Sunday, January 31, 2010

Answers (Part II)!

1) How do you discipline your son? 2) Do you like random bloggers like me stopping by your site and reading/leaving comments or does it freak you out? 3) How many babies do you want? 4) What's some of your favorite music/food/drink/movie type stuff?

1) With consistency. :) Since this is a public blog and people have differing opinions on specific forms of punishment, I won't go there, but I will explain the discipline process. I make sure we make eye contact before I tell him my expectations (like "Don't touch" and things like that). Only direct disobedience results in punishment. And I try to keep the Proverb that says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath" at the front of my mind. A change in tone is more efficient than a change in volume, in my opinion. Some days are better than others, but I try to stay as consistent as possible! If he does behave in such a way that warrants punishment, I remove him from the situation after administering the punishment. That way we're away from the temptation. (For example, if he's touching the DVD player, which is off limits, and he looks me straight in the eye and touches it, he gets his punishment and then I immediately pick him up and move him to his nursery or another room and set him down there. That way he won't be immediately tempted to touch the DVD player again!)

2) I don't mind random bloggers stopping by! I'd keep it private if I minded. I've had some followers that looked a bit sketchy so I removed them, but I realize I can't keep everyone at bay. I never use my husband's name or my last name, like I did in my old blog. I learned. :)

3) One at a time! Is that a fair answer? :) Either two or four. Not three. Don't ask me why. I guess I like even numbers!! And now that I've written that, I'll probably end up with three! I grew up with an older brother, so there were two kids and two parents and it worked out perfectly. And now that I will have the same scenario in my own family (son, then daughter), it is going to be hard for me to imagine anything differently. I loved that on trips my Dad and brother could pair up and my Mom and I could pair up. It kept things easy, I think. But, like I said, that's all I know ... so we'll see!

4) Favorite Music: Anything acoustic. I grew up with my Dad playing the acoustic guitar or piano in the living room after we went to bed, so I find that music comforting. And, I'll confess, I love country music. I started listening to it after my family moved from California to Arkansas, and what can I say ... it helped me get in touch with my new home! And I haven't turned back!

Favorite Food: Seafood. But only if it's fresh (Red Lobster is fine, but fresh lobster is the BEST!). You can't beat fish tacos fresh on the beach, either. Half of my family lives on the West coast and the other half live in New England, so I think I was destined to love seafood! I also like Italian. My husband wanted me to mention that. Thank you, husband. Oh and I forgot my MIL's chicken 'n dumplings! The ultimate comfort food.

And no, I'm not sucking up. ;)

Favorite Drink: Let's see. Favorite pop/soda is Pepsi and I love sweet tea only if it is prepared with real sugar. Otherwise, I prefer unsweet (I'm not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners). Oh, and a friend recently introduced me to the White Hot Chocolate at Starbucks and I'm loving that!

Favorite Movie: Tombstone and The Godfather Trilogy. I'll take a romantic comedy if the moment's right, but I'd rather watch something that's telling of a moment or era in history. I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to history. But, okay, I also love Overboard. See, I AM a girl. :)

1) How much time would you say you spend outside the house with Cub during the week? Do you have to get out every so often to feel sane? 2) What are a few essential things you'd tell someone who is about to have their first baby? What do you wish you had known or remembered at the time?

1) Like I mentioned yesterday, every SAHM's personality is different. Some are content to stay home all the time, and others get a bit restless. As for me, I see my time at home as a gift, so I do what I can to volunteer and stay involved in Bible Studies and play groups. My time with Cub is my first priority and everything I'm involved in takes a back seat to that. But, he benefits from our time away by spending time with his friends in the nursery or at play group. I try to get out of the house every day. Whether it's a walk or running errands, it feels good to get fresh air and hit the road. Of course, this is while I have one baby--two might be a different story! I keep a daily chore list for myself so I feel that my days have order. I think that was the hardest part about staying home--getting in a groove (especially now that Cub is no longer on a feeding routine). I write down my to-do list for the day and it helps keep me focused!

2) This is a tough one, since each new mom's experience is different! I remember writing a post on my old blog about my postpartum anxiety and immediately reading a few blogs who wrote that their first few months with their babies were a breeze. Some even commented on mine. It made me feel badly, like I had done something wrong, but I realized that it really is just different for everyone! I can't control my hormones any more postpartum as I can now in the midst of pregnancy (pass the ice cream and tomato juice, please). But, hopefully these tips will apply for you!

a) Do not be afraid to ask for help. Enlist your friends, your family, or veteran moms out there whom you respect and keep their phone numbers handy (also keep your pediatrician's number on hand, just in case. They love questions, too). If you were in a new position at a new job, you would receive training first. Having a new baby is no different (okay, it's way better, but you get the point). You aren't expected to know everything at first, so don't pressure yourself. Your maternal instinct will surprise you at times, but don't worry if you have questions! There is no such thing as a stupid question when you have a baby.

b) Give yourself a few weeks to adjust. What I mean is, don't feel pressure to get out of the house immediately, unless you want to. You don't have to jump back into your normal life as soon as you've birthed the baby--give yourself time to start getting used to having a newborn. Then, after a few weeks, make it a point to get out of the house, even if it's just for a walk. It is good to be reminded after a while that the world is still going on outside your house! You might be ready to hop in the car and go somewhere when the baby is a few days old, and that's great! But, if you want to stay in the sanctuary of your home, that's perfectly acceptable, too. You need to do what it takes to take care of yourself.

c) I asked my husband for his two cents regarding your question, and he said that he would tell you that there is no book, plan, or formula that is foolproof when it comes to parenting. You don't have to be perfect. And, I agree with him. I'm all about reading and I loved some wisdom that I gleaned from a few books, but ultimately, every baby is different and you will figure out what works best for your little one. Also, remember, IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER. Seriously, it does. From the first time they make eye contact with you, it just keeps getting more enjoyable and incredible. Even now that Cub is in the intimidating toddler years, I'm loving this stage.

No one told me how much I would grow with my child. But, I did. And you will.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


**Here are some questions and answers. My post was getting really long, so I'll post the rest tomorrow (I am terrible at writing succinctly)! Thanks for doing this! It was fun!

1) Did you always know you wanted to be a SAHM? If not, what led to the decision? 2) Do you have any tips on how you manage financially on one income? 3) And, what is your favorite activity you do on a regular basis as a SAHM?

1) Wow! Let me sip some coffee before answering. Mmm. Okay. I separated these questions by number to prevent me from writing a novel. No, I did not always know I wanted to be a SAHM. I knew I wanted to be a Mom, but I didn't know if I would want to work or stay home. What led to the decision was what you could call an epiphany my senior year of college. Let me take you on a walk down memory lane ...

(Insert whimsical music and birds singing ... and term papers and ulcers ...)

It was my spring semester. I was engaged and well on my way towards finishing my Bachelor's degree and taking the next step towards getting my Master's in family counseling. I had an application for OU grad school on my desk at home. I was taking a Relationships class at the time (which I loved). However, one of the ladies who taught the class was barely older than I, had just received her Master's, wasn't married, and was giving us marital advice. And something just "clicked" inside me and I realized I wanted to have some life experience before I attempted to pursue any sort of career in counseling. Numerous marital counselors are not married and they are fantastic, but at that moment I knew I, personally, did not want to do it that way. I discussed my thoughts with my amazing advisor, Dr. Allen, and she told me that in her life she had gotten married, then received her Bachelor's, then had children, then received her Master's, and once the children were grown, she obtained her Ph.D. She told me she didn't regret it one bit. And that I would know if furthering my education was really a top priority, or if having a family was. She was the only professor in college who did not indirectly pressure me to get a higher degree immediately following graduation. And that's when I knew that my first desire was to be a Mom. And God provided the way for me to stay at home once Cubbie came!

