Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot Weather, Cool Food

I had the best summer supper the other night! The temps that day were well over 100 degrees, and this just hit the spot. I had a green salad that was green leaf lettuce and romaine, the MOST wonderful dressing (Brianna's Homestyle Asiago Caesar dressing, that my friend Jana Raye got me hooked on), real bacon bits, shredded parm cheese, and croutons. With that I had creamy dill potato salad & chicken salad. I don't really have a recipe for either of these, some have asked, but I will tell you how I make them.
First the potato salad. I dice up potatoes, and just do as much as I think we will eat. It keeps well in the fridge for several days however if you want to make a lot. Boil them in water until tender. Drain them, and if you're going to eat right away, rinse in cold water for several minutes. Put them in a bowl, and I do equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream. I add dill (fresh or dried) to taste, start with 1/2 tsp. And also salt. I do about 1/4 cup real bacon bits you buy in the package. That's it! It is so simple but so yummy.
For the chicken salad, I baked 4 good-sized chicken breasts seasoned with poultry seasoning and garlic salt. I baked them for about 45 minutes on 300 degrees, or until cooked through. I let them cool for a while sitting in the juices to keep them from drying out. When they were cool enough to handle, I diced them up, trimming and discarding any fat. In a bowl, I mixed the diced chicken, mayonnaise, dried cranberries, and pecan pieces. I used a small package of each of those, probably about 1/2 cup each. Mix it up and eat it like I did with a green salad or it's wonderful on a croissant!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sweet Summertime

Well, I don't really have any new recipes or profound parenting experience to share. It's just been a while since I posted! This is a picture I took last Sunday of Holt, Lacey, & Colby Jane after church. The girls are wearing new outfits made by Sadie (my mom!). Aren't they adorable?! I love having all 3 matching, too.
We finally have the pool open and ready for fun and sun! We have already been enjoying it a lot this past week and had several friends over. I knew I was going to enjoy having a "teacher" schedule, but until we got the pool open I didn't know HOW much I would enjoy it! I cannot begin to tell you how awesome it is to plan playdates and summer holidays without having to check my work schedule, swap shifts with someone, or request certain days off and hope that it is approved!
Holt does remember how to swim, thank goodness! He was worried that he would not. The first couple of days we swam he insisted on wearing his life jacket in the pool. Yesterday, he was jumping off the diving board and swimming in the deep end without anything! I am so proud of him.
I think I can really say that Lacey is potty trained! She may have one accident a week now, and the last two accidents I can remember her having, she pee peed in the floor because she couldn't get the potty seat up in time, and the other time she couldn't get through the door at church in time but she was trying to get there. It really upsets her to have an accident now, before she could have cared less. If you want to know what I did to get her to turn the corner, email me or ask me in person!
We are having Colby Jane's baby dedication here on Sunday, which also happens to be Father's Day. I was raised Southern Baptist, and baby dedications are a common thing in the Baptist church. It is a time where parents can publicly declare to raise their children in a Christian home, and receive prayers and support from their family/church family in raising their new baby to one day hopefully receive the Lord as their personal Savior. I am now a member of the Church of Christ, and this is not a common practice. When Holt was born, I really wanted some occasion to celebrate his birth and pray for our family. And honestly, I like pomp and circumstance! A new baby IS something to celebrate, commemorate, and pray about! So, we began a tradition that we have kept with each of our children, and we have made it our own.
The first two children were dedicated at my aunt and uncle's home, Swan Song, in Shiloh, TN. Ryan and I also had our wedding reception there. We have our own home now that is big enough to entertain a lot of guests, so we are looking forward to having Colby Jane's dedication here. She will wear the Christening gown my aunt Patricia made for me that I wore when I was christened (I know, I said I was raised southern baptist, but we were Methodist when I was a baby). 7 out of 10 of my parents' grandchildren will have worn it for their christening/dedications, including all 3 of my children!
Our minister will do the "ceremony." He will just say a few words about parenting and raising children in a Christian home. Then we will pray. We will have a little reception afterwards. I am looking forward to having my tables set and fresh flowers and candles. I am also having a cake made. We have the most adorable lamb cake pan that we used to make a "lamb cake" for Holt & Lacey's dedications. A friend of mine at church that has baked cakes professionally is doing the cake for Colby Jane's dedication. I can't wait to see it!
I will try to take and post lots of pictures this Sunday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My New Favorite Recipe: Zucchnini Squares

