Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Have I Lost It?

I think I have lost it.

Everyone does at some point or another, I think.

Maybe I can fake it.

Well....I do fake it sometimes.

I'm talking, of course, of creative-imaginative-kid-play.

My kids often ask me to tell them a story. I can easily tell them stories that I know. Stories like The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, or Little Red Riding Hood. And I'm actually pretty good at it.

But they want me to make up a story to tell them. I usually shutter a little (on the inside of course) when they ask me to do that. I'm just not very creative on-the-fly like that. I do ok, but usually it's a pretty predictable, short story that any adult would think is pretty pathetic.

Then there's the imaginative play.

You know. Like with cars or trucks or something. My son LOVES it when I play those with him.

Why couldn't my daughter ask me to play dolls with her? Or barbies? Or house? Those things I can do. Those are the things I played with.

But cars? trucks? I don't even know where to begin.

So, with a resigned smile and an internal pep-talk, I agree to play with him. I try to take his lead, but usually he's wanting me to take the lead.

I generally do the only thing I can think of. Suggest races between our respective cars/trucks/tractors/whatever, or turn the cars into humans that talk and interact.

Yesterday, my car invited all the other cars over for a karaoke party. Each of our vehicles sang a song, then my pet robot-dinosaurs showed up and scared all the guests. It was kinda awesome.

Our karaoke party with my pet robot-dinos

Then we had a contest to see which cars could get away from one of the robot-dinosaurs before getting bitten.

Just like the stories I tell, any adult would find it totally lame.

But I wasn't playing with other adults.

I was playing with my kids. And they thought my "lacking" creativity was pretty awesome, and right before we started playing, as I was texting my husband, my 6 year old said "no more screens, Mom. It's time to play"

So, have I lost it? I don't know....maybe. Do I fake it? Yep. But it doesn't matter. My kids think playing with their mama is pretty sweet, and that's all that really matters. As much as I dread it sometimes, I take the time to play when they ask me to - no matter what they want to play or want me to do. Hopefully they don't stop asking me anytime soon!

Now....I have to go. I promised them a super-awesome (i.e. totally lame) story this afternoon. I'll catch you on the flip side.


Friday, December 26, 2014

It Happens Every Christmas...

I get very reflective. Not just about Christmases past, but mostly of our sweet Porter-boy's birth. I just confirmed that it happens every Christmas...I even posted about it last year (I'll probably post about it next year too, so just get used to it - ha! ;) )

Anyway, in case you missed it then, here is my sweet boy's birth story from Christmas day five years ago:

I was due on December 14. I was convinced I would have the baby the week before that. I don’t know why, I just had prayed for it and wanted him to come then so his birthday wouldn't be so close to Christmas. Well, those days came and went, my estimated due date came and went. I felt great, the only reason I was upset that I hadn't had the baby was that the closer to Christmas it got, the less likely I was to see my family – we all were to be traveling “home” for Christmas. I had many bouts of prodromal labor. It was SO frustrating!

Well, as Christmas approached, so did a major weather system. Since my mom lives an hour away, we decided that she should probably come stay with us just to make sure she was here in case the weather and roads were too bad when I finally went into labor - after all, she needed to be here to catch the baby. She came on Monday. The weather raged on through the whole week. Thursday (Christmas Eve) was Randall's (my husband) birthday, so Vienna (our 23 month old daughter) and I made him a nice dinner, cake, a card, and we had a little “party”. Still no baby. I was getting very frustrated and sad that I hadn't had him yet. Mom was going to miss Christmas morning with my dad and youngest brother (high school age). That night before going to bed, we watched the Nativity Story. I remember thinking “ok, baby. I’m ready anytime! If Elizabeth and Mary can have safe and peaceful out of hospital births, I can too!”. I was a little jealous that they had already done it – silly but true J.

I woke at about 2:15 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and couldn't fall back asleep so justJ.
laid there for awhile resting. I realized that I was actually having some regular contractions – they were more regular and increasing in strength than my previous bouts of labor. Hooray! I got up to start timing them – they were about 2 minutes apart. I told Randall that we needed to clean the floor. I didn't know where I would end up having the baby, and I couldn't stand the thought of him being born to a dirty floor. Funny, the things that are important at that time in labor 

With the floors clean, I finally decided it was time to wake my mom. About that time, my contractions intensified – though they weren't painful, I could feel the strength of them. I was sitting on my birth ball, mom gave counter pressure on my back, I leaned into my hubby, and just relaxed and let the contractions do their job. In between contractions I was so relaxed that I honestly kind of forgot I was actually in labor. Randall would pull up funny YouTube videos, and we would joke and laugh. It was a wonderful and relaxing fun time. About 6:00 a.m. I decided to move to the bathtub. Ahhhh – bliss! They took turns dumping a pitcher of water over my belly, and it was SO wonderful!

About 10:00 a.m. or so I felt a little urge to push – it definitely wasn't the intense urge I had had with Vienna. In the next three contractions, my healthy baby boy oozed out with barely any pushing on my part. Of course I was overjoyed and excited. I just held him and looked at him in awe. As blood was still pulsing through the cord that connected us, he began nursing like a champ. When I finally let my hubby and mom hold him after we cut the cord so they could weigh him, I made them do it again. He seemed so small! There was no way he was 8 lbs 11 oz! Well, they weighed him again, and yep – it was right the first time and they showed me to prove it. I was shocked!

