Thursday, December 19, 2013

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

I have a challenge for you moms who use Facebook. 
It's kind of a New Year's Resolution type challenge.
Do you think you're up for it?

I challenge you to change your profile picture to a picture of yourself for the year 2014.  
And I challenge you to change your profile name to your first and last name only.

Now do you understand the title of this entry? "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"
His name is John Schmidt.

If you want to still allow people to search for you by your maiden name or your three Catholic middle names, then use the option under settings to add that to your alternative name.
Go to settings (the little cog/wheel on the top right,) then account settings and you will click on name and then see this screen.  Give your first and your last and then, if you want, add the "Jacob Jingleheimer" in the "Alternate Name" part.
It's just easier this way.  Have you ever tried tagging someone and 14 names come up as part of their name?  Who wants all that!?

And the profile picture challenge is probably going to be the hardest.  I mean, after all, your babies are SO cute.  They really are, I know they are.  And I love looking at the pictures you post of them. 
But I'm friends with YOU and I want to see YOUR face. 
You are beautiful.  Your friends like to see your face.
And let's be honest, when 20 of your friends have babies as their profile pictures and confusing Facebook names, sometimes it's hard to even figure out who my news feed is talking about!!!

Embrace yourself.  And put up a picture of yourself. 
If you want, feel free to squeeze in all your kiddos with you, but YOU still have to be in the picture.
Deal?  Deal.

What other changes are you making for 2014?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

i like doughnuts

I haven't been inspired to write about motherhood very much lately.  I thought I would be busting at the seams to blog about all things pregnancy for the second time, but I haven't. 

There is one thing that keeps coming back to mind though, so I figured I should share it with you because I'm probably not the only one who has felt this way.

I hate getting "fat" while I'm pregnant.
I loathe watching the numbers on the scale climb higher and higher.
And I can't stand that it bothers me.

It shouldn't, right?  I mean, there's a person growing inside of me!  But it still doesn't stop me from thinking those thoughts!

But for me, it isn't simply 'thin' that I care about.  Yes, I miss my early-twenties metabolism that allowed me to consume half a dozen chocolate glazed Krispy Kremes without batting an eye lash...

But more than that, I miss FEELING healthy!  Going to the gym was an activity in college.  My husband and I use to jog together in the evenings for fun!  Now instead of putting on running shorts in the evening, I usually tuck in my toddler and have my lounge pants on by 8:00pm.

But let's not throw in the towel on our healthy bodies.  Let's keep trying to take care of them even as we creep into our late twenties, our thirties, and beyond.  Let's dust off our treadmills and wash off our fruits and veggies.  Let's resolve to lift some free weights while we watch our evening television shows! 

And let's also always cut ourselves some slack, remembering that we do lead different lives than our younger selves did!  It's ok to indulge now and again, but maybe not all the doughnuts!

Friday, October 25, 2013

six things to avoid saying/asking to a new mom {and our upcoming family of four}

I've been recalling a lot of old memories of having a newborn lately.  In part because a billion women I know are popping them out left and right, but also in part because I decided to join them. 
Suprise!
We're expecting our second baby this coming May!

 
In honor of this exciting news, I'd like to give you a slightly sarcastic, possibly too blunt list of things new moms don't want to hear or be asked.

  1. Is he sleeping ok?
    Um, no, he's a newborn.  He's up every couple hours and we're both exhausted, but thanks for reminding me.  Instead consider asking how long his stretches of sleep are and then encourage the mom that it is a great number no matter what it is.
  2. Is he a good baby?
    What does that even mean?  If he's not good does that mean he's bad?  Does God make bad babies?  If I answer no, will you go trade him out for a good one?  I hear you only have 90 days with a gift receipt.  How about commenting about how calm and sweet he is being and if you could come over again another day and take him for a walk (then you can judge for yourself if he's a good baby.)
  3. You look tired.  Are you getting enough sleep?
    No, I'm probably not.  I have a newborn, remember?  You're welcome to come hold my sweet kid for a couple of hours while I take a nap.  Except no mom will come out and say that, so you should offer to do it.  And don't be vague and ask about coming over sometime...ask if you can come over tomorrow at 2pm.
  4. Enjoy this time, they grow up so fast, they'll be in college before you know it.
    I'm 100% sure you are right.  But right now these past 2 hours have been exhausting and he doesn't look any bigger and he's been crying for 30 minutes.  It's ok if I occasionally wish him a little older.  Maybe you should recall to yourself how it feels like yesterday that your kids were this little and you remember how it can sometimes feel like the days drag on forever.
  5. You just wait until he starts doing this or that, it is so much funnier/cuter/better than what he is doing now. 
    Ok, so maybe you don't say it quite like that, but that's how we hear it.  Be nice, our hormones are wacky and we're still not confident we're not screwing it up.  Instead try to be in the moment with me.  I haven't experienced a messy blowout yet, so let me tell my story without you one-upping me about the bigger and better blowout your child once had.  Make me feel like my kid is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
  6. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.
    Look, I'm not going to do that.  Not only am I exhausted and barely hanging on for dear life, I would also feel rude and weird calling you up to ask you to come load my dishwasher.  Please just take the initiative (if your offer was serious) and do it.  Call ME and ask if now would be an ok time to come vacuum.  We'd love to just answer the phone and say, yes, now would be a good time, thank you!
I could probably keep going.  And I kind of wish I could keep going for at least four more to have nice round list of ten, but six will have to do for now.  And it should be noted that I'm totally guilty of some of these myself, but it's a good reminder for all of us.  Being a mom is hard.  Living on little sleep is the worst.  Hopefully you enjoyed it and were reminded a little too.  

Have a great weekend.
Love,
Mary

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Still Here {guest post}

My sweet friend, Hannah, has agreed to share a recent post of hers with us today! 
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 
 


I've decided to stop referring to myself as any form of “Mother” in the third person. I have a bad habit of doing this on most social media platforms. I’ll say, “mommy needs a nap…” Or “mommy break time!”… as if it’s some self-awarded, term of endearment. 

