Thursday, December 31, 2009

Expectations

I'm not a big "resolutions" person. I don't think one day of the year should be the only time people reflect upon their lives and strive to be better people. But it is also really hard NOT to think about, "What can I do differently and how can I do better?" when it is all around you.

So I have succumbed to the Resolution Monster and have a list of things I want to strive to work on:

1). I really want to learn how to use my sewing machine. I already have some awesome Christmas ideas for NEXT year rolling around in my head.

2). I have some jewelry ideas floating about so I'd really like to make some new pieces and sell my current inventory. For those that don't know- I have an Etsy shop. It's been on vacation since I was pregnant. I make the oh-so-popular hand-stamped jewelry that you now see everywhere.

3). And since we're on the topic of crafts I also would love to learn to knit and how to make crochet baby hats. I can do a simple crochet for blankets. I think I'll get some yarn, break out the needles and put on some YouTube videos on how to do more elaborate crocheted projects.

4). I want to lose 50-60 lbs. I know- everyone has a weight loss or fitness goal for the new year, right? Well I'll be darned if I quit! Someone smack me if I do. I haven't put down an exact number because honestly I'll be happy losing a minimum of 50 but losing 60 is most ideal. I start on Sunday!!!

5). To be a better mom. I feel I'm a pretty good parent but there's always room to grow, always things I'm learning about my kids and myself. Everyday is a day to start fresh. I want my childrens' memories of me to be good, wholesome, full of laughter and love. I need to be less selfish and more focused on them when they need me.

6). To be a better wife. I'll be honest and say it isn't always easy to compromise. There've been some very embarrassing squabbles between the husby and myself this past year. Now, now... nothing to worry over! But I have let bitterness creep into my heart and I really need to focus on being more respectful of Daniel. He, too, has things he has to work on so this isn't one-sided. That is what compromise is all about after all.

7). To be a better cook! Oh how I loathe cooking in my freakishly ugly kitchen. You may have seen glimpses of it in pictures on here. I know the room shouldn't matter but if it isn't comfortable and roomy it just isn't a place I want to be. Therefore I just don't spend time in there. I've been finding many new recipes and trying new things already. I want to continue my streak because I hate processed foods. I love the pride I feel when my family sits down to eat something I worked hard on.


I'm sure there's more. We must always continue to strive to be better people, to be kinder to our environment and to the people around us. I wish so many blessings to each and every single one of you as we venture into 2010!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moby is My Hero



Look who is as snug as a bug in a rug! I got a Moby for Christmas from Daniel's grandmother and it is a hit. Well for me anyway. Zoë doesn't quite know what to think just yet. She prefers being up on a shoulder but she had two really good naps in the Moby as I cleaned. As you can see above she was fast asleep.

I have to admit, though, that it was really difficult doing the dishes with her in this thing. But that's probably one of those common sense things. You see, I don't always exercise the best common sense. I felt like a T-rex doing the dishes because I have short arms and a chunky baby strapped onto my chest.

But it was great being able to actually get the Christmas decorations put away once and for all. I've been working on getting them put away for 4 days straight.

Well I definitely recommend the Moby Wrap if you're having a baby, have a baby or will be having one in the future. It's very versatile. I got it wrapped on correctly on the first try, thanks to a how-to video I watched on their website. Plus the wrap comes with a very comprehensive book on how to do all the different wraps. I feel like an African Mommy Goddess with this exotic wrap since many ethnic groups wear their babies with yards of fabric wrapped all over themselves.

I also ended up just wearing the Moby all day, even when she wasn't in it so that I could easily scoop her up and put her in. Apparently you can breastfeed your baby in it as well, though I'm not brave enough to try that just yet. I am what you would call well-endowed in that area and sometimes the milk lets down so fast that she chokes. I can just see myself soaking the Moby and spraying her in the face as she screams and chokes while trying to pull her body out of the wrap. Um, no thanks. Maybe one day I'll brave it and let you know how it goes... but that might not be until she's much older!

Do you have a baby wrap or sling that you just cannot live without? Or one that you and baby just hate?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Full of Wisdom

Apparently I'm soooooooooo wise I need some of my wisdom stripped away from me. That's right, folks. I will be having my wisdom teeth removed. For the past week, over Christmas, I have had the worst teething pain I ever remember experiencing.

Today I made an appointment with the oral surgeon. To say I am excited would be a lie. Though I cannot wait to feel the relief that I know will come after it has all healed up. January 15 is the day!

We currently do not have any New Year's Eve plans. Might do some sledding during the day with the kiddos (well Daniel would; not me). Daniel and I will most likely stay up but then again we always do. I've never really done anything big for NYE. It's usually just another day on the calendar for us.

That is what is up with me for now. Have a post on vaccines coming up!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Aftermath!

This was baby girl's first Christmas and she truly was the best gift of the year. I know, I know... it's kind of corny but it is definitely true! We were blessed immeasurably.

Daniel got me a griddle, a rolling pin and some kitchen utensils! He also got me a new camera!!! That is by far the coolest gift because I LOVE taking pictures of my children, as you'll see below. My mom-in-law got me Bath & Body Works' new scent Twilight Woods and I love it. Also got a cookbook that I'm DYING to try out!

And the kiddos were blessed. From us there were Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop characters, board games, jigsaw puzzles, books and a few DVDs (throwbacks to my childhood like Oliver & Company). Abigail got a play vacuum and play food. Elaina got a toy microwave and a doll bathtub. Zoë got a handmade blanket and some money that will go toward her crib.

I put together a sort of gag gift for my mom-in-law. I got her a package of flexi-straws and filled a shoebox with those birthday candle numbers. Every birthday she forgets to buy the candles and ends up using whatever she has. So if someone is turning 26 and she only has a number 4 she'd use just the 4 anyway! Needless to say she laughed when she saw she now has all the numbers!

Here are the kids in front of the tree on Christmas morning. We were waiting for Daddy to finish shoveling snow (it was a white Christmas after all!) so that we could leave go to Nonna's house and I was testing out the new camera.


