Thursday, July 29, 2010

Communion for Dogs?

Okay, I'll admit when I started reading this article my first thought was, "thank goodness it wasn't in a Catholic parish..."

But wow, it's still kind of shocking!

Motherhood: Is My Vocation Too Distracting?

Being a Mom during Mass has been on my mind lately. The idealized version of what this should look like isn’t hard to come up with: a mother and a father with X number of perfectly behaved children between them sitting, or kneeling, silently. While this certainly is something to be aspired towards, the reality, particularly with small, opinionated toddler-age people in tow, often falls short. Teaching a toddler how to behave during Mass sometimes feels like penitential suffering that, if the parents survive, could knock off major time in purgatory (okay, maybe that’s a little over the top, but sometimes that’s what it feels like!). It’s hard to focus on the Mass when you’re getting up and leaving the building with a screaming toddler every fifteen (or twenty, or ten, or five…) minutes.

I started reading all that I could about the subject, looking for the wisdom of more experienced mothers, and reminding myself that this too shall pass. And I found the sort of advice that I’d typed up in the past (when I had a well-behaved 23 month old, instead of a rowdy 25 month old and felt like I was in a position to give advice… ah, pride…): sit in the front row so the child can see, bring religious children’s books and a child’s rosary, and don’t allow the child to play if they have to be taken outside (time outs shouldn’t be fun!). All things that we do that used to work, and that hopefully, someday, will work again… but that for the time being aren’t working at all…

So I cling to the knowledge that this truly will pass (all too quickly too! Because I love these baby years and I’m not looking forward to a baby-less time in the somewhat distant future, although Mass will certainly be quieter and sleep should be easier…).

The other advice I saw given didn’t really offer anything concrete to help, but repeated instead that children could not be allowed to distract their parents from the Mass. This advise usually began with the disclaimer “I don’t have children, but…” or “I don’t have children, but when I do…” possibly followed by something about childrearing gleaned from books (it’s amazing how far the gap between theory and practice can actually feel in reality). The advice usually went on to say something like: “My relationship with God comes before everything else and I can’t let my children distract from that during the Mass.”

This way of thinking about children and the Mass has bothered me all week and my thoughts kept returning to the words I’d read and the advice-less “advice.” Here’s why:

As wives and mothers we have a vocation, a call from God, to care for our families. Ideally we would be able to focus every bit of attention that we have on the Mass… but at this moment we have been tasked with raising up children who will love and honor and know God and sometimes that means small (or enormous) distractions that are also a part of our vocation, which ultimately should draw us closer to our Creator.

Caring for our children should not separate us from God. Instead it draws us closer as we sacrifice our own desires to do what is best for the little ones who have been entrusted to our care. The priest at the front of the Church saying Mass is living his vocation… and when a mother scoops up her child in her arms and takes them out to have a little talk about how we behave when we are in God’s house, she is living her vocation as well.

Our vocation involves self-giving from the start and this does not end when we walk through the doors of our parish. We do our best to participate in the Mass and to raise up children who will follow our example, perhaps learning humility along the way as we realize how imperfect our attempts are and trusting that God’s Grace will get us through.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sprinklers= Summer Time Joy

With the triple digit heat here to stay for a while, it's too hot to be outside during the afternoons... however, the mornings are perfect sprinkler weather. While Sadie has been spending a lot of time in her little pool on Nani and Grumpa's front porch, she hadn't played in a sprinkler until today (Daddy is all the way across the country right now, so we're spending a lot of time at Nani and Grumpa's). It is definitely a new, favorite activity. Here are a few of the pictures from today's sprinkler adventure:

Ready. Set...

Go!

Joy!

Resting and then...

More fun!

Is this blanket for drying off?

Resting after a long morning of sprinkler sprinting.

Looking up at the branches of an oak tree.

Maggie's morning.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Outfit(s) of the Week: Too Many to Pick Just One!

While I've lately lamented how hard it is to find modest clothing in mainstream stores, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found when I was looking at the dresses on Etsy last night (while both girls were asleep at the same time! Yay!). While they aren't exactly in my price range at this point in time (another reason to expand my sewing skills) they are beautiful! And I just had to share some of my favorites with you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye Frequent Flier Miles

I'm a little bit jealous of Paul and his upcoming trip.

Last week I signed on to United.com and stared at the screen. There they were: my carefully hoarded frequent flier miles. I'd managed to keep them from expiring by buying something small from one of the shops that have a relationship with United once a year, but the time had come to use them... to send Paul to Rome!

Of course I would have liked to go with him. The thought did flicker through my mind, only to be quickly dismissed as unrealistic. A family trip to Rome just isn't near being in the budget at this point in our lives. Paul, however, needs to be in Rome and he needs to be there soon.

He's applying to the Angelicum and after corresponding back and forth with a couple of people has discovered that he needs to go to Rome to apply (he could apply later, but we couldn't figure out how the funding would work). And since we need to get the financial aid packet to make this work (you can apply for federal loans for the Angelicum) he needs to go in person and get all the paper work figured out.

So Paul is going to Rome for one week in January!

He's also getting ready to take the LSATs and will be applying to law schools in the US (along with canon law programs). There will be big decisions to make in the next year (although I think the Angelicum is still at the top of the list!)!

"Learn to Be Quiet..."

Not too long ago I wrote a post about how grateful I feel when I go to Mass…

… And then I went from being a mom with a toddler to being a mom with a toddler and an infant…

I was still fairly confident when I went to Mass two Sunday’s ago. Maggie was a week old and had already proved to be a quiet baby that sleeps constantly and watches the world in near silence when she is awake. And while I was a little nervous about how Sadie would act, since she usually watched Mass perched a top my baby bump, I never expected the all out tantrums that suddenly started as we sat in our regular, front row spot.

The funny thing is, Sadie is thrilled to have a new little sister the rest of the time (in other words, when we’re not at Mass). She brings Maggie toys and kisses her and even “reads” to her while holding her hand and pressing it against the pages of the book. And while she’s a little impatient with how long it can take Mommy to do things these days (and with the fact that I can’t scoop her up in my arms at the moment) she’s really done very well with her new role as big sister (and helper… she even decided on her own that it was time to change Maggie’s diaper and brought over a bag of wipes for me.).