2) Here you go:

a) If you can, begin "practicing" the art of living on one income before you have children. We lived off of my husband's income and saved mine before we had kids.
b) Find a system that works for you. We take out a chunk of cash once a month and use cash for groceries, entertainment, medical expenses, etc. so we spend consistently each month. Using a debit card is definitely more convenient, but using cash works for us!
c) Prioritize what is important to you and budget accordingly. For example, we love our date nights, so we set aside money to do that every month. We also started a college fund for Cub aside from his savings account and we put some money towards that each month. It doesn't require much, so don't let things like that intimidate you! Research your options!
d) Use common sense. Eat in more than you eat out. Stash away the credit card. Use coupons, buy generic, and cook meals that share the same ingredients (a little seasoning can change the whole taste).
e) If you want some extra spending money, get creative! I use photography as a means of making a little extra money when we want to plan a trip, purchase a large item, etc.

3) PLAY GROUP! I love play group. It is by far my favorite activity as a SAHM. I've learned that being a SAHM is defined differently for every family. Some Moms really do physically stay home the majority of the time, while some are always on the go. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I enjoy being at home, but I crave conversation and connection, too (note the above-mentioned desire to be a counselor). And I can see how Cub's social skills have really developed and I credit a good chunk of that to play group. Socialization is great for kids!

What did you do about family visiting/helping post-birth, and what would you do if you didn't have room for those folks to stay in your house?

Great question! Let me preface this by saying that what matters most is what will keep YOU sane post-birth. Remember that. You can be selfish. YOU YOU YOU. If YOU are okay, your baby is okay. YOU YOU YOU. YOU ARE NUMERO UNO.

My Mom came and stayed with us for five days after Cub was born and I loved it. But, she was the only one. Because we have family close, we had relatives stop by during the day, but she was the only one who stayed overnight. Would I have wanted more family staying the night? NO. POST-BIRTH IS NOT THE TIME TO PLAY HOSTESS (especially after your first baby). And any woman who has birthed a child and any man who is married to a woman who has birthed a child should already know that. Meaning, draw your boundaries. You are not putting your relatives out by asking them to stay in a hotel. If it's your Mom and she's cool with sleeping on the couch and you want her there overnight, then go for it. But it's really what makes you feel comfortable. And your relatives will understand that, trust me. Just be sure you lay out your expectations BEFORE Baby Poe comes, so any potential wrinkles can be ironed out before you're, well, changing your own diapers in your bathroom!! :)

What is in your purse?

Hmmm! Let me check! (And yes, I just went to the living room to grab my purse.) Okay. It's a big bag, so no teasing here. In my purse I have: A small cosmetics bag that houses lip gloss, mints, mascara, etc., my wallet (that holds my debit card and insurance cards and such), my cash wallet, my check book, a cute little bag that contains two diapers, a package of wipes, and some Butt Paste, my Bible, lotion, Catch Phrase (um, we brought it to a friend's house last night and I guess I stashed it in my purse when we left!), a Chuck truck, my sunglasses, a ziploc baggy containing cinnamon toast crunch, a couple receipts, a pen, and my keys.


How did you learn photography? Did you take certain classes? Have you always loved it? P.S. I love your photos.

My husband bought me a camera for Christmas one year and it all started there. I've never taken classes--I just shoot what I think looks good. I always try different angles and such to keep things interesting, plus I have a couple different lenses to help change things up. I learned the art of picture-taking by asking advice from some extremely talented photographer friends of mine who were more than willing to answer my questions. Some photographers are stingy and secretive, but my friends were awesome. And I think they knew I would never really be competition!! :) And I think I've always loved it. My Mom had an old film Canon that I used to play with as a kid and experimented with in high school. Maybe that's why I only use Canon! :)

And thank you for saying you like my pictures. You are very sweet. Here you go, just for some eye candy:

Love that little kid! :)

Is your MIL as great as she sounds?

She's even better than that.

I can't brag on my MIL enough. I am very blessed to have in-laws that I not only love, but also like. Besides my MIL's amazing grandparenting skills, I also just love spending time with her. We've taken many a road trip with my husband's family and she and I pair up (we're the only girls in the bunch) and I love it. We share similar values and also what we deem important in life. Like Seinfeld and The Cheesecake Factory. :)

And no, I'm not sucking up. ;)

Why is my blog not on your list?

I'm not really great at keeping the list updated (I read several blogs that are not listed there). I do not put private blogs on my blogger list, which is why yours was not listed. I read them, but I do not put them on the list. But, since yours is recently public, I'll add it!

If you had to change every physical feature about yourself except for one, which would you hold on to and why? And, vise versa, if you HAD to change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I like my legs because they are skinny. And I'm not bragging about that. I gain my weight in my belly which makes me feel like a caramel apple on a stick sometimes, but I can't complain. I like my legs. I'd hold onto my legs! And, if I had to change one thing about myself, I would accidentally dive in front of a softball pitch and get nailed in the nose so I could have a nose job. My nose has always bugged me, for some reason. Not enough for me to change it (unless the above scenario actually occurred) because really, there are more important things in life. But, you can tell by my nose that I have French ancestry! Eh bien. C'est la vie!

More to come tomorrow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering ...

There is a huge winter storm making its way to my part of the world, and there's a chance I won't have Internet for a couple of days. I'm typing this and scheduling it to post tomorrow (which, if you are reading this, is today), so it should show up whether I can or not!

Taking a cue from fellow blogger Whitney, I want to open up the floor for you to ask me something. Anything. It isn't that I deem my life as being incredibly interesting, but rather because I wonder about people and I wonder if other people wonder about people. And if you do, here is your chance to ask. While I know that my blog is the product of a very typical "mommy blogger", I'm also a wife and a daughter and a friend and, well, a person. Behind the screen is a girl who just ate a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, who loves her flannel pajamas, and who desperately needs a pedicure. You can ask me anything from my opinions on premillennial eschatology to the kind of mascara I use.

I have no clue if, upon returning, there will be any comments at all, but it's worth a try. If there are no comments, I'll assume I'm pretty transparent and there isn't a lot to wonder about. And, if there are any comments, it will give me something to write about!

And if you are in the path of this storm, stay safe. The airport has all but closed, a major highway just shut down, and the experts are saying to prepare for the worst. I'm going to round up our candles and flashlights right now, and my husband has the generator ready to go.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

20 Weeks.

Dear Naomi Kate,

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to fit everything I want to tell you into the space of a few letters and words. Even though we haven't officially met, you are still very much a part of this family. From the moment we found out about you, I was very aware of your presence. You were on my mind, and continue to be on my mind, all the time! You are with us when we go to the park, when we run errands, and when I lay down to go to bed. And recently you've reminded me that you are here through little kicks and punches. I feel you, sweetie. Keep on kicking.

As your Mom, I can't tell you how incredible it is to me to think that I will have a daughter. My Mom (your Memere) and I have a wonderful relationship and I pray that you and I will, too. I know we will have our moments, trust me, where perhaps we won't understand how to relate to each other (or we will simply refuse to understand), but in the end, my prayer is that we will reach common ground in that unique way that only mothers and daughters can. I love you so much, sweet Naomi. We will learn from each other.

Your Dad is so excited to meet you. The prospect of having a daughter has already sent him over the moon. I can see a twinkle in his eye now when he sees baby girls, and I know you have already stolen his heart. You scored big time with getting Daddy. He's a catch and you won't find a better Daddy out there!

I hope you like your name. It has been one of my favorite girl names since I was small. It means "pleasant" and ironically enough, it describes my pregnancy at this point. One of my friends noted that I seemed very "peaceful" about your pending birth and the step of moving your brother into his own room. And I do feel peaceful. Content. At this moment, "pleasant" is more than fitting. I hope that you do not find it presumptuous that I have given you a shortened version of my name as your middle name--your brother received your father's middle name as his own and I wanted to give you part of my name, too. Your brother, Cub, has learned to say "sissy" and when we ask him to say "Naomi" it comes out as "Mimi". And Naomi, let me tell you--you are going to LOVE your big brother!

