Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Blessings

We had a wonderful first Christmas with Gracie. It's so completely different to have a small person in your house! This was our fourth Christmas married, and I must say... the past couple years have really lost their sparkle. It's hard to get excited when it is just two adults buying each other "needs" since neither of us can think of any "toys" we actually want. Boring. And last year we were in the middle of our church transition, which added challenges in experiencing the spiritual side.

But then, Grace...

The fun started early. She affects every one of our decisions: Christmas cards instead of breakable ornaments, the hight of said cards on the tree, the location of said tree... She spent weeks petting that low branch and giggling. I guess fake pastic feels nice? (and yes, I did get a tree skirt made before the "big day.")

Our neighborhood has a fun tradition on Christmas Eve - the luminaria walk. Every house in the neighborhood - a 4 block by 6 block rectangle - is invited to place out luminaria at dusk on Christmas Eve. They line the sidewalk from about 4:30 until they burn out (most of ours were still going when we went to bed at 10). We bundled Grace up nice and warm and spent the evening wandering the streets while the nearby churches rang their bells and the Rees Carillion played out carols. This is the first year we participated, although we did go walking last year. I plan on this special time becoming a family tradition as long as we live here.

We enjoyed a modest but fun gift time before heading to church. And of course, I forgot to get a photograph of the super-exciting gown I made for Gracie. I'll dress her up again in the next day or two for pictures - once she's gotten over her tummy bug. I think we should have church on Christmas morning every year, not just the years it lands on Sunday. I can't think of anything more appropriate!

And thanks to Grace inspiring excitement in the season, I was even able to pull of a long-hoped-for surprise gift for Shaune. My husband is an excellent pianist and it has been a personal tragedy that he has not had access to a piano for years. Although a "real" piano is outside of our means right now, both by space and by cost, I succeeded in finding a sweet deal on a good quality keyboard. I even hid it and got it set up for Christmas without his suspecting a thing! It is such a blessing to have music (and Gracie's interpretation: slamming) spreading through our house at last.

Having a baby changes so much. There's many things I've lost - mainly, the ability to sleep through the night :D. But the things I've gained so outweigh the losses. Like the joy in remembering that long-ago happening where a young girl became a mom for the first time to the Son of God. I'm one step closer to understanding. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Photos!

I'm so excited to share these with you. Earlier in the month, we went to visit our friends up north - bloggers Jena of Organized Everyday and her daughter Joanna of Jo-with-it's Portfolio (and the rest of their family, of course :) ) Joanna is planning to start college next year to learn photography and volunteered to do photographs of us. They turned out delightful! I'd love to share (Click on the picture to go see!):

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Unity of Believers

I’ve been having a lot of long, deep talks with Christian friends lately. Time after time, I hear from people about divisiveness in the church. You know… those big issues that people can just get SO angry about. I’m sure you can think of some, but here’s a sample of what I’ve heard lately: stay-at-home vs working mom; breastfeeding vs formula; the definition of modesty; how we’re to respond to social activism causes; birth control; Santa Claus. The role of women in the church. The list goes on… and on… and on. People get SO angry about what are essentially little things. They aren’t salvation issues.

I’m sharing this with you in the hopes of pushing my friends to seek unity. There are some problems that are salvation issues, greatly worth fighting for. Others are more about sanctification – becoming more Christlike while we are still walking this earth. I believe in fighting for truth in salvation doctrine, while being much more forgiving in the issues of sanctification. Basically, it’s about being true to the Bible, while walking in grace. Need examples?

Salvation issue: Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Anyone who speaks otherwise is telling a lie. It’s black and white, and very much worth standing up for the truth.

Sanctification issue: Modesty. Yes, it’s commanded in Scipture: “I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…” (1 Timothy 2:9). But Scripture doesn’t define modesty as only ankle length skirts… or knee length… or mid-back length hair… or never cut hair… or a specific amount of ease across the chest. Look all day, but I’ll tell you, it isn’t there. This is a gray area. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate grace to our sisters, encouraging and teaching them, but not something to beat over the head about. Where there is no clear Biblical teaching, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide. When in doubt, be truthful but loving.

Salvation issue: Christ is the sole sufficient sacrifice for sin; nothing else will do. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Also, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left” (Hebrews 10:26). Once again, very clear truth that we must defend.

Sanctification issue: Birth control. There’s so many issues rolled up into this that I truly believe there is no one right answer for each family. First we have the “control” issue – who should control births, God or us? Or is there ever a time when a particular family is called by God to either give birth or prevent it? There are some clear distinctions here (specifically, not murdering an unborn child), but also a ton of gray. And this whole issue rolls right into my belief in seasons of life and faith (which I’m writing a post about right now!). But my current point is this: where there is no clear teaching, there must be room for grace.

I guess this is just a sweet holiday reminder, as much to myself as to anyone else. Where the Bible draws a firm line we are to “stand firm and let nothing move you” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Where there is gray, let us “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

May God bless you and all your interactions with believers this season!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fashion Statement

Let's do a little math on inequalities.

Whatever is clean + Whatever fits + Whatever is warm + Whatever is on the top of the pile DOES NOT EQUAL Whatever matches.
Sigh. I try... really. But you'd never know by 5pm.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your baby eats WHAT?

No offense to the fine baby food companies (ahem), but baby food is gross. Seriously yucky stuff. So I tried to do solids the "right" way... pureeing my own veggies, shoveling it in her mouth three times a day, trying to distract her enough to open her mouth... but it took WAY too long, was way too messy, and quite frankly, was not a pleasant experience for anyone. Totally frustrating.

Beef stew and blueberries - definately a favorite!

That's when I gave up. I read a book called "Baby Led Weaning" by Gill Rapely. Full disclosure: this not a scientific book. The only scientific study referenced in it was done in the early part of the century. It's full of first-person testimonials, which are interesting but definately not scientific. That being said, I found a lot of logic and rational thought in it. Primarily, do you really think that moms through the ages spent hours pureeing food for their babies? Or wasting so much time trying to spoon-feed little ones who clearly don't desire to be spoon-fed? I doubt it. I don't buy everything in the book, but the basic concept seems sound. So, last week (just in time for Thanksgiving), we switched our approach: Gracie eats what we eat.