Now our experience at Mass goes something like this: We walk in and sit down and everything is fine. Sadie sits through the readings in complete silence, although she does fidget more than she used to (I’d say that’s pretty age appropriate though). Then it’s time for the homily… which was a problem part of the Mass even before Maggie arrived. You see, for some reason, Sadie has decided that she is terrified of clapping and laughing (on a large/loud scale) and our pastor begins every homily with a joke that usually garners both. I still hold out hope that he’s not going to tell a joke, or that she’s not going to notice the sudden loud, booming laughter, but neither of my hopes has been answered so far and Sadie is usually crying huge, hysterical tears by the time the laughter has died down. Paul whisks her out the back… and after about ten minutes later she’s ready to come back in…

Back in the days when I could hold Sadie, she would usually fall silent for the rest of Mass. Lately we have come to expect an additional two tantrums in the half hour that follows. Paul whisks her out of the pew and down the side aisle to the back each time. Sometimes they stay at the back. Sometimes, like today, she calms down and they come back, only to have another fuss just before the consecration. Paul then whisks her out again, to stay at the back this time.

At this point I have the easy job. Maggie spends almost all of Mass curled up against my chest. I’m hoping that once I’m able to lift Sadie again everything will calm down…

But in the meantime… I feel like bursting into tears… or changing parishes. I shouldn’t feel this upset, but today we had another person come up to Sadie and Paul (while they were standing outside during Mass so she could calm down). When the woman opened the door to go in it creaked and she looked at Sadie and said “that doors almost as noisy as you are. You need to learn to be quiet.” in a less than friendly tone.

How lovely to say something in a mean tone to a two year old at Mass, particularly when her parents are obviously working to correct the behavior and are removing her so that she doesn’t disturb others (although apparently she was disturbed by Sadie being outside as she was walking back from the bathroom in the parish hall).

I walked out at the end of this, so that I could switch with Paul, because I had a feeling Sadie wasn’t going to be walking up with him to the front when he received. We switched and Sadie sat and stared at the wall, pointing at a cobweb (even a time out looking at the wall can be interesting when you’re two…).

I had quite a few people come up to me after Mass and relate their own experiences when they had little ones and tell me we’re doing a great job and that this too shall pass. Yet I had to keep myself from stewing when I went home about the less friendly comment (particularly since it was said to Sadie instead of to me this time) and had to keep myself from thinking up snarky responses.

On the upside, Sadie’s tantrums were quieter and less frequent today. I’d say she actually sat quietly, in the pew, during 75% of the Mass (45 minutes isn’t bad for a 2 year old). She was outside with Paul during the other 25%. We’re heading in the right direction… and hopefully in the next few weeks Sadie will be back to normal and will sit reading her little Bible and mass books and holding her Holy Baby doll.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Maggie's Birth Announcement Picture

Medal Choices

Here's the list of the medals I have in stock right now. I was planning on posting pictures buy my camera just ran out of batteries (I'm glad it made it through the drawing!) and will be charging for the next couple of hours. I do plan on posting pictures soon though (hopefully tonight as long as I can get Sadie to go to sleep at a reasonable hour... unlike last night...).

These medal choices are also available for anyone who wants a bracelet but doesn't see what they're looking for at my store. I do custom orders!
  • Saint Gerard
  • Saint Dominic/ Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Medal
  • Saint Francis/ Saint Anthony
  • Saint Jude/ Saint Raphael
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Saint Peregrine/ Mater Dolorosa
  • Our Lady of Prompt Succor
  • Our Lady of Fatima
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Padre Pio (tiny medal)
  • Saint Teresa of Avila
  • Little Flower, Saint Therese/ Virgin of Carmel
  • Infant of Prague/ Guardian Angel
  • Saint Christopher
  • Miraculous Medal

And the Winner is...


Putting Sadie's two Easter hats together was the perfect way to mix all the entries! There were so many this time that I had to get creative. Maybe I will have to look into using one of those random programs next time!

Mixed and ready to draw!

And the winner is...


Congratulations Goddard 7! Email me at thiswomansplace@gmail.com (and let me know which medal you would like on your bracelet. I'm about to post the metals that I have in stock right now) and I'll make the bracelet and get it ready to send out as soon as I hear from you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prayers for A Much Loved Grandmother

Pleas pray for the repose of the soul of Kathleen, Paul's Grandmother, who passed away last night. We're so grateful that Sadie got to meet her amazing great grandmother!


"Cum autem mortale hoc induerit immortalitatem, tunc fiet sermo, qui scriptus est: Absorpta est mors in victoria. Ubi est mors victoria tua? Ubi est mors stimulus tuus? "
-I Corinthii 15:54-55

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Open Letter to Fashion Designers Everywhere: Let's Be Realistic...

Dear Fashion Designers and Sellers of Clothing Everywhere:

I'm tired of being disappointed by you. No more will I wait with bated breath for the September issue of Vogue... it just never lives up to my apparently unrealistic expectations (more on that later).

I don't think I'm asking for too much. I mean is it too much to expect just a tiny bit of common sense? We all know you're going to go crazy with runway designs, but why does the stuff that makes it into stores have to be equally far fetched?

Here are a few of my complaints (they're really just the tip of the iceberg...):

My #1 Complaint:

-Why does one part of my body always have to be falling out of your clothing? If a dress is long, it's practically a given that it's going to be so cut that a Janet Jackson Super Bowl "accident" is a very real possibility. If a dress has a lovely neckline it's going to be so short that the wearers bum will barely be covered. It would be nice to buy something and not have to think about how I'm going to layer a camisole under it and a sweater over it so that it meets the bare minimal standards of coverage.

On Pregnancy Fashion:

-Pregnant women (outside of a rare few in Hollywood) don't want to wear miniskirts. When a pregnant woman walks into a pregnancy store she's doesn't want to feel like she's looking at the teeny-bopper rack at Forever 21. She doesn't want to even think about buying something that barely covers her bum. And it's absolutely ridiculous to think that you can walk into a Motherhood Maternity store and ask if they have any skirts that come to the top of the knees and be told "no... we don't have anything like that..." (that actually happened to me this past November...).

