Monday, April 30, 2012

New Mommy Must-Haves

I was sitting in our living room tonight, watching my little guy swinging in the baby swing and a blog post came to mind.  What baby products do I have that I love?  What have been the best investments and things I have used with all three kids?  This is not a huge list...I'm sure I could think of a few more things...but these are some of the first things that stood out in my memory.

 My inspiration...the baby swing.  This is the model that my sister just loaned me, just a little different on the colors.  Bless my sister.  Without her, I wouldn't have most of the baby stuff I have, clothes for my kids, or clothes for myself.  She's a very generous sharer and hand-me-downer.  This swing rocks.  It's got your different speeds, vibration, and music if you want it.  A cute little mobile, too.  The tray on it will be great in the future if we want to put toys/snacks in there.  It also has straps to be sure he doesn't get out.  Right now we don't need those...but might in the future!  The seat is adjustable, which is nice.  What I love the most about this?  You can plug it in!!  Yes!  You will go through SO MANY batteries on the different baby stuff, it's crazy.  Even if you don't get this model...definitely go for one that has a plug-in option!
 The boppy pillow.  Thanks again to my sis.  We've been passing it back and forth as we've had babies.  Whoever invented this is a genius.  I use it when I feed the baby, Joe uses it when he holds the baby, and we use it pretty much every night to prop the baby up to sleep because he's got some fussy tummy/spit up issues.  You could even use this thing to put your laptop on.  The possibilities are endless.  I even took it with me to the hospital with baby #2 and was so glad.  When we unexpectedly had baby #3 a little early, my "get this stuff from home" list had the boppy at the top!  They make other versions of this that are cheaper and I'm sure they're just as good.  If you're crafty you could probably make one yourself.  With having c-sections this really helped!  First time moms...get a boppy! : )
 The pack 'n play.  My ex-sister in law gave me this.  Thanks!  This is definitely the fancy version (I wanted to say "tricked out" version...but I wasn't sure if that sounded appropriate?! : )).  Pretty nice.  Mine is very basic...just the main rectangular part and a mat that you can raise for a basinet and lower to the bottom when they get bigger.  Have I missed all the special features?  Not really.  But they look really nice.  You will use this thing until your kids are like 2 years old...maybe even older.  We've taken ours on vacations and overnights, used it as a baby gate : ), and I've put my toddlers in it with toys and let them play so I could take a shower.  It's great to have in those first months if you want the baby in your room but not in your bed.  This is what we're using now.  We change him in there, he sleeps during the day/night in there, etc.  It folds up pretty compactly, considering how large it is, and has a canvas-type cover with a handle so it's easy to pack away for vacay.  This is a Graco, but there are lots of brands that make versions of this and you can find them cheap/used.  My only advice with a cheaper one is make sure that the basinet "platform" has some kind of netting or something that prevents the baby from falling down underneath it.  This may not make sense, but I'll say that once when baby #2 was little, he was laying in it and somehow wedged himself between the edge of the platform and the side of the pack n play.  He ended up falling through down to the bottom of it where there was no padding.  Scared me half to death!  He was crying, too.  Then I couldn't find him but could hear him crying.  It was rough.  That could be dangerous, so be aware.  This was a cheaper brand that this happened with and may be improved by now. 
 A baby sling.  This one's mine : ).  But my friend gave me a light green one like this as a baby gift.  Thank you, Laura!  Anyway, this version is called "The Peanut Shell" and you can buy them on their website or through Target (I registered for mine through Target, so I think they're still there).  I LOVE this thing.  Especially having two other children that still need me to hold their hand or have a hand free to hold bags and other things.  Sure, you could lug the carseat with the baby in it around if you'd like, but doing the sling is lighter, less awkward, and almost every time I've put my babies in it has soothed them right to sleep.  I have put them in to do housework, cook, etc when they've been fussy.  There are tons of other types of slings made by different companies...and I'm sure they're all good.  You can even make your own.  There are tutorials and patterns online.  I'd definitely recommend getting one!
Last, but not least, is the nursing tank top.  If you plan to try and nurse your baby, these things are awesome!  I have three and rotate them to sleep in every night.  It makes nursing easier and the material they're made of is stretchy but comfortable.  I packed these to take to the hospital when having my babies. 

I hope this is helpful!  Please pass on any other must-haves.  There may be something I'm missing here that I'd love to have this last time around! 
God bless,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Easy, delicious apple dumplings!