Abigail being cute!


Zoë says, "Merry Christmas"!


My new favorite picture of my little model!


We also got some homemade gifts this year! The girls got piggy banks they get to decorate with Sharpies, Daniel and I got a gift basket with coffee, popcorn and homemade cocoa mix. And here are pictures of the blankets the two youngest girlies got as well as the toys my mom-in-law made:

This is Zoë's fleece blanket. It has her name on it in some beautiful fabric. Around the border of the entire blanket are phrases- the meanings of her name, proclamations and verses.


This is Abigail's crocheted blanket and the toy balls my MIL made! There is also a huge ball not pictured that is similar that she made for Elaina. Abigail LOVES her blanket! She is not a blanket person but she cuddles with this one. I think that is so sweet!!!


Elaina got clothes and a Melissa & Doug magnet doll instead of a homemade blanket. It's a running joke in our family that the middle child is overlooked all the time so my MIL made blankets for the middle children FIRST.

We still have Daniel's grandmother's house to visit on Tuesday for dinner and gifts. I look forward to good food and showing off the baby!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yesterday

Someone turned 2-months old yesterday. They also decided to catch a nasty cold with all the works: congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, fatigue, etc. So no photos were done yesterday. My hope is to get photos of all the girls in their Christmas attire tomorrow morning.

Instead I leave you with more pictures from her 8-week shoot.

Have a very Merry Christmas dear friends!






Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Birth Story

So I wanted to share this amazing birth story with you. In fact the best birth story ever in history...



On one pretty, clear cool evening a couple was traveling. The fiancé was driving while his pregnant partner began to feel the onset of labor. There were in the middle of nowhere, it was dark and not another soul was in sight.

He kept driving on to get to town while she huffed beside him through each contraction. A ripple of anxiety and anticipation went through her as she realized it wouldn't be long now.

By the time the couple reached town it was too late. Her water had broken and the contractions were right on top of each other. The baby was coming. He would have to pull over to assist her in delivering the baby. So he pulled over and the couple found shelter in a small cavern area right off the road. He helped her walk slowly over the terrain, often stopping to allow her to focus through the contractions. She clung to him, her body shaking uncontrollably, her teeth chattering.

Sweat beaded her forehead as she concentrated, each contraction coming stronger. The woman grunted and moaned in the midst of her labor pains and even began begging the man to relieve her of the pain.

"Oh please! PLEASE! Just make it stop!" she would cry and he was helpless to do anything for her. They finally reached the mouth of the cavern where they would stay until the baby had come. She began to feel immense pressure. She stood, leaning against a cavern wall, swaying her hips in order to relieve the pain. The pressure came more intently and she knew without even knowing that it was time to push.

She squatted. As she bore down the baby crowned and Joseph caught the little one before He could hit the ground. Mary reached out to take the cold, crying infant into her arms to her breast and wrapped Him in swaddling clothing. Mary's own joyful crying joined the infant's until they both quieted to stare at one another. The afterbirth was delivered and wrapped in a cloth as Mary nursed her brand new baby.

Awhile later the couple looked around but found nowhere else to lay Him for the night except for an animal trough where animals drank and ate. As Joseph and Mary finished cleaning up the blood and birth mess the sweet infant lay quietly alert in the manger until His eyes drowsily closed in sweet slumber.


It's so easy to read Bible stories and feel detached from them. The above is my own fictional take on what may or may not have happened at the birth of Jesus (who was, historically, a real person whether you believe Him to be the Messiah or not). I wanted to bring to life to you the story of His coming into the world.

I'm not big on Mary-worship. This isn't to glorify her. But having recently given birth I couldn't help but wonder about her experience. She was a virgin, she had never experienced anything like this and as far as I recall from history they just didn't talk about birth in those days. Not to mention Mary was most likely a young teen girl, probably between 14-16 years old.

My favorite Christmas song is "What Child is This" and I also really love "Mary Did You Know?" Those songs just give me chills. Some lines that really stand out to me:

"Mary did you know that the Child that you delivered will soon deliver you?"
and
"And when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God..."

Ooh, don't you get chills?

Daniel's father, our pastor, has been talking about the Wise Men who came from afar to see the Christ Child and bring Him gifts. I couldn't help but wonder what they, too, were thinking as they gazed upon His infant face. He was to be their Savior and yet he was only just a newborn baby. Can you imagine the stillness as they approached the cave? The humility of these elders bowing before a rooting newborn?

I hope that this season and every season the reality of His birth, death and resurrection are real to you and not just words on a page... I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

She's got me wrapped around her pudgy little finger!

My SIL ended up giving me her papasan bouncer which has been a godsend. I already have one bouncer that I use downstairs but with two levels you can't have too many! I took the papasan one upstairs to use while I took showers or needed to clean up there. We still haven't gotten the crib! One of these days we will. I think Z is getting money for Christmas and we'll put that toward it. Anyway, so I took the papasan bouncer into the bathroom with me this afternoon and put baby Z in it. She was liking it! Having a great time, looked really snug.

And I was having a great time and taking my time showering since she was doing so well! I was singing and washing. Well then I noticed how quiet she was so I peeked out at her and she's wide-awake with her huge eyes and just content as can be.

I say, "Peek-a-Boo!" in a sing-songy voice. Zoë looks around until her eyes land on my face and then........... her little lip quivers and her bottom lip juts out in a pout and she lets out this roar of a cry! The more I talk and sing to her trying to soothe her the more she cries.

So I get back to washing and rinsing off as quick as I can to attend to her and I notice... she has stopped crying. In fact when I looked out at her she was back to doing the same thing she had been doing before the tears; just looking around and sitting peacefully.

Did she? Did she really just give me some alligator tears in hopes I'd pick her up? ALREADY?!

I had to test this out. I peeked out again and said, "Zoooooeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" in that sing-songy voice again. Her eyes dart to mine and lock on. She stares at me a moment without reaction before that little chin quivers again and that pout pops out! Ha ha! It was so pathetic and so cute. I cannot believe how smart she is that she can cry and know that Momma will be there for her.

