Monday, June 29, 2009

I am crafty, yes I am!

Well, not this kind of crafty, more like this kind.

My dad is the most creative person I know. I'm always bouncing ideas off of him because he has a great way of looking at things from a new and different angle. All my life I've been convinced that those creative genes passed me by in favor of my many uber creative sisters. Lately, I'm been determined to cultivate what creative genes I do have by just biting the bullet and creating!

I haven't used a sewing machine for anything but small projects in ages. I mean, it's been a really long time. On Friday, I dusted it off (literally, it's been the garage since we moved in March) and made a dress for Peanut. I can't believe I got through the entire project in one afternoon (This is due in a large part to the fact that Peanut cooperated by taking two very long naps)! I even found time to make a matching Heather Bailey (check her out, she seriously amazing!) headband. We don't usually do headbands, but every once in awhile I feel the urge to make up for her lack of hair by drawing more attention to it throwing something cute in it.

I'm pretty pleased with the results. Especially considering that the 2nd page of the instructions was missing from the pattern and I had to just wing it. You'll notice that none of these pictures are close-ups and that's definitely on purpose.

You won't be seeing any tutorials or ingenius sewing tips on here anytime soon, but I'm feeling confident enough to at least share a couple pictures!

Okay, so that was more than a couple. But that last one was just for fun. 'Cause my little girl is so stinkin' funny.

Here's to being crafty!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hide your kittens!

One of my in-laws barn cats had kittens about a month ago and yesterday I took Peanut over to "play" with them...with camera in tow of course!

I'm really, really hoping that no PETA activists read my blog, I don't want to get into trouble! But seriously, no kittens were harmed in the taking of these pictures...

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty! Gotcha!"

"You shouldn't try to run away from me, little kitty!"

"Here, mom! You want to hold him? He's too wiggly for me."

"It's okay, kitty. Mom said I shouldn't hold you like that. I'm really, really sorry if I hurt your neck!"

"Do you like my kitty kisses?"

"Oh, alright. You can go, I'll torture hold your brother for awhile."

"Let me help you down."

"This one is wiggly too!"

"Stay still, little kitty. I won't squeeze you too much."

"Two are better than one!"

"Shhhh, don't tell her where I'm hiding!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Drayken's Birth Story

Molly's Note: After skipping a week (sorry, guys!), I'm back to my old tricks! More wonderful natural birth stories! This is a special home waterbirth story from Mandy, mom to three gorgeous kiddos that you can find over at her blog, Bona Fide Mama.

Drayken's Birth Story

I am filled with joy to be able to share my birth story with you. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had become uncertain about homebirth and whether or not I was quite "up to the challenge" for a second go around! Somehow I found the strength to carry on and fight against my doubts though. And boy am I glad that I did.

All day long on Saturday, March 14th I'd felt a little different. From an upset stomach to feeling as if I might just jump right out of my skin, I knew that the birth day couldn't be too far off. Friday night and all day Saturday I'd experienced the loss of my mucous plug and a "bloody show". But still no contractions really to speak of. So Saturday, despite everyone's exhaustion, we went out to a special story time at Barnes and Noble and then on an endless search for some syrup dispenser bottle for my husband (to whom I will refer as the Captain because, well, he's a pirate) to use when making his ridiculous chocolate (we have a small business making raw, organic, vegan chocolates).

After a long walk through Old Time Pottery, I had to break it to the kids that we were NOT going to make it to Center for the Arts for free game night. We were going to have to go home and I had to rest. I was just simply pooped. So we all came home and the kids moaned and groaned while the Captain and I made two awesome pizzas with artichoke hearts, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, goat and soy cheeses, veggie "chicken" and "pepperoni", onions, and fresh garlic on a fresh Trader Joe's garlic and herb crust!

