Monday, March 31, 2014

Confessions of a first time mom . . .

I am enjoying being a mom.

Finally.

To be able to say those words makes my heart happy. The transition into parenthood has not been an easy one for me. Before Baby A arrived, we had prepared ourselves for a big adjustment . In the beginning, things seemed to be smooth sailing and I thought we had by passed the hormonal blues and uncomfortable adjustments. This sounds selfish of me to say, but around 3 months into the journey, I realized all the things I missed about non parent life. I missed ME time, US time and I realized that there was no going back. I felt STUCK.

Overall, Baby A was and is a "good" baby. Our frustrations with her were probably some of the same that most new parents have with their newborns . . . challenges with sleep time and breast feeding, early teething, etc. The hardest part for me was what felt like the loss of my independence by being with her A L L   T H E   T I M E as a stay at home mom. Babe did the best he could at giving me breaks, but with nursing, it was difficult at times. 

Seasoned parents continuously remind us to cherish every little moment with our baby because the days quickly blend into weeks, months and then years . . . 

That is wonderful advice, and so true. I can't believe my baby girl is close to 8 months old already! And though there were (and still are) times when 5 minutes of trying to calm a screaming baby feels like hours, it really is only moments. And our journey has only just begun

What changed for me? One thing - being out of the newborn stage. I'm gonna be honest, that is not my favorite age. At this point in our journey, Baby A is a very active and adventurous baby. She is crawling and pulling herself up already (at 7 1/2 months!) and loves to dance and clap. She is quick to smile and lights up a room with her bright eyes and funny faces. Her personality is really coming out and she is FUN!
Another thing that changed and is still a work in progress - taking time to re-fuel. I try to be intentional with filling myself up by taking time with God each day and focusing on His promises instead of my selfish desires. Also getting ME time now and then is a must. Even if having "me time" means sitting with a cup of coffee while Baby A naps instead of quickly trying to get house stuff done. 

I recently read James 1:5 and it has become a verse I cling to . . . "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." It's so simple! Just ASK and GOD will give it to you!!! I am asking God DAILY for wisdom! In many areas of life, but especially concerning my daughter. Parenthood brings so many uncertainties. But I have been clinging to Jesus and his word to help me on this journey. 

I have not "arrived" in my parent hood journey. I am just now enjoying it a lot more! And that in itself is a huge accomplishment for me! 




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A New Year

There's something so fresh and exciting to me about the start of a new year. It's like a blank piece of paper begging to be written on. Towards the end of December, I enjoy looking back in my journal at the entries I wrote throughout the year. I like to see what things changed or stayed the same. I try to set aside some time on New Year's Day for reflecting and setting goals for the new year. This past New Year's day, Babe and I took a little time and prayed together over 2014 and all the changes we hope it brings. I kinda liked that . . . Maybe it was the start of a new tradition.

2013 was bitter sweet for us. Some of things we had hoped to accomplish or see come to past did not. The sweet part?  We got to experience the miracle birth of our Baby Girl and become a family of 3. That in itself outweighs our disappointments!! Our goals as a couple in 2014 seem to be a repeat of 2013. But that's OK. Sometimes (actually, most times), dreams take a little longer to come to past then we think they should.

For me personally, I've decided to set weekly goals instead of yearly goals. As a mommy, I've been finding that time just seems to slip away from me. If I am not intentional about my day, the days quickly slip into weeks and before I know it, it's the next month already. I also set specific goals. For example: instead of having a goal to "be more encouraging", I've set a goal to send a card a week to whomever God puts on my heart. If I break my goals down by weeks, I'm hoping by the end of the year I actually accomplish the things I set out to.

Excited for this new year. Praying for God's wisdom and direction as we seek His will for our future plans.


From our little family to yours, may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014! 



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holding My Baby Tight

My thoughts have been all over the place this last week, so forgive me if this post is a bit muddy. 