My entire labor, we had Christmas music playing softly in the background. Vienna slept through most of it and was enjoying her breakfast when he entered the world. Within minutes she joined us in the bathroom and met her baby brother. About an hour or so after having him, we were all in our living room and our little family that had just grown by one opened our Christmas presents. After eating, he and I snuggled into bed and took a long nap. This all happened while getting 16.2 inches of snow during the worst blizzard of the year! We felt so blessed to not have to go out into the elements to get to the sterility of the hospital. We were warm and cozy in the comfort of our own home!

And here he is today, our adorable and super-sweet five year old!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I love Christmas Movies!

I'm a sucker for Christmas movies this time of year.

Last night I actually told my kids that for the rest of the week I don't want anything other than Christmas movies watched on TV. Ha!

I adore the cheesy Hallmark movies, and of course have some favorites among the classics, too. You know, movies like Christmas Vacation (who doesn't love some awesome Griswold antics?!), Love Actually (oh, the scene in the Portuguese restaurant!), The Polar Express (so, so, beautiful), Rudolph (such great memories from my childhood watching it).

But my most favorite of ever?

Charlie Brown's Christmas

I just love how Charlie Brown is so fed up with the commercialism in Christmas and he's just looking for the real meaning. Clearly the commercialism has NOT improved since the classic was released back in 1965.

The best part of the movie? At the end where he's just fed up of being mocked by his peers (he'd just brought in his "Charlie Brown tree") and, throwing his hands into the air, cries out "Can't anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?!"

Linus steps up and tells what it's about, and they then decorate his tree, followed by singing a lovely Christmas hymn.

It is a classic and simple way to bring us to the true Christmas spirit. I know when I watch it, my stress level melts, the presents, food, and everything "commercial" that dominates this Holy Day just don't seem as important, and I'm brought to a simpler mindset of celebrating our Savior's birth and spending time with people I love.

I pray that you are able to enjoy this season for it's true meaning, and I'm wishing you all the Merriest of Days and Blessings to abound for you in this precious time.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Becoming a Mother

Years ago
...long before my husband and I moved back to SD from Portland
...long before we had children
...long before I knew my life's calling to birth work
...my dear husband bought me a book. He just thought it looked like something I would enjoy.....

Fast forward to about 2 years ago.

I picked up that book that had been through three moves (one across the country) and was then sitting on a bookshelf gathering dust for so many years. The title caught my eye because of some birth'y events I'd been a part of with the same name.

I began reading it and absolutely couldn't put it down. It was the first book in a LONG time that I'd read that didn't relate to childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, or devotional/inspirational type topics. I read it just.for.fun.

There is now a Lifetime movie about that book. When I saw the trailer for it I decided to read it again before I watch the movie (which I will definitely do at some point).

I enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time around, and I'm sure I would enjoy it a 3rd and 4th time too.

I don't know if it was because this time when I read it I was so recently postpartum, or if it just struck me for a different reason, but there is a part in the book where the main character gives birth and the way she describes it is absolute perfection. I couldn't have stated it better myself, and I'm guessing you all would agree with me.

Check it out...

"Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking.

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother's arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and their mothers were with me as I held my baby."*

I (of course) teared up when I read it this time (I probably did the first time too, just don't remember). "There should be a song....." Such truth in that. There are no songs, no prayers, or recitations for us, though. Just the amazement and wonder of meeting our perfect little beings that have been with us for the past 40-ish weeks. The author is so right "there are no words strong enough".

From one mommy to another, I pray today you can relish the amazement and wonder that being a mama truly is, and that you can remember with fondness the first time you saw your precious little one.


*Excerpt taken from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What in the Heck Was I Thinking?!

I do this to myself every year.

It's Christmas time, our family gatherings are VERY quickly approaching and I'm scrambling.

Of Course.

I mean, why wouldn't I?

Every. Single. Year.

But this year? With a newborn? Homeschooling? Really?!?

I always make as many of the gifts we give as possible. I love creating things for the people I love - I always have. Long ago it was individualized mod podged cigar boxes. One year it was cinnamon rolls. A couple years ago it was wool dryer balls and hand soap. Last year it was Christmas tree skirts and an apron that my dear grandma had started many many years ago and I had the privilege to finish. I just think that homemade gifts are pretty sweet - especially if they have meaning and are good quality.

This year is no different. I have big plans for some awesome gifts for my parents and several others on my list.

Did you notice how I said "I have big plans"? Not "I had..."

Do you realize what that means?

I haven't actually gotten to them. My problem? Time.

Here is how my days typically go (Note: if hubby isn't working, he totally helps with all this):
~Get up, brush teeth.
~Baby has by this time noticed that I'm not laying right next to her, so wakes and wants to get up too.
~Change baby
~Feed Baby
~Get other kids up if they aren't already up
~Feed other kids
~Tell big kids to get dressed, brush teeth, etc
~Change Baby, likely feed baby again
~Remind big kids that they are supposed to get dressed, brush their teeth, comb their hair, etc
~Prepare myself for that day's homeschool lessons
~Feed baby
~Remind big kids to finish getting dressed
~Clean up from breakfast.....maybe
~Get started on school - hopefully finish before it's time to get lunch
~Feed & change baby
~Figure out something for lunch
~Eat lunch
~Start working (On days I don't work, insert "run errands or clean" here)
~Feed & change baby sometime in there
~Finish up things that need to get done at work
~Make supper
~Feed baby
~Evening stuff - baths, reading, playing, watching movies, etc depending on the day
~Get kids ready for bed
~Tuck kids into bed
~Try to get baby to sleep (i.e. marathon nurse for an hour or two)
~Lay baby down in swing and work on Christmas presents (if she's really actually sleeping)
~Decide I'm too friggin tired and just go to bed

Guess which one usually wins out?

