Not Another Cloth Diaper Post…

So, I realize that out of the like 5 people that read this blog when they have nothing better to do, maybe one of you has actually expressed interest in cloth diapering (Hi! Erin). The rest of you are probably all, “Seriously? Another post about this? I know your blog is lame but I didn’t realize all you have to talk about is what you put on your baby’s butt..”


I know. But for some inexplicable reason, this is actually fun for me. 

So I just thought I’d follow up my “Cloth Diaper 101” post with a few pictures (and some long-winded explanations) of my newest addition to the family in her favorite dipes.


I mean, when I was delving into the complicated world of cloth diapering, I quickly found that pictures were the biggest help. There’s just too many options out there these days, and it’s hard to picture how they all work, ya know?


So, if you’re totally over my cloth-diapering life right now, I understand. But, for those of you who think you might find yourself entertaining the idea of cloth diapering somewhere down the road, stick this post in the back of your mind or at the back of your bookmarks for a reference.

Oh, and maybe I should put in a disclaimer: I am totally not plugging any of the brands of cloth diapers or stores I might mention in this post. Although these diaper companies should be paying me to rave about their products, they unfortunately do not know that I exist. I have however found that, of the many products and cloth diapering methods I’ve tried, there are some that work better for me than others. So this is me passing along the wisdom of my cloth diaper addiction… 

Okay, so…first up are some pictures of the baby girl in my diaper of choice: a flat diaper. I use these flats. And these. All Green Mountain brand diapers are amazing in terms of quality and absorbency. Osocozy brand diapers are a little smaller (which makes for a good fit for my baby at her current size) and also a little rougher to the touch compared to GMDs, but just as absorbent.


Flat diapers can be folded down to the length of your diaper cover (so that they look like a diaper insert) and simply tucked into a pocket diaper, or placed on top of a diaper cover like this:


This one’s got a strip of fleece fabric on top to “catch” the poo messes, making them easier to clean up.

Or, you can fold them into the shape of a disposable diaper and secure them around your baby like this:  



 

Dawwwww.


That y-shaped thing holding the diaper on is called a Snappi. They’re the quicker, more convenient alternative to diaper pins. They have little teeth that grab the fabric and hold the diaper wings together. You can get them in regular size or toddler size. I use toddler sized snappis because I don’t like them to be tight on my baby, and the toddler sized ones help with that.

Also that was all I had, since their previous owner was her toddler brother. 


Also, let’s face it, she’s huge. Look at those thunder thighs.


I used what’s called The Neat Fold on the diapers in the pictures above. For the size and shape of my baby, that’s what works best for us at this time. But there are gazillions of ways to fold flat diapers, and it only takes about 30 seconds on You Tube to learn how to do it. It’s no big deal!


I could sing the praises of flat diapers all day, but I’ll save you the pain. Instead, let me list for you the things that make them so fantastic: 

  • They’re the least expensive cloth diaper, but last longer than most modern options.
  • They’re the easiest to get clean — fancy diapers made of synthetic fibers like microfiber tend to hold onto bacteria and stinkies, making them complicated to get clean. Flats are made of one layer of cotton — they clean up with one wash cycle and regular laundry detergent, and dry in no time. You won’t need to follow any of those fancy washing instructions with flats.
  • They’re one-size-fits-all. Buy them once and cloth diaper all your kids from birth to potty training. Just change how you fold them depending on your baby’s size.
  • They’re the trimmest option. Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables — something you just have to get used to. But flat diapers rival the trimness of disposable diapers.

See:


Trim, right?


Same flat diaper plus diaper cover under a onesie. See how trim it is?

Next is a Flip brand one-size diaper cover over the same flat diaper above:



You have to pair flat diapers with a diaper cover, which provides wetness protection. 

If you’re going to cloth diaper an infant full-time with just flats and covers, you would need 10-24 flats, but only 4-6 covers. (I can get away with just 12 flats and 4 covers because I wash mine every day or every other day.  So, that’s about $80 to cloth diaper one baby full time for 1-4 years, as opposed to $1000+ to use disposables full-time. …You can see why I’m obsessed with this.)

