Monday, May 30, 2011

God Gave Us the Earth.

I've never been a green-freak. I try to take care of the earth because it's God's creation, but to be honest, I've never made this a priority. Much of the time my environmentally-friendly actions have actually been financial choices. For example, my dad bought me a car for college graduation (about a year late), and with gas prices as crazy as they were, I chose a Prius. 50 mpg? Yes, please. That's a huge financial savings! And if it helped the environment, that was just a bonus. Cloth diapers... a savings of $60-120 per month, depending in the deals. Again, yes! Yes, yes, yes! Not filling landfills? Again, just an added bonus.

Then on Sunday my pastor talked about this verse:

16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
   but the earth he has given to mankind. (Psalm 115:16)

I do think of the earth as God's creation, so this wasn't a new revelation. But as this Psalm says, He put us - me - in charge of this earth. And what am I doing to help it? To be honest, I couldn't think of a whole lot. As I already said, the Prius and cloth diapering were financially-motivated decisions. While being a good steward with the money God has given us can be a godly motivation, it shouldn't be my only motivation. Taking care of His creation is just as much a calling.

While I do recycle, often I throw mail away in the trash, rather than recycling, simply because it's the easy thing to do. The recycling just seems too far away. But I have no excuse. If I'm in charge of the earth, then recycling should be another way for me to serve the Lord.

Additionally, recently my husband and I have been trying to eat real food. This has been a source of some tension because while he wants to ensure we're as healthy as possible, I just want to save money. Srill, in some ways eating real food saves us a lot of money because I'm not grabbing chips, Oreos, or Dr Pepper when I'm at the store. But in other ways, it costs more. We've been buying farm-fresh eggs and raw milk. I won't go into detail in this post, but we feel this is the best thing for our family and our health, even if it does cost a little more. And this verse confirmed it for me. It gave me peace in my heart that we are doing the right thing and respecting the Lord's creation even if it means adding a little more the grocery budget.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cloth Diaper Q&A - The Continuation

I know many of you were excited about my cloth diaper blog post, The Truth About Cloth Diapers. I just wrote a follow up to it! Check it out on my other blog, Thankfully Thrifty.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I could do a happy dance - AND look good doing it!

No this is not a picture of me and sweet Lil. I took it from How Mama Got Her Swag Back
Funny baby weight post actually. Check it out.

I am thrilled to report that since my baby weight complaint, I have lost 5 lbs! Yea! And that's something, especially since we went to Colorado and then Houston and ate terribly. I was dreading stepping on the scale. I was feeling terrible about myself. But my curiosity got the best of me. I stepped on the scale and cringed. But then I opened my eyes.


Only 12 lbs to go! I am making progress!! And funny thing. Once I stepped off the scale, I was beaming. Five minutes before I had been feeling awful about my weight and my body and suddenly I felt like a superstar. Funny how that works.

I'm not sure what I'm doing. I am trying to eat healthier, but I already confessed about the unhealthy food we ate while traveling. I am walking daily, but I've been doing that pretty much since Lil was born and before. I did recently start doing jumping jacks though. A friend of mine told me she thought she lost her baby weight quicker because she did 500 jumping jacks a day - broken up into ten sets of fifty. Well, I haven't made it to 500, or anywhere close. I'm having trouble remembering and finding time to do so many sets! But I have made it to 150. That's something. Apparently it's paying off.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vote for Lilleigh!!

Please vote for my sweet baby!

Vote for her in the Parents magazine "See Your Baby on Our Cover" contest! Vote here. You can do this once daily.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Breastfeeding: Oxytocin

If you aren't comfortable with the topic of breastfeeding, skip this post.

Can I just say that I never thought I'd love breastfeeding so much. I know it sounds crazy. I thought it'd be so painful. And such an inconvenience. But the truth is, I love it. The surge of oxytocin makes me happy. It makes me fall more and more in love with this baby girl. As my neighbor put it, "It's like a drug. If I'm having a bad day, I just put the baby to the breast. The oxytocin feels so good. I'm suddenly relaxed."

For anyone unaware, oxytocin is the "love hormone." Females release it during labor and sex. This hormone acts as a bonding agent. So when you see a sexually active teenage girl all hung up over some loser of a guy, you can thank the oxytocin. The hormone has been released during intercourse, and now she feels bonded to him. This is why girls can't "play the field." It's also a great reason to wait to have sex until marriage. It's extremely powerful at bonding. It's not surprising then that this same hormone is also released one other time - during breastfeeding.