What I’ve realized is that, for myself and my particular genetic makeup, this is no affectionate, endearing team. You see, I’ve lost myself while in the third person. It’s inevitable that I’ll call myself “mommy” or “momma” while speaking to my children… (Mommy said NO, Samuel. Etc) but I certainly do not have to call myself “mother” TO myself or the world at large. 

Yes, I am a mother. Just as I am a wife and a friend and a daughter. But this is not all that I am. I am me. My name is Hannah. There are many, MANY attributes that make me who God created 26 years ago. 

The other afternoon, after sorting through unpacked boxes from our recent move from central Georgia to the Savannah coast, I found my old piano books. One book in particular I remember playing from every Christmas since about the age of 16. I flipped to my favorite piece inside and scooted the bench closer to the pedals. In the next few minutes, I played the song from beginning to end. I shocked and amazed myself—and somewhere deep inside, I proved SOMETHING to my inner being that simply had been waiting impatient and expectant for quite some time. 

Now, as I played this piece, keep in mind and picture, if you will, that I had a 23 month old banging on the keys beside me the whole time. But it didn’t deter me from completing the piece with all the emotions required, all the notes needing playing and all the dynamics being monitored. 

When I was to the end, I started crying. 

It’s easy to lose yourself in motherhood. It’s easy to go through the motions of breast feeding, changing diapers, doing laundry, fighting picky toddlers, soothing crocodile tears, calming colicky babies, and then getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep in one night. It’s easy to get in a rut. In a scheduled routine of wake up, play house, go to bed. 

But I’ve decided to stop the mundane madness. I am still me. I posted a picture on Instagram earlier with a comment of “Nap times mean a reading and coffee break for mommy”… I immediately felt this twinge of regret and heartache inside and deleted the comment. I changed it instead to: nap times mean a reading and coffee break for Hannah! 
Because the facts remain that although, yes, I am a mother to two wonderful boys, I am also the same young girl who loved to write and dreamed of impacting the world with her strength and passion found in Christ. Although I am a mother and wife, I am still the same young lady who wrote songs and lyrics, longing to make that human connection with crowds of people—even if in a lowly coffee house on a college campus. 

I still have tremendous dreams. I still contain passions yet to be tapped into. My mask may seem dull… Changing diapers, bathing bottoms, and serving meals… But behind my disguise is Hannah. I’m still here.
If you want to read more of Hannah's post, check out her blog: lovingsrightlaughingsgood.tumblr.com

Thursday, October 10, 2013

community

Over the past week I've been trying to figure out if I want to write about the instincts a mom has when her baby is sick, but as this week has progressed and I have gotten more and more cranky, I realized I'd rather talk to you about community.

For those of you who work outside the home, this probably doesn't pertain to you.  However for those of us who stay at home day after day, week after week, the job of caring for our children can get really lonely.

During Sam's first year of life, I didn't really have any "mommy friends" to hang out with.  Sometimes I even wondered to myself, am I really the only one going through this right now?  Where is everyone else!?

And then, at the turn of his first year, I noticed something started to change.  I had a (now) friend reach out to me at church, pointing out that we had a mutual friend (who is an absolute awesome person) so I knew she must be legit.  A few months later I got invited to go to the park with some babies and mamas...and I went...and made small talk...and felt slightly awkward, but I noticed my mood began to change.  I was starting to enjoy my days a little more.  The fog of winter wasn't so bad when there were other moms with which to navigate through the fog.

I went to a graduation party for a (now) friend who I really didn't know all that well at the time, but I thought, if I want to have friends, I need to put some effort into it.  I'm not a recluse, I have friends, but there's something about walking through life with people who know basically exactly what you're going through that makes it easier to handle.  I brought my friend a congratulations card with Justin Bieber on it.  I wanted to be light-hearted and funny...now I love it even more because I have fun teasing my Canadian friend, so it only seems appropriate that I should give her a card clad with a Canadian born pop star!

So how does this all tie in with mama-instincts about sick children?
 My son started running a fever on Sunday night and now four days later, he's finally fever free.  However, for the four days that we have been quarantined in our house, I've had flashbacks to those lonely days before we actually got out of the house to do things!  I've been irritable and unhappy and I'm realizing it's directly related to being cooped up!

three little buddies, filthy dirty and having fun while their mamas have fun too
If there's something I'd like to pass on as helpful mommy advice it's this:  get in community.  Find other moms who you can spend time with who have children with similar ages.  It's an awesome feeling to sit on a park bench and have adult conversation with someone while your kid happily plays with his friend.

***I feel like I should add a disclaimer to this blog post.  There are many other good friends that the Lord has placed in my life along with their children, but to make my point, I thought I should keep it short and sweet.  God is good all the time.  And I'm very thankful to have a fever free child so we can get out and play tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9-11-88 Taking It Back Old School

Good News, pack of 25 tracts

I'm sure there will be several blog posts today asking, "Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?"  But today I'm going to take it back even further...thirteen years earlier.  Twenty five years ago I made the biggest decision of my life.  I asked Jesus into my heart--FOR-EV-ER (now you're thinking about Sandlot, come back...)

I was little...4 months from turning 4 years old.  My dad wasn't home and my mom had chosen to read me a children's tract...it was actually the one pictured above and you can still buy them here.  She read it to me and I felt the urgency...I needed to become a Christian RIGHT THEN.  My mom encouraged me to wait until my dad came home so he could be a part of it, but I demanded it must happen then (I mean, after all, what if I died before my dad got home!?)

Right there in our hallway in Tennessee, I said the sinner's prayer and forever joined the family of Believers.  I'm so grateful my mom "let me" pray that prayer.

(How does this relate to my blog, you ask!?)

Everyday my son gets a little older and understands a little more.  His receptive language blows my mind!  And I'm realizing I'm the Christian that he hangs out with EVERY DAY.  The things I expose him to and my behavior shape his view of Christians.  Wow, a privilege and what pressure!