Made my heart melt... made me laugh aloud... and made me realize that someone has got me wrapped around her pudgy little finger!

Friday, December 18, 2009

8 Weeks Old and Nicknames

Yesterday someone turned 8 weeks old! In 8 weeks Zoë has gone from a eat-sleep-poop cycle to periods of wakefulness that include lots and lots of smiling! I think I even heard her laugh today. I was changing her diaper and was checking out her belly button. When I touched her belly near her belly button she made a strange sound! My eyes darted to her face where she was grinning, as though it tickled. I THINK that strange sound was a laugh! It was a moment that made my heart skip. I've been waiting to hear that precious sound.

Other milestones:
-better head control
-her eyes follow objects and people walking around
-cooing
-recognition of parents and siblings

So I bet you want to get to the fun stuff, the pictures.

♥ Zoë Beth ♥


You have to love Picnik's editing program!


I got the best Christmas gift! Stocking was compliments of my SIL who let me borrow it. Her middle son was born in December and the hospital gave this to her. There was a Santa hat as well but Z's got a big noggin' so she got a bow instead!


She seriously has enormous eyes! Don't believe me? Check it out yourself:


Twinkle Toes


Fast asleep! So asleep, in fact, I could manipulate her body and she'd stay asleep. She's usually a very light sleeper so that was nice!


Tried a little editing trick. Didn't turn out perfect but that was the program's fault. It would only let me do a small circle of color rather than the more rectangular shape that I needed. Oh well, it's still cool!


I got these blocks on Etsy (seller information below):


Abigail joined in the fun! Her Nonna made this hat for Elaina but Abby wears it all over the house, all day long. I think it is super cute! I love the crochet flowers she makes.




Seller information for the blocks: My Father's House 4
It would be really neat to have her make blocks that say MERRY CHRISTMAS or whatever for the holidays if you do a more rustic, old-world theme with your décor.

So I bought my blocks when I was still pregnant and was in no rush to get them. But this artist had them made and shipped so quickly that I wondered how well the blocks would look. I was pleasantly surprised! You cannot even tell that someone altered the blocks and added new images. They look so professional and are very, very well made. I scrutinized every little corner, felt over each side with my fingers and couldn't find a single flaw! Even if there was a small flaw it would just add character to the block but I was just very impressed with the artist.

She has so many vintage images to choose from, too! Each side of the blocks has vintage images. I adore the BATH block set she has for sale right now because it has all these vintage bath images on them!



Another Etsy store of note is one that sells large pieces of fleece for you home photographers! As you can see from the pictures I used a very wrinkly sheet. I kind of made it wrinkled on purpose but going through the pics I realized how much I didn't like that. Fleece will give you that clean, unwrinkled look. I have plans to buy black, white and pink and maybe other colors in the future. This is the BEST price I've found. For $7.99 you get 3 yds of fleece! That's usually how much 1 yd is at a craft store. Here's the shop: Jordan Ashlee



For my own records, nicknames we've called baby:
-Zoë Bug
-Goober/Goober Pea
-Muffin/Love Muffin
-Fussy Pants
-Zoë Belle
-Lovely
-Pumpkin Girl
-Chunk

Thursday, December 17, 2009

La la la la laaaaaaaaaaa!

Well there's a week left until Christmas. I spent the day making fudge and it kept turning out really funky and crumbly instead of melt-in-your-mouth soft. I've made fudge so often that I just didn't get what I was doing wrong! By my fourth attempt I realized I was using butter instead of margarine. It was the only thing I was doing differently. Doh! So Daniel is out at the store right now getting me more ingredients.

I spent time making chocolate-covered bananas for Elaina's class party tomorrow (Friday). I also made vanilla-covered pretzels. I ordered some travel mugs for faculty and have been waiting for them to arrive! If they didn't come by today her teachers wouldn't have their gifts so.......... when I heard a knock on the door this evening it was like a kid on Christmas morning. I may have even jumped up and down while clapping my hands.............

Finally letting me put her down throughout the day so I can get things done. So looks so cozy!


I just love how she's looking at me. She seems like she WANTS to reach out to touch the toys but obviously cannot do it just yet.


Homemade hats! Elaina got hers from school. A volunteer made a ton and donated them. It's so much cuter in real life. There's this big pom pom of yarn on top! The one Abigail is donning is one my MIL made. The flower is supposed to be facing to the side, not straight on like that, ha ha!


Now that she's started smiling she does it so much whether she is asleep or awake!

Seriously amazing giveaways...

Okay so I have gone a little giveaway happy. It helps that I sit at the computer while I nurse most times. So here are some awesome giveaways going on in the blogosphere right now that you should check out!

You can have a chance to win a
Pink 1.5" Hana Professional Flat Iron from Misikko
Olive Kids Placemats from Olive Kids

at Two of a Kind's blog!

and

Olive Kids Personalized Plate Set from Olive Kids
Aladdin Mug from Aladdin

at J Leigh Designz

and

Apron Giveaway

at ♪♫♪♫♪♫ ♫♪♫♪♫♪ ♪♫♪♫♪♫ ♫♪♫♪♫♪

Have fun! You might become addicted to entering giveaways...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SHREDDED!

If you are a member of TheBump you can now join this website! We're going to start the New Year off by working out together to Jillian Michael's DVD "30 Day Shred". If you want to join in and aren't a member of TheBump then by all means come join along! I'm so excited to shed this weight. As it is I want to lose about 50-60 lbs.

This is just the motivation I need because I haven't done a darn thing since having the baby, even after the all-clear. It doesn't help that I'm making Christmas treats this week either, ha ha!

Elaina had her Winter Showcase at school today. Her class sang some songs and it was so cute! Elaina stood there up until the last song because she was so nervous. Afterward I met her in the cafeteria for a nutrition class and we made some pumpkin pancakes and learned how to make spaghetti squash. We got to take a spaghetti squash home, too! Her school is affiliated with a few farms so they donate fresh fruit and vegetables all the time. Everyone in her school gets 2 snacks a day of fresh fruit!