Once your brother is moved into his new room, we will begin working on your nursery. I can already tell you that you will have the most wonderful crib that my Dad (your Pepere) built. It is beautiful and sturdy and strong. It will hold you safely as it has held your brother. You already have several options for outfits and I'm already trying to figure out how we are going to store all of your clothes!

Naomi, I can't wait. I just can't wait. I can't wait to meet you, I can't wait to see your first smile, the first time your small hand will hold my own, the first time "Mama" will come from your sweet mouth. And yet, at the same time, I love that I already know you. And I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of my pregnancy with you--just our time, as mother and daughter. I will continue to feel your kicks and you will continue to hear my voice. Keep growing, sweetie.

I love you.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's In a Name ...

We were positive that Cub would be a "William" when we first got pregnant. We loved the name and thought it would be just right ... until we realized it just didn't feel right. My husband came up with Cub's name, which is a biblical name, and followed it with his own middle name. And it's perfect. We love it.

So, this time around, I think we are going to follow the same pattern of using a biblical name first, followed by a family name for the middle name.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a HUGE NERD WHEN IT COMES TO NAMES.

My parents were certain I was going to be a Kristen until I was actually born, and then they changed their minds and gave me the name Kathryn, with my Dad's first name as my middle name (don't worry, his name isn't Bill). And, I recently discovered I was born on St. Catherine's Day, which is kind of cool. My brother's name is Joshua Paul, and J. Paul's run on my mom's side of the family.

So, at least the nerdiness is somewhat inherited, yes?

How about you? Do you (or did you) have a process when you think of names you like, or do you pick what sounds good?

Of course, I've learned that it's the baby that makes the name, not vice versa, so in the long run, the process doesn't really matter. You could name your kid John Doe and they could be the most unique, successful, pivotal character in history. Or you could name your kid Neveah Jayden Diamond Gweneviere Prefontaine ... and they could be a total dud.

BUT, I still like to hear how people come up with names! So, do share, please!

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Or You Can Use a Leash.

I recently received an e-mail from a reader who wanted to know how we trained Cub to come to us upon being asked to do so. She has a son around Cub's age and, like Cub, her child has also discovered the joy of exploring ... sometimes away from Mom and Dad! Since we are really still very new and fresh parents ourselves, I can't say that our methods are well worn or that they apply to everyone. Every child is wired differently (and every parent parents differently), so it's hard to give a cure-all. BUT! I can at least share what has worked for us:



I'm kidding.

We were fortunate to receive good advice when Cub started crawling. For some reason, Cub becoming mobile was kind of disarming to me. He never scooted or army-crawled. He just sat up and crawled one day. I think this made it difficult because we never really eased into him moving around the house--he just kind of did it one day. And suddenly his little boundary (the size of a blanket, maybe?) expanded to our entire house. I explained this to a friend of mine and she encouraged us to begin acquainting Cub with the idea of coming to us when we gave him the command ("Come to Mama" or "Come to Dadda" and motioning for him to come to us with our hands). So, we did that. We would wait until he was distracted and playing with toys, then we would sit down across the room and call his name and gesture for him to come to us. He usually came eagerly, since most babies do at first (I think, anyway), but we kept it up and made it a point to practice him coming to us for a few minutes every day. By the time he started walking, he was used to it.

But, as parents of walkers know, walking is waaaay different than crawling. More speed, more height, more OPPORTUNITY!

So. Our main method now is to allow Cub to walk as much as possible. What I mean is that we allow him to walk, rather than us carrying him, whether it's to the kitchen, to the car, or to the couch to put on his coat. Instead, we go to the place where we would like him to be, and we ask him to come to us. We make sure he can hear us and that we have made eye contact. If he ignores our request and walks the other way, we give him one more chance (making sure that we have made eye contact first). If he disobeys again, he gets disciplined. Every parent disciplines differently, so I'll leave that one open. Usually he comes to us at that point, if he hasn't already. And if he doesn't, then we move on and try the same exercise in a different setting.

Now. My friend brought up a good point that I've seen several parents struggle with--when the toddler thinks it's a game when you ask them to come to you. They giggle and run away, like you're playing chase! It's cute, but not for long (giggling and running into traffic isn't exactly funny). What we've found to work for us is to simply watch our vocabulary. If we're playing chase with Cub, we say, "I'm gonna get you!" as we go after him, rather than "Come here!!" That way, it's clear what we're saying to him. "Come here" (actually, "Come here, please") is reserved as a command only. Does that make sense? That way, Cub knows exactly what we're saying and what our expectations are of him.

Just keep it simple. It's taken me way longer to type this post than it ever takes for us to practice with Cub. We keep it short and simple. And we realize it's always a work in progress. Cub comes to us very well most of the time. Then suddenly, we'll have a day where he looks at us as though we're speaking Pig Latin. But, as with everything else concerning parenting, consistency pays off. A little practice goes a long way, especially if you've already been practicing.

Good luck!

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A New Miracle.

Behold: The Cupcake. That's pretty much all that is left after a crazy whirlwind that spanned 48 hours and included waking up at insanely early hours of the morning, lots of driving, baking, laughing, crying, jumping, shopping, dreaming, and, of course, finding out about our baby girl. We've decided that Ultrasound Day in our house ranks right up there with Finding Out We're Pregnant Day and tails closely behind the final Birth Day. Even though we have ultrasounds before this one, this particular ultrasound is poignant for several reasons--obviously, it reveals important details about the health of the baby, it gives the possibility of knowing the gender, and it marks the halfway (or almost halfway) point of the pregnancy. If that isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is!

The morning of the ultrasound, I woke up at 4:00, my mind abuzz. I was so excited. Having gone through this before, you would think that I would know what to expect and would therefore be calm and go about my business as usual. But, for me, it was quite the contrary. Knowing what was ahead only added to my giddy anticipation, while simultaneously taking away from some precious hours of sleep! I finally got out of bed at 5:30 and started the day. Cub and I went about our daily Thursday ritual, which for us begins at play group, and my friends there were awesome and asked a lot of questions about our pending ultrasound. I love play group. It's such a sweet, special time, and getting to share in these life moments is precisely why I love it so much.

I dropped Cub off with his Aunt Pam and drove to the hospital to meet my husband. I checked in and was admitted (forgot about that part!) and sat in the radiology waiting room. My husband showed up a few minutes later and they called us back. We held hands as we walked down the hallway.

When we walked into the ultrasound room, the technician smiled at us and I immediately recognized her. She was the same ultrasound technician I had when we miscarried in 2007. I remember her because she was so nice and kind to me, going above and beyond to make sure I was warm and comfortable during the process--a bright spot on a very dark day, when the ultrasound screen was ominously empty. I knew she wouldn't remember me, but I told her that we had met before and how. I told her I appreciated her kindness and obviously hadn't forgotten it, over two years later! She was happy to hear it and even happier to be here, years later, performing the ultrasound of our second healthy baby. She asked us if we wanted to know the gender and we said that Yes! If we can, of course. If Baby Bean cooperates. So, the ultrasound began.

As soon as Baby Bean appeared on the screen, the technician said, "Okay then! Here are two little legs ... and nothing in between!"

And I smiled.

I didn't jump off the cot. I didn't burst into tears. I didn't grab the monitor and begin kissing it voraciously.

All of which are very viable options, given my somewhat sanguine personality.