When I hold my baby to feed her, I am overcome with love for her. This totally made night feeds bearable. I wondered how moms did it. Oxytocin. Now oxytocin isn't adrenaline. It doesn't just suddenly give you a burst of energy. When I asked my brother-in-law, pre-Lilleigh, how they were doing so well without sleep, he told me, "Where there's a 'why,' there's a 'how.'" That's where oxytocin steps in for me.

Thinking about how powerful this bonding agent is makes me even more in awe of our great God, our Creator. Having a child is such a joyous and trying time. Though you love your baby, all you really want is sleep and a hot shower. Oxytocin is a gift, a saving grace. Isn't interesting how most of the time when a parent leaves it's the dad? Not often is it the mom. This hormone creates a bond that is so important to nature, to the continuity of God's creation. Can you imagine if we had all the hardships of motherhood and none of the joy? Oxytocin is a great replenisher during the gap, between birth, the onset of the sleepless nights, and 6 weeks, when you can expect that first smile.

I have much more I could say about breastfeeding. I'll save it for future posts. But I will say this - I realize a lot of moms give babies formula, whether by choice or necessity, I hope that you can still relate to this. Many of my friends breastfed for at least a short period of time. But even for those who didn't, bottle feeding is a very cool thing too. It's awesome for dads and grandparents to be able to be involved too. That's something we have not been able to experience, since Lil won't take a bottle, but again, that's a topic for a future post!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Colorado: Lil's First Trip

Last weekend we took Lilleigh to meet her great grandparents! (She's so blessed to have lots of great grandparents around and even one great-great!) This set of great grands are her daddy's grandparents, his mom's parents. They live in Colorado. For the past few summers, we've gone up to visit them and brought Sammy! We do plan to go on our annual trip, which we make in late summer, again this year - and to hopefully drive and bring Sammy! But we decided to make an extra trip now for Lil to meet them early!

It's so fun to go visit. They live in a subdivision on a ranch with a river running through it, so it's beautiful all around them! A great place to go on walks and enjoy God's creation. 

Lil chatting with her Grandma Hunt

And laughing at PaPa making faces

And a picture of her dad being a "boy" 
Yes, that is a snake he's holding.

I was very excited that at least one of our ten or more family photos actually turned out!

Enjoying the outdoors with Grandma

Me and my love

During our stay, there was a community yard sale. We went to scope it out and came back with a Britax Roundabout40 convertible carseat ($200 value), which we snagged for only $10! We figured this would be a great thing to have at their house, so we don't have to tote our carseat on the plane next time we fly up. That find also got me motivated to attend some garage sales around here. We are going to need a convertible carseat soon! One friend of mine just snagged two (one for each car) - a Brtiax for $30 and an Evenflo for free! Both from garage sales! I'm on a mission.

Okay so I got off topic. You know that deals get me excited! Anyhow, our trip was great. It was wonderful for Lilleigh to get to meet her great grands! We were excited to make that happen. One thing I wasn't prepared for though - It's hard traveling with an infant!

Lil was awesome on our flights - both there and back. She actually didn't cry. She ate and slept. I tried to feed her at take off and landing, but on the way back she fell asleep before take off. But she didn't make a sound or seem affected at all. And when we were at the grandparents' house, she slept through the night, just as usual, in the pack 'n play. (The grandparents bought the pack 'n play for their house. It's awesome to have that! It has a mobile too!) Now, she doesn't nap well in her crib. Her naps will be 20-45 minutes long, so that was pretty much how it was when we were there. Few naps... which then meant she was a little fussy, but not bad. Still though, since we didn't have our swing, bouncy seat, activity mat, or any of the wonderful baby luxuries we have these days, travel was just hard on Mom. When people were finished holding her, she was passed off to me. I love holding her, don't get me wrong. But the fact that I really couldn't even set her down for a brief second to grab a drink or make myself a sandwich, let alone go to the bathroom, was draining. I think 3 months may just be a hard age. If she were just a few months older, she could sit up on her own and play with some toys, giving my arms a little rest. But then much older than that and they're mobile... I have a feeling travel won't be the same again!

When we got home, a commercial came on the TV for Disney World. You know the ones - where the kids are running side by side, holding hands with each other and their parents. Big smiles. The Magic Kingdom in the background. The magical ambiance. After that commercial, Brendon turned and looked at me and just said, "Yeah, that's not gonna happen." Ha. Yeah I need several more years and trips to prepare for one like that. My goodness. I have a whole new respect for my parents. I think Disney World is a grandparents trip.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sleep Disruptions

Typically I start Lil's bedtime routine between 6 and 7 PM, and she's in bed between 7 and 8 PM. She cluster feeds before bed. This is a great thing because she initiated it on her own, and it helps her get the food she needs to sleep through the night. So usually I won't hear her again until between 6 and 7 AM.