Today Elaina also got to see a movie, eat popcorn and got a bunch of treats compliments of the Kansas City Chiefs.

On Friday she's going to have her first Class Party and I'm so excited to bring treats and see all of her friends and what they've been learning so far.

Saturday we're having our annual Christmas party. This was something Daniel and I started but I'm handed off to others. It's just too much to do with a newborn and I've run out of money. Parties are not cheap to throw! We'll be bringing some lil' smokies and doing the White Elephant exchange.

I need to get groceries tomorrow and Daniel is going to finish his Christmas shopping. I'm hoping to find some magnet sheets so I can make magnets with pictures of my girls.

So that is a glimpse of our week! Busy little bees!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Picture Palooza!

Okay so I don't actually know what "palooza" means but it sounded fun. Little one has been growing and growing. She has rolls on rolls especially on her "thunder thighs"! And while her baby acne has disappeared cradle c[r]ap has crept in...

I gave Zoë one of her Christmas gifts early- her gym! She loves it a lot but only when she's happy. Here she is staring down the octopus toy, which she coos at constantly, too:


Big sisters love it! When I showed the big girls the mat after it arrived Elaina promptly told me, "It's nice Mom. But it's for a BOY!" I tried explaining that it was for either a boy or a girl but she doesn't believe me!


I love it when she s.ucks on her lower lip! Aww!


Some days I manage to get so much done because of that mat! When we first wake in the morning is her happiest time where she'll lay there without fussing. I'm able to get dishes done, fold laundry, dust, etc.

Here are some more pics of the little one from the past few days!

My vantage point while holding Z:


Z looks so big until you see other children next to her! Still so little! You can see a resemblance between these two in this one:


Flirting with her Momma!


She's such a happy girl!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Response to Previous Post

I really appreciate everyone's comments from my previous post! I love how diverse parenting can be and how we all do things so differently and yet can still yield the same result- healthy children. That is the ultimate goal.

I actually tried having Elaina cry it out as a baby. I hated bed-sharing with her because I didn't understand it and naively thought she was going to become a spoiled baby and child. I didn't have Internet access or books on the topic. I ended up bed-sharing in desperation and not of free-will because none of us were getting sleep. Bed-sharing with her was difficult (three people in a FULL size bed). I had no support. *Edit- I had major support from my sister, SIL and MIL in many regards. I was simply referring to my husband. LOL! Poor sucker. He didn't know anything about babies so I felt like I was on my own during the middle of the night with her when I was trying to get her in that crib! I should've clarified since I definitely give those ladies props for trying to help and offer advice with breastfeeding and other things.

If I had known what I wrote about last night I think my attitude would've been different. I had the same notion that most women have in America and that is to get your baby as independent as possible as quick as possible. So my goal was to get her to sleep through the night in her own room and bed ASAP. And... it didn't happen that way until she was almost one-year-old.

And there is nothing wrong with a child that WILL sleep through the night and self-soothe. If they will do it then that is absolutely amazing and you're a lucky mom! It means better sleep for everyone. Abigail, like I said, was a self-soother who hated to be held and slept through the night early on in her own crib.

I guess a better way of saying all of this is just to say, "Listen to your baby and what they need! Each child is unique and different, not made from the same cookie cutter. They'll let you know exactly when they're ready." And they grow just so fast. I think that is another reason I am holding on to dear life to this third baby and it doesn't bother me one bit. I want more children but with PCOS I never know how much longer my body will cooperate so I will hold onto her like she's the last and hope there are more!

Trial-and-error is the only way we can figure out what will work with each child. With Zoë I've wanted to do everything differently than what I did with Elaina and Abigail. It all started with her birth obviously.

And I have to admit that I'm a lot more mature as a parent with this third little miracle then when I had my first baby. And thank God for that! I don't do everything right but I'm trying and that's what counts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Co-Sleeping/Bed-sharing? -EDITED

Edit: So after writing all of this I found another blogger had written about the same topic but with a new benefit I hadn't found in my earlier search! It just amazes me how much we instinctively know as mothers and yet we don't give ourselves enough credit. Go HERE to read her article as well. And I have to admit that what her article states is absolutely true, at least with me!



I've mentioned on here before that we co-sleep and because there is so much controversy around it I wanted to talk about what it really means and how it works.

Some people define co-sleeping as sleeping within arm's reach of your baby whereas bed-sharing means your baby is actually in your bed. What we do with Zoë is bed-sharing.

She started off sleeping on my chest those first few weeks and has since moved to sleeping in the crook of my arm. Some nights she even sleeps directly on the bed with my arm above her head instead. She sleeps with her face pressed into my breasts as well. I'm sure one of the biggest questions someone could ask me is, "Aren't you afraid of something happening to her?!"

The truth is that I actually am more afraid to put her in the bassinet because she breathes weird when I'm not holding her. You'd think with her sleeping in my breasts she couldn't breathe but she breathes better! I won't sleep when she is in the bassinet. I watch her, I continually turn on the lamp to make sure she is breathing or lay my hand on her body to feel her breathe. Also, I don't move in my sleep without waking first. So I'm definitely not afraid of rolling on her. With her in the crook of my arm it is physically impossible for me to roll over on her. I slept the same way with Elaina for many months when she was a baby.

I decided to do some research because I felt that with her sleeping with me she breathed better and wondered if that was coincidence or normal. Surprisingly every testimonial that I read from other mothers said the same exact thing. Not to mention some medical research showed that babies and mothers actually synchronize their breathing and night-time arousal when they co-sleep or bed-share.

Some doctors speculate that SIDS is caused by a breathing problem with baby. Dr Sears hypothesizes, "I believe that in most cases SIDS is a sleep disorder, primarily a disorder of arousal and breathing control during sleep. All the elements of natural mothering, especially breastfeeding and sharing sleep, benefit the infant's breathing control and increase the mutual awareness between mother and infant so that their arousability is increased and the risk of SIDS decreased."

