't wake the baby!

After about a month and 3 weeks of very busy scheduling our daughter is as ready for a break as we are!  Between traveling home to Northeast Ohio from Virginia and back again, getting the new house move-in ready, getting the apartment move-out ready and missing all of the people she met last month she is one tuckered out little lady!  Her nap schedule has been pretty bad for the most part  (and I worked very hard to get her on a great sleep and nap schedule prior to our trip home).  Last night our normally stupendous night time sleeper seemed to not make it in to a deep sleep at all, which meant my Husband and I did not sleep well either.  This morning she only took two 15 minute naps instead of her normal hour.  However, I did get some solace when I finally got her down for her used-to-be-normal nap time.  Though this one may not last as long as they used to, she has been out for two hours and sleeping very soundly.  For all of our sakes I hope that this is the start of getting her back on to a good nap and sleep schedule.

What tricks have you used to keep up that napping schedule when you have to be out of the house?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's all coming together

My apologies for the lapse in posts.  We had some very hectic days trying to get the new house painted, our sentimental or valuable things packed here and taking of our little one.  However, all of the hard work has been paying off because the walls are looking FAB-U-LOUS!  Just as a little taster I'll let you in on what we did so far.

Living Room - blue striped walls
Master Bedroom - very dark greyish purple walls
Master Bathroom - medium to dark lavender walls (our bathroom theme is black and white)
Nursery - light green walls with a forest coming soon thanks to Aunt Liz : )

All of this work has also shone light on situation that we need to remedy.  Our little lady loves to have attention, just like all babies I'm sure.  This need for someone to be around is totally fine as long as we don't have tasks that actually need to be done.  Getting our house ready to move in to is not something we can put off at all because our lease is up in a few days.  We have to get the house ready to move in and the apartment ready for inspection to move out.  It is work in both places!  Our attentiveness has been running a bit short since we've been so busy.  Our daughter is still in the room with one of us at all times.  We do talk to her, sing to her and pop over to play for short periods of time but we cannot give her the amount of attention that she is used to getting at home.  We are not fans of letting her cry it out because that technique frustrates everyone in the room with an end result of our baby girl becoming very distressed.  So with more long days of moving and getting our new home ready we are all getting quite exhausted.  I'm ready for some advice!

What are some tips to help keep our 5 month old entertained while we work on the move?