Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at the Farm

After church this year we headed to my parents' farm on the Eastern Shore to spend some quality time together.  It was a blast! Parks LOVES the great outdoors, just like his daddy!  Sorry, no photos of the 38 week preggo in jorts & tennis shoes, I didn't want to lose any of my readers :) Click on any picture to see it bigger.

 This face melts my heart!

He adores his Aunt Tina! 

 Love those two boys!

 Mom & Jud
A real tractor, this was possibly the biggest hit of the whole day! 

I can't help but sing to myself "She thinks my tractor's sexy" when I see these

 Catching fish and touching them with Mr. White!

All tuckered out! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

my baby's all grown up....

and getting ready to welcome another baby! I must say I've been pleasantly surprised with how well Parks has handled the "new baby" stuff so far.  It's clear he comprehends quite a bit about what is happening.  Believe me, I'm expecting some "adjustment" issues to come up with the new big brother but I have to say, he has a very good attitude about Reese right now.  He is very sweet when he talks about her and seems very excited about her stuff and having the baby things in the house.  I've been asking for tips and advice from people and I've gotten some good ideas for making the transition as smooth as it can be.  Here are a couple of neat ideas we've heard that we will be doing:

1.  Letting Parks bring Reese a present.  Parks has these blue bunnies that he loves and he and I went to a kids boutique and bought Reese a matching pink bunny for him to give her at the hospital.  He is very excited about it and talks about bringing it to her.  A very cute idea.

2.  Having a present "from Reese" at the hospital for Parks when he comes.  We bought a cool monster truck for Parks to open at the hospital from his baby sister when he comes.  Hopefully it will bring a positive association with the new baby.

3.  Having Jackson hold Reese when he comes to see us so he can hop up on the bed with me and I'm free to hold him.

4.  I'm thinking of making a "nursing box"to get out whenever I have to nurse the baby that has new/special toys, books and maybe a snack that he only gets when its time to nurse, thus making it something he looks forward to as well.

5.  Trying to let Parks "help" out with Reese whenever possible or whenever he wants to, applauding his role as big brother.

6.  Keeping his routine as consistent as possible, including all the little rituals we do as a family.

7.  Plenty of snuggle time with Mommy!  I think this might be the most important thing to ward off jealousy of the new baby.

 Practicing putting his animals to sleep.  He's very sweet and gentle and we say "Shhhh, night night" 

 Parks was wondering why we ever put this up :) 

2.5 weeks to go!!  Yay!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a glimpse at my DVR

I was going through my DVR last night when I realized I am officially a freak.  Being married helps you realize some of your "quirks" or things that aren't necessarily "normal" that you do.  I realize that I like really strange TV as opposed to Jackson who loves popular comedy tv series.  The Office? Boring.  Modern Family? It's ok.  But who wants to watch that when you can watch one of these delights!  What are my current favorite shows, you ask?  Read on!

1.  Sister Wives

I just can't look away.  I watch with my mouth hanging open half the time because I just do not get their lifestyle, but I can't look away.  I'm totally sucked in.  I just don't get how one man can equally love four women, or at least "enjoy loving" them?  I feel like he's got to have favorites, at least for certain things.  Do you get what I'm saying? I just don't get it, but I find it fascinating to watch.  Weird, huh?

2.  Hoarders: Buried Alive

The name of this show was enough to have me hooked.  Buried Alive?!!  Whaaaat?!  Again, I just can't look away.  Once you've seen one episode of Hoarders, you've pretty much seen them all.  But for some reason, I'm usually fascinated by every new case.  

3.  Extreme Couponing

This show is my newest gem.  It debuted a couple weeks ago and it has been sheer entertainment since it aired.  The people on the show are out of control with their couponing ways.  It's hysterical and just plain crazy.  Since I have dabbled a tiny bit in couponing I find it both intriguing and insane the level they take it to. 

So what does this say about me?  I guess I like to watch TV about strange and unusual things! If you are also a fan of these shows, out yourself now!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

true life

This is me.  I'm wearing maternity jorts right now.  They are hilarious, but it's 80 degrees what am I supposed to do?!  With less than 4 weeks to go I am not investing in any chic shorts so Liz Lange it is.  That is all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

And then I almost cried in Trader Joes

Buckle up because this is one ridiculous story about a pregnant woman in Trader Joes.  So Parks and I were doing our normal monday morning grocery shopping at TJs this morning.  We had gotten all of our groceries but we had yet to fufill one of our most important missions while there: finding "Shelby" the turtle.  I was informed by a friend that TJ's hides a stuffed turtle in a different place around the store every day and if children find her they get a prize.  This has turned into a huge deal in our house and Parks absolutely LOVES looking for Shelby and getting his lollipop as a prize.  I like it because he doesn't mind going to the grocery store and it's a fun little thing for us to look for while we shop.  It's a win-win.