Tonight we had what our church calls a "shuffle fellowship".  Basically what we do is have people sign up to be a part of a night of food and fellowship.  There are host homes who provide meat/main dish and everyone else that comes provides side dishes.  The "shuffle" part comes in when we mix up the age groups and family groups.  Our group was made up of us...parents/3 young kids, another family with 2 grown children and 5 adopted children from China, a couple with a 5 yr old boy, and two single ladies.  Our host family is a couple that has 6 grown children and several grandchildren.  They are awesome, by the way!  : )  We had some incredible steak, veggies, pasta salad, mac and cheese, great yeast rolls, salad, and more.  It was all SO good.  I ate like a crazy woman.  A crazy, tired, hungry woman.  I had to make myself stop because I really think I could've eaten more.  Anyway, I volunteered to bring the dessert. 

Quick story before the recipe...I just want to say how grateful I am for our friends and church family who have provided several meals for us since Seth has been born!  It has been such a big help to the primary food preparer...and has definitely taken some of the responsibility off of my shoulders.  One of the meals that someone brought over included the most amazing apple dumplings.  I've never made them and didn't know a good recipe, so I asked for the recipe for these right away!  I was very excited to find out that the recipe is SO easy and doesn't require a lot of ingredients=my kind of dessert!  That leads me back to tonight.  I made 16 apple dumplings for dessert and bought some vanilla ice cream to go on top...yum!  Cinnamon ice cream would be good, too.  Hope you all enjoy!

(Easy) Apple Dumplings
Ingredients (for 8 dumplings):
2 apples
1 can crescent rolls
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick melted butter
1/2 cup water

Core and quarter apples (I used my apple peeler/corer/ there wasn't any skin). Take one can of crescent rolls and wrap one around each apple quarter. Place in dish and then cover with mixture of sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, and water. Pour over apples and crescent rolls and sprinkle with cinnamon. Put in oven at 350 for around 30 minutes! Easy!
A hearty serving would be 2 dumplings.  We all ate just one tonight, but I had another one when I got home ; ).

Friday, April 20, 2012

A month of life

 We made it!  Actually our first month with baby Seth is quite similar to the first month with all of our newborns...sort of a haze.  Things I've learned about little man so far...
*He loves to be held.  It quiets him and gives him peace.  Therefore, we hold him : ).  Mommy and Daddy like peace...and much as possible.
*At first he had his days/nights mixed up.  It was rough.  I think he's finally got them straight.
*I think what several people have told me about how newborns sleep about 21 hours out of the day might be true.  He sleeps a lot!  I'm kind of afraid sometimes when I see him drifting off during the day if it means those are hours he won't be sleeping at night.  As of right now he's getting some good night sleep...yay!
*If we have to supplement, which we are right now to help him gain some good weight, it's best to do it at night.  It definitely helps put him through a few extra hours!
*This one is a spit-upper.  Big time.  I'm talking projectile.  I have the evidence on my face tonight.  So, we prop him up as much as we can.  It seems to help him not be so fussy...or shoot spit up at us. 
*I think having one extra little baby has increased the amount of laundry I have by at least two-fold.  I think we have to change his clothes about 2 or 3 times a day and go through a bunch of blankets/burp cloths (see previous observation).  Even though the clothes are teeny...they add up fast!
*Last, but not least...I LOVE having another little one.  Yes, it's hard, I feel tired, and my body feels not quite itself but it's such a joy.  I'm thankful that our other two kids have transitioned pretty well and have welcomed Seth into the fold.  It's definitely helped that I've had such a quick and easy recovery from c-section #3.  I was concerned about how long it would take me to heal but it has been the easiest so far.
We're still figuring this guy out but we're so encouraged by his weight gain and growth.  I'm looking forward to that day when he's sleeping through the night and we'll all feel back to our old selves...and I can move on to working on losing this baby weight!  Oh joy! : )
Here are few other pictures from this month.  Easter!  I didn't know if we'd be able to do anything that day, but I felt good enough to get up, get the kids ready for the early church service, go to Sunday School, and head off to Macon to have some fun with family.
 Here are the kids and I in our traditional photo spot at my parents house.  The ivy is a little out of control, but we got a good pic : ).
 Here's my crew and my sister and her crew.  We were hubby-less that day.  Joe had to stay back and prepare for a sermon for the evening service and my sister's husband is serving with the military in Afganistan.
My sis, Mom, and I...happy to spend time together!
One month down...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lead Me to the Cross

Empty tomb...full heart.  I saw this on a friend's facebook status today and I thought those two phrases summed up Easter in a great way.  When Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sin, that wasn't the end of the story.  He was placed in a tomb and it was sealed tight.  On the third day, a miracle happened.  Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead.  The stone sealing his tomb was rolled away and he emerged...victorious over sin, hell, and death.  Why would Jesus do that?  It wasn't just for himself.  He did it for us.  Everything he did, he did it so that we could experience the pleasure of freedom from sin and death.  By accepting this amazing gift we can have a full heart.  Empty tomb...full heart.  Thank you, Jesus!

