Saturday, December 17, 2011


Here I sit. In a quiet house. Tears in my eyes and a babe at my breast. The tree is lit and half of the presents remain under it. New toys scattered across the floor with the smell of cinnamon and coffee in the air. It's Christmas morning, at least at our house.

I'm totally overwhelmed at the story of Christmas this year. I am a mother now. I relate to Mary on a whole new level this year. I am in awe of her strength and her courage. I relate to the experience of labor and the birth of your firstborn son. The moment that you claimed your victory, pushed through pain, and bore a child all your own. Now, what if you were birthing the Lord, the one sent to save all of humanity?

These things have been heavy on my heart and mind and were greatly influenced by a blogpost my sister linked to her facebook page. Please take the time to read it, here.

"Women can tell this part of the story this Christmas, the glimpse behind the veil, the life lived in the in-between of the stuff of God. There is a story on your lips, isn’t there, mama? of how you saw the face of God in the midst of fear or pain or joy and understood, really understood, Mary, not kneeling chastely beside a clean manger refraining from touching her babe, just moments after birth but instead, sore and exhilarated, weary and pressing a sleepy, wrinkled newborn to her breasts, treasuring every moment in her heart, marvelling not only at his very presence but at her own strength, how surrender and letting go is true work, tucking every sight and smell and smack of his lips into her own marrow."
-Sarah Styles Bessey

Why have I never thought of such things before? Is it because I have never been a mother this time of year before? Is it like she says? Men simply cannot understand what it feels like to be the one to birth your child? (Even though they are present, coaching us on and marveling alongside us at our birth, they aren't the one actually birthing.) Why do we picture Mary and Joseph staring down at the Lord instead of taking in the moment and holding Christ tightly in their arms, sweaty, exhausted, exhilarated, alive, and at peace?

I wish we could see pictures of Mary and Jesus just after his birth. We have done a great job of Americanizing the emotionless Mary and the clean, quiet baby Jesus. I can't wait to relate with Mary about birth one day. Thank you, Father God, for sending your Son to save a world so lost.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A crazy slew of happenings.

At the moment I'm feeling sleep deprived and overwhelmed. We have had an eventful few weeks. Here's the ultra-short version.

1. Oliver needs to go to the ER while in IN for Thanksgiving - we've yet to get a bill for this
2. 2nd outbreak of hives and Dr. visit
3. Dryer breaks while I have WET DIAPERS
4. Brakes need replaced on the Taurus -$200
5. Find a washer/dryer on craigslist for -$400
6. Plan to go pick them up a couple days later- that night comes and while Kurt is disconnecting our old washing machine the pipe breaks leaking water for a solid 10 minutes of chaos until we figure out how to turn the water supply off. Note to self- always know where the water meter is. Do you know where yours is? If not, you should find out.
7. Call a plumber (afterhours) to come and fix our mess. -$200 ( I thought this was a perk of renting...???)
8. Libby is admitted to the hospital with kidney stones

Shew. Good thing we have an emergency fund. Libby is staying here trying to get better. Poor girl. I'm behind on laundry, house work, and cleaning. I need to wrap Oliver's presents and get the house cleaned before Saturday so we can celebrate our family Christmas. Then be ready to leave for DE next Wednesday and stay gone until after Libby and Sean's wedding.

This isn't how I pictured our month going but really things could be worse. I am so thankful for my beautiful family and for the blessings we have. Throughout our crazy month Kurt and I have managed to keep things relatively light-hearted.


Monday, December 5, 2011

New Christmas Traditions

I always love this time of year!  We have been enjoying some festivities this weekend; starting with  Christmas cookies on Saturday night. I pinned a bunch of pretty Christmas cookies on pinterest and pictured beautiful cookies.  Lets just say our were not photo worthy.  Everyone made sure to comment that the icing I made was too runny.  Oh well, they still taste good!

We then watched Love Actually which is a tradition I've kept every Christmas season for about 5 years now.  I LOVE that movie and if you haven't seen it you should watch it!

Sunday we did Oliver's baby dedication at church.  Oliver did a great job on stage and we appreciated being prayed for as new parents with a precious little soul to raise.

