Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Now what was I doing...?

I didn't know becoming a parent meant...

• Stacking today's unread newspaper on top of yesterday's unread newspaper.

• Eating dinner like I'm trying to break a world record for the most pasta swallowed in the shortest amount of time. Standing up.

• Letting Micah choose between poop and laundry as a topic of conversation.

• Figuring out how to pee without putting the baby down.

• Spending three hours getting the baby to sleep and then waking her up two minutes later to make sure she's still breathing.

• Forgetting what I was...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Babies...


Babies disrupt your life amazingly. It is difficult to believe that
such a small human being can bring so much chaos, involve so much hard
work, and produce such emotional turmoil for both parents. Babies
shatter complacency. They reveal your identity as you never knew
yourself before. They force you to see the world in a new way. They
produce a fresh challenge every day.

Sheila Kitzinger,
The Year After Childbirth: Surviving and Enjoying the First Year of Motherhood

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Natural Mothering

"Sometimes I wonder if there isn't even some sort of an obligation to do what is naturally best for our babies, even when it means more effort on our part and enduring a certain amount of criticism as we try to get away from cultural practices without dropping out of society."
- Sheila Kippley,
"Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing: The Ecology of Natural Mothering"



When I was younger, there were things that were "the norm" for my family that were completely counter-cultural...but it was our normal, chosen by my parents.

Now I'm older and face making decisions on some of the same issues for our little family.
We are constructing our own form of normal that is fast taking shape as being counter-cultural as well...but this time around we are the "grownups"...taking the heat for our positions, accepting that others will disagree, but continuing to live our normal that we know is right for us...


I've been reading the book I quoted from above over the past few days and have been encouraged by much of its description of natural mothering. I've been lost in "caring for baby" duties the past 8 weeks, loving every minute (well, almost every minute), and pretty much just doing what comes naturally. By interacting with others around me, I see the different choices they have made for their families, and though it doesn't make me doubt our choices in the least, it is still a different "method," and finding support through words on a page can be encouraging.

Cultures change...
people mature...
the Lord edifies...

I rest in my Maker's loving kindness, knowing He is my sure and steadfast hope as I seek to show Chloe the love and care a mother can give - as a reflection of Christ's love in me.

Jn. 1:16 "And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."

Praise the Lord for the "grace upon grace" I have been given through Christ. Without Him I would be nothing!

(hmmm, now I have that hymn in my head :-).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cloth


Today is our first "cloth diaper trial." Chloe has been in cloth since this morning, and I've changed her twice so far...and probably should have 3 times with how wet the first one was.

Here is the first cute little "Best Bottoms" diaper I put on her:


Here's our little model - wondering why mommy's taking pictures of her diaper:



Here is said diaper air drying after the liner was removed and being wiped out (there's a pic of a new liner below, and the little girl in the background is not all innocent as she pretends to sleep, but works on pooping in the pretty white diaper I just put on her):

New liner:

Soooo, we'll see how this goes.
I had to stop myself from throwing the liners in the trash can - oops. :-) Can't throw these away!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I have learned...

...why some women decide to skip the whole breastfeeding thing. The feeling of two glowing coals constantly smoldering at the "suckle site" really does go away...eventually...

...that I can't use scissors with my left hand. Maybe I need to sharpen them.

...nonstop screaming in your ear doesn't make you deaf.

...playing dress-up with a wiggly octopus 4 times a day would be easier than dressing an infant.

...not every baby loves bath time.

...they don't sell normal clothes to fit the bosoms of nursing women without looking like a football player.

...how to entertain the man behind the security cameras by weaving and bouncing through the aisles in stores like a mad woman lest my baby start screaming again.

...smiles, coos and goos are SO PRECIOUS!

...breastfed babies projectile poo. In a yellow stream. With great force. And it's impossible to get out of the way (if you're in the way).

...there used to be 24 hours to accomplish everything in a day. There are now approximately 1.8.

...queef is no longer a meaningless word.

...one baby is enough to make the pre-pregnancy state of your body akin to a VS model in hindsight.

...going for three days without a shower isn't as terrible as I once thought (but what is that smell?)

...baby fingernails grow like weeds.

...right when it seems like a somewhat predictable pattern has been established, it's time for a growth spurt (ie: cluster feeding).

...even with all the screaming, pooping, breast feeding, loving, disconcerting moments, puking, spit up, lack of sleep, and inability to accomplish what I once was, I wouldn't give up the past 7 weeks for anything. Thank you, Lord for the little joys of mommy-ing!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 8th, 2010

I have a lot of blog posts built up in a pile in my head...like the time I made tortellini, or the blackberry freezer jam adventure, or the weed pile we call our garden (but it's bearing fruit - yay!).

