2.26.2013

on breastfeeding.

I wanted to be point blank with the title of this blog post. Because, well, you may not want to read about my breastfeeding journey. But I need to write about it. For me. For my children.

My mom nursed all six of her children. But I never once talked to her about it before she passed away almost seven years ago. I mourn that loss, hearing how her journey was with each of her children, how long she nursed for and why.

So I'm writing here to share my journey so my children will know my thoughts on breastfeeding. I just finished nursing Lincoln to sleep for the night. I'm realizing he is almost 10 months, which for me, means our breastfeeding relationship will be ending in the next few months or so. It's hard to believe, being that pregnancy and/or nursing has been my life for the last almost 5.5 years. I nursed Audrey for 14 months, then got pregnant with Naomi. I nursed Naomi for 12 months and was pregnant with Lincoln when she was 9 months old. I plan to nurse Lincoln to 12-13 months. [Every mother chooses their breastfeeding relationship length differently, for different reasons. Absolutely no judging on this.]

[Please know, I'm not writing to say that breastfeeding is the only right way. I truly believe every mother must do what is best for her and her family. Every story is different. This is my story.]

Nursing last summer, when Lincoln was just a few months old

Yesterday I had the honor of going to Indiana University to speak to a Health and Nutrition class on breastfeeding. I went unprepared and was told they would just ask questions and just to respond how I saw fit, no right or wrong answer. I was excited to be an advocate for breastfeeding and to bring it to a college campus. I think what surprised me the most, is that many of the questions I actually didn't have a defined answer for. It made me realize how natural it was---I respond to my babies need without even thinking about it. God designed a mother's instinct to be pretty remarkable. I read the books, took the breastfeeding class at the hospital, but nothing can replace or fill in for a mother's natural instinct. For me, when my breastfeeding journey began with Audrey almost 4.5 years ago when she was born, it was about letting go of fear {fear that I wouldn't be able to do it, fear of pain, fear of not knowing} and embracing it with a can-do attitude.

When I was pregnant with Audrey, breastfeeding was a choice I knew I wanted to make for multiple reasons. One, because we were (are) on a tight budget, and frankly, free milk is pretty awesome. It's always available and ready. Baby tired? Just nurse him. Baby hungry? Nurse him. Baby sad? Nurse him. I pretty much have always used nursing as a cure all. And it works. Of course, the health benefits for the baby and mama were enough for me to want to do it. Nursing always helped me shed the pregnancy pounds (and I gained quite a bit with each baby). I love that nursing always brings my baby back to me. He/she can be passed around and around, but every few hours, I know he's mine. All mine.   Some of my very favorite moments is when I am nursing and he looks up at me. Eye to eye. Heart to heart. It's pretty amazing and an unbreakable bond.


This beautiful journey has been a learning process. It's natural. But still something that has to be learned by both mama and baby. With Audrey, I distinctly remember this one moment when she was just three days old. We went directly from our local hospital to Riley Hospital because of Audrey's heart issue when she was born. Andrew dropped me off with Audrey so he could park the car. I found myself on the uncomfortable hospital chairs, boppy pillow around me and holding on to a crying baby that really wanted to nurse. I put an entire blanket over my head and hid under it while I was sweating and nursed her. I was a first time, nervous mama, just trying to figure this breastfeeding thing out. With Audrey I used Lansinoh cream like my life depended on it. Before and after each and every feeding for at least the first few weeks. But, I didn't experience excruciating pain, and for the most part it came fairly easily for both of us. [I know this isn't always the case, I'm thankful that it happened as it did.] With both Naomi and Lincoln it was even a smoother transition. In fact, with Lincoln I used the cream maybe the first day or two, but didn't need it after that. I don't think twice about nursing in public and (gasp) I don't use a cover up. 


For me, nursing makes me slow down---a much needed break for both of us in the hustle and bustle of every day life. I breathe in their baby smell, and relish in the fact that I'm nurturing and nourishing my baby. This breastfeeding journey will be ending soon, but the memories will be forever with me.  