We came home and ate a quick sandwich before laying down for a Sunday afternoon family nap. Kurt accidentally set the alarm for am instead of pm so we woke up an hour later than we planned.  We still made it out the door in time to go to one of my favorite places in Knoxville, The Tennessee Theater.  They were doing a free showing of It's A Wonderful Life.  We'd never seen the movie before and jumped at the chance to go back to the Tennessee Theater. Libby and Sean (my little sister and her hubby-to-be) met us there and ended up taking Oliver to the lobby for a good part of the movie.  Then we went to my favorite Knoxville restaurant, Cafe' 4.  Afterwards to got a few pics in front of the big tree on Gay Street before heading home to call it a night.
Oliver and I at the TN Theater

In front of the Gay Street tree

The bride and her groom!
Maybe if we stay in Knoxville the Tennessee Theater will become a new tradition for our little family.  We really enjoyed our evening.  Thanks for reading.  Enjoy some egg nog and Christmas cookies with your loved ones!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Deck the Halls!

We decorated for Christmas this weekend.  Every year it is something I look forward to and this year with a baby my excitement is multiplied.  Kurt worked hard for me this weekend getting the decorations from the attic, putting the tree together, putting on the lights (we have an old-fashioned tree), putting together our outside decorations, and even running to the store for extension cords.  He even had to slide our tree from one side of the room to the other, after it was all decorated, because we I decided it didn't look right where it was first located.  He's a good sport! 

To set the mood Oliver and I put on some Christmas pj's.  His were Gymboree reindeer pj's and wore a shirt that said, "Meet me under the mistletoe".  We started up our Glee Christmas station on pandora, made hot chocolate on the stove, topped with real, home-made whipped cream.  Plus the aroma of a baking pumpkin pie!  I love decorating before Thanksgiving because we always travel for the holiday and I LOVE coming home to a decorated house for Christmas! 

Kurt and I with our 1st Christmas ornament from him parents in 2008
The 3 of us with our +1 ornament from Kurt's parents last year
Friday evening Oliver and I did some shopping and I found his first Christmas ornament at Hallmark.  When I first saw it I knew I had to buy it.  I actually teared up when I wrote on the back of it before decorating the tree.  Thinking how he'll change each year, what life will bring us, and thinking of him one day putting it on his own tree with his own children, was enough to make me emotional.  I got this picture of him looking at his ornament after we found the perfect spot for it on the tree.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Today is World Prematurity Day.  I didn't know such a day existed until it came up on my facebook feed from Mothering Magazine.  1 is 8 babies is born premature.  During my pregnancy prematurity was something I didn't even think twice about.  Here's our story.

I guess if I'm going to deal with a premature baby I had the best case scenario possible.  Oliver decided to make his arrival at exactly 36 weeks.  He was considered a late-term premie.  When my water broke, at 3 in the morning, I did not react the way I had expected to react to labor.  I was extremely scared.  It was too early.  Why was he coming a month early?  I expected to react by going about my day until I couldn't ignore labor anymore, then laboring at home until I was late first stage.  Because of the fact we were doing this a month before we were supposed to, we decided to call the hospital.  We didn't take their advice to come right away because we wanted to make sure to see our Doctor and not whoever was on call.  I had no idea what to expect with an early baby, and especially a boy.  White, males are said to need the longest time to cook.  Dr. Brabson did a great job of reassuring me everything was going to be alright and really acted like he wasn't concerned at all by it.  Fast forward to our delivery.  We had a NICU Dr. present at Oliver's birth so she could check him out and whisk him away if need be.  Oliver came out screaming which was wonderful since the lungs are a huge concern with premies.  The Doctor checked him on my chest and gave him an apgar score of 8 and then 9.  Wow, isn't that great for a premie!?  I truly think that my labor and birth is part of why Oliver did so well when he was born.  Partially, he had the chance of clearing his lungs by emerging through the birth canal.  He also was not medicated with narcotics, pain killers, or epidurals.  He was alert and perfect.