-Just forget about putting suggestions like "You should be able to buy your pre-pregnancy size" in your catalog, on your website, or on a cute little sign in your maternity store when telling pregnant women what size they should be trying on or buying. I've gone from Small to XL in both of my pregnancies. And the idea that the only part of a woman's body that grows during pregnancy is a cute little bump ("here, use this pillow and you can see what will fit when you're in your third trimester!") is absurd. Let's be realistic here. Again, most of the people buying your clothes don't live in Hollywood.

I could go on... but instead I think I'll start paging through some of the sewing books sitting in my crafting area. Because, unsurprisingly the nursing top selection isn't much better than the normal day to day fashions (or the maternity fashions) and I'm getting a little desperate... I have some ideas though (and some snaps that were on clearance). Hopefully there will be a cute sewing post before too long!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Full of Grace Creations Facebook Page

Full of Grace Creations (my little etsy store!) has a facebook page! I just started it last night, so it still needs a lot of work, but I thought I'd let everyone know just in case you're interested in being a facebook fan and getting updates! I'll be loading more pictures and info tonight!

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Sadie and Lucy

Sadie nursed for twenty-one months... and since Nani gave her Lucy, her American Girl Baby Doll, back in December I've wondered why Lucy only gets a bottle. I always imagined that babies who were nursed would imitate their mom's and pretend to nurse their dolls. Not Sadie. She loves the little white and pink bottle that came with Lucy (perhaps slightly more than the doll itself) and she plays with it constantly. The other day I caught her holding her sippy cup upside down trying to dump her milk into it.

It may not be a tractor, but it is one of her favorite toys!

Maybe I think it's so funny because Sadie didn't really use a bottle. It wasn't as if I was against using bottles once feeding was established. In fact, I bought a whole basket full of cute bottles to use when the time came (despite being ambushed by a woman in the bottle aisle who acted like I was committing a horrendous act by looking at that particular section). However when Sadie was two months old and I gave her expressed milk for the first time we were horrified to find that we suddenly had an extremely colicky baby who screamed for the entire afternoon and evening. The bottles were put away and I really hadn't thought much about them until now.

This time I'm not going to be giving bottles another try... but for an entirely different reason... I'm lazy. Bottles involve a lot of work... and after 22 months of nursing I've gotten the hang of it. If I can avoid boiling bottles and pumping and cut back on a little extra work, I will. Now back to Sadie and Lucy...

Lately Sadie and I have been feeding Lucy and Maggie together. And here's what our feeding sessions look like:





And if I so much as suggest that she nurse Lucy she looks at me like I am completely insane (and then brings me Lucy to feed her myself). I wonder how long it will be before I find her trying to stick that little bottle in Maggie's mouth... I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Countdown to Toddler Lifting!

Since I'm counting the days until I can scoop Sadie up into my arms again I thought I'd get a ticker to help me out. Here it is:

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

One thing that really has amazed me these last few weeks is how strong I feel. After two years of picking Sadie up and carrying her around my arms are stronger than they ever were when I was doing pushups every day in karate class, playing rugby or surfing. Nothing beats spending 14 hours a day lifting 35 lbs up and then setting 35 lbs back down again.

The best part is that I don't get tired carrying Maggie. I remember thinking that Sadie's 9 lbs 4 ounces used to get heavy after a while. But Maggie feels so light to me I think I could carry her around all day (and if you count the time she spends in her Moby wrap I guess I do!). And hoisting her car seat into and out of the car is a breeze.

I never really thought about it before I had Sadie, but Mom's really have to be pretty strong! Being a mom is a way better arm workout than I ever got at the gym!

Losing the Baby Weight: Week 2

I'm halfway there. And that means one thing... the pounds that have been falling off up until this point are about to take a dramatic dip. Eventually, once I get the go ahead from the doctor, it will mean working to get back into shape.

So far I'm 24 lbs down with 21 lbs left to go.

Of course in this case "working" to get back in shape doesn't mean anything drastic. I'll still be eating the same amount because I know that cutting back at all could be disastrous to my milk supply (when Sadie was around 10 months old I tried eating just three regular meals on Ash Wednesday... and I ended up with a screaming baby that night when my milk disappeared until the next day... so I have learned my lesson!). It just means doing something more than walking back and forth from one end of town to the other (and producing insane amounts of milk so Maggie can cluster feed 10 times in a row like she did this evening!).

I have a couple of exercise DVDs I've been dying to try out during nap time and I'd love to reintroduce plyometrics into my daily workout routine (lunges while pushing a stroller! and that sort of thing). Maybe I'll get really ambitious someday and train to run a 5k or a spring triathalon (all that toddler chasing ought to be good for those goals).

I'm counting the days until I can scoop Sadie up into my arms again. That actually seems to have been the hardest part of this whole "new baby sister" process for her. She loves Maggie and she's proud to be a big sister... but she really misses Mommy being able to pick her up and carry her around. And I miss it too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cloth Diaper Folds: Learning As I Go!

After I stocked up on cloth diapers the next logical step in the process was to learn how to fold them. I went back to the forums and looked at the folds that had been suggested by cloth diapering moms and then I started googling. I watched quite a few YouTube videos on flat diapers (to see if I'd ever even try to use the half dozen in my possession), but found that it was easier for me to learn and follow the steps by looking at pictures. Katie's Kisses is a definite favorite. I used the drawing there to learn the basic angel wing fold, which is what we've been using so far (here's a video of it for those of you who learn more easily from watching a demonstration!). I haven't tried anything else, since that's working so well for us, but there are other folds that look easy to learn there also. The bikini twist fold on this site looks interesting too, although I haven't tried it yet (other than on Sadie's Curious George). And here's one more site with advice on folding diapers!