And if I didn't get to them before, they may be lost for all eternity due to the events of June 8th.

This is the story of our Chloe Rae's entrance into the world.
If you would rather just hear an overview minus the gory details, then you may want to stop reading now and message me.
But hey, I'm refraining from posting the pictures of the birth, so it's not as "bad" as it could be. ;-)


39 Weeks Gestation - June 7th-8th
11:30 AM - Had a great checkup with the midwife, except for one puzzling aspect - she couldn't feel Baby's head down low, so she couldn't say with certainty that Baby was head-down even though her heartbeat was heard most clearly down low. We decided to meet with her partner for a second opinion on Thursday evening just to be sure...

That afternoon was busy - I went to Kroger, updating the cashiers on the way out ("not for another week!"), went over to the garden at Micah's parents to pick some things and visited with them before going to pick up Micah from work.

Around 7:30 PM, Micah and I were eating pizza for supper in our room with the laptop propped in front of us watching the final episode of 24. I ate a couple pieces and felt like I was having gas pains. They came and went, and I was still hungry, so I ate two more pieces, then began to realize that my uterus was tightening up with each "gas pain." I figured I was having Braxton Hicks and that they would calm down once I went to bed. Chloe had hiccups after I finished eating, and they were very low, so I had this gut feeling her head was down where it was supposed to be. We went to bed around 9 and I got up several times to try and go to the bathroom thinking it would help with what I still considered mostly gas pain - I was in denial that this was really labor.

I slept pretty well until about 2:30 AM, then after that trip to the bathroom, walking around the house, drinking some milk, and taking a warm shower (all in hopes they would stop so I could get some sleep), I realized that there was definitely a pattern and not a lot of time between each contraction (which at this point just felt like bad menstrual cramps). I woke Micah up around 3 AM since I couldn't handle trying to relax with each contraction by myself anymore. He opened a contraction tracker online and after working through them for a while, realized they were 5 minutes apart lasting 60 seconds, so we called the midwife around 4 AM to let her know what was happening. She said to keep her updated, told me everything sounded good and that I was doing well, and to call her back in a couple hours, or if something changed drastically.

At this point I still hadn't come to terms with this really being labor. I had no previous signs of going into labor (such as bloody show, body "clearing out", etc.), my water hadn't broken, and I thought I would feel more pressure from her head pushing on my cervix than I was feeling. Micah got the birth pool filled and ready between contractions, but things went so fast I never ended up using it.

As time went on, it all melts together for me. It became increasingly harder to relax through contractions - I began to feel faint, nauseous, and like I had to go to the bathroom with every contraction. I went back and forth between the bed and toilet every couple of contractions, and Micah was right there with me letting me lean on him, giving me a sip of water after each contraction, and helping me relax. I liked being at the toilet because I could attempt to relax completely and not worry about peeing on the bed or something, but wouldn't stay there long because of feeling faint. I threw up several times when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and when in transition.

Micah talked to our midwife at 7 AM and told her contractions were 2 minutes apart. She left for our house at that point, and then my contractions started doing weird things like double-peaking, coming one on top of the other, and being really short and really long - so apparently I was in transition. I was also thinking "I can't do this 6 more hours if it's going to be this intense," but apparently didn't express it to Micah.

Around 7:30 or so, my body started bearing down at the peak of two contractions in a row. I was waiting for the uncontrollable urge to push, which came with the following contraction. The urges gradually increased and the pain of the contractions decreased until there was no pain and I just felt the pressure of her head moving through the birth canal. I planned to push in a classic squat or something along those lines, but ended up back on the bed leaning against Micah almost in a reclining half-squat. It was a random position that felt good at the moment, so I went with it.

When our midwife arrived at 7:45, she did a quick internal check to make sure the head was coming first (which she was pretty much already sure of due to the location of my contractions), and I was encouraged by how close Chloe was to crowning. As she crowned, I felt pain again, and it got very intense. Around this time the midwife began to realize that Chloe was being born "in caul" and encouraged me to reach down and feel her head between contractions. I could feel her hair and the top of her squished little head through the bag of waters, which was really neat. Long past the time I thought I might split open, sweet relief came when Chloe's head was born. Our midwife broke the bag of waters at Chloe's mouth and removed it from her face, then pulled the cord over her head that was loosely wrapped once around her neck. I expected her body to slide out with ease in the next contraction, but, as we found out later, Chloe's chest was a half centimeter bigger than her head - and I sure felt that half centimeter!

