Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mom Knows Best



Having kids is AMAZING! Can I get an Amen, mama? There are some frustrations, yes, but overall, they are the sweetest people to have around. Benjamin says the kindest things to me. In fact, the other day on our way home from the cities, he randomly said, "Mama, your hair looks beautiful like that." Talk about a melted heart!!!

There is a downfall people tend to not talk about, and it doesn't lie within immediate family of you, your significant other and your babies. It lies with other moms and sometimes can even be your own mother or mother in law. They are called "mom shamers" and whether they mean to or not, they certainly make us feel like we are incompetent, they bring up feelings or rage, sadness and doubt within ourselves, though we are doing our very best at being the best moms we can be.

There are so many topics I could cover where mom shamers are most prevalent, but one that really comes to mind, as I have a newborn in the home, is how we feed our babies. I will never forget when my first son was born, how much pressure was put on me to be good at breastfeeding. I remember people talking about a dear friend who's baby was in the NICU and she couldn't produce enough milk and they were saying how horrible it was for her baby because he was already premature. They would tell her to her face and talk behind her back about how she could be doing things this way or that; she must be doing it wrong because "I was able to do it, you must not be trying hard enough." How very heartbreaking! It isn't hard enough to have a baby in the NICU, no certainty whether or not they will survive, let alone people coming and telling you that you are failing as a mother, when you already feel like a failure. It brings tears to my eyes just remembering this.

As for my story, it has its ups and downs. As I said before, the pressure was on with my firstborn. I didn't have much support aside from my husband and as a new mother I had no clue what I was in for. Of course I wanted to breastfeed; they make sure you know that "Breast is Best" which is totally fine. What they don't say is how much it takes out of you, that baby may not latch well, and you really feel tied down. And the TOUCHING. I will never forget the feeling of being "touched out" because I had someone constantly on me, touching me.

I had a hard time getting Benjamin to latch properly and if he would get over hungry he would scream at my boob instead of latching. I was a new mom, the crying really got to me and I became very frustrated with myself to the point of crying because I was failing. I wanted to breastfeed him so badly and if I had to use formula, I would have failed as a mom, though we all know that is not at all true. I tried pumping with a hand me down pump, not even really knowing how to correctly use it. That was also a nightmare, so I never left the house without my baby. We did get into the swing of things with the nursing and I didn't wean him until he was 27 months old. That "touched out" feeling never went away and it wreaked havoc on my marriage. I swore if I ever had another child, I would do it differently. I didn't want the nightmare and I definitely didn't want the stress on my marriage.

Six years later we are blessed with baby #2. Wow, have things changed in this short amount of time, with the education on breastfeeding and the normalizing of it. Even insurance companies provide a breast pump and I happily have a brand new one that works amazing! I was also able to take a class with The Nursing Mama that was all about pumping, because I swore this time I would get away and out of the house for much needed alone time, or time with my oldest or my husband. I wanted things to be different and I am making sure they are.

Little Samuel was born on January 27th and this feeding journey is a lot different already, thankfully. Firstly, I have experience breastfeeding and being a mom so I know more of what to expect, though every baby is different. The nurses made me feel confident in myself when it came to feeding. Samuel latched right away, with no issues, and I think it was because I wasn't so nervous. I am just catching onto his schedule, different feeding cues and getting used to this little person on his own. The Nursing Mama boosted my confidence in the pumping department, though at first it felt like I pumped constantly! When my milk came in, it came in fast and much more than Samuel needed so I already have the bottom of the freezer full. Now I pump once or twice a day. This has been nice, because the days my husband has off, I can go to appointments by myself, or like the other day, take my oldest on a mommy/son date (we went to see the Lego Batman Movie Sunday; it was awesome!). This alone time or "fun" time has helped me feel better and not so overwhelmed in general with the lack of sleep.



