Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adventures in Diapering: Part One

Our Diapering Journey:

I’m a nut about dirty diapers, if I think it’s the slightest bit wet, it’s changed.  I have a real fear of diaper rash, I have watched other children before having my own and I have seen first hand how awful diaper rash is for little babes.  I was/am absolutely adamant about the fact that if my Muffin gets any kind of rash on her hiney, it would not be because she wasn’t changed and cleaned often enough.

We have sensitive skin, super sensitive skin!  My heritage is mostly Irish, leaving me with auburn hair, light eyes, and pale skin speckled with freckles.  My husband is handsomely tan, dark hair, brown eyes, and no freckles.  What we do both have in common is very finicky skin.  I react to certain detergents, soaps, and lotions and the hubby reacts to more environmental elements like pollen, mold, grass etc.  So Muffin didn’t have much of a chance.

In the hospital they gave us Pampers brand diapers and when we came home, thanks to the wonderful baby shower gifts from loved ones, we had other boxes of name brand diapers ready to go.  After trying what we had been given, we noticed what looked like acne on her bum!  I was crushed, I had literally been changing her diaper every thirty minutes with the exception of nighttime – every hour or so then.  I called my Mom crying first, (isn’t Mom always the go to with “HELP!?” questions?) and after explaining I was doing nothing wrong, she told me that she had the same problem with me when I was brand new.  I later called Muffin's Pediatrician and he reinforced what Mom had told me.  So what this led to was our scouring stores to try every brand and find one that works, we finally settled on a Huggies brand knock off that we could buy in bulk and haven’t had a skin irritation issue since.

But, after having lots of success with our store bought diapers, I started to dread how much we were spending.  (Admittedly probably more than what is normally spent because I am so annoyingly particular about diaper changes).  I also read that disposable diapers take anywhere from 300 to 500 years to decompose in landfills!  Given those two reasons plus her sensitive skin, I began exploring the world of cloth diapering…

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So That's What They Call It





After our sweet Muffin’s arrival there were lots of things that came very natural to us:

Nursing: A choice I made while pregnant. God made our bodies in such a way that everything you need to support your baby’s diet for the first 6 months of life is built right into our design.  A custom tailored, made specifically for your baby, free, and loving way of giving your baby everything it needs.  I made a personal commitment to nurse our Muffin until she hit her first birthday as recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics.

Co-Sleeping:  We do this because, in all honesty, it is just easier!  Waking up every 1 to 2 hours to nurse an infant is very easy when they are right next to you.  This grew into us loving the idea that our kids will know that Mom and Dad’s bed is a safe and comforting place.

Baby Wearing:  I would say that this was mainly started with my paranoia of being a first time Mom.  If we left the house I wanted her in my arms.  I knew she was safe there.  I was/am very protective over her, she’s our baby, that’s our job; it’s what we are here for.  After discovering all of the wonderful bonding that came from wearing her right on my chest I was hooked! (Not to mention my husband who very proudly wears our babe in public!)

I didn’t have a clue what it was called; it was just how we did things.  After connecting with other moms online and a little research, I found out it had a name: Attachment Parenting.

What was a natural way of caring for our new addition was actually a well researched, and proven successful method of parenting.  Not to mention extremely rewarding!


If interested, listed are links that are far better at explaining more of the “in and outs” of attachment parenting.


American Association of Pediatrics:
Overview policy on breastfeeding:
FAQ:

Dr. Sears:
Breastfeeding;
Co-Sleeping:
Baby wearing:
Attachment Parenting:


What attachment parenting is NOT:
(This is a very important read for those new to AP and those who have heard of it but still have conerns)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Bun in the Oven




Our pregnancy was far from typical.  But it was something we both felt so blessed to have and although I spent a lot of time in the hospital.  We never lost sight of the miracle that was happening.

Corey and I from the start of dating talked about what our ideal family style and size would be.  We both knew we wanted to be young parents, we both knew we wanted for me to stay at home full time to make sure that our kids knew that they were always what we had dreamed of and always our top priority.  This is most certainly not the only way to do things, but it is the way we chose to build our family life together.
9 months pregnant and in my favorite top.