Yep. That's my life these days. Not very often do I have time to do anything besides barely getting through my regular days. I'm running out of days and hours to get the things done that I need to. That's not even talking about shopping that needs to happen still.

Uff-da. (That's Norwegian speak for "holy crap, what am I doing?!?")

Usually this time of year is a joy to me. I adore preparing things, wrapping gifts, taking in a Christmas program or two, and enjoying all the season has to offer. This year I'm having to remind myself what the season really means and how no matter what happens we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. Whether or not I finish up the things I planned to do.

I need to remind myself to slow down and take it in. The kids' as they look at the twinkling lights and tinsel. Their excitement and anticipation of our celebration with family. Making goodies with friends. Reflecting on the year and just being grateful for all God has blessed me with.

I pray you are all staying sane and enjoying the season for all of it's joys and wonder! I'm doing my best, but if you see me in the next couple days, please be gentle. I promise I'll be gentle with you, dear mama who has too much going on just like me ;). Like my dear husband said yesterday "Being stressed this time of year kind of defeats the purpose, right?"

Much love and many blessings in this wonderful season of the year!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ahhhh.....Breastfeeding In Public and some Awesome Memes

So, on the heels of my rant about breastfeeding in public yesterday I had every intention of creating a bunch of memes and sharing them with you today. Then I did a google search for some and decided that there were SO many hilarious ones already out there that I would just compile some for you here and you could just enjoy their awesomeness with me.


These are fantastic! :)

So, without further ado, here we go:

Or, you know...a Sakura Bloom sling or Boba Wrap ;)

Which one is your favorite?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nursing In Public...Is it THAT Big of a Deal?

Am I oblivious?

Am I really this naive?

Or am I just too engrossed in my "breastfeeding is natural, best, and normal" community?

The past week I've heard TWO things regarding nursing in public that kinda made my blood boil.

The first one came from a young mom of a newborn. She shared with me that she was in her baby's pediatrician's office and her baby was hungry. She is breastfeeding, so simply started nursing her sweet little one, not thinking much of it.

Then it happened. An older lady (I don't know how old - she just said "older") came up to her and said something to the effect of "You are way too young to be doing that [breastfeeding]. Actually, you are way to young to have a baby."

This poor young mom was devastated. Here she thought she was doing what was best for her sweet little one and some inconsiderate older (supposedly "wiser") woman (I'm sure I could come up with several less-nice ways to refer to her) comes and crushes her spirit and resolve to do what she knows is best for her baby. In the *pediatricians office*, nonetheless. Infuriating!!

Then, a few days later I was scrolling through my newsfeed and came across this written by one of my acquaintances: "Fair warning: if you show naked women, half naked women, women wearing revealing clothes or women breast feeding I am unfriending you. I will no longer tolerate men sharing women who or women who directly contribute to the rape, violation and degradation of women. I don't care if they are swimming, working out or feeding their kid. I don't want to see it."

Wait. What? *blink* *blink*

Since when does nourishing a baby contribute to violence against women? Since when is it degrading to *feed a baby*? Am I missing something? Is there actually a sect of men out there who see a breastfeeding mom and think "oh, I want her and will do anything to have her whether or not she consents"? Or maybe they think "Oh, seeing that mom breastfeeding her baby makes me want to beat up my own wife/girlfriend".

I don't know. Maybe there is a group of people out there that truly does think this way or some other way that contributes to violence or objectification. Maybe I actually am that oblivious.

But no matter what, I will continue to breastfeed in public. I will continue to encourage others to do the same. When my baby is hungry, I'm going to feed her. I'll do my best not to flash my nipple at old ladies and acquaintances who think it will contribute to violence against women, but if I inadvertently do, they will just need to look the other way or "unfriend" me, I guess. 

It is my baby's right to be fed whenever and wherever she gets hungry. And if I don't feed her when and where she needs or if I bow down to the whims of rude old ladies and delusional acquaintances, then I'm doing absolutely nothing to normalize nursing to other young moms or future moms. I want my daughters to SEE with their own eyes moms who feed - with their breasts - their babies wherever their babies are hungry.

Because if I don't normalize it for my daughters, who will? 

It's my responsibility, and one I take very seriously. I want them to be strong in their decisions to nourish their babies the way God intended. If anyone gives them pressure to do something else (or HIDE it), I want them to be confident enough to not give in to that pressure.

I'm making this pledge to you all now. I will support ALL moms to breastfeed wherever and whenever they need to. Now and always.


If you are a nursing mom and want to talk with other nursing moms, or moms who have "been there", make sure to come to our Evening Milk Monologues group tomorrow evening! It's at 6:30 pm at Educated Mommy on the 2nd Thursday of every month. We'll give you the SUPPORT YOU NEED for breastfeeding - in private and public!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving...Because It's Tomorrow

So it's the time of the year to be thankful.

It really feels like you HAVE to be thankful this time of the year, doesn't it? Like you're a bad person or something if you can't find or think of all the things you are (or should be) thankful for?

