...and sometimes, it's not! :) This has been one major thing I have learned about motherhood. I could give tons of examples. But I will just share two...
Our mealtimes have changed DRASTICALLY in the last few weeks. First, we started (and now have almost completed!) our transition to whole milk. But we are also (with the exception to baby cereal which I want to do as long as she will eat it for the iron) totally off baby food! ALL big girl, table food! YAY! And a little scary. But she is enjoying it and seems to be eating well. More and more is getting into her mouth, and I have learned to love the plastic bibs with a pocket at the bottom to catch her "misses"! HA!
I used to give her food in these (although she has PINK ones!)...
There is a pad that static clings to the highchair tray, and it has a suction cup. And the plates and bowls just stick right on there. Well, that was then, before she really ate like there was no tomorrow. Now, I can't put all of her food on her tray at once. She has discovered that food tastes good, and she wants to eat it all. At the same time. And shovels it in like she is afraid I will take it away! HA! So we have started using these wonderful little plates, and mommy keeps it on the table and just feeds her off of it....
Super simple, right!? And, they are dishwasher safe! I wash them on the bottom rack, on sanitize/high heat, and so far so good! Plus, a pack of 5 costs the same as ONE of the fancy suction cup ones! Can't beat that!
So that is my example of when simple is best. Here is my example of when more really is MORE!!!
My Buggy Bagg! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Now I will say I have had some quality issues. The zipper broke on our first outing, and recently a part of the buckle has broken off (which I had to pay $3 to replace because I bought from Amazon.com and not a dealer, and so it doesn't have a warranty. Blah!). But we use this ALL.THE.TIME! Really! And it was great when she was tiny because I could prop her up with the pillow. Now she uses the pillow to nap when Walmart is just too boring. Usually when it is slow and no one is playing with her. :) It is padded, has lots of pockets, it easy to slip on and off- although they say you can do it while holding your baby. They have obviously never held a baby of Ava's activity level! I will say, if I have to replace my BB at some point, I think I am going to get a different fabric. White has become my nemesis (because of the aforementioned food transition...)
In other "Ava" news, I keep hoping/wishing/praying that the spit up will stop. Every one tells me that it will when she walks. That is what they said about her turning 1 too. No such luck. But I do think it is funny that I, of all people, have a kid that pukes all the time. Just because when I was growing up, and even into my 20s, I never wanted kids because I was sooooo afraid of having to clean up vomit. Like WOULD.NOT.DO.IT!!!! Ugh. Anyway... But now, her spit-up (which, take my word, is much more like vomit with each passing day. And if you have a kid who spit up while eating solids, you know I don't lie!) is NO BIG DEAL! I am like, "Oh. I have puke on me. Okay...". Seriously no biggie. I think God did this to prove a point, and to help me over my fears. I would just like to say (and I have said it to Him almost everyday for a while now...) that I am OVER MY FEAR! So she can stop aaannnnnyyyyy day now. Really. Anyday. :)
I promise to get back to updates about the party and the house (***gasp*** I found the most wonderful house! But we still are not on the market. So it will sell too....I know there is a wonderful new house out there for us. Patience. I need patience. Of Job, apparently....) soon.
By the way, do you like how I have little sidebars in ( ) all the time. Hope you can read my writing. I tend to write how I think and talk. And yes, I get off task when I think and talk too. Drives my husband bonkers because I go in 12 different directions at once!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
...and sometimes, it's not! :) This has been one major thing I have learned about motherhood. I could give tons of examples. But I will just share two...
Posted by The Brewers at 9:06 PM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Okay, not really. But it's going to feel like it! I took Ava in for her 1 year check-up yesterday, and the doctor said those two magical words- WHOLE MILK! YAY!!!! No more formula, no more books, no more breastfeeding Nazis' dirty looks! HAHA! I was talking to my friend Amanda today, who just switched her 7 month old from breast to formula (mostly). And she was talking about how much better her baby is and how much happier they both are now that they are using formula....
I read an article the other day in LR Family about breast vs. bottle, and the person who wrote the piece was clearly and outspokenly a breastfeeding advocate. And that is cool with me. (and I promise when I started out writing this, I didn't intend for it to be a breast vs bottle post). On the magazines FB page, they posted a link to a blog about the pro's and con's of both breastfeeding and formula feeding, which I guess was in response to the backlash they got from the article. But I thought it was funny that the blog's writer says in the first paragraph that she is an outspoken advocate of BF and only formula fed the last of her 5 children because of the death of her young child, the premature birth of her baby, and the subsequent stress involved that made her milk dry up. So much for serving up an unbiased opinion!