From the beginning of our pregnancy I was sick, very sick.  Having spells of what we thought was morning sickness all day, all night.  Our first baby doc, who usually had his NP do most of the patient visits shrugged this off giving us the textbook list of ways to reduce the effects of morning sickness and sent us on our way.  Oh and by the way he said I needed to grin and bear it for about 14 weeks of the pregnancy.  Week 14 rolls around, I’ve lost 10 pounds.  Go back to the Dr. they are somewhat alarmed at the weight loss, take some samples and determine I’m very dehydrated and need to go to get fluids.

I was eating, I had to eat, and I was so afraid that the baby wasn’t getting everything she needed because I was unable to keep anything down.  After what were about 4 trips to the outpatient unit at our hospital to get fluids and put on a regular schedule of anti nausea meds the first dr. made it clear that he had nothing more to offer and suggested my transfer of care to the high risk unit and University of Virginia Hospital.

To state one more time: I was eating, drinking, and chewing ice cubes ALL the time.  I felt that if the food was in my tummy for 30 seconds it was better than not at all.
At my life long best friend's shower, we actually had the same due dates...

As far as I know I still hold the record for the most dehydrated person ever admitted to UVA.  Go big or go home right?  I was admitted for a week at a time, several times to get IV fluids and other essential nutrients hard wired in.  The good news was the baby was healthy, thriving, and getting very big.  A “perk” was I had lots of ultrasounds, so I was very acquainted with this little munchkin and had lots of photos for my brag book already!

It was determined, towards the end of my pregnancy and 35 pounds lighter, that while forming all that is necessary for the baby to live and grow in my belly, my body made too many blood vessels putting me in a perpetual state of vertigo.  There were other complications, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction aka SPD, feel free to look it up if you would like to know the cause, I won’t go into that here, but my symptoms were I could not raise my legs on my own, my DH had to carry me most places in the house that requires a step up and it leaves you in quite a bit of pain.

Two days before my induction...
Given the risks, the docs at UVA decided it would be best if I was induced early to avoid getting too weak to handle labor.  They understood that we wanted a natural delivery and an early induction was my only hope of avoiding a c-section.

Skip to induction day, it’s a party in the delivery room.  My husband and my entire family had invested so much not only in this little person but also in me and my care.  Would we have liked to have been able to wait until my body started labor naturally? Yes.  Would I have preferred to have less medical intervention? Yes.  But there isn’t a wrong way as long as you are choosing the safest way.

Laboring
On Tuesday May 18th 2010, we met our sweet girl at 3:37 pm, after almost 4 days of labor.  She was perfect at 8 pounds 6.3 oz,19 ¾ inches long, deep blue eyes and a head full of auburn hair.  From that moment I was smitten, this little person we had created and worked so very hard to meet had changed our lives and world forever.  So you may be wondering, would I do it all over again? Yes, undoubtedly and without question.  The daily reward of raising this blessing makes any complication seem beyond worth it.



Forever



We were outside of church; he waited for the bells to ring and dropped to one knee.  I was clueless!  We had rushed out of the house to get there, my hair was in a messy ponytail and I managed foundation and mascara. Not. Glamorous.  I should have known something was up he was so nervous; I mistook it for still being sleepy on an early Sunday morning.  I had always envisioned being completely put together, dolled up, and photo-op ready. Nope. But when he knelt down to ask me to marry him, I practically swooned, cried with excitement, and the last thing I was thinking about was “I hope I look okay”.   The ride home I didn’t check the mirror to see if my mascara was running, I was far too busy beaming at my fiancĂ© and looking at the amazing 1912 engagement ring that fit so perfectly with my personality and on my ring finger!

Things don’t always go as WE plan them.  That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meant to happen that way.  God has a funny way of making sure that what needs to happen takes place when and how He knows it’s best.