Anyway, back to covers: In my experience, Flip covers are the best fit on babies 10lbs and up, and the most leak-proof PUL cover. I’ve had plenty of leaks with disposable diapers and other cloth diaper covers, but I’ve never had a leak with a Flip cover! Bonus: They’re one size fits all, so you only have to buy one set and they’ll fit your baby from birth to potty training! How’s that for saving money? 

Ok, so, let’s say I’ve totally convinced you and you’re thinking of trying flats, but you don’t want to invest a bunch of money in them just in case you end up hating them. I have a solution for you! Grab a flannel receiving blanket out of the closet, and practice with that! Flannel receiving blankets work just as well as “real” flats (some would say even better). Plus, they’re ridiculously cute. See:


 
(Are you starting to see why cloth diapering is way more exciting than using disposables? You save an obnoxious amount of money and your baby looks adorable. It’s mom heaven.)

Some people even use receiving blanket flats exclusively. They’re softer, cuter, and work just as well.  The only drawback (for some) is that you can’t use a snappi with flannel. It just doesn’t grab the fabric. So you have to use diaper pins. Which is no biggie once you figure out how to get the dang things open. 


(Diaper pin bonus tip: Rub the pointy end of the pin on your scalp or forehead before poking it into the diaper. The oils from your hair help to lubricate the pin. Gross, but totally works and saves a ton of frustration.)

And get this: if you play your cards right, receiving blankets are even cheaper than regular flats! :drool: You can find flannel receiving blankets in packs of 5 for $5 or under in stores like Ross and Marshall’s! Walmart and Target also have “flour sack towels” in their kitchen towel section for $5, and they make great flats too!

Or, you can even make your own flat diapers out of old blankets or leftover flannel and cotton material. Jersey cotton makes a wonderfully soft, stretchy diaper. 

That’s the beauty of flat diapers. Once you know what you’re doing, you’ll start imagining everything in your house is a flat diaper.

Yes, you will start looking for things in your house that your baby can pee on. 


I heard a heartbreaking story once of a mom who couldn’t afford to buy disposable diapers. So she would try to wash out the disposable diapers her baby had used and blow dry them! How unsanitary! It absolutely breaks my heart. If she had known the old-fashioned way of diapering, she could have just folded up an old tee shirt or blanket and tied it around her baby. People who have plenty of money for the finer things in life do that just to look “green” and trendy! But that sort of thing is not common knowledge these days. How sad that our society has us so conditioned to buying expensive, mass-produced things like disposable diapers that you have to throw out — which is supposedly more convenient — that we aren’t even aware that lots of fabrics can function as a diaper — and work even better. Ok I’m done lecturing.  


Well, I think I’ve pretty much covered everything. So now that I’ve beaten you over the head with more information about flat diapers than you probably ever cared to know, I’ll let you get back to your life. I promise the next post will not have anything to do with poo. 🙂  




Recipes for Success!

You know those days when the hubs comes home from a long day at work and he’s only got one thing on his mind?


Nooo, not that! Get your mind out of the gutter, woman! I’m talking about the other thing men think about once every five seconds: food!

You know how it goes: You’ve spent the day chasing after naked babies who think diapers are optional and who think unraveling entire rolls of toilet paper is hilarious, scrubbing up whatever’s ingrained in the carpet underneath the high chair (and determining whether or not it’s the same thing that’s ingrained in your hair), gluing your porcelain vase back together, quelling temper-tantrums, kissing little bumps, patching little boo-boos, preventing doody-diaper disasters, and, if you’re lucky, doing a little bit of laundry and cleaning, when your husband has the naivete to come home at 5:00 and exclaim impatiently with his first breath through the door, “I’m starving, what’s for dinner?!” 

What’s for dinner?! I don’t know what’s for dinner, honey, but I do know with that attitude you’re going to be eating this doody-diaper in about five seconds. 

Hah, juuuust kidding. The poor guy has no idea it’s been one of those days. While you’ve been dealing with mom stuff all day, he’s been dealing with man stuff, and neither of you had the time to deal with that annoying daily dilemma, “what are we doing for dinner?”


