Category Archives: Kid Stuff

Our Winter Wonderland

This past weekend, we got our annual winter storm, complete with 6-8″ of snow (which is a lot for South Carolina). But it makes for a beautiful winter wonderland and perfect weather for snuggling up with a hot beverage and good book (or three). Kyle and I bundled up on Saturday morning and headed outdoors. Whoever came up with the term “Winter Wonderland” must have been referring to a child’s eyes at the sight of snow flurries. It’s a beautiful site to behold, let me tell you! 🙂

We walked around the house, checked on Kitty and the blueberry patch, and walked down to the mailbox, digging for rocks on the snow-covered gravel drive and making snow angels along the way. I spent the rest of the weekend with a toddler bringing me his snow boots with wide eyes and “Please” on his lips. So sweet! Thankfully, he was quickly distracted with hot chocolate, toy trains, and books–though we did let him play in the snow for a few more minutes Sunday afternoon as well.

Bryan worked four shifts in a row–including spending the night at work last night, since the roads would’ve been a little risky before 6AM. At least the power didn’t go out this year (yet)! And, hopefully, Kyle will get to don his snowsuit one more time with daddy in the morning (if it’s not too cold) before it gets washed and goes back in the bin for next year. He looks so cute in it! This snow suit has lasted through 5 children–starting with my oldest nephew, who’s now 12!

This Northern girl has loved staring out the windows during nap times, snuggled under a fuzzy, knit, white blanket, between pages of Word-Filled Women’s Ministry and the historical fiction novel Celia Garth, coffee in hand. Reviews to come another day… For now, I’ll say goodnight, as I stare out the window for one last glimpse of the winter wonderland before sleep overcomes me.

 

 

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Top 10 New Mom Resources

There is SO much information out there for new parents. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. I was fortunate to come across some really great resources. Here’s my list–which is mostly about eating and sleeping:

  1. Recipes for Babies and Toddlers: 365 Quick and Healthy Dishes by Bridget Wardley and Judy More. (I have the 2004 edition that I found at TJ Maxx. Below is 2006, but the inside is nearly identical from what I can tell. The biggest differences is that the newer edition includes recipes for children beyond the toddler stage. My favorite part is the meal plan by age at the back.)

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2. “Feeding Guide for the First Year” by John Hopkins Medicine Health Library. (This one has charts for each month and was hugely helpful! Just remember that every child is different.Also note that the “ounces” recommendation is for bottle-fed babies; number of nursings is for breast-fed babies. Don’t let yourself stress about how many ounces if you’re breastfeeding. If they’re happy, eating, soiling diapers, and sleeping, they’re probably pretty healthy, even if they’re not at the exact month on the timeline.)

3. “Lists and Schedules” under “Baby Basics” on Cloudmom.com. (I especially found the Baby Feeding and Sleeping Schedule for Breastfeeding a 4 to 6-month old helpful. But she has videos on everything from basics on breastfeeding to bottle feeding to first baby foods, baby care, baby books and gear, traveling with baby, baby sleep basics, breastfeeding tips, etc. Truly a wealth of information from a very knowledgeable, completely judgment-free mama.)

4. “What to Eat and What to Avoid While Breastfeeding” from Healthfulmama.com. (Great chart for us visual learners! See below.)

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As far as the “Fennel tea” and “Honey (raw)” goes, a friend gave me “Mother’s Milk Tea” by Traditional Medicinals, and it really grew on me–someone who is NOT a huge fennel or licorice fan–and it worked! I found a 6-box pack on Amazon for a really great price and added it to my Amazon registry to get an extra 10% off.

5. “Five Things to Avoid When Sleep Training Your Baby” on Parents.com. (Sleep traps and cheat sheet for how much sleep is needed per age.)

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6. “Pumping Essentials” and “Pumping to 1 Year: Tips & a Cost Analysis from a Working Mom Who Did It” from ThePhotographersWife.com. (I was so nervous about the whole pumping thing with going back to work at 8 weeks, but this site really helped walk through the details. And at 4 months, Kyle switched himself to only eating 4x per day–breakfast, lunch, supper, and bedtime–so I only have to pump during lunch at work.)