I ate and ate and never seemed to really get full (which is why I later treated myself to some Soy Delicious Chocolate Sorbet and Purely Decadent Coconut Milk plain coconut "ice cream" topped with vegan chocolate sauce). The Captain went out for a while (the kids were insane!) to just get away for a little while and I put the kids to bed by reading them four stories and then turning on "Full House". I started having a few contractions and kept having to use the rest room. At some point, I headed to bed. I think that I fell asleep at around 10:00 but at 10:30, the contractions woke me up. So I got up and walked around and then sat in the living room talking to a few people online. I was pretty confused and disoriented because I barely remember any of that. I hated to call my midwife if, in fact, this wasn't the real thing. But this just felt different. There was a lot of moisture! I didn't know what to think. I talked a friend or two for a little while and then felt a small gush... I just knew that my water had started to break. But, of course, I had been paranoid about my water breaking for weeks. Anyway, I told my friend that I had to go (on Facebook chat) and ran to the bedroom with the phone. I told The Captainl to call my midwife (Daphne) and I headed to the bathroom to turn on the bathtub. The combination of so much moisture and so much pain... it seemed logical to get in the tub! At about that moment, my water most certainly broke. Everywhere. All over the floor.

This was it.

Then I was handed the phone... my midwife wanted to talk to me. I had no interest in talking (I hate the phone on a normal day) but it seems she just wanted to be sure by listening to me "talk or not talk" through the contractions. I was unable to talk through the contractions. I gave the phone back to the Captain and she was on her way.

I stayed in the tub for two hours. My midwife showed up, my friend Anna showed up, and still the kids remained asleep. Score! After a while, I needed to get out of the tub. They helped me into a night gown and we made our way to the living room. I tried drinking a Spirutein smoothie. I forced down an Emergen C. We talked a bit. The contractions started to come more and more often... and were becoming more intense. I felt a bit sick to my stomach. I became shaky. Sitting on the toilet was not fun. At this point, my midwife suggests that I get back in the tub and I can't help but agree. The birthing assistant or "midwife in training"(Heather) showed up at some point and I was glad to see her. Just one more sweet supportive person to join the party! I was only in the tub for a few moments when Heather checked me and announced that the baby's head was "right there" and I was at an 8... but that it could go really fast. And boy did it. Within two contractions, I felt the need to push. I never fully felt the need to push when I was giving birth to my second child who I also had at home. I understood finally what I had been reading for years about how you would just know. I needed to push. They helped me turn over on my knees and I did a few pushes that way. And then I had to turn back over. My sweet hubby got into the tub behind me and helped hold me up while I pushed. I did a few little wimpy pushes and then suddenly I was able to push hard enough to get his head out. There he was! I was pretty exhausted at this point but I knew that if I pushed hard enough, it would be over and I could go to sleep. That is literally what got me through those last few pushes. I just wanted to be done. So, I pushed him out and it felt totally different in the water. Immediately after he came out, I felt exhilarated. It was an awesome high! And his smell... amazing. I wish that I could bottle that smell! Unlike after having my daughter, I didn't immediately feel contractions so I had to wait a little while to deliver the placenta. I had asked someone to go get my son because he was already awake and waiting for baby brother to be born. He came into the bathroom, oohed and ahhed over how cute he was and then immediately said that he had to go wake up sister. She was not thrilled about being woken but once she finally understood what was going on, she was excited. My son was obsessed with the placenta (called everything but that) and kept wanting to see it. When it finally came out, I'm not even sure if he looked at it! "They" took care of it!

I felt much better than I expected to after the delivery. Hubby was able to help me get a shower and I got dressed and into bed. It was then that the little guy decided he needed to nurse and he ate... and ate... and then ate some more. What a blessing! We knew then that he was going to be a champion nurser and that was at least one thing I'd not have to worry about. The kids and I got to watch him have his newborn exam and we learned that he was 21 inches long and 7lbs 11oz. He scored an 8 on the first apgar and a 10 on the second one.After the midwives left, my friend Anna stayed with me while hubby took the older siblings over to their grandparents' house. When I woke back up, he was home and ready to nap with me. We had a very peaceful and restful day and the baby slept very well. For this I was terribly thankful.