When I was younger, I thought my parents were strict. Especially in my teenage years (of course)! They had regulations on things that I thought at the time were silly. As I entered into adulthood, I slowly began to see the things they were trying to protect me from. They may have been a bit overboard at times, but the boundaries they had set up for me were meant to keep me safe. I wouldn't say they were overprotective. I was given choices and allowed to make mistakes. But they were involved in my life, always. And now, as a parent, I find myself having the concerns for my baby girl that my parents did for me. I get where they were coming from.

There are so many different parenting "techniques", if that's what you call them. This book says to do this, that Dr. said to do that. Don't do this. You'll scar them if you do that. What works for one child may not work for another. I feel overloaded!

A local news article this week concerning the sexual abuse of a minor by a "trusted" adult has shaken me to the core. I was holding Baby Girl as I read the article. Fear gripped my heart. I want to hold her and never let her go. Never let her out of my sight!! I found myself questioning the integrity of even those closest to us. How will I protect my baby from the crazy things in our world?? 

As I've been processing things this week, fear has attempted to cripple me many times. I've had to remind myself that my baby girl is in God's hands. I can't keep her in a bubble her whole life. I want her to learn, grow, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Babe and I have and continue to pray for wisdom to know how to raise Baby Girl and our future children. We need that wisdom to know what works for us and our family. The unknown scares me. I like to know who, what, where and when. Life isn't predicable. Bad stuff happens. But my heavenly Father never leaves his children's side. He will hold my babies and never let them go. He will never let my babies out of his sight. 

And so we will daily seek wisdom from our heavenly Father and trust that He's got our little family in His hands. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies



Thanks to my friend Larissa for this yummy chocolate fix of a recipe!!
WARNING: do not give in to the temptation to eat entire pan in one sitting!!

Best Ever Gluten Free Brownies
1 Cup Almond Butter (or other nut butter - I used all natural peanut butter)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Raw Honey (I used regular honey)
1/8 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1/4 Cup Cocoa or Carob Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

Mix all ingredients together and put in a greased square baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (and walnuts if desired).

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 325 degrees. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

5 Worst Foods For Babies


Here are bits from an article I found interesting on babycenter.com

5 Worst Foods For Babies

From 500-calorie desserts disguised as coffee drinks to greasy, salt-encrusted french fries, we adults usually know when we're making unwise food choices. But often we don't realize that many of the foods we routinely give babies are essentially junk food – high in calories, sugar, or salt, and low in nutrients.
Eating junk food is more damaging to babies than adults. That's because babies don't need many calories, but they do need lots of nutrients. It's easy for them to fill up quickly on junk food's empty calories, leaving no room for nutrient rich healthy foods.

Here's the list of the worst food offenders for babies.

Soda

It seems too obvious to mention, but believe it or not, some babies are served soft drinks as early as 7 months of age, according to a survey of more than 3,000 families presented at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) conference in 2009.  

Juice

Sure, it comes from fruit, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. The fiber in fresh fruit is largely lost in the juicing process, and what's left is a whole lot of sugar.
Using certain types of juice – specifically apple and pear – to sweeten your baby's food isn't a good idea either. The sugars in these juices can speed up the food's passage through the digestive tract. When food passes too quickly, the body doesn't have time to absorb all those lovely nutrients. It can also lead to diarrhea in some babies.
What about advertisers' claims that juice provides babies with necessary vitamin C? Don't be fooled. Babies can easily get their vitamin C from one small serving of fruit.
What should your baby drink instead? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies younger than 6 months drink nothing but breast milk or formula. Babies 6 to 12 months old can have small amounts of water, but breast milk or formula should still be their main beverage. After the first birthday, cow's milk is recommended.

Crackers

They make convenient snacks once your baby can bite and chew, but it won't take many to satisfy your little one's appetite, leaving no room for nutrient-rich foods. Also, just as eating sweet things can help babies develop a sweet tooth, eating salty things can give them a "salty tooth." The survey presented at the 2009 ADA conference found that nearly three-quarters of toddlers and preschoolers get more than the recommended daily amount of sodium.
The ever-popular fish-shaped crackers fall into this category. Fruit slices are a much better choice. And if you're looking for an instant grab-and-go snack, low-sugar cereals have more nutritional value than crackers, she says.