Chicken noodle soup

She's actually doing surprisingly well with it. I know she's eating (we cloth diaper... use your imagination), and actually eating a lot more than I thought she would. She's tried pretty much everything I've put in front of her. Sure, it's messy... but you should have seen what we were dealing with when spoon-feeding. Believe it or not, this is cleaner. And she's SOOO happy! We all sit down for our meals together, with Gracie getting a small portion of whatever the meal is. Sometimes I'll cook her something a tiny bit different: last night we had fish but I didn't season her piece, and for lunch today I didn't put sauce on her pasta. But that's minor in the grand scheme of things. We're teaching her not only what food is, but also what family mealtime is. She's a part of our family, and family mealtime is something we very much believe in.

Some kind of sherbert, and yes it's a spoon, but her face is priceless!
This kid makes the best faces.

Has anyone else done this, or something similar? I have a couple friends here that have done solids basically this way. It just seems so natural. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Action Shots: Grace's Coat

Because baby clothes are way cuter on the baby instead of the table :D

It's almost a pefect fit. Just a little loose, so it should fit throughout the cold season. This is a toddler size 1/2. LOL, I didn't even know they made a size 1/2!

You can see how the fullness hits just above her bum, and it only buttons to her waist. As wiggly as she is nowadays, this keeps everything nicely out of the way. And as Gillian suggested, I did skip the bow - there's enough going against me already trying to get this kid in a carseat. I don't need anything extra!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fixing the Baby-Blanket-Bundle Problem [Gracie's New Coat]

Did you notice that it's finally November? Meaning it's finally cold, wet, and all around unpleasant outside here in the midwest? Oh yes. I envy the moms of tiny babies this time of year... throw a blanket or one of those special covers over a carseat and you're good to go. I get a little green-eyed at moms of toddlers and older, too... they can find coats, and their kids will maybe possibly be a little helpful getting the coat on. Not so here...

Our regular solution: Bundle and run.

Well, Miss Wiggles hasn't been tolerating being wrapped up in a blanket lately. She wants her hands free to touch and wave at absolutely everything. Since coats for babies are WAY too expensive for the amount of wear you get out of them (even the ones at Walmart were $45!), I graciously accepted a hand-me-down... in size 2T.

Her hands don't even come to the elbows. Not going to work (and her pants are long enough, Shaune just struggles holding her and keeping her clothes in place).

What a blessing grand-opening sales at Joann's are! Remember how I said I went a little crazy? I bought fabric, patterns, notions, and everything for (at last count) 10 different projects. The first, out of necessity, was a coat that FITS for Grace. I think it turned out darling!

I was trying to model this darling coat I found at BabyGap - cute, but more than I wanted to pay. So with some fleece and a basic coat pattern to work from, I got sketching and sewing. One night's worth of work, a little bit of learning when I realized my machine's buttonholess won't do fleece (I did my first by hand!), and some lovely PBS history house episodes on Youtube later, my daughter will no longer freeze. Just in time for relatives over the holiday :) Grand total: $6, all new materials.

The original has a bow on the back, but I haven't decided yet if I should do one. Thoughts?

May your Thanksgiving be warm and cheery!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

No, not Thanksgiving. That's in a few days. Today was Turkey Day! Can you find the turkeys?

I have a weakness for rice krispy treat concoctions. My best was the Krispy Kristmas Train of 2009 (you can see it in a photo halfway down the page here), but these are a pretty darling second place. The balls of rice krispy treat are dipped in chocolate then decorated with candy corn and sprinkles. I saw an ad in a magazine, of all places, and just couldn't resist!

Three of the not-rejects

All packed up for Grandma's house!

Some were so bad. You have no idea how hard working with molten marshmallow-cereal lava is, then trying to coax candy to adhere to it once it firms up harder than a rock (much faster than I was prepared for). But some turned out darling!

I hope your holiday preparations are giddy, cheerful, and chocolate covered as well! Blessings!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Long-Awaited Adventure!

Oh Boy! At long last, a Joann's worth shopping at has opened in my neighborhood. Well, it's about 5 miles away, right next to where Shaune works and I attend Bible study. Danger zone, in other words.
Today was tehir grand opening. You can BET I was there, shopping list in tow! I'm so excited. I finally got my sewing machine fixed last weekend (I broke it over a year ago when I was sewing too fast on a civil war petticoat) and have been working on organizing my fabric and pattern stash. I've been collecting lists of projects that I want/need to accomplish between now and Christmas. I scoured the add and selected coupons, then braved the excitement.
It was worse than "Black Friday." LOL.
Have you ever seen several hundred women... crafters... who have been deprived of a decent fabric store for quite a while? Our joann's stopped taking shipments in late August; Hobby Lobby and Hancock are just so junky (these ones at least). Mass pandemonium ensued when we ladies were finally able to get our fix.
I was there for an hour and a half. Just guess how many people got fabric cut during that time (you have to take a ticket, then a screen shows what number is currently being served). You'll never guess. 162! 162 women gathered around the poor cutters like a cage in the zoo. 162 carts stacked high with bolts of fabric. 162 husbands somewhere wringing their hands at the anticipated credit card bill!
But alas, I patiently waited my turn... got my 6 cuts of fabric and more patterns than I'm going to admit to you (they were only $1 each)... gathered MY tired husband (who insisted on coming along, but later regretted it)... and cleared out, having quite satisfied my fabric addiction for a long time... or until my Mom comes up to do it again on Sunday!

Happy Weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gracie's ZigZag Jumper

Did I mention I was having fun knitting? LOL. This is my latest creation for Miss Grace. I've been loving her in jumpers lately because I have yet to find pants that actually look good over cloth diapers. Even when she's wearing pants I tend to slip a dress over it to cover the fluff. I'm already concerned about what I might do when we have a boy...

This fun little number was all from scrap yarn I'd bought back when I was knitting teddy bears. Both yarns are acrylic, which I don't use much anymore, but hey... at least this can go in the wash unlike my more recent woolie projects. The pink has a silver strand wrapped around it which didn't photograph well but adds a special sparkle up close.

