Show Me Your Teeth!

Ladies and Gentleman, we have our two front teeth, and we didn’t even have to wait ’til Christmas to ask for them!! Actually, I was sort of hoping it would be closer to Christmas for him to get them, but since he’s not complaining, I won’t either!! I want to breastfeed for at least the first year, so the longer he goes before sprouting those tiny shards of glass (that’s how they feel, at least) the better!

I can’t believe how amazingly he’s handled it! Aside from a bit of extra drool and a few nighttime wakes, he has been such a trooper! We’ve given him some Hyland’s Teething Tablets sometimes when it’s really obvious he’s a little uncomfortable. Other than that, lending him our fingers to gnaw on is the most we’ve had to do for pain!  He’s been his happy, charming little self and I couldn’t feel more blessed. Not only does it make life a little easier because he’s not cranky or fussy, it makes it easier because when he hurts, Mommy’s heart hurts. Here’s hoping the rest of the teeth are just as easy as the first! *fingers crossed*

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

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Best Brussels Ever!

If you are a fan of brussel sprouts, this is a recipe you cannot pass on trying this Fall!  We have a favorite restaurant in our area called Tin Roof Bistro, where we’ve fallen in love with their amazing brussel sprouts appetizer. They were so unbelievably delicious the first time, that we have returned many, many times to enjoy them again. We love bringing out-of-town visitors to this place, for more reasons than just the brussels, but my mouth is watering just thinking about them! One day, I decided to google the recipe and came across this website that offers the ingredients and directions to make them, so I tried it out and they turned out amazing!! It’s so easy and so few ingredients, I just had to share.

What you’ll need: (I tweaked a few measurements from the recipe I found online, but I’ll tell you what I used)

about a pound of fresh brussel sprouts (cut in half long-ways)

extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

3-4 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)

About 1 oz minced anchovies

1-2 lemons (depending on size and taste)

2-3 Tbsp whole capers

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400° then rinse and cut brussel sprouts. Toss in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Begin roasting brussels, it takes about 20-30 min. I like mine nice and caramelized, so I move them to the broiler for about 5 minutes after they’re roasted.

While the brussel sprouts are roasting, begin by melting butter in a small sauce pan. Add minced garlic and anchovies, let them brown and soften. Then, add juice of lemon and capers. If you’re like me and you really like strong flavors, go with 2 lemons and 3 Tbsp of capers… otherwise, try just 1 lemon and 2 Tbsp of capers and see how it tastes to you.

When the brussel sprouts are perfectly caramelized, pour into serving dish, then add the amazing sauce you’ve just created. Toss and serve immediately!

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! Happy Fall!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Say Dada!

Baby J is amazing. He is trying and learning new things all the time, we literally cannot keep up with the leaps and bounds he takes every, single day! Whether it’s tasting new foods, learning to scoot his way to grab what he wants with his out-stretched fingers, expressing his emotions and showing us his sense of humor, or in this case, saying his first word!

He is already so smart and curious, he has such a quirky and unique little personality. He is a daily reminder to us of just how quickly life goes by and of the incredible amount of  love and thought God put into making each of us who we are. I am so thankful He chose us to raise this beautiful little boy, he brings so much joy and excitement into our lives. We are truly blessed beyond measure.

 

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 115:14-15

FALLing For Red

I’m feeling ready for a change. With all the new things in my life combined with the change of season, I think I’m ready to do something different! I’ve always been a huge fan of changing my hair color, but it’s been a while since I’ve done something bold!

I don’t even know if I’ve ever had all-over red hair (which is insane since I’m a hairdresser) so I’m thinking about doing it just in time for Fall! What do you think?

I have the pale skin and light eyes that a lot of the celebrities sporting red hair have, so, I’m hoping I can pull it off!

I’ll post pictures of my new do soon! Wish me luck!

So Long, Swaddle!

It’s been over a month since we said goodbye to swaddling! The morning came that I awoke to him completely swaddled, but face-down and on his belly! It was quite an alarming sight. I knew he was able to roll during play-time, but I had no idea he could roll with a swaddle on! Needless to say, I think J was ready to be free to move as he pleased while he slept.

It was easier than I anticipated. After just a few sleepless nights of  increased startles and shifts, baby J quickly got used to the idea and stopped waking himself up so often! He’s now happily going to sleep on his back, eventually makes his way to the side, and on some occasions rolls all the way on his belly to sleep. He shifts and rolls, but rarely wakes anymore, he just drifts back to sleep on his own. I’m not so scared now of him ending up on his belly. During a minor panic attack, my Mom gently reminded me that if he got himself there,  he can also get himself back.

Baby J has always been strong, he was holding  his own head up literally the minute he was born. I’ve never been afraid he couldn’t move his head, but more afraid that he wouldn’t. But, after watching him sleep a few times (speaking of those sleepless nights), I was able to see him, first-hand, lift and move his head to the side to breathe. For my own sanity, I had to see it for myself before I was comfortable letting him stay that way.