I've been having fun seeking out Christian kids' music, DVDs, and even recalling kid-friendly prayers my family use to say at the dinner table.

Is there something special you remember from your childhood that helped shape your heart as a Christian today?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

i'd prefer you read this like a rap, not a poem. thanks.

Giggles and laughter fill the air,
Drool on my shirt, I don't care.
So glad we're not where we once were,
Where days and nights were one horrible blur.
You screamed and cried and I did too,
But no matter what, I always love you.
I praise the Lord we've passed through the crazy,
As it turns out, you're one precious baby.
I'll throw you on my hip and we'll go out to play, 
I'm thankful to God for this brand new day.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama, (part 2)

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama,

I wrote you a little note recently that might have made you mad, or it might have made you think.  Or maybe you didn't even read it. (Here it is, if that is the case.)  I just wanted to share a little follow up to let you know what I think...hopefully not in an OVERLY opinionated way, but in just a sharing and caring kind of way.

I hope to hit the major points that I have found to be hugely controversial throughout parents that I've encountered either on the web or in real life.  Ready?  Here we go.

Breastfeeding.  Yay or nay?  

Yay.  I believe in the benefits of it and hope to be an encouragement to others who want to try.  However, I also believe that some mamas just don't have the lifestyle to support it and it is more stress and guilt for the mama than it is a benefit for the baby.  So if it works, great...stick with it for more than a month if you can...and if it doesn't work out, that's fine too.  One mom isn't better than another because of it.

Co-sleeping.  Yay or nay?
Yay and nay.  HA!  I remember those sleepy, hazy first days with my baby.  And if you're able to nurse in the night, it's pretty easy to start co-sleeping, because who wants to be moving so much in the middle of the night!?  Not me.  However, as it turns out, our kiddo was a SUPER loud sleeper.  He was getting way more sleep than mama, so we transitioned him into his room about 4 weeks in so we could get some sleep!

I'm hesitant to support co-sleeping when it involves promoting snacking all through the night or when it extends for several months or years.  I am not a supporter of "the family bed."  Call me crazy, but my bed is for me and my husband.  It's good for our marriage and establishing limits with our kids.

Baby-wearing.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  I love it in theory and I tried to do it a lot.  However, I feel like I actually didn't do it that much with my first due to sleep-deprivation and being so sore all the time.  My back couldn't handle it.  My sister swears by the Ergo carrier.  I used two different carriers.  I will probably try to borrow her Ergo a little bit next time!  However, the free hand baby carrier was fantastic because it was well supportive like the Ergo, but allowed baby to sit in a comfortable forward-facing position!  That's so hard to find, as most carriers just end up letting baby hang off the front of mama.  This one got baby in a bit of a seated position!  (Baby can face mama, face out, and even go on mama's back with this carrier!  Very versatile.)

And of course, who doesn't love a good Moby wrap.  Lots of fabric, lots of wrapping, but allowed me to feel like my baby was very secure and is great for little snugly babies.  I've heard good things about the ka'tan carrier, but haven't tried it!

Pacifiers.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  Or more like, heck yeah!  The only thing we chose not to do is go back in his room and put it back in his mouth when he was little bitty.  If it helped him fall asleep, great.  But we didn't want to train him that when it came out, mom and dad came back in the room.  We wanted to encourage sleeping independently.  (That's not to say there weren't times we did anything and everything just to help him sleep!!!)  My little man didn't seem to have any probably nursing because of the paci and the benefit I found was when he just wanted to nurse to stay asleep I could swap in the paci and put him down to sleep instead of allowing him to sleep-nurse.

Cloth diapering. Yay or nay?
Yay...I guess.  We have cloth diapers.  We use them sometimes.  But we usually go in phases.   We'll do disposable for a month or two and then do cloth for a month or two.  I guess, maybe sadly, we don't do it for the environment, but more so just to save money.  So every time I use them I am saving money, but I don't stress if we use disposables for awhile.  I really don't think one is better parenting choice than the other...just maybe more economical.

CIO.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  While the cry-it-out method can be heart-breaking at times.  I disagree with those who argue babies don't cry unless they need something.  Well, I guess I only sort of disagree.  Sometimes babies just cry because they are TIRED (or over-tired) and I think it's important that they learn how to settle themselves down and go to sleep on their own.  I like sleep.  I like being able to have a break from my child.  I like teaching my child self-sufficiency and independence.

Scheduling.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  I think what I've learned from having a tiny baby that has grown in to a "big boy" is that in the beginning it's a little more easy to be flexible.  Babies have so many growth spurts and it's hard to schedule feedings when your little one wants to eat ravenously all the time.  But once he's grown up a little bit he likes knowing what's coming.

When I worked with toddlers in a child care center for almost 3 years, I found that they LOVED knowing what was coming next.  Kids expect routines and knowing what's coming next helps them feel like they have a little control in their life (which is a major thing when a kiddo turns two.)

Plus, let's be real, I'm a planner like my mom.  I like knowing I will have a predictable break in my day where I will be able to get things done that I can't do while caring for a child--or sometimes just take a nap!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Did I cover all the major ones?  I know you may not care about my opinions, but I think it's important to realize that some moms can value attachment-parent stances as well as the opposite.  We don't all have to be extremest when raising children.  A lot of things won't irreparably damage your child.

I think one of the biggest things to remember when parenting is whether or not you've prayed about it.  God was a dad, too.  He may not have had to figure out sleep-scheduling with His baby, Jesus, but He knows how you feel.  Jesus experienced real human emotion.  He struggled in every way.  He is SUPER wise.
Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Love,
Mary

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama,

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama,

I'm going to do my best to keep my cool while I compose this letter, because I know, at times, all of us mamas can be overly-opinionated about one thing or another.

However, over the past year and a half of parenting my dear one, you have gotten on my nerves a time or two.  Sorry, but it's the truth.  And I'm writing you this letter just in case you don't realize what you're doing to me and other moms.