Do any of the cloth diapering moms out there have advice on favorite folds (and/or links for sites with explanations of folds)? What's worked best for your baby? Has anyone tried flat diapers (I have to admit that the videos of the flat diapers can seem pretty intimidating!)?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Cloth Diapering Supply List

I am still pretty excited about cloth diapers! While I started off this process to save money and cut back on the amount we were sending to the local land fill, I've been surprised to find that the actual implementation of cloth diapers in our daily life is actually positive. So while I am still very much a cloth diapering beginner I've been impatient to write a post about all that I've learned so far.

I began my cloth diapering search by reading all that I could find about the supplies that I would need to make my cloth diapering adventure successful. After asking a few questions on the Catholic Answers parenting forum, reading description after description of the diapers on a few online stores and bringing up every cloth diapering mom's blog that I could think of I decided on pre-folds. I was certainly tempted by some of the all-in-one diapers that I saw, but when it came down to it, the pre-folds sounded sturdier and I really wanted diapers that would last through more than a couple little blessings. That was added to by the fact that the price was right for pre-folds.

I spent several hours over the course of several days searching and comparing prices and finally got ready to order two dozen pre-folds from Little Lions Cloth Diapers clearance page along with a couple of diaper covers... only to find that every diaper I'd planned on ordering was sold out when I went to put in my payment information (it would have been helpful to know that a little earlier!). While I normally would have waited for new diapers to come in I wasn't sure I had the time. My due date was rapidly approaching and I really wanted the diapers to be in our house, washed and folded, when we got home from the hospital. And I wanted to practice folding! So I went back to searching and by the end of the day ordered two dozen unbleached OsoCozy DSQ Indian Prefolds and a few more covers.

Since I'd read so many positive reviews about different covers I ordered a few different covers so that we could see which one worked best for us. Soon the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and Bummis Whisper Pant arrived in the mail. Because we were fairly sure that we were having another big baby (and we did!) I was hesitant about buying anything in a "newborn size." So far we have yet to have a "newborn" sized baby. However I did order to Bummis Whisper Pants in newborn (at $5 a piece) just in case Maggie happened to be tiny when she arrived (thankfully, at 9 lbs 1 oz, she fit right into the small sized covers). Next came a Bummis Super Brite Diaper Cover (although I didn't appreciate the fact that they substituted the pink cover I'd ordered with a ugly green one...) and a Thirsties Duo Wrap.

Then, while I was in labor, I panicked about having enough diaper covers (while timing contractions and writing a blog... talk about multi-tasking!) and ordered a Wonder Wrap and a Happy Heiny's Cover. My diaper cover stash was (for the time being) complete.

The two other (nearly) essential diapering accessories that have really made life easier were the microfleece diaper liners that I ordered (although I'm now using them to make my own out of fleece I already have) and the two Snappies that really were designed by a genius!

Thus far the Thirsties Duo Wrap is my favorite diaper cover, although none of the covers have been a disappointment (Paul asked me to add a note warning new cloth diapering moms that the cover must completely cover the cloth diaper underneath... or your just asking for trouble!).
And that is my beginning cloth diapering supply list!

I planned on writing a section on diaper folds and instructional websites tonight, but this post is already a little bit on the long side, so I will save that for my next diapering post (hopefully tomorrow if I don't fall asleep before I type it out!). Now to sleep!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sleep Deprived? Not this time!

I don't know why I'm so sleepy right now! I could blame it on these two:



...but to be honest, Maggie is already a champion sleeper for her age and Sadie actually slept through the night last night.


I have to admit, while I might be a little bit "tired" it in no way compares with the exhaustion I felt last time around. I really had no idea that two babies could be so different this early on! But looking back I could already see the signs of these differences when they were in the womb.

Before Sadie was born I could hardly sleep. She was up all night twisting and turning and kicking. And every night around 2am she would hold a four hour party that involved drumming on my bladder and doing backflips.

Maggie hardly moved at night. I would have worried if there had ever been any variation, but she was always quite and I got used to relatively easy nights (as easy as can be when your pregnant anyways).

Once outside the differences have remained.

Sadie was born with a desire to nurse. Constantly. She demanded marathon feeding sessions and one particularly memorable session lasted seven hours. She took breaks from nursing to be burped and changed, but then she latched right back on and drank away.

This would have been tough enough during the day, but since she didn't feel the need to sleep at night, it meant twenty four hours of an hour of nursing with half an hour off for several months.
While I knew that Sadie nursed "a lot" I also kind of thought that all babies were like that.

Fast forward to the present: Maggie slept quite a bit her first night (and I had even refused the morphine that I needed with Sadie). She woke up every two hours and then capped off the night by sleeping for four consecutive hours while I was already awake and was starting to worry that she hadn't woken up to feed.

The pediatrician at the hospital assured me that I didn't need to wake her up to eat if she slept for a long stretch, although my OB laughed when I said that Maggie was sleeping well and told me not to get used to it.

But I am starting to get used to it. A pattern has started to develop. We go to sleep and Maggie sleeps until sometime between two and four. Then she wakes up desperately hungry and spends an hour or two eating ravenously. After that she goes back to sleep and sleeps until sometime around seven (even though it's hard for anyone in our home to sleep past six, which is the time by which Sadie thinks that everyone in the house should be up and watching Cars). All of this means I'm getting more sleep (consistently) than I got in the first 18 months of Sadie's life (she was still nursing hourly at night when I night weaned her in January at 18 months).

I'm still a little amazed by Maggie's schedule, but I'm definitely not tempted to wake her up to get her to eat a little something either. Maybe I'll actually have a baby who sleeps through the night before she's two this time around... or maybe even before she's one... Dare to dream!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Full of Grace Creations Pearl Rosary Bracelet Giveaway!

It's been a while since my last giveaway and I thought it was time for another! So in honor of Maggie Rose's birth I am giving away a freshwater pearl rosary bracelet (Margaret means "pearl")!

Here's a few pictures of a bracelet like the one I'm giving away. The winner will be able to pick the medal of their choice. I'll photograph the medals and crucifixes that I have and post them before I draw the winner (off the top of my head there will be St Gerard, St Theresa of Avila, St Therese of Liseaux, St Francis, St Anthony and a number of others, along with a couple of tiny crucifixes).