My big idea:
After about 10 months of planning what was supposed to be our beautiful outside wedding, the anniversary of hurricane Fran had other plans.  It was supposed to be a wedding on the dock, Mother Nature providing most of the decoration and being beautifully simple. Nope.  As the event inched closer I kept checking the weather forecast, 40 % chance of rain. The next day, 70% chance of rain. The next day, no percentage listed, just Thunderstorms.  Three days before our wedding it became painfully clear that an outside wedding was out of the question.

Let the scramble begin:
            Have you ever tried to plan brand new wedding in 3 days?  Ever tried to book a location in 3 days?  If you answered yes, you’re crazy.  A VFW is never a girl’s first dream location when thinking about her big day.  But it was available and only with the help of my Dad making phone calls to friends.  After 10 months of planning every detail, this was God’s way of shaking me and saying, “You get it yet?”  How easy it is to get so wrapped up in the event and forget the BIG picture.  I was marrying the love of my life and I was worried about tea lights or no tea lights?  I was making one of the biggest commitments of my life, a vow before God to love an honor this man and I was worried about the perfect seal to put on the programs?  Talk about a wake up call. 

The beauty of it all:

            Our family and friends rallied and we had that place looking better than I am sure it looked for most weddings.  Our families were there into the wee hours of the night getting everything set up, reassuring us that it would be wonderful, and making us laugh at how perfectly imperfect it was.  God took over.  He made the arrangements, put these wonderfully loving people in our lives and gave us the safety net we needed.  He had it planned all along, how silly of me to think I was in charge of the details.  I married my best friend with the love and support of our family and friends.  It doesn’t get much closer to perfection than that.


"If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans."

Our Beginning (Photo Edition)


All of these photos are before tying the knot:
My senior prom 2006
Love is getting dressed up because it means a lot to her


Corey's birthday 2006
Love is companionship

On the Simmons family farm 2008
Love is stealing kisses at every opportunity


Love is discovering things in life together


Hiking 2008
Love is growing up together 
Fourth of July 2007
Love is being ridiculous together


Friends wedding 2006
Love is unscripted and about being yourself, together.

Our Beginning


2006
I was 17, he was 19.  I had been working at the Massanutten Water Park Sweetz shop.  My job was to melt down chocolate and make them into caramels filled treats, solid chocolate drops, turtles, covered pretzels etc.  He was the new guy, a line cook for the Blue Ridge Buffet, we were introduced but the Kitchen Manager, who I’m pretty sure, was secretly trying to play matchmaker.  When we exchanged the “nice to meet you”, I heard his deep voice and instantly thought, cute, but he’s too old. (Please keep in mind I was 17, even dating a 19 year old was a bit scandalous).
He had moved here to start over from West Virginia and landed this job at Massantten.  I was working after school and on the weekends for gas/spending money.  He was painfully quiet, soaking in the surroundings and new people.  I thought he was tall, tan, very thin, and had a very kind face (and his smile, oh that smile, enough to melt anyone).  It was a small kitchen so we had numerous encounters throughout the workday and managed to chat and admittedly flirt.
Shortly after, without our discussing it, he would stand at the kitchen entrance to the Sweetz shop, and ask my manger if I could take my lunch break.  If she said “Five more minutes” there he stood, waiting.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now, looking back, it was wonderful insight on how patient my dear husband is.  When I could go, we would ride he elevator downstairs and pick out a table in what was our lunch area.  I would have made goodies during my shift for us to share at lunch and he always supplied my then favorite, citrus green tea.  We would share about our families, friends, where we grew up, and other “getting to know you” topics.  What got my attention immediately is how important his family and friends were to him, he fully understood their roll in shaping him into the person he was.
            During one of these lunch breaks, I told him that I was running a car bash outside of my school (an attempt to raise money for the schools first all color yearbook, of which I was editor) and then going to my little sister’s basketball game afterwards, and if he wanted he could come.  We left it open, I didn’t realize at the time I had asked him to what he thought was technically a date…
            He showed.  I have never seen him outside of chef pants and chef coat so I was a little taken back by what he looked like in his casual wear.  A beanie, oversized Columbia jacket, jeans that were horribly ripped, and Puma soccer cleats.   It was then that he shared that he was color blind, although it didn’t really need to be said.  After the sledgehammer havoc that was the car bash, we made our way inside to my sister’s game.  Here is what I still have to hear about to this day: my entire family was there.  My sweet Corey though that this was a date, I looked at it the same way I looked at our lunch breaks, hang out sessions.  If I had thought of it as a date, I know I wouldn’t have asked him first.
            I had previously shared with my Dad that I had invited a friend from work; his name was Corey.  Dad asked if I knew his last name, and some how, in all of our conversations, the topic of our last names never came up!  Dad was less than thrilled to say the least.  And upon being introduced to Corey, firmly shook his hand and said, “You got a last name son?” “Simmons”.  (Talk about a *face palm* moment).  After the game we went out to Jess’ Lunch for hot dogs, grilled cheese, and of course milkshakes!  It then dawned on me that I might have asked HIM out on a date.  Not cool.
            Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the ENTIRE staff knew about this long before I ever got back to work.  And with it being such a talked about topic, it’s what gave Corey the courage to awkwardly ask ME out this time.  We drove to IHOP in the snow for this date, no kiss.  We went on another date; the third date technically, still no kiss.
            A lot of the older women at work were living vicariously through me for this asking if we had held hands, snuggled, kissed? No, no, and no.  I then made the most important statement: “It’s been three what I guess are “dates”, and no kiss, so I’m guessing we are just friends.” With this and without my knowledge a very well-meaning co-worker, taking matters into her own hands, marched over to Corey and told him that if he wanted to kiss me he had better “hop to it” or risk the dreaded: friend zone.  That night, after I had finished closing my section of the kitchen, he walked me out to my car, as usual.  But this time he was adorable, fumbling, and trying very hard to be “smooth”.  And taking me very much by surprise, he leaned down for a very sweet goodbye kiss.
           
