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Monday, January 30, 2012

Babies Do What They Want

There are a number of things I've tried (fairly diligently) to teach Sophie over the months, such as:
-Signing "more"
-Signing "thank you"
-Saying "Mama"
-Clapping

Has she learned any of these? Nope! Instead, she's learned to do things that I never even intentionally tried to teach her.
-Waving hi and bye
-Giving high fives
-Giving kisses
-Saying "ball" (other than "dada," ball is her first word! Ball?!?!)

Some other fun pictures... Sophie's 10 months old now...
She's sunshine in our lives...
And she's started pulling up like crazy (she's not good at getting down yet though, so this face is a "get me down, mom!" face)...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Smiling, big-dimpled baby...
"Look at all my teeth" smiling baby...
"I chew on random objects" baby (also baby legs + cute diapers)...
Sleeping baby...
"I love kickballs twice my size!" baby....
Baby hugs...
Baby kisses...
Bright, blue-eyed baby...
Basically, anything to do with Sophie :)
(thanks Mom for taking some of these photos)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ear Piercing Adventure

We took Sophie to get her ears pierced yesterday!


We went to Claires. The lady took a marker to dot Sophie's ears before piercing them...
She reminded me of my sister Nikki with how much of a perfectionist she was... I'm not complaining though. I wouldn't want uneven ear piercings.
She was all smiles before the piercing...
I didn't get any of her crying from during the piercing, but they were short-lived so that was good :)
I debated about whether I wanted to have her ears pierced now or when she was 13 and could decide for herself. I could see benefits to both. I decided I didn't have much of an opinion either way, so I asked Ben, and he said he thought we should do them now. So we did them, and they're super cute!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Year Ago... Today

One year ago, I was 30 weeks pregnant, working at Family Video, being a student, getting excited for my 2 baby showers, and counting down the days until I would get to meet Sophie...


Today I have a beautiful baby girl who is 9 months old, I'm a student and stay-at-home-mom, and for fun I put on the same tank that I wore for my belly pictures- thankfully, it fits better today :) ...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letting God Use You as a Mom


I struggle sometimes as a mom to know how I can be used by God. I really enjoy serving, but I often feel like I'm stuck at home with my baby. Today I was reading Warren Wiersbe's Be Joyful (on the book of Philippians) and was encouraged by the following:

"Sometimes God has to put 'chains' on His people to get them to accomplish a 'pioneer advance' that could never happen any other way. Young mothers may feel chained to the home as they care for their children, but God can use those 'chains' to reach people with the message of salvation."

I need to remember this. Sophie and I visited a retirement home last week, and it was encouraging for both the lady we visited (and her roommate) and for me. As a mother, God can use me in just as big of ways as he could before motherhood.

I am currently working on using my time better. I waste a lot of time, and I desire to use my time better for God's glory.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm the Mom, so I Get to Decide

Once early on in being a mother, I was stressed about something and another mother (I don't remember who or when) reminded me that I'm the mom. Since then, my saying when trying to make decisions that mothers have differing opinions about (which seems to be often) is, "I'm the mom, so I get to decide." I also try to remind other moms of this when they ask and are in similar situations.

There are some things as parents that you must do (or children will be taken from you). You must feed your child. You must give them shelter. You must change their diapers. But many things allow for freedom. Do your research. Ask for advice. Pray about it. Search the Bible. And then, make the decision that works best for you and your family and stand by it proudly. And the best thing? If that decision doesn't seem to work out, it's rarely too late to change your mind. :)

p.s. I found out today that I didn't win the cloth diaper contest I entered. Bummer!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

That was Then, This is Now

Before being a mother, there were a number of things that I said that I would do or wouldn't do. I read A.LOT ... and talked to a lot of moms... before I had Sophie (and since I've had Sophie too), so I was "well-educated" in pretty much every area. Based off of what I learned, I made decisions about what I thought I would want to do as a mother. Here is a list of what I decided before having Sophie:

1. I wanted to have a birthing center birth
2. I wanted to have a natural birth (i.e. no meds)
3. I wanted to breastfeed
4. I wanted to cloth diaper
5. I didn't want to give baby a pacifier in the beginning (known to cause nipple confusion)
6. I wanted to make my own pureed baby food
7. Then I wanted to do baby led weaning (google it if you don't know the term) and wanted to wait until 6 months
8. I wanted to delay all shots and follow Dr. Sears' delayed vax schedule
9. I wanted this really nice car seat that's more pricey and has super good reviews (True Fit)
10. I wanted to read to baby A LOT
11. I wanted to try the Babywise method

So what did I/we do?

