What Should I Do With My Time Today?

I’m currently reading a book my mom gifted me called Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker’s Heart.  It is by Kimberly Hahn.  In her chapter on time management she writes that she reminds herself each day that:

“There is all the time I need today to do God’s will today.” – Kimberly Hahn

What this means to me is that instead of being overwhelmed with the realization that I don’t have time for everything, I instead must begin with grounding my thoughts in prayerful trust.  This is baby steps for me at this point, because my thought patterns are typically going wild with anxiety about the day ahead.  Yesterday, I tried to begin the day with the Lord in simple prayer and then trusted that He would guide my decisions about how to use my time.  What it meant yesterday was sticking to the plans I had made on the calendar instead of second guessing myself.  The day went smoother, and I felt like I had more peace even though the same routine tasks still had to get done.  My time seemed to multiply because I spent less of it worrying about what to do.

 

My Baby, My Gift

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Author’s Note:  This is a blog post from three months ago describing my then 3 month old baby.  At the time I didn’t publish it because it didn’t seem important, but now it does.  Enjoy.  The photo above is of that very moment.

I had a crabby baby that night.  He was sick and wanted to be held.  He just didn’t want to be put down.  He cried every time I set him down.  Nothing was working, so I put him in a baby wrap, and snuggled him close to me.  I turned on music on my phone and stuck the phone in the little pocket in the baby wrap.  The songs were beautiful.  Even though my back ached, I held him, and “danced” with him.  It was so comforting, it put him to sleep.  As he lay against me, I just took a moment to enjoy the soft feel of his hair next to my cheek and the sweet smell of his skin.  You see, this baby is special to me.  He is an answer to prayers for us.  He arrived not on our time, but Gods.  He is a gift to me and when things get stressful, I thank God for my baby and ask Him to help give me the gifts I need to be his mom.

Dairy Free = Happy Baby

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By Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa – sxc.hu, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=134636

 

Yes folks!  It’s true.  I’m dairy free.  I avoid dairy because through trial and error, I discovered it really affects my baby (now 6 months old!).  The one exception I make is butter because well butter is delicious and I don’t think it affects him when I nurse.  I started all this in May for two reasons.  The first reason was really that I was trying to cut all forms of sugar out so that I would heal my body of some issues.  I also discovered I was VERY much addictive to sugar.  I craved it and depended on it to get me through the day. Milk products contain natural sugar so I needed to cut those out.  😦  An unintended pleasant discovery was that taking our dairy temporarily helped my little one’s belly issues.  The incessant screaming and hard tummy and evening discomfort no longer became such a huge issue.  Things have improved greatly.

At first avoiding dairy was so hard.  I longed for slices of cheese on my sandwich and I missed Greek yogurt, and real ice cream.  I needed to totally revamp my typical go to dinner menus to make sure there was no cheese or dairy.  The thing I missed the most was (and still is) pizza.  Because cheese is what makes pizza…well… pizza.  I also learned to substitute things in recipes.  Almond milk and I have become quite friendly. I use  unsweetened almond milk in recipes like egg bake, banana bread, and white sauces.  I’ve even learned that there is something out there called dairy free dessert (aka ice “cream”).  My favorite is almond milk ice “cream”.  It costs quite a penny so I learned to make almond milk custard in my ice cream maker.  It is pretty time consuming to prep so I’ve made it… once.  Here is the link to my favorite recipe.   https://www.cuisinart.com/recipes/desserts/5835/ .  It is awesome.  I also discovered many frozen yogurt shops carry a flavor or two of dairy free.  My favorite is always key lime!

Dinner recipes have been fun as well.  It’s amazing how many recipes out there that are dairy free.  Some of my favorites are fish tacos, taco stuffed sweet potatoes, and salisbury steak -all from one of my favorite websites called Paleo Leap.

I plan to be dairy free until my son is weaned.  After that point I plan to add back in dairy products. Once I do, I hope to have whole milk products  that are free of extra added sugar because I think I can eat way to much added sugar if I’m not careful.  But I guess that’s a topic for another post.  In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my almond milk custard and a happier baby.

 

I Gave Nursing a Second Chance

For the first part of my oldest son’s life, I lived a fog of tiredness. I was sleep deprived and the transition to motherhood was hard. Before “O” was born I dreamed about how much a would love nursing my baby. We went to a birth class and they had us practice holding up fake babies into nursing positions. It all seemed easy and I looked forward to it until…
My baby couldn’t nurse. Continue reading

We Made Cupcakes

Author’s note

Let me tell you  I have just  written  my first blog post  using  the WordPress app  and the voice to text feature  on my phone . I wrote this blog post while nursing a baby. Have mercy on me and ignore all typos