Fast-forward to our breastfeeding experience.  NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT NURSING A PREMIE.  WHY NOT!!??  I saw the lactation consultant at St. Mary's.  She came to our room every day a couple times a day during our stay at the hospital.  She was mostly concerned with me filling out her chart saying when he was pooping and peeing.  WHY didn't she talk to me about nursing a 36 weeker?  Why!?  I was as educated on breastfeeding as I could have been.  I read LLL's book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  I took a breastfeeding class.  I have been exposed to breastfeeding my whole life.  I never even had to consider how I would feed my baby, I knew I'd be a weirdo who'd nurse until he was 3!

From the beginning Oliver latched well.  We had to help him latch on because you can imagine how tiny his mouth was, he weighed 5 pounds even the day we left the hospital.  Kurt would sit behind me and pinch my breast while I would lead Oliver to the nipple.  He would finally latch and nurse.  I was so engorged and swollen, it HURT.  To everyone who watched, Oliver was nursing great and doing wonderfully.  He nursed often and on demand.  At our first appointment 4 days after leaving the hospital he was already up to 5 pounds 2 oz.  At our 2 week appointment he was 5 pounds 7 oz which was great, he was 1 oz. over his birth weight.  We continued to do exactly what we had been doing and didn't see our Doctor again until 4 weeks.

 --The details from there are very emotional for me to discuss and to share.--  Oliver was not gaining weight.  We did everything we could to continue to exclusively breastfeed but that was not an option for us.  Oliver started formula after being labeled "failure to thrive".  Those 3 little words, tore my world apart.  I had done absolutely everything right.  I birthed the best way I could, I was educated about breastfeeding and did everything I was supposed to.  I didn't even give him a pacifier to avoid missing a time to nurse.  I nursed on demand even when it hurt and I was exhausted.  Those words "failure to thrive" broke my heart in two.  I had to give my baby formula.  Formula?  I know, I sound like a total snob, but it's true.  I thought of formula as almost poison before this point.  I did my research and knew I was going to do everything in my motherly power to still nurse my child.  I told the pediatrician I wanted to use the Medela Supplemental Nursing System instead of a bottle.  He was fine with that.  We went straight to UT Medical center to rent and hospital grade pump and to purchase the SNS.  The LC there wanted us to wait to see her before taking our pump, so we waited in the postpartum hall of the hospital.  A cafeteria worker walked past and saw us with Oliver and congratulated us on our new baby.  She thought he was just being discharged--he was actually 6 weeks old. I wanted to cry.  It took all I had to stand there and wait for the LC.  The LC finally showed up and offered to show us how to use the pump and the SNS in a postpartum room.  I'm glad she did.  She taught us how to put together all the finicky parts of the starter SNS and gave us formula.  She said something that I will never forget.  I was crying and she looked at me and said, "Oh honey, I am so sorry. The system has failed you."  Great, the system may have cost us our breastfeeding relationship.  My sweet Kurt took a sick day the following day to teach me how to use the SNS.  We were up for every feeding that literally took an hour and a half, EACH TIME.  We nursed for 20-30 minutes first, then got the SNS with .5 oz. of formula in it and fed again, then I pumped for 15 minutes.  By the time it was all said and done all those steps took an hour and a half.  We did this for 5 weeks.  By the end of 5 weeks I was still only pumping about 10ml and was seriously close to depression.  I contacted Dr. Jack Newman in Canada to find out about taking some prescription drugs to help my supply.  Dr. Newman told me he wasn't a fan of pumping like I had been because of how discouraging it is to see such a tiny amount of milk.  I took that as my permission to stop the crazy schedule I'd been keeping.  I couldn't do it anymore.  There was one thing I could continue to do though, and that was nurse with the SNS.

I chose to continue using the SNS because it allowed me to still nurse which was a closeness I yearned for with my precious babe.  I continued the supplements and the prescription but I stopped pumping for every feeding.  Oliver and I still nurse with the SNS.  He is still breastfeeding and I estimate he gets about 10 oz. of breast milk from me every day.

My premie is now close to 10 months old.  He is strong, happy, growing, and full of love and curiosity.  He is doing well and has given my life meaning.  I still do not know why he was born early.  I pray that Oliver's brothers and sisters will be full term babies, but I am so thankful for my sweet, content Oliver.  There's our premie story.  I hope you enjoyed reading about the defeats and victories that have brought us to where we are today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free Zoo Day!!