1. I didn't get to give birth at a birthing center. :( Insurance wouldn't cover it. (fyi, birthing center births are proven to be at least just as safe as hospital births). I did have an excellent hospital birth though and am thankful.
2. I mostly had a med-free birth. I did get pitocin while pushing because my contractions fizzled out, but I didn't get any pain meds!
3. I still breastfeed!
4. I still cloth diaper!
5. We gave Sophie a pacifier the very first night (or maybe 2nd?), haha! We were so tired, and she was so fussy, so I tossed the hospital paci to Ben, and I've never regretted using it!
6. I occasionally make my own pureed baby food (like butternut squash), but usually, I'm too lazy.
7. We started at 5 months with solids instead of 6 months... and decided following the BLW method exactly was not our style... it has it's good parts, so we've followed the BLW method in some food areas, but sometimes pureed food is nice, and Sophie does great with it... so she usually has 2 baby good jars of food a day, but she also has been eating whole bananas since she was 6 months.
8. I delayed vaccinations at first, but when I realized she didn't have any reactions the first time, we combined more shots after that. There's still a few shots that I'm putting off more than what ped's would like, but I feel more educated than the general population in this area, so I feel confident in following the schedule I choose. I did learn that I'm not quite as "tight-minded" in this area as I thought I would be, and since we plan to go overseas, I can't be quite as selective as vaccinations as I might be if we stayed in the U.S. our whole lives
9. I decided all car seats have to pass the same safety test and paying a lot for a car seat wasn't practical for us. So we got cheaper car seats and they've worked great :)
10. I do read to Sophie, but not as much as I thought I might... like I thought I'd do it everyday, but I don't. But once she starts enjoying being read to more, I will probably do it more. Mostly right now she just likes to turn pages and chew on the books.
11. I have followed some of the Babywise methods, but we modified it a lot to fit us.

Basically, I learned that you can read and talk to people and make decisions, but once you're in the moment, your decisions might change, and that's ok. However, I am so glad I prepared myself as much as I did in all of these areas. There are SO many different viewpoints out there on every area of parenting, and it can sometimes be overwhelming. But now when other people tell me what they think I should do as a parent (which happens often enough, from people I know and from doctors and strangers too), I feel educated enough and confident enough to tell them what my decision is and why.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Breastfeeding: Should Be Talked About More!

I debated about if I wanted to write this blog post since breastfeeding is such a taboo thing in the American culture. It's not acceptable to do it in public without a cover, and sometimes even with a cover it's not acceptable. No one talks much about it in popular circles. The only reason I hear much about it is because I read stuff online.

But, after going to Meijer today and seeing the price of formula, I decided I needed to write this blog post! Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things that God has created, and there's no question that it is the best source of food for a baby (ask any pediatrician), and it needs to be talked about! I firmly believe that if it was talked about more, that more people would do it.

Everyone says in the beginning, "Stick with it. It's hard at first but it'll be so worth it!" It's sometimes hard to believe that in the first month, but it's TRUE!