You're hurting us with your super strong, often narrow view of how a mama should raise her baby.
You make us feel inadequate.
You make us feel like we're doing it wrong.
You make us feel like we're going to irreparably screw up our off spring.

I know that you have articles to back up your perspective on parenting.  It's been made clear that you think letting a baby cry it out will screw them up in the long run.   It's no secret that you think breastfeeding is the best feeding (and you're right, but sometimes some moms don't or can't breastfeed and they are still great mamas.)

And what about those of you who are in the opposing camp to the attachment parents?  You don't even get a name!  Not fair!  I suppose you could be called "Baby Wise" mamas, or "Detachment Parents" but that definitely doesn't sound fair to you!  You can be present and active in your child's life with out sharing a bed with them. (That's not to say we didn't share a bed a time or two when I was so tired and just wanted SLEEEEP!  **See diagram below.)

Before I go off on too many tangents, I just want to say this: be nice, overly-opinionated mama!

The crash course on becoming a mom (that starts the day you give birth) is hard enough without your opinions making us feel lousy.

Overly-opinionated mama, I think it's important for you to remember that for every article you have read, there's another article disputing it.  For every experience you've had, someone else has had the opposite.  So just chill, ok.  If someone asks you directly for your opinion, give it.  If they don't, keep calm and remember we're all still learning what works best for our own family--it is probably different than what works best with your family.

Overly-opinionated mama, can we still be friends?  I don't want it to be weird--and neither does your other friend who also doesn't want to hear your very strong opinions.

Love,
Mary
(Here's a follow-up to this post.)
**Ok, so while I was in the middle of blogging this, I was looking up a picture to put on the post.  As it turns out, I just stumbled upon one of the funniest parenting blogs I've ever read.  Check it out.  Oh, and here's the picture I wanted to share (I got it from their site.):

http://i.imgur.com/J2BRj.jpg

Thursday, July 18, 2013

#tbt One Year Ago

It was one year ago that I started off the day nursing my baby for, what I didn't know, would be the last time.

For two weeks prior I had been having weird pains in my lungs and severe headaches.  I took headache medicine and assumed it would just work itself out.  However, the night of July 17, my "lung pain" (chest pain) had become so severe that I could not get a deep breathe and was in tears trying to get to sleep because I knew my dear sweet baby would be up in the morning with or without me having a good night sleep.  By the grace of God I was able to fall asleep with the promise to my husband that I would call the doctor in the morning.

July, 18, 2012 I called my primary care physician to make an appointment about my chest pain and trouble breathing--words that a PCP practically sound the alarm for (as they should.)  They directed me to the ER and suggested going to the Good Samaritan location because it would be less busy.  I arranged to drop off Sam for a few hours with my mom and drove myself to the ER.  I calmly checked myself in explaining my severe chest pain and trouble breathing.  I sat in the empty waiting room as they prepared my papers and then gave me my bracelet.

By this time I was nervous all the time, didn't sleep well, and had my current problems on top of it.  Since I was never diagnosed with PPD, I figured all of those symptoms were just coming to a head and I was about to implode. (As it turns out, the nervousness was a symptom of the condition I was about to be diagnosed with.)

I answered all the nurses questions, got an IV, and officially became a little scared.  Also, I was thinking about how my son was going to need to nurse soon, so I needed to get a diagnosis and head home.

I'm not really sure why I didn't understand that chest pain was kind of a big deal.  Now I know!

After more doctors came and asked similar questions and lots of other questions, and then the same exact questions over and over, they decided to run some tests.  (I texted my husband the above picture and suggested that maybe he come over from his office.)  I was at a teaching hospital, so I had the student doctor, then the resident, then the attending doctor all come in and talk to me.  I realized the severity when the attending came in.  (Lucky for me I had been watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix, so a lot of the things that happened to me or people I met weren't so much scary to me as they were amusing.  I felt like I was making my own episode of Grey's.)

I ended up having an EKG (electrocardiogram) also called an Echo.  They put a bunch of stickers on my chest to monitor things, then a nice tech lady came in and did a sort of ultrasound around my heart.  I also had an x-ray and a few more tests, one of which included a CT scan (or a CAT scan.)  That was the test that made me thinking I really must be filming an episode of a hospital tv show!

Finally it was determined that there was a thick layer of fluid around my heart that was causing the pressure.  This is called Pericarditis or also a Pericardial effusion.  The doctors used the terms interchangeably.   One doctor (I think the eager resident) suggested extracting the fluid by jabbing a giant needle in my chest.  Thankfully, the attending had a less-invasive solution!!!

The doctors went ahead and admitted me to stay overnight in the hospital for observation.  Because of the 'contrast' they gave me during the CT scan and some other drugs that had been pumped into me by that time, I was instructed to pump and dump my milk for the time being.  It would take 48 hours until my milk would be safe for Sammy.

What!?  Overnight?  Pump and dump!?  This was suppose to be a quick trip to the doctor and back home.  I guess I was wrong.  I talked to my mom and told her where she could find a bottle and the formula that had been mailed to me for free from the formula companies that I had saved "just in case."  If ever there was a "just in case" time, this was it!

I had my family praying for me and by this time my husband had come to stay and my dear friend was kind enough to bring me an overnight bag of clothes and deodorant, etc.   While Lee J got Sam settled in at home for his first night away from his parents and without nursing, I got settled in at the hospital.

The next day the doctors told me my options.  I was offered the option of taking ibuprofen in high doses to bring down the inflammation.  This would allow me to continue breastfeeding, but was not a sure thing solution.  Then I was offered a drug that had been in some case studies that gave me a 90% chance of the inflammation not returning, however I wouldn't be allowed to nurse Sam while I took the medicine for 3 months.

After some ignorant comments about breastfeeding from the doctors (that were probably said to make me feel like a good mom, no matter what my choice was,) and some praying and thinking, my husband and I decided I should take the second drug.  This choice also meant I was choosing (sort of) to stop breastfeeding.  It was a tough decision, but ultimately my long term health outweighed Sam receiving breast milk.  