Well, I've kind of been feeling blah about true thankfulness. I mean, I'm totally thankful for the obvious things. But it felt more robotic or something. Even as I did Thanksgiving lessons with the kids this week. I was just talking about it and wasn't really *feeling* it, know what I mean?

Let's face it. This wife/mom/sister/daughter/friend/aunt/student/teacher/volunteer/co-worker life we lead is HARD. We all go through seasons that are more difficult than others. There are people and things in our lives that are demanding and stretch us - sometimes to our limit.

There are easier seasons too, but sometimes it's really easy to dwell in the difficulties instead of enjoying it all.

So that's where I was earlier today. Just going through the motions. Doing school with the kids, trying my darnedest to get to the laundry, feeding the kids, nursing the baby, changing her diaper, trying to get some work done, making the bed, nursing her some more then changing her again, putting a few clothes away, oh yeah - nursing the baby some more, making lunch - late again.

In the midst of all this, I looked down and something hit me. I was absolutely *overflowing* with thankfulness and love. All the things that can get mundane and just "part of my life" are all so important. And I'm SO thankful that they are part of my life. Even the dirty diapers that I have to change. Again.

You wanna know what I saw when I looked down?


Then I looked over and you know what I saw there?

I'm not sure why, but looking at our kids while they were enjoying their lessons for the day, and seeing our sweet precious baby snuggled up to me after falling asleep in her sling did something to me today. I actually FEEL thankful.

Thankful for the beautiful family that the Lord has blessed me with. Thankful for the good days as well as the struggles, which just make me stronger. Thankful for the sweet faces that greet me every single morning. Just......thankful.

I'm especially thankful at this moment that I'm getting pretty good at typing with just one hand since Ember has been nursing since right before I started writing this afternoon :)

God is good!! Happy Thanksgiving ya'll - I hope you can find your true thankfulness too ;)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Voices Are Important!

I know I've heard it.

I know I've told it to many many people.

Babies know their mamas voice.

It makes sense, really. They grow for 40 weeks (or, you know...42 weeks and 4 days) INSIDE us. It may be muffled, but they hear everything we say. Everything we sing. Every gurgle our stomach makes. Every beat of our heart. No wonder babies like to be held - especially by their mamas!

I don't know if I'm just more observant of these kind of things this time around or if I've just forgotten about them from the other kids. But I've particularly noticed some things with baby Ember.

The first thing I noticed was right after she was born. She was a few hours old and was a bit fussy as she was trying to get a good latch and nurse. I sang her a song that I made up when Vienna was a baby, and have used for all the kiddos (my sister's and brother's, too). It's still one of the kids' favorites, and I sing it to them every night. So, obviously she heard it every night as she was growing in my womb. Within the first few notes, she quieted down and relaxed.

Then last week we went to Winner to celebrate my mom's birthday with her. The men were all harvesting some land my dad farms way out there, so we were all staying in the local Holiday Inn Express. My sister and her family were there, as well as my brothers' girlfriends and their families. It was a lot of fun! Well, at this time Ember was not quite 3 weeks. My brother's girlfriend was holding her while the other kids swam in the pool and I had to run to our room for something. She came up a few minutes later, and I was way down the hall from where she was. I said something, and as soon as she heard my voice (from halfway down the hall), sweet Ember started searching for me...she was a little upset I wasn't *right* there. :)

It really struck me the most just this morning, though.

We have a minivan, and Vienna sits way in the back in her booster, Porter sits on the passenger side middle seat in his car seat, and Ember is right behind me.

Usually when we are in the car, Ember is very cool with it as long as we are moving. She doesn't like it much when we stop, at a stoplight or whatever - ha! Most of the time, though, she'll calm right down once we start moving again.

This morning she didn't. I was on my way to Bible Study and left the older kids home with Randall. I think it was probably the first time she and I went alone anyplace, and when we got going she was NOT happy. I figured she'd calm when we didn't have any other stops.


She was VERY upset. She wouldn't calm down.....until I did one thing.

I simply talked to her.

I don't know if she was scared because she didn't see or hear the other kids and obviously she couldn't see me, or what. I said just a few words to her and she calmed instantly. I talked to her for a little bit until I was sure she was ok and calmed for good. By the time we got to our destination about 5 minutes later she was sound asleep.

All these just reinforced with me the fact that we mamas need to talk to our babies! Not just our babies, though. If it's that important to talk to our newborns, it's just as important to talk to them as they grow, too!

I heard recently that the majority of parents only talk with their kids 3.5 minutes per day. I cried when I heard that. Can you imagine how starved for parental interaction those kids are? It made me so sad, and truly made me examine my own relationship with our kids. It's really easy for me to bury myself in work, research, projects, or whatever, and put them off when they try to talk to me. It's really easy for me to tell them that it's time to go to sleep instead of telling me their most pressing thoughts at the time.

I think these quotes are quite timely:

"A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to." ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

"Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed." ~Robert Gallagher

And one of my favorites: “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” ~ Catherine M. Wallace

So let them hear your voices, but don't forget to listen to theirs too!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ahhhh. Newborns.