I figure the best way to talk about it is to bring up the reasons people DON'T breastfeed and to discuss them.
1. Breastfeeding is too hard. Breastfeeding is hard, and I think it's one of the main reasons women give up on breastfeeding. It was hard at first. I could not get Sophie to latch and had to use a nipple shield. I cried. I called a friend and asked her for help. I listened to my baby scream and felt so helpless. But I was determined, so I went back to the hospital and talked to the lactation consultant (again!). The nipple shield that we used for 4 weeks before Sophie weaned off of it is really what helped us. It honestly took me four weeks before I could get Sophie to latch without it consistently even though I tried continuously. I know there are some exceptions, but I think if most Moms tried longer and had better help, they could do it. Which is why I get frustrated that our society won't talk about it more. By the way, Sophie became a pro at nursing around 4 weeks, and I barely blink an eye while nursing now. I multi-task while doing it, haha. (We also had to deal with thrush for two months which was a lot of work to get rid of... but we beat it!)
2. Breastfeeding takes too much time. This is true too. At first, it takes a lot of time. I also remember crying about this one time. In the beginning, Sophie would nurse every 3 hours, but would take 45 minutes each time! And a couple of nights she nursed for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT! I felt like the only thing I did was nurse her some days. I knew formula would be easier (Daddy being able to feed her at 3am sounded pretty appealing to me), but I just knew that I had to stick with it (being stubborn comes in handy sometimes). By time Sophie was 6 weeks, it took much less time- closer to 15-20 minutes each time. And now she only nurses 4-6 times a day, and she takes around 10 minutes for each. I love it that when she wakes up in the morning, I can easily provide her food source and don't have to sleepily mix formula. I especially loved this when she was still waking up at 3am.
*Note: I am blessed to, for the most part, be a stay at home mom (I do take classes for 3 hours in the morning). My hats off go to women who work and breastfeed. I imagine the time needed for that in the beginning involves a lot of self-sacrfice!
3. Breastfeeding doesn't come in ounces. (i.e. "I don't make enough milk). It is frustrating holding a fragile life in your hands and being expected to supply this little life with the one source that will continue his or her life. I remember frustrating times when I never knew if Sophie was getting enough because she was still fussy after eating for 30 minutes straight. I remember being frustrated when she went through a growth spurt at 3 months and never seemed full (I ate tons of oatmeal and downed water to try to boost my supply- it seemed to work!). Formula is great because you can see the ounces and it's easily accessible if you need more, but I think most women are capable of creating enough milk for their baby, especially if they eat and drink well (which I am terrible at drinking water and still rarely have issues). I think a lot of women quit breastfeeding because they think their bodies aren't capable of creating enough because:
a. Doctors scare them. Doctors say their babies aren't gaining enough (doctor's weight gaining charts are based on formula-fed babies so shouldn't apply to breastfed babies). And when a doctor says such a thing, it's completely normal that a woman holding her baby, who she loves more than anything in the world, would freak out. So then such a woman usually begins supplementing, and supplementing with formula causes her supply to go down because the baby is no longer teaching her body to create the full amount needed, and so eventually the woman loses most of her supply and has to revert completely to formula.
b. Books tell them that their babies should be able to eat far less often than what they do. I like the book Babywise and have learned from it, but one thing I dislike is that it always made me feel like my body wasn't working right because my baby seemed to need to eat far more often than what they said babies should need to eat. Of course, in hindsight, and from talking to other Mamas, I believe my body was functioning completely normal. Sophie just needed to eat every 2.5 hours to be filled!
4. Breastfeeding doesn't allow me to have a social life. I'll be honest... I was tempted several times to give up breastfeeding because of this reason, but deep down I knew it was a selfish reason. I could give up having as much of a social life for a few months to give my baby what was best for her.
5. Breastfeeding doesn't have all the added nutrients that formula does. Okay, I don't think people still believe this (they used to!), but incase you do, it's not true! Breastmilk has the very best nutrients for a baby, and while formula tries hard to be just as good, it's not the same.
6. Breastfeeding is old fashioned. It is :) But some thing that are old fashioned are also meant to be new fashion. Some things that are old fashioned are really what is best.

I *know* that breastfeeding is impossible for some, in which cases I am thankful for man-made formula (adoption, for instance, as well as women with certain diseases). My simple wish is that more women would give it a fair chance and that more women would talk about it to new mothers.
That being said, here are my top 6 reasons for loving breastfeeding:
1. Breastmilk is free! (have you seen those crazy formula prices?!)
2. Breastfeeding creates a special bond between Mother and Baby
3. Breastmilk is best for baby
4. Breastmilk is easier to travel with :)
5. Breastfeeding creates less spit-up and not as stinky of diapers
6. Breastfeeding helps you lose the baby weight!

Below is a picture of Sophie's growth from newborn to 5 months, when she was fed breastmilk alone!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cloth Diapers: The "Downsides"

Thank you for the great response on my last post about cloth diapers. I've been able to communicate with several of you with more details. Thanks for inquiring! Talking with one of you ladies gave me the idea to post the downsides of cloth diapering. If you're considering cloth diapers, I totally think you should do it!!! But I want you to consider all angles before you jump in so that you're not taken by surprise. So here are what the downsides would be:

1. Time - It takes a little more time
2. The Poo- You have to spend a little more time with the poo. If baby is just breastfed, you can throw the diaper in the bag as is, and just wash! It'll all come out in the wash (the inserts might stain a little, but just wash them with bleach every so often, and you'll be fine... and don't worry, washers are MADE to clean very dirty things and then to totally discard the dirtiness from the washer, so none of the poo will be left in the washer- I promise!). Once they start solids it's a little harder. Most of Sophie's poo's are easy - I can just turn them upside down over the toilet and it comes right out. Occasionally they're not that easy, and that's when you want a diaper sprayer! I rarely have diapers like this, but I know some Mamas have babies who have grosser poo's. If you have a diaper sprayer though, you should be fine!
3. Water Bill- If you pay a water bill, it'll probably go up a little (but it shouldn't be much).
4. Diaper Creams- You have to be careful about diaper creams you use- BUT you shouldn't have rashes often (we've only had one- when she was teething the first time)
5. Learning Process- It's a learning curve at first- you have to be diligent in the beginning to learn what diapers work best for you and what wash routine works best for you.
6. # of Changes- You will probably have to change more often since baby can feel the wetness easier with cloth
7. Big Bum- Cloth is bigger so clothes might seem to fit weird to you at first and baby's bum might seem huge. This doesn't bug me, but I know it bugs some ladies
8. Night Time- If your child is a heavy-wetter, it might be hard for them to make it in one diaper for the whole night. You won't know until you try. We use a BG 4.0 with 1 MF insert and 1 hemp insert.
9. Going Out- Traveling with cloth takes more space than disposables :)

I really had to sit and think for a while to come up with these downsides because honestly, none of these really bother me. I suppose the poo factor sometimes can be frustrating, but it usually doesn't bother me. It also took me a little while to figure out what worked at night, but once I figured out what worked, it's been easy enough.

I hope this post will help those of you who are considering cloth. I hope it won't intimidate you but rather encourage you... these are the only 9 things I could think of, and I sat here a long time to think of them, and quite a few of them are fairly simple factors.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Easy as 1-2-3 (and 4-5-6)


Save money. More attractive. Better for the environment. Better quality. Easy.

If I told you that by using one product, you could achieve all of the specifics listed above, you would be interested in that product, correct? Through my research and experience with cloth diapers, I have discovered that all of these qualities describe cloth diapers!

Save Money: My original interest in cloth diapers began before I even was pregnant with Sophie. I had heard about cloth diapers from a few friends, and began to research them online. To me, the most intriguing quality about cloth diapers was and continues to be the money-saving factor. I have spent around $500 on cloth diapers. This includes both my newborn diapers as well as one- size diapers. I am an amazing bargain shopper though, so I’ve gotten a good deal on almost all of my diapers. I’ve read the average that people spend on cloth diapers is between $600 and $800. Disposable diapers for one child costs, on average, $2000 (some spend less, some spend more, depending on brand and child). This means that I should save around $1500 for diapers on Sophie! But wait, it gets better!! I should be able to use most of my cloth diapers on my second child as well which means I will save even more! Saving $3000+ over the years sure does sound like a bonus to me! I absolutely love saving money.

More Attractive: Have you ever seen cloth diapers? They are super cute. I have solid colors as well as printed ones. They definitely are more attractive than disposable diapers. Of course, they are only diapers, so some might ask why it even matters. But if you can save money WHILE choosing a more attractive option, why not?! J

Better for the Environment: When I originally decided to use cloth diapers, I admit that the environment wasn’t the factor at the forefront of my mind. However, the longer I use diapers, the more I feel good about what I am doing for the environment. Let’s say a child goes through 7 diapers a day (which is on the lesser end, to be honest) for 2 years. They would go through 5110 diapers. While I admit that I am not the most environmentally conscious person, 5110 diapers from one child sitting in a landfill still sounds like a lot to me! It is estimated that it takes 250-500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.

Better Quality: When I say that cloth diapers are better quality, I mean that they are better for a baby’s bum. They are soft against a baby’s bottom. They also do not contain the chemicals that disposable diapers contain. Also, when used properly, cloth diapers result in fewer blowouts than disposable diapers! We had a few leaks in the beginning when I was still learning how to cloth diapers, but it has been months since we have had leaks of any kind! For more information on chemicals (and other cloth diaper info), read here.

Easy: I know cloth diapers are intimidating to some people because they think they will be too much work. Some cloth diapers can be a good amount of work, but I use pocket diapers, which are really easy! I have to wash the diapers, but other than throwing them in the washer and then hanging them on my drying rack, the washer and dryer do most of the work. They come with an insert inside that adds extra absorbency, so I have to stuff the diapers with the insert after they are washed. Otherwise, they work just like disposable diapers! I grab one at a diaper change, snap it on (they have Velcro too which is even easier, but I prefer snaps), and the diaper is good for another 2-3 hours! Another thing people wonder about is if the diapers really come out clean. The majority of the time, I just have to put the diapers through the wash one time, and they come out looking white and fresh!