            That was the beginning of the most wonderfully uncomplicated, easy, relationship that I still thank the Lord for everyday.  He is patient, genuine, thoughtful, kind, loving, dedicated, and makes being selfless for his family look effortless.  This 19-year-old boy became my husband, the father of our children, and a man I am so proud of.


Why Blog? Why Now?

I was chatting with my sweet husband, and he suggested:

“Why don’t you blog?”
“Why should I blog?  I don’t feel like I would be a very good writer”
“Well, I think you would enjoy it, you read them, you are always looking for other moms to chat and connect with.  I just think you would like it”


Now this conversation went on for a while, pros and cons of my blogging and things I would blog about.  And then it dawned on me that blogs can be about nothing or about everything.  And in that moment I decided to write about OUR everything.  I’m sure boring to some, interesting to few, but important to us.

One of my favorite forms of writing is in bullet form.  Blame it on a lifetime of note taking, but it’s simple to the point and it keeps me from rambling!

Reasons:

  • Community – I have joined numerous “Mommy sites”, I participate in a local Nursing Mothers Group, and I have a wonderful group of what I’ll call “Mommy Facebook friends” that I chit chat back and forth with.  But what I am REALLY searching for is a community of parents that revolve around a family oriented lifestyle like we do. (Particularly hard for me to find within my age group).
  •  Chronicle – I have a journal and baby book that I have always jotted things down in, messy, out of order scribbles that are about precious happenings and are in need of and deserve a tidy more thoughtful living space.
  • De-stress – (This is what I’m sure my husband will appreciate, although he is far too good to me to tell me this).  Ever need to just unload, vent , or release stress, somewhere? Anywhere?  Yeah, there will probably be a lot of that here.
  • Thinking on paper instead of out loud – any one who has met me will tell you I talk…. A lot.  So maybe, just maybe, this will help in that department. (Wishful thinking, but we’ll see).
  • Story telling – I come from a small family, before I was married of course, but at our largest we were 11 people.  Yep, 11.  So the one thing that we all share is story telling.  We love to retell events with loved ones and relive amazing memories.  It brings us closer.  Makes us appreciate time spent with loved ones, those with us, and those we will see again some day.
  • Rewriting- I mentioned I have a journal, more like unorganized thoughts and events, and I will be organizing that mess here. 
So read, share, follow, comment. <3
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