7. IdealistMom.com was a huge help with going back to work after maternity leave! My favorite posts were “7 Tips for Postpartum Fashion,” “9 Secrets for a Successful Return to Work after Maternity Leave,” and “How to Keep Breastfeeding after Going Back at Work.”

8. “6 Natural Ways to Treat Infant Gas” from TheStir.CafeMom.com. (The biggest tips for us were the feeding positions and massage.)

9. “Pumping Schedule from NB – 12 MO” from NaptimeTales.com. (Very practical advice and low stress methods.)

10. “6 Tips for the First Month of Breastfeeding That You May Never Have Heard” by BreastfeedingPlace.com. (I also still vividly remember bawling my eyes out that first week home out of exhaustion and frustration, not being able to reach a nurse or lactation consultant because of a random snowstorm, and my husband having to call my sister-in-law to ask my questions then put her on speakerphone to calm me down and tell me I was doing a great job and to try leaning back or lying down so the baby had to slow down and not eat quite so fast. Blessings on her!!)

I am so thankful that I got to become a new mom at the same time as some of my best friends. And I’m thankful for my friends who were experienced parents when I became a new mom. It’s nice to be able to text a friend and say, “Please pray for me today. I’m really struggling with this mommy-hood thing” and know that they are already praying…and that you’re not alone (they either are or have struggled with similar things).

I didn’t have a ton of time to research like I wanted to, and I honestly believe God brought these blogs and books across my path on purpose. I skimmed through On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ecko and Robert Bucknam. I found it largely repetitive and a little too rigid for me, but the one thing that I did take away from it was the pattern: Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat. And that worked really well for us (slept 6 hours by 6 weeks, 9 hours by 11 weeks, 10-12 hours by 14 weeks).

One caution: resist the urge to over-analyze or over-research things that moms have been doing by instinct for centuries. Do the best you can, ask your doctor and friends for advice, and know that God loves your baby more than even you do! And He loves you too, mama!

What were your top resources for those first 12 months of being a parent?

A Snoopy 1st Birthday Party!

It’s hard to believe our little guy is already 1! We have had so much fun being his mommy and daddy! He loves to eat and laugh and play. His favorite word is “Daddy” with a close second of “Uh-oh.” And he just started shaking his head to say “no” and saying “Yeh” for yes. It’s fun to see his preferences come through.

For his first birthday, I gave Bryan 3 or 4 different themes I had narrowed it down to, and he picked Snoopy. It was so much fun putting this together for Kyle! And we’re so thankful to be able to celebrate this birthday in our new home! (Also thankful my folks could make it in for the party and help us by staying up late to hang curtains, pictures, and put final touches on decorations!)

I found Snoopy invitations here. And we got the “Peanuts Greatest Hits” CD by the Vince Guaraldi Trio that we played on loop throughout the party.

Since we just moved in one month ago and got new appliances, we had large boxes to use. So we decorated a Snoopy doghouse and Lucy’s Psychiatric Stand. The kids LOVED playing in these!

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The Menu:IMG_4126Bryan did made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches (we had half a dozen types of cheese to choose from), and who doesn’t love grilled cheese with tomato soup or pumpkin chorizo soup?! I found some awesome little paper trays and styrofoam bowls at Joyce Equipment Store and Restaurant Supply (great place for anyone who likes to host parties!). And we decorated with The Peanuts figurines collection!
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Then there were the cakes made by our good friend Barb Illsley! She’s amazing!

IMG_4121photo 2Opening Gifts:IMG_4136 IMG_4141Finally, we sent each of our kid guests home with a little goody bag of play doh, snoopy stickers, and The Peanuts fruit snacks in personalized bags. We certainly won’t do this every year, but we definitely wanted to do something extra special for Kyle’s first birthday. And this was!IMG_4125

Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love you very much!

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