We headed to the zoo on Sunday for a perfect fall afternoon.  The weather was mid 60's and gorgeous!  And of course it was great that what would have cost us $40 was absolutely free thanks to Kroger and the Humane Society.  We had never been to the Knoxville zoo and we enjoyed it enough.  We could have done without the literally, 13,000 other Knoxvillians, but it was still worth our money, time.

Oliver spent most of his time snuggled up to one or the other of us in the Moby wrap.  We did our usual hold and moved him over to our hip and it was a very comfortable hold.  We have gotten used to our Ergo and mostly use that these days but the Moby worked great.  At first I was really regretting our decision due to the massive amounts of people but as we kept going throughout the zoo it got a little better.  We really enjoyed the African section which was where we got to see elephants!  Oliver did a lot of staring at the ground but occasionally would look at the animals.  Kurt was narrating what Oliver was thinking and said, "Yea, I know we have one of those at home."  I wonder if that's what he was thinking?

Towards the end we came upon the gorilla then the chimpanzees.  We saw something rather interesting and kind of sad.  The baby chimp was eating an apple and sitting on the rocks near the glass.  There were lots of people pushed up to the glass to watch him.  He starting coming towards us little by little then got up and threw a stick at the glass; then went back to eating his apple.  The mama chimp sees this and comes out from hiding behind the stone wall and gets her babe.  He doesn't want to go but he does listen and mama chimp walks behind him as if patting his bottom to keep him going.  When he's far enough away from the scads of people she lets him go back to playing and she goes back to hide behind the stone wall.  It kind of broke my heart.  It was like the mama chimp was protecting her baby and made me feel like they were unhappy being locked up and stared at every day.  Here's the baby.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Trick or Treat

I know it's a little late to post Halloween pictures but I want you all to be able to see my little one as Curious George for Halloween.  He was so cute and I think the costume got to him because he definitely acted a little crazy when he was sporting it!  
Our parade in DE got rained out so we ended up letting Oliver wear his costume out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse.  Our waitress wasn't very friendly and didn't even mention how cute he was in his costume!  He tried to get her attention any way he could through kisses, waving, noises, smiles, etc. with no such luck. 
Here we are Trick or Treating in VA!
I swear it was almost impossible to get a decent picture of him in his costume, he was too busy!
My beautiful sister with my precious new niece, Eden Grey!
I hope to blog about her beautiful homebirth sometime soon! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ode to co-sleeping.

Every time I go to Ikea, which is far less often than I'd like, I gaze at this painting of a woman and her babe co-sleeping.  I love it.  Co-sleeping has meant so much to Kurt and I and has a lot to do with the way we parent Oliver.  I absolutely love cuddling with both of my boys at night.  I love that Kurt gets the chance to sleep with Oliver after having to be away from him during the day.  I love the time of nursing that Oliver and I get because of co-sleeping.  The morning snuggles are one of the best parts of my day and I am so happy to have the time with my sweet boy to start our day.  When we wake up we sing a good morning song, we kiss and hug,  we laugh and play until we decide we're ready to get up for the day.  It's bliss. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin pickin' and some other fall fun

Last weekend we partook in a few of our favorite fall festivities.  I know, the beginning of October is a little early to pick and carve pumpkins, but I really wanted to make sure we had a chance to take Oliver to the pumpkin patch.  I am going to my sister's birth so Oliver and I will be leaving any day now for VA!  We spent 2 weeks holed up with sickness and the pumpkin patch was a nice way to get out in the fresh, autumn air.  The weather was not necessarily perfect, at about 80 degrees, but at least there was an autumn breeze!  The temperature didn't stop me from putting Oliver in his knitted pumpkin outfit.  I just removed his pumpkin hat whenever we weren't getting a picture!  We really had a nice time going on a hayride, picking pumpkins, then eating some seriously delicious ice cream while Oliver napped in his stroller.