I was released from the hospital on Thursday and our family hopped in the mini van with Lee J's family and drove to the beach in Flordia on Friday night...a detail I decided not to share with the doctors.  I figured relaxing at the beach was a great option for recovery anyway.

Weening Sam definitely didn't happen the way I had planned it, but most things don't go according to our plans, do they?  I'm thankful to have been able to breastfeed him for the 6+ months I was able to!

I'm thankful that a year later I am feeling healthy and strong and that my kid is well-grown and happy as ever (most of the time!) 

That's my #throwbackthursday story, what's yours!?   






Monday, June 24, 2013

...more on toddler food

Oh my gosh, so recently we've started having oatmeal for breakfast and I wish I had done this much earlier!  I feel much better about filling his belly with oats that fluffy bread (add oatmeal to the list!)  I should have taken the que from my older, wiser sister a long time ago!  Her daughter is a year and a week older than Sam so I tend to look to them to see what's coming down the pike!

When I wrote the previous entry about feeding a toothless toddler, I thought of three more things I wanted to share with you, but now I can only remember two of them.  Bummer.  But the two things are still good, so get excited!
  1. The snack cup pictured above.  It's seriously awesome.  My toddler is such a grazer (like his parents.)  However, we also have a dog, so if I leave out snacks for him, they will last about 1.3 seconds before being gobbled up by our pup.  I can put so many snacks in here and Sam has access, but Truck (our dog) does not!  Life-changing.  We got them at the grocery store, they're not hard to find.  They usually come in a 2-pack.
  2. The Weelicious cookbook. The author has a VERY successful blog (so much so, that she wrote a book.) It was so helpful to me!  Up until we got the book (which was around 15 months old for our son,) we were still feeding him in the high chair in our kitchen floor--not at the table.  After reading a lot of the introduction to the book, we moved him to the table, which I love.  It's a little more work as far as clean up, but he is gaining social skills, a sense of order for meal time, and is becoming a champ at using utensils (which I wasn't even giving him before!)

    Some of you may think I'm foolish for buying the cookbook because there is free access to almost every recipe on weelicious.com, but I really love having a physical book.  Plus, I really hate the idea of dragging my laptop into the kitchen and risking its demise with one careless mistake.

    This book gave me such a great grasp on how to feed my boy and how to keep him from learning bad habits like requesting a second meal and turning his nose up at the first one offered.  Seriously, check it out (maybe even, just from your local library!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

feeding a toothless toddler

Once we made it through the very trying first year of our son's life things got significantly easier.

But to quote Elizabethtown, "if it wasn't this... it'd be something else."

With most families this would most likely be teething.  But not for our family!

At 17 and a half months, our son's 5th tooth just arrived.  His first two emerged at 11 months, second two at around 14 or 15 months, and just yesterday I noticed a first year molar popping through.  Crazy kid!

So what is it that wears us out, you ask?  Feeding a toothless toddler!  While he manages great with a lot of foods, we still have to be cautious of the foods we present him since he has the ravenous appetite of an ever-moving toddler, but the gums of a 5 month old.

It's been work trying to figure out what fills up this sweet boy's belly, so that's why I want to share some ideas with you in hopes that you don't have to do so much brain storming!

First I should say, we do our best to avoid a whole lot of processed foods, but we're also realistic, on a budget, and on the go a lot of the time (and sometimes just down-right lazy) which makes steaming asparagus and preparing quinoa casseroles often out of the question.

I think about food in these catagories:  protein, veggies/fruits, grains/fiber, other carbs, & snacks. I don't give dairy its own category because we still give him cups of milk and he gets calcium through other foods and in proteins he gets throughout the day.
I should also add that at around 9 months or so, my son only let grandma spoon feed him and when he was home with us it was finger foods only (or getting a baby spoon swatted away and having mashed anything splattered on our carpet.)

Proteins:
  • ground meat (beef/turkey) sometimes in a red sauce
  • canned beans (organic/regular) strained and pinched to help avoid a chocking hazard
       black beans, kidney beans, navy bean
  • hummus (or canned chick peas, but they don't digest as well since they're not fully chewed)
  • peanut butter (or other nut butters) 
  • eggs (scrambled or boiled)
  • yogurt
  • cheese
   
Veggies/Fruits:
  • frozen peas/carrots (great for sore gums)
  • canned peas/carrots
  • chopped green beans
  • sauteed chopped squash and zucchini
  • microwaved sweet potato (cooled and scooped out)
  • occasionally things like veggie straws or veggie puffs (like Gerber graduate snacks, but b/c of the preservatives, additives, sugar, etc, we try to keep these to a minimum)
  •  canned fruit that is packed in 100% juice or water and not light or heavy syrup, our go-tos are pears, peaches, and mandarin oranges 
  • bananas--i had given up on these b/c my son would examine the pieces and then throw them on the floor, recently i tried giving him a whole pealed banana and he scarfed it down!  Go figure!?
  • grapes (I feel obligated to say cut these in half, however, my son does great with whole ones along as I'm constantly supervising him) 
  • apple sauce jars, cups, and squeeze pouches, we love them all! (The gogo squeez are usually the most economical.  The package says for 3+ years but it seems that is due to the small cap, so if you don't give the small cap to your child, you should be good to go.)
  • blueberries (These are an absolute favorite food!  As pictured above, the frozen ones can be a bit messy!)
Grains/Fiber:
  • whole wheat Chex cereal
  • whole wheat or multi-grain bread
  • whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread or English muffins (toasted or not)
  • pita chips
  • matzah bread/crackers (with a dip like hummus)
  • whole grain Goldfish (I know these are not as healthy as they sound, but they're better than the regular ones and a mom has to have some go-to snacks!)
  • whole grain pasta (including mac and cheese)
 Other Carbs + Snack Foods:
       This is my least favorite category because I know there is the least nutrition in these, but it's also unrealistic for use to never have snack food that fills us up and is easy to prepare.
  • crackers (Ritz, Saltines, Triscuits)
  • pretzels
  • puffs
  • yogurt melts (There are dairy free ones at Target that are rice-based)


As far as beverages, our son usually drinks only milk and water with the occasional watered down juice.  He also rarely has desserts.  I don't see a reason to expose him to them since he doesn't even know he's missing out on anything at this point.