Chloe was born and placed on my belly at 8:17 AM. She had a good amount of vernix on her and her face was a bit puffy from her trip out, but she had no molding of her little head. We admired her for a minute, then looked to see if she was a boy or girl, and realized her name was to be Chloe Rae.

The placenta wasn't far behind her, and after delivering it, the cord was clamped and Micah cut it. We spent the next three hours cuddling and loving our new little baby while our midwives checked our vitals 4 or 5 times and cleaned up the mess I'd made. I had a tear that was just barely 2nd degree, so they put a couple stitches in the muscle to help with healing. Micah lifted Chloe in the midwife's "bag scale," and she weighed 7lbs, 8 oz. Around 11:15 AM Micah called each of our parents to tell them of Chloe's arrival, and over the course of the afternoon we called, emailed, and FB'd family and friends.
At our 24 hour visit with the midwife we measured Chloe, and she was 19.5 inches long.
The Lord blessed us in so many ways through the whole experience of pregnancy and birth. We are thankful to Him for allowing the events of our peaceful home birth to occur in a way that was better than we could have hoped, and entrusting us with the blessing of this sweet, new little life.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Well-Balanced


Blackberries and homemade whipped cream
=
a well-balanced breakfast, right?


Especially as a precursor to granola, milk, and an english muffin...
:-)


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Harvest

"Sarah, Sarah, quite contrara, how does your garden grow?"

That's how my dad's custom version of "Mary, Mary, quite contrary..." started when I was little...

Our garden doesn't have "silver bells and cockle shells," but it has a lot of veggies lined up in a row!



We've gotten radishes...

...and spinach...

The lettuce is about ready to start picking.


Micah put in some more tomatoes that he grew from seed - I can't wait for them to start bearing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gardening

I took pics of some garden prep a while ago, and now we have a bunch of things planted and growing - but here's part of the "before" at our big garden plot: Micah and his dad moving the burn pile out of the way...


...and a "before" picture!

There are now little green things sprouting in our big garden, and we have two plots by the apartment that are now the home to some of the seedlings Micah started indoors.

Psalm 104:14 "You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the menu...

MON - Broiled Tilapia, Rice, Carrots, J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits

TUES - Hunziker Easter Dinner - Light Wheat Rolls

WED - Chicken Parmesan Bundles, Tomato Sauce and Whole Grain Linguine, Corn

THURS - Potato & Pepper Frittata w/ Sausage, Strawberry Muffins

FRI - Four-Cheese Pasta Florentine

Foodie Adventures

One of my sweet neighbor ladies was cleaning out her kitchen, and before she made a goodwill run called me over to see if I needed anything. I got the "now remember we don't need much more stuff" speech from my sweet hubby before departing, and picked out some really pretty bowls and nice kitchen gadgets I've missed since leaving mom's kitchen...that we needed. :-D
One thing that looked like fun was a curly fry maker - my neighbor never tried it, so I decided to give it a whirl:

Here's my colony of happy, skinned potatoes
(they were starting to turn green, otherwise I wouldn't have skinned them):

Place a potato on the spinny-thing:

Smash the white tumbler down on top of it and turn it on:

Watch in amazement as happy, curly potato strings fill the compartment:
Dump potato strings into your choice of coating (I used this one - sorta. I changed a few things.)

Thoroughly coat, then bake:

And eat!
It was a little extra work, but it was fun! :-)

-----------------------------------------------

There was a day last week I wanted to make Micah cinnamon rolls for the morning and to take to the guys at work, but didn't want to be up at 4am to make them...
So I found a couple overnight cinnamon roll recipes, combined a few aspects of each, popped them in the fridge overnight...


..and baked them the next morning! So yummy...there is nothing even remotely healthy about these, so now I'm wondering if it would work just as well with whole wheat flour and honey.


I used the dough recipe from here and the filling and icing recipes from here (I was short on butter for the first recipe's filling, and I LOVE cream cheese icing).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Couponing Trip!