We also carved our pumpkins.  Kurt and I have done pumpkins every year since we've been married.  Growing up my family didn't carve pumpkins but this has become a new tradition that I LOVE!  We chose what we wanted our pumpkins to be and Kurt sketched them out on computer paper then we just taped them to our pumpkins and poked away!  This year I did my pumpkin (almost) all by myself!  Usually Kurt ends up doing just about all of mine, but not this year!  Kurt chose to do Jack Skelington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which happens to be one of his favorite movies.  And we chose Curious George for Oliver since it matches his Halloween costume this year.  We are pretty happy with the way they all turned out!  

Oliver has started eating cherrios, YoBaby Yogurt, and has even tried some winter squash.  I found a great website for baby food recipes.  Which is where I got the recipe for his food yesterday--organic winter squash, organic applesauce, with a dash of cinnamon--.  He ate it up!  The site gave me tons of ideas for new recipes for Oliver and I shopped at Wal-mart last night for groceries and realized they don't have an organic produce section...?  I normally shop at Kroger or Food City for Oliver's food so needless to say I was extremely disappointed!  And that's how we ended up with the YoBaby Yogurt for him to try. 

Anyway, that pretty much catches you up on our month!  Hope you are all well and taking some time to enjoy this October!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A (general) guide to planning for your natural birth

Several friends have come to me with questions soon after finding out they are pregnant.  I decided I could post my advice here in hopes to help when deciding what you need to do once your shock and excitement has worn off of your news of pregnancy.

I find birth absolutely fascinating and am a self proclaimed birth junkie.  I would love to train to become a childbirth educator and truly hope to do so sometime within the relatively close future.  I hope this post will give you a guideline to what you should do to plan for your birth.  And obviously, I'm no expert.  I'm just posting my experience and advice which I hope is helpful.

1.  Read, read, read!!!  There are tons of resources for expectant moms.  Lots of them focus on the baby and what to actually do with your newborn.  Those are great and helpful, especially if you have never dealt with a newborn, but they are not what I'm talking about here.  You need to read information on your pregnancy including diet, fitness, development of your changing body and your baby.  I started my reading with Husband Coached Childbirth.  This is written by Dr. Bradley and should be read by your husband (or coach) as well.  A lot of my advice is based off of The Bradley Method because that is what we studied.  There are other methods so do your research and decide what is a best fit for you!  After reading Husband Coached Childbirth I suggest reading Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way.  This book helps with knowing what you will actually do when you are in labor.  It gives you a great amount of information about each stage of labor along with "signposts" of labor which tell a great deal about where a woman is in her labor based on her emotions and actions.  Knowledge is power and I really found great strength in being educated about what was actually happening when I was in labor and knowing that this was normal!  I find a coached method to be wonderful because when you are actually in labor you cannot be mentally assessing where you are and critiquing every little thing.  This is where your coach comes in!  He is educated as well and knows what is happening better than you do.  He can reassure you!

2.  Watch documentaries.  The Business of Being Born is by far my favorite documentary on birth.  It is incredibly eye-opening.  It does a great job of explaining some major flaws in the American system of Labor and Delivery.  I first saw the movie when it first came out and was shown at our local library.  I was interested in birth before I was even married or close to having a baby.  I invited a bunch of my friends to go with me and one by one they backed out thinking I was crazy for being interested in birth already.  I ended up going alone and I'm so glad I went.  I left feeling empowered and excited about birth!  Another popular documentary is Pregnant in America.  At one point both were instant view on Netflix, so check it out!  Even if you aren't pregnant, watch it just because!  And make your boyfriend/friends/husband/etc. watch it as well!

3.  Now that you've educated yourself on birth and you understand what you are looking for in your birthing experience you need to take a class.  I would not suggest taking the birthing class at your local hospital which is just going to tell you how to be a good patient, explain hospital protocol, and give you a tour of your labor room.  I'm talking about an actual class with a natural childbirth educator.  You will benefit so much from taking a class.  There are several options as far as classes go.  You could take The Bradley Method, Hypnobabies, Birthing from Within, Lamaze, etc.  Just do your research and decide which is a best fit for you and what is available in your area.  These classes aren't that expensive and will benefit you greatly.  We chose to study Bradley for several reasons.  I love that it's a coached method and gets your husband involved!  It becomes a bonding experience for the two of you.  Kurt is the person I trust most in this life so why wouldn't I want him to be the one to help me through my labor?  And after-all, I was having his baby! ;)  Bradley educates you on nutrition.  Our classes also covered common interventions and educated you on the risks/benefits of them.  We discussed birth plans, breastfeeding, postpartum, etc.  We learned affirmations and how to  relax.  Relaxing is something you think you can just wing but practicing with your coach turns out to be very important and it helped us tremendously.  Kurt felt prepared to be my coach. I felt prepared to go through labor.  I was able to relax with the help of my coach and my doulas (my mom and sister).