Ok, so as you all know I was pregnant. What I guess hasn't been officially announced is that I *finally* had our sweet baby girl on 10/20/14. I was due 10/2/14. Yep. 18 days later than expected (by my provider - I expected her to come about a week and a half after my EDD). That said, I don't believe she was "late", I believe she was right on time. Those 18 days were EXTREMELY long and trying on my emotions, but I'm super glad that I know what I know about waiting for baby's timing as long as everything looks good. I had a couple NST's at the end there, and it was getting to the point that if nothing had happened I was going to need to seriously consider induction. I'm really glad I didn't have to go there.

Anyway, I promise that I will share her birth story in the near future.

Today, though, I want to focus on what it's like to have a newborn again.

Less than 24 hours old

There's several things I had forgotten about and those I haven't, but all of them have been an adjustment...

1. Baby sleeps when baby wants to. Yeah, I know this doesn't seem like it should be much of a revelation. Especially since at 42+ weeks pregnant, it's not like I was sleeping that much at night anyway, waking approximately 97 times a night to pee. But for some reason, it caught me off guard. Dumb, huh? I mean, it's normal for a newborn to sometimes not want to go to sleep until 4:30 am, right? Then to sleep all day? I totally and for real know that's normal, I just hadn't really prepared myself for it very well. Der. Don't get me wrong - most nights she sleeps awesomely - right next to me in bed, only waking to eat for awhile. There have been times, though.....there have been times......

2. Baby poops and pees a lot. Another "duh" thing, right? Well, again, for some reason I wasn't really thinking that much right when she was born and didn't change her as often as I should have. It took a few days for me to remember that I need to change her pretty much every time she wakes up or eats. I'm not sure if it was the lack of sleep from being up until 4:30 am or just baby-brain-farts where I literally just forgot what it was like to have a newborn.

3. Babies are loud. She's generally pretty chill, and overall a really easy baby. But when she gets mad she gets mad fast. There's no "working up to it", or in between. When she's not happy about something she lets you know in no uncertain terms how she feels. And she cries really loudly!

4. Umbilical Cord stumps can STINK! Holy moly, It was seriously so gross. I'm so glad it fell off quickly - for whatever reason it was nAsty. If I had still been pregnant I would likely have gagged and maybe even lost my lunch every time I held her...I was SO gaggy this pregnancy! I don't remember the other kids' stinking like that, but maybe I'm just blocking it out.

5. Giving birth makes me REALLY hungry! Good grief. You would have thought I hadn't eaten in months with the way I literally ate everything in sight the week or so after she was born. I'm so happy we were so blessed to have more than a week's worth of meals provided for us!

6. The "after pains" right after delivery really hurt! I usually don't take pain meds for things, but I broke down and did for those. As everything's moving back into place after being so stretched out, it takes time to contract back down, and every time I nursed (and sometimes even when I wasn't nursing) my uterus contracted and my ligaments got pulled and I would cramp and often had to breathe through them. It was like labor! I'm really glad they didn't last long...less than a week :)

7. Finding a nursing rhythm can be challenging. We are still working on getting really good at breastfeeding. She is eager and willing, but has a little bit of a difficult time with her latch sometimes. She's getting better at it all the time, but I have to say that I'm really glad that I know what I know about breastfeeding. I believe that I was able to avoid painful engorgement and cracked/bleeding nipples this time because of being more educated about latch and breastfeeding in general. (I had both with the other kiddos)

8. Not having Postpartum Depression or "Baby Blues" is AWESOME! I attribute this mostly to the fact that my hubby has been around MUCH more this time around...he's in the midst of switching jobs, and the timing just worked out absolutely perfectly. I believe I had PPD with my first and definitely had some "baby blues" with my 2nd. Having the support I need this time around has made all the difference.

9. Adding a 3rd child to the family is an adjustment (newborns don't really care about your schedule or the things you had planned to get done). But especially since we are homeschooling the other kids and I work from home, time management has been a challenging thing to figure out, and I'm not even close to "getting there" yet. I haven't showered in 3 days, and it's not the first time since she's been born. It's ok, though. The other kiddos are old enough to help out immensely, and like I said, my hubby is around a lot more than he used to be, so he has helped like crazy. We're getting there, slowly but surely :)

10. Babies are AMAZING. The way she snuggles with me, the way she's really not happy unless she's being held (she needs human interaction and contact), the way she looks up at me when she's nursing (she's just now starting to really "see" things and is visibly observing the world and people around her much more), the way she nuzzles me with her face when she just wants to go to sleep, the way she searches for my breast in the middle of the night, finds it, latches, and neither of us really wake up much at all, the sweet little baby sounds of contentment she makes when she's sleeping on me, the way she changes every single day. I just want to drink it all in. She's such a vision of perfectness and beauty I could just watch her every single minute of every single day. I am in awe of her, I am in awe of the way her sister and brother love and interact with her, and I am just overflowing with love for this precious little being who has blessed our family so completely already.

Earlier today, 3 1/2 weeks

First ever "for-real" smile caught on camera :)

Do you have things that took you by surprise when your newborn joined the family mix? Share them! :)


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You


That's all I can truly say about the last few weeks.

It's literally been a whirlwind.

Don't worry - I'll fill you all in on the happenings around Elegant Mommy and our three new little ones, but for today, I need to focus on something else.


It's Veterans Day here in the USA, and I just want to convey how important this day is to us here in our household, and I pray that you all find it just as important.

Veterans Day wasn't always called that. It originated back in 1919 and was originally called "Armistice Day". It marked and celebrated the end of "The War to End All Wars" - aka World War I.

