Tuesday, April 30, 2013

7 months and favorites

Happy 7 months my sweet baby!

You are growing before my eyes. Crawling, pulling yourself into standing and squealing with delight.

It's so amazing to watch you discover the world and get excited over things like measuring cups and the crinkle of a wipes bag that we overlook every day!

Here are the 7-month Lucy-approved items we couldn't have lived without:

1. Kitchenaid Measuring cups. Seriously her favorite toy of all. She whacks them against the floor, against each other, likes to eat them, entertainment for hours minutes.

2. Baby Mum-Mum's Lucy goes crazy over these Rice biscuits! She loves that she can hold onto them herself and feed herself while everyone else is eating. (She will not let you eat food/snack without her eating too.)

3. First Years Key Teether.  They jingle, you can throw them, and there are lots of colors to taste. Plus she feels very grown up with her own set of keys. Nuff' said.

4. Baby starters ballerina lovey.  We had to employ some tough love in the sleeping department after we passed over 6 months. We went to our 6 month appointment and the doctor said she did not need to be waking (1-2-3 times) to eat anymore at night. She was crying in the middle of the night because that is how we taught her to go back to sleep (milk=sleep). So we started putting this lovey in the crib with her, about 10 pacis, and we worked on some self soothing {we chose the Ferber method}. Now she is a great sleeper at night-and our world has changed. She wakes up happy and rested and likes to shake her lovey all around the crib to hear it rattle and also likes to eat her. It's adorbs.

5. Puffs. She loves munching on Puffs while she waits for mom to heat up her baby food. I have found that they also make grocery store trips fun and not fussy as long as we don't forget the puffs! She is even practicing picking up the little pieces and feeding herself.

6. Leap Frog Activity Table. Last weekend, Lucy discovered that she can stand up by herself! Yikes! She went from crawling/scooting at 6 months, crawling at 6.5 months, and standing up by 7 months. Oh Lord, are we in for it! It's exciting and scary all at the same time. She falls and slips now as she tries daredevil maneuvers to go from standing to sitting to crawling to standing again. So I wanted to make sure she had a couple of toys that encouraged safe standing. At daycare, I usually find her standing at this table with a huge smile on her face and decided she needed her very own at home. We actually got this one from a consignment store (make sure you look there-they had 5 when I went to go find one!)

We can't imagine what 8 months will bring!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

small group beach getaway

Have I told you how much I love my small group?

We trekked out to Atlantic Beach for the weekend last weekend and had an absolute blast.

Full of shellac-ed nails, cross bracelets...
teeny tiny latte's

and gorgeous sunsets that turned us all pink.

We are so thankful for my in-laws letting us use their gorgeous beach house. 

And can't wait for the next trip!

Monday, April 22, 2013

crockpot sausage and peppers

Being a working mom is crazy. 

Sometimes I wonder how I get everything anything done.

My advice? Lots of lists. (Color coded of course). And caffeine. And crockpot meals.

This little dumpling, she is worth every crazy working-mom-minute. I truly relish the moments when I don't have to stand over a stove and cook while Lucy plays on the floor beside me. 

I relish the chance to "be still" and get on the floor and play right along with her. To become the mountain that she climbs on, the drum that she whacks her toy against, and the and the lap that she loves to cuddle in. 

Which is why I love my crockpot.

And you will love your crockpot too, when you whip up this spicy concoction of wonderfulness. Spicy and tangy with gooey pepper jack cheese melting over onions and peppers and sausage. It's almost as delicious as the "rest" you enjoy while it's cooking away without your help.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
8oz jalepeno chicken sausage (or pork)
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 can beer (I used Guinness) 
3 tbsp italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
salt and pepper, to taste
4 hoagie rolls
4 pepper jack cheese slices

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beer, italian seasoning, garlic, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper in a crockpot. 

Sautee chicken sausage links in olive oil for 2-3 minutes to brown the outsides of the link. Slice links in half and add to crock pot and submerge in liquid. 

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours and serve on hoagie rolls. Top with cheese.

*   *   *

“Stand firm and you will see the deliverance The Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

breastfeeding on a unicycle...

*Disclaimer: there will be a lot of talking about boobs and breastfeeding in this post. Please continue to Boardwalk and pass "GO" if this post makes you squirm.

I wavered back and forth about writing about this topic. I don't know if you ever noticed but even mentioning breastfeeding can practically elicit a political rally. I've had people as random as cashiers be so brazen as to ask me "you're breastfeeding, right?" 

