Friday, April 29, 2011

New Mommy Talk

So I was thinking today.. I've only been on this journey of motherhood for 3 months and I have already learned a ton! Which things work, which things are super hard that I thought would be easy, which things are easy that I thought would be hard, which things I will do/not do with my next child, and so on and so forth! I do know there is an element that "every baby is different", and other influential factors, so maybe all of these things I 'think' I know now will not be true when/if we have more children! :) I've caught myself thinking things like 'Oh yeah, I'll remember this for the next one' -but who are we kidding? I think the term is "mom brain". So yeah, I WILL forget them.
       I decided I want to compile a list of random things that I want to remember in case they come handy in the future, & maybe some of my mommy-to-be friends can think about this stuff that I didn't think about before my sweet Evelyn came!  But, be reminded, everyone might not agree on every little thing here, but like I said this is just what has worked for us so far, or what has not worked and I would do differently! To be completely honest I hesitated for a while before posting this, because I definitely do not want to come across like I've got all the answers and have it all together. I'm a rookie. I am in NO WAY an expert on anything, especially being a baby momma! So now that another wordy disclaimer is out of the way I guess I can get to it ;)

  • Do not rock the baby to sleep every night. Yes, I just heard you gasp. But no, the first week or so home, I did rock her to sleep when it was bed time and after middle of the night feedings, and I think that for the first week or so home that is fine! Everything is so new for you and for the little one who's been living in his or her own personal, dark, sound muffled, warm, cozy swimming pool for all of his/her life! But after that window of adjustment, put the baby down awake! Not fully awake & alert, but not asleep. Then they will learn from the beginning how to soothe themselves to sleep without the aid of being held or rocked. It is rough the first several nights, because they will cry. Yes, babies DO cry, and it's OKAY! ( maybe I am just reassuring myself here :P). But for Evelyn, after a rough first few nights she now goes to sleep on her own no problem at night and after night feedings usually without a peep. But I don't want myself to be so hard-set on this 'rule' of mine. I know she is only so little once and I want to be able to rock my baby to sleep, so I sometimes I do. And that's okay. This is just a habit that worked to get her to go to sleep well :)
  • Put baby down for naps in the crib! That is, if your eventual goal is to have baby take naps in her crib. This is one that I wish I would have done differently. The first few weeks newborns are sooo sleepy they take like 8 naps a day, and basically snooze in an out of consciousness all day long. But again, this is after that super-new-sleepy-baby stage the first couple weeks. I had been putting Evelyn in this cozy, reclined, vibrating thingy for her naps. And she 9 times out of 10 would go down for her naps without any fussing and just go to sleep within 5 minutes. (I would, too, if I had my own cushy vibratey bed!) But around 4-5 weeks, Evelyn was now sleeping in her crib upstairs at night, and I wanted her to nap there too.  So I ended up just getting really frustrated because in the crib she would cry from anywhere from 5-15 minutes before falling asleep, and she had never before! And as soon as I started to swaddle her in her blanket she would start crying like she knew the horrible torture I was about to put her through. And that breaks a mommy's heart! :( So I would just move her naps to the crib earlier. Sometimes she still naps in her swing, or while someone is holding her, but again these are general, flexible, rules that CAN have exceptions :)
  • Allow baby time each day to play by themselves. Evelyn loves her little play mat she lays on with toys dangling above her. I started her playing on it everyday at about 3 weeks probably. At that point they definitely do not intentionally "play". Their cute little arms and legs still have a mind of their own. But its fun as they grow to see them start to look at the toys, and hit them with their flailing arms, and now Evelyn is at the age where she intentionally grabs and grasps onto them and loves it! She could keep herself happily entertained for 45 minutes, and maybe longer if I let her!
  • Do tummy time! Every day, starting as soon as you bring them home from the hospital! At first they can only handle 3-5 minutes of it because their big heads are so stinkin' heavy & its hard work! And Evelyn usually cried the first few weeks. But as their little necks get stronger they can do it for longer periods of time and before you know it they can hold their heads up without even bobbling and even enjoy it! Evelyn really like tummy time (usually!) now and can hold her head up very well.
  • A consistent daily schedule aids baby in sleeping through the night earlier and makes each day (somewhat) predictable. I won't post our daily schedule because this post is already way too long and If you haven't passed out from boredom yet, that would do it!
  • TAKE LOTS AND LOTSA PICTURES! Self-explanatory :)
  • Enjoy even the tough moments. Its easy to get frustrated and wish time away, like "I can't wait til she sleeps through the night' or 'I can't wait til she can sit up' or whatever that next milestone is. Those things are great and good to look forward to...but enjoy them each and every stage because it does fly by. I feel like I don't have any credibility to say any of these things because we're talking only 3 months now :P But I still think it's true!
  • Don't expect to have all the answers and solutions to everything that comes up.  This is a toughie for me! This whole process is nothing but a moment by moment learning experience!
  • which leads me to: Be willing to ask for and accept help.
  • STAY CALM. Even the fussiest baby cannot cry forever. :)
Well there are a few of the thoughts bouncing around my head today. Hope I didn't bore you to tears! Feel free to post helpful hints/tricks/tips that worked for you as you raised or are raising your kiddos!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    "Don't cry over spilled milk..."