My unwilling model. Yes, those are tears...

I've been loving my new knitting books that Shaune bought for me. This pattern is a slipped-stitch technique, which means I was only working with one yarn at a time. It's a lot less bulky than the fair isle pants I made a couple weeks ago. I had to do a little bit of play to make the bodice work, but I think it turned out nicely.
I'm kind of in love <3 This is a really simple dress; I think I'll probably make bundles more for Grace, and I'm toying with the idea of restarting my Etsy shop. You see, I have a delima - I want to knit, but there's absolutely nothing that I, or anyone in my family, need! I want to pawn off my creations on others, haha!
I hope you're having a blessed Monday! It's cold and dreary here... perfect for curling up and watching Lord of the Rings with Hubby while I knit my next insane project (it's bright... fair warning).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Color Play

I've entered a brave new world in knitting: playing with color. Is it sad that in the many years I've been knitting, I can honestly say I've NEVER knit with more than one color at a time? The only 2-color project I made I knit in strips then sewed together. Definately time to build on my repitoire. And hey! Now I have a darling little Someone to knit for.

I started simple... on the wool soaker, I just held 2 strands of yarn together, and played with how I held them together. It made a difference (lol, surprise). I swapped yarn halfway down on the skirty.

Then I checked a great book out from the library and got brave... I tried the stranding, or Faire Isle, technique! I'm actually surprised at how well it turned out. I only had to rip out about 3 stitches when I caught myself following the wrong line on the chart. These are wool longies for Gracie's diapering, too.

Now I'm working on bubbles, another technique I've always been too afraid to try. I don't know why... it's actually quite simple when you've got clear directions. This is a cotton washcloth for the kitchen... my go-to project when I'm intimidated by a technique. Washcloths are how I taught myself... well.. pretty much everything. Scarves take too long :D

I don't know what I'm going to knit next, but I do know one thing! It will be colorful!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Humbling my Mother's Heart

Job 40 :3 Then Job answered the LORD and said,
4 “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5 “Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”

Today has been extremely humbling in my journey as a mother. For the past several days, Gracie's been cranky as can be. I chalked it up to teething; when the teeth didn't appear, I claimed she was tired, since she's been waking up more at night. Then, God forgive me, I credited it to her having a temper and a spirited personality like both her father and me. It wasn't any of those things.

My poor baby was hungry.

I've been seeing it for a few days and stubbornly refusing the truth. You see, through all my doubts and worries, I've been prideful in my heart about breast feeding. I'd never say it out loud, but I'd think in my heart, "Those women who suppliment gave up too easily." Or, "Formula-feeding moms are selfish, not wanting to give of themselves for their babies." And maybe, for some of them that is true. But not all. And maybe, not even most.

God's been gracious enough to chip away at the beam in my eye. One friend told me this morning of her heartbreak when, for some unknown reason, her milk never came in and they couldn't afford the expensive options offered by the lactation consultants. And then, I spent the morning together at the library with a new friend, watching our sweet daughters roll around on the carpet in the board book area. She's used formula pretty much since her baby was born, because she needed gall bladder surgery. It was possible to nurse, but she'd have to forgo pain medications before, during, and after this excruciatingly painful procedure. After a day of trying to "muscle through it" she realized she'd be a much better mother in less pain.

And now, you can add me. I don't know why, but at 4 1/2 months, my milk is drying up. I don't have an explaination or an excuse. But what I do know is that my darling has been suffering from my stubbornness. I gave her her first bottle at 3pm, after which she truly giggled for the first time in her life. At bedtime she received her 2nd, and went to sleep without a single tear for the first time in weeks. I'm heartbroken and happy at the same time: heartbroken for not being "enough" for her; happy because she's at peace.

I guess I would have had to learn this lesson sooner or later - no mother is "enough" for her children. Only God can provide everything even a very small human heart needs. I've got a constant chatter running through my head: "It isn't too late, you can try harder, pray harder, want it more..." But then, whose power am I leaning on? Who am I trying to trust? No matter what I do, I can't fix this myself. And it is more Godly to submit to him.

I'm still nursing. I'm feeding her bottles afterwards, though, and today at both times she took a full 4oz of formula. I hope to keep nursing for a very long time, at least in a small way, but we'll see what God plans. And while I'm definately praying my supply rebounds, doing some small things to encourage that (bring on the oatmeal!), I'm not going to make Grace sacrifice any longer for my prideful needs. That way, I know she'll be fed, and hopefully, someday, I'll be a better mother for her out of all this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hungry Baby

Photobomb! My pretty baby loves eating :)

Silly Gracie, only one spoon fits at a time!

Mmm Peaches!

Love that face. Gracie can't get enough of apples, either. I actually don't know if she's getting anything, but she's enjoying the slobber fest.

Sad baby. Dinner wasn't coming fast enough so she chewed on Daddy's arm instead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"I can't think of a name awesome enough for this" Banana Cake

Bananas. Cream cheese. Dark chocolate. Peanuts. Oh yes... words can barely describe how awesoem this cake is. Like many concoctions coming out of my kitchen, this one started with something that needed used about to go bad, in this case a whole mess of bananas (like, 8. I sent Shaune grocery shopping the week before). After baking 2 big loaves of banana bread, I still had bananas to use up and wasn't feeling inspired. I flipped open my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and ran from there.

The cake is a straight BHG recipe, but I "decorated" it myself.

Banana Layer Cake

  • 2c All-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 c shortening

  • 1 1/2 c sugar

  • 1tsp vanilla

  • 2 eggs

  • 1c mashed bananas (2-3)

  • 1/2 c buttermilk or sour milk (I NEVER have buttermilk... I just sour with some lemon juice)

Stir together dry ingredients. Cream shortening with sugar and vanilla, then add eggs one at a time. Stir together bananas and buttermilk. Alternate adding flour mixture and banana mixture to the shortening mixture beating on low speed after each addition. Pour into 2 prepared 9" cake pans. Bake at 350* for about 30min or until tester comes out clean.