Even with all this positivity with breastfeeding, I still struggle. When my milk comes in, it hurts because it comes in so fast and furious, especially if baby has slept an extra hour. There is also the aspect of nipple confusion, which Samuel really hasn't seemed to have, but I worry about it. He doesn't necessarily like the bottle either. Take today for instance; I got back from the cities after my appointment and Samuel was eating a bottle. I went and pumped because I had been gone for a few hours and was very full. Samuel still breastfed almost non-stop once I took him from his daddy until he fell asleep. Is he getting enough from the bottle? Yes, I'm sure he is since we can actually see the ounces, but he doesn't eat as often, because he doesn't prefer it.

Aside from that aspect of feeding, breastfed vs formula fed, and these mom shamers, there is also the breastfeeding-in-public issue that has been a hot topic for a few years now. I feel weird doing it only because of issues in my past, and I know a few other moms who have been sexually abused who it makes them feel awkward. I haven't personally been attacked for breastfeeding in public, but I know it's out there. I make sure to cover up because that is how I prefer to do it, though I know it doesn't bother other moms to just feed in the open.

My point in this is ~ Moms, we do our best no matter how we feed our babies. Whether breastfed exclusively, breastfed while supplementing with formula, or strictly formula feeding, your baby is thriving and that is all that matters. Don't let other moms who think they have it all together get to you, because I'll let you in on a little secret - they don't have it all together. People who tear other's down have something inside of them they are insecure about so don't let them bring you down to their level. YOU are amazing. Don't let someone else tell you otherwise.

Let's all try to be mom supporters instead of mom shamers. Negativity isn't good in any form, let alone tearing down the women raising our future. Go get 'em mama, and feed that baby however you see fit, because you know your baby better than any other person out there.




For information on a good organic baby formula, check out 

Also, check out The Nursing Mama on 
 Instagram and 
Holly is an amazing mama who helped me greatly in the pumping department but she is also an expert on breastfeeding itself (naturally). 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rainbow Babies - Life After Loss



I didn't really post about my pregnancy much, mostly from fear, some because of guilt. Pregnancy after a loss, or in my case more than one loss, isn't all exciting and it is definitely a journey like no other. The first few months were terrifying, then they were exciting and then again towards the end that feeling of impending doom came back. The last month has been up and down emotionally and I'm not sure if it was just hormones or old fears coming back or both. What I do know is that now that Samuel is here, I have never felt a greater joy inside myself than I do now.

Every birth is different but I can honestly say that this birth was so exciting and such a happy time for me. Labor went smoothly - my water broke at 12:30 am and we got to the hospital by 1:30 with contractions 3 minutes apart and getting more intense. By the time I was 5 cm I got an epidural, which I didn't do with Benjamin and I am SO glad for the pain intervention. With it, I was able to enjoy the birth of my son which was absolutely a wonderful experience. By 8:15 am it was go time. Samuel Alexander was born at 8:44 am at 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long. My midwife stayed so calm the whole time, even my husband mentioned this. The environment was so peaceful and I will never forget when Samuel was laid on my chest. I cried my eyes out from pure happiness. Our miracle was here, alive and well, a shock of black hair and just absolutely beautiful. Even as I type this, my heart swells with just pure joy.

Despite all the hell we went through with our miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, through the last year of 2016 of so many downs in the beginning only to work its way up to the happiness we now know, I can only thank God for the blessings we have. They say those who don't know pain don't know true happiness and I can absolutely agree with that. I don't know if I would be as appreciative of this little life as I am without the loss we have endured, without the trying to conceive for years and nothing. The miracle of life is just that - a miracle. All babies are special but rainbow babies do bring a special light into the lives of those who have yearned for them so badly.

I pray for those of you who are struggling with infertility and the broad emotions that come because of it. My heart cries for you because I know so badly that struggle. I know the sadness and disappointment of each month. The hopelessness that follows and depression that is almost guaranteed. I pray that you get to feel this joy because you deserve it. For those who have felt this joy, aren't we so blessed? This joy will not be taken for granted and these children I have been given as a gift from God will be raised to the best of my ability, with God's help.