Enter the following EASY recipes. These have become my go-to recipes for those days when fancy-gourmet-dinner just didn’t make it onto my to-do list. They’re super fast and easy. They’re healthy. (Healthier than that last-minute delivery pizza or Chinese take-out you were going to order, anyway.) They’re satisfying (ie: man-appetite-approved). They’re made from stuff you probably already have in your pantry. And best of all, they’re different! Read: not grilled chicken or your mama’s meatloaf. Hooray!

So, don’t panic the next time 5:00 rolls around so fast. Make these dishes on those days and you’ll still have plenty of time and energy left for that other thing you thought I was talking about. 😉


Fast & Easy Recipe # 1:
Southern Living Ham Greens and Cornbread Bake (This one’s my all-time favorite easy recipe!)

4 cups cooked, chopped ham (about 2lbs)
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 – 16 oz. package frozen chopped collard greens
1 – 12 oz. package frozen vegetable seasoning blend (onion, green pepper, celery) 
1 – 15.5 oz. can jalepeno and bacon seasoned black eyed peas, drained
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional if you don’t like spicy stuff)
2 – 7 oz. packages Martha White sweet yellow cornbread mix

Saute ham in hot oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat, 5 minutes
Add flour, stir and cook 1 minute
Gradually add chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes until mixture begins to thicken
Bring to a boil
Add frozen collard greens, frozen vegetable blend, black eyed peas, and red pepper  
Return to a boil and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes
Pour into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish
Make cornbread mixture according to directions on back of package (don’t forget to double everything since you’re using 2 packages for this) and pour the batter evenly over the ham mixture
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until cornbread is golden and set.
Enjoy! 

Tips:

  • To make this recipe super easy, you can buy pre-chopped cooked ham. It’s in those bins in the middle of the meat isle in the grocery store. If you do have time to do a little more work, you can chop up leftover ham or buy a small sliced ham and chop it up — it does have a little more flavor this way. 
  • This recipe calls for a can of jalepeno and bacon seasoned black eyed peas. I have yet to find this in any store in my area. So what I do is buy a can of regular black eyed peas and a small can of diced jalepenos. Then I just add a small spoonful of jalepenos when I’m adding the other vegetable ingredients. This way I can control the spicy. I love being able to taste the jalepenos! If I feel like doing a little extra work, I fry up some bacon, crumble it in, and even sometimes throw the bacon grease into the pot too. That adds a nice burst of flavor into this already delicious medley. Other times if I’m in a hurry I just leave all that stuff out, and we have a less spicy meal. 
  • The frozen vegetable seasoning blend is also sometimes difficult to find. Where I live it’s frequently out of stock. Alternatively, I buy a frozen bag of chopped onions and a frozen bag of chopped green pepper, and use half a bag of each in the recipe. 
  • You will probably have leftover ham and leftover jalepenos. Use these the next morning to make a yummy omelet! 
  • If you don’t like spicy food, just leave out the red pepper flakes and jalepenos. It still tastes great without that stuff. (I know this one’s obvious but I thought I’d mention it.)
  • Make sure you buy sweet yellow cornbread mix, not regular cornbread mix. It does make a difference. Of course, I have a huge sweet tooth. 
  • Leftover collard greens make a tasty and healthy vegetable the next day when cooked with some bacon, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.  
  • As always, buy store brand ingredients and save big bucks! 

Fast & Easy Recipe #2:
Better Homes & Gardens Pork Chops with Chili-Apricot Glaze (I usually double this one)

1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon water
4 boneless 1-inch pork chops 

1. For glaze, cut up any large pieces of apricot in jam or preserves. In a small saucepan combine jam, chili sauce, mustard, and water. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until heated through. Remove from heat.
2. Trim separable fat from pork chops. Place chops on unheated rack of broiler pan. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for 8 minutes. Turn pork chops. Brush generously with glaze. Broil 8-12 minutes more or until centers of chops are just slightly pink and juices run clear. Spoon any remaining glaze over meat. 
Enjoy with leftover collard greens!

Fast & Easy Recipe #3:
Cheesy Chicken and Asparagus Bake (This one’s sooo easy!)

1.5 pounds fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
One 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish.
Place the asparagus on bottom.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium, add the chicken and brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. 
Arrange chicken over the asparagus. 
In a bowl mix soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
Cover with silver foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt for about 5 minutes.
Serve over brown Minute rice and enjoy!
 