Here's where it turns awesome:

Split one cooled layer (mine had actually been frozen for several days; makes splitting easier). Fill with purchased or prepared cream cheese frosting (I bought it because it was easier). For the top, prepare dark chocolate ganache:

  • Heat 1c heavy whipping cream to just boiling. Remove from heat.

  • Put 1 1/2 (ish, I never measure) dark chocolate chips or chunks in a heat-safe bowl. I like my pyrex mixing bowls. You can also use bittersweet, but dark is my favorite :)

  • Pour cream over chocolate and let set for a while as the chocolate melts.

  • Ganache will initially be very running, but it will thicken as it cools. Stir occasionally until thick enough to pour without just soaking the cake. Pour over cake up to the edges, allowing some to artistically drip off the sides (lol, just have fun). Honestly, I should have let my ganache set a little longer but hey! We were hungry

After pourin ganache, sprinkle cake top with lightly salted peanuts. Now, the salted bit it important: it adds the PERFECT contrast to the ridiculous amount of sweet going on in the rest of the cake. You need the salted nuts. Just trust me.

You can let this cool a little longer for the ganache to become more shell like, but who has the patience for that? Just be warned... this is rich. I've never had a banana-ier cake, and I think it's because the shortening is essentially flavorless. Butter would add another flavor layer, and I honestly think I like this plain.

BONUS IDEA: One of my layers broke while I removed it from the pan. I crumbled it the rest of the way, then stirred in my left over icing to make a sticky mess. Scoop it out by tablespoon or so and cover with leftover ganache. Instant simple bonbons! I forgot to roll them in peanuts... guess I'll have to make it again!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Never Boring

Things have been crazy-busy over here. I reach the end of the day and just pass out into bed from sheer exhaustion. And yet, it's been glorious too. God has been so active in our lives lately and I'm in awe of the connections He makes. Like, seriously? I couldn't make this up if I tried:
I am a leader in a large women's Bible study here in town that started for the year on Thursday. Great times, great girls, it was fun. Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. I'm surfing a sewing forum that I tend to lurk on - I think I've posted about 3 times in the past 6 months. Thursday makes post #4 on a conversation about a new line of fabric coming out at Joann's. I was lamenting because ours is in the process of becoming a super center so they aren't getting deliveries until they move. A couple hours later, I get a strange private message: "Do you live in my town, IL?" Hm... I was honestly at a loss because, weird right? I'm very careful on these boards. I don't put up any personal information. My location is set at "Illinois," which is quite a big state (with more than a few Joann's Super Centers). But after talking with my hubby, I decided to pursue the conversation. Turns out this girl is a new mom (her DD is a month younger than Grace) who lives just outside of town and hasn't met any other young moms in the area. She took a chance and messaged me. She wanted to know if I knew of any moms' groups.

Well, yes, I do :) And conveniently, it just got started...

So now I've not only made a new friend, I've met a new sister to study the word with. She'll be joining Bible study this coming Thursday. Our babes are the same age, we had losses at the same time, we both cloth diaper. I'm so excited.


So yeah, my life is never boring. Besides strange adventures in internet relationships, my darling is now officially 4 months old! She's rolling both ways, sitting on her own (if I put her there, she can't get there herself yet), and making her way across the floor (but only if no one is watching). She might be a little bit spoiled :)

For those of you who were interested about her weight, she has dropped off her growth curve pretty dramatically. She was at the 97th at 2mo and fell to the 83rd by 4mo. Our doctor isn't too worried but we're watching it. She did suggest we suppliment with either formula or solids, based upon some of the behavior signs I mentioned (Gracie's been quite discontent once we finish nursing, like she's still hungry). Since I have a personal vendetta against formula, solids it is! We started with oatmeal... and I can never make enough. Sweet Babe loves the stuff. It cracks me up to watch her eat. I know some people will disagree, but it's working well for us. And she's back to only waking up once at night, instead of every hour or two! It's a huge blessing.

More coming soon. Thanks friends for sticking around, even though I've been so sporadic in my posting!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What are we coming to?

10 years ago we united over tragedy. I was only a freshman in high school on 9/11, but I remember how connected everyone was that day. We stared at the television screens in every classroom -- most teachers gave up trying to teach. The screens were on in the cafeteria too. We cared desperately about what was going on in NYC and Washington and Pennsylvania. I remember the last time I saw the senior from my French class, who found out (during class) that her fiance was killed (she dropped out of school immediately after). I remember calling my mom at lunchtime (on my cell phone! I'd just gotten it for the start of school) to find out where my dad and uncle were, both travelling for business on the east coast.
Today, we're divided over idiocy... From Yahoo News, the brilliance that is America:

Even though we live in a supersized world, bigger is not always better. One
devoted White Castle customer is suing the restaurant chain because he can't fit
into the restaurant's booths. Martin Kessman, who weighs 290 pounds, complained
to management for more than two years after repeatedly knocking his knee into
the tables' metal supports. After the 64-year-old New York stockbroker sent a
series of letters of complaint to the chain, he received what he called
condescending responses. White Castle sent him free hamburger coupons and
promised that it would expand its booth sizes. But the booths were never changed
and Kessman is now taking his case to federal court. He is suing for bigger
chairs and unspecified damages because he says the eatery is violating the
Americans with Disabilities Act. (He compares himself to pregnant women and the
handicapped.) The lawsuit, however, has not put an end to Kessman's love of mini
burgers. Now, instead of going to White Castle himself, he sends his wife. (source
I'm flabergasted. Seriously? I'm disgusted. Don't our federal courts have better things to do with their time? And our money?
I could go on a serious rant, but I think I'll restrain myself. But I do have a question to ask: I hear all the time, pray for America. I hear it on the radio, at church, in various groups I'm a part of. But what are we praying for? Is this... this mess... worth saving? <>

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Wiggle Worm

So I think I mentioned a few times while I was preggo that Gracie's a wiggler. She's feisty, and since birth has only gotten more so. She's rolling over now (but only in her sleep... I got a weird child) and trying DESPERATELY to crawl. In fact, she makes progress when I have her on a blanket over the hard wood floor. Did I mention she's not yet 4 months old? Frightening.
All this wiggling is having an effect, though. It's probably a "first time mom," don't-know-the-ropes yet, access too much information induced panic, but I worry all the same. We have a scale at play group and my sweet babe hasn't gained any weight in August. At all. Granted, she nearly doubled her birth weight in her first three months (7lb9oz up to 14lb14oz), but 4 weeks without a gain at her age is a long time. And she's started making a "Hey, is that all there is?" face after nursing. Sigh. I called her pediatrician and they said to track her weight every week and bring the record in to our 4mo apointment on the 12th. That it's "probably no big deal," but alas... I'm a mom. I worry. After all we went through to get nursing under way, having to suppliment would be a major stab in the heart.
Anyone else's babe hit a plateau and just not gain for a while?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Organized Life

My life is chaos. At least my baby's cute.