To enter in the giveaway leave your email address so that I can contact you in the comment section.

For three extra entries become a follower and let me know that you'd like the three extra entries in the comment section! Or if you're already a follower just leave a note in the comments saying that you'd like the three "follower" extra entries.

Lastly you can get another five entries if you blog about the giveaway and let me know!

I'll draw the winner on Sunday, July 25th after 12 pm Pacific Time so make sure you enter by then. And don't worry if you don't win! I plan on doing two more giveaways in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Few Good Deals...

I just stumbled across a great coupon deal on hip2save and I had to share it! I love reading magazines, but I'm not about to pay the ridiculous prices on the cover after getting sucked in while standing in the checkout line (although unfortunately it does sometimes happen...). So when I saw these deals I was pretty excited:

You can get a 1 year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine for $2.99. You just click here and then type in the coupon code HOMES at checkout and the price will drop down to $2.99. You can do the same thing with Disney's Family Fun Magazine (type in FUN in the coupon code at checkout and it will drop down to $2.99), Everyday with Rachel Ray (type in EVERYDAY and the price drops to $3.99 for a year) or ReadyMade Magazine (type in READY at checkout and you'll pay only $2.99). And you can get multiple years at the same low price!

The website that sells these magazines does note that once they're sold out the deal will change to something else, so I'm not sure how long these will last.

I'm excited about signing up for Better Homes and Gardens. I have a giant idea binder where I tear out ideas from magazines and sort them into different categories (this is in a renewed attempt to keep magazines with recipes from taking over our little apartment!).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Losing the Baby Weight: Week 1

Okay, I'm not really actively trying the lose the baby weight at this point... I'm more like a casual (although keenly interested) observer. But I have to say that I was a little shocked when I was over at Nani's house the other night and I stepped on the scale (we don't have one at the apartment). I'd only lost seven pounds. For a moment I was shocked. How was the possible? I delivered a nine plus pound baby and I only lost seven pounds?!?!?! Then I reminded myself that the next two days were spent with bags of fluids being pumped in through my IV... and the question answered itself.

Here's a recap as I begin the slow journey back towards my pre-pregnancy weight. When I found out that I was pregnant with Sadie I weighed in at 126 lbs. I weighed 168 at my last doctor's appointment before I delivered her. Pre-Maggie I had made it down to 125 the month before we found out that I was expecting. This time I maxed out at 169, although I'd started to lose weight the last couple of weeks. So I gained 44 lbs give or take a few pounds.

Yesterday, at one week post-baby, I weighed myself again (right before dinner... I would like to try a morning weigh in and see if that was a bit more dramatic) and was down to 156. 13 lbs down... 31 lbs to go.

Last time the first 20 went quickly and then things got a little bit slower, although it stayed pretty steady until I was within 10 lbs of my goal.


I am wearing a postpartum c-section corset pretty much 24/7 for support. And it is definitely a key factor in fitting back into my old clothes quickly!

And that is my first post-baby weight loss update. I really hope this time things go along as quickly as last time. Right now after a catching-the-falling-toddler-mishap that resulted in a large dark purple (almost black) bruise along my incision, I am off of even going on walks for a while... It's so hard not lifting the 35 lb toddler. She's constantly crashing and I reach out to catch her without thinking (she's also in a climbing phase, which really doesn't help) and the result is never good! I can hardly wait to be 6 weeks post baby and able to scoop her up again!

So this is the beginning of my once a week "get back in shape" posts. I'm hoping weekly updates will help me resist temptation next time I'm facing a snickers bar (my greatest weakness!).

Cars: The Search for Red (and Mack, and Frank, and Flo...)

Sadie's tractor obsession has competition: Cars. The Pixar movie has become a central part of Sadie's day. She got a box full of Cars books for her birthday and she carries them around and "reads" them to herself out loud.

She also got a "Cars" car carrying case for her birthday, with a number of Cars characters inside of it because she was spending so much time playing with the handful of cars that she already had.

And as I've browsed the Cars section of all the local stores that sell Cars toys (when we go to The City) I have to say I'm beginning to suspect a sales strategy that is more than a little annoying. It's easy enough to find a Lightening car. But most of the other main characters are in high demand.

It took us three months to find a plain old "Mater." And we happened upon "Sally" before her birthday by pure chance (Paul had looked for it online and we'd almost given up when we saw it for over $30... we were thrilled when we finally found one at Target for $3.50). Now that we have plain Mater (along with new Mater, bathtub Mater, Burger King Mater, Fire Truck Mater, and stuffed Mater, which Maggie gave her in the hospital... because everyone in the family was on the lookout for Mater's and so Sadie kept receiving them as gifts!)

Now Sadie's obsession has shifted. She's so fickle.

She's now in love with Red. Of course I have never seen a Red in person before, but I'll keep my eyes peeled. If we haven't found one by Christmas (and her attention is still focused on Red, which it might well be... she brings over her Cars books and shows me his picture a dozen times a day...) I might have to break down and order one from Amazon as her "big" present. Imagine that... a little match box size cast iron car is in such high demand it becomes the "main" present. Hopefully though, we'll find one for the regular $3.50 price at either Target or Walmart. The search is on.

The other two cars that she's also in love with are Frank (the combine harvester) and Mack.

Paul has pointed out that the sales strategy works, because we feel downright victorious each time we actually find one of Sadie's favorites. And it keeps us going back to the Cars section of the store, searching through every single little package to see if they have one of Sadie's favorites...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bulgur Shila: Freezer Cooking Recipe #2

Today was a tough day. It must be that fun post-baby-hormone-dip that I was too exhausted to really feel last time around rearing it's ugly head. I spent the second half of Mass sobbing silently in the front row of our parish. It took a massive amount of self control to keep from saying "thank you for being so kind and charitable today" to the mean 80-something year old woman behind us after she'd yell/whispered (did you know you could yell and whisper at the same time?) during the liturgy of the Eucharist at us, because Sadie wasn't completely silent today (which she is nearly 90% of the time when we're at Mass).