Processed meals

People define processed foods in different ways, but in general, the more the food is modified from what was originally caught, raised, or grown – and the longer the list of ingredients – the more processed the food. With heavy processing, foods often lose significant nutritional value and gain unhealthy additives.
The more processed the food, the more nutritional value tends to go down, and the more the sugar, salt, and fat content goes up.
The worst processed foods parents serve up are the ones not specifically meant for babies, such as canned pasta. They often contain way too much sodium. You're better off boiling up some noodles and topping them with a few crushed tomatoes.

Gelatin desserts

You'd be surprised at how many people think a gelatin dessert is a wholesome food for babies.  Why the misconception? Many people think gelatin contains protein, perhaps because it's made from processed animal bones and cartilage. But it doesn't, at least, not in any significant amount. What the baby ends up eating is nearly all sugar, artificial color, and artificial flavor, and a trace amount of gelatin to make it wiggly.

True, gelatin is easy to swallow, but then again, so is this healthy dessert: a baked, mashed apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon. It's naturally sweet and has good fiber, vitamins, and a yummy, smooth texture.

Monday, November 4, 2013

10 Best Foods For Babies

There are SO many resources for mommy life. With books, blogs, websites, friends and family - sometimes all the "advice" can be a bit overwhelming. One of my favorite websites as a first time mom has been babycenter.com. I find their articles helpful and practical. A recent article on the site titled "The ten best foods for baby" caught my attention. I have a fascination with nutrition in general. As a mommy, I want to give Baby Girl food that will not only satisfy her hunger, but benefit her nutritionally as well. I'd like to make my own baby food to avoid all the additives in bought baby food and also to be cost effective. My blog post today is an excerpt from this article on babycenter.com . . .


10 of the best foods for babies . . .
Squash
Squash is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, is naturally sweet, and has a pleasing, creamy texture.

Serving idea
: Sprinkle parmesan cheese and a little chili seasoning on half a squash, roast it, and scoop out a serving for your baby. Cooked squash with a little cilantro, mild chiles, and garbanzo beans are another great combination.

Lentils

Crammed with protein and fiber, lentils pack a powerful nutritional punch. They're also one of the cheapest healthy foods you can buy.

Serving idea: Combine cooked lentils with mixed vegetables, rice, and seasonings of your choice. Try basil and oregano, or toss in a bay leaf, which works really well with lentils. (Remove the bay leaf before serving.)

Dark green leafy vegetables

Leafy greens boast high amounts of iron and folate. While spinach is perhaps the best known of this group, there are many other varieties, including kale, chard, and collard greens.
Serving idea: Steam and puree a batch of greens, then mix with iron-fortified cereal to give your baby a double dose of iron. Experiment with the proportions to see what your baby likes; try starting with two parts veggie to one part cereal.

Broccoli

Brimming with folate, fiber, and calcium, broccoli is also known for its cancer-fighting properties. And thanks to its sulfur compounds, it has a unique flavor that can help expand your baby's tastes.
Serving idea: Steam pieces until soft, then chill. Steaming takes the bite out of broccoli; chilled broccoli is sometimes better accepted by babies. It can also be soothing during teething.

Blueberries

The deep, brilliant blue of these berries comes from flavonoids called anthocyanins, which are good for your baby's eyes, brain, and even urinary tract.
Serving Idea: Combine 1 cup of blueberries with one-quarter cup of water in a bowl, microwave for one minute, and let cool. Then swirl some plain yogurt on top. 

Avocados

Avocados are a rich source of unsaturated fats.  In fact, the fat composition is somewhat similar to that of breast milk." 
Serving idea: Try combining mashed avocado with other foods, such as cream cheese, apples, or canned fish.  When it's playgroup time, ditch the crackers and take an avocado along instead. Avocados can travel in your bag at room temperature and you can offer them in slivers or spread on toast fingers while you sip coffee with your friends.