I know there has been a big wave of pro-breastfeeding education happening over the past few years, and I think that's excellent.  It is a beautiful and amazing gift that God has given women, and I will admit the first time I pumped a bottle of milk I stared at the bottle in wonder at God's design. The fact that milk my body created sustained this teeny little human being was unbelievable. 

You may have even heard it called "natural." When I first brought our little dumpling home from the hospital I would have disagreed with the word natural. I would like to suggest instead, "art form", "science experiment",  or "luck" as words to interject in the beginning stages, instead of "natural". 

I remember wondering aloud if chimpanzees have to teach their baby monkeys how to latch. Can you just see a little baby chimpanzee in the football hold to ensure the entire areola is in the baby chimps mouth? Or a mama hippo un-latching and re-latching a baby hippo to ensure the hippos lips pucker out like a duck and don't pinch like a lizard's jaw clamping down?

 The good news is, most everyone figures it out. Chimps, hippos and baby humans too.  But, if you don't, you're still an excellent mother. 

I can empathize with those women's frustrations who aren't able to breastfeed.  We were about 1.5 weeks in to learning latching and lactation at home when it all suddenly just clicked. Maybe because I finally relaxed. One more week of frustration and pinchy pain and I would have thrown in the towel, too. 

I breastfed almost exclusively for 4.5 month, until I had to go away for work for a week. Lucy was growing like a weed, it was great bonding time, milk was always warmed (in my boobs) and  at the ready,  I loved it. I finally understood why women love breastfeeding. 

And then I returned home from my trip to Vegas for work. And someone had been spoiled on bottle-feeding 24/7. Bottles were quicker. And my milk let down took 2 minutes or so, and by that time, I had to stand on one leg, hop around, jiggle, shhhh and rock to convince our little dumpling to eat. Please, please, for both of our sakes, eat. 

My milk supply dropped because I wasn't able to pump like I should on my trip, and I got a very painful clogged duct when I got home. So, from 4.5 months to 6 months I began taking supplements like Fenugreek and Mother's More Milk Plus to try and ramp up the milk supply. (For the record I did get about 1-2 oz more each pumping session.) But I just couldn't keep up. I continued to nurse Lucy with the rock, jiggle, dance routine (all but riding on a unicycle around her nursery), and would then give her a bottle to drink to fill her belly up the rest of the way. Which is when we both would relax. And I would cry.

Finally, God worked some sense into me, that I was breastfeeding her because it was the best thing for her and myself, and I realized it no longer was (the best thing). She loves bottles. She likes formula. She still loves me in a special way that no one can replace. Why was I fighting it?

So as sad as it is for me to admit, our breastfeeding journey is over. I am in the process of weaning. I've cut out one nursing/pumping session every 3-4 days and use cabbage leaves when engorged. I'm down to one feeding a day. And its sad, and also slightly freeing to not have to put on my circus hat every time she needs to eat. Both me and Lucy are more relaxed. Her belly is full, and she is happy. 

As a mother I have learned that sometimes, we have the best intentions. We want what's best for our child. And sometimes we get real stubborn for 2.5 months when our babies are trying to tell us something. To relax. 

I saw this picture in a book I bought recently that is a lighthearted look at breastfeeding, If these Boobs Could Talk, a little humor to pump up the Breastfeeding mom. And I couldn't agree more...

Life Cycle of Breastfeeding

If you've been fortunate enough to have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship, I am happy for you! If you've been fortunate enough to realize that feeding your baby formula is great, and your relationship with your child is more important than stressing over breastfeeding/pumping, I am happy for you too.

The best advice I could give is that your child is unique. Your child will tell you what is best for them.

Spend your time loving on your child. That's what matters most to them, anyways.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

the boston marathon.

My heart is so heavy today for what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon. The hate in this world is so unspeakable, so unnecessary.

For terror to strike at an event which should be a celebration of achievements, blows my mind. At the finish line of a marathon. A race that many have worked so hard to endure and achieve. Ruined.

I know a lot of people today will be asking why. Why would someone do this? Why would God allow this to happen?

We may never have all of the answers. We may never know the face of evil who has done this. I found this quote from C.S. Lewis on free will, and it offers up a bread crumb of hope...

"God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can't. If a thing is free to be good it's also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. " C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

The only hope we can cling to is that there is a life better than this mess beyond what we can see.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Praying today for the people of Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

happy tax day to all you procrastinators...

Today, I'm being featured at Hope Community Church's Women's Blog. Hope  is where I found my small group, which is anything but small, and has some of the truest friendships I've ever experienced in it.

Happy Tax Day! 