I had so many people come up and say kind things after Mass, but I was in the sort of place where kind words only made me burst back into tears and want to crawl under a rock. It wasn't the greatest start to the day and it brought on a full out migraine by the time that we got home (that the hydrocordone I'm on for the incision didn't even touch... although I've noticed that hydrocordone just doesn't work on my migraines at all). Still, when the headache finally did go away with the help of a coke and an ice pack and a quiet, snugly baby (Sadie was out playing in her little plastic pool with Nani and Grumpa) I was able to do one of my newly favorite things!

Cooking a bunch of food to freeze.

Doing anything with my hands, from woodworking to quilting, to knitting and crocheting, just helps calm me down and slicing and dicing and stirring is no different. So, despite the rough start, now, at almost midnight (when I should be asleep!) I'm feeling pretty good. Here's today's recipe:
Bulgur Shila

6 cups water
4 cups dry bulgur
olive oil
4 onions
1 garlic
3 lbs chicken breast
salt and peper to taste
garlic salt to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the water and the bulgur to a boil. Stir, turn the heat off, and cover with a lid. Let the bulgur sit for 10 minutes. Drain the excess water and set aside. Meanwhile, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add onion mixture to bulgur. Mix in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

I originally saw this recipe in a free healthy cook book I'd been given, but I changed it so much that it doesn't have very much in common with the original recipe. This recipe has a lot more onion and chicken (and garlic) than the original. And the garlic salt is completely my addition too (I love garlic salt a little too much!).

I had never had bulgur until I tried this recipe last month and it's quickly become a family favorite. I love that it's healthy, inexpensive and that I can make it last for so many meals. Today's recipe easily made enough for four dinner's at our house and I'm hopeful that we'll have leftovers because in the past when I've made smaller batches the leftovers have lasted for an extra two meals, making this recipe very cost effective (Sadie may be a little tired of it after we had bulgur for dinner one night, lunch the next day and breakfast the third day!).

Now I need to get some sleep. My eyes won't stay open!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Broccoli Soup: Freezer Cooking Recipe #1

Maggie's early arrival meant that my cupboards were almost bare when she got here (I was supposed to go shopping on Monday morning and she arrived Sunday!). It also meant that my first foray into freezer cooking was put on hold. Today we braved the 103+ degree heat (or avoided it by leaving the house at 7:30 am) and made the drive into the city to do food shopping.

Since there won't be a single day available any time soon to cook a months worth of meals, I've decided to make one huge meal each day at nap time (Sadie and Maggie nap at the same time so far, which is such a blessing!) and today I was able to freeze four meals for our family. Here's the recipe I used:

Broccoli Soup:
2 onions, chopped
1 cup butter
6 12 oz cups evaporated milk
2 20 0z pkgs frozen broccoli, cooked
6 10 0z cans cream of mushroom soup
2 16 oz jars Mexican process cheese sauce

Saute onions in butter until tender; spoon into slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 to 3 hours, until heated through.

The original recipe, which I doubled, was in one of my mom's country casserole cookbooks and is by Angela Britton.

We ended up with enough soup to almost fill four gallon freezer bags and it tastes great! Tomorrow I'll be making one of my favorite recipes: Chicken Bulgur Shila!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cloth Diapers: The Adventure Begins!

I wrote this post for my blog over at Our365, where they just asked me to be a featured blogger! Of course this blog is my baby and is my every day blog, but it'll be fun coming up with weekly posts about being a mom! And this is a topic I'm very excited about:

I am a little in love with my new discovery. I never thought that it would happen. In fact, if you’d told me that I would even consider using cloth diapers two years ago when I was stocking up on disposables for Baby #1 I would have laughed. It didn’t even seem like something that I would be vaguely interested in trying.

Fast forward two years.

After reading a lot of blog posts by cloth diapering moms I was curious (I was especially influenced by Delta Flute and MK on this subject!). The bloggers I read really seemed thrilled with the way cloth diapers worked, they weren’t sending huge bags of diapers to landfills and they didn’t have to pay ridiculous prices for disposable diapers on a weekly basis. And frankly, the idea of buying diapers for two was not appealing. I’m not sure how much longer my older daughter is going to be in Pull-Ups, but I think we still have a few more months (at the very least).

A couple of months ago I began researching. I asked moms on forums what they used and which folds worked the best. And then after comparing prices on a half dozen different sites I placed a few orders.

I ordered two dozen pre-fold cotton cloth diapers and a half dozen flat diapers (just to see how the flat diapers worked). I ordered a couple dozen fleece liners for the pre-folds. Next I added two Snappi’s (that hold the diapers closed) and six diaper covers.

When the orders arrived I went to work. I reviewed the sites that showed the folds and re-read every cloth diapering thread on the forums that I could find. And then I watched You-Tube.

If only we had taken pictures of what followed. A week and a half ago I sat in the middle of the living room every night for almost a week, surrounded by my washed and dried diapers. Sadie’s Curious George doll sat in front of me and my computer was nearby. Step by step I followed the videos and written instructions. And little by little, each night, I got a little bit better at making sure George’s diaper was snug and positioned correctly.

I tried out a cloth diaper as soon as we got home from the hospital. The first one felt a little clumsy as Maggie squirmed and I tried to make the diaper stay in place. The second one was still awkward. But by the fourth it had started to get easier, and now, on day three of cloth diapering I am thrilled. I can put a cloth diaper on Maggie as quickly as I can put a disposable on and so far I really do like them better than the disposables (and it’s not just the price, although that’s great too!). After having Maggie blow through a half dozen disposable diapers during her first few days of life, the last three days have gone much more smoothly. The cloth diapers have contained everything! We haven’t had a single leak!

I still plan on using disposables now and then. I bring a few when we leave the house, mostly because they’re less bulky and my diaper bag is already full. But using one or two disposable diapers a day is way easier on my pocket book than using eight or nine.

I’m not going to know what to do with myself when Sadie’s out of diapers and I’m not making weekly trips to the diaper aisle!

Another Coupon Triumph!

Success! Today's coupon adventure added a new first to my coupon shopping experience: Today I actually made a profit from coupon shopping. The picture on the right shows my purchase. Here's how it worked.