But, I didn't. I smiled up at my husband. I was calm. My heart was calm. My hope for a baby girl was completely at rest. I knew there was an equal chance of Baby Bean being a boy or a girl and I was thrilled for either (there's still that chance!). But stepping into that room, having the privilege of making it this far into the pregnancy, both of those things trumped whether or not Baby Bean was a Miss or a Mister. We were honestly and thoroughly content.

We saw Baby Bean's heart (all four chambers--amazing!), kidneys, bladder, brain, spine, and, of course, little hands and little feet. My husband and I wiped our eyes as we saw the intricate details of our Little One, amazed at the little nose and the little mouth. Even though we had already seen an ultrasound like this with Cub, we were still absolutely in awe of the miracle of our little life. It wasn't that we were witnessing a miracle again--it was that we were witnessing an entirely new miracle with a new life. And we were overwhelmed with thankfulness when we saw the healthy beating heart and the steady blood flow. For as much as the tech was allowed to tell us, she said the baby looked great. When you see so much detail and so many little working parts, you realize more how truly miraculous it is to have a baby who looks "great". I was reminded again how easy it can be to take that for granted. We have two healthy children. There is no truth that could humble us more.

She checked again for the gender and confirmed (as much as she could) that she just "didn't see anything there". We peered at the screen with her and she showed us the two little (yummy) legs and sure enough, there wasn't anything there. Having seen Cub's ultrasound when he was this far along, we knew what to look for! We both smiled and she congratulated us on our Baby Girl.

THEN we freaked out. Lots of hugging and cheering.

When I picked Cub up from his Aunt Pam's, my heart swelled with pride at our little man. He toddled towards me and reached his arms up, and I pulled him close for a hug. My eyes were wet with tears when we got in the car and left. I'm so proud of our son. Our love for him is what spurred the desire to have another baby in the first place. And as I looked at his reflection in our rear view mirror and saw his toothy grin and heard his silly giggles, I knew that his little sister was beyond blessed to have him for a big brother. I asked him if he could say the word "sister", and he said "see-see" all the way home.

We went home and I baked the chocolate cupcakes and made the pink frosting to squirt inside. When my husband came home, we loaded up Cub and went to my in-laws' for the big reveal. After a delicious dinner, we passed out the cupcakes and everyone was thrilled with the pink. We were exhausted after a long day and crashed in bed when we came home. The next morning I woke up at 5:30 and headed to Arkansas to surprise my parents. They were absolutely shocked to see me and were excited to slice into their own little cupcake, with the pink frosting inside. After squeals and tears and hugs, Mom and I were able to hang out and shop a little and grab lunch together. And, of course, purchase some cute outfits for the baby. My time with my Mom reminded me of why I wanted a daughter in the first place, and I look forward to when Bean can spend time with us after she is born. It was a very sweet morning.

And now I am here, at home, catching up on sleep and rest. I'm glad we made a big deal out of the ultrasound. I'm glad we made the cupcakes. I'm glad I drove to Arkansas at dawn, with a cup of Starbucks in my hand. If I've learned anything while being a parent, it is that these moments come and go so quickly. You can never do too much to make them last. We were thrilled to celebrate and, most importantly, we were thrilled to have loved ones with whom to celebrate.

One boy. One girl. Baby makes four.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Lovely Shade Of ...


I stole the idea from a friend to bake cupcakes and fill the center with blue or pink frosting, depending on the gender, as a way to tell the grandparents. They were floored and happy to discover pink.

And so were we.

And we couldn't ask for a better big brother.

(Who also loved the cupcakes.)

More to come! For now, I'm recovering from telling all of the family!!

Have a lovely day, friends!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue or Pink.

One of the joys of pregnancy are the Old Wives' Tales that are meant to somehow determine the gender of your baby given how you are carrying, when you conceived, etc. I never minded them, since I find this kind of thing pretty humorous and interesting. Especially because some of the guesses are, obviously, correct!

On Thursday, my husband and I will head to the hospital for our "big" ultrasound where they will check on Baby Bean's vital organs and, yes, check the gender. My husband and I are a bit nervous that it is too early to tell, or that the baby will not cooperate, but other than that, we're excited. We can't wait to find out and begin preparing the way for Baby Bean.

I think it is fair to say that I am carrying this baby differently than Cub. Now, I know moms who have several children who are all the same gender, yet each baby carried differently. And I know moms who have children who are different genders, yet each baby carried the same. I definitely understand that the Old Wives' Tales are just that--tales, primarily--but, I still think it is fun to guess.

SO! Here is a little comparison between my two pregnancies:


-Conceived in winter

-Cub's heart rate never exceeded 150 bpm

-Morning sickness lasted until 13 weeks (throwing up)

-Carried extremely low--lots of urinary tract infections (bleh)

-Primarily carried in the belly only

-Mama's coordination was a bit lacking--I couldn't wear heels past 10 weeks

-Craved cereal


-Conceived in fall

-Heart rate is around 165 bpm

-Morning sickness lasted until 17 weeks (throwing up and daily nausea)

-Carrying high--lots of heartburn (bleh)

-Immediately discovered love handles as well the token baby belly (sweet! love handles!)

-Wearing heels every day and loving it

-Craving cereal AND things that are salty, like tomato juice

Okay. There you have it!

So, friends, time to guess. Based on what you've heard ... is Baby Bean blue or pink??

I'm going to keep this post up for a few days and then I will let you know ... once the proper family and friends have been notified. :)

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I realized I never shared my New Year's Resolutions. Not that I really ever do New Year's Resolutions. Although I think they are a good idea, I think I tend to aim a bit high. Like hiking mountains in different countries and things like that.

If I've learned anything in my short life, it is that life throws you curve balls. So, perhaps it is a better idea to create a list of reasonable resolutions that I actually have a chance to accomplish. Baby steps, you know?

So, here it goes. The List. For 2010. In no particular order.

1) Have a second child (we're well on our way with that one).
2) Have the baby weight from second child lost within five months through reasonable eating and such. Nothing crazy. I refuse to come upon that baby's first birthday still carrying "the baby weight". I lost the weight with Cub easily, but I know the second will be tougher, hence I am giving myself a strict goal. I love food and I love to eat.
3) Host a Mardi Gras party for my friends.
4) Begin potty training Cub around his second birthday (or at least exposing him to the idea of it--don't worry I won't rush it [I can see those comments coming already!!]).
5) Take a weekend trip with my hubby.
6) Read Lost Horizon again.
7) Give to someone anonymously.
8) Keep my hair long.
9) Volunteer for a cause I believe in.
10) Take whatever steps necessary to be the best wife and the best mom I can be. This is ambiguous because I think it will change throughout the year!

How about you? Are you into the New Year's Resolution thing??

Have a lovely day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good Thing I Didn't Have a Cup of Coffee In My Hand.

A while ago, I wrote a post about visiting my dear friend, Maribeth, in Chinle, Arizona. She moved there recently with her husband and daughter and, well, I miss her. Terribly. We talk every week, mostly about planning the next time we'll be able to see each other. Friends like Maribeth are hard to find. I love her so very much. What is most difficult about having Maribeth far away is that our friendship really began to grow right as she found out she was leaving. AND she just found out she is pregnant and Oh my goodness! What fun we would have going on chocolate shake runs! Daily!

(Those are always easier with moral support.)

Her daughter Addison is three and has decided that Cub is her boyfriend, despite the two year age difference (and the obvious language barrier--Cub's limited vocabulary makes lengthy discussions difficult--but they figure it out :)). It's so sweet to see the two of them play together and that is one of the things I miss about spending time together.

Maribeth is planning on coming to our church's women's retreat at the end of February and we've talked about how excited we are for that day to come.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was standing in line in our church's cafe today and suddenly a very sweet blonde little girl was standing next to me.

And it was Addison.

I smiled down at her before I realized who she was, and then (according to various and humored onlookers), my eyes bugged out of my head as I frantically looked for Maribeth.