It was a morning that was not very typical for me. I decided not to go somewhere outside the house this particular morning. Instead I decided to have the baby take a good nap in his crib. The baby went down after two tries. I was pretty happy with this and then realized I had a decision to make at that moment. My three-year-old son I was anxiously awaiting me to return to the downstairs after putting his brother to sleep. I was tempted to immediately begin some housework. There was plenty to do. My options were endless. Dishes laundry cleaning picking up Etc. But I took a moment and realized this may be one of the Limited moments during the day when I can with him one-on-one. Instead of jumping in to the chores  the first thing that popped into my mind was to ask him a simple question. Do you want to play with me? Yes! He answered and said that he wanted to play trains. Just be honest with you I don’t like playing trains. So I made another suggestion let’s bake together. And so we did. We made yellow cake mix cupcakes cupcakes with pink frosting and some with green frosting. He loved it. And the funny thing was it seems like I got more chores done yesterday because I found ways for him to be involved. He sat on my bed and played while I folded clothes. I put away dishes while he ate lunch and he was very understanding. I managed to sneak in a load of laundry between nursing the baby. It was a fine day. Of course not perfect. But I won’t get into that part. My point is that all too many times I am so focused on what I have to get done that I miss what’s really going on in front of me. Theres 2 little brown haired boys who need me to be present to them today. I still remember my mother-in-law’s advice when I was expecting my first baby. She said number one  sleep when the baby sleeps and number 2 chores can wait. Unfortunately with two kids now I can’t sleep when the baby sleeps if my toddler isn’t sleeping too but the second one always applies. Chores can wait.

Birth Story Part 3: Precipitous Labor

Note: In case, you need to get caught up, please refer to part 1 and part 2 of my labor story.

So the moment finally came when we were heading to the hospital, but the contractions were so intense I couldn’t sit down in the car.  My husband suggested that I should lay down in the back seat, but that sounded awful to me.  I decided to wait out this one intense contraction and get in the car with the hopes that I could make it to the hospital without many more contractions. Luckily, we live very close to the hospital in town.

However, the ride to the hospital was tortuous.  I held onto the handle bar on the top of the car as intense contractions came over me, without much break in between.  In the 6 minute car ride it seemed as if I had nonstop contractions.  I texted my doula to meet us at the hospital. I couldn’t even talk to call the midwife the pains were so intense.  These contractions were nothing like the light contractions I felt on the way to the hospital with my first baby.  I thought to myself- there is no way I can endure hours of this!

When we got the hospital parking garage,  we parked, and I flew out of the car while my husband carefully turned off the vehicle.  I got to the front desk of the childbirth unit and told them I was in a lot of pain.  Then I told her I felt like I had to push. She asked me if I wanted to walk or go in a wheelchair to the triage, and I said- neither!  I was having a bad contraction, so I told them to wait until my contraction was over.  After it finished, I got in the wheelchair, and went to triage.

The moment I got in there, my water broke drastically. I got on the bed, and they said- You are crowning.  One more contraction and the baby will be born.  At this point, I freaked out.  I didn’t have my doula or midwife, and the biggest concern- there would be no time for my epidural.  The thought of a natural birth terrified me.  I panicked, and finally the resident doctor asked me what the baby’s name will be.  I told him.  Then, he said *** will be born very soon [I like to keep kids names private in my blogging].  Then, a moment later, with one push, my little bundle of joy- all 7 lbs 15 oz- was in my arms.  Soon after the doula and midwife arrived in triage.

This birth experience was fast and intense and quite different from a long labor.  It was intense and challenging in a different way than the 16 hour labor with my first baby.  Long labor was exhausting, but precipitous labor was like going down a tall, steep roller-coaster drop off- very intense!  Mentally I was not prepared for it.  And of course, like they always say, it was very different from I hoped for on my birth plan.  I NEVER thought I would give birth naturally.  But then again, I never imagined I would be among the women with crazy fast labors.

Birth Story Part 2: Precipitous Labor

Here is the next installment of my birth story.  If you missed the first part, here it is.

The morning of my due date I felt great!  After a 40 week midwife visit that morning, I got together with a friend and her daughter.  We played outside in the backyard, I made them smoothies, and there were no signs of baby coming.  Later that day, I was getting ready for my mother in law to come into town that evening. I made her turkey chili in the crock pot for dinner and two batches of muffins.  I spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning a bit and rested a bit too.  She arrived around 7:30 in the evening, and ate dinner.  My husband biked home from work around 8:30 in the evening.  Not even and hour passed since he came home, and I felt contractions.  They weren’t horrible, but I suspected my water may be starting to break. but I was not really sure.  Because I tested positive for group B strep, it was important that I get to the hospital to start antibiotics as soon as possible.  I contacted both my midwife and doula to tell them what was up, and the midwife encouraged me to make my way to the hospital to get checked just in case.  I told my doula she could meet me at the hospital because I imagined we had some time.  My husband took a shower, and we gathered last minute items for the hospital.  We also gave my mother in law instructions about our toddler’s routines.  As we prepared to get ready to go out the door, the contractions seemed to be getting more intense with little break in between.  I said to myself, “I sure don’t remember it being this bad at home last time.  This kind of reminds me of the pain level at transition, but then again, its been over two years and I can’t really remember it.”  It got really bad, but being a polite and slightly reserved person with a high pain tolerance, I didn’t really show or fully communicate my pain level.  Eventually, I felt like I couldn’t hold on anymore.  I told my husband, WE NEED TO GO NOW.  Only problem was my contractions were so painful, I couldn’t sit down in the car…  To be continued…

