Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finding my village

Some very important parts of my village! 
Since having children, and maybe even before, I have ached for the village. The one I never had. But since realizing what exactly it was that I was aching for, I have tried to find it around me. (And group texts with my sisters across the country sure helps too! ;)

I see a glimpse of my village when I help a friend buckle her kids in their seats.
I see a glimpse of my village when I say yes when a friend asks if I need help.

I see it when a friend gently corrects my child.
I see it when a friend comfortably nurses in my home.
My sis Mandi and I nursing with our cousin/friend Megan at church :)
I feel it when friends stay long in our home.
I feel it when friends welcome my children into their home.

We have finally been in a place long enough that I feel like I have a village of friends that I know and trust. Making friends is not easy for me but I am learning to take courage and reach out! And I so appreciate the women who have reached out to me! We are all better mothers and friends when we do!

Do you have a village? What makes you feel at home with people?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Parenting: Lessons learned

  1. Have a bedtime routine. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but if it's done every night, they know what to expect! Our's is simple: we all gather in Bridger's room around 7 or 7:30 and mostly play in there til 8. Baths are at 7:30 if it's bath night. Then we clean up toys, read books, turn on the sound machine, turn down the lights. We read the Book of Mormon together and have family prayer. Then one of us stays in the room to read a few more books with him and then help him fall asleep.
  2. Amazon mom for diapers. A month's worth of diapers delivered to your door each month. So easy. No more dragging giant diaper boxes around the store, trying to stuff them in your car and dragging them (not to mention children) into the house. 
  3. Make an entire batch of waffles and freeze the extras for breakfast the rest of the week. Just take them out as you need them and pop them in the toaster oven.
  4. The Kirkland brand wipes at Costco are better than the Huggies box in my opinion! The Huggies tear easily and then you're left with half a wipe. Not pretty.
  5. When you  know you are about to change a poopy diaper, have 4+ wipes pulled out BEFORE you undo the diaper.
  6. Park next to the shopping cart corral. My whole life I have always judged people who left their carts in random places in the parking lot. Is it really that hard to push it to a corral? The first time I went grocery shopping with newborn Bridger I realized who leaves the carts out. Moms. Because they aren't going to leave their baby to put a cart away! So park next to the corral; easy to get your kid in and out of the cart and no chasing around the lot!
  7. Food waste and toddler leftovers: Food waste really bothers me. I just can't stand seeing good food being thrown away! And that is what happens with toddlers so much of the time, unfortunately. We do our best to give each of them portions that we think they will consume, but there are inevitable leftovers that get thrown away. When they leave unfinished fruit however, that now goes in a Ziploc in the freezer to be added to one of their smoothies. 
  8. Put them to work. Toddlers love to help. I try to remember to have Bridger carry something into the store or house for me. He loves it.
What parenting lessons have you learned?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Baby Gear...with the 2nd baby!

A few months after Bridger was born I posted about what baby products we found useful. I've learned a bit more with our second baby so I'll share what we use now!

Before I even start, I will mention the baby product of all baby products and that is a quality carrier! I LOVE carrying Colden! Babies want to be held close and because I have a good carrier, I can do that AND cook, play with Bridger, shop, go on a walk, hike, clean, garden etc etc. I nurse him now in the carrier anywhere he is hungry :)  We love our Ergobaby but there are LOADS of others. I tried a Lillebaby and really liked it, but it was too big for me. This is a good link on babywearing safety. I used a Moby for Bridger when he was really little and I wanted to keep carrying him but the Moby was so cumbersome to wrap in public. I've now learned that you can wrap it at home first and then put him in once you arrive. Or tie the ends so they don't drag. I think a stretchy wrap like a Moby is great for newborns, but after Colden was about 2 months old we switched to the Ergo. I could do a whole post on this. I'm so passionate about babywearing!

I use nursing camis more than bras now. I just find them easier! Lansinoh at the beginning was great! I got this cover for $1 on sale! (It's just thin jersey fabric with a hole in the top, you could totally make it!) I use it in church or when I would make the people I'm with feel uncomfortable with my open nursing. ;)

Colden sleeps in our room in the same playpen that Bridger did. He sleeps in our bed a good bit of the night as I fall asleep nursing most of the time. I think co-sleeping is great but lots of time I sleep better when he is in the playpen (but still close!) and I like cuddling with my husband :) And for full disclosure Bridger is in our bed a lot too! Bridger is a kicker so Colden is probably safer in the playpen on these nights :)

We love Luvs diapers for both our boys. (Amazon Subscribe and Save to the rescue!) We don't have a changing table or even a pad! I change his diapers on the bed with a towel underneath :)

We bought a used Puj tub for easy sink baths for Colden. I never really like the bulky baby tub we had for Bridger. If I could go back I would get the travel Puj tub because it fits better in smaller sinks. Colden is such a chunk that he grew out of sink baths pretty fast but the Puj is great to lay flat in shallow water in the big tub.