So wow! Everything I was instinctively thinking has been affirmed by other mothers and even by professionals through actual study. They liken a mother to being a live pacemaker for the baby. Remember, in the womb the baby is given oxygen through the umbilical cord and breathing is new for them once they are born.

This sums up what I'm trying to say perfectly:
"By six months, the baby's cardiopulmonary regulating system has matured enough that the breathing centers in the brain are better able to restart breathing, even in deep sleep. But there is a vulnerable period between one and six months when the sleep is deepening, yet the compensatory mechanisms are not yet mature. During the time baby is at risk, mother fills in. In fact, mother sleeps like a baby until the baby is mature enough to sleep like an adult. That warm body next to baby acts as a breathing pacemaker, sort of reminding baby to breathe, until the baby's self-start mechanisms can handle the job on their own."

We must also realize that pushing independence on our babies before they are ready (such as sleeping on their own, self-soothing and sleeping through the night) is a Western notion. For centuries bed-sharing is how babies have been raised. I know it seems kind of hippie-ish or earthy but the truth is that God has hard-wired us as mothers to help nurture and soothe our babies, most of them time without even thinking about how or why we're doing something. By letting them cry we are going against instinct. How many mothers who try letting their baby "cry it out" stand outside the door wringing her hands or talk about how much it breaks her heart? How many say, "But my baby NEEDS me" when someone tries to argue with them that baby just needs to cry themselves to sleep? It is NOT natural, that's why. Not to mention the physical and mental and emotional issues going on with baby when they "cry it out". You cannot spoil a baby. They don't have the reasoning capabilities to even understand spoiling. But that's a whole other topic.........

Another thing people may wonder is, "Well you must be so tired because you sleep so lightly and/or awaken often to nurse in the night!" The truth is that I feel good. Sure, I do get tired or feel tired when I first wake up. But I don't have to take naps during the day (I choose to though). I can make it through the day as though I didn't have a newborn that awakens in the night.

One thing I found fascinating in the information I found was that mother and baby's breathing becomes so synchronized that they will awaken at the same exact time (it's true; that is how it goes for us!) and that if one shifts in sleep the other will as well. It's incredible... the bond! Which leads me to yet another benefit which is that the parent and child are very connected, even later in life.

Because of all of this baby also sleeps better. Zoë wakes up one time, usually around 4am. And she is still sleeping when Daniel and the girls get up to get ready for the day at 7am. Here's a great quote:

"Put yourself in the sleep pattern of baby. As baby passes from deep sleep into light sleep, he enters a vulnerable period for nightwaking, a transition state that may occur as often as every hour and from which it is difficult for baby to resettle on his own into a deep sleep. You are a familiar attachment person whom baby can touch, smell, and hear. Your presence conveys an "It's OK to go back to sleep" message. Feeling no worry, baby peacefully drifts through this vulnerable period of nightwaking and reenters deep sleep. If baby does awaken, she is sometimes able to resettle herself because you are right there. A familiar touch, perhaps a few minutes' feed, and you comfort baby back into deep sleep without either member of the sleep-sharing pair fully awakening.

Many babies need help going back to sleep because of a developmental quirk called
object or person permanence. When something or someone is out of sight, it is out of mind. Most babies less than a year old do not have the ability to think of mother as existing somewhere else. When babies awaken alone in a crib, they become frightened and often unable to resettle back into deep sleep. Because of this separation anxiety, they learn that sleep is a fearful state to remain in (not one of our goals of nighttime parenting)."

Other benefits include:
- reducing the risk of SIDS as discussed above as babies sleep on their side or back when co-sleeping and bed-sharing rather than on their tummies.
-it is considered contemporary as working mothers will bed-share in order to make up for that lost touch time with their babies.
-babies THRIVE, which means they are found to be more well-rounded emotionally, physically and intellectually (based on studies).

Many people worry about having their child in bed with them for years if they bed-share! The truth is that your child will have to be weaned and just as they are weaned from bottles/breast and binkies they can and will be weaned from your bed. Elaina was in her own room, sleeping through the night, before her first birthday. In fact she moved to a twin bed when she was 19-months-old. I simply listened to her cues and we changed things up when she was ready!


There are also obvious issues with co-sleeping. It is not for everyone and not everyone has a desire to do this. Also, not all babies want to do this! I would've done it with Abigail as well had she wanted to but she thrived by sleeping on her own and through the night. There are safe ways to co-sleep, like using a bassinet or a co-sleeper. And there are safe ways to share the bed. There are also very unsafe ways. So if this is something you desire to do find out how to do it safely.

So none of this is to give anyone Mommy guilt (we give ourselves enough doses of that on our own on a daily basis, don't we?!) but to explain my point of view and why it is working for me. I am a strong believer in attachment parenting and I know that not everyone else is which is perfectly fine! There's no ONE right way to parent. So tell me what works for YOU!



Look for a future post on attachment parenting. You may be one... and not even know it (like me)!



***All quotes taken from THIS website.***

For more information check out another site I found:
Attachment Parenting International

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Changes

Well you may notice that things are looking a lot more crisp and clean around here! Yup, changed the layout. It was driving me BATTY! My pictures kept looking fuzzy, difficult to read, etc. So I found a new layout designer who had free layouts available and I love this much better. I like her designs a lot! You can snag your own awesome layout by clicking on the SHOE on the right-hand sidebar (LeeLou).

And of course I picked something fresh and pink since I have all girls! I just wish the font was a tad bigger. Anyone know how I can make the font bigger? Please do tell!

I still need to transfer the rest of my blog list and whatnot so don't fret if you don't see your blog on my list. But PLEASE let me know if you want to be added to the blogroll if you're unsure if you were on it to begin with so I can get you on there and make sure I visit your blog. I have two other blog lists than what is seen- for people who are pregnant and those TTC (with or without fertility issues).

I'm working on a few blog posts in my head (hopefully I won't forget what it is I want to write about) so stay tuned the coming days!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

SIX WEEKS!