The items at right added up to 70.95 before tax ($74.97 after tax). I had my carefully clipped coupons ready to go and barely panicked this time when I saw the price. The coupons added up to $16.75, bringing the price down to $58.22. I used the extra bucks that I'd saved up from last time and the new price was $18.70. When the cashier handed me my receipt she said that I had eleven dollars of extra bucks and I went home thinking that all of this had come to a grand total of $7.70 (including tax). A few minutes ago I glanced at my receipt and found out that there weren't $11 of extra bucks... there were $21! Which means that I made $2.30 on this purchase! And that included two things that weren't on my list: the ice pack at far right, which was on clearance for $3 and a canister of mini M&M's for Sadie!

All in all today was a coupon shopping success!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sadie Moves In

Here's a video that Paul took during one of Sadie's daily visits while we were in the hospital. Sadie has decided that she's moving in to the hospital room and, about halfway through the video, starts to make herself at home. She brings the three things she thinks are essential: her bathing suit, a dress and a diaper.

video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Margaret Rosella! Our 4th of July Baby!

Margaret Rosella (aka “Maggie Rose”) was born on July 4th, 2010 at 9:04am. She weighed 9 lbs 1.3 oz and was 21 inches long. She is currently napping in her Moses basket, while her big sister is napping upstairs in her big girl bed (and Daddy is napping too!). I can’t believe that everyone is asleep at the same time!

After one trip to the hospital on July 3rd, I really thought I was going to make it to my scheduled c-section on the 7th. Then the contractions started. I began to track them a little after eight, and around midnight I was starting to get frustrated, because I wasn’t really sure what I should do… The contractions were very strong (and very painful) but they were holding steady at between 6 and 8 minutes apart, and I’d just gone over the fact with the nurse that we weren’t supposed to go to the hospital until they were 3-5 minutes apart earlier in the day.

However, I was having a hard time seeing the point of waiting. Why wait and go through hours and hours of labor, when they were going to do a c-section when I got to the hospital? So a little after midnight I called Nani and asked her to come over and watch Sadie and when she got there I put in a call to my OB.

I was very, very relieved when Dr. R said to go right into the hospital to get checked out.

Over the course of the hour-long car ride I had time to wonder if they would send me straight home. The contractions held steady at 8-9 minutes apart and while they didn’t seem to be stopping, they weren’t close enough to assure I wouldn’t be told to “come back later.”

We arrived at the hospital a little before two and were taken to the surgery recovery room, because all of the labor and delivery rooms were full. A quick check showed that I had dilated another 1 ½ centimeters since the earlier trip and the baby had moved down one position. Since the hospital is so set against VBACs this was enough to ensure that they wanted me to stay.

My doctor’s verdict on what would happen next came over the phone. She told the RN to inject me with some drug (that started with a T) that would stop the contractions. She would come in the next morning (the Fourth!) and do the section. At that point the words “stop of the contractions” made me pretty happy.

Ten minutes later that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately the side effect of the drug was to increase my heart rate to super speeds and there was really no way to sleep feeling like I’d just drank ten large Mountain Dews. So I waited and waited and finally, around fell asleep around 5 a.m. after being moved to another room (they were out of comfortable chairs so Paul finally took a blanket and pillow and fell asleep on the floor).

When I woke up two hours later a new nurse was there and the verdict on what would happen next had changed slightly. She said that the doctor might inject me with more of the contraction stopping drug and send me home (NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!). I was not excited about that idea.

However another check showed that despite the fact that I’d had no contractions that I could feel I’d dilated to 4cm and the water bag was actually pressing out several inches and felt (according to the RN) as if it were about to burst.

This changed everything quickly. Apparently it meant that there was no way I was being sent home and everyone was a little nervous when I asked if I could walk the five feet to use the rest room before they put the IV in and began pumping me full of medication. The RN’s warning before I attempted the walk was that any movement could break my water and that she thought that if it broke we would be doing a VBAC before the doctor was able to make it in (she lived about a half hour away and was already driving).

I made it to the bathroom and back and a whirlwind surgery prep followed.

Then it was time for the part I was truly dreading. The spinal. Because of my back problems I’d had four epidurals before I ever gave birth to a baby. Add that to the epidural that got pulled out when I was in labor last time and I’d had five epidurals and a spinal going in to this c-section. So I’m a little wary of needles going anywhere near my spine, especially when the process involves me having to arch my back so that they can stick a needle in it!

I have to admit, it’s a pretty illogical fear, because actually getting the spinal isn’t that bad. It’s just the idea of it that scares me so much! Once that was over it was smooth sailing. Paul was called in to the operating room and a little while later Margaret Rosella was born. Paul was less than an ounce off on his estimation of her weight (so he got the weight guessing prize and the due date prize!).

This time the c-section experience was very different! I really didn’t realize that there was such a difference between an emergency c-section and a scheduled one! This time was so much easier on my body and I was able to pass on the morphine the first day and only ended up saying yes twice when they asked me if I wanted hydrocordone (and one of those times was because they’d forgotten to bring the ibuprofen that I had been taking during the night and so I’d gone a while without anything).

I was released a day early from the hospital and this morning (three days after the c-section) Paul and I got up and took the girls on a little two mile walk through town. On day three after Sadie’s birth I could hardly walk!

And that, in a little over a thousand words, sums up Maggie’s birth story. Now Maggie’s personality, which is so incredibly different from her big sister’s definitely deserves a post of it’s own!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday Night Fun Timing Contractions

So a couple of hours the contractions started to REALLY hurt. And now our Saturday night consists of tracking them for a bit. Now I'm going to try to get a little sleep. But here's the direction that we're headed in:

8:29pm-
8:45pm- 16 minutes
8:54pm- 9 minutes
9:16pm- 22 minutes
9:25pm- 9 minutes
9:34pm- 9 minutes
9:43pm-9 minutes
9:50pm-7 minutes
9:56pm- 6 minutes
10:02pm- 6 minutes

Yup... Paul really may get his Independence Day Baby!