Well, today "Shelby" was unusually difficult to find.  Usually I spot her pretty quickly but I was looking with an eagle eye and could not find her.  It got to the point where I was circling the store after I had gotten all my groceries soley looking for Shelby.  If you have a two year old you know that they don't forget a lollipop prize easily so Parks kept asking "Find Shelby?!" "Lollipop?!" 

I started to get annoyed because Shelby was so hard to find and I finally went up to a young guy in the produce section and asked if he knew where Shelby was.  He said he wasn't sure but then went to go look for her.  I kind of followed him around and then I saw the staffer with the hawaiian lei on.  I proceed to ask him if Shelby was out today.  He smirked and said "she is very elusive today" and walked away.  I was thinking, "Seriously?  Here I am 8 months pregnant with a two year old and that's all you're going to say to me? This is a game for children for goodness sakes, not private investigators!!"

I was very annoyed at this point because I had asked twice and not gotten any help in finding this stupid turtle.  I approached the customer service desk where you go to collect your prize after finding Shelby and I   said, "Hi, I have been around the store 5 times looking for Shelby and I have a two year old who's highlight of the day is finding Shelby and getting a lollipop. Can I please have a general hint as to where she might be?"  The man told me "By the spaghetti sauce."  Hmpfff, ok.  So I went back to that aisle and I still have trouble finding her when FINALLY I see her head stuffed way in the back of the stand.  I mean, it is was ridiculous how hard she was to see.  

I march back to the customer service desk and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  This is where it gets totally out of control.  This incident had me on the verge of tears!!  Why in the world would any normal person be driven to tears over this?  I knew I was completely out of my mind but I had no way to dismiss my frustration!  It was truly comical.  We finally arrived at the customer service desk and the man proceeds to give Parks a lollipop and we thank him and walk away.  I was probably visibily upset.  I got in the car and called my mom and proceeded to start sobbing telling her about the horrible injustice of what happened to me at Trader Joe's and how no one helped me.  I'm laughing as I write this it's just so ridiculous.  I'm embarrassed to go back next week! 

I am totally pulling the pregnant card on this one and blaming it on the hormones.  Jackson can attest I am actually very even-keeled during pregnancy and do not suffer from mood swings or irrational emotions but this one was just too classic and ridiculous not to share.  Has anyone else had a truly outrageous story that can only be attributed to pregnancy hormones?  Tell me I'm not the only one!! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

neat kids resources

I have discovered a couple wonderful resources to use with Parks that I wanted to share with the blogosphere.

The Village Church in Dallas, TX provides awesome resources for their children's ministry and makes them available for anyone to download on their website.  This site contains great information about ways to make spiritual connections with your child and make talking about God part of your everyday life.  The part I like best is that they do age specific "Developmental Guides".  It's a great thing to print out and stick on your fridge.

I found this awesome blog called "I Can Teach My Child" that is all about teaching your pre-school age children at home.  It's not really home-schooling it just provides a ton of great information and activities for you to do with your child and skills you can be working on.  It's also broken down by age so you can search for activities to do with your child at whatever age they currently are.  It is written by a Christian mom of two who has her Masters in Early Childhood Education.  If you ever get bored and need some ideas for activities to do with your kids, you will not be disappointed!

That's it, enjoy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Live & Learn: Doing things differently with baby #2

The saying is you live and you learn, that's very true.  I've learned a few things since I had Parks and I'm definitely planning on doing a few things differently with Reese.  The more I learn about pregnancy and childbirth and simply the way God designed our bodies the more in awe I am of his perfect creation and the more determined I am not to interfere with it!  Some of the current "practices" regarding childbirth and early infant medical care are unsettling when you learn a little more about them.  I have had my fair share of moments when I've wanted to give an earful to the AAP and the medical community in general (at least those who encourage and uphold these practices).  The more I educate myself, the more I have lost confidence in medical "professionals".  Here are a few things that I will be doing differently this time.