And there she was. My friend. Standing by a cafe table. With the various and humored onlookers.

She came as a surprise and is staying with the fabulous Miss Penny and her family, and I almost cried. She's here for a whole two weeks. TWO WEEKS of time with my friend. It seems to good to be true.

Our plans include eating at P.F. Chang's and catching up. Simple. And priceless.

I have to say, this was one of the best surprises of my life. Definitely in the top five.

So, I want to hear from YOU.

What's the BEST surprise you've ever had?

Have a lovely day. I will eat some Kung Pao chicken for you.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Husband: Did you turn the fan on?

Katie: No.

H: .... Um, are you going to turn it on?

K: NO. I'm exhausted. Go to sleep.

H: But I need the fan on!


H: Okay. But ... you're closer to the switch.


H: (Sighs loudly, gets up to turn on fan, comes back to bed.)

H: Wait. Where are my pillows?

K: What pillows? Go to sleep.

H: Oh my gosh. You stole my pillows.

K: No I didn't. You're dreaming.

H: Unbelievable.

K: ...


K: Unbelievable, yes. Also, BRILLIANT.

H: Give me my pillows back.

K: Um, no. And you can't use physical force, because I am with child.


K: What? That's annoying? It's annoying when someone takes your pillows when all you want to do is go to sleep? Really??

H: Give me my pillows. I'm tired.

K: Oh, suddenly you're tired? Really? Are you sure you're tired? I think I want to talk! Let's talk! La la la la la--

H:--FINE. You win.

K: What's that?


K: Thank you. Here are your pillows. Good night, honey!

H: Geez. Good night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Unkept Lady.

I wrote a post last week about my angst with eyebrow maintenance. I'm just not very good at it. After I wrote it, I began to pensively reflect on my beauty regimen and realized that Oh! I'm not very good at anything with beauty, really!

Which, of course, there are so many more important things in the world than that. Like, say, everything.

But I realized that I was never really taught how to apply make-up. I didn't start wearing make-up until my junior year of high school, and then I stopped wearing make-up for a while in college (about the same time I adopted Chacos and snacked on granola), and then started up again around the end of college and pretty much wear it all the time now. I'm assuming I'm okay at it, since no one has stopped to ask me where the clown convention is meeting.

But, once the make-up is applied, I'm done. I'm AWFUL at remembering to remove my make-up. I justify it by insisting that I use Physician's Formula bare minerals powder and organic tinted moisturizer for foundation, which are basically not really awful for your skin. So I don't HAVE to wash my face before hitting the pillow, right? Right? Maybe? Granted, my eyes are usually black scary blotchy blobs by morning (sorry, Babe!), but, I do wash my face in the shower the next morning, so that's okay, right?

(Sigh. I know it's not.)

And then there's my hair. I'm finally getting to the point where I get it trimmed and colored somewhat consistently. Of course, this is usually after our pastor's wife, who does my hair, stops me in the hall one random Sunday to gently hint (ha ha) that my roots are down to my chin and that perhaps it's time for a touch-up. Oh! Thanks for the reminder!

And yet, despite my obvious lack of personal maintenance, I consider myself a girly-girl.

And I never considered how that could be a bit of a contradiction until well, I thought about it.

I like purses. I like shoes. I like dressing up. I love chunky jewelry, but primarily of the wooden or beaded or other natural medium persuasion. I also like hoodies. And ponytails. And TOMS. I will never turn down a pedicure, but my toenails look pretty rough right now. I've had fake nails on and off for the past 5 years (definitely off since having le bebe) but I can never decide if I actually like having them. I drool over designer bags, but love Target's selection. I curl my hair and love football. I love to look like a hotty wife for my husband, but I like nothing more than to chat with him as my best friend.

So, I'm going to guess that I just kind of fall right in the middle. A girly-girl with a healthy dose of tomboy. Not too shabby, I suppose.

What about you? Where do you fall? Are you more girly-girl or tomboy?? Or, has it kind of changed as you've gotten older? I was an absolute tomboy in middle school, but that changed as I've changed, you know?

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boy Joy.

Okay, folks, time for a very honest post here.

Okay, I mean, I'm always honest. We REALLY made homemade peanut butter. I REALLY argue with my husband about turning the fan on at night. We REALLY have a son whom we refer to as "Cub". Little Footy Pajamas is not where I house some sort of alter ego. It's me! Katie!

What I mean by honesty is, you know, those things that expose our weaknesses a bit. And I have my fair share of weaknesses (I think I even have some extras! Would you like some? You may have almost all of them, except my weakness for dark chocolate. I'll keep that one.)

Here it goes: I really, really want a girl.

Now. I realize this isn't "that bad" and that I could have done something so much worse, like rob a bank or burn a house down. But still, I have been able to see how something that started out as a simple want quickly grew into a very selfish want. I don't think all wants are selfish--in a bad way, anyway. If I want a drink of water, I'm not necessarily being selfish. If I see a car and I want it, that's fine. It's when you cross that thin line from "I want that! Okay cool whatever!" to "I NEED THAT GIVE IT TO ME NOW!" that things get a tad iffy.

And friends, I was kind of more the latter than the former when it came to "wanting" a girl.

And that really, really bothered me.

Because deep down, what I really wanted is a healthy baby. And so far, we've been blessed with that. But somewhere in this second pregnancy, I began to forget the possibility that Baby Bean could be a boy. And my husband and I became very convinced that Bean was a girl. And then, when I thought, "Wow, this COULD be a boy!" I was overwhelmed with the thought of it, simply because I had already made up my mind.

Then I realized that I hadn't even allowed the possibility for this next baby to be a boy to even enter my mind. What's up with that?? I was so bent on having a girl that I hadn't even considered that Baby Bean could be a boy. After feeling very frustrated, worried, and angry with myself, I finally did the very mature and respectable thing I always do when I feel like a mess.

I flopped myself on the bed and cried.

I know, I know, this is probably silly to cry over. But, I can't tell you how much I DON'T WANT TO CARE whether we have a boy or a girl. What kind of horrible person am I for wanting a girl?? Oh my word! Good grief! Snap out of it, Katie!

And really, pregnancy hormones aren't exactly helping the cause at all.

So, I took a deep breath, calmed my nerves, and started to pray. Yes, I prayed about this. If God cares about the sparrows and the flowers of the field, then I know He cares about this little issue with me (of course, He would probably rather deal with the sparrows at this point!). I found myself apologizing first for my selfishness. I know there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting a girl, but I REALLY wanted a girl. And I could feel that want turning into something very selfish. And in that moment I saw the Creator of the Universe take the time to calm the heart of a hormonal, tired, heart-burned pregnant twenty-something, too. After a few minutes in prayer, I found myself surrendering this pregnancy to Him, bit by bit, just as I have surrendered so many things before.

I realize that my life is somewhat of a progression of making mistakes, apologizing for those mistakes, changing for the better, making mistakes, apologizing for those mistakes, changing for the better, making mistakes, etc. And while I am frustrated with that, I also see that it is kind of the very essence of the human condition. We're humans. It's what we do. And my "mistake" in this issue was to take for granted the very special life He has given us. I was immediately very humbled. God knows how much we wanted another baby and He chose to give us another. And once the fog lifted, I finally was able to realize what I had been wanting to realize: That this little life is all that matters.

At about that time, my little Cubbie came toddling into our bedroom. And my eyes filled with tears at how much I LOVE this little man. I scooped him up and tickled his tummy and he giggled and cooed. I kissed his little head.

And then I thought, "How amazing it would be to have another little giggly boy in the house!" I found myself getting excited with the prospect of being the mom of two boys. I love boys, and having two would be loads of fun. Double the bike rides, double the worms in the washing machine, double the sports, double the love. I know that fathers and daughters have a sweet connection and I can say now that I understand how mothers and sons do, too. My son is just like a mini-me of my husband, and I love him more than I can explain.