All I can say is that I will probably eat this whole pan of zucchini squares before Ryan gets home from work. My aunt Patricia turned me on to this dish. They had it along with a salad one night for dinner and it sounded SO good. She gave me some fresh zucchini and squash from her garden, and I couldn't wait to try it! It will probably be my new go-to thing to take for parties, church events, etc. I am cooking tonight and made this in place of cornbread. It is a wonderfully tasty savory dish that is great to accompany a meal or stand alone! Packed with veggies and protein (the recipe has FOUR eggs), it will satisfy.
1 cup biscuit/baking mix
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
3 medium zucchini grated (*I did 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash!)
Combine all ingredients and spread into a 9x13 baking dish that has been greased. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set and golden brown.
I used a stand-up box grater to grate my veggies, including onion. It took NO time.
The original recipe called for vegetable oil. I LOVE the combination of rosemary & olive oil, so I substituted, with wonderful results.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Family's Memorial Day

I know most of my posts so far have been funny and/or informative and mostly related to being a mommy, and this is not really one of those posts. While a lot of us were memorializing soldiers and their sacrifices for our freedom, our family was remembering Christopher.
Christopher was one of the quirkiest kids I've ever known. I can remember "babysitting" him when my brother, Michael, and Sherry, Christopher's mother, would come visit us with him. I was barely 10 and they pretty much let me have my way with him. As he grew and became a young boy and then a tweenager, he went through that awkward, annoying stage most boys go through. I can remember each time I would bring a new boyfried to a family function, Christopher would usually make me mad by calling that boyfriend by the previous boyfriend's name. He met his match though when I brought Ryan, who would become my husband, to Christmas when they met for the first time. They both had a very similar warped sense of humor and could frequently been seen giggling about something that I'm sure had to do with a bodily function.
Christopher's life was in Mississippi. We didn't get to see eachother a lot throughout the year, but they came up to mom and dad's often. What I miss is the times he and I would be on facebook at the same time and he would pop up unexpectedly and chat with me. We'd talk about music we liked, how fun it was to be in the band, band competitions, etc. Music is what we had in common. He liked a lot of music I wasn't familiar with, so he would "school" me on things he liked to listen to. Not only did we have music in common, but we were drummers. I was a percussionist when I was in band. We are special people. If you're in band, you can pretty much guess within a few minutes of meeting another band person what instrument they play just by their personalities. People that play the trumpet (these are the easiest to guess, they are so cocky, LOL), flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion, etc., they all have a personality you can peg almost everytime. And Christopher was a drummer, through and through!!
So as I write this, I can remember at this time, exactly one year ago on this day I got one of the worst phone calls of my life. My dad called, and in a strangely calm voice he said, "There's been an accident. Christopher's gone, Sherry's gone, they're all gone. That's all we know right now." We hung up the phone. Ryan and I were outside having some meaningless conversation, and he watched as my emotions exploded. I threw up, and sat down, and sobbed. It took me forever to get the words out to tell him what had happened. We sat down together and both cried and held eachother for several minutes. I couldn't think or even string enough words together to make a coherent sentence. How could this have happened? Surely someone did not have all the facts and this was just a big misunderstanding. As the details of the tragedy unfolded over the next 24 hours, it was just more than anyone should have to comprehend. Christopher, his mom, his 3 siblings by his mom (Carlie, Jake, and Macy), his step-sister Michaela, and their families' 2 exchange students, Albin and Flavia had been on vacation in Florida. They were on their way home and Christopher was driving. They had a blowout on the interstate and had a one-vehicle crash. Christopher, Sherry, Macy, and Flavia were all killed instantly. The other 4 were injured but not fatally, and were able to attend the funeral.
Sherry was a nurse, like me. She loved children, she made them her life. She even took in not one but 2 exchange students, and from what I understand, did everything she could to treat them as her own and show them everything she could about American life. She and Christopher went together to China to adopt Macy, who was born with a cleft lip. While they were there, I remember seeing pictures Sherry posted of I think about 60 pairs of shoes she bought her while there because they were so cheap. That is so something I would have done! I admired Sherry for her love of children. I think Christopher and Macy had a special bond because he went with his mom to get her. Macy was the same age as my son Holt.
Flavia was due to go home the very next day after the wreck. She had not seen her parents in a year. She was flown home in a casket.
Christopher had just graduated high school, and had a scholarship to Ole Miss. He had the brightest future. We all knew he was a good, Christian young man, but I don't think any of us really knew the extent of his Christian witness to others. It has been unreal the number of stories we have been told from people he loved, comforted, encouraged, and humored in service to the Lord.
A complete year of firsts has now passed since Christopher went home to be with God. Each and every one of those occasions has been difficult. We've all tried to be open and talk, laugh, cry