Baby girl has been with us for 6 weeks now! It doesn't feel like she has been here this long. It seems like just a couple weeks ago she was born. She is still doing amazing. She is a Momma's Girl. She'll tolerate someone holding her for a few minutes before getting mad and needing her Momma. Seriously the best feeling in the world to me!

If I hand her off to someone while she is sleeping she will wake herself up just to throw a fit about it until she's handed back to me. She's not as bad as Elaina was because she'll at least calm down at some point and hang out with someone other than me whereas Elaina wouldn't! Elaina once cried for about 2 hours straight while I was at the store and her dad was watching her. Nothing he did could calm her until I walked in the door. I have learned early on to not always step in the moment Zoë starts fussing with someone. I am trying to give them a chance to soothe her and for her to be soothed by them. So long as she isn't screaming or in distress or hungry... a little fussing won't hurt her.

Co-sleeping is still going well. We've moved from her sleeping on my chest to her sleeping in the crook of my arm. A pattern is starting to creep up that I'm noticing! She wakes up around 4am every morning and goes back to sleep until I get up (usually by 7am). So she is doing really good sleep-wise. I've started trying to nurse side-lying, too. It's really an awkward way to nurse a baby but we're making it work!



My post partum visit was Thursday and it went well. I dropped Abigail off with Daniel at work so Zoë and I headed to the midwives office. Again, the difference between OBs and midwives astounds me. We sat and chatted. She asked me how my birth went (she wasn't the one who delivered me), how I felt about it, how I was feeling now, etc. As we chatted I was holding Zoë on my lap so she was facing the midwife, just calm as a clam. So the midwife asked how the baby was doing and if she was always calm like she was being.

Talked birth control and exercise, too. When it was time for the exam she held the baby and showed her off to the other midwife while I got undressed. Seriously unheard of! How many doctors take the time to oogle the baby they essentially helped look over during pregnancy?



I knew when Zoë was born that I'd wonder how quickly time would go by and how fast this newborn stage would end. But honestly it feels like she has been a newborn for forever and that sadness isn't there anymore as I am eager to see her change and grow and to hit new milestones! She is becoming very smiley and responsive to us which makes me eager to hear her laugh which makes me eager to see her respond to Peek-a-Boo! You get the point. You just get to this point where you, of course, want to soak up all of them in that moment but also want to see them accomplish something new!

Her newborn rash has cleared up a ton only to be left with very red and chapped cheeks from the weather. I've been putting Vaseline on her before we leave the house as a barrier to the elements (even covering her entire seat doesn't prevent the wind burn) and Hydrocortisone cream to heal what is already so chapped. Already that is looking better in itself.

And I have to add just one more thing I'm loving at this point- for some reason I absolutely love seeing her dimply hand fanned out on my breast as I nurse her. There's something so intimate and special about it, like we're connected in a way.

Now I'm off to get as much sleep as I can, knowing she'll be awake in three more hours or so. Nighttime feedings aren't difficult with this one. Many nights, no matter how tired or how hard it is to rouse myself or if she is impossible to soothe back to sleep... I end up just staring at her and touching her hair and face. These moments are so fleeting! Hold your loved ones close today.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Golly!

Goodness, where have I been?! In my mind I feel I update more often than I truly do. I feel like such a bore. My days consist of breastfeeding and poop (not mine, mind you!) so I don't want to keep blogging about it over and over.

And of course I only have enough energy to upload pictures. LOL! But you don't mind, do you? I took these today. I FINALLY caught some of her smiles on camera. The other day I was holding her as she slept and her entire belly started shaking and then the sweetest sound--- belly laughs!

Zoë is really congested so it was hard to sleep last night. I ran the humidifier, I tried Vicks (I put it on me, not her) and all sorts of other things to try to help clear it up. Nothing worked. She tossed and turned and whimpered all night.


Finally asleep today after having been up all night with a cold (elevated on her Bo.ppy):


So serious! I love her huge eyes and pouty little lips.


SMILES! Yay! She has a newborn rash, too, as you can see. I hate it and can't wait for it to disappear.


I just love how serious she can look as she stares at people. Here she is checking out the camera! Probably wondering why it keeps flashing in her face! LOL!


So I have everyone crossed off my Christmas list except for........ my husband! He is the most difficult person to shop for because he never knows what he wants (beyond more tattoos). But last night I finally did some searching and found some things online.

I said I wasn't going to get Zoë anything since she is a baby but when I saw THIS I couldn't resist. Especially as this was a purchase I was going to make anyway. Might as well stick it under the tree! Can't beat that price either.

I also ended up getting her some Baby Legs. Oh having girls are so much fun. Check out their BOGO! I got free S/H but not sure if they're still doing that. These are one-size-fits-most so they can fit your toddler and preschooler as well! Heck, I've even seen grown women wearing them.

Well I'm tired. It only took 2 days to get this done. And not long ago the power company turned off all our power while they worked outside (without telling me, of course) so I had that lovely interruption. BUT... I finally posted! Yay!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wow- busy Black Friday

I did not participate in the Black Friday madness but I did venture out after it was over. Once we got home Daniel built a fire in our firepit in the backyard so we could roast hotdogs and marshmallows for dinner. Then we all came inside to put the tree up and listen to Christmas music. We then put in K.ung F.u Pan.da and opened our tin of holiday popcorn but the kids started having meltdowns so we had to stop and send them to bed. All in all it was a wonderful day!

Every year we pick out a new ornament for each family member for the tree. I couldn't find a baby one for Zoë and Daniel couldn't find one he liked so we'll have to get theirs next time we go out. Elaina found a pink crystal, Abby a snowman and mine is a dangly iridescent crystal. I also foundd this awesome ornament that you can customize yourself! Each one had a different number of snow people on them and you write your family members' names on the hats with a Sharpie. So I couldn't pass this one up!:



Thanksgiving was wonderful. Here's Zoë hanging out in her bouncer while we all dined:


The kiddie table:


Here's a shot of our mantel. The entire nativity set was bought at the dollar store (love me some deals!):


Our tree after we were done decorating:


Enjoying marshmallowy goodness. She got it all over her hair somehow too!