1.  The routine application of antibiotics (silver nitrate or erythromycin) on newborns eye shortly after birth.    I didn't know any better with Parks because they told me it was to protect the baby from "bacteria" in the birth canal.  Ok, sure I thought.  They didn't tell me it was ONLY to protect the baby against gonorrhea or chlamydia.  Well, unless you are in some sort of a precarious situation most women are certain of their status as far as this is concerned.  Not to mention, they routinely test for this in the beginning of your pregancy!  If you do not have any STDS, there is NO reason your baby should receive these irritating drops and have his vision and connection with you blurred.  What really bothers me about this whole thing is that the doctors are not up front with you about what is happening and why.  You have to educate yourself and be prepared to advocate for your baby, sometimes very strongly with aggressive doctors and nurses. 

2.  The routine administering of a Vitamin K shot immediately after birth.  This isssue is a bit more complicated than the eye ointment.  It requires some in-depth research that I'm not going to go into here.  But essentially, newborns are given a routine shot of vitamin K after birth to prevent a blood clotting disorder that affects 1 in 10,000 babies which can result in death or brain damage.  There are certain risk factors that increase the baby's chances of having this disorder including drugs taken by the mother during pregnancy.  The dosage of Vitamin K given at birth is 20,000 times the baby's natural level. According to an article from the Canadian Pediatric Society, "Although no significant complications after 420,000 intramuscular injections of vitamin K to newborns were reported (8), the psychological effects of intramuscular injections on newborn infants and their parents are unknown. It has been reported that pain experienced during the neonatal period may have long term effects (9,10)." Oral doses of Vitamin K for the baby are available if you want to skip the vitamin K shot, but of course no one tells you this.  Again, what troubles me here is the blanket policy of vitamin K injections for everyone and how nothing seems adequately tested and no one tells you your options.  There are preservatives that could be toxic in the injection and as a mother my common sense says, "leave the baby alone!" If supplementation through oral doses (which are much lower and natural than a shot that raises them by 20,000x) are available, my decision is no for this shot.

3. The routine administering of the Hepatitis B vaccine after birth.  This one is truly outrageous to me.  I'm honestly so mad at myself for not having done more research prior to Parks' birth on this one, I starting researching vaccines right before his 1 month appointment when I knew I would be faced with some decisions.  I had no idea that they would start the standard AAP vaccinations the DAY HE WAS BORN.  But oh yes, they do (read my thoughts on the AAP vaccination schedule here).  Unless you speak up, your baby will receive the first round of the Hep B vaccine within a day or two of his birth. Hepatitis B is transmitted like an STD or through a blood transfusion.  Obviously, there are some medical instances that could put a baby or child in the situation of needing a blood transfusion and I would certainly see the need for vaccinating at that point.  But, to routinely start a vaccine that can only be transmitted sexually or via blood transfusion on the day of birth is totally out of control!  A newborns' system and body is so delicate that to bombard it with a foreign substance and potentially toxic chemicals like aluminum and formaldehyde (both are in the Hep B vaccine) seems assanine to anyone with an ounce of common sense!  Why is this common practice?!

Combine these three practices together and that's a lot of potentially unneccesary medical intervention in  a baby's first 24 hours of life!  Plus, the exposure to some questionable or downright dangerous substances.  I have to wonder if Parks' "newborn rash" might have been due to the vitamin K or the Hepatitis B vaccine he received at birth.

I get a little worked up about this stuff because it just shows that you can't be as trusting as you thought (or hoped) with your medical decisions.  I know some wonderful doctors and nurses and I am not trying to disrespect them, but I think it's clear that certain "common practices" are in need of re-evaluation.  At the very least, health care providers should provide you with more information regarding your choices on these matters instead of bombarding you with a one-size-fits-all approach.  The point is, you have to educate yourself.  Responsible parenting starts when you are pregnant.  When I say that, I don't mean that if you don't come to the same conclusions I have then you are irresponsible.  I do, however, think it is our job to be informed about what is happening to our children and to decide for yourself what you think is best and know why.  Some of the best ways I've gotten information is to simply ask other mothers for tips and info and I read some great blogs that align with my general childrearing philosophy.  Honestly, I have gotten exposed to a lot of great information regarding childbirth and infant care through the blogs I read, most of which are listed on the right hand side of my blog.  Only you can advocate for your baby.  If you're like me, your instinct tells you that God knew best when he designed babies and the way they work and unless there is a clear, pressing need the best thing is to not interfere with his design.  I hope this information is helpful if you're expecting or considering having a baby in the future!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Paper Towel-less