As time went on (and presumably since there were more wars after WWI), the day changed a bit and in 1954 President Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation, which stated:  "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."*

Some of you may know, many of you may not, that my husband is a bit passionate about honoring veterans and their sacrifices. He has personally interviewed more than 500 WWII veterans so he can tell their stories. He has written and published several books, and is working on several more telling their amazing stories. He wants to portray what it was really like to serve in the war. He's heard some absolutely amazing stories, and around here we are pretty darn patriotic and want to thank every single veteran who has ever served in any way - each one has had a very important role.

There are a lot of quotes about veterans, what they have done for us, and what they continue to do for us every single day. Here are some great quotes I found** that barely scratch the surface on how much we appreciate them, but are pretty powerful nonetheless.

“On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.”
—Dan Lipinski

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” —Elmer Davis

“Our veterans accepted the responsibility to defend America and uphold our values when duty called.”
—Bill Shuster
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. “
—Joseph Campbell
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” —G.K. Chesterton
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
If you know a veteran, thank him or her today. Thank him or her tomorrow. Thank him or her every time you see them.
If you are a veteran, please know that there are many of us who are at home and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know that it's because of the sacrifices you and your family have made and continue to make that we are able to be free and live the beautiful lives that we live. My prayer is that you and your families are richly blessed now and in the future! Thank you SO VERY MUCH!!
Much love and gratitude
*The History of Veterans Day information was found, and President Eisenhower's quote taken from, http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp 
**Veterans Day quotes were found and taken from http://americanprofile.com/articles/20-memorable-veterans-day-quotes/

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can I Nurse My Baby While Wearing Them In My Onya?

Well, of course you can!

Check out how here:

And what about storage? Well, that's pretty easy, too!

Tomorrow is the last day to enter to win one of these beauties, so don't put it off any longer - come on in or hop online (www.elegantmommy.com) and make a purchase of $25 or more to be automatically entered!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Can I use an Onya Carrier with my Newborn?

You sure can!

Check out this video to learn how! :)

And don't forget to enter for your chance to win an Onya Carrier - just make a purchase of $25 at Elegant Mommy either in the store or online (www.elegantmommy.com). But hurry - you only have through this Friday to enter!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

So....How To Use an Onya?

As you know we are giving away an Onya Soft Structured Carrier this month! It's our newest brand of Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) to be offered at Elegant Mommy.

So, why two different kinds? Well, they aren't exactly alike, and we want to give our customers options, of course! :)

As you saw last week, Onya does have some differences from our existing line of Boba carriers. For one, it is able to convert to an infant chair to be used with any regular chair. Pretty handy, huh?

Today, check out two different videos on how to do a front and back carry with an Onya. Though similar to the Boba, there are a couple differences. You can check them out here!

We want you to be able to choose what's important to you in a carrier! We really do carry a nice variety, and definitely have something to meet everyone's needs.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Onya Carrier - an Infant Chair??

In case you missed it, we are giving away an Onya Soft Structured Carrier this month! All you have to do to enter to win is make a purchase of $25 or more anytime through the month of October.

Since Onya is our newest carrier line, we thought you might like to learn all about them!

For instance, did you know that this carrier can convert into an infant chair? I'm not kidding! It's really quite cool....you don't need to worry about super dirty high chairs in restaurants anymore!

Check it out:

Now....how handy is that?!


Monday, October 13, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day!

If you live in Eastern SD, have you been outside today?

Oh, my word.

It's SO beautiful and absolutely the picture perfect vision of what a lovely fall day should be. There's some sun, wind, crispness of changing seasons, gorgeous leaves rustling around on the ground and in the trees, and a perfect blue sky.

This morning I went for a walk.

All by myself.

I truly and honestly don't remember the last time I did that. It was glorious, and fuel for my soul that was much needed.

Since I'm pretty late in my pregnancy, my emotions are going wild. Imagine that. There's nothing like waiting for "the time" when you get to welcome your sweet precious baby into the world, is there? It really is a beautiful time, if not challenging.

Going for a walk all by myself was a way to release and re-group my emotions. The fresh, crisp air did wonders for me, and just taking in God's beautiful creation was enough to really help me chill out and remember what a sacred and special time this end-of-pregnancy is.

So, Good Lord willing, there will be beautiful fall days throughout the rest of my pregnancy, and I'll be able to take lots more mind-clearing and emotion-lifting time to myself and spend it in fellowship with my sweet Jellybean and Creator.

And if not, it'll be ok. I know that I know that I know, that I certainly won't be pregnant forever, and this sweet baby will come when he/she is good and ready. God is in control!

If you need to be uplifted for any reason - late in pregnancy, early in pregnancy, kids bugging you, spouse bugging you, financial things to figure out, car issues, work difficulties, grief. Whatever may possibly be going on in your life, a little time outside in this gorgeous weather may be just exactly what you need. It sure did wonders for me today.

Much love to you, wherever you are in your journey

Thursday, October 2, 2014

From Conception to Birth

Have you ever watched a video on how a baby develops in the womb?

I thought today would be a good day to share one with you. The miracle of baby-development just never ceases to amaze me. How we can start from 2 single cells and develop into what we are is just astounding.

There's a picture in here saying "Babies are such a nice way to start a human"....or something to that effect.

I totally agree!!



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Events Galore at Educated Mommy!

Have you checked out Educated and Elegant Mommy's schedule of events lately? We are booked!!