If you're anything like me, it's more like "Oh,Lord did we finish our taxes" day. I am the queen of procrastinating. My excuse is that I truly try to enjoy life and don't want to waste time in front of a computer screen or a bunch of papers trying to make sense of taxes. Blah. God bless accountants. 

This is why God gives us all different gifts, right?

Which is why I finally buckled down and paid someone to do mine for me. To use their love language to its potential. In the meantime, I will work on being more hospitable. (AKA throwing parties and cooking. )

Before I took the leap to get an accountant, to make this particular part of my life less painful, I became very good at my "mis en place"for taxes: gathering all of my tax documents, purchasing TurboTax (or sharing an account with mom and dad), and laying it all out neatly on the table, but I  became very bad at actually sitting down and doing it. 

I can't help but think of my quiet time in the same light. I've got my small group book (No Other Gods), I've got my bible (app) and color coordinated pens to mark, draw hearts by phrases, and underline like crazy. But in no time, my book quickly becomes covered in magazines, shopping bags, and/or the TV remote. 

Now that I'm a mother of a sweet 6 month old, quiet time is a precious commodity. And it amazes me how quickly I will fill that time with things that will distract and entertain me momentarily but leave me empty moments after. Whether a laugh from a TV sitcom or some online shopping to fill up my wardrobe, I find myself constantly filling my precious time with junk. And I like that junk. That junk is fun.  But my soul needs real nourishment. Not junk. 

So I set a challenge for myself, and I'll challenge you too. Before I pick up the TV remote, magazine, or step foot in Target, I will spend some quality time with God. I won't procrastinate.   And I bet I'll end up filling my soul with lasting goodness instead of the junk that will leave me wanting more. 

As for my taxes, I think my accountant deserves some fresh baked cookies...don't you?

"Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?" Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. " Isaiah 55:2

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ten on ten:april.

Linking up with A Bit of Sunshine today to give you a glimpse into 10 blessings throughout my day. God is good.

And you may or may not get some funky shots today since it was a workday. I tried to make it interesting folks.

Iced coffee season is back. Life is good.
Driving around the town of Wake Forest. And this crazy fountain always catches my eye.

I actually started my bible study on time this week. #thankfulforfocus

A little retail pit stop at TJ Maxx. They were all much cuter on the hanger. But I love the colors!

Throwing dinner in the crockpot: chicken verde tacos.

This is how I spend a lot of my day at work when I'm not in the car. Standing in hallways...

Or sitting in waiting rooms.. I'm in love with my dotted capris. Can you tell yet?

Picked up this sweet dumpling from daycare. She was fast asleep when I got there, face down on her little hands. See the finger prints in her forehead? Sweet, sweet babyface.

Parktime with this beautiful pregnant friend and her little guy. 

Having a tupperware party while putting dinner together. 

snuggles and bottle warming before bed. Bliss.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

easter and the golden egg...

We had a crazy and relaxing weekend at the beach for easter. Relaxing because it involved a lot of good food, a date night, beach time and baby cuteness. Crazy= the hunt for the "Golden Egg".

The hunt for the "Golden Egg": 
My sis-in-law told her parents of a memory she had of her grandpa hiding a $100 bill in a golden egg during Easter Egg hunts. Whoever found it would be the proud winner of their very own Benjamin. Now, whether this is an urban legend or childhood memory, we'll never know...

Either way, the tradition has begun! My mother-in-law diligently hid easter eggs around the beach house lawn, and very carefully chose a spot for the Golden Egg. Meanwhile, every single adult and child was quarantined into the kitchen so no peeking would occur.

We were all lined up for a picture before the hunt, while my husband tied his shoes...

When he took off running without us! So this picture ended up being less of a "look how excited everyone is about this Easter Egg Hunt" to "there they go!" (I love that my little nephew is getting whiplash in the picture. And Lucy thinks we've all lost our minds.)

While we were all running around like crazy people, this little guy was eating his way through EVERY egg in the yard.

Guess who found the golden egg!? There was also a decoy that husband found that said "sorry." #BestEasterEggHuntEver. (Also my hair is looking very much like it needs to be colored.)

We got to try out our new sunglasses.

 put our toes in the sand...
and spend a lot of time with Lucy's cousin who adores her! (He calls her "woo-cy")

and play dress up! 

We missed my family this weekend, but are so excited my sister over at Are We Really Doing This is moving back to NC in 28 days...and we are so looking forward to more cousins and more crazy family fun when they get here!

Happy Easter-The Tomb is empty. He is Risen!

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Matthew 20: 17-19 NIV