Naps and bed times are much more simple now. If he drifts to sleep before bed time, I don’t have to sneak him into his swaddle and hope he doesn’t wake. Swaddling served a huge purpose in the first 4 months of J’s life. It was such a calming, comforting way for him to sleep, but as wonderful as it was, that chapter is now closed for us. It’s a relief, and it’s a little sad, because it reminds me how quickly he’s growing up! Next step: moving him from the bassinet to the crib in his nursery! That might be a bigger adjustment… not just for J but for Mommy as well! Let’s just cross that bridge when we come to it ; )

Ready for Solids

Five months ago today, this world became a better place. It was the longest, most amazing day of my life, I just can’t believe it was already that long ago. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

To celebrate, we’ve decided to give baby J his very first taste of solids. He’s been eyeing our food for about a month now, so we think it’s time to let him see what all the fuss is about!

We decided to go with Happy Bellies brown rice cereal mixed with good ol’ breast milk. He LOVED it!! He just kept going back for more, it was adorable!

I knew this day was coming, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect for it to seem so soon! As sad as I am that we’re already at this stage, I am so excited, because he really loved it! I can’t wait to start trying vegetables and fruits! I’ll post some of his favorite homemade baby food combos as soon as we try a few.

Happy Friday!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Labor of Love

It’s easy to say that it was all in God’s plan and that, in the end, it really doesn’t matter how he got here, both of which are completely true. But, in that moment, I needed to feel the disappointment. I needed to feel the loss of what I had imagined to be the picture perfect moment that defined the beginning of this chapter of my life. It was okay that I felt what I felt, as long as I knew deep down that, all along, it wasn’t really up to me.

I planned for the moment he was placed immediately on my bare chest, those first breaths of his mixed with the huge sigh of relief of mine. I wanted the first thing he felt in this brand new world to be the tender kisses I’d been so anxious to give him for 9 long months. I couldn’t wait to strengthen our bond by offering my breast as soon as we met. I didn’t want any bathing, weighing, or poking and prodding until I got to study every inch of his tiny body and imprint that moment in my mind for the rest of my life. It was going to be beautiful and powerful, the most important moment in my life right along side the day I said, “I do”.

So, at about 4 o’clock in the evening, (after being at the hospital since 10pm the night before) when the nurse said it was time to push, I was ready. It was time to meet our son, and I was more anxious than ever. About 20 minutes in, I learned that my little boy had tons of hair, which as a hairdresser, was very welcomed news! I couldn’t believe it. This was really happening, I was finally about to meet my baby boy!

Then it was 5 o’clock. Then 6 o’clock. Then 7. I had literally pushed and pushed every, single time I contracted for 3 hours straight. My Doctor said he had passed his limit, and that it was time for a c-section. I, on the other hand, had not. Even while nearly falling asleep between contractions due to overwhelming exhaustion, I wasn’t giving up. WHAT ABOUT MY PLAN?! I was then given about 45 minutes to an hour more to “rest” because it just so happened that the OR had just been filled with another c-section. But, instead of resting, (as advised by my Doc) I pushed. And pushed. And pushed harder than I ever had. It wasn’t until my sweet little (or not so little) baby boy started showing distress on the heart monitor that I gave in… but I didn’t give in easily.

I had never felt so disappointed in my life. I can’t even put into words how completely helpless and heartbroken I felt that I wasn’t able to do the only thing I was supposed to do in that moment. Even as I sit here and type through blurry, tear-filled eyes, I remember the guilt and aching in my heart. I cried for the remaining few minutes I had left before I would be wheeled into the OR. My husband, mother, and mother-in-law were all so wonderful, they were so encouraging even when their hearts hurt for me because they knew how much I wanted it. I could feel the love and support radiating from the waiting room, where the rest of my family anxiously awaited his arrival.

Then, I was swept into the OR, where the change in energy was strange. The lights were brighter and there were what seemed like 50 people hustling and bustling around me as I stared at a blue paper sheet in front of my face, shielding me from what was about to happen. After what seemed like a life time passed, the moment came when my life changed forever. The moment I heard that strong yet tiny little cry coming from the most precious baby in the world. I caught glimpses from afar as they wiped him down, Brendan cut the cord, and he was wrapped tightly in a blanket. Then, at last, we met. For just a few glorious minutes, I looked my whole world in the eyes and kissed his soft little cheeks. He wasn’t crying anymore, in fact, the moment he heard his Daddy’s voice, he was calm and still. It was, hands down, the most beautiful moment of my life.

They then took him to the nursery with Daddy right beside him, to bathe and weigh him while they finished my surgery and took me to recovery. In recovery, they brought him for a few moments to breastfeed, then took him away again until I was well enough to be taken to our room and be reunited with my husband and little baby boy.