You can always find out what's happening by going to our online calendar, Facebook events pages (Elegant Mommy & Educated Mommy), as well as getting signed up to receive our newletters.

In case you aren't sure what awesome things are coming your way, you can scan them here:

This week:
10/1/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
10/2/14 - Toddler Time Group (2:00 pm)
10/4/14 - Cloth Diaper 101* (10:00 am)
10/4/14 - Babywearing 101* (11:00 am)

Next week:
10/6/14 - Give it To Me Straight (6:30 pm)
10/8/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
10/9/14 - Toddler Time Group (2:00 pm)
10/9/14 - Evening Milk Monologues (6:30 pm)
10/11/14 - Prenatal Yoga* (8:00 am - $10)
10/11/14 - Going Back to Work (9:00 am)

The rest of the month:
10/13/14 - The Dream Team (6:30 pm)
10/15/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
10/16/14 - Toddler Time (2:00 pm)
10/16/14 - Making Babyfood Class* (6:00 pm - $10)
10/20/14 - Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail (6:30 pm)
10/22/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
10/23/14 - Toddler Time (2:00 pm)
10/25/14 - Prenatal Yoga* (8:00 am - $10)
10/27/14 - A Place for Baby (6:30 pm)
10/29/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
10/30/14 - Toddler Time (2:00 pm)

And don't forget to plan ahead for early next month as well!
11/1/14 - Cloth Diaper 101* (9:30 a.m.)
11/1/14 - Babywearing 101* (10:30 a.m.)
11/3/14 - Bumps, Rumps, and Dumps (6:30 pm)
11/5/14 - Milk Monologues (1:00 pm)
11/6/14 - Toddler Time (2:00 pm)

We'll see you soon!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Letter to My Jellybean

Hi there, sweet baby...

I'm getting closer and closer to meeting your beautiful face and the excitement is building like you wouldn't even believe.

I can hardly wait to kiss your sweet cheeks, count your precious fingers and toes, and smell your intoxicating aroma of just being born. To hold you in my arms is going to be the most amazing and relieving feeling in the world. As you kick at my hand through my belly I can only imagine how you will move, cry, look, and blink up at me when you enter this world...

The way you will latch on to my breast for your nutrition and comfort....

The way you will snuggle into my neck....

The way you will kick your legs out and stretch like you try to now (but have run out of room!)....

The way you will grab my finger......

Dear Jellybean, the thought of you being here with us is one of the most joyous and loving thoughts in the whole world. I already love you with my whole heart and pray only the best for you and over you.

If you are anything like your big sister you will be bit of a social butterfly and absolutely adore being around people...much like your mama. If you are anything like your big brother you will probably prefer just being close to the ones you love and at home...more like your daddy. But maybe you'll be a combination of all of us, or maybe you'll be completely different. However you are, I will love you to the ends of the universe and back. My love absolutely has no end for you.

I'll be there to help you learn all about the world around you. I will lovingly caress you when you need comforting, I will be someone you can *always* trust.

I won't promise that I will never make mistakes. That would be foolish.... I *will* promise, however, that I will own up to my mistakes and show you that it's ok to be human. We all do things we shouldn't do. It's just important to learn from them and try to do better next time.

My sweet Jellybean, we are ready for you whenever you decide to come meet us all face to face. I feel like I know so much about you already. I'm SO looking forward to seeing your sweet self and learning more and more about who you are and who you will become.

All my love forever and always.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Prodromal Labor....How Do I Loathe Thee?

From Wikipedia:
Pre-labour, also called "prodromal labour," consists of the early signs before labor starts. It is the body's preparation for real labour. Prodromal labour has been misnamed as “false labour." Prodromal labour begins much as traditional labour but does not progress to the birth of the baby.

Prodromal Labor. If anyone tells you that it's "False Labor" you feel free to tell them where to shove those words.

Prodromal Labor contractions are most definitely "real".

They may not be doing a lot of dilating of the cervix, and they may not be progressing things very quickly, but they are definitely and for-surely doing something real. They are not Braxton Hicks contractions. And they are not "false" contractions. They are basically early labor, just not very organized or progressive.

And I've been having them. A lot.

I had plenty with Porter, too. I just don't remember them being this early. I know I had them for a good week and a half with him. I even called my mom thinking labor might be starting. She came here and they stopped, not to begin again until late the following week.

The thing is, I was DUE then. I'm still not due for a week and a half and I've been having these silly things for a week already. I've been planning on not having this baby until about a week after I'm due, thinking it will be similar to my other babies.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this one is coming *gasp* early?! I don't know what I'm gonna do if he comes early! Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to meet our little Jellybean, but I have plans. Things I gotta do. It will be really inconvenient if this little one makes his/her entrance into this world before I'm ready.

But, just like I tell my clients who go past their estimated due date, I need to remind myself of this: This sweet baby will come when he/she is ready. Not when I am.

So, to that I say "Ok". I need to let go of control and let my baby and body do what they are supposed to do, and whenever this sweet baby decides to come I'll be ready and waiting with open arms and an overflowing heart for our beautiful new addition.

But also, to my body I'd like to say: Please lay off the Prodromal Labor. Just let me know when it's really for real time to bring this sweet one earthside and I'll be ready. Thanks.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Breast Crawl - Do All Babies Have the Instinct?