Nothing like roasted, melty marshmallows!


After the kids went to bed Daniel left to watch wrestling with his brother at his house and I wrapped all the stocking stuffers I bought for the older girls today. I already put them in their stockings, too, so they're nice and plump!

Hope your holiday weekend is going great!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Can you guess?!

So I thought I'd share the one-month pics of all three of my girls. Can you guess which baby is which (other than Zoë of course!)?! Don't guess if you already know!









LOL! Good luck! They look so similar it is scary.

Would you look at her?!

Look who just turned a month old yesterday! We did a little photo shoot. When I upload to blogger my pictures come out looking weird and grainy but oh well. You get the idea!

This first picture is a pose and outfit that I've used with all three of my girls for their 1-month photo. I want to take all three and frame them together!



Sweet baby body


Super chunk!


Okay so I've been up since about 5 am (it is 8:30 now) and I'm so tired my head hurts. I don't do well with little sleep. Poor baby just didn't want to nurse, didn't want to lay this way or that way, didn't seem to have gas, didn't have a dirty diaper or anything. So finally I put her in the bassinet and she fussed a little but laid there staring around the room. No sleeping in there though. I'm wondering if she's starting to want to be held less or if she was just having a hard time this morning. Poor baby!

I'm off to try to stay awake and do something productive. I'm holding a very VERY asleep baby now. But I can't sleep with her since Abby is still up.

I can't wait for Thanksgiving. It's the one day of the year that I don't give myself a guilt trip for eating as many calories as we eat! One day won't hurt ya. I'm looking forward to the green bean casserole, corn pudding, real mashed potatoes with real gravy........ oh yeah! So totally ready. What's your favorite dish(es) that you're looking forward to?!

Tomorrow night we are hosting our Thanksgiving Dinner Outreach in the projects. We make a simple Thanksgiving dinner for low-income families, most of whom do not have family or family nearby to celebrate the holiday with. We get a lot of kids that come without their parents as well, which isn't unusual. So looking forward to seeing these people get some food in their bellies and smiles on their faces!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I can't believe it!

Okay actually I can believe it. I've already been asked, by multiple people, the infamous question, "So when are you going to have another?" while holding my baby who is less than a month old. The real question they want to know the answer to is, "Are you going to try for a boy?"

I've had people go so far as to tell me that we need to try for a boy. Even perfect strangers! I find it amusing because it's such a personal decision for a married couple to make. And yet others love to put their 2 cents in as though they're welcome in the bedroom. The questions really don't bother me so don't get that impression. I just find it amusing.

The honest truth is that we don't know. We don't have plans to stop or to keep having children. We don't have a number. We are pretty laid-back about it. If it happens, it happens. And if it doesn't... well it doesn't! Most likely it will happen or we hope for it to happen because Daniel truly has his heart set on having a son (or two).

So in case anyone was wondering now you don't have to ask. But we're definitely not thinking about it right now and probably won't until our youngest has her first birthday! I need time for that labor and delivery pain to fade, ha ha! And I really would love to reach the goal of getting back to at least 140 lbs before having another baby.

Speaking of baby- Miss Zoë is starting to really smile at me! I feel silly playing peek-a-boo with her right now because she doesn't really react. She just stares at me like I'm an alien with three heads. LOVE HER!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It All Comes Full Circle

It is absolutely breathtaking and amazing to me how things look in retrospect. When you are in your darkest moment it is impossible to understand that one day things will be brighter again. That there is always hope. That things can change so unbelievably fast.

Exactly a year ago today I found out I was miscarrying. I consider the actual anniversary to be the 20th (tomorrow) as that is when I started passing tissue and my baby. (Post HERE) Many of you will remember that post. You might also remember the posts that followed- the anguish, the heartbreak, the sorrow.

I found out I was pregnant on Halloween, October 31, 2008. A sonogram on November 19, 2008 showed "fetal demise", or an embryo without a heartbeat. My miscarriage was most likely due to low progesterone that could've been caused by having taken Clomid in the previous cycle.

The miscarriage of Kieran, the name we gave our baby, broke me like nothing in life has ever broken me. I stopped eating, I got unbelievably angry at myself and my body and from there I began to care for my body better than I ever have (and that included eating again). Like a broken record I would say "I'm doing this to have a baby" as I worked out, as I fought working out, as I tamed my body to eat better, when I got too tired. That phrase just ran through my mind, almost in anguish. When I wanted to quit working out I would push myself by saying it over and over, even aloud. It DROVE me and kept me going the following weeks after my loss.

And it might be obvious what happened next considering I have a baby cradled in my arms as I type this. And that is how it all comes full circle. Just a week before the anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with Kieran is when Zoë was born. And she is turning 4 weeks old on the anniversary of my miscarriage. It doesn't always happen this way for everyone. Each person has their own unique story.

You may remember that before I became pregnant with Zoë I shared two names with you; the name we'd give our future son and the name we'd give our future daughter. And of course Zoë's name was one of them.



Zoë Beth means "Life; A Promise of God" or loosely translated as "A Promise of Life from God". And she is an answered prayer, my promise from God of new life. If I hadn't lost Kieran I wouldn't have Zoë. Likewise I wouldn't have my Abigail if I hadn't miscarried right before I got pregnant with her. That is not something that I could see from my place of darkness and torment. That is only something I can see now in retrospect.

Whatever dark place you may be in right now it is impossible to hear this but I will say it anyway--- THERE IS HOPE!


I also want to give a special shout out to two of my blog friends who've struggled with infertility and one with multiple miscarriages. They both just found out they are pregnant! ♥ GO GIVE THEM LOVE! ♥ And follow the journey to their bundles of joy:

Photogrl- just got her second beta result in and it is rising!
Jennifer (Hope Endures)- is pregnant after IVF with awesome numbers as well!!!

On a sad note:
Today I found out a high school friend has miscarried. I won't put her name here for her privacy but please say a prayer for her and her husband.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I hate being cold! And some ?'s answered!