So here is my take: Hello. My name is Rachel. And I chose to formula feed my baby. There I said it. Now before you judge, please let me explain....
We wanted to breastfeed Ava. We had so many people tell us that it was the "right" thing to do for our child. Even had a few people tell us that we would be bad parents who didn't love their baby enough if we didn't breastfeed. But I wasn't informed and didn't understand the ins and outs of breastfeeding. I assumed that when Ava came, she would just latch right on and off we would go into this magical world of breastfeeding. After all, it is natural- right?!?! Well.... Ava came 3 weeks early. Which isn't much. But for whatever reason, she just refused to latch on. REFUSE. Like I would put my boob in her mouth and she would jerk away. The lactation consultant showed me all of her tricks. Nipple shield, football hold, rubbing my nipple on her face to trigger the routing reflex. NOTHING WORKED. The kid would not eat. So the lactation consultant suggested we just use our pump. Pump? What pump? After all, breastfeeding was natural. It is supposed to just happen. We didn't get a pump. So we left the hospital that Saturday afternoon with a new baby and a new (and VERY FREAKING EXPENSIVE TOP OF THE LINE THERE GOES HER COLLEGE FUND) breast pump.
Now the idea was to pump until she was strong enough and able to latch on, at which point we would only pump when needed. Ava, my sweet little baby, had other plans. She would never latch on. And not for a lack of trying on my part. I used to spend every waking hour (wish I was joking) just trying to get her to latch on. Maybe I tried too hard, I don't know. But she just never would. So I had to pump EVERY.SINGLE.FEEDING. Now if you have ever had a baby and pumped, you know why this is such a big deal. Not only does it add at least 30 minutes to each feeding, but it isn't the most pleasant experience. OK. IT FREAKING HURTS! Not to mention it really gives you a whole new respect for dairy cows. And our pump has like 450 different parts that must be washed after every use. So lets do the math, shall we???
24 hours in a day.
She was eating roughly every three hours, or 8 times a day.
So 8 feedings each day, and each feeding took about 30 minutes for her to eat. Plus 30 minutes to pump for the next feeding and clean up. So One hour for each feeding. That is 8 hours out of my day that was just spent feeding and pumping. That left 16 hours for other things. Like sleep. Showers. and feeding myself. Doesn't look too bad on paper, but when those 16 hours are spent in 1-2 hour increments, it is miserable.
But I was doing it. Because I loved my baby and I wanted to be a good mom. So I did it. For 7 weeks. 7 of the most exhausting and miserable weeks of my life. (That is 196 hours minimum I spent pumping, by the way. I am not bitter. But the last blister just healed a few weeks ago. FYI)
Around week 5 I started to feel bad. Like, REALLY REALLY BAD. Flu bad. Fever. Chills. Aches. And my boobs hurt. BOTH of my boobs hurt. Like Babe Ruth had used them to practice those famous home runs bad. OUCH. Yup. Double Mastitis. Don't worry. I pumped through it. DOUBLE OUCH. Because I loved my baby. Fast forward two weeks. Feeling really really bad again. Flu bad again. Fever-chills-aches. Again. And more Babe Boobs. OOOUUCH! And Cole was back to work for both of my bouts with double mastitis. So I was sick and taking care of a newborn. Not a fun time.
On top of all of that...
*** and I really didn't want to share this yet because it's not over. But if you read my blog, you know Cole is in the Army- and I just want to say for all of the freaks out there that might come across this blog, I am the granddaughter of a US Marine sharpshooter, the wife of a US Army officer, and I am well armed, have a security system, dogs, and an arsenal of weapons under my bed, and a crack shot-
Well, Ava was born in February, 2010. April 14, 2010- Cole deploys overseas.
SO, in the midst of having a baby, dealing with the BF issues and sickness, I am also trying to emotionally and physically prepare for my husband to deploy for a year. I JUST. COULDN'T.DO.IT. anymore. So after 7 weeks of pumping and breast milk, Ava switched to Similac Sensitive.
She has been a different child. And I mean that in the best way possible. I know the "old school" thought was that a baby can't be intolerant of it's mother's milk. I think that is pure crap. Because I don't care what medical school says, or what doctors say. Ava, I believe with all of my heart, was intolerant of my milk. Her reflux was better. She slept better, she was happier. She cried less...just all around better. Books may say otherwise, but I know what I saw- what happened when we switched to formula. She was better.