Birth Story Part 1- Precipitous Labor

About 4 weeks ago, on March 9, our family welcomed Baby Boy 2 into the family!  He came right on his due date, but not without making a grand and fast entrance into the world.

My first baby was two weeks early.  He was born in May 2013.  My labor was 16 hours long.  I had a spinal block (epidural did not work- that’s its own story) and experienced a pretty typical labor and delivery process.   Labor came with no doubt.  I did not have Braxton Hicks contractions at all, so I knew it was for real.

So as I approached the two week mark before my second son’s due date, I knew it could indeed happen early again so, I became vigilant for any slight signs of labor.  But it didn’t happen.  They say no two pregnancies are alike.  Yes, that’s true! Little did I know for two weeks, I would have countless Braxton Hicks contractions but no real labor.  I began to get used to these false alarms, knowing the real thing would come soon and follow a familiar pattern like before.

As the days passed and I got closer to my actual due date, I took this time to plan out my upcoming birth experience in my head.  I imagined it would be a shorter labor of 5-6 hours. I would arrive at the hospital with mild contractions and begin the labor process with my IV antibiotics since I tested positive for group B strep.  I would meet the doula at the hospital, and she would coach me through labor and help me try to be more present and peacefully through this labor.  Unlike last time, I would not panic.  I planned to have a light epidural offered at just the right moment because I decided that doing it naturally was not going to be my plan.  But this scenario was was not to be my birth story.  I heard of women with really fast labors barely making it to the hospital, but surely that wouldn’t be my birth story. Or would it?

To be continued…

Dinner Meals Made Manageable

An example of a weekly meal plan on the back of my shopping list.
An example of a weekly meal plan on the back of my shopping list.

I remember when I brought my son home from the hospital 2 1/2 years ago, one of my biggest fears was that I would never be able to cook dinner again.  How could anyone cook while having to tend to a fussy, hungry baby?  Cooking seemed like an impossible task at the time.

And then it happened.  He grew up into a toddler.  While my hands are free from baby holding, my attention is undoubtedly divided while trying to put on a meal.  But getting a meal together happens much easier.  This is a luxury that I know I will only enjoy for a few more months since baby brother is due in March.

Once I got back into being able to make meals again,  I planned meals… well loosely.  I sort of thought about what we’d have that week, but then when it came time to make dinner that night, I would either have trouble deciding which meal to make or if I did decide I couldn’t locate the recipe (usually that I found online) but failed to save.  Defrosting meat at the last minute, looking at tiny recipes on my phone, and trying to get it done quickly were not working.

I decided to be more deliberate about planning the meal and preparing for it ahead of time.  Based on my personality type, planning and structure are not my tendency.  I like going with the flow and spontaneity.   I love trying to improvise, BUT toddlers are creatures of structure and predictability so I realized for the purpose of peaceful meal prep, I needed to get more organized.  Now, when I plan my week of meals, I assign a specific day for a certain meal.  Some shifting does occur at times, or if we decide to go out at the last minute, I can try to adjust the plan.  But this is not the usual.

The night before I remind myself what’s for dinner tomorrow and take any meat or cheese out of the freezer to defrost.  I try to locate the recipe and have it ready and print it if need be.  In regards to remembering recipes, I have found that  Pinterest helps out the process.  If I am using a Pinterest recipe, I can either Pin it to one of my boards or like it. It took me a long time to realize that liking a pin allows you to find it again without actually pinning it.  I also realized that on my iPhone app, if I click on the word PINS under my name I can see all of them, so I don’t have to click from board to board looking for recipes I’ve pinned  I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out this trick.  I’ve also found it is helped to write cookbook name and page number by the recipe plan so I can find the recipe again without page flipping.

And where is all this written?  I write my meal plan out for the week on the back of my grocery list.  I tack my list/meal plan to the bulletin board in my kitchen for reference.  My next idea for organization is to write out a list and reference for my favorite recipes so I can find them easily during meal planning for the week.  I think now the hardest part of all this is deciding what to plan for meals each week.

I know that having a baby and toddler in the house may take me back to square one where I may feel as if I will never be able to cook again, but I now know that organization and deliberate planning can make the process less daunting.