Meat

Many of us don't think of meat as a typical baby food, but it is a great source of zinc and iron
Serving idea: Cook stew! Stew is the ideal baby food – easy to make, easy to chew, and endless in its variety. Experiment with adding different veggies and seasonings, such as ginger and parsley. Just be sure to cook the stew long enough for the meat to turn soft and scrumptious. 

Prunes

Prunes have lots of fiber and can help relieve constipation – which your baby may experience after you introduce solid foods.
Serving idea: Puree prunes and serve them straight or mixed with other foods, such as cereal or applesauce, for a naturally sweet treat. If your baby is badly constipated, try adding a teaspoon or two of prune juice to formula or expressed breast milk.

Garbanzo beans

Like lentils and other beans, garbanzos are rich in protein and fiber. They're also inexpensive and versatile.
Serving idea: Try hummus. You can find it in many grocery stores, or make your own by pureeing cooked garbanzo beans with garlic, lemon, olive oil, and tahini. You can also make a delectable finger food by sautéing or roasting the beans.

Mandarin oranges

High in vitamin C and antioxidants, mandarin oranges are a supreme finger food. Babies really love the flavor.
Serving idea: This is a particularly easy one to prepare – just cut the segments into bite-size pieces and serve. You can buy mandarin oranges fresh or canned, but make sure the canned version is packed in water, not syrup, which contains added sugar.


The website recommends after introducing any new food, wait three days before moving on to the next new food to identify any possible allergic reaction. If your baby's still a beginner at eating solids, grind or puree the food as needed.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Essential Oils




PLEASE NOTE THE HIGHLIGHTED EDIT BELOW!
I'm a bit of a skeptic when people try to sell me things or convince me that I need a certain product. Especially when it is labeled "all natural", "organic" or involves spending a pretty penny. One of the latest trends and current fascination in my circle of influence is essential oils. They are said to treat a large variety of symptoms and illnesses.

I tend to lean more towards natural remedies in general, especially for common sicknesses like a cold or the flu. Upon researching essential oils and their origins, I decided to get a few basic oils and give them a try. From our experience as a family with oils so far, we believe that they are a great alternative to over the counter drugs and medications. 


How I used essential oils this week:
This past Saturday Baby Girl started sneezing a lot and sounded a bit wheezy the next morning when she woke up. A friend who is an "oiler" suggested I mix lemon oil and tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca oil) with coconut or olive oil (some oils need to be mixed with a carrier oil before applying to the skin). I mixed the oils in a small container and have been applying to Baby Girl's feet and chest every time I change her diaper. We also got a humidifier for her room that has a tray to put medicine in. I put a few drops of eucalyptus and lemon oils in that medicine tray and run the unit at night and during her naps. We are on day 4 since the symptoms first appeared and she seems to be feeling much better. I accredit the oils and lots of prayers!

EDIT: Since first posting this, it has been brought to my attention that there is conflicting views on whether or not to use melaleuca oil on children under the age of 6. Though the concoction worked for us, I want to advise caution. Always research and do what you feel is safe and right for you and your family. Another reminder that just because something is natural does not always mean it is the right thing to use for every situation.



Recently I had what seemed like postpartum insomnia. I was unable to fall asleep at night or would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. Someone recommended I try lavender oil. I'm not a huge fan of the smell, but I applied it to the bottoms of my feet and across my shoulders before bed(The feet are the second fastest area of the body to absorb oils because of the large pores. Other quick absorbing areas include behind the ears and on the wrists) I also put a few drops in a spray bottle with water and misted my pillow. The first night I tried this, I slept amazing! I thought it was a coincidence and tried it again the next 2 nights, both of which I slept great. Since doing this I have been sleeping soundly and through the night.

I love how God created things with a design and a purpose. It's always fun to me to discover new natural remedies using God made things. What an amazing Father.