So...as you can imagine, Elegant Mommy is a-buzz with three of us getting ready to welcome our sweet little ones into the world soon.

We are all (obviously) planning to breastfeed our littles, and even though we've all done it before and have been promoting breastfeeding for years, I thought it would be kinda awesome to watch some initial breastfeeding videos on YouTube. Well, there are a ton of them as you might imagine.

One in particular I found stuck out to me because as a doula (and a mom with two very different kinds of births) I've seen first hand the effect that medications administered during labor can have on newborns and initial breastfeeding.

I found this video and study-findings very interesting and thought you might too.

So, take a look and let us know if you have experienced any of this with your babies or if it rings true to you.

I'm looking so forward to breastfeeding again...whether you are nursing your sweet babe now or will be soon (like me!), I pray your initial breastfeeding got off to a great start (or will!).

Happy breastfeeding

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cloth Diapers....The Easy Way

With THREE of us expecting babies here at Elegant Mommy (Shelly, Stacy & I), you can imagine how we are all preparing for our precious little ones' arrivals. (They are all due within the next month and a half, and we can hardly believe our times are so near!)

One of the things we are doing is stocking up on our cloth diaper stashes! We all need to make sure we have what we need, in the amounts that we need.

Clearly the three of us have a bit of an advantage, working for Elegant Mommy. We live and breathe cloth diapers on a very regular basis, whether or not we are currently using them for littles (at the moment none of us are since our youngest are all well out of dipes, but give us a few weeks ;) ).

But what about everyone else? What about you? What about your sister or friend who is wanting to start using cloth? Where do you even begin?

Well, the first thing you should do is check out this blog post from Bummis. It goes through six ways to be an instant success at cloth diapering. Seriously. Read it. Right now ;)

The next thing you can do is check out our monthly class, Cloth Diapering 101 - it's usually offered the first Saturday of each month.

And, as always, stop into the store *anytime*. We are here to help! We are all experienced cloth diaper users (several employees are even still using them on their littles) and we all love sharing our expertise with anyone who needs it. It's what we are here for!

So....happy fluff-ing!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Ready or Not, The Baby's Comin'

Well, we are here.

I've only got about a month-ish left of this pregnancy, fall is in the air (hooray!!!!!!), and we've started homeschool for the year. Not only that, but I've gotten a *really* good start on my to-do list before baby arrives. This list was SO overwhelming when I wrote it. It's a full page of things like "clean out the classroom/office/sewing room that has become the junk room over the summer", "shampoo the rugs" and "wash and oil all the kitchen cupboards" - oh, and we can't forget "clean up the landscaping and transplant peonies". Sheesh.
37 Weeks!

I am in no mood, nor do I have the energy to actually tackle it all on my own. Enter my awesome family and friends.

My mom and brother's girlfriend came the week before we started school and helped us clean out, organize, and overall de-clutter the school room. Thank you Jesus for them! I wish I would have taken a before picture. But then you would have seen the "hoarding-esque" nature of what the room had become. I'm so not kidding - it had gotten so bad that I literally had to ask my husband to move the big heavy things away from my sewing table so I could sew anything. Also? I hadn't used my office desk all summer long and much of the spring (it was too cluttered) - I had just parked at the dining room table and let that collect all my office stuff instead. Of course, that means that I had papers, magazines, office stuff, and just general clutter in not only the "junk room" and covering my desk, but also in the dining room so we couldn't even eat at our table. Ridiculous.

Then mom came back and cleaned and oiled all my cupboards while I cleaned up the dining room and shampooed rugs. It was wonderful! My bestie even came and helped me go through all our baby clothes so I could wash what's needed and feel a little more organized in that regard.

My brother is making a clothes line for me, my husband is doing some fix-it stuff around the house, and I'm just overflowing with blessings from people who care about me. My sister is even talking about coming down and doing my hair before the baby comes (she's a super-awesome cosmetologist from Watertown).

So, with all that done and out of the way, some things checked off the list in-between all that big stuff, and only a few really big things yet to do, I'm feeling relatively ready for the baby. Sure, I still have to get my diaper stash washed, organized and figure out what I still need, and I also need to do some things to prepare for the actual birth, but I'm overall feeling pretty good about things, and relatively organized - even if I likely won't get our room painted. Sigh.

Am I all the sudden super-mom and awesomely prepared for everything, organized and all? Not even
close. Do I feel like things are coming together and we can get through the arrival of a tiny new addition to our family who will likely turn our routines and daily lives completely upside down? You bet. I at least have some clothes and blankets washed for him or her, and luckily my mom will be around and willing/able to do school with the kids on the days Randall can't, and I'm working hard to get everything prepared on the work front so I can take a little time off.

Since contractions (real ones, not just the normal and constant Braxton Hicks) began last weekend and I'm 37 weeks, I think it's finally starting to sink in for real that this baby is coming sooner than later. I don't have months left anymore - it's more like weeks. I'm still quite certain that he/she won't grace us with their presence until about 41 or 42 weeks, but it's all the sudden very real.

I feel like my body is really revving up for the big show, and I'm just sitting here praying that doesn't actually happen until after October 3. I've got almost every single day mapped out with something planned until then.

So, baby Jellybean, if you could just hold on until then, I'll be most grateful!

Ok - I really need to get going and keep checking things off my list...for work and home. And if anyone really likes to weed or do landscaping, let me know - I'd totally take your help (I'll give you some peonies)! *wink*