Tuesday, May 14, 2013

au natural: ten reasons why i've loved nursing

I've started to become more earth-conscious for two reasons: first, I feel convicted to be a better steward of the earth that God put me on and second, it can be cheaper and I love cheaper!  I've been breastfeeding and cloth diapering and making my own spray cleaner. Before you think I'm a weirdo, give me a chance! You might pick up on something you like too.

Muffin is nearing the end of ten months and I can't believe I've been nursing this long! My goal was to make it to a year, which is the recommended amount of time to breastfeed a baby. At first it seemed impossible, I hated it! When I was pregnant it seemed like the logical way to feed a baby, and the easiest! I was not prepared for the first few weeks of feeding a newborn. Don't let anyone tell you that it's a piece of cake, because it is not!

I remember hating it and hating myself for hating it. I felt frustrated for not loving it because it was the natural way to take care of my little one.  It wasn't until after the first growth spurt at three weeks that I finally came to terms with it. If you can make it past those first few weeks, it is worth it! Don't give up!

Whatever obstacles you come through can be combatted with a great support system and a ton of research! Every time I nursed my newborn I had my phone in my hand researching baby center and every resource I could find on breastfeeding. I would read and re-read things until I understood feeding times, what cluster feeding meant, how often to switch sides, etc! Research would comfort me!

Now that Mia is 10 months she has self-weaned to two feedings, morning and night, and she has a bottle of whole milk in the afternoon. My goal is to have her weaned fully by the end of her twelfth month. Once you realize that you won't always be nursing 10 times a day, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I have been blessed to nurse her exclusively without any formula feedings these ten months. Since I work part-time I also pumped during my breaks.

Here are ten reasons why I have loved nursing:

  1. It's free! You can't beat free, formula can be so expensive!
  2. It's fast. There's no warming up a bottle in the middle of the night or when you're out in public. 
  3. It's easy. You don't have to think up what kind of bottle you want or how many scoops you need.
  4. It's germ free. No worrying about if the water is clean or if the bottle has been sitting out for too long. 
  5. There's no guesswork. Breastfed babies drink as much as they need and want, there's no overfeeding or underfeeding. No worries on if your little one is getting enough nutrition.
  6. Unlimited health benefits. There is no discounting the endless amounts of antibodies and nutrients that are essential to growth and development. No chemist can copy God's 'formula'. Also, breast fed babies are less likely to have diabetes, diseases, or be obese!
  7. Less spit up/burping. There's no air in this 'bottle' to gulp down, meaning less burping and spit up! And who loves spit up?
  8. Bonding time. Although I understand you can do this with a bottle-fed baby, this is more about the skin-to-skin benefits that really help a newborn regulate body temperature. Also, nursing creates a bond between mother and baby that helps with post-partum depression because of the nurturing connection you feel with the little one. 
  9. Faster recovery time/dropping baby weight! Nursing helps a new mommy contract everything which helps the healing process accelerate. It also means that baby weight will be lost faster and without any extra steps!
  10. Poo isn't as stinky! All poo is stinky, but most people agree that breastfed baby poo isn't as raunchy as formula fed baby poo.
If you can't nurse for whatever reason please understand that I know it doesn't work for everyone! Some women just have a hard time producing enough. Though there are ways to increase your supply I would never encourage a mom to continue hitting her head against a wall and feel frustrated in a way that takes a way from the joy of having a newborn.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I'm so thankful that God provides for Mia! In the past 24 hours she has been blessed with brand new outfits, bibs, hats, 30+ cloth diapers, and toys and a doll. All from different people. 

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? 29 See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. . . 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" 
So soon I will post about our introduction to cloth diapering. There is so much to catch up on! Mia will be ten months this week, I can't wait to fill you in on our Spring adventures!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

so we're sleeping in a snowsuit

Our house is so cold. Well everyone else thinks so anyways. When my parents come to visit, they keep their coats on most of the time. If I push the up button on the thermostat, my husband hits the down button. We joke that it costs $20 every time we hit the up button.

The thing is that our room in an inferno, but Mia's room is the coldest. Don't ask me how. For awhile she was waking up in the middle of the night once she wriggled out of her blanket. So to 'seal her in' I decided to put her to sleep in her snowsuit. I looked this up online and it looks like I'm not the only mom desperate to keep their baby warm and sleepy. Now she can wiggle and roll and still stay warm. 