And honestly, so was I. The week we decided to change to formula, I must have taken 20 showers. Because that was my quiet, alone time. And I would stand in the shower and just sob and sob because I thought that I was giving up. Taking the easy way. Not loving my child enough. But really, that wasn't true. Cole and I made this decision because I was miserable and exhausted, and because as a pilot, even when he was home those first two months, he couldn't help with the nighttime feedings because he HAS to get sleep. HAS TO. So it was all me. Then when he left, it was ALLLLL me. And I needed sleep. I needed peace. I needed to be as happy as I could.
And I probably shouldn't admit this in print, but I think all moms, if they were honest, would admit to having the same feelings at one point during those first few months- I was beginning to resent my baby. Because I was SO tired and it hurt SO bad (the last few weeks, pumping was rubbing blisters on me, even with the largest cups- because I was so swollen). I won't say that I loved her more after we switched. Because that's not true. But I will say that I enjoyed her more. And still do. And for us, for our family, it was worth the switch. The money that it cost us. Because time with Ava is priceless. And that is what formula gave me.
I know everyone is different, every child is different. And for whatever reason, Ava would never latch on. And I look back now and wish I would have told those people who tried to guilt me into breastfeeding to STICK IT! ;) Will I try again with my next baby- YES. Will I know more what to expect and be better prepared- YES. Will I feel guilty about switching to formula if it doesn't work out- NO. I know breast milk is what God gave us. But he also gave us a brain. Science. The ability to improve our lives. And we, as a human race, have used those tools and done that. So if science and the ideas that come from God-given brains help me to be a better mom, I am okay with that.
I think breastfeeding gets a bad name partly because advocates use guilt and manipulation (and at times, down right lies) to try to sway new parents their way. Parents who just want to do what is best for their baby and their family. I don't think many people read this little blog. But if someone does, a new mom or mother-to-be who is trying to decide- I hope this helps you understand that you have choices. And that you are not a bad parent no matter what you decide- or at least that this particular decision doesn't make you a bad parent. :)
Whew! Sorry for that rant. Not sure where that one came from, but I feel much better!!!!!
Posted by The Brewers at 8:37 PM
Monday, February 14, 2011
***if you haven't seen it, check out my last post about Ava's first cake...the video is SO FUNNY!!!
Happy Valentines Day!!! This has always been one of my favorite days! Not just because of all the candy (YUMMY!) but because ever since I met my husband, Cole, love has a whole new meaning. He is everything to me, and I am so blessed to have him!!!
I love you Cole!!!! Happy Valentine's Day!
Our rehearsal dinner, November 2007
(yes, we live an odd life!!!)
About to go into the Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker, 2009
Stunning flowers! Good job baby!!!!
"...I have found the one that my heart loves..." -Song of Solomon 3:4
Posted by The Brewers at 7:33 PM
So Ava and I went over to my parent's house for dinner Saturday night. I had planned on the whole big family and some close friends going out to eat for Ava's real birthday (her party is in April...), but my dad took a nasty fall at work a few weeks ago, and had surgery recently to repair a fractured leg. So he is in no shape or mood to go much of anywhere! So we decided to keep it low key, just us. Now I should first explain something. My mom makes cakes. Like MAKES CAKES. Wedding cakes, birthday cakes, BIG cakes! So we are used to having major, elaborate birthday cakes in my family. But since my dad's fall, she has been busy with him, so I just went to Walmart and got a cake for us to share. It has been YEARS since I have had a walmart cake- and it wasn't too bad! But shhh! Don't tell my mom! ;) Anyway, my sister called a couple of hours before dinner, and asked me if Ava was going to do a smash cake. I told her no, that I figured we would just wait for her party. She told me that she HAD to do one, and that she had already got her one. So I reluctantly agreed (thinking I would back out later). When I got to my parent's, and saw the smash cake, I just cracked up! It was the tiny version of the bigger one I bought for everyone to share! HAHA! I love my sister, and I love when we do stuff like that!
So I gave in (like she knew I would) and let Ava do a smash cake. I guess somewhere in me, I thought she would be a dainty little princess and just pick at it. Not my kid. She went at it full force. As Cole said, "Yup! That is definitely a Brewer!" HAHA!
And please excuse the "singing"...not one person in my family can carry a tune very well, and the worst of us all is me- and I am holding the camera!!!!
Posted by The Brewers at 5:36 PM
Friday, February 11, 2011
I would just first like to say that I had every intention of writing this post last night after the birthday girl had gone to bed, but the day was much more emotionally taxing than I thought it would be, and after indulging myself with some spinach and artichoke pizza, I turned in early. I needed a little extra sleep anyway!!! So with that said...
- I remember when we came home from the hospital, we just sat her (she was in her infant carrier/car seat) in the middle of the floor in the kitchen, and kind of looked at each other like "now what???" We didn't take her out I don't think until our parents all arrived. We were so scared!