Our first night was pretty easy. Adjusting to having another baby was so strange and surreal in a lot of ways. We received an outpouring of love from friends and family. Offers of food, help, and prayers are so appreciated at a time like this. I suppose the hardest part is having to help two other small children adjust to mommy's need to rest, baby's need to rest, and the fact that they can't "play" with baby and must be very careful with him. I can already tell that they are going to be awesome older siblings and that "Playdough boy" (sister has decided that he smells like Playdough) will be well loved and protected. I can't wait to see their relationships develop. Sibling love is something that fascinates me as I missed out on it!

Originally, the baby's name was Indygo. We decided to make this our last baby, though, and once that decision was made, I realized that this would be my last chance to name a child after my mother. So, I suggested to the Captain that we add the name Giovanni. My mom's name was Joan Yvonne. Giovanni means the same thing as John and, therefore, Joan. Plus, the names share "von". Seemed perfect. He was open to dropping Indygo and adding Giovanni as the middle name. And there you have it. Our baby's name means "Lord of the Dragons" and "God is Gracious". And it's a tribute to both of our mothers (my mother-in-law's middle name is Jean) and a dear family friend, Jon. I'm happy with it. The only problem is that the kids keep calling him Baby Indy. So, that might be his nick name I suppose!

Drayken has proven the theory, as least in our case, about babies who are born in water being more peaceful and easy going. Today he is a happy 3 month old baby who grins a lot and flirts with women. He is the delight of my heart and I am so thankful to be his mommy.

Thanks so much for reading my story. I'd love to talk with any moms who are interested in homebirth or answer any of your birthing questions. I'd also love to have you follow my blog at Bona Fide Mama. I'm looking forward to "meeting" you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drybees cloth diaper review and giveaway!

I've been using a variety of Drybees diapers for over a year now and I can honestly say that they are among my favorite cloth diapers.

While Drybees offers a variety of cloth diapers, my absolute favorite is the Hybrid All-in-One (AIO). This diaper is made with a built in micofiber insert that makes the diaper completely functioning without adding an insert or putting on a cover.

Now for the "hybrid" part: This diaper is made with a nifty little pocket in the back that allows you to double the absorbancy of the diaper by adding an insert. I just love the flexiblity this gives me! For everyday use, the built in insert offers plenty of absorbancy for Peanut. If I know we are going out to run errands or she's going down for a nap, I'll throw in a doubler to give her a little extra protection in the event that she doesn't get a diaper change for a few hours.

In short, this I totally love this diaper! It really has it all - super trim fit, adorable prints and colors and superior leak protection.

Now, let's get to the good part. I'm sitting here looking at six gorgeous AIO hybrid diapers that the wonderful folks over at Drybees just sent me! And while I'm extremely tempted to keep a couple for myself, I'm giving them ALL away! Here's how the giveaway will work:

Since I have six diapers, I want to spread the fluffy love around. That means there will be SIX winners! I have two diapers of each size, one in a girly color or print, one in a gender neutral or boy color.

First Entry (required):
Leave me a comment with the following information:
(1) What size and color preference (boy or girl) you are entering to win, and
(2) Which other products from the Drybees site you might be interested in.

Addtional Entries:
(1) Become a follower of this blog and then leave a comment.
(2) Become a subscriber and then leave a comment.
(3) Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (make sure you come back and leave a comment with your tweet link!).
(4) Blog about this giveaway and then leave me a comment with the URL.

I will be reviewing each entry, so make sure you follow the rules!

Contest will end on July 2nd and the winners will be announced on July 3rd. If you don't have an email link on your blogger page or blog, please include it in your comment! If I don't get an email response from you within 48 hours, I'll chose someone else.

Happy entering!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two special dads

Can I introduce you to my two favorite dads?