All of Bridger's old toys! And wooden spoons etc. The play gym we made for Bridger didn't work out to pass on to Colden because it's not super sturdy and that matters when you have a toddler around! I got a used play mat like this for $10 and it's just fine. Also got a free jumper thing from a neighbor that he likes for about 10 minutes a day :) He'd rather be held and I don't mind one bit! Also got a Bumbo for $10 at a yard sale that we use occasionally.

Bought a used side-by-side stroller from a neighbor and have used it twice! So far I'd rather wear Colden in the Ergo and push Bridger in the single stroller if needed. I'm guessing it will be nice to have later on when Colden is too heavy to carry for extended periods of time, so we keep it.

Phew! I think that's it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My favorite scripture

I felt Him here. Always.
My sister Kenzey challenged me to share my favorite scripture and I'm glad she did! My favorite scripture comes from modern revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1832. I believe it applies to me in so many ways!

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

I feel God's presence everyday. I feel His Spirit when I stand in awe of His creations. I feel His Spirit lift my heart when I feel inadequate. I feel His angels protecting my children. I feel Him when my children snuggle up to me and share their love so freely. I am grateful to have this knowledge and protection! What a generous and loving Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Living the dream

Nate was recently offered a great position at work! We were so excited; he's been working really hard for it! That excitement took us up to Midway where we bought a 1990 Jeep Wrangler! We've wanted one forever. And it has opened up so much of the wilderness that we didn't have access to before. The first place we went was my favorite place in the world...the part of American Fork Canyon where Nate proposed!!
June 2010, just moments before he proposed (he's reaching for the ring!)

The same spot 4 years & 2 kids later! We are still so in love with each other and this beautiful place!

This is the camp spot we hung out at the day he proposed. Still gorgeous! Can't wait to come back and really camp.

Having the Jeep is making me think that maybe we don't have to have our cabin in the woods. I can deal with subdivision living if we have more access to more of the mountain like this.

 Y'all. I am most alive among the tall trees. And I hope by dragging the kids along at an early age that they learn to love it too.

Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY Mesh/Water Baby Carriers

I've gotten really excited about babywearing with Colden! Having my hands free with two is amazing! I wear Colden all the time in our Ergo carrier: around the house, on walks, grocery shopping etc. (I use the Moby for back-up but mine gets really saggy.) He falls asleep so quickly while I'm wearing him. Which is super convenient at church. He even nurses sometimes too. (In case you're wondering, I haven't had much luck with this discreetly in public but once I feel really comfortable with it at home, I'll give it a shot!)

With summer here, I knew wearing him would be ideal while chasing Bridger around the rec center pool and splash pads. But using the Ergo or Moby didn't seem practical. I started researching water carriers and joined a local babywearing group on Facebook. I found that DIY mesh carriers were the answer! Since I had so much trouble finding tutorials or tips on how to make these, I'm sharing now about how and what I did to make my own in case anyone wants to make some of their own!

Mesh Ring Sling 
Sewing machine
ballpoint needle (trust me, you'll need this needle. I broke 2 normal needles until I used a ballpoint!)
2.5-3 yards of athletic mesh (aka football jersey mesh)
thread to match
one pair of nylon rings in small (from slingrings.com)

I'm not an expert, so I'm not making a tutorial. But here is what I know: I used this video tutorial. I had to re-do the pleats 4 times and then un-picked 2 full seams. Super annoying with mesh! I later learned after meeting another mom who has made several, that you can make these using the "gathered method" and it's 20 billion times easier. Here is a decent tutorial, but basically all you do is pull the end of your fabric through both rings and then fold it back on itself 4+ inches from the rings. Then sew 2-3 straight lines (I would use a zigzag stitch).