KrogerEither some of the coupons were re-set, or Ronzoni put out more, but I was able to get 4 more coupons per computer using these links at Cindy's blog, Living Rich with Coupons...which equals more free pasta at Kroger through next Wednesday! I paid $6.35 for the picture above, but that's for the pork tenderloin I found on manager's special...I've never made anything with one and thought it would be fun to try. :-)


Wal-Mart
I was able to stock up on Yoplus yogurt for $0.68 each - they were on sale for $1.68 and I was able to print 6 coupons between our two computers (Nicole at Nicole's Nickels has links to the available coupons). Individual yogurts work well for Micah to take in his lunch, so these will be helpful over the next few weeks!
They had some Huggies P&N diapers on clearance, so combined with the incredible $3/1 coupons that have been everywhere recently it was a good deal.
I had a freebie coupon for the little individual cream cheese pack (can't remember if it was from VocalPoint or Pssst), and when my grumpy checkout lady got to that one and had to write down the amount, it almost set her on fire...hehe...sorry lady. She mostly seemed ticked off that I had 6 of the yogurt coupons and said she can only print 2 on her computer because "all those coupons sites are hooked together somehow!" I said something about it depending on their source, but don't really think the poor thing wanted to know...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blueberry Muffins


I really, really like blueberries...cobbler, bundt cake, coffee cake, muffins...anything!

I wanted to make blueberry muffins the other night since I only had time for some type of quick bread, so I scrounged around for a recipe and ended up with this one...and modified it a bit.
I was out of bananas, so added some canola oil instead to moisten the batter (not sure if that was a good substitute, but it worked I guess!). I used whole wheat and white flours, substituted honey for some of the brown sugar, and had no clue what a "punnet" of blueberries was, so just added them til it looked good. :-) The batter was SO thick that I wondered if they were going to come out like scones...and they kinda did. They were really heavy - but in a good way!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthy House

When I clean around the house I try to avoid using harmful chemicals, so my 'go-to' cleaner is usually plain old white vinegar. If I want to be vain and get the "clean bathroom smell" (usually because people are coming over), then I'll use some Melaleuca Tub & Tile, which doesn't have too many bad chemicals in it.

The problem I've had recently is the drain issue...our tub and kitchen sink tend to have some draining problems at times. I'll often ignore it until I really need to face the grungies (as in pull whatever soap-slime hairball I can reach out of the tub drain)...but didn't really think about the power of my trusty vinegar and its friend baking soda until I read this blog post on the icky drain issue.

So we'll see if this speeds up some drain action around here...

What Constitution?

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-Unknown

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mr. Gardener

I went to upload some pictures from my camera and found a self-portrait of my handsome master gardener and his little green babies...

This is the first time we've done any gardening ourselves (other than that lovely chore of weeding the family garden before we were married) and Micah's been having fun with sprouting a bunch of plants inside as we wait for the nicer weather.

Right now we have tomato, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli sprouts lifting their cute little green heads above the potting soil.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Granola

It has probably been about 3 months since I decided I would no longer buy cereal unless it was in the natural/organic section after reading this blog post. Since then I've been making granola on a regular basis, and when I can coupon Kashi cereal or Mom's Best Naturals down to a reasonable price, I buy it (like the 14 boxes of Kashi I bought 2 weeks ago. We're like 2 little kids when it comes to having an over-abundance of the blueberry Kashi cereal, though...we really have to work to limit ourselves to a box a week so we don't devour all 14 boxes in a month!).

This past week, while perusing recipes and blogs, I stumbled across this granola recipe that looked REALLY good...so I made it on Wednesday, and it is the best we have ever tasted - the delicious clumps, just the right amount of crunch, and the peanut butter with a hint of cinnamon make it taste like the stuff you buy in bulk from a natural food store! It's amazing!
I did change a couple things - I used whole wheat flour instead of rice flour, only added nuts until it looked right for us, cut down on the coconut a bit since Micah doesn't like it, and added a bit less honey and half of the oil.

This is definitely going to become a staple in our cereal cupboard!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To market, to market...

Kroger has some exciting deals this week...I love stock-up trips!




Annie's Mac & Cheese is 0.49 ea...wow...


With coupons from the manufacturer's website, these chips were $1 a bag!

I don't buy pasta made from enriched, white flour anymore - but these were free with coupons!

And the healthy harvest by Ronzoni was 0.25 a box/bag - can't beat that!


If we hadn't bought organic apples, sour cream (which was pretty cheap with a coupon, too...), mayo, soap for the garden (rabbits don't like soap I guess) and eggs, we would have walked away without paying much of anything!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eggs, eggs, eggs

I can't remember where I read this recently, but someone's secret ingredient to make their scrambled eggs taste amazing is to add cottage cheese! I tried it this morning...