Welcome to the world Samuel Alexander



1 Samuel 1:20 New International Version (NIV) 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[a] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

 Benjamin Paul 11-3-2010

Adora Ruby 7-17-2013
Lost in Miscarriage

Theodore Andrew 11-9-2015
Lost in Ectopic Pregnancy


Friday, December 30, 2016

'Tis the Season of Giving.....and Greed

A lot of nights at bedtime it is just my son and I, so we listen to Keys for Kids on my phone (a short devotional) and sometimes Adventures in Odyssey through OnePlace.com. Tonight, after my boy fell asleep, I started scrolling through Facebook and came across this video:



Tears silently fell down my face. Not just because of the story itself, but because of an incident that happened yesterday in my own life, with another person. 

My son and I had just left one of my OB appointments, and usually when I'm in the cities I grab groceries at my favorite stores. One of those stores is in Vadnais Heights, so we were headed there. I saw a man at the corner with a sign right off of the exit and saw the car next to me give him something and in my head I was so negative. I hate admitting any of this, but since moving here it is such a common sight and not knowing whether or not the person truly is in need or if they are just panhandling does eventually make me stupid when it comes to helping those in need. Beyond the point. I was being a jerk in my head.

Matthew 5:42New International Version (NIV)


We turned towards the store and there was a young man at another intersection with his dog and a sign as well. I have seen him before in the exact same spot, but this time I really felt I needed to go into the store and grab something from the deli for him and when we left, hand it to him. I KNEW I was supposed to. But instead, I let my mind go negative - why does he have a dog when he can't take care of himself, clearly! - he had a Wendy's cup so he must've already eaten - he was here last time, so he must find this a good spot to catch people for a hand out. Evil, I know. Makes me sick about myself to actually be writing this for the public eye!

I walked into the store and ignored the tug on my heart the WHOLE TIME. That's how cold I was to it. I didn't listen to the still, small voice. I totally ignored it. When we left the store, there he was, standing in the freezing cold. Not making eye contact with anybody. Why would he? Here we all are judging him from inside our warm cars while all he was doing was trying to survive. Who am I to lay judgement on him? I'm a nobody.

That is the story. I ignored when I should have helped. I was getting ready for bed tonight and I literally heard the Holy Spirit tell me, "The times it is necessary will be the hardest." I have been asking God to give me his love for people. To show me when I should help out and show his love. During the Holiday's the need is out there more than ever, or it shows more than ever. I have been asking, and yet when the time came, I ignored it. I ignorantly ignored my mission. I actually prepped a meal one day and brought it with when we made a trip to the cities and sure enough didn't spot a soul who could use it. Then the day I am greedy, cranky and just plain mean, the time arrives, and I am not prepared. God forgive me for my complete ignorance. I hope this post helps you see that it isn't easy and it won't be easy when it is necessary but isn't that the true test? I think so. And this last time I failed. I hope my failure can help someone else fulfill their mission in the future. God bless.

Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada


A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby is a daily devotional that is meant to be encouraging, especially to those living in hard times or going through them. Each day starts off with a verse to look up and read, followed by the author's take on it or a story relating to it and then a short prayer. 

I found that a lot of these have come from Joni Eareckson Tada's own life experiences. If you don't know anything about her, she is a quadriplegic and is founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization that is an outreach to the disabled community. She is a great inspiration seeing all that she has been up against in life and I find great respect in her ability to overcome the obstacles that have been thrown her way.

The devotionals don't really inspire deep thought and are very simple and to the point. The short prayers are also more her prayers, which I would suggest saying a prayer that means something to you, these just help end the devotional in my opinion. A Spectacle of Glory is a good option for a quick devotional read, just make sure you have a Bible or Bible app handy to look up the scripture with.

*I received this devotional from BookLook Bloggers for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes


Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is a widely popular New York Times Bestseller. Given the chance to actually read such a popular book I have heard so much about, I had to take it! 