My mind is already reeling with more tips and strategies that have worked for us, but I will save those for another day!  Hope this provides some guidance for you in feeding your toothless toddler!

Are there any awesome foods I left off the list!?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"i've never" with a twist

You know the game "I've never" right?  You say something you've never done (usually in a new group of people) and then the people that have done that thing have some kind of response.  Upon googling it, it looks like the most common 'something' is everyone rushing to find a new seat who has done the thing the "it" person has never done.  Resulting in the "it" person rushing to a seat and the new "it" being the person who didn't grab a new seat quick enough.  Got it?

I'd like to play a similar game with you--and by game, I really mean make a list.  I'd like to make a list with you.  I mean, that's kind of like a game, right? 

The idea goes like this: Pre-baby I said several things about parenthood that usually started, "I'll never [...] when I have kids!" and now I just look back and giggle at all the things I've done to survive parenthood that I never thought I would do.

I'll get the list going and I want your help adding to it.  I'll add your "I'll nevers" to the list with your name or initials and we can all laugh together.  Leave yours in the comments (or maybe even on FB and I'll do my best to add them all!) 

Here's the only rules:  Be nice!  And no judging.  Just because someone else does something one way doesn't mean the way you're choosing to do it is wrong.

  1. I'll never let my kids have messy snacks in the car.  -Mary
  2. I'll never let my baby sleep in my bed.  -Mary
  3. I swore I wouldn't be the mom to upload pics of her kid all the time. -Whitney
  4. I said I wouldn't dress her in all pink (I'm getting better about accepting pink into my life). -Whitney
  5. I will never give my baby cookies. -Whitney
  6. I will never use my iPhone as a distraction for my baby/toddler while out shopping, at a restaurant, etc. -Hannah
  7. I will never take my baby to daycare on the days I'm not working. -Whit's friend
  8. I will never let my child eat off the floor. -Whit's friend
  9. I will never let my child go in public with dirty clothes &/or hair not done. Whit's friend
  10. I'll never be quiet during nap time. She'll just have to sleep through it. -Sarah Q
  11. I'll never change my daughter's diaper on the display patio furniture in the middle of Sears. -Kelly B

Thursday, May 30, 2013

three hundred sixty five days

Recently I've been amazed at how much different my life is than it was a year ago.

You remember a year ago.

I was going bonkers trying to get my kid to sleep.
I was a floundering breastfeeding mama who was getting utterly discouraged.
Heck, I even started a blog to try and control the situation a little bit because often it seemed like my life was spinning out of control.  Though my "dark days" have now been accounted for, once I was able to realize I had PPD.

Things got better just before my little baby turned one.  And hopefully all you newer mamas who are still in the darker days don't feel like I'm rubbing this in your face--but life with my toddler is so much fun!

Ok, yeah, there are still times when I get super frustrated.  I'm not a machine.  But the ratio of tears to giggles has changed exponentially.

We went to the Gulf this past week. 
Sam loved the beach SO MUCH MORE than he did the year before when we had just stopped breastfeeding despite our best efforts. (Who would have thought that a 27 year old, healthy woman would be diagnosed with pericarditis which would demand her be on medicine that was not BFing approved!?)

During our stay there in the condo, my son was wearing a diaper, a pajama shirt, blue crocs, and eating a snack while listening to the Beatles on Pandora.  Our little swaying dancer cracked us up so much, I just had to share!


I thank the Lord often for bringing me through those first 365 days.  And I am SO GLAD the next 365 days are shaping up to be awesome.  God is good, all the time.  And all the time...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song


Music is the thing that brings joy to my family.  We seriously love it.  My husband plays beautiful guitar and dabbles in piano.  He finds such joy in music.


I love music, too.  From the time I was born I was being sung to.  Every night (or as far as I know, every night) my mom or dad would rub my back as they tucked me in and sing "Turn your eyes upon Jesus."

It's ingrained in me.
I had it played at our wedding five years ago while my husband and I took communion together for the first time as a married pair.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of this world will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

I have a 16 month old.
Guess what song I choose to sing to him during our bedtime routine?  You guessed it.  I don't do it every night, but almost.
My parents also use to tell me "sweet dreams of Jesus" as they closed my door and left me to drift off to sleep.

I love speaking that phrase to my boy.  I hope it instills in him the same love for Jesus that I have.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

don't say the "c" word

You hear the whispers and see the glances as you try to dash out of church with your wailing baby who you've been paged to come get out of the arms of the gracious nursery volunteer who is holding your baby on his belly in her arms as she rocks and attempts to sooth him with her shhhing.

You've avoided saying the word for a few weeks now, but it just can't be denied any longer.
Your baby has....colic.

GASP!

Isn't that how the story goes?  Babies who are assigned that word are suddenly freaks with crazy-underdeveloped intestines.  You get "bless your hearts" and "I'm so sorrys" from all the moms you talk to.  You get moms who raised (seemingly) spawns of Satan who tell you their horror stories while still shuddering a little bit as they reminisce.

Yet your baby doesn't seem that bad.  Right?  Surely she can't get stuck with that label.  No way!  You didn't suffer through forty long weeks of pregnancy and long hours of labor just to find out you got "stuck with a bad one!"

Mamas.  I feel like colic has gotten a bad rap.  And because of that, all of us new, frightened mamas tip-toe around the word to avoid getting our baby pinned with an unpinnable fate. 

But I'm here to dismiss the stigma.  A LOT of babies have colic...or are colicky...or have colic-like symptoms.  AND THAT'S OK.

Sure, it's no walk in the park and parents don't wish it upon their babies, but we all eventually get through it.  Hang in there, mama!