I hope this posts helps you to know what to do to begin learning and planning for your birth.  This is just a basic outline of the steps you should take to begin preparing.  I'll go ahead and dedicate it to a dear friend who called me this week with questions.  Maybe it's more for me than for you.  Now I have a guide to share instead of babbling on and on about all things birth.  Wishing you all the birth of your dreams!  :)

The Birth Junkie

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sniffles, snot, and coughs

This past week has been among the most trying weeks for me as a mother.  My baby got sick for the first time and I'd like to take a pass on ever dealing with that again- I can dream, right!?--  It all started Sunday night.  We spent a very quick weekend in VA for my sister's baby shower.  We had a nice time but it was such a short trip it was hard on all of us.  We used to pick up and leave for a weekend trip all the time before Oliver came.  Now, it's just not possible.  Anyway, we got back to Knoxville around 9:30pm Sunday night and Oliver was up through the night with a stuffy nose.  I truly thought he was teething Monday and expected to see his first pearly white at any moment.  By Tuesday a cough started and I tried to stay calm when I started to get sick as well.  By Wednesday he had a much worse cough and I knew I had to call his doctor.  They fit him in that afternoon and luckily Kurt was able to duck out of work about 30 minutes early to come with me to the appointment.  We ended up getting a Nebulizer and 2 prescriptions for the babe.  One for Zyrtec and the other for breathing meds.

Wednesday night was the second most difficult night of my life as a new mother.  My baby was sick for the first time, I was now sick as well.  We were both exhausted and feeling rather miserable.  I really felt like Oliver needed his second dose of breathing meds but Kurt left them at the pharmacy because of their outrageous cost of $117 for an 8 DAY supply.  I know that's a crazy price, but I don't care if I eat ramen for the next month, if my baby needs expensive meds I'll do whatever I can to get them for him.  Not to get into all the down and dirty details, but Kurt and I fought hard about going and getting the meds for him.  We ended up waiting and I calledThursday morning, at 8 o'clock on the dot, to try to get his Rx changed to a cheaper drug with a generic.  This whole process took 3 calls to the pediatrician office throughout the day, and still ended up costing us $67 and he didn't get to have his first breathing treatment until 4pm Thursday afternoon.

You all know about my supply issues and have probably read about my nursing journey.  Breastfeeding my baby is as important to me as a natural birth was.  When Oliver was sick and all he wanted to do was nurse and he couldn't because of his clogged up nose, it was heartbreaking.  He would turn his head and root, he'd latch on, then have to come off for air after a few pitiful sucks.  You also know my philosophy on mothering and how I try my best to meet his needs immediately... and I guess you can imagine what this week was like for me when I couldn't meet his needs.  I couldn't let him nurse.  I couldn't give him the meds he needed.  All I could do was cuddle him and give him a bottle and pump my heart out in hopes that my small milk supply would hold out through this sickness.

Things really turned around when he got his first breathing treatment at home Thursday afternoon.  He could breathe, he has nursed for every meal since then.  He has slept through the night again and is able to nurse while we sleep like usual again.  Yesterday he played SO HARD all day that he wouldn't take a nap because he was too excited to be playing again.  His knees last night were as red as a lobster from crawling all day.  This week I missed my baby's smiles.  I'm used to him smiling at me just about every time I look at him, talk to him, go to get him up from a nap, etc.  He and I are on the mend and I'm so thankful for that.