I think sometimes we as moms can do all the research and get all of the baby equipment and books in an effort to be the best mom in the eyes of others. When it comes down to it, every mom knows whats best for their child because they know them the best, and they have to live with them! I've researched everything under the sun about my baby at every stage along the way, and I consult other moms too. At some point I finally understood that God gave me the mother's intuition to know just what my baby needs from me. Once I let go of the 'standards' and listened to my baby, I felt so relieved! I wasn't worried about nursing vs formula, co-sleeping vs the crib, crying it out vs no crying at all, etc.! 

I've learned that part of being a mom is 'adjustment'. You navigate every situation to decide what is best for your child. At this part of my life I'm adjusting my own social life so that I can keep Mia on her schedule as much as possible. It is more rewarding to have a happy, well fed, and fully napped up baby! And when she goes to bed, I turn the monitor on for my husband and head to any friends house for maybe an hour.

It has been awhile since I've blogged, but I have been learning so much. Thanks for sticking with me :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

it's been [busy] too long

It has been sleepless around here for sure. I think i dropped off writing when Mia started eating solid foods and teething, which is just about when she quit sleeping through the night: so there is so much to catch up on! My little girl will be six months this week! Where has the time gone? I have been a mom (on the outside, anyway) for half a year now and it has all gone by so quickly. She's rolling and laughing and eating with the best of babies.

Where have I been? Since my last post I have been busy, busy, and more busy. it is safe to say that my plate is  more than full, in fact it's the back-away-from-the-buffet-line and #noroomforseconds kind of full. I started selling Mary Kay (who would have thought?) and I took a train trip with Mia to Ohio to visit my sister's family for a few days. We also had Mia's dedication service and a lunch to follow for our family, friends, and sitters.

I'm not one to say no, or to take no for an answer. My husband is always telling me to slow down! I have a hard time turning people down, and usually that's because I sincerely want to do whatever they are asking if only I had the time and energy! This is the way I have always been, but this is the peakest of the peak for me! What I'm learning is that I'm no longer a single twenty-something who can pack life into every single hour of the day. Quality living for me is now getting a full night of sleep because now I have a responsibility to my family: my husband and my baby. They need me as much as I need to be busy! If I keep trying to do it all, someone somewhere suffers and I'm no longer at my best. If I socialize too much, my house suffers. If I clean too much, my attitude suffers. Balance is everything.

I thought my life was like cheesecake. I know, weird, but I love dessert so this analogy works best. It was rich, creamy, and it could have a variety of toppings like caramel, strawberries, or peanut butter, or chocolate ganache, or lemon whipped topping. I could go on! Cheesecake is good, but if you add too many toppings, you aren't going to get one clear idea of flavors and texture. Instead, you'll get a bellyache for sure.So it's time for me to pack up some slices and freeze them for later.

What I really want to do (really, really!) is take some college courses again. Just one or two online for awhile until I learn how to juggle again and until Mia is more independent. This means I have to seriously cut back and prayerfully 'freeze' a few other flavors for awhile. So I'm moving zumba over (but I love it so much!) and downsizing date night (just to a cheaper, more laidback version) and stepping back from sound board at church. I'm wincing every time I think about cutting back because I enjoy all of those things. Someday God will give those slices back to me, and it will be as sweet and creamy as peaches and cream cheesecake all over again: one flavor at a time
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiates 3:1-13

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's been awhile.

I have struggled with blogging this month, but I won't apologize because it is for the best. I can't deliver my thoughts on a schedule. When God puts something on my heart then I know it is time to share.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

women of wisdom

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5 NIV

A few months after moving to Amsterdam I was faced with a problem that was completely foreign to me: I was lonely. If you know me, I am very outgoing and really enthusiastic about meeting new people, so you might be shaking your head in confusion. I have a huge network of friends and family, and a few very close friends. There are about four girls that I hold closest in my heart that I can share things with that are very personal. These are girls that I can have a crazy late night with, laugh at ridiculous inside jokes and still be able to call up in a crisis at two am. My best friends can speak into my life spiritually and I would respect their insights. But I had moved away from home, and so we were 1-4 hours apart.

At first I looked for someone just like me. Boy, I had a pretty specific list too. You would think I had a profile on match.com. I wanted someone spontaneous, someone who liked to go out or stay home, who liked to make messes and talk about our love lives, someone to shop with, someone to bake with and someone who wasn't afraid to tell me the truth. Mostly the girls my age that were around me were too young or too old and if they were my age they wouldn't be able to relate to someone who was already married and didn't party (I guess I'm pretty boring like that ;).