- That first night at home, she slept in her pack-n-play cradle. And every noise and grunt and squeak she would make (oh how I miss those newborn sounds!) Cole and I would both jump up and run over to her!!!
- We were so thankful for double sinks in our master bath because for the first month, one of them was designated for washing my pump parts after each feeding (our little princess never would latch on, so I had to pump EVERY.SINGLE.FEEDING for 7 weeks...then after two rounds with double mastitis and some other issues, I broke down (literally too- I was inconsolable for a week) and gave up. We put her on formula, and we were BOTH happier for it!!!
- I remember after my epidural was out (which was the afternoon after Ava was born) and my cath was out, the nurse asked me if I needed to use the bathroom. I told her I was okay. She said that I had to go before I could be released, so I jumped up and headed to go #1!!! HA! I thought she was telling me that I was going to be sent home as soon as I peed! Nope...it was still that next afternoon.
- We bought our pump from the hospital lactation consultant. I didn't even think to buy a pump- our baby would just latch right on, right?! HA! SO glad that we did. Of course, Cole had to have the top of the line one. So we have a REALLY nice, only used for 7 weeks, pump for our next baby!
- The dogs did really well with Ava. We sent a grandparent over with a baby blanket we had used in the hospital, so they could get used to her smell. We were told that Hugo got really attached to it...and he is still attached to her!
At Ava's birthday party, we are asking guests not to bring a toy for Ava, but if they want to do something, they can either bring a donation (small bow or toy) for Arkansas Children's Hospital, or they can simply make a donation in her honor to a favorite charity. She is so blessed and has so much already, and we really want her to be a blessing to others and to learn the idea of compassion and giving. So what a great way to start!!!
BUT... Mommy and Daddy just HAD to get their sweet girl some gifts for her real birthday!!! Here are some pictures from yesterday...she really enjoyed her new kitchen. The car and the ball pit might be enjoyed a little later... ;)
Don't you just love that little bum!?!?!?
Posted by The Brewers at 7:57 PM
Sunday, February 6, 2011
***I must confess, I really need to be cooking my dinner, folding clothes, doing dishes, etc. right now. But I am writing a blog post. Oh well....***
Ava has started climbing on everything the last week. She really wasn't even pulling up much a couple of weeks ago. Now she is pulling up and trying to "hurl" herself onto and over things!!! It is crazy to me to think about this day one year ago. Friday is her birthday. February 11. But February 9th was almost her birthday. I went into "early" labor on the night of the 8th. They stopped it and sent us home, but as the nurse wheeled out a very sad pregnant woman and her equally disappointed husband, she assured us that we would be back within the week if I continued to progress as I had been. She was right! That Thursday, my water broke and off we went to become parents! You can read the whole story here, or just wait until Friday! I am sure I will post about it then on her birthday! ;)
Anyway, my little monkey has only stood up in her crib once. But I am nervous. Because she stands a little higher in her crib (without bumpers) than the girl in the picture below. And with her knack for climbing, I just know a fall on her head is around the corner! I am considering a baby tent for her crib. But I don't know- I am going to talk to her doctor about it Friday. But I am going to order her one of these (in a cuter fabric of course!). These are at BRU, and they protect the crib from those precious little teeth marks! HA! The crib and nursery furniture we have was purchased to use for ALL of our kids, hopefully two more- LORD willing! So we really want it to stay nice, since the last baby will be using it all the way up (it converts into a full sized bed).
I just wanted to share a few pictures of my sweet girl! Sorry they are such poor quality. With a busy baby (or is she a toddler now? I don't know???) it is hard to run and grab my camera, but my cell phone is always nearby. I love my iPhone, but the camera really is lacking!!!
Posted by The Brewers at 7:44 PM
Friday, February 4, 2011
So it's another snow day here in Arkansas. Which, for a stay-at-home mom with a child under one (for one more week. Tear. My baby will be 1 a week from today...) it really is like any other day except I can't go anywhere which drives me BONKERS! Ugh. Anyway, I find that it is really hard to eat right as a stay at home mom, especially on snow days when there isn't anything else to do.
But I recently found a recipe for a Weight Watchers Eggs Florentine that is just too good and filling not to share. Now I haven't started WW. Yet. BUT my mom has lost over 100lbs. on WW and so I am very familiar with the principles behind the plan. I really like that it is all about portions and HOW to eat, as opposed to what to eat or pre-packaged food. So I plan on joining soon. But I have started trying out some new recipes that are WW or WW friendly, or could be made to be. And this one is a winner!!!