Despite his sickness he's met two milestones this week.  Thursday after his breathing treatment and a good nursing session he crawled for the first time.  He's fast with his army crawl but he crawled on his hands and knees for about 2-3 steps before lunging back onto his belly and taking off again!  We were thrilled.  Then yesterday he was playing at my feet and pulled himself up onto his knees, then straight up onto his feet!  He stood up!  I was in total shock and still kind of am.  He is such an incredible blessing to me and has met milestones even while fighting off his first illness.  His temperament is so content and loving that even when he was not feeling well he was mostly pleasant.  Here are a few shots from this week.

Watching Baby Einstein with a sock full of ice on Monday, not feeling so great. 

By the end of the week starting to feel better and excited to see Daddy!

Got caught!!

"I love avocado!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

A penny for your thoughts.

Ok, I'll be honest.
I've been avoiding blogging.  I've had several other women approach me about starting blogs lately.
I've been a little intimidated by others being inspired by my blog.  I'm not really sure why?  I have tried to talk about real issues and victories associated with parenting.  I know many topics related to parenting can be controversial.  I hope to open a dialogue, show a different perspective, hold myself accountable to a variety of different things, without ever trying to justify what I'm doing or force an opinion on someone else.

I got to watch The View last week after a long 8 months without any cable.  I mean, not even 1 channel.  We just got cable so we could feed our NFL addictions and The View may or may not have had anything to do with the decision that cable was worth $30 a month to us.  Anyway, I was enjoying The View with a cup of coffee one morning last week and I saw a segment with Sarah Jessica Parker.  I am not typically a huge fan of hers, I don't dislike her really but don't love her either.  But I really related to what she had to say about her new movie, I Don't Know How She Does It.  Here's the clip, start around 50 seconds if you want to skip the introduction part.

I really appreciate what she says.  Engaging in conversation is so important for women.  We are so busy doing a never-ending list of things that need to be done in order for our lives to run smoothly, our husbands to be taken care of, and our children's needs to be met.  I think that Sarah Jessica Parker said what I've been thinking extremely well.  I hope this can be a place that a dialogue can be opened.  I can discuss what I've been reading or considering as a new parent.  I have really enjoyed keeping a blog for the first time and I hope that the topics keep coming and the readers keep reading.

Mama Riss

Thursday, September 8, 2011


A friend posted this article on my facebook wall this week and asked me my opinion of it.  I have read the article a few times and played around with it in my head today off and on and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  I am ok with certain parts, I guess.  She is not saying to let the baby cry-it-out.  She is not talking about leaving them in a dark room because that's what they need... but she is talking about letting them cry.  So, is it any different just because you hold them while they cry???

I really am annoyed at people saying that an attached mom just offers the boob instantly for the first whimper. Ezzo says that in Babywise and attributes the attached mom offering the breast to the obesity epidemic in our country.  I think that's totally ridiculous.  

“An anxious and irritated parent (crying does irritate!) will most likely do what brings the fastest relief – give the breast or bottle. The baby almost always accepts it, calms down and often falls asleep. Of course, this is the right solution if the baby is hungry.  However, if the baby has other needs (for instance being tired or having pain), she will learn to expect food in response to these other needs, and grasp the breast or bottle even though she is not hungry.” – Magda Gerber, Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect

I can see her point that it is not good for food to be shoved in the baby’s mouth for any and every need, I do think there is a difference whether the baby is being breastfed or bottle fed.  And please, realize I am not talking about breast milk versus formula!  I don’t care if we are talking about breastfeeding and giving a bottle of breast milk!  My point is that the breast is much more versatile and can be used by the baby for comfort, closeness, pacifying, etc.  The baby will nurse differently if this is their goal instead of nursing for hunger.  The bottle does not offer that same versatility because it releases a constant stream of milk unlike the breast.

Moving on, it seems to me the author is trying to say that our motivation in stopping our babies cry instantly is from our insecurities about the way we were raised and not being able to feel deep emotion.  She also thinks that we stop the baby’s cry because we cannot stand the crying, it makes us frazzled and stressed.  I do not like my baby to cry and I do have hormonal, emotional reactions to his cry.  I am not reacting to his cry because I need to stop the noise and in return my stress level.  I stop his cry because I know his cry is his voice and he is using it to tell me about his needs!  I then take action to meet his needs to the best of my ability.