Fast & Easy Recipe #4:
Better Homes & Gardens Hearty Sausage, Beans, and Greens (another favorite!)

1/2 lb hot or mild Italian sausage links, bias-sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 – 19oz. cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine or more chicken broth
2 tablespoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
2 cups escarole or fresh spinach
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Drain off fat. 
Add the beans, chicken broth, wine/chicken broth, and thyme. 
Bring to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in escarole or fresh spinach just until heated through.
Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.
Enjoy!

Tips: 
  • I have no idea what escarole even is. I just use an entire bag of fresh baby spinach from the grocery store and it’s the perfect amount, tastes great, and it’s sooo good for you! 
  • If you like things spicy, use hot Italian sausage or use mild sausage and add red pepper flakes into the pot.
  • Can’t find cannellini beans? I’ve made it with Navy beans and Great Northern beans before, it comes out just as good!





For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

I’m Officially a Soccer Mom…Minus the Soccer

We bought a minivan… 


It’s white. 


It has those doors that open automatically.


There’s a dvd player in the back for the kids.


Before long we’ll probably have one of those stick families pasted on the back window.  


…I’m loving it. 


In defense of our coolness, let me tell you the story: We were fully prepared for our next car to be some sort of SUV. That’s what all the cool people buy. I had already sworn I’d never be one of those moms that owns a minivan, before I had ever even met my husband or had kids. …Then we had the baby and realized SUVs are just cars that are higher off the ground. We learned from experience that a car or any car-like car is not what we want for the family vehicle. Turns out SUVs have the same number of seats as a car, and very little trunk space. When we travel, our kid has more stuff packed in the car than the two of us combined. You can’t avoid it — you gotta take a lot of stuff with you when you travel with a baby. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies family whenever we went anywhere. The poor baby was squashed in the back of the car with all of his stuff piled up around him. So you can imagine that the impending arrival of our second child got us thinking about a minivan. With a minivan, there’s enough space for two babies to sit behind the front seats, and there’s three more seats in the back for friends or family to hang with us! Or, we can fold the rear seat down into the floor and voila! mega trunk space for all of our junk. Awesome! We were sold, and I reneged on my vow against the minivan. 


Now we’re officially that couple from the Toyota minivan ad. 


You know, the ones who think they’re cooler than you but in all reality are total geeks: 

Let’s face it, we’ve been that couple for a long time now, minivan or no minivan. At least we’re emotionally healthy enough to look at ourselves objectively and admit it. Although I know you’re secretly jealous of our swagger. 




“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Paula in a Pinch

Who doesn’t love Paula Deen? It’s her contagious passion for food, her bright positive attitude, her warm, southern hospitality, and oohhh that fabulous accent! Makes me wanna sit on my porch and drink sweet tea. I love her for another reason, too. She’s my go-to lady when I’m in a pinch and need to cook up something tasty, impressive, and not too complicated. I know I can count on a Paula Deen recipe to make an impression when the guests are coming, or the pot-luck party is approaching, or I just want that extra enthusiastic kiss from my husband at dinner time as he goes back to the kitchen for seconds…and even thirds!


What’s Paula’s secret to a delicious recipe, anyway? I’m pretty sure it’s butter. I had her Food Network show on in the background the other day, and I heard her say in her rich southern accent, “Now, I’m not gonna lie folks. This recipe has a lot of butter, a lot of calories, and it’s real fattenin'” And she was only making hot chocolate. Another day, I heard her say as she was finishing a beef stew recipe, “Alright, well this is just about done…but I’m just gonna put this stick of butter in…just cause I saw it sittin’ over there on the counter!” Yikes. But hey, that’s why Paula is my go-to lady for rich, savory, delicious, wow-the-crowd recipes, not recipes for the health-conscious. (That’s for another blog post.)