2.22.2013

finding perspective.

I'm going to be honest, the last six weeks or so haven't been easy in our household. My husband has been dealing with a some-what chronic pain that doesn't really have a cure (yet). It has come mostly in the evenings, you know, when I'm ready to pass the baton and take a mama breather. I've been holding the baton, barely holding on, waiting and looking for a hand to grab it.

Today, I think I finally felt like the finish was near. Or at least I'm going to make it.

Words of encouragement have seeped in that have helped tremendously. I thought I might share some of those words, in hopes, that it could encourage someone else in the midst of a trial.

[These words are from some of my best friends. I'm pretty blessed.]

"During my frustrating times, I try to remember everything has a season. This too shall pass. One day at a time. And I truly think God uses these moments so we have no other option but to look to Him. He promises to give us rest. I pray you feel a peace that surpasses human understanding in your trialing moments!" 

"Remember, God designs every trial specifically for each of us, so that we remember that when the world fails around us, HE is is here we put our trust and faith.  God will see this through - for both of you - because HE is bigger than your circumstances. His promise is eternal. His plan extends beyond what we can see. Stay strong. Get rest when you can.  Don't be afraid to ask for help from others to juggle all the things on your plate right now.  Be the encouragement Andrew needs."

"He rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:7 Let those words soak into your bones today.  KNOW that he is in control and KNOW that he wants you to trust him." 

I was able to find perspective in those words. In His words.

Valentine's morning we woke up, I had to get all the kids ready by myself for school so I could get to work. The girls were a bit grumpy, and if I'm honest, I was a bit too. So in the car, I told the girls we were going to listen to some worship music so we can remind ourselves what our focus should be on. We were listening to a song talking about getting upset over little things like losing keys and getting a speeding ticket, when in the grand scheme of life, it doesn't matter. I was nodding along to the song, absorbing those words. And guess what happens to me? I lock myself out of my van at work, in which we only have one set of keys. This was clearly God's sense of humor. And I laughed right along.

That brought perspective to me.

As I was scanning Pinterest the other day, I came across a quote that said sometime along the lines of "Your child will follow your example, not your advice." Whoa. Truth. I'm constantly telling my kids to choose joy. Yet, in the last six weeks, I can tell you, I haven't been very good about doing it myself. If I want my children to be joyful in all circumstances, then I must do the same. It's not an easy task, but thankfully grace allows for me to continue to reach for it.

I found perspective in that quote. Choose joy. Be receptive to grace.

He was annoyed because sister kept poking him in the head. It was sort of hilarious.



I'm slowly learning that perspective is all around me. In the little moments of feeding Lincoln breakfast. In watching my eldest dream and create. In twirling with Naomi as she describes herself as a "bootiful princess." 

Finding perspective to carry me through tiring, trying moments, that are only temporary, but His promise is eternal. 

2.06.2013

9 months in. 9 months out.

When the babies hit a year mark, it's kind of like they are no longer considered babies. They are entering toddler-hood. Which means, I only have about three months left with a BABY. Forever. Linc turned 9 months on the 28th of January. [Which means I'm a week late posting. It's my season of life, that's okay.]

This last month was a big one for Lincoln. He learned to clap, wave, crawl, pull-up, and cruise. He also said his first word "dada" and begin eating almost entirely table food (bananas, avocados, crackers, beans, breads, blueberries, strawberries, cheerios, yogurt, pasta, mashed up veggies, even small pieces of chicken). He is still a champing nurser. He was sleeping great at night until he began teething about two weeks ago--he has two bottom teeth, but his top two are coming through right now. His favorite things to do include trying to crawl into the fireplace and get whatever toy his sisters are playing with. He loves bath time and laughs when his whole head gets wet. He takes one or two naps a day, just depends on the day, and usually down for the night by 7.

He weighed in at 22 lbs 13 oz and a little over 30 inches long. The kid is huge. Wearing 18 month clothes.