“Why is it so difficult to hold a crying baby and to accept the crying? Probably because few people were allowed to cry as much as needed when they were little. Your parents may have tried to stop you from crying when you were a baby. Perhaps they gave you a pacifier, or kept trying to feed you, or jiggled you every time you cried, thinking this was what you needed at the moment. Perhaps they tried to distract you with toys, music, or games, when all you needed was their undivided attention and loving arms so that you could continue with your crying.” –Aletha Solter, Aware Parenting

When I cry I want to feel better and sometimes crying does that for me but usually I feel better by being comforted by someone like a good friend, sister, or my husband.  I can be comforted through talking or a hug.  In the same way, a baby is comforted through nursing, rocking, music, etc. which in my opinion, are all great ways to give the baby what he wants.

"Some parents decide to go for days without a shower, or to carry their baby all the time, in an effort to remedy this kind of crying.  Life gets harder, and parenting less enjoyable." Wipfler

I assume that statement is supposed to be about me, the attached mom.  That's fine.  it's incorrect.  My son usually does not cry unless there is a problem. He is such a calm baby and is incredibly content.  I have been truly blessed by him and I do wonder if his demeanor has something to do with the way we parent him.  His needs are met quickly, he is allowed to express himself as he needs to, he plays and explores, and is attached to his mama and papa.  Yes, I do respond to his cry quickly and I'm still ok with that. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My yarn wreath

I know, I know... everyone has made one of these and blogged about it.  I won't give you a tutorial on how to do it but I do want to show off my yarn wreath.  A good friend from college came over yesterday and we had fun crafting together!  She got a little further than I did most likely due to my baby who woke up screaming about 3/4 of my way through wrapping my wreath with the brown yarn.  He was happy enough after a diaper change and nursing so I got to get my yarn done before she left yesterday.

Most of the wreaths I've seen add felt flowers that are handmade.  I didn't opt for that route for two reasons.  One, I don't have the patience and two, I was ready to be done with this project.  So I opted for some simple flowers I bought at Dollar Tree.  I like the way it turned out and cannot wait to decorate for fall so I can hang it! I mean, fall comes right after Labor Day, right?  As in September 6th...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

He's a boating, swimming, eating kind of a boy

We started the month with a trip to IN to go camping and boating with Kurt's parents.  We had a lovely time and although, for me, it was doing basically the same thing I do everyday (feed Oliver, play with him, change him, feed him, change him, feed him, change him...) I still had a great time.  I figured if I'm going to be sitting and feeding Oliver somewhere it may as well be in the middle of a lake!  Here are a few shots from our visit.

We also had Oliver's pictures taken, technically at the very end of July.  Kelsey and Blaine Wright from Wright Photographs came to TN for vacation with Kelsey's family and were kind enough to fit us in for a family session.  I'm thrilled with our pictures.  Kelsey and Blaine shot our wedding and we couldn't say enough good things about them, we love them!  Here are some of their awesome shots.  I'm still deciding which ones I want for our home. 

Oliver had him 6 month check up this month as well and managed to pee on the nurse practitioner while she was doing his exam.  Her and I have become pretty good friends and she found it hilarious.  He didn't know what was so funny!  We also started solids this month as well.  This has been an adventure more for me than for him, I'm sure.  The first batch of baby food I made took me forever!  I was also compulsively paranoid about the strings in his sweet potatoes spending minutes upon minutes picking out the tiniest of strings.  The first day he did gag and refuse after about 3 bites, which I completely expected.  We tried again the next day and he did better, making a hilarious face and looking at me like, "is this normal!?" but managed to eat a little more than the day before.  By day three he was loving them and leaning forward for his next bite.  Since then he's had banana and today he tried cereal with banana mixed in.  We thin out his food with breast milk and it has worked really well so far.  Here are a few shots from his first bites of food.

Day 1----
Love these baby food containers.  Can freeze, microwave, serve, and dishwash these babies! 

That looks yummy, give me that!


Day 2----
Day 4---Getting the hang of this!

This last picture was taken a few nights ago, he was falling asleep while scooting around on the floor.
 I think that pretty well sums up our month and again I'm shocked it has been another month.  Oliver will be 7 months old tomorrow and I absolutely cannot believe it.  It feels like he's always been here.