We have our "big" ultrasound next week. And I can honestly say that I am so excited to find out (if we can) whether we are having a boy or a girl. I know that this baby has already made our family complete, just like Cub made our family complete, and I can't wait to begin preparing for his or her arrival.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Move Over, Peter Pan.

My husband and I are both Food Network junkies. This obsession started a few months ago when we realized our remote was always choosing shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", "Iron Chef America", "Chopped", and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" over our usual sports and criminal cop show favorites. This commonality has developed a new sort of kinship between us and that I think that is one of the best things about marriage: Always discovering new things you like about each other. Very pleasant, indeed.

One of our favorite shows is "Good Eats", which features the Amazing Alton Brown, who chooses a particular food item and proceeds to dive deep into details about said item, giving its history, its variety, and, best of all, recipes that incorporate it. Simple recipes. Alton is basically a fabulous Super Geek who explains the atomic structure of everything from sprouts to chocolate, and, well, we're hooked. Seeing as we are basically geeks ourselves.

A few nights ago, Alton did a show on the wonderful legume that is the Peanut.

And then he made homemade peanut butter.

And after my husband and I wiped the drool from our chins, we resolved to try it ourselves.

On Friday night, we went to Target, and, thanks to gift cards from friends and family, we purchased a food processor. Oh, the wonder that is the food processor. We have two small processors at home and I employed them when I made Cub's baby food months ago, but oh, having one this large would have been SO HANDY as I whipped up those green beans and sweet potatoes months ago. And, it has kind of been a dream of mine since to actually be able to make more than a half cup of food, be it sweet potatoes or salsa, at a time. And on Friday night, my dream came true.

We came home, put the Cubster to bed, and proceeded to create our own peanut butter. We looked up Alton's recipe online and went to work. I am mentioning again that this is Alton Brown's recipe, the Amazing Alton Brown, not my recipe or my husband's recipe or anyone else even remotely close to me's recipe. Did that sentence make sense? Anyway. You get the point.

Here we are about to begin. You can sense the excitement.

You need:
15 ounces shelled and skinned (unsalted) peanuts
-->(You can make AB's homemade roasted peanuts ... but we just bought a couple jars of unsalted. Make sure the only ingredients in the peanuts are, well, PEANUTS, before you purchase them.)
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp honey
1.5 tablespoons peanut oil

This is Alton's recipe online. You can find it here.

The peanuts, salt, and honey, respectively.

The blending of the three.

My husband was so proud when he found this. "It's from Oklahoma!!" He was very excited to support local farmers (Bee farmers? Bee growers? Bee breeders?). And I agreed with him.

The trifecta mixture. Then we added peanut oil.

The end result.

The peanut butter was delicious. It wasn't sugary, but was instead more nutty, like the organic peanut butter we have tried in the past. (But, we liked this better.)

And what better way to celebrate homemade peanut butter than to make homemade peanut butter and chocolate shakes? YUM. I can't say my blood sugar loved me the next morning, but the moment was worth it.


We stuck the tub of peanut butter in the fridge and have quite a bit left to use. The next day I tried our recipe on our little man to see what he thought.

He loved it. Success.

Try this if you find the time. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, January 11, 2010

You Learn As You Go.

Last week I began the daunting task of packing up our guest bedroom. Ever since Cub's birth, it has become our catch-all room, housing everything from graduation gowns to camping gear to college textbooks to random gaming systems to chess sets. And, in a few months, that room, which is bigger than the nursery, will become Cub's room.

Today someone asked me why we didn't plan on having the baby and Cub share a room. There are a couple of reasons, some having to do with letting the baby cry it out and being afraid of that keeping Cub awake, and also the fact that Bean might be a girl. But, there is a bigger reason. Allow me to explain.

See, when Cub was five months old, I wrote a post on my old blog about an ottoman I found to hold his toys. I was so proud. It matched our living room! So important! At that point in my life, I was, apparently, afraid of Cub's toys showing in the living room. Hence, the ottoman:

I would have loved to hear the snickers from the moms out there who read that post. Good grief. "Great idea, Katie!" "Sure, Katie, you just keep that toy ottoman!"

(Um, and when I told some of these same moms last week that I was writing this post, they then allowed themselves to full-on laugh out loud.)

Why the snickers, you ask? Well, let's take a look at that toy ottoman now.

Can you see it? Can you find it in there? Do you see the Toy Ottoman of Awesomeness, wedged between two carts and smashed behind the Chuck Truck slide and Little People Amusement park? Oh, and do you notice the larger two baskets on the left side of the picture? Those Baskets of Awesomeness that I purchased after the Toy Ottoman of Awesomeness got too small? Granted, it was a good idea at the time and it served its purpose. However.


This is why people progress from Toy Ottomans of Awesomeness to Toy Boxes of Awesomeness to PLAYROOMS.

So. Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The main reason as to why we're moving Cub. Well, that's kind of it right there. The nursery isn't big enough to hold two beds (or a crib and a bed or a crib and a pack-n-play), so the Cubster is movin' on up ... and so are his toys! I'm all about toys in the living room, but, as you can see, it's getting a tad ridiculous. It will be nice to be able to neatly store them in his room. Until, of course, he gets even bigger toys, like say, a car.

But we won't think about cars quite yet. :)

Cub was very happy to "help" me as I began packing things up. I will soon show you the before and after pics, but there is a lot of work to be done in between before that can happen. Until then, a question for you: Did you ever share a room with your sibling? I didn't, but I had a brother. If you did, did you like it?

Have a lovely day!

(Oh, and here is my 17 week picture. Please note that I did not pick up my bathroom for the picture. Please don't be offended by the pile of laundry ON the hamper, not IN the hamper, and the wayward earring on the countertop. I was tired, folks.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Numb or Not.

Okay. So, I don't always post on weekends, but this is a topic I have been considering for a while now.

Epidural. Ep-eh-der-ull.

I know, I know, I'm many weeks away from having Baby Bean, but, you know. It's never too early to start preparing right?? So. Here's the deal.

I had an epidural with Cub. I was able to make it to a 7 before I got it and I was sure I'd be fine without it, but the doctor gently encouraged me to consider it, seeing as I hadn't given birth before and Cub was posterior ("sunny side up"). And, I'm glad she did, because Cub ended up flipping back over in the birth canal, which made for some long pushing (over 3 hours). I know epidurals slow things down, but I honestly think that in Cub's case, it's hard to judge whether or not the pushing took forever because of the epidural or because he was wedged in the birth canal. And honestly, it doesn't really matter to me now!

But, now that I am pregnant the second time around, I've thought about doing the deed without an epidural. If, of course, everything goes well. If he's breech, I might hunt down the anesthesiologist myself. Of course, my Mom delivered me breech without meds, but I also came in ten minutes, so she didn't have an option. If the whole thing takes ten minutes, then shoot! No meds needed!

But, really. That's unlikely.


Let me first say, I am all about epidurals. Obviously, I've had one. I am not nearly as passionate about epidurals as I am about, say, breastfeeding. I could get to the hospital and only be dilated to a 3 and beg for an epidural. Who knows. But, from all of the ladies I've talked to who have delivered with and without an epidural, they all agree that without is better. They say that if you can accept that Yes, This Will Hurt, then you are able to feel more in tune with your body and finish it. And they say that afterwards you feel so much better.

BUT, they also agreed that the first time you give birth, you should get one (if you can), since the whole experience is so new.

So, I'm opening this up to you, friends! What do you think? Whether you've had an epidural or not, what was your experience like?? And, if you didn't have one and went into the hospital planning it that way, how did you prepare yourself physically and mentally?

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Some Like Rocks, Some Like Bugs.