He is so snuggly and sweet. Some of my favorite moments are when I'm nursing him and he just looks up at me and feels around my face. And when he wakes up in his crib, standing and gets SO excited when I walk in to get him. Most recently he began to lay his head down on my shoulder when someone new talks to him and he gets shy. I would be okay with him doing that for the rest of his life, although I'm sure he wouldn't. I also love the way he adores his sisters. God knew what he was doing when he had Lincoln join our family. I love him so.



Lincoln Loo, Buster Boo, Lincoln Wayne turned 9 months on January 28th 

edited to add: I clicked on my label "9 months" and saw that the title for both of my girls was "9 months in. 9 months out" with a picture of my belly. So I'm going to add that to this post. 

The day before he came. 

2.05.2013

feather her nest. {baby shower}

One of my favorite things to do is host. I love being in my element and having others over to relax and eat. When we were house hunting at this time last year, that was high on our priority, a place to be able to have a lot of people over.

A few weekends ago, I was able to host a baby shower for a good friend. It was for her third baby, but her first boy. And I say, baby shower's aren't just for the first baby, it's to celebrate life, a life joining a family, and to make the mama feel special!

My theme was inspired by a Pinterest idea--to make quill pens with gold tips. I knew I wanted a feather theme. The hubs helped design the invitations, he's so talented and handy.

I went with gold and teal colors, which made it easy, since teal is a color I regularly decorate with.


I bought the paper straws from Target, along with the square plates.

I bought quill feathers from Michael's Craft Store, washi tape from Target, and ink refills from Staples. All I did was cut off the extra part of the ink refills, stuck it in the feather, then wrapped washi tape around it and glued the end of the tape on to make sure it stayed in place. Washi tape isn't very sticky, but it's super cute. I brushed the tips with gold paint. These became useful for the game we played and they were the favors to take home!



We played two games. One was the typical "you can't say baby" game or your pin gets taken away. But to make it a wee bit more challenging I also said you couldn't say the mama's name. I bought clothespins at the Dollar Tree for this game and used an ink pad to add teal and then a circle stamp to add gold paint. Oh, I also used these clothespins to hang "James" up, which the letters were made from pipe cleaners, but I forgot to snap a picture of it.


The other game I found on Pinterest and it was a free printout! The placemats with the feathers on it came from Target clearance right after Christmas.


Trying to be frugal, I reused aluminum cans by painting them and using them for decor. These was so easy, and cute! Not to mention, I can use these over and over for other parties or every day.


My favorite thing was probably the cake. Mainly because the icing, oh my goodness, so delish! I was inspired by a cake on Pinterest that was teal with gold edible sparkles. You read that right, I found some edible gold and teal dust from Michael's Craft Store. The icing recipe can be found here


And here is the lady of the hour, herself, April: 


I had close lady friends of April bring some food to help. It was all so good. A great Saturday morning, celebrating the beautiful pregnant mama! 

2.04.2013

let's play.

Oh, how I love imaginary play, it's layered with learning. And it's a great way to beat the winter blues.

This morning there was surfing going on in my living room with homemade surf boards.


This afternoon, the girls asked if they could make up their own experiment. It ended with water, sugar, cinnamon, lots of bowls, stirring, and pouring. [Sometimes I think I've lost my mind.] This picture is before the real mess. Ha!


I told them they could do what they wanted as long as they cleaned up. They are at the age where doing dishes is cool. So they happily obliged.


And in case you are wondering, Lincoln has spent most of the day in my arms, as teething has gotten the best of him. Except for this rare moment. 





2.02.2013

happy saturday.

We woke up to more snow. Not my favorite thing in February, but I love how a blanket of white makes me want to slow down and stay inside. We have absolutely no plans today. A very rare treat, that I'm super excited about. We have goals to get a few things done around the house and I plan on sewing some skirts (for gifts). But other than that, we are playing and relaxing and taking in the moments of my ever-changing babies.

Last year around this time, when we had a very unseasonable warm day: 


Snapped these yesterday. OMG, how is she so big?!