We woke up to snow powdering our roof and car. It didn't stick and I know that the weather can do some crazy things where we live so who knows if we'll even have a white Christmas. But I hate the cold. Our house is 100-years-old and still has it's old windows so it can get pretty cold. We're going to be putting that lovely plastic over the really bad ones hopefully this week.

Well a few weeks ago I asked you to ask me questions! My friend, Chelsea whom I've known since the 3rd grade, had a couple questions!

1). Are you using cloth diapers?

I am not using cloth diapers. I wouldn't mind using them except I ordered them when Abigail was a baby and the seller conned me out of almost $400. Needless to say that really put a damper on it all. I never got my money back and Daniel refuses to even entertain the idea of using cloth now because of that. I use Hugg.ies for the most part.

2). Is Zoe easy going or does she cry a lot? How is she in that regard compared to your other two?

Zoë does not cry unless she's had to wait a little to eat. Even then it is not full out crying! It is more like fussing and grunting. The only times I've heard her really cry her heart out was when she was born and when Elaina accidentally kicked her (not hard but hard enough!) when she was laying on a blanket on the floor.

Elaina cried the most. She's my sensitive girl and she is still the one who cries more than my other girls. Some days she comes home from school and cries because she is tired and overwhelmed from a long day. She cries when she gets in trouble, if she is embarrassed, if someone else is hurt or she hurt them, etc. So she cries more than Zoë. But she also has the brightest and most beautiful smile. When she is happy it makes up for it all because she is just so wonderful and amazing. She can melt your heart! I don't mean to make it sound like she cries constantly but we always have a few meltdowns a day.

Abigail never cried as a baby. Seriously! I can count on one hand how many times she cried as a baby. She is also the baby that never wanted to be held. She was just happy as a bird to sit in her bouncer or on her play mat. Even when she was sick she wouldn't cry. But she's making up for it as a 2-year-old. She cries more now as a toddler than she ever did as a baby, usually it is when she gets hurt and when her big sister isn't sharing.

Abigail is sensitive in a way that is different from Elaina. She doesn't like to be touched or messed with (which is how I am). Elaina is sensitive emotionally and Abigail is sensitive physically. So Elaina needs a lot of physical touch and Abigail needs a ton of positive affirmation. It's funny how that works! I wonder what Zoë's love language will be!


Great questions! I loved having questions to answer! Let me know if any of you have anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Breast is Best

We have all heard that "Breast is Best". So when Elaina was born this mantra would run through my mind as I frantically tried to nurse her. Nursing was a nightmare with Elaina (we're talking open sores and bleeding). I got home from the hospital and bawled my eyes out for days because we'd try nursing and then I'd end up giving her a bottle because she would just scream and not latch on. She had no problems with the bottle. She preferred her bottle to me which tore my heart out.

I felt a ton of Mommy Guilt. My hormones finally calmed down. Then I realized how much more pleasant our feeding sessions were when she was calm with her bottle. That I could actually gaze at her and she could take her time and get nourishment. And yet I still heard that motto in my head: "Breast is Best". And I still felt this pang of guilt and remorse as I watched her eat from a bottle.

When I became pregnant with Abigail I was determined to make breastfeeding work! Unfortunately I didn't do enough homework. We've all heard, "If it hurts, they're not latched on properly!" Well, it really hurt when I tried feeding Abigail. I gave birth to her on the weekend and no lactation consultant was available. I ended up giving Abigail a bottle in the hospital thinking I was doing something wrong.

Turns out I was doing everything right and her latch was perfect. It can be very tender after birth, especially for fair-skinned women, when baby latches on. It is once the milk has letdown that you should not feel pain anymore in order to know if the latch is correct or not. The latch-on pain goes away by the time baby is a few weeks old.

But by the time I finally got the L.C. in my room I had to use a shield and it was just a big old mess. Abigail never wanted to wean off the shield but really loved nursing and breastmilk. I stuck with it, using shields, for three months before I couldn't take it anymore. We switched to formula. More Mommy Guilt.

It was hard not to hear "Breast is Best" in the back of my mind while cleaning bottles and changing stinky formula diapers or packing half of my diaper bag full of bottle-feeding supplies. It was hard not to hear it when I gazed at them as they drank from a bottle. It was hard not to feel that special connection that comes with nursing and to know I wasn't providing them with the very best, something that was actually a part of me made for them!

So please know that I've been on both sides of the fence as you read on.

Breastfeeding is going so amazingly well with this baby. I remembered the things I learned in the past, especially from my own mistakes. I stuck with it when the latch-on pain was excruciating (does not hurt at all now). I stuck with it when one position wouldn't work with Zoë until we found a position that did work without leaving me raw and aching. And I stuck with it without resorting to a pump or a shield. No outside help this time.

It's still in the learning stage for us but it's getting to the point that she knows when I grab the Boppy that it is feeding time and she starts doing her little newborn grunts and snorts in excitement. She is also to the point that she'll have her mouth open and ready, too.

We co-sleep and so I'll often wake to her furiously attacking my chest with her face, sometimes even in her sleep! And she has latched on to me in a place other than where she should and left me with some lovely hickeys too. I'm sure to use that as blackmail when she's a teenager...

I pumped a bottle the other day for her because she wasn't eating as frequently and I could tell my supply was starting to dwindle. I was just going to throw it out but then told Daniel he should give it to her. He was freaking out. He thought me pumping this one bottle meant failure because, as you read above, it didn't go so well with our other daughters.

Finally he gave it to her, mostly because she woke up to eat right after I finished pumping and the well was dry, so to speak! Her initial reaction was a look of utter disgust in having a synthetic nip.ple placed in her mouth. She kept spitting it out and smacking her gums with this look of horror on her face. Classic! After she downed the bottle in under 10 minutes she wanted to nurse. I gave Daniel a look of triumph and said, "I win!"

Needless to say he was relieved one bottle didn't ruin her nursing streak and I had the satisfaction of knowing that my baby preferred me, not something else!


Making an icky face!


Staring at Daddy!