What God had in mind for me was so much better. He brought me women of wisdom. Ladies who had families, who had seen hard times, who had married young and survived, who relied on God because he had proven faithful to them. I started attending the events that my church held for the women's ministries and let me tell you I was the youngest there. Immediately I felt loved by these ladies who had so much to offer. They took me in and showered me (literally, with a baby shower!) with affection and attention and understanding. I also have some friends that I consider family here in Amsterdam. These people have blessed us during some of our hardships. I can rely on them to offer a washing machine when ours breaks, or transportation when it's a necessity. They are good for babysitting too!

There are about six women I like to visit and eight that I listen carefully to for advice. Throughout the week I try to visit at least two of them. Seeing them in their home environment teaches me so much. They share with me advice on parenting, discipline, baby care, marriage, love life, recipes, financial ideas, political concerns, and practical housekeeping tips. These ladies make me a better as a person, wife, mother, friend, and Christian.

Here are just a few things I have learned from them.
  • Keeping your house clean and organized daily means that your family will be prepared to help others in need without being held back by the chaos at home. Wow. When I heard this I suddenly found the motivation to clean regularly. I want to be able to help others or to have people over and so many times I am held back because of the state of my house. I need to keep a higher standard.
  • Never feel awkward about nursing your child anywhere. It is a natural thing to feed a baby and it used to be understood that way. I have a nursing cover and I always use it in public and I have no regrets. 
  • Help your baby learn good sleeping habits. You can never spoil a newborn, but when they become infants it is time to show a firmer pinky (the hand might be to heavy here ;) In order to learn how to put herself to sleep I put Mia down and let her cry for just a few minutes and she usually tires herself out and falls asleep. This is excruciatingly hard but extremely effective. Now she will sleep for anyone anywhere, and a baby who naps is a happy baby.
  • Everyone should know how to make chicken soup. It's so easy, throw everything you want in it in a pot, add some bouilion cubes and fill it with water and boil away!! I don't know why I spent so much time researching this recipe because when I heard this I was relieved. It came out really good too.
  • Make your home a sanctuary for your family. The home should be the one place where it is easy for your kids to make good decisions. It should be a place where you family can meet and communicate freely and openly. I want my house to be a place where worshiping God is natural. This means that I want to keep my home pure from all the evil that the rest of the world has to offer by making sure that the media is clean, that profanity isn't used, that whole and healthy food is offered, that responsibilities are shared, and where illegal activity, smoking, and drugs are frowned on. Im not 'sheltering' my family. 'Evil' is unavoidable, but it doesn't have to be in my home.
  • Choose your battles. If you eat all of your husband's favorite snacks don't expect your stash of cookies to be safe.  
Whew, now this sleepless mama is going to bed. (I haven't posted in awhile because life really has been sleepless)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

keep it spicy

I really like to cook. No, that's not right: I LOVE to cook. I just never have the time anymore! So when this meal comes into rotation, I get so excited! It's hard to find recipes that are meant for two. These don't skip on flavor, and the ingredients are usually already in your kitchen, just add jalapenos to your usual shopping trip.

I love jalapeno poppers and all things spicy. Tonight I'm making Jalapeno Popper Chicken & Garlic and Cayenne Green Beans. This is one of our favorite dinners around here. It's great because you can really do it with three chicken breasts so if there is just the two of you for dinner, one of you gets it for lunch the next day! The green beans have become my favorite because the cayenne adds just enough bite and the pecans give it real texture. Crunch & Spicy = yummmy. Someday when I'm actually feeding small children I will really miss this dinner.

I found the recipe for the chicken on pinterest and subsequently on  this blog. The green beans recipe came out of a foodnetwork cookbook and you can find it on their website here.
Jalapeno Popper Chicken (Serves 2 or 3)
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp. canola oil
1.5 – 2 tsp. taco seasoning
1 egg
2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (we used 2%)
1-2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 chicken breasts (or three)

Preheat the oven to 375 and place an ovenproof rack onto a rimmed baking dish. Spray with cooking oil.

In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the panko with the canola oil. Cook, stirring often, until the panko is golden and crispy. Place in a shallow bowl or dish. To the panko, add the taco seasoning* and stir to combine.

In another shallow bowl or dish, lightly beat an egg. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and jalapeƱos.

Using a small utility knife, cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast, or horizontally slice the chicken through the center, until it is almost butterflied. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper, and then divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between each chicken breast’s pocket. Use toothpicks to secure, if necessary.

Dip the chicken pieces one at a time first into the egg, and then into the panko mixture, making sure to coat the chicken completely. Place the chicken on the prepared baking rack and cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Garlic Green Beans
Toast 4 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a skillet with butter. Add 1 1/4 pounds green beans, season with salt and a pinch of sugar and cook 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook 6 minutes, then uncover and boil until the water evaporates. Season with salt and pepper and toss with chopped pecans.