The edition I received is the 20th Anniversary Edition with a new afterword - some thoughts from Frances Mayes herself on the book she wrote 20 years ago. I have to agree with everyone, that it is a beautifully written memoir that really brings you into the life in Italy, the remodeling of an original home, and my favorite - the food. I absolutely adore that she included recipes in the book. There is actually a chapter called Winter Kitchen Notes that contains quite a few recipes including Wild Mushroom Lasagna, a variety of Bruschette and Chestnuts in red wine. 

Under the Tuscan Sun is said to have inspired many into taking journey's of their own. To take a risk and travel and learn about something out of their own ordinary. I really can see that through the beauty of the pages and how detailed she is in her own experience purchasing a home in Italy. 

If you are looking for an out of the ordinary book to read, Under the Tuscan Sun is right for you. To visit someone else's life through their own eye's is definitely unique and a fun, light-hearted experience.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers


I thoroughly enjoy devotionals that make me think. Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers does just that. The author, Oswald Chambers, is a world renowned theologian and well known for his other book, My Utmost for His Highest, which is also a great read. 

Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers is a beautiful hardcover devotional book with an attached ribbon book mark for keeping one's page very easily. This is a daily devotional, starting with January 1st and ending on December 31st. Each devotion starts with a scripture, followed by a short devotional and ending with a prayer thought and suggested reading from the Bible.

Whether keeping for yourself as a beautiful devotional, or giving as a gift, I really think anyone looking for a great devotional would enjoy this as much as I do. It really is gift ready and perfect for the nightstand, whether doing devotions in the morning or evening. You can purchase it here 
Zondervan Publishing or at your local bookstore or favorite online shop.


*I received Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers free for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Card Season ~ AdoramaPix Has You Covered



AdoramaPix is an amazing company that lets you create beautiful, extremely high quality Christmas cards. The prices are fabulous and the quality! I cannot say enough about the beauty of these cards. This is our second year getting them and I couldn't be happier. Photo cards can look cheap and quite frankly, can be pricey for the quality you get. These will not disappoint! I have never been disappointed with anything I have purchased from AdoramaPix, so I can put these on mythe "I highly recommend this" list!

I was more than thrilled to open my cute little AdoramaPix box this afternoon when the mail came. I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards, and it is the only time of year we do family pictures. It has become a tradition for us, so I was definitely looking forward to it. The experience to create the card was a good one. It is so easy to create your own personalized cards, whether using a template they already have on the site or making your own from scratch.


Gorgeous

There are four Trim's you can choose from: Square, Side, Bracket or Ticket. We chose Square this year because it just looked best with our format and pictures. There are also four papers to choose from: Classic Linen, Royal Matte, Royal Felt or Pearl. We chose Classic Linen for our cards. From there, you upload which photo's you want on your card, add additional text or fun stickers or borders if you want to personalize it even more and most important DON'T forget to change the names to your families name :)

This is the front and back of our cards

The ordering process is extremely easy too. Just choose the amount of cards you want/need and checkout! I chose standard shipping, which was only $5.95. I ordered in the late evening on November 17th and received them today, November 21st. That is really fast in my opinion and now I can start sending these out!

Zoom in to look at the quality of the paper and envelopes

There cards are not the only beautiful things you can purchase on their site. I have gotten the metal prints, which are amazing quality, framed pictures and picture books. They also have other gift idea's like calendars and photo collages as well as canvas prints. I don't think anyone could possibly be disappointed in the price and quality that AdoramaPix offers.

Find the full review here: AdoramaPix ~ Capture the Moment

Find the full review here: AdoramaPix ~ Capture the Moment

Find the full review here: AdormaPix and Metal Prints


To start your card project go here: AdoramaPix Greeting Cards and you may even get lucky and find a discount code on their site. As I type this they have 40% off Greeting Cards with code PXCARD40 I don't know when they will pull this off of the site, so hurry and order now!

*I received these cards as a promotion in exchange for my honest opinion and review. All opinions are 100% my own.



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