But no, really. Organization. I'm not, but I really want to be. And now that a little person is desperately trying to get from one side of the rug to the other (praise the LORD she can't quite yet...), I really need to figure this "keeping house" thing out, because honestly I don't have a clue.

My family's style of keeping house was, "What, someone's coming over? Grab the boxes!" at which point we'd begin a frenzy of throwing things away and shoving whatever was left into boxes which were then stacked in the garage to be dealt with "later" (Yeah, still waiting on "later" to come). We'd frequently still be scrambling when the doorbell rang. I knew I didn't want this to continue in my house but it's incredibly hard to learn how to stay neat when you're not sure where to start. My dear hubby has put up with a mess for long enough but now, with Grace DESPERATELY trying to be on the move, I've run out of time for excuses.

Oh no! Company's coming!

At my moms' bible study this summer, a couple girls were raving about The Fly Lady's system of keeping house. It's like a fad. Who doesn't want to be left out of a fad?! LOL. Her big concept is baby steps and starting with your sink, then building from there. My kitchen's been clean for about 2 weeks, and I've made my bed every day this week! That may seem silly to some, but it's a MAJOR accomplishment in this household. And, since about 6 other girls at church are trying to impliment some or all of the ideas from her website, I've got people (people who can stop in and see my house...) I can think out loud with.

My studying isn't quite as interesting as hers...

It seems to be working. My mother-in-law called me last week to see if she could come visit... she was a mile away and on her way anyway. I was able to look around, heave a sigh, and put away the one plate still on the counter. No shame in that! I was ready when she got here (3 minutes later). No boxes involved!

I won't bore you about learning how to clean; this is mostly a "where've you been?" post, plus an excuse to show off cute pictures of Gracie. My house is still messy, but I'm finally at long last moving in the right direction. I'll leave you with one last thought borrowed from The Fly Lady. It's brilliant, and so very motivating to me:

"Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family."

That's right. My mom's cool. And in her free time, she knits me dresses.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Practically Free Diapering

Have you ever realized at midnight that you forgot to run to the store to buy diapers, or if you cloth diaper, that you forgot to run a load and put your child to bed in the last clean diaper? Or you went out to run errands and miscalculated how many diapers you would need for the day? It's happened. What do you do? Letting Babe sit in yuck is, well, yucky; she can't really go without (ew); buying a package is inconvenient at best, unaffordable at worst... so what do you do?

I actually haven't been in this situation, but a board I'm on is doing a cloth diaper challenge this week specifically for those times when you've got nothing else on hand: The No-Sew T-Shirt Diaper!

That link will take you to a tutorial that shows you how to fold a regular T-shirt into a great cloth diaper. It really does work great -- I've done it a couple times just to see how it worked. I've got a bag of old Ts in my car and another in the basement as part of our emergency kits -- you never know when you'll need them. And if money is an object, but you still need to diaper your little one, you can hit the $5 bag day at your local thrift store and have all the diapers you could need!

Did I mention you can make your child's bum say whatever you want? Oh yes, Gracie loves Jesus... her diaper told me so ;-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creation. Literally.

A few weeks ago, Shaune, Gracie, and I were travelling away from home over the weekend. As is our custom, we visited a local congregation for worship. This is a congregation we’ve had the pleasure of visiting several times over the years. Although it isn’t a church where we would consider attending full time (if we were local), it has always been pleasant and never theologically questionable.

Until this trip.

I’ve hesitated to write this post, as I don’t want to come across to harshly. We truly love many of the people in the congregation. I do believe the pastor means well, but the particular teaching we heard raised so many red-flags... so many I’ve also heard from other sources, that I feel the need to address it.

The sermon was on taking the Bible literally. The pastor’s claim was that overall, no, we should not – the Bible is a collection of stories and teachings, many of which were for a particular season in history. He specifically pointed to the creation story in Genesis 1. He began his teaching with this (my paraphrase, as I was too in shock to write it precisely): “Now, many of us have issues with certain aspects of the Bible. Look at creation – most of us accept that the Bible can’t be literal here. Scientists have proven evolution.”

Wow. Really?

I’m not a scientist. I don’t read science journals. (However, this used to be an issue of doubt for my husband, so he has spent many hours researching both sides of the evolution-vs-creation debate. I’ve asked him to write a little post summarizing some of his findings – look for that next week ) What I do read, however, is the Bible. And what I’ve discovered is that when the Bible describes creation, it means it literally.

Creation is the starting point of the whole story. Without it, nothing else makes sense. Follow me along this train of thought:
• Without creation, humans evolved from monkeys
• If we evolved from monkeys, there is no Eden, nor is there an Adam or Eve… just a more “human” monkey somewhere along the way
• With no Eden, Adam, or Eve, there is no original perfection, no one to be tempted, no command to be obeyed or disobeyed, and therefore no original sin
• With no original sin, there is no need for a savior
• And if there’s no need for a savior, it’s an easy jump to Christ being nothing more than a good man and a moral teacher
Without Creation, there can be no purpose to the Cross. Are you with me?