When Josh and I began the slightly overwhelming (and overall quite fun) task of registering for wedding gifts when we were engaged, I remember people giving me their two cents regarding which items were traditionally appropriate to register for. One of those things was china.

We perused the options at Dillard's. There were some beautiful patterns, but nothing that I absolutely loved. But, seeing as it was tradition and I'm kind of nerdy when it comes to tradition, I went ahead and registered for some Wedgwood, which had the pattern I kind of liked. But oh my word, the total cost for a setting for ten was probably going to comfortably compete with the cost of our first home, and I never felt completely happy with my decision. I mean, I like china and all, but it honestly isn't really something I've ever wanted for myself. And it certainly wasn't something I felt comfortable having people pay an arm and a leg for, especially when we would need something more important, like, say, a blender.

So, tradition met technology as I logged onto the Dillard's website the next day and deleted all of the china we had registered for.

Our wedding day came and went and we were, indeed, china-less (but we totally have an AWESOME blender). But, as time wore on, I realized I didn't really have any sort of "special" dishes to use when company came over, and as I do love to host, I was a bit bothered by it. On a visit to my hometown one day a few years ago, I ate dinner at my brother's house and noticed the gorgeous dishes that his wife had used to set the table. She excitedly told me they were Boleslawiec pottery that she had collected since her family lived in Moscow and traveled to Poland frequently (she is an American who grew up in Russia). And, best of all, you could find some authentic pieces at none other than TJ Maxx. I mean, that's pretty awesome!

What I loved most about her collection was that none of the dishes had the same pattern. Rather than collect specific designs, she just collected what was available, and since Polish pottery carries a common thread of color regardless of the pattern, all of the dishes complimented each other beautifully. So, about a year ago, I got my first piece of Polish pottery: A large teapot. Since then, I have accumulated a few more pieces and I plan on adding more this year. By Christmas, I'd love to have service for four. Seeing as that would be appropriate for our family. :)

I love that I'm actually collecting something now and I hope my collection continues to grow!

What about you? Do you have certain items (be it dishware or bugs) that you love to collect?

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Slight Complex.

Okay. This might sound weird, but hear me out.

Do you find yourself obsessing over one major thing regarding motherhood? You know, like there is that one thing that just bugs you more than anything and you find yourself doing everything in your power to not be that way or to make sure your baby is not that way?

Like, "My baby must know her alphabet before she is two" or "My baby will NEVER sleep in a crib--co-sleeping is the only way to go" or "Our nursery will never be pink" or "Our nursery will never be blue" or "My daughter will never wear pants".

Okay that might sound vague. Let me explain. See, I have this thing.

With baby bottles.

I'm not sure if it's because I breastfed? Maybe? Even though Cub took bottles from Day One?? Whatever the reason, I did NOT want Cub to be on bottles past his first birthday. Even though we used Dr. Brown's bottles and I loved them. I introduced a sippy cup to him at five months and he was able to drink from one by six months. By eight months he was weaned and drinking completely from sippy cups. No more bottles.


I'm not sure why I was so anti-bottle. What's the big deal? Was it the kids I saw who were permanently attached to their baby bottles at the age of two? Maybe. But they tend to be the exception, not the norm. Meh. Either way, I was resolute that Cub was going to be a sippy cup pro as soon as possible. Thankfully, he was, which I think had more to do with him than me. You can't force that kind of thing.

Am I really weird? You can tell me if I am. Say, "Katie. That is WEIRD."

I won't be offended.

What about you? Do you find yourself obsessing over certain things a la bebe ... and you aren't sure why?

(This is one of those posts where if the comment section is completely empty, I am going to feel like a COMPLETE LOSER.)

(So, if you think that would be funny, don't leave a comment.)

(Or, if you think that would be a cruel, cruel joke to play on a pregnant lady, leave a comment.)

(Even if it only says, "Katie, you are WEIRD.")

(Have a lovely day.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Sweet Moment.

I know that I already have a Wordless Wednesday entry for today, but this morning I had the sweetest moment with Cub and I wanted to share it.

While it was still dark outside our bedroom windows, I heard Cub begin to fuss over the monitor. I knew it was too early for him to want to wake up, since it was still dark, hence the fussing (he usually wakes up happy). I waited a bit and heard him fuss again, and I began to worry that maybe he was cold (even though he has a space heater in his room), so I crawled out of my warm bed and crossed our cold living room to his nursery. When I opened the door, I was immediately met with a balmy breeze and I saw that his space heater was going--and it was 91 degrees in his room! Apparently, at some point yesterday evening, he had reset his space heater. It is ceramic and safe and he loves to push its buttons, and this time he had upped the normal temperature by 20 degrees.

I exclaimed, "Poor baby!" and after resetting the space heater, I went to the crib and picked him up. He was warm against me and he and Mr. Lion and I headed to the kitchen to get some cold milk. The wood floor was smooth against my bare feet, but the kitchen tile was cold, and I knew the cold kitchen must feel good to my toasty little Cub! I poured him some milk and we stayed in the kitchen for a few minutes before trekking back to the nursery. It had already cooled to the low 80's, so we sat in the glider in the dark so he could finish his milk.

When I sat down, I sat him across my lap and he leaned his head against my chest. I knew he was still tired, so I slowly began to rock with my arms wrapped around him. My voice was a bit hoarse from just waking up, so my lullabies were sounding a tad painful, but I remembered one thing that Cub used to love when he was an infant that helped him calm down before bed. He loved hearing the sounds of the letters "b", "d", and "g" whispered softly to him. I know it sounds funny, but after he would hear my quiet murmuring, he would sigh and nuzzle his head into my neck, drifting to sleep.

So, now, months and months later, I decided to try it again.

While he leaned against me, I leaned my cheek on his fuzzy little head and quietly murmured, "Buh-buh-buh. Duh-duh-duh."

And in the dark stillness of the nursery, a soft little voice whispered back to me, "Buh-buh-buh ... Duh-duh-duh" .

It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.

My throat choked up and I could feel my eyes get teary as I continued softly on.

"Buh-buh-buh. Guh-guh-guh."

"Buh-buh-buh ... guh-guh-guh."

We continued our gentle chant together in the dark, warm nursery, with me beginning and he repeating, until his chant slowed and finally stopped and he felt heavy against me. We rocked for a bit longer, and I kissed his head and gently put him back to bed.

One thing that makes me a bit nervous about having another baby are in the inevitable sleepless nights that lie ahead. But I was reminded in the dark hours of this morning that some of the sweetest moments come from those unexpected wake-ups.

And ... they still do.

Have a lovely day.

Wordless Wednesday: Bible Stories At Breakfast!

(My favorite time of day.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pointless, But Oh So Aggravating.

I have nothing intelligent to say with this post except to mention that I absolutely hate tweezing my eyebrows. I wish that eyebrows were not something that required so much managing. I never have time to get them waxed. I should just have them lasered or something.

And that's all I have to say. Boo on eyebrow maintenance.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back ...

From the moment we got home from our week-and-a-half-long Christmas festivities, we could tell Cub was going to be a challenge. His attitude seemed just a bit ... off. We went to Hobby Lobby and let him walk around and when it was time to go, we called him to us ... and he actually ran away from us. He's never done that before!! We stood there, frozen. Thankfully, he's still small, so we simply hoisted him up and headed out the door. When we got home, he was touching things he knows he isn't supposed to, he wasn't listening to a word we said, he seemed unusually cranky, and my husband and I just looked at each other, wide-eyed, wondering what in the world was going on.

And then it hit us: DUH.


That always sets things back a bit.