My dad is the hardest worker I know and is the epitome of selflessness and a true example of a servant. He is my hero in every sense of the word. I love you, Daddy!

My sweet hubby is a great daddy to our little girl and I wouldn't want to be on this parenting journey with anyone else. I love you, babe!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cloth diapers: My stash and some fluffy pictures

I'm the "Fluffy Momma of the Week" over at Dirty Diaper Laundry, so you should totally go check that out. :-)

While I was preparing my interview answers for DDL, I revisited some of my old cloth diaper pictures. I forgot how obsessed I used to be with my diapers! Unless you cloth diaper your baby, I realize that being obsessed with something that is designed to catch your baby's poo sounds totally insane, but I'm sure all you CD mommas can relate.

Here's Peanut at about 3 months old in a Blueberry Minky Wrap that I scored off a diaper swap. She still fits in it and still loves the feel of the soft minky material.

Here she is just a couple days ago (she was 16 months yesterday, sniff, sniff) in a Happy Heiny OS pocket diaper. (And yes, I do love animal prints, thanks for wondering!)

I snapped a few pictures of my stash yesterday and I thought I'd share with you all! It's really grown over the past year! These pictures are missing about 6 diapers that are in the pail, dozens of doublers and inserts, a dozen prefolds that I never use, a stack of homemade baby wipes and two pail liners. Other than that, this is it!

The far left pile is all my fitteds (Kissaluvs, Drybees, Thirsties, Happy Heinys, Nana Bottoms and Tiny Tush), 2nd pile is all my AIOs (Bumkins, Bluberry, WAHM, Drybees, Mommy's Touch, DreamEze), 3rd pile is my BG pockets (missing about 3 of those that are in the wash), and finally, all my covers (Thirsties, Bummis Superbrites, Blueberry Minky).

I'm adding this picture just because I love it and also so I can preach about how wonderful the fresh air and sun is for your baby's diapers! The sun lifts stains that even bleach won't touch - it's truly amazing! I desperately miss my clothesline at the old house, hubby still hasn't gotten around to putting one up at the new place, so I'm stuck with the dryer.

I'd love to see your cloth diaper stash! I'm going to throw up a MckLinky so we can all see them. Come on! You know you want to take some pictures of your diapers!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Photo Editing Fun: Before and After

For Mother's Day this year, my dear husband bought me my first DSLR camera. It was an amazing craigslist find and I'm still in awe that I got such a great deal on it. Anyway, I've been snapping pictures like a crazy woman for the past month and I still can't get enough!

Yesterday was my first time using Photoshop to edit my pictures. Oh.My.Word. Can anyone say - new addiction? As if I needed one more thing to distract me from the mountain of laundry that's threatening to take over the house. Anyway.

We Picture This is a cool site that has lots of photo related goodies and loads of inspirational pictures. I'm joining in the fun and posting a before and after picture.

I shot this picture a couple weeks ago with my Sony A300 on the auto setting. (I literally just figured out how to use the manual setting like two days ago, so all you photo junkies, don't judge me.)


I cropped it slightly, added an yellow overlay by adding a new layer and then set the opacity to about 35%. I added a lighting effect filter that I think makes that round bale of hay look super interesting and viola! I think it looks kind of cool. In a very this is my first time editing, you can tell I didn't know what I was doing kind of way.


More of this before and after stuff to come, I assure you...or I warn you, I'm not sure which.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Shoe Love!

My little Peanut loves shoes. I mean, she really, really, really loves shoes. First thing in the morning, she runs to her closet and drags out several pairs of shoes for me to put on her.


"My Shoooooes!"

Seriously, it's become a bit of a joke. Yesterday I came into the living room and my hubby was sitting on the couch with lap full of shoes - his, mine and hers. She was so proud of each pair that she found.

"Daddy shooooes. Mommy shooooes. My shooooes."

And yes, she totally drags out the word like that - every time. Makes me want to squeeze her cute little cheeks.