Clearly the Gospel writers believed in salvation. They also believe in the original sin of Adam and Christ’s redemptive death. Here’s a sampling:
• “Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them…” (Acts 4:24)
• “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.” (Romans 8:20-21)
• “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
• “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:12)
• The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

I believe in a literal, final-form creation as prescribed in the Bible. Was it 6 24-hour days? I’m not sure, I wasn’t there (lol), but I do know that when God created, He created species as they are today. Humans were humans from the beginning. Fish were fish, cats were cats. (Variation has clearly occurred over the years, but that’s a different topic for a different day.) I also believe that if you don’t accept the reality of creation, you will forever struggle with the rest of Christianity. We need saved because we aren't what we were created to be. This is a line in the sand… literally.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mama Gets Busy

Gracie learned to nap (sort of)! And started going to bed like a sweet baby, at 7pm! Everyone knows what that means... time to sew! And knit! And cook! It's fabulous. The best part is she's happier overall too because she's well rested.

That's my good girl :) Never too early to love books.

So I've been enjoying getting back to a little me-time, which allows me to be creative. I've missed making things. The first thing I made for Gracie was this sweet denim jumper, made from scraps of my absolute favorite skirt. I very loosely based it off a dress we got as a gift, but it's mostly pattern-less. I hate onesies on their own and pants look silly over cloth diapers, so we got a lot of wear out of this... in the 3 weeks it fit. My chunker is already in 9 MONTH CLOTHING! She's 14.5 lb or more by now... at 11 weeks.

Speaking of cloth diapering, the most annoying thing in our first couple weeks was that we only had disposable wipes. I'm not even going to tell you how many went through the wash, and how much of a pain it is to pull disintegrated wipe bits out of velcro. But I don't have to worry about that anymore! Voila, 2-sided flannel wipes. One side has polka dots... the other says "I love Mommy" and "I love Daddy." A much needed reminder when she's screaming through a diaper change! I made 30 for less than $5 AND got to learn my new-to-me serger. Good times.

Number 3 has to be my favorite project so far. I adore this little dress! I made it out of scraps, too, from my second favorite skirt. I wrote about it 2 years ago. Yes... Gracie and I totally matched the first time she wore this to church. I wish I'd gotten a picture, except maybe not: my skirt has been well worn over 2 years, while the scraps were stored and are still bright and crisp. Oh well. I LOVE this pattern (Simplicity 4243), but next time I have to make the neck bigger. Remember that 14.5lb baby? Yeah... she's already outgrown this one, too.

Maybe one of these days she'll slow down enough to wear a special dress more than once! In the meantime, I have a good friend due in about 3 weeks, so all these tinies are taking a vacation to the other side of town. Then back to me, for next time! It's so good to be back to "normal."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lime Dimes

I bet you were starting to wonder if I had a chance to be creative now that Gracie’s here. Well… so was I. Honestly, the most creative thought I have some days is, “Wow, let me figure out how the paci ended up THERE!” Wonder no more! Baby Girl took a nap this afternoon so Mommy decided to meet her sweet tooth and citrus obsession, plus a burst of creativity, in one fell swoop. This is a combination of a couple recipes. I mixed the Lemon Crinkle Cookie and Martha Stewart’s Lime Melt-a-ways, with an extra dose of limeyness for entertainment sake.

If you could capture bliss in a small round circle, this cookie would be it. Frighteningly wonderful. It’s like a mini bite of heaven.

And, as every fancy cookie deserves a fun name, these are called Lime Dimes. Why? Because I'm the mother of an infant and everything in my house rhymes. That, and the cookies are best tiny for 2 reasons: So you can completely enjoy the melty lime flavor, and so you can eat more of them... oh yes :)

Lime Dimes
• 1 stick butter
• 1 c granulated sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla
• 1 egg
• Zest of 1 lime
• About 2 tbsp lime juice (very limey flavor! Original called for 1 tbsp, feel free to decrease)
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 1/8 tsp baking soda
• 1 ¾ - 2 c flour
• Powdered sugar to dust

Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, egg, zest, and lime juice, blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients just until mixed. You want the dough to be stiff enough to shape – start with 1 ¾ c and determine if you need more. When it doubt, err towards too soft because it will firm up in the freezer. Shape dough into 2 logs on parchment or freezer paper. You want a log with a 1” to 1 ½” diameter. Roll in the paper and freeze until firm.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Unwrap a log and slice it into ¼” rounds. Place on a cold baking sheet. Dust with powdered sugar (I put it in my tea strainer). Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until no longer shiny but NOT BROWN (just starting to brown on the bottom, but you can't see that while its cooking). Once out of the oven, dust with sugar again for that extra sweetness. Let cool on tray for about 2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack lined with another sheet of parchment paper – otherwise, the cookies will collapse through the rack. Restrain yourself as long as you can, or eat immediately.

I honestly can’t tell you how many cookies this makes… maybe 5dz? We ate them too quickly to count!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Field Trip

Do you remember back in school, when your teacher (or mom, for homeschoolers!) told you that you were going on a field trip? Do you remember the excitement that came from breaking out of the regular routine to go do something special -- visit a special place, or special people? And if your field trips were anything like mine in school, the best part of visiting a museum was hitting the souvenier shop on the way back to the bus.

We went on a field trip this weekend :)

The MAIN reason for our adventure was to go spend the night with our best friends. Amanda and I were roomates the year we both were engaged and wedding planning. We're both celebrating 3rd anniversaries this summer, and we've stayed super close. Our husbands have become best friends, too. The only downside is the 2hr drive. It's kind of wonderful to have good friends :)

Midgey making faces at Keith

But remember what I said about hitting the souvenier shop? Oh yeah... even this kind of field trip wouldn't be complete without taking home a memory:

Cottonbabies Cloth Diaper Store

Have I mentioned that I'm COMPELTELY addicted to cloth diapers? I honestly can't imagine any other way. Plus, they're downright darling. I won't tell you how often I've browsed diaper sites, or how much "research" (ahem, window shopping) I did even before Gracie showed up. So when Amanda realized that the Cottonbabies store was only a few minutes from her house, I quite honestly couldn't resist! Lucky coincidence we came down the weekend Gracie outgrew her first set of covers... oh boy! I had an actual REASON to shop, not just a desire! I was more excited than a kid in a candy store.

Yes, I'm that dorky... and so is the cashier! It was an exciting time.

I restrained myself to a couple covers and a couple wet bags (to replace the plastic shopping bags we've been using). And I'm planning a return trip with my mom, who also lives in the area. I thought websites were fun... the brick-and-mortar store is down right better than a theme park.