Yum, right?!?! And only 3 pts per serving!!!! So this plate only cost me 6 pts! So for the "cost" of a frozen lean cuisine, I got a hot, cheesy, filling homemade meal in like 10-15 minutes! Plus, I think I get extra credit for cooking and not just heating up. But that is another post.
So here is the recipe! If you try it, I hope you enjoy!!!
You will need:
4 large egg whites
1 tsp of water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp red onion, finely minced
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
2 slices of WW cheese singles (these have saved my diet plan!)
1 WW wheat english muffin, split and toasted. NOTE: I couldn't find the WW brand, so I got the Thomas 100 Calorie brand. Not sure if this impacted the points, but I don't think it would matter much as it is wheat and high fiber.
1. Combine egg whites, water, salt, and pepper in bowl and set aside. Do not whisk or beat.
2. Heat medium saute pan over medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray (I like the kind made with olive oil). Add onion and saute until soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until spinach wilts. Add egg white mix and cook until egg whites are opaque. With large spatula, flip and cook other side (I am awful with eggs, so mine ended up being more scrambled. But still the same taste.) Combine the eggs and veggies, then cover with cheese slices. Let the cheese melt over the eggs and veggies. Divide with spatula and place on top of the muffin halves. I divided my eggs/veggies first and then added the cheese. I think this makes more sense. :)
The recipe came from a WW ad in the Feb/March edition of Taste of Home magazine, a subscription from my Nana as one of my Christmas gifts! Thank you Nana!!!
Posted by The Brewers at 3:55 PM
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
I have been unhappy with the curtains in our living room for a long time. Really, I was never really happy with them. We don't have any windows in the room, just double french doors to the back deck. So window treatments are more for look than function, as we never closed them- just the blinds. My friend from high school, Shannon, is a fabulous home decorator, and she "cheats" on a lot of her window treatments. When she posted about her living room curtains, I knew I wanted to borrow...ok, STEAL, her idea. She purchased her drape hardware at HobLob, so this morning Ava and braved the cold and headed to the mecca of home decor! I went in search of some similar hardware (which are just wall hooks) and I found (I think) the very ones she used!
I was going to use the idea with my existing curtains, but I have really been wanting to brighten the room up a bit. So while looking at the fabrics, I fell in LURV with this beautiful upholstery fabric!
Here are a few pictures of what was there....
So after cutting the fabric in half, I got out my rarely used iron (it is used more for crafts than clothes. I am a throw it in the dryer type girl!) and got to work!
I trimmed the edges so that they were not showing from the front.
After I had "hemmed" (via the iron-on tape) the edges, I attached my drapery rings. I wasn't going to "hem" the top, but I ended up going back and doing it because it wouldn't lay down without it. I got the rings at HobLob too, and there were 12 in the package. Since there are 5 hooks per side, I only had to buy one package. SCORE!
Naptime was over before I could do the other side, but here is the first side finished. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out! Just what this room needed I think! They really bring height and character to the room, and because that is the first thing you see when walking into the home from the front door, I am glad that I made them so dramatic!
Posted by The Brewers at 4:01 PM
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Bath time is always a fun and soaking experience with Ava. She is a wiggle worm. And when I say that, I cannot emphasize enough the WIGGLE part!!! In fact, one of the founding members of her pediatric clinic saw her when she was about 3 months...now this lady is, well, advanced in age. Like maybe 70. And she couldn't believe how busy Ava was. She commented that she is the busiest and wiggliest baby she had ever seen in all her years of practice! Nice. I had hoped that Ava would calm a bit after she became mobile and had better motor skills. HAHA! Boy was I wrong! Let's just say, the dogs have had to learn to run faster, and the house is now baby proof for a reason! I am worried about the day she starts walking...because I think running will soon follow!
Soapy baby! She is cutting teeth #7 and 8, so right now there is ALWAYS something in her mouth!
On a totally different subject, Cole and I (admittedly mostly me) are seriously planning and prepping to put our house on the market. I would love to have it up for sale by early summer, but that might just be a dream. I don't know. At any rate, I am working hard on getting things "buyer ready" and making plans for what I will need to pack away when we do put it on the market. I am even putting off a picture wall for our family photos because I know that I will have to take them down when we list the house. SO not like me!
Posted by The Brewers at 7:12 PM
Blakelee Bean is her name, and she is JUST FAB!!! Check out her blog- she has some stunning pictures. In a world where everyone is a "photographer", she is really a standout! She is in the Benton/Bryant area, so if you are in Central Arkansas and looking for a photographer, look her up!!!
Posted by The Brewers at 10:27 AM