This is a song my mom told me about last week when she was here.  It's not a new song but it's new to me.  As we celebrate Easter today, I want to be led to the cross.  Blessings this Easter ><&gt

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo shoot

My aunt is a great photographer and she and my uncle came to visit us this week.  We really want to try out doing some poses we had seen on Pinterest.  I wish I would've thought of these when Sophie and Isaac were born!  I LOVE how these turned out! 
Psalm 139:14...I am fearfully and wonderfully made....
This is one of my favorite psalms.  I'm so glad we got this picture!
This picture was taken on Isaac's bed in his room.  I think it looks like a studio picture!  The kids are posing great.  I think this will probably be our photo of the year.  Why would I want to subject us to a torturous trip to a photo studio when we've got a great pic right here?! 
Love those little feet...and the "Little Brother" shirt : ).
We were trying to get my hands in the shape of a heart around his little feet.  Can you tell?  It's a lot harder than it looks : ). 
We are so thankful for our new little addition...and for his big brother and sister!

Monday, April 2, 2012

In my spare time...

If you're a pinterest-er like me, you might have a board labeled, "in my spare time".  For me that represents movies, books, music, writing, and other fun things that I like to indulge in when I have a few spare moments.  With the addition of babe #3, those spare moments are few and far between!  But...I have managed to squeeze in some reading time...particularly during those late night feedings.  It's been good because it helps me to stay awake!  I've still been participating in Bethany House's book review program, even though I had a little hiatus for a while, and received my latest book to review while we were in the hospital having the baby.  I knew it was coming, but hoped I'd get it before the baby came!  Oh well...the timing worked out ok and I was super excited about getting this one!  I have only read one Mary Connealy book before this one, so I was like a kid in a candy store when I found out I was going to be able to review this one!
*Note* I received this book for free to review from Bethany House and I am giving an unbiased opinion.
In Too Deep by Mary Connealy
In Too Deep is the second book in The Kincaid Brides series.  This story is centered around Ethan, one of the Kincaid brothers, his new family, and the trials they go through as they face their past and look forward to the future.  At the beginning of the story, Ethan is convinced (rather easily) to enter into marriage with Audra, a widow with two small children.  All three of the Kincaid brothers want to help Audra, but don't practically know how to do that unless she marries one of the brothers.  Ethan is the best candidate.  Ethan enters into this agreement with his typical smile that he uses throughout the story to conceal his true feelings.  Most of the time Ethan wants to numb himself and feel as close to nothing as possible.  As the story progresses, the Kincaids face many dangers in the forms of a cavern that holds bad memories for the Kincaid brothers, a few "bad guys" that want to reclaim the money Audra's dead husband stole from them, and, on a personal level, Ethan must face the past and learn to open his heart to love.

I think it would've helped me if I would've read book one this series, Out of Control.  I was able to pick up on most of the plot history without it and still thought In Too Deep was a great story!  One thing I liked about the book overall was the author's style of writing.  I didn't think there were too many metaphors (I've noticed some author's tend to overdo those) and I liked the way that a character's train of thought was written out...I could relate to that as a reader.  The characters were well-developed and deep.  For example, when the story began and Ethan kept smiling about everything I thought I was going to get bored with that.  But as the story continued I saw what was behind that constant grin and the feelings/emotions that led him to use his facial expression as a "cover".  There were several twists and turns in the story.  The reader was able to see the perspective of the villians in the story as well as our heros.  I, being a lover of romance, thoroughly enjoyed the Audra/Ethan storyline.  You gradually see the walls break down between the two of them and the love that grows.  Can you tell I enjoyed this book!?  I know it's a good one when I look forward to picking it up again...even when it's at a 3am baby feeding!  I would definitely recommend this book.

On a totally different note, I wanted to add this song....that I now LOVE!  I have not seen The Hunger Games...I'm fighting my curiosity at the moment...but I think this song was written for the movie.  I think it's wonderful.  Hope you enjoy!

Until my next bit of spare time...God bless!