My thoughts on the ring sling: I don't love it. Even with a 1 month old, it's uncomfortable and digs into my shoulder.  I find it hard to get Colden sitting comfortably in it.  I've thought about selling it or giving it away but it is nice to have an extra carrier around. And it's so pretty! Watch several good video tutorials on how to wear ring slings if you go this route, they can be tricky.

One thing I really like about this carrier is that I can bunch the tail under the top rail for head support. 

After seeing some moms at a babywearing meet-up with DIY mesh wraps, I decided to give one a try. So glad I did! So much easier to make and a breeze to use.

Mesh Wrap or Water Wrap (my favorite!)
5-5.5 yards or athletic mesh (same athletic mesh as the RS, should be ~60 inches wide)
3-4 inches of ribbon

  1. So you have a choice here,  you could make 2 or 3 wraps. If you make two, you will cut your fabric in half longways to make two wraps that are 30 inches wide and 5 yards long. If you want three, you'll cut twice to make 3 wraps that are 20 inches wide and 5 yards long. I made 3 and find that 20 inches is just fine.
  2. Now find the middle of your wrap. Take your ribbon and sew it on to remind you where the middle is when you go to wrap it. All done! Now you have 1 or 2 extra to keep on hand or to give to a friend!
You wrap this the way you would a Moby. They have several helpful wrapping tutorial videos. I actually bought the end of the bolt and only was able to get 4 yards and 20 inches. With my body type, this works fine. I just tie around behind instead of in the front.

Well I hope this helps anyone looking for a way to babywear in the water! Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy birth

Breathing through a contraction with the help of my husband Nate and my doula Marcie.
I've become really passionate about the childbirth experience and women's rights in regards to it. I have so many thoughts jumbling around in my mind so I thought I would try to organize them here...

Birth doesn't have to suck! If you've ever been to a baby shower or let's face it, been around a group of women for more than an hour at a time, birth stories are told. I've tried, and I have to really strain to think of a single happy one told in my younger years. We tell them like horror stories. We list all the complications, the doctors' urgent advice, and the pain! Oh the pain! It cannot be adequately described! Your body is being ripped apart! Your husband is in the corner fainting! At the end of each of these stories, we smile down at our children and say, "But oh! It was so worth it to have you!" As they toddle away, we say again, "but the Paaaain!" After I gave birth to Bridger, I understood this. I was stuck in bed, thinking I had to be on the monitors. I slammed my head against the bed until I couldn't take it anymore and asked for an epidural. After that, I was determined to make my next one a better experience!

Another thought on the Horror Birth Story is that women who have had positive birth experiences do not want to make others feel inadequate so they don't share. I wish they would share! Surrounding myself with positive birth stories (in books and on blogs) was one of the best ways I prepped myself for Colden's birth.

All birth stories are valid. They are a part of you and your journey. A healthy mom and baby are what we want out of birth. But they are only a minimum requirement! Ladies, I am hear to tell you that your birth does not have to be a horror story. The Pain does not have to rule your birth. Neither does your doctor. YOU rule your birth. By allowing yourself to go into the Pain, by letting those strong feelings direct how to position yourself during birth, you can have a positive experience. It may not be ecstatic, but it does not have to be terrible. And it does not have to be at the risk of your or your baby's health. A happy birth can happen with an OB/GYN, it can happen in a hospital.

Simply by being free to walk around during labor and choose your birthing position, you can reduce the likelihood of interventions, complications and labor will be shorter. (Evidence for alternative pushing positions here and evidence for movement during labor here and here.)

One of the best ways to experience a happy birth experience is to have continuous labor support from someone that is not your care provider or nurse. Your partner or your mom can give you continuous labor support, but the best outcomes are when the mom has a doula. When a doula offers a mom continuous labor support, she is  less likely to ask for an epidural, 31% less likely to have Pitocin, 28% less likely to have a C-section, 12% increase in a spontaneous vaginal birth and has a 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with her birth. Moms who have a doula present are statistically more likely to feel less pain. Isn't that amazing?! (Source.)

This can be a beautiful experience that you think back onto with pleasure, rather than a time you had to endure. Childbirth is a pivotal moment in every woman's life. I want to help make that experience an empowering one! This leads me to my own journey as a doula.  I'm so anxious to get going but while I'm breastfeeding Colden the next year, I am focusing on my doula education and certification as well as doing some shadowing. I love this work and can't wait to really get started! Right now I'm reading Your Best Birth and I find it to be a great starting point for those interested in learning more about having a happy birth experience!