Cub had just been through several days of getting whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. His days were full of playing and spoiling, which is absolutely fine--for a short while! Stepping back into the reality of boundaries was a little awkward for him. I've heard this happens a lot with kids. Once we realized the issue, we were able to relax and understand that some normal time at home would do the trick. And it did. Getting back into the swing of things, re-learning how to listen to Mom and Dad, going over our training for him to come to us (we seriously practice this at home and it has paid off in public--which is why the incident at Hobby Lobby was so weird!), and replacing his newfound love of whining with making him rub his little chest for "please" soon paid off. Yesterday was amazing. Cub was back to his old self and he honestly seemed happier, too.

I'm not saying at all that there is always a monumental reason or event that causes kids to test boundaries. They just do because, well, they're supposed to! I would worry if Cub never pushed the limits a bit. But, kids also have to know that the limits are there for a reason. And it's up to the parents to keep those limits enforced. I'm learning that there will always be setbacks. And visiting grandparents and having an amazingly fun Christmas break is, for me, a pretty awesome reason to allow another setback. We just have to remember our role as parents to gently help our kids back onto the right track once life returns to normal.

Even though Cub is only barely over a year old, I'm already understanding the importance of consistency--and consistency being at home, too. With only one baby, it is easy to take them wherever you want whenever you want, for the most part, especially when they are younger. But, as Cub gets older, I know now more than ever that home can never be replaced. Home is the place where Cub not only feels the most comfortable, but it is also the place where we can lovingly show him and train him in the way he should go.

Which is, of course, towards us, not away from us. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Breastfeeding 101.

I recently had a friend ask me for some advice regarding breastfeeding. She is pregnant with her first and, until she got pregnant, had never really given breastfeeding much thought. Her mom used formula and she figured she would, too, but now that she was actually pregnant, she wanted to weigh her options and at least give it a shot.

So. Before I proceed ...

An itty-bitty disclaimer:

1) This post will include the words "breast" and "nipples".
2) I understand breastfeeding is not for everyone (milk production can be an issue).
3) This post will include the words "breast" and "nipples".
4) I understand breastfeeding is not for everyone (there are always other issues).
5) I understand breastfeeding is not for everyone (just to cover my bases).

Here are my two cents regarding breastfeeding in general: It's just the best out there for babies. Even formula cans agree. Its nutrition is unmatched, it's free, it lessens the mom's risk for breast cancer in the future, it helps the uterus contract more quickly back to normal size after birth, it burns a ton of calories (which is handy, when running 5 miles isn't exactly suggested for new mothers just stepping out of the hospital), and, after you get the hang of it, it's pretty convenient.

My Mom breastfed, my sister-in-law breastfed, most of my friends breastfed, and I was pretty resolute that I was going to give it a whirl, too. It does help when your peers do it. But, if you are a pregnant Mom out there and you want to maybe give it a try, here is some free (and honest) advice from me. Simply my opinion.

Based solely on experience. And clogged milk ducts and raw nipples.

Here you go:

1) Be resolute.
Notice the above-mentioned little sentence including the words "clogged milk ducts" and "raw nipples". Let me also insert "dry nipples" and "cracked nipples" and "inverted nipples" and "bleeding nipples" and "mastitis" (clogged milk ducts that get infected, usually accompanied by a fever and an all-around feeling of yuckiness) and last, but not least, "yeast-infected nipples". Yep. I just went there. A good friend of mine experienced this and still pushed through (the infection was cleared up very quickly) and was able to breast feed for a good long while.

Like I mentioned, you have to be resolute. This stuff ain't necessarily easy! BUT, these nipple woes typically do not last very long (if you get them at all--most moms don't have it that badly!). The first few weeks are always the roughest.

2) Do not give up on breastfeeding while still in the hospital.
This is where #1 comes in handy. There is so much going on in the hospital. SO MUCH. Besides the fact that you have just experienced and survived a superhuman event that would make most men cry like little girls, you also have floods of people running in and out of your room, IVs hooked up in each arm (I developed a fever while in labor and was on antibiotics through an IV--ugh), you might have pain in certain areas that you never imagined you would have pain, you're looking a little rough, you're probably feeling a little rough, you're exhausted, maybe overwhelmed ... and, above all else, the little booger won't latch on! What the heck? No matter how hard you try to cram your entire breast into his/her mouth (yes, I just went there, too), latching on just doesn't seem to be happening. Or, at least, you're having a hard time telling if any latch-age is going on. And, um, isn't a bottle easier? Please? Bottle? Yes?

This is where you need to employ your handy-dandy Lactation Consultant. To answer all of your breastfeeding questions. No matter the condition of your nipples, your consultant should be able to give you the advice you need. I have heard of a few scary Lactation Consultants who are a bit intimidating, but don't let that scare you out of giving breastfeeding a fair shot. You're the one making the decision, remember?

If you give birth in a small-ish city like I did, your hospital might not have a Lactation Consultant. Since that was the case with me, I asked the RN on the maternity floor to come and give me some advice. She was awesome. Even though I couldn't feel on my breast whether or not Cub was latched on, I could feel my uterus contract (yep, I went there). It was like period cramps, sometimes pretty intense, but never painful--just kind of sore, like doing a bunch of crunches. And that's how I knew he was latched on correctly in those first few days. It wasn't easy and we ended up having to supplement with formula during his first week of life, but eventually we both got the hang of it. Which brings me to my last point ...

3) Give it at least three weeks before making the final decision.
Yes, yes, I may have a barrage of disagreements with this one, but I'm sticking to my guns with it. Breastfeeding during the first month of life (as a new mom with a firstborn, anyway) is NOT necessarily the way breastfeeding will always be. After the first month, the baby (and the mom) become more proficient and are able to get the job done in half the time, if not less. Cub went from nursing 20 minutes per side (40 minutes total) to about 10 minutes per side, if that. But in that first month, you just have to push through and be patient. Some babies are quick nursers from the beginning, and that's great! But, if yours takes a while, just know that they won't be nursing that long forever! And believe me, those three weeks will fly by.

If after three weeks, you just can't take it anymore, then by all means, pack up the breast pump and stash away the nursing pads. Babies have survived on formula for years and at this point you have to make the decision that's best for you, too. This is where the La Leche League might come and break down my door, but I just don't think it's worth it to lose your mind all for the sake of breastfeeding. Give it a try--a good, long, fair try--and then make your decision.

Regardless of the decision, it will be the right one.

Now. I do know several women who make the decision to not breastfeed before they ever give birth. And that's fine--this post isn't for them! This is just for my friend and other future moms out there who are considering breastfeeding. Take it from a mom who went through it and was glad that I did. Despite a rocky start, breastfeeding became very convenient in our little family. My husband thought he would be freaked out by it at first, but he wasn't. He was actually very impressed by the whole thing and is supportive of me trying to breastfeed Baby Bean, too (which will be crazy ... breastfeeding a newborn with a toddler running around--yikes!). I became quite sneaky and breastfed in the car and backstage at church. I was never quite comfortable enough to do it in public, out in the open, but I always found private places in the midst of public places where I felt comfortable to get the job done. Hooter Hiders definitely came in handy, too!

And, as you've read in previous posts, Cub had weekly overnight stays with his grandparents. That meant lots of pumping for me. I had quite a supply of breast milk in our freezer (don't worry, I never added it to the brownies) so it was readily available. Or, sometimes they would just give him formula. And that was fine, too. So, it is possible to have flexibility while breastfeeding! Again, you just have to be resolute. I never imagined I would pump in the car, but shoot, I did. And everything turned out just fine.

Lastly, is it worth it? That's something you will have to decide for yourself. Was it worth it for me? Despite raw nipples and my right breast that ALWAYS had a clogged milk duct regardless of how much I pumped or nursed or hollered?


It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. It created bonding that I never could have expected. I was overwhelmed by God's attention to detail in creating a woman's body. It just worked. It was hard work at times, but it worked. And that honestly blew me away!

So. Good luck in your decision, friends!

Oh, and if you get a clogged milk duct? APPLY MOIST HEAT.

Have a lovely day. :)