So, for weeks, my husband kept mentioning to me that he was craving “a nice homemade chicken pot pie”. Being the good wife that I am (insert “sarc mark“) I completely avoided even acknowledging that I heard him. This was to protect him from the immense disappointment that would inevitably result if I were to actually make chicken pot pie. You see, I had never made a chicken pot pie in my life that didn’t come pre-cooked, pre-packaged, and microwave ready. And, the selfish truth of the matter is, I personally have an irrational aversion to any food that even contains the word “pie”. (I’m that person that takes a piece of pie, and leaves a plate with an empty pie-shell on it.) But when the request started coming in daily, I knew I had to knuckle under and find a good chicken pot pie recipe. So, I turned to Paula. Thank goodness, once again, for Paula! I managed to make my hubby a delicious, flavorful, homestyle, FAST and EASY pot pie that even I enjoyed. There were enough for leftovers the next day (always a money-saving bonus!) …And I got that enthusiastic, “this was delicious”, extra kiss from my husband!


Here’s the recipe:


Paula Deen’s Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 6 individual portions (in 3 x 5 in. disposable foil loaf pans)
Prep time: Depends on how fast you can chop vegetables. Or, use the frozen kind and save time.
Cook time: 30-45 minutes


What you need:
6 aluminum foil disposable baking pans, size 3×5. (in the kitchen supplies aisle in Walmart)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped (I like to use a white onion)
2 or 3 red skin potatoes, skin on, chopped to bite size
2 cans cream of chicken soup 
1 can chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup biscuit mix
1 cup milk (increase to 2 cups biscuit mix and 2 cups milk for a thicker topping) 
3 tbs butter plus extra melted butter


1. Boil potatoes to soften, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are boiling, chop veggies.
2. Cook carrots, celery, and onions in 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add potatoes
4. Mix in the chicken, salt, and pepper, stirring lightly to not break up veggies.
5. In a separate bowl, mix broth and soup, then pour over chicken and veggies mixture, mixing lightly.
6. Spoon in to the loaf pans equally.
7. Stir together the biscuit mix and milk and spoon equally over each loaf pan on top of chicken mixture.
8. Drizzle some melted butter over each one.
9. Place loaf pans on cookie sheet to catch drippings and bake at 350 until topping is golden brown, about 30-45 minutes. (In my oven, it was done after about 30 minutes, so keep an eye on it) Allow to cool a bit before digging in. 


(I know this picture makes it look completely unappetizing. I was a dummy and forgot to take a picture when the pot pies first came out of the oven. So this is a picture of the leftovers I microwaved the next day. It may not be pretty, but it still tasted delicious!)



Money Saving Tips:


I am all about saving money. As a stay-at-home mom, I consider it my job to help make money by saving it. Here are some tips to save money and get the most out of this meal.

  • Buy the generic brand of soup. There will be no taste or quality difference with this recipe. The difference is in the plainer packaging.
  • If you have unused or leftover bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer, use those instead of buying the fresh vegetables. Any vegetables will do, it doesn’t have to be carrots and celery. 
  • Make it stretch: A few days before making this recipe, I bought one whole, 4-5 lb chicken (already cut up by the butcher, with the skin left on and giblets included) for $7.50, plus 3 potatoes, a small bag of fresh celery, a small bag of fresh carrotts, and 2 white onions, with the intention of stretching this chicken for a week’s worth of meals. First, I made my homemade chicken soup, which is really my mom’s recipe, which is really probably her mom’s recipe. I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but it’s the best chicken soup there is. Even people who are indifferent to soup (ie, my husband) can’t stop themselves from sighing “mmmmmm” at the first spoonful. So, the soup made more than enough for two dinners for two people, and it left me with about 5 cups of cooked, chopped up chicken. I set aside 2 cups for the pot pies, 2 cups for chicken salad, and I put 1 cup back in the soup broth. The chicken pot pies lasted another two days, and so did the chicken salad (just mix chicken with one chopped up tart apple, plus mayo, lemon juice, honey, nuts, celery, onion, salt & pepper, and whatever else you want in there, to taste). This is just one example. You could also roast a whole chicken, and set aside 2 cups for the pot pie, which would be delicious with that roasted chicken flavor. Even better, roast a small to medium turkey, and you’ll have more leftovers than you’ll know what to do with, AND leftover turkey bones can be boiled for a flavorful and nutritious soup!
  • Make the pot pie in a casserole pan instead of buying the individual loaf pans. Just dollop the biscuit mixture evenly around the pan on top of the chicken mixture. Keep an eye on it as it cooks, as cooking time may be different.  
Enjoy! 