Our latest pair of shoes is a fabulous red sandal from Vincent Shoes. They are ever so adorable! In fact they are SO cute that I'm going to fess up and admit that I've been wasting money on buying her red clothes just so she can wear them more.

I've recently come to the realization that it's not worth my money to buy cheap shoes. Despite how fast little feet grow, I've found that she's been wearing out her cheap shoes well before she outgrows them.

These shoes, however, aren't going anywhere anytime soon! They are super sturdy and are created to survive everything toddlers can throw at them (or walk through!). I have no doubt that these shoes will still be in great shape for Peanut's future subjects siblings.

I'm so excited to have found this company! My next splurge? These adorable rain boots. I mean, how cute are those?

Vincent Shoes is having their annual summer clearance sale right now! And guess what? Peanut's red sandals are on sale! You really should check it out. Really, you should.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Zoo

We are blessed to have a wonderful little zoo only about 15 minutes from our home. Although we don't go nearly as often as I (and certainly Peanut) would like, we do take advantage of it at least once a month.

Yesterday we tagged along with my sister, her three kids and my youngest sister.

Peanut met a "quak-quak" up close and personal...

A gorgeous peacock even posed for us in all his glory. We even saw teeny weeny little baby peacocks following along behind their mother!

We chowed down on fruit and sandwiches in the park afterwards...Peanut is a big fan of bananas!
I was even able to capture a spontaneous toddler hug, Peanut loves her cousin!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hypnosis for childbirth

In lieu of a natural childbirth story, today I want to share my personal experience using Hypnobabies, a program that uses hypnosis to ease, and in some cases eliminate, the pain of labor.

When I first heard of using hypnosis for childbirth, I thought it sounded more than a little strange and a kind of creepy. The more I read, however, the more I was persuaded that this could truly transform my labor and delivery experience. Because there were no classes in my area, I bought the home study program and got started. The program consists of a workbook that is full of all kinds of great information on healthy pregnancy and safe delivery and also includes several CDs with hypnosis tracks that are used throughout the course of pregnancy and labor.

For me, the most important and crucial part of the Hypnobabies program was the teaching that birth is natural, healthy and safe for both mother and baby. Every part of their program reinforces this fact. They encourage the use of positive words, substituting "birthing time" for labor and "waves" or "rushes" for contractions. They encourage you to unlearn everything you've been told about birth. Each one of us, whether consciously or unconsciously, carries a certain amount of baggage and pre-conceived notions into our labor based on our prior experiences and what others have told us to expect. A big part of "unlearning" these negative thoughts this is the "Affirmations" track, which is part of the CD package. You are encouraged to listen to this track at least once a day.

The first time I listened to the affirmations track, I couldn't stop giggling. The woman's sing-songy voice and the corny statements seemed all a little much. But I'd already bought the program, so I decided I'd at least give it my best shot. After about a week, I started to really enjoy listening to the affirmations. "Your body was made to have babies", "My baby is healthy inside me now", "My body knows just what to do to give birth to my baby". My favorite affirmation, and one that was especially relevant to me later in my pregnancy was "Babies are born on their birthdays and not when doctors decide".

The hypnosis tracks were equally corny at first, but quickly became a time that I looked forward to each day. They were also a big part of the great sleep I got throughout my pregnancy. Each track reinforced proper breathing and deep relaxation. Another major concept in the hypnobabies program is to let your body take over and do it's work. Many times when we tense up to fight the contractions, we are preventing them from being effective, which can ultimately stall labor progress.

As part of the Hypnobabies program, I surrounded myself with only positive birth stories. I discovered this great website and spent time each week reading these awesome stories. I couldn't believe all the pain-free birth stories that were out there!