It really was all in God’s hands. Baby J was not only a  9lb 5oz baby, but he was also in a bad position for delivery. In fact, at that angle it was possible that he could have really been hurt even if I had been able to push him out. After all was said and done, we more than made up for those few moments of bonding that we missed in the very beginning. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, regardless of what plan I thought I had. I thank God every, single day for the beautiful, healthy baby boy He gave me. It was the first lesson learned, that there are very few things you can actually plan for in this crazy adventure called parenting. I am acutely aware that there will be many surprises and changes along the way, and I couldn’t be less prepared or more excited for each and every one of them.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

Dare to Compare

baby photo grid

As if being a new parent isn’t hard enough, I think sometimes we make it even harder by comparing ourselves to others. I’m not referring to swapping stories or asking for advice, I’m talking about that little voice inside our heads that makes us question whether we’re doing it right or not, or if someone else is doing it better (or worse) than we are. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve wondered at times if J is up to par with the rest of his little friends and whether I’m as good of a parent as some of mine. While I think it is somewhat natural, I think it can be unproductive and add more pressure on ourselves than necessary!

Every baby is so, completely different. Before they are even born, they quite obviously have a personality of their own. I think we sometimes forget that they’re little humans just like we are, they’re not robots that we can program! Babies are ever-changing! Just when you think you’ve figured them out, they change! What works for them one day might not the next!

There is no right answer. No parenting book written can offer the perfect advice for every single baby. Different parenting styles or ideas work for different personalities. It makes it hard when we compare our own babies with other people’s because they’re not the same person!! While one might be just fine in a swing or bouncer while you do a few things around the house, another might want to be held and carried! While one baby might love the swaddle, pacifier, or other types of soother, another might be perfectly content without. That doesn’t make one a “happier” or “better” baby than the other or, it just makes them “different” and aren’t we all?

I feel like instead of constantly comparing ourselves to each other, we need to be supportive and celebrate our differences.  No judging  for doing things differently, just understanding that every mom, child, and situation is different, and that’s what makes this life so dynamic and interesting. We’re just doing the best we can for our little ones, and we’re all in it together.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works – Psalm 104:31

Photo By:  Betsy Hawley of Snap Lovely Photography

Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

 

When you decide to have your first baby, I think the assumption is that you must have at least one of everything for them by the time they arrive. You think you need to fill your home with the latest and greatest and if you don’t, your baby will somehow know something’s missing. Other than the obvious essentials such as a car seat, crib or bassinet, clothes, diapers, and blankets what else do you actually need? Do you have to have a swing or bouncer, monitor, bathtub, or every type of stroller on the market before they even make their big debut?

I was happy to find when baby J came home with us, that he thoroughly enjoyed the swing. It’s nothing spectacular, in fact, it was given to us by some friends that no longer needed it for their kids. I thought then, maybe we should go buy a bigger, fancier swing with an array of musical choices, flashing lights, dangling toys and can swing every which way. Luckily, the minimalist in me realized that what we had was more than enough, because 3 months later, J wants little to do with it.

While we’re still in the market for a good monitor, (for the day I’m able to handle J sleeping more than 12 inches from me)  I’m glad we didn’t go out right away and buy the most advanced technology money can buy. As much as that goes against everything my husband would normally believe in, (he’s kind of an electronics geek) we’ve yet to be in a situation where we can’t hear even the faintest cry from the other room.

We were given a basic bath tub from another couple of friends, which we’ve used exactly 5 times so far. As J gets older, I can absolutely see the necessity for a tub or chair, but I’m very glad we didn’t go crazy with a spa bath or some other “super soother” kind of thing, because in my opinion, Mommy or Daddy’s arms during bath time is the most “soothing” place to be.

After thinking way too much about it, we realized that we could get away with just one stroller to fit our lifestyle. We realized that for now, the only time we’ll really want a stroller is for walking the strand at the beach or jogging through the neighborhood. So, when J was around 2 months old, we went out and got a jogger stroller that is also compatible with our infant car seat. It’s easy to set up and breakdown and fairly compact. We’ve found that for most other situations we’ve been in so far, wearing him in a carrier has been the easiest choice for us!

Now that J is a little older (sad, but true) he’s really enjoying his playmat and since he fell in love with my friend Kelli’s walker, we just ordered his own, so I’ll post about it when it comes!!

I’m happy we decided to make purchases (or accept hand-me-downs) as J needed things, instead of going out and getting everything “they” say you need. I like the idea that instead of having 15 different things to keep my baby occupied, I have spent the majority of our days being his main source of entertainment. Honestly, his favorite toys to play with right now are my face and hands, and his favorite thing to stare at is our reflections in the mirror! So, up to this point, no “flashing lights”  have been required.

 

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6