And don't be afraid to embrace the "c" word.  Once you do, it's a lot easier to live day to day because at least there's a reason for the gas, reflux, crying, and sleepless days and nights!

From one colic-baby-raising mama to another,
Mary
P.S. If you're looking for some tips to help with a colicy baby, check out this post
       If you're wondering if a colicky baby has contributed to postpartum depression, check out this post.
P.P.S.  Guess what!?  This blog has been up and active for over a year!!!  Happy one year anniversary, blog!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the day we almost killed our son


In honor of my sister's dramatic story telling, I'd like to tell my own dramatic story about how our son was almost crushed to death and I saved him with sheer brute mama-strength.

Recently our garage door decided to stop opening.  I pushed the button in the garage so I could push Sammy out in his stroller for a little walk.  The door opened about three inches, closed, then opened three inches again and stopped.  After trying this a few more times, I gave up, hauled my son, who was already strapped in his stroller, up the stairs, then back down the outside stairs where I think too a pathetically short stroll that was probably not worth the effort.

Later that evening my husband and I decided to investigate and see if it would be a simple fix.  I pulled the rip cord on the door which made it close the three inches, but then, nothing.

Since we are (one of the 36) people in America that actually use our garage to store our cars, we realized we needed to get the door open so I could pull my car out.  Since the cord is pulled on the door, it should just pull right up and open manually.

Keeping this in mind, my husband starts lifting...and it doesn't budge.  It's a two person job.

At this time Sam is happily exploring the garage, not paying much attention to us. 

My husband's knee is somewhat injured from a running incident, so he decides to pull on the rip cord and I'll use the handle at the base of the door.  We'll get the door open, get the car out, and worry about fixing the door later!

We begin pulling the heavy two-car garage door up and it's working--the two of us are doing it!  However, there are three of us in the garage.  Sam sees his escape and starts going under the gap in the garage door.  My husband, with his safety instincts on the tip of his tongue yells to Sam to stop and come back.  Well, instead of our 15 month old heeding his commands, he instead becomes very frightened and just stops dead center under the door and begins to cry--petrified with fear.

So there we were, using all of our muscles to hold this door three feet from the ground, with our toddler frozen underneath the suspended door.

My mama bear instincts kick into gear.  I realize I have three choices:  1. let my son be crushed under the weight of the garage door  2.  hold the garage door up long enough for Sam to stop crying and either come in the garage or out of the garage (in which case I could run out the front door and get him) or 3. I could life up the garage door.

With all my strength I take a deep breath and hoist the door up and throw it up over my head like a heavy-weight champion!  And it works!  The door is up!

Lee J holds the door (which is now at its resting place at the top) while I scoop up my terrified son.  We proceeded to put him in his stroller (which was still outside from our earlier walk) and then I pulled my car out and lowered the garage door slowly closed until it is repaired a few days later.

So there you have it.  The day I saved my son's life (after being one of the ones
to put it in danger in the first place!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dear Single Mama

Dear Single Mama,

I don't know how you got here.  And to be honest, it doesn't really matter to me (in the "judgey" sort of way...not in the "i don't care about your life" kind of way)
But sometimes I want to weep for you.

On those days when he's colicky, teething, insatiably hungry, or just plain grumpy, I think of you.

I tear up even writing this because I am so thankful for a partner to walk this journey with me.  I'm thankful that reinforcements come home at approximately 4:43 so I don't have to do it alone.
I hate that you have to do it alone.

Actually, hopefully you're not doing it alone.  Hopefully there are people in your life who have stepped up to make sure you are not alone, but even still, I know there must be very lonely days.

Single Mama, know that I think of you often and pray for you, too.  My awe of you grows each day as I walk through each parenting trial.  It takes a special woman (and in some cases, man) to make it day to day.  YOU are that woman.  Good job!

And while friends are great to encourage us, let us not forget the abundant mercies God pours out to us daily and that He is always with us.  My new favorite purchase is Matt Redman's 10,00 Reasons album which includes the following song that includes these stellar lyrics:
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful


I love you, single mama.
Love,
Mary

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nursing Pad Giveway!

Ok, so here's the deal.  As most of you know, I like making things and I even sell some of them!
I made a new product on the serger I received for Christmas!

But there's one problem.

I'm no longer lactating.

Which means I can't test out my creation to see how it works.  And if I am not confident it works well, I can't sell it!

That's where you come in.

I'm giving away 3 sets of washable nursing pads.  Two sets are "day time" kits that come with two pairs of two pads (4 total.)  And one set has a pair of 'daytime' and a pair of 'nighttime' pads (4 total.)

There are two qualifications to winning a set.
1. You have to currently be lactating, as I'm looking for semi-immediate feedback.
2. You have to be willing to send me an email of your pros and cons after you've received your set and tried it out.

Ready to enter!?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, March 31, 2013

40 Days without Facebook

I'm not sure if you're suppose to fast from something for Lent if you're not Catholic.  I'm a protestant, but decided I wanted to give up something.  Not just any something.  I wanted to give up Facebook--for forty days.


The Facebook Fast: What I Learned

1. Think twice before composing a new status update.  It's not necessary for all of my cyber world to know every semi-funny thought I have or answer every parenting question.  I found that using an internet search engine or asking a real-life friend is still pretty effective--go figure!

2. "Stalking" someone on Facebook is a lazy way to be friends with him or her.  Calling, texting, and hanging out take more work, but the pay off is much greater.

3.  I really miss seeing pictures of my loved ones on a regular basis.  While 40 days is clearly not an eternity, kids change a lot in a short time.  I'm looking forward to catching up on what I missed.

4.  Facebook is a really good way to keep myself broadly informed.  Weddings, funerals, and pregnancies are all commonly announced online and it's easy to miss out on news with out it.

5.  Two weeks into the fast I thought about not reactivating my account, but as the fast comes to a close, I am eager to sign back on and catch up on everything I missed.  I just hope I won't too quickly forget the value of building relationships in real life! 