    But seriously. I'm thinking that whoever came up with the saying "Don't cry over spilled milk" probably lived in a time where you got your milk from a cow out back and you could just go "squeeze" a "gallon" whenever your little heart desired. I don't actually know all the ins and outs of milking a cow, but I guess I am just trying to justify actually crying over spilled milk this afternoon. Today I ventured out to Sparkle in Grafton to get milk which is on sale 2/$5 (anyone remember the good old days when milk would be on sale for $1.98?) because we have been milkless for like a week over here. I just cannot bring myself to pay $3.79 for a gallon of milk. Anyway, so Ev & I ventured out on this cold rainy day to go to the store. To which I wore flip flops and a coat without a hood. Mistake #1. We got in, got the milk, got out. I decided to put the milk behind the drivers seat kind of stuck under the seat so it wouldn't slide all over the place on the way home. Mistake #2.. APPARENTLY, as I was hastily loading it in the van (as I'm standing, flip-flopped, in a huge puddle) one of the gallons scraped against a pokey sharp thing under my seat. I of course, didn't notice it until I got home and as I'm bringing them in, I have a trail of white from the van to my house...and all down my pants and onto my now sticky bare feet. And then I cried. So basically I am a wet, frizzie-haired, milky, tear stained mess.Long story short and a roll of duct tape later: this is a current picture of my refrigerator. The FDA would have a field day.

    Now, you must be asking why I tell you all this..because I just asked myself the same thing. Then I remembered. After I jerry-rigged my milk jug, I started thinking and evaluating why exactly I got so upset about the milk. I am not necessarily saying its wrong to get emotional (okay OVERLY-emotional) about something petty like milk, but God actually used this silly instance to teach me something. God has been teaching me a lot about the focus of my heart, lately.

    Starting in Sunday school last week... we talked about Mary (Martha's sister) sitting at Jesus' feet when he visited their home, and in another instance pouring out costly oil on Jesus and wiping His feet with her hair. What beautiful scenes. In my devos a few days ago, God revealed to me a distracted heart. Kind of like Martha in the scene from the end of Luke 10. In the past few weeks the most focused, uninterrupted, intentional times have been spent focusing on something other than Jesus. Whether it's spending time with my family, getting things done around the house, or whatever it is- it hasn't been Jesus. I realized this that day in devotions when I sat down and started in prayer and my mind kept wandering a billion different directions, and it felt foreign to actually totally focus on God and really fellowship with Him. God used that to smack me in the face (lovingly, of course) and humble me. I was reminded of this today after getting so worked up about something so trivial compared to what is truly important in this life: A relationship with my Heavenly Father and allowing His grace to work in me and use me-- for HIS glory! It is so refreshing to spend set aside time focused on our Loving Father, casting our cares upon Him, and just worshiping Him with our lives. Only through abiding in unhindered fellowship with Him can we respond in a way pleasing to Him in all of life's situations. In the big things, yes, but even in the little things like leaky milk. :)

    Hope this is an encouragement and reminder to you to keep an eternal perspective, and also to set aside time each day coming boldly before the throne of grace!

    "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

    "...casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 
    1 Peter 5:7

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Classic me...