“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (from Psalm 103, a wonderful, encouraging psalm)

 

Five Things I Learned About Pregnancy

This is for all of you soon-to-be moms and someday-to-be moms out there.


When I was pregnant, I read every book, magazine, and pamphlet about pregnancy I could get my hands on. But these things weren’t in them. Or maybe they were, but I don’t remember reading about them, and I ended up learning these lessons the hard way. Maybe you can learn from my experience? Or, just get a good laugh over the things this first-timer didn’t know? In any case…


Five Things I Learned About Pregnancy:  


1. You might lose that “gotta go right now” sensation in your bladder in the last few weeks of your pregancy. (And a short while after giving birth!) TMI? Hope you’re reading this after you’ve had your dinner. Hey, I was completely blindsided by this one, so I’m just throwing the warning out there. I learned this one the embarrassing way. Nooo, I didn’t have an “accident” in the middle of Wal Mart. I did, however, call the hospital in a panic one afternoon a few days before my due date, convinced my water had broken, only to rush in and find out a few tests later that…let’s just say it hadn’t. In my defense, the doctor told me they get several ladies a day who, overly-pregnant and overly-anxious to “get this baby out”, make the same mortifying mistake I did, because in the last trimester it’s quite common to lose sensation in your bladder (you do have a 6+ pound baby sitting on it, you know?) …Or maybe that’s just what they told me because I burst into tears and sobbed, “Has this ever happened before?” I don’t know. The moral of the story: pee often in your last trimester, because your body may or may not decide to tell you when to do so. And, like I did, you should go to the doctor if you have even the slightest concern that your water has broken, just in case. But when your water does break, you will most likely KNOW it. Nothing else in the world feels like it. Unless you’ve ever sat on a giant water ballon.


2. You don’t need to buy a nasal aspirator. You know those booger sucker thingys people with babies always have around? You NEED one. It will be your constant companion during the early newborn days. Your little tyke, having just entered the world and having just begun to get the knack of breathing, will produce a lot of snot in those first few days (if he’s anything like my child) and will have no idea how to breathe through it or get rid of it. This will upset him tremendously. Enter the nasal aspirator. But you don’t need to buy one. You can get one (or six) for free from the hospital. I bought one when I was nine months pregnant for something like ten dollars at Babies R Us, only for it to break when I brought it home and tested it out (not on self). When I had my baby boy, the nurse gave me one to use in the hospital, and it was top-of-the-line! We’re talking the Prada (or something top-of-the-line) of nasal aspirators. But I kept losing it, and every time I did, they’d just give me a new one. Since you can keep pretty much anything you used on your baby that’s not nailed to the hospital room floor (erm…as far as I know) I eventually found them all and ended up going home with six nasal aspirators. Now, I keep one in every room and one in my diaper bag! Sweet. This is also how I acquired the baby’s cute little hair brush and comb, and a really nifty water bottle that holds 24oz!  


3. As soon as you go into labor, EAT SOMETHING! My water broke at 1:50 in the morning (that’s 8 hours after dinner), and contractions started a half-hour later at less than 5 minutes apart, and never let up. I thought, “This is it. We gotta go to the hospital. I should eat something.” But I didn’t. I was too excited. Fast forward to 12 hours later, I still hadn’t eaten anything (because if you get an epidural, they won’t let you!) and the nurse is telling me, “Your baby is coming! PUSH!”, to which I was responding “I can’t push I’m HUNGRY!”So she switched gears from “picture your baby coming with each push” to “picture getting closer to being able to have lunch with each push”, and that kinda did the trick. Baby arrived. It was beautiful and miraculous and indescribable. Then they brought lunch. But all I could eat was crackers because I was so nauseous from NOT EATING for over 20 hours! Lesson learned. Next baby, I’m stopping at McDonald’s on the way to the hospital.