Have you ever taken a break from social media?  What did you learn?  Do you think you ever could take a break from it?

And if you're a friend who reads this blog from a link from Facebook, here are the posts you missed while I was away:

picky eaters --a post that includes my celebrity woman-crush

Our 'Ready to Pop' baby shower for under $100 --a budget friendly 'how-to'

Walking where God leads  --what kids teach us about God

5 things to help new moms --all babies cry

Dear Pinterest Perusing Mama --don't let crafts get you down, Mama


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dear Pinterest Perusing Mama

Dear Pinterest Perusing Mama,
Funny Confession Ecard: Pinterest makes me feel lazy, unimaginative, a poor excuse for a mother and a wife. So much so I must act on it .... and take a nap!
Do you sometimes get down on yourself?  You scan your Pinterest page and see all the amazing crafts other moms are doing.  Wow, those moms are like superheroes.  They must be the best, most fun moms EVER.

Do you feel the need to strive to be like them?  Maybe these ecards will help sum up some of what you're feeling?  It can be discouraging, right?

Well, Pinterest Perusing Mama, I'm here to tell you it's ok.  Lots of mamas are trying to figure out motherhood and trying to be the best moms they can be for their kids.  And they're not superheros.

There's always going to be a mama who's more gifted in a certain area than you, but that's ok.  You're more gifted than her in a different area.    Pinterest Perusing Mama, if you're not a professional with a jar of Mod Podge, that's ok.  Mod Podge and mason jars are not the things that make you a good mom.

Funny Confession Ecard: Everyone's trying new recipes from Pinterest. And... I'm here saying... 'Honey, the microwave beeped. Dinner's ready!!'Cooking a gluten-free, paleo, low cal, delicious tasting, three course meal with a flour-less, chocolate dessert, and fresh squeezed lemonade is not the things your children will remember from their childhood.

Pinterest Perusing Mama, your kids don't even know that other moms spend their time meticulously blogging about the awesome activities they're doing with their children.

All your babies want (no matter how old they are) is YOU.
Funny Family Ecard: Go play now honey, it's time for mommy to pin ideas Pinterest about how I can be a better mom, later.
There are some special personality types that do have the energy and choose to spend their time trying to do it all.  But I want to let you know, that is NOT the norm (at least I don't think it is!)

Pinterest Perusing Mama, ENJOY Pinterest.  This post is not meant to try and talk you out of a fun activity, however, it is meant to encourage us to put things back in perspective if they have gotten a little out of control.  I also want to make sure, Mama, that you're not putting undue pressure on yourself to be an unattainable superhero.  Superheros are (awesome, but) fictional.  Not real.

I love you, Pinterest Perusing Mama, because in the end you just want to be the best mom you can be, so keep it up.  But let's both keep it in perspective, too!

Love,
Mary

Thursday, March 14, 2013

5 things to help new moms

Isn't there a huge learning curve for new mommies!?
Here are 5 things I wish I had understood better during those first few tough months.

  1. All babies cry. 
    When you're hesitant about bringing your baby out in public for fear of a melt down, just remember, "The baby on the bus goes wah, wah, wah."  Sometimes I think about that song to console myself.  The baby doesn't go "zzz zzz zzz," or "giggle, giggle, giggle," the baby cries.  
  2. Parenting styles differ like crazy!
    I never even knew about phrases like "attachment parenting" or "parent led sleep."  I was not prepared for the strong opinions people have about their differing styles.  Your decisions are (probably) not wrong, they just might be different than the next mom.
  3. Nursing is often really hard.
    Not only can the logistics of nursing be tricky, but it also takes time and emotional commitment.  I struggled a lot with knowing when to feed my son, when to schedule my son, when to not schedule him, and when to tell other people to back off because he was my son!
  4. Mommy-recovery needs to be a priority.
    Don't neglect your healing body because you feel guilty for spending time on yourself.  You need to keep any wounds or stitches clean, you need to take showers, and you need to eat.  Happy mamas eat.
  5. Sleep is really important.
    Moms feel this pull to be everything for their baby.  They need to rush to their baby's aide at the first peep.  They need to let their baby stay latched on all night so their baby can sleep (while they lay there awake.)  Moms need sleep.  Your brain functions poorly with out it, you're patience gets shot, you're less productive, and you become weak with out sleep.  Find strategies that help you get more of it!  I suggest pacis, daddies, and putting the baby in his own bed. (Also the suggestions that are in the DVD in this post.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Walking where God leads

Whenever children are involved, it seems there is a lesson to be learned.  There's something God is trying to teach me through the children I am with.

When I remember God is my parent and I am His child, it makes it easy to translate since I am Sam's parent and he is my child.

A month ago I literally laughed out loud when one of these comparisons came so close to home.  I tend to be a worrier and over and over again my husband would tell me, "The birds of the air do not sow or reap and yet your heavenly Father feeds them, are you not much more valuable?"  On this particular day Sam was melting down and I was scrambling to prepare some food for him...and then I yelled said, "Sam, I always feed you.  Why do you still freak out!?"  Seriously!?  I just paraphrased Matthew 6:26 to my one year old without even realizing it, yet I still have trouble trusting the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE for my own needs.

My sister gives a tear-jerking comparison about fearing God here.  Running with abandon sometimes gives me the chills.

Today my toddling son wanted nothing more than to walk up and down the sidewalk on our street.

No wait, he wanted to walk IN the street.  He wanted to chase the leaves that blew off the side walk and pick up rocks he saw in the road.  He settled for the sidewalk as I continued to steer him that way.  He would then begin veering off towards the road again and I would take his head and gently steer him back toward the side walk.  Even though Sam didn't know that the road was dangerous, I knew the street was not a safe place for a toddler to play. 

And isn't it like that with God?  We continually try veering off to the left or the right as a crunchy leaf catches our eye as it blows down the road, but gently God leads us back to where we need to go.  We don't know that the way we want to go is dangerous (well, sometimes we do,) but God knows what's ahead.

What lessons has God taught you through a child?