Recently though she's started waking up around 4 AM. I have no idea why. She eats for about 10 minutes and then goes back to sleep. (This started about a week and a half ago. It's not a growth spurt!) And oddly enough, when we were out of town this last weekend, she slept right through without a 4 AM wake up. I was hopeful. But then last night at 3 AM I heard her (and checked on her via video monitor), and to Lil's credit, she tried to self-soothe. She tried until 4 AM, when she woke me up. She ate 10 minutes, which comforted her, and then fell asleep.

Another note: She doesn't depend on nursing to go to sleep. I put her down at night awake, and she talks for about 15 minutes before falling asleep. At her recent 4 AM feedings she's drowsy but awake when I put her down.

I don't know what to do! Because she's already tried to self-soothe, I'm not comfortable with cry it out.

Moms out there in blogland, any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lil is 3 months!

Can you believe it's been 3 months? My little baby is no longer a new born! I recently started using our City Mini, rather than just the Snap N Go, the stroller that her car seat snaps into, and I keep telling Lil how she's a "big girl" now for getting to sit up in a stroller! Granted, she can't sit up by herself, but the City Mini reclines, which allows her to sit upright and see out. She loves going on walks in the neighborhood like that! Much better than the Snap N Go, which hardly has a view.

Anyways, so Lil is 3 months! Here's what 3 months looks like for her...

Lilleigh has recently started to laugh! I've only seen this a couple times, but it has been so exciting each time! I keep waiting for her to do it when her daddy is around. Soon enough!

She's also super chatty! So much so that moms of older babies actually comment on it, saying she's way chattier than their babies. We started reading to her out of The Jesus Storybook Bible, and two days later, she started "talking" up a storm! She talks to the animals on her mobile, to her seahorse, to herself, to us when we read to her or me when we nurse. Really she'll talk to anyone or anything that will listen! I really think a lot of it has to do with us reading to her, but I'm sure it has a lot to do with her personality too! We may be in for trouble... I used to be so talkative that I would have the timer set on me and be told "you can talk again in five minutes, when the clock says 2:36." I have a feeling she may be the same way! 

Lil has been sleeping through the night pretty consistently. When pediatricians say "sleep through the night," they mean 6ish hours. When I say "sleep through the night," I mean going to bed between 7 and 8 PM and waking up between 6 and 7 AM. She did this for about 3 weeks straight! But then the past four nights she's woken up between 4 and 5:30 AM to eat for about 10 minutes. I mean, I can't complain because she's quick, and it's only one feeding... but really? C'mon, Lil, you were doing so well! ;)

Also we still haven't had luck with the bottle. To be honest, it isn't that big of a deal. I'm staying at home, so there aren't many times that she needs to take a bottle, but it does make the few times that I do need her to take one stressful. I've been trying to give her one every day or every other day. Sometimes she'll let the nipple sit in her mouth but won't suck on it. Other times, she just fusses and cries, pushing the bottle away. I think when I say that she's not taking a bottle, people just assume that I'm not trying or have done something wrong to cause this, but she's just a smart baby! She wants the real thing. In the meantime, I'll keep working with her. And if you think of it, pray she'll take one when we are in California for a wedding. She'll be staying with Brendon's aunt and uncle for the evening, which means it could be one looong evening for them!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This is how we give Lilleigh baths.

I feel so silly posting on this, but if I had been given pointers on how to give an infant a bath before having Lil, life would have been much easier. We tried the little tub you put in the bath tub. We also tried the little mesh seat you put in the bath tub. But really, leaning over like that in the tub hurts your back.

Another method we've tried and actually like is having me get in the tub and then Hubby will hand Lil to me. Then she gets to experience a real bath, and since I'm in there with her, it's easier to clean her. Plus then I get to have a bath too! This was especially great while I was healing. So soon-to-be moms, remember this method! It's hard to fit in the baths because all you want to do in your spare time is sleep! But your doctor will probably tell you to take them to help with healing. This is a great way.

Still, a lot of the time Hubby isn't here to help me give her a bath. Or even if he is, we just don't always have the time for that. So we started bathing her in the sink. I know there are tons of pictures of babies getting baths in the kitchen sink, but until they can sit up on their own, this is not easy to do. So we've resorted to placing a towel in the bathroom sink and bathing her in there. The towel creates a nice cushion in the sink basin, while also elevating the baby just a tad. I suppose it's the same idea as this new Puj Tub, but it's one less thing to buy and store. We already have a towel. Regardless, this method has made life so much easier. It took us a good month to figure out bath time.