4. In case of a “red flag” during your ultrasound, don’t let the tech, or your doctor, scare you. There are certain markers that can be detected during your baby’s ultrasound that indicate an increase in the likelihood of Down syndrome, or other abnormalities. I am not anywhere near an expert on this issue, and I don’t want to imply that I have any educated information about it that should replace the information given by your doctor, genetic counselor, etc, on this serious issue, but I have had experience with it as a patient/pregnant mother, and I understand how frightening it can be to be told (very solemnly) that your baby has a “marker”, and that you will need to see a “genetic counselor”. I want to point out that the doctor, genetic counselor, and/or ultrasound technician’s job is to take this issue extremely seriously. Not only is it apart of their job, but they could easily be sued if they did not take any “red flag” seriously, and go out of their way to inform you of all of the possibilities related to it. When I was pregnant, the ultrasound technician informed me that there are at least six “red flags” or markers that are connected to an increased likelihood of Down syndrome. Some are considered more “serious” markers than others. My son had a “less serious” marker, called a “bright spot”, on his heart. This was likely a calcium build-up or other material that shows up brightly on an ultrasound, and many, many babies have these bright spots and are not born with Down syndrome. When the technician discovered this marker, she went from very jovial to very serious. She literally shut down, and would not answer any of my questions beyond telling me that she saw a marker and I must see a genetic counselor. It frightened me, until I realized that it is her job to take the marker seriously, and (no matter what her opinion was about the severity of the situation or the likelihood that Down syndrome was present) treat it the same way she would treat any other marker or indication, basically to avoid being sued. Imagine if the ultrasound technician had simply said, “your baby has a marker that is connected to Down syndrome, but it’s not very likely that he has it, and I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.” If my son had ended up with Down syndrome, I might have sued her for not taking the situation seriously and properly informing me about the possibility, with facts and statistics, of my son having Down syndrome, so that I could make the proper preparations for the arrival of my baby. What I’m trying to explain is that, your doctor may, at some point during your pregnancy, frighten you to pieces with some sort of “marker” for something or other. It is good that they take these things seriously. But you should understand that it’s not something you should lose sleep over, no matter how serious the doctor and technician treat the situation, until you have seen the genetic counselor they send you to. This is the person who is authorized to talk more candidly with you about the facts, statistics, etc, to help you understand how concerned or unconcerned you should be. This person is actually allowed to answer any questions you may have, with less concern about being sued, because they are a specialist. My husband was another one of those babies who was found to have some sort of “marker”, and his parents were actually advised to terminate the pregnancy. I’m pretty glad they chose not to. 🙂


5. You know all those old wive’s tales about how to naturally induce labor? They don’t work! I know because I tried them all. But that won’t stop you from trying them all too. A switch goes off in our brains in the last few days of pregnancy, where we go from thinking “Pregnancy is so much fun!” to waking up every day thinking “Uggggh I’m still pregnant? How do I get this baby out of here?” Watch the episode of Friends called “The One Where Rachel is Late” and you’ll know exactly what to expect.


…Stay tuned for “Five Things I Learned About Newborns”




“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)    

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

This is my blog.


This is me:



This is my wonderful husband:



This is our sweet baby boy:


…And this is what happens when we try to take a family photo:


















Welcome.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I grew up in a small rural town, in a small rural county the northern-most inhabitants of the small rural state called “lower slower”. When I finished high school, I moved to the north to go to college, where I met my husband in a Bible study, and we fell madly in love. We had the perfect, fairy tale romance. Two years later, we were married. We had the most perfect, fairy tale wedding. Four months later, we discovered our baby boy was on the way! Another (unexpected) dream come true! Then my husband went active duty in the military, and we were relocated. I left my fabulous job and our small rural life to become a stay-at-home mom and to follow my husband, happily wherever after, around the globe (well, so far to two other states). Since becoming a wife and mother, I have begun to learn a multitude of lessons about life, love, marriage, and parenting. It’s not always easy, but there’s always something to learn, and through it all, I have found that I am not in control, but my Father in heaven is. The most valuable lesson I have learned so far is that, while the fairy tale romance is beautiful and thrilling, what gets you to marriage is not what keeps you married. As my husband and I grow and learn together in our marriage, we are discovering the riches and treasures and joys that the early fairy tale romance does not even begin to touch.   


Join me in the journey of every-day life after the fairy tale; our happily ever after, wherever it may lead. 




Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” -Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)