Now, if you've read Peanut's birth story, you already know that my labor was not pain-free by any stretch of the imagination. In hindsight, I think that if I had involved Justin in the program through my pregnancy, he could have helped me stay focused through my labor. With that being said, I think the program was a valuable part of what allowed me to have the medication free birth that I wanted to have. The hypnosis tracks were especially useful to me during the time that I labored at home before going to the hospital. I spent hours on my birth ball listening to the soothing words and focusing on positive thoughts and relaxation.

Even without the benefits during labor, the things I learned through the program were invaluable during my pregnancy. It's all about trusting that your body can do what it was created to do. Not just hoping, but truly believing and trusting.

This idea totally transformed my way of thinking. I went from "I'd really like to have a natural birth if I can..." to "Of course I'll have a natural birth! Why wouldn't I?". Our bodies truly are fearfully and wonderfully made - they were created perfectly to grow and nurture new life and to bring it safely into the world.

I'd love to hear what kinds of programs you used to help you achieve a natural childbirth! Please share!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Black Bean and Onion Wrap

While I was on my no sugar diet, I discovered Flat-Out wraps. Oh, they are ever so yummy! And sugar free to boot!

Lunch time around my house is usually leftovers from the night before or a bowl of cereal. Lazy, I know. But every once in awhile, I get the urge to actually cook something for lunch.

I made this on a whim and it was not only very tasty but super easy.

Slice up an onion and saute with about a TBSP of olive oil and a couple cloves of garlic. Dump in a can of black beans. Heat until warm. Spoon some of the bean and onion mixture into a wrap and enjoy! Me and Peanut sure did!

I ate mine with some fresh green beans. Perfect!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another reason to love breast milk

If you have been hanging around my blog for any amount of time at all, you've probably picked up on the fact that I love breastfeeding. It's not just an amazing bonding experience that can't be replicated, it offers unparalleled nutrition and antibodies for the child and amazing health benefits for moms. As if that wasn't enough, I recently discovered a new use for breast milk.

Yesterday morning I noticed that Peanut's eye was watering more than normal and seemed a little irritated. When she got up from her afternoon nap, her eyelid was swollen, caked with crusted gunk and her eye was bloodshot. This was our first bout with conjunctivitis (better known as the dreaded pink eye) so I grabbed my trusty baby book...which recommended antibiotics. I'm pretty proud of the fact that Peanut hasn't had any antibiotics yet and since I'm pretty much a try-a-natural-remedy-first kind of gal I decided to try something else.

I remembered reading somewhere that breast milk can be used to treat pink eye. I figured it was at least worth a try, couldn't hurt, right?

I laid Peanut on the bed and squirted a couple drops straight into her eye. She blinked a couple times and the milk filled her eye. I'm ecstatic about the results! It immediately reduced the redness and washed away all the nasty gunk from her eye. I repeated the treatment twice more yesterday afternoon, just for good measure. This morning the swelling and redness were totally gone but she still had just a tiny amount of discharge, so I "dosed" her again.

Talk about an easy, painless, free solution! I was interested in what exactly causes breast milk to work in this way, so I googled it. In short, there is an antibody called immunoglobulin A present in breast milk that prevents the bacteria in the conjunctivitis from attaching to the eye. (It's the same antibody that is present in tears, which is why allowing a child with pink eye to shed a few tears can actually be helpful in clearing up the infection.) As a result, the bacteria doesn't have an opportunity to grow which will essentially end the infection.

In my research, I ran across this article which lists many other uses for breast milk. I wish I'd known this when Peanut burned her fingers a few months back!

Anyway, thought I would share! Another reason to love breast milk!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peanut's Room Inspiration

When Peanut was born we were still living in a tiny one bedroom house, so for the first year of her life she slept in our bed or in the pack 'n play next to our bed. When we moved into our new house a few months ago, I was estatic about decorating her "big girl" room.

It's still very much a work in progress, but I've been working on little projects this week adding special touches to her space. There is wall mural in the works, so hopefully I'll have some actual room photos to share soon. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these photos below. I've collected them from various sources and they have all added bits of inspiration for her room.