This is a little reminiscent of last time. Right now I can hear the fire works they're setting off at the local park. When I went into labor with Sadie I was watching lightening and listening to thunder at the start of a storm that started over 2000 fires in our state (that made for a very unpleasant, smoky summer). Saint Elizabeth of Portugal would be neat patron saint for Maggie!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today's False Alarm

For a while today, we thought that little Maggie might be arriving!

It started this morning when I was having some "labor" like symptoms. Without getting into two many details I'll say that we thought that my water might have broken (last time when that happened the baby was so big that pretty much nothing came out) and after talking to the doctor she told us to come in to get checked.

To make a long story short I'm still at 2 cm, 80%, and they don't think my water broke (although I'm kind of wondering if it might be leaking?).

Tonight the contractions have really picked up and they feel a lot like they did right before I had Sadie. Maybe Paul will get his Fourth of July baby! I'd still like a little more time to get things done!

In other news, I was so busy rushing around packing things I'd forgotten and throwing laundry into the washer and dryer while I was waiting for the doctor to call, that I didn't make much time for eating or drinking and was a little dehydrated when I got to the hospital. Apparently I was having lots of little contractions that I couldn't even feel. So I was ordered to drink five 28 ounce glasses of water today... I'm on #4. I have a feeling that this may be a long night...

Hmmmmmmmm!

Today is turning out to be a very interesting day! I may have a post later!

And thanks to everyone for all the sweet posts and advice yesterday! It's nice to know that not everyone thinks I'm crazy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Doctor Disaster: Why I Need a New One Now!

I knew that it would happen someday! I just didn’t think that it would be soon. I thought that we might avoid the sort of advice that we received today for at least another couple of years. Maybe even three if we were lucky.

Instead, Sadie’s two-year check up was something of a disaster. This wouldn’t bother me quite as much if it didn’t cause me to reach a rather inconvenient conclusion: I need to find a new doctor by Tuesday afternoon.

I’ll focus on the good first: Sadie is in 97th percentile for height at 36 ½ inches tall and in the 97th percentile for weight at 32 ½ lbs. She’s happy and healthy. But still, the doctor was very concerned.

You see Sadie spends her days with me… her mother… as she has pretty much every day since she was born. Lately we’ve started having morning play dates on Tuesdays with Nani and Grumpa so that Mommy can help out at our parish’s office one day a week, but other than that we’re pretty much always together.

Isn’t that horrific?

Shouldn’t I be thrusting my twenty-four month old out into the real world? After all, how can she learn that the world can be harsh and unfair if I coddle her and treat her like she’s a baby?
Here were some of my doctor’s worries and suggestions:

Worry #1: Sadie isn’t all that talkative.

We got advice from an actual speech therapist about this and, after asking a few questions, she said it was completely natural. For the last two years of Sadie’s life she lived on the family ranch, which included four generations. With three generations of adults paying attention to her, she didn’t need to talk much. She could sign and point and she usually got her point across very quickly.

Now that we’ve moved she’s started using words a lot more often. She says “mama,” “dada,” “pa,” “nana,” “up,” “in,” “out,” “ya,” “no,” “balloon,” “ball,” “dee” (to call the cat) and her personal favorite phrases “oh yeah” and “oh wow!” And then she occasionally bursts out with a completely coherent word like “duck” or “bunny.”

Worry #2: She doesn’t have play dates.

It seems that the fact that she runs up to kids at the museum/park/aquarium and at our local parks and plays with them isn’t enough. So here was his suggestion:

I need to place Sadie in day care.

Not pre-school (advice I still would have ignored, but that would have at least made more sense) but day care.

And that would solve another “problem!” I would then have time “to myself,” to “do my own thing.”

He explained that he’s very concerned that Sadie is only around family members. When I tried to explain that that’s not true at all, that she see’s lots of people, particularly through our Church, he ignored me and continued.

He said that she needs to be away from the family, spending times with children her own age and older to learn to “model” behavior.

Then he spotted the bug bite on her arm that she acquired while swimming yesterday and said that we need to slather her with bug spray with DEET, because that’s really all that works and that we need to do it every time we go outside.

Right……

Deep breaths. By the end of the appointment I could no longer look at him.

There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind and I told myself a half dozen times before I left the office that it would make a good blog post/ semi-hysterical rant just to calm down. Writing things out helps. There was no reason to do anything other than clench my jaw and get through the appointment.

You see after trying to explain our parenting strategy a couple of times and seeing his eyes glaze over, I wasn’t about to try again. But, for anyone who is still reading at this point (and for my own sanity since Paul is sick of hearing my tirade), I will continue.

I don’t believe that children need to be thrust out into the “Real World” in order to be “socialized.” In fact the type of “socialization” that I’ve seen lately is exactly what we hope to avoid (as a cheerleading coach at our local high school I was unlucky enough to witness and hear some pretty disturbing things). I’m not saying that day-care and pre-school and eventually public or private schools aren’t good things, I’m just opposed to the idea that they’re a) always the best thing and b) that they’re at all necessary.

Children can grow into brilliant, kind, well-rounded adults without being placed in the care of “non-family members” day in and day out, just as they can turn out wonderfully through our societies newer avenues.

I also take issue with the idea that getting rid of my kid all day would necessarily be best thing for me.

My vocation in life is the vocation of a wife and a mother. I love my vocation. And that vocation is what I want to devote myself to full time!

A few weeks ago someone told me that it was good for me to get out and be seen as something other than “Sadie’s Mom,” and the idea was odd to me, not because I don’t think that I’m more than my children’s mother or my husband’s wife, but because those things are an innate part of who I am and can’t be separated from the other parts, whether it’s the time I spend as a small business owner making jewelry or as a writer pouring out my thoughts on paper (or even as a house keeper scrubbing floors and picking up and sorting laundry).

And while I sometimes crave a little more sleep, my vocation is who I am and it’s exactly what I want to be doing. It isn’t always easy or fun, but it is absolutely fulfilling and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So I will continue doing what I know is best for my family… and I’ll find a new doctor who doesn’t think that the best possible thing for a child, regardless of the situation, is being away from it’s mother all day!