I have not used paper towels in over a week.  I'm still a newbie, but I think I'm in it for the long haul.  I have become so tired of spending so much of our grocery budget on non-food items that are so stinking expensive.  Paper towels are on that list, along with laundry detergent, DIAPERS!!, ziplocs, cascade, swiffer refills etc, etc.  I've tried using Target's brand but I find the generic ones to really not work as well so I was buying Bounty with a coupon, which doesn't really help that much.  One of the bloggers whose blog I enjoy was describing how she lives sans paper towels.  I was really intrigued.  I probably used an average of 10 paper towels a day when I think about it, maybe more!  Between wiping the countertops, my glass kitchen table, and Parks face and drying my hands, we had a LOT of paper towel trash in our trash can every day.  Once I read her post, I thought I would give it a try.  It's definitely a frugally green concept.  Less waste and less money!  

The reality of living without paper towels means that you use several different cloths/rags every day for different purposes.  I'll go through what I have substituted for paper towels.  Every day, I get out 5 new clean cloths of different types.  It's important not to resuse them because they will start to stink.  It's happened to me before!

So this is the line-up!

1.  Every day I take out a cloth napkin to use for myself when I eat.  Jackson somehow never seems to need napkins so I don't take one out for him.
2.  The second is a white washcloth from Target (I got 2 packages on clearance from Target a while ago) that I use to wipe Parks face and hands after meals.  I can usually keep one for the whole day but if it gets too messy I'll get another one out.
3. The third is a "viscose" fabric rag from Trader Joe's that is a really absorbent kitchen cloth.  I use this for random, non messy wipe-ups like spilled water or maybe a small counter spill but not for heaving cleaning or counter scrubbing.
4. The fourth is a white barmop rag for wiping down the counters and any "dirty" kitchen jobs.  I like that they are white and I can bleach them if necessary.
5.  And fifth, a normal dish cloth for drying dishes and drying my hands after washing.

You could probably do without the viscose rag and just use the barmop rag for all wipe-ups and cleaning.  There are days when I don't really use the viscose rag very much.

For cleaning windows and mirrors I purchased microfiber cloths from the Target automotive section.  Apparently these are cheaper than the ones in the cleaning section.  I got a four pack for $5.  They also work great for regular dry dusting.  I've been pleased so far.

The only thing I have not found an alternate solution for is when I microwave bacon.  I suppose if this is truly the only thing I use paper towels for it's not so bad but I really want to find a way to not use them at all.  I don't really microwave bacon all that often but it's usually the way I cook bacon whenever I need it.  Any ideas on that please share them!

For any of you wondering, yes, using these rags does somewhat increase your laundry load, but not by a  whole lot.  It's maybe one small extra load per week.  It's still definitely a savings compared to shelling out $10 for paper towels every month.

So there you have it, another frugally green idea like the home-made cleaners (which are still working great by the way)!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

35 weeks!

Only 5 weeks to go!  I'm soo excited to meet little Reese!  In some ways I cannot believe I'm going to have a daughter.  I'm so used to my little man I have a hard time imagining what having a girl will be like.  All I know is I can't wait to meet my little princess.  So here I am at 35 weeks.  I'm carrying her similar to Parks, like a basketball, but way lower which makes me look a little "thicker" if you will.  My midwife said this is because she is my second baby and there's more "room" down there (yuck).  I used to feel Parks kick up in my ribcage and he gave me more heartburn but Reese is so low she hasn't even come close to kicking my ribs.  It's actually really nice and much more comfortable.  I can still lay on my back and not feel like I'm about to die.  I've gained almost the exact same amount of weight I did with Parks at this point too.

I'm starting my "5-w" herbal supplements this week too!  5-w is a natural herbal supplement that my midwives recommend for preparing your body for labor.  I didn't even know it existed with Parks and I'm really hoping it helps cut this labor time down from the whopping 26 hour labor I endured with Parks.  I'd seriously be thrilled if it was under 20 hours.  Anything is better than 26 at this point.

So here we go, into the final 5 weeks.  My to-do list is dwindling and we are looking forward to enjoying these last few weeks as a family of three with just Parks.  Sometimes I get teary thinking about it being our "last weeks" with "just him".  I think it's the pregnancy hormones.  I know Reese will bring such joy and dare I say, completion to our family : )  Who knows? We'll just have to wait and see... :)