So if anyone finds themselves in the St. Louis area, let me know and I'll meet you at Cottonbabies! It'll be an adventure!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crash Course in Parenting Philosophy

Gracie's 6 1/2 weeks old! How time flies! Surprisingly, other than loving on my baby, the one thing I've had a ton of time for lately is reading. Grace nurses *a lot* and I'm not a "just sit there" kind of girl. So, as a new mom, what do I read? Every parenting philosophy book I can get my hands on.

Here's a summary of my reading list over the past 6 weeks:

  1. Happiest Baby on the Block

  2. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

  3. Babywise

  4. Dr. Sear's Baby Book

  5. What to Expect the First Year

  6. Your Baby's First Year, Week by Week

  7. Plus a healthy handful of magazines and articles

Information overload much?

I'm a reader. It's who I always have been and probably always will be. I want to know everything I can to make sure I'm doing it "right." The problem with parenting? There is no "right." Oh boy, am I struggling with this.

We started out doing pretty straight-forward Attachment Parenting, as endorsed by Sears et. al. Wear your baby, feed on demand, shared sleeping, etc. I love the idea -- who doesn't love cuddling a bundle of joy 24hrs a day? But in practice? I don't know about your household, but some parts of this just don't fly here. I like my pillows and blankets way too much to safely share sleeping arangements with Grace. And, since I'm a first time mommy with very little baby experience, I'm really struggling with her cues: to me, everything sounds like "hungry." The poor girl spent the whole weekend crying while nursing. Turns out she was completely exhausted and I kept trying to keep her awake to feed. I was exhausted, too -- she was eating every 45min to hour. Sigh. Live and learn.

So while my poor sweetheart cried the weekend away, Stressed-Out-Mommy spent nursing time reading Baby Whisperer and Babywise, trying to find "a better way." Both those philosophies recommend a Flexible Routine concept. Baby wakes up, baby eats, baby plays, baby sleeps. This is in contrast to the AP idea of nursing Baby to sleep. They also recommend putting Baby down awake and using Cry it Out. I love the idea of getting Grace less dependant on me to fall asleep, but honestly? I think it might kill me to let her cry at this point.

So here I am, knowing too much information and struggling to successfully apply any of it. We're doing the eat/play/sleep routine from Babywise... wearing Gracie in our Moby wrap a la Attachment Parenting... putting her down awake according to Baby Whisperer... and to confuse everything, using a pacifier...

And of course, praying all along that hopefully someday she'll turn out all right.

What do you do? Do you follow a philosophy? Or do you fling it all together in a happy hodge-podge of ideas? And most importantly, does it SOMEDAY start to make sense?!?!

Monday, June 13, 2011

We're Here!

Just a quick note to say, Gracie's 5 weeks old! It's crazy how fast time is flying. I feel like I've gotten absuloutely nothing done, except for cuddling my little cutie.

Tummy Time

Babywearing at the Farmer's Market / Art Fair

Well, not quite nothing. My mom found, while cleaning, my grandmother's serger. Now, my grandmother's been gone for 6 years, but she is still and always will be kinda my hero. She was the only other lefty in the family. I learned to sew and to smock from her, as well as to paint and sing. We were kindred spirits. There's kind of an understanding that her sewing stuff is now mine. So, when Mom found the serger, she packed it up and brought it to me. I'm still learning to use it, but I whipped up a stack of cloth wipes out of some cheap flannel the other day. It's good to be sewing again. :)

I'm half-way through another stack of sewing projects, so hopefully I'll have something REAL to post about soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fluff :)

I wanted to show off my little fluffy bum. Cloth diapers are the cutest :) None of her onesies are long enough to snap over them, tho... going to have to get that figured out eventually!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Comment Trouble

For some reason, Blogger won't let me comment on my own posts... I wanted to take a second to reply to your sweet advice on my breastfeeding post.

I really appreciate all your advice. This is just getting me down. I know we'll make it through -- mostly because I'm too stubborn to quit -- but it *is* really stressful. I pump some to help Grace latch but haven't fed her anything from a bottle as of yet. It's just to take the edge off engorgement. Although we've had zero troubles with confusion over the paci, I'm afraid of what might happen with the bottle.

I called the number for our local La Leche League on Sunday and haven't heard back yet. I'll have to try the LCs at the hospital, but I really would rather not go back there.

Serena, she is gaining weight beautifully. At her 1 week appointment, she had put on 12oz from when we were discharged: everything she'd lost plus 4oz extra. That, at least, is reassuring. She's getting what she needs even if I'm struggling. Would you mind emailing me privately? I do have a question for your LC friend. My email is sandjpreston08 @ live . com (without the spaces.) Thanks!

Mrs G, that sounds awful! You must have an iron will.

Rachel, no tounge-tie that I'm aware of. We don't go back to the dr. for another 2 weeks; if I'm still struggling then, I'll have to ask. I'm glad to hear that the 1st baby doesn't necessarily set the pace for all the rest!

Thanks again, ladies. I needed a boost. And, I'm so grateful for all your prayers. They certainly do make a difference! My sister's coming up today so it'll be a nice change of pace. Maybe I'll even sneak a nap!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joys and a Big Disappointment

It's been a long 2 weeks. Our new little family of three got off to a great start, as I wrote in Gracie's birth story. But even with a good start, a few things have been rough. First, the absolute joys:

  • I love not being pregnant. I love laying on my belly. I love kissing my little girl's feet instead of trying to push them out of my rib cage. I love touching my toes and tying my own shoes. I don't miss pregnancy a bit, yet at least!

  • I love cloth diapers! They're easy and fun. We're only doing them part-time while we adjust to our sweetheart, but it's enough to know I'm NEVER spending money on disposables again!

  • I love "wearing" Gracie in her Moby. It's so much easier than a stroller while we're out and about. And at home, I can actually get a few things done. I think a wrap or carrier is a "must" for mommas whose babies are only happy being held -- like mine.

Unfortunately, there's been one, big, huge bummer with having Gracie here. Maybe someone can help me...

I hate breastfeeding.