Easy 6-Step Process of Cloth Diapering:

1. Stuff the insert into the pocket diaper

2. Take the old diaper off and position the new one

3. Snap on the new diaper

4. Discard the old diaper into the pail liner or wet bag

5. Throw the diapers (1-3 days worth) and pail liner into the washer

6. Hang the diapers to dry (dry the inserts in the dryer)

Summary: I am so glad we decided to do cloth diapers! My husband bought disposables for a trip we took last week, and when he came home he said, “Do you know how much those cost?!” He couldn’t believe it. As a result, he told our friend last night that he was glad we use cloth. For my husband, the price is definitely what wins him. I love saving as well, but I admit I’m also addicted to the cuteness factor. My favorite two brands of cloth diapers are Bum Genius and Sunbaby. I have tried MANY brands, but Bum Genius is the best for their quality, fit, and appeal. Bum Genius diapers are GREAT quality and are my favorite nighttime diaper. They also have some beautiful colors and a few cute prints too! My absolute favorite website to buy cloth diapers and accessories from is www.cottonbabies.com. I have bought a few new diapers as well as some used diapers from this site. This is where I buy my Bum Genius diapers, and I have gotten some really great quality ones from them for just $10! They also have excellent customer service, and they constantly have great deals in their clearance section and used section. We are in Bible school right now and hope to go into missions in a few years. Cotton Babies supports missionaries by giving them diapers, so I absolutely love supporting such a great company!

I wrote this blog entry because I love cloth diapers and would love to convert the whole world! But I also wrote it to get entered into a contest. One winner will be chosen, and the winner will receive 12 free Bum Genius diapers! One person who comments on the winner’s blog entry also received 12 free diapers!!! I’d love to help someone who is new to cloth diapering get 12 diapers, so comment below! (I am not receiving any compensation for writing this blog entry).

I have a Word document typed up with even more information about cloth diapers that I’d love to pass onto anyone who is interested that gives more information about specific brands, washing and cleaning routines, and sizing of diapers. Please leave comments if you have questions, would like more information, or simply love cloth diapering yourself!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Haircut

Those of you who get to see Sophie are familiar with her rat tail/ mullet. Her hair in the back just grew so fast, and most are amazed at how much she had!

We finally decided it was time to cut it. And who better to give Sophie her first haircut than Aunt Nikki, the beautician? (She also got her bangs trimmed up)
This is what the back of her head looks like now. I'm a true mom because I admit that I was a little sad to see the rat tale/ mullet go.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Milestones


1-4 Weeks
Hold Head Up
Rolls Over (Front to Back)
First Smiles

2 Months
Laughs for the First Time
Sleeps through the Night (10pm-6am... doesn't last, haha)

3 Months
Grabs for Toys

4 Months
Rolls Over (Back to Belly)
Finds Toes

5 Months
Pushes Self Backwards
Says "Dada"

6 Months
Gets 1st Tooth
Gets 2nd Tooth
Sits Up

7 Months
Waves "Bye Bye"
Crawls

8 Months
Gets 3rd Tooth
Learns to Grab Food and Put in Her Mouth
Gets 4th Tooth
Pulls Up
Gets 5th&6th Tooth

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Food


Sophie loves food! She is an awesome baby when it comes to the area of food because she'll eat anything, and she eats it well!

As a nursing baby, she only had problems in the beginning with latching. After a month of me using a shield, she got it, and we've been soaring ever since! I've never had to cut anything out of my diet which is awesome.

We started occasionally giving her solids at 5 months. Before that, breastmilk is the only thing she ever had. We started out with applesauce and avocado. She loves applesauce. She thinks avocado is "meh," but she'll eat it.

She eats a whole banana every day. She loves any and all fruit- in both baby food jars and in their actual form. She will eat any vegetable, but likes some more than others. She tends to like orange better than green veges. She likes sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and corn a lot. She doesn't like pees and green beans as much.

She loves cheerios and puffs too! Our current schedule is baby food jar of fruit in the morning, banana in the afternoon, and baby food jar of vege - or some of whatever vege we're eating- at night. She also still nurses 5-6 times a day.