    This blog is, unintentionally, a fabulous representation of hundreds- maybe thousands!- of half empty journals left helplessly in the wake of Jody the Unfinisher. Okay, so maybe I'm being slightly dramatic. But really, I couldn't even begin to guess how many journals I've started, wrote in diligently and semi-regularly for a couple months, and then just stopped cold turkey! It drives me nuts! And the reason I start a completely new one is two-fold. 1) Because I am a sucker for buying pretty new journals, and 2) I feel weird picking up an old journal and having 2 consecutive entries dating a good 3 or 4 months apart. I just cannot do it! So here we virtual journal. I started this a couple months ago, wrote 2 entries, and here I am many weeks down the road writing entry #3. Dah! Another weird thing is I started this blog with the intention of no one reading it. Yup, that's right,  I've posted my deepest darkest secrets on the world wide web with the intention of no one reading it. But somehow, without my hundreds of adoring followers begging me to keep posting, it just kind of died. But, I am here to REVIVE it! Yes! And I want to share it with you. Whoever you are, thank you for sticking with me this long into my very wordy disclaimer. I am done. Oh, P.S. Feel free to read my first two posts ;)

    But anyway, as of late I have been really into/borderline obsessed with food blogs and websites. Cooking, Baking, Eating, you name it- I like it. I love to find new recipes and try them out on my poor  husband. What a champ... He's been by my side for it all. Many average dishes, one or two (or three) totally inedible ones, the occasional dish dumped all over the floor, and comforted me through more oven burns than I care to count. Which I probably could, since most have left scars :-P But as time goes on and practice makes perfect, I have come a long way from when we were first married.   But I did want to share a couple recipes I've tried the past few days that turned out well!

    First things first....everybody loves a good frappuccino. Well, maybe not everybody...but definitely me! I loooove Starbucks and every once in a while, usually while traveling, hubby & I will stop and get 2 tall caramel frapps. Yum!  But no one in their right mind would regularly spend that much money for a drink (though I envy those who do...), so I decided to try & make them at home this morning! So here's how..

    3/4 cup of chilled strong-ish coffee ( I don't usually make coffee so not sure what exactly strongish means to normal people)
    2 cups of ice ( I used crushed)
    1 cup of milk ( I used a little less than 1c of milk and filled it to the 1c mark with flavored creamer)
    2 tbsp of sugar
    One good long squirt of caramel syrup

    I know, these directions are SO exact. But I was just kind of making things up as I went...and they can be tweaked to your liking! But basically trow it all in a blender. Blend. Pour. Drink. Yum.

    Also I made this Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole from

    This isn't by any means a gourmet impress-your-in-laws dish, but it is super easy, quick, and so good! It is usually like pulling teeth to get leftovers eaten around here (okay, they're usually MY teeth) but I love this reheated in the toaster oven covered in foil, and leftovers are gone in a day or two!

    1 lb. lean ground beef
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 cup tomato pasta sauce
    6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
    • Heat oven to 375°F. In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in pasta sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.
    • Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese and sour cream; mix well.
    • Pour hot beef mixture into ungreased 9 1/2 or 10-inch glass deep-dish pie pan or 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over beef mixture.
    • Unroll dough over cheese mixture. (If using pie pan, separate dough into 8 triangles; arrange points toward center over cheese mixture, crimping outside edges if necessary.) In small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese and butter. Spread evenly over dough.
    • Bake uncovered at 375°F. for 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.

    These are the directions copied from I did make a few tweaks, that I think worked great! I omitted the onion (neither of us love onions) and added a tsp or two of minced garlic and a little Italian seasoning while browning the beef for some extra flave. Also, I added some garlic powder to the butter/parm cheese mixture. I like garlic. I also baked it in an 11x7 pyrex dish. Actually the first time I made this I was (apparently) in a hurry and/or distracted because I accidently mixed the sour cream/cheese mixture right in with the beef and sauce instead of layering it. The second time I followed the recipe, and I actually liked my way better. I am an accidental culinary genius! I think it just stays together better if you mix it all together :)  So there you have it! Easy, yummy, weeknight meal! Serve with a salad and you're good to go.

    That's all I have for today...This blog will probably be a bit of everything from my life. Encouraging things of God, my life as a wife & mom, the ministry, food, thoughts, and who knows whatever else will come to my heart and mind :)