As good as her birth went, we didn't get off a well on breastfeeding. Since she was born on Sunday, the lactation consultants weren't available until the next morning, when Gracie was nearly 30 hours old. She was asleep when they came in, so we just talked -- they didn't actually see her nursing. We met with another just before discharge when she was over 48 hours old. Now, in those 48 hours, she fed just fine... for her. But she did some serious damage to my delicate skin. My skin was cracked and bleeding due to her ferocious suck. You see, she's a comfort sucker. She'd go for HOURS if I let her.

Well, the LC helped me adjust her latch so she wasn't causing more damage. She also suggested I use a pacifier when Grace just wants to suck, at least while I heal.

Two weeks later I'm FINALLY starting to heal. I don't scream when she latches on anymore -- that was a fun few days (not). I'm glad Shaune was able to take off work because I needed him here to do counter pressure on my feet or shoulders while Grace latched on or I completely couldn't do it. We're past the worst as the skin starts to regrow, but I still hate it.

I almost broke the other night and went to a store to buy bottle feeding supplies. I get why women don't do this. I'm not sure what stopped me, but we're still here, still struggling through it with prayer and determination.

Does it get better, eventually? I really do want to do this for her health and mine, but I just don't know how much more constant pain I can put up with. The problem is that with her being constantly hungry, I'm not able to heal quickly. I have lanolin, and pH-balancing treatments, and "shells" that keep air flowing and clothing not touching. Everything helps a little but my nerves are still so raw. Breastfeeding is just downright exhausting.

I'm really disappointed. I wanted this to go well :( And it's such a big thing, it's overwhelming my joys of everything else. Anyone overcome this before?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gracie's Birth Story

I finally have a moment of quiet while my dear baby girl plays with her daddy, so I can steal a second or two to tell you how she got here :)

I woke up with a ripping contraction at 4am on Saturday, May 7th. All the sudden I felt silly for going in on the 2nd with false labor -- there really is no comparison. They started every 10-12 minutes apart; I was able to stay in bed and rest between them. I was glad it was Saturday because I didn't really want to be alone through it all. Shaune was a champ, helping by doing counter-pressure on my back through contractions.

We spent the day preparing for Gracie as the contractions came closer and closer together. We walked around the block. We watched a movie. We returned library books and walked around the Lincoln Home site (right next door to the library). We walked the botanical gardens at Washington Park. We even got ice cream and pizza! It was a special time to spend on our last day as just a couple. By evening, the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and getting very strong. We started seriously considering going to the hospital.

I held out at home until about 10pm -- 18 hours after true labor started. At that point I felt the urge to settle in and not move; time to go, since we certainly weren't prepared for a home birth! Due to contractions slowing us down, it took another hour to make it to the car, across town, and across the hospital parking lot -- a 10 minute process on an average day. We arrived at 11, just after the doors were locked for the night, necessitating admittance through the ER. The ER is about as far from L&D as possible, so an escort took me in a wheelchair past the dark empty cafeteria, gift shops, waiting rooms, etc. It was a surreal experience. Every contraction I had to keep from flinging myself out of the wheelchair -- I don't like to labor sitting down!

Aparently Saturday was a busy day for babies, so we had to wait in the triage room until an LDR room could be cleared by moving a current patient to Pediatrics. It was midnight before I was in my own room. One of the reasons we chose the hospital we did was because of the jacuzzi bathtubs in each LDR room -- after being checked (only 6cm!) I climbed in and camped out for the next several hours.

My OB was on duty that night, but I didn't see her until 4am -- 24 hours into this ordeal. When I got into my room they had started me on a saline drip due to dehydration. She came in to check me, then discuss interventions. Four more hours of laboring had only brought me to 7cm. I REALLY wanted to continue laboring naturally. The pain was intense but my conviction was stronger. Shaune helped me focus and kept encouraging me: "You can do this, and you will." We asked the OB to come back shortly. We used that time to pray about our options, since she was very hesitant to NOT intervene, especially since I had convinced her to only do intermittant monitoring. I either had to let her act, or go on the monitor full time (which would restrict me to bed). When she returned, I had decided to let her break my water in the hopes of making things go quicker. She got the kit and it was broken at 5:25am -- 26.5 hours after I'd begun laboring.

It only took one more hour (back in the tub, of course!) for me to progress to more than 9cm. I started breathing the "right way" and feeling the urge to push. The labor nurse came in to assist and had to help me keep from pushing yet since I still had a "lip" on my cervix. I Kegaled with her help and Shaune's for another half hour while Pediatrics were called for Gracie and the doctor got ready for me. I got the go-ahead to push at 7am. Grace Abigail was born at 7:18am -- a perfect Mother's Day gift!

She came out absolutely beautiful, partly (I believe) because I didn't have to push for very long. She didn't have time to get mushed and bruised. I did tear a little, and while the doctor was putting in stitches and Shaune helped rub Gracie down, I just zoned out and listened. The nursing team had just changed shifts and a couple of them were chatting -- no one believed this was my first baby since transition and delivery went so quickly. They were also impressed that delivery was as short as it was because I apparently have "the shortest contractions ever" -- only about 30 seconds. We got a lot done in those 30 second intervals!

I wish I hadn't have had any interventions at all -- no saline, no breaking of waters -- but in the grand scheme of things, it couldn't have gone any better. The rest of the day, every time a new nurse came in, I heard, "You're the first-timer who did it all naturally, right?" It was extremely rewarding. She was so vigorous and alive immediately after birth. Her 1min and 5min APGARs were both 9. We were able to enjoy her right away, and I was up on my feet (and in a shower!) in less than an hour. It was a beautiful experience, and I'm so grateful to my dear husband for helping me so much through it, and for keeping my focus on the end result:

Grace Abigail, moments after birth. We've seen that pouty face many times since then!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photo Bomb

Because everyone loves pictures of a baby :)

I'm working on Gracie's birth story, but just a teaser: it went nearly exactly how I would have chosen. I'm extremely grateful.

Little blue eyes :)

Loving on my baby!

We sent her to the nursery for a couple hours so we could sleep (a friend from church was a nurse on the floor that night, and we totally trust her). Gracie came back decorated!

Heading home for the first time