I added the cottage cheese to the pan after melting a little butter (about 3 Tblsp. per egg), then when it was heated and softening, cracked the eggs right into the pan and scrambled until it was cooked! They taste so goooood. The pic looks a bit like egg salad...maybe I scrambled them too much. :-)


Mac & Cheese

I tried this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers (fast becoming my favorite source of recipes recently) to see if it would live up to all its claims - and it did! The finished product was SO creamy and good...until it sat in the pot waiting for the hotdogs in the broiler...but it was still good when we ate it.
I split the recipe in half since there are only two(three) of us...

I used whole grain shells...


...whole milk...

...combined them in the pot with the salt...


...and stood at the stove stirring for the next 10-15 mins.
I did end up adding about 1/2 cup more milk than it called for when the noodles weren't quite tender and the milk was almost gone.


Cheesy, yummy goodness...

Menu Plan for the Week...

MON - Turkey Meatballs & Linguine, Skillet Asparagus

TUES - Creamy Mac&Cheese, Hot Dogs, Cottage Cheese (healthy, I know...)

WED - Southern Pork BBQ Dinner (pork, bean, veggie skillet), Honey Whole Wheat Bread

THURS - Honey-Grilled Chicken Breasts, Brocolli

FRI - Tilapia, Biscuits, Assorted Veggies

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Party in the Pantry

Someone needs to use the onions a little faster around here...




...they've been crawling out to get my attention.

No, no, no...Yes!

I tried to talk myself out of making it...




...but it was so goooood...



Recipe: Peanut Butter Pizza
I used 2 eggs and just over a cup of choc. chips :-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exercise...

I need to get back into doing more exercise than just walking, so yesterday I decided to pump up my exercise ball...

Which was a lot of exercise in itself.


The little hand pump that whooshes a little tiny puff with every compression quickly became a total body workout...

...maybe today I'll let all the air out and invent a new exercise routine...

..."10 reps with your RH...goooood! Now do 10 reps with your left foot...engage those thunder thighs...wonderful!"


Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan

This week's menu plan - which is never set in stone for me...I reserve the right to change my mind :-D

MON - Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Spinach

TUES - Skillet Pork Chops, Seasoned Baked Potatoes, Frozen Basil Veggies

WED - Turkey-Stuffed Bell Peppers

THURS - Vegetable Casserole, Homemade Wheat Rolls

FRI - Italian Spinach & Chicken Skillet

SAT - Young Adult group from church - Tacos/Tostadas/Burritos

SUN Potluck - Chicken Cheese Soup or Calzones...we'll see what I feel like making on Saturday morning...

Foodie things to do:
-Make Refried Beans for Saturday
-Make Chocolate Chips

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Homemade Tortillas

Last night I made wheat tortillas for the first time - and they were SO yummy! I cringe at the price for good tortillas without the extra preservatives and junk in them, but now know how simple it is to make them at home. And they're so tasty! I used this recipe, and made 10 tortillas out of it so they would be close to the grocery-store size. We had chicken salad wraps for supper last night, and I finished them off with black bean quesadillas for lunch.

Authentic Chicken Enchiladas

Two weeks ago I was really craving chicken enchiladas from the little Mexican restaurant in town, but decided to try my hand at making them myself.

I made corn tortillas...
Aldi sells the corn flour with lime all ready to go, so you just add water, form them and cook them on the griddle.

Red chili pepper sauce...
The chili ancho peppers were hotter than I thought. I got them dried from Wal-Mart and boiled them with some tomatoes and spices, then had to remove the stems and seeds (I should have worn gloves - oops!), blended everything in a blender, then put it through a sieve to strain the skins out. It ended up being quite spicy-hot, but once it was in the dish with everything else it was just perfect.

Spicy Chicken...
I simmered cooked chicken with garlic, tomatoes, jalepeno peppers, cilantro, and some Newman's Italian Salad dressing for an hour or two until most of the liquid had dissipated.
(These pics were all taken after the enchiladas were baking...there was a lot more chicken than is pictured!)


Then I assembled them, topped them with homemade salsa and cheese, baked them 'til the cheese was melted, and...

...they were delicious! :-)

Donuts and Whole Wheat... ...not yummy

In my effort to make things a little healthier by using all, or at least half, whole wheat in various recipes, I attempted whole wheat donuts a few weeks ago...

They started off great...
I used a biscuit cutter and the lemon juice cap...

Gave them some time to rise...

Lookin' good...
But even after frying them...

...and (double-dip) glazing them, they tasted like whole wheat rolls...

...definitely not the taste I was going for.

So next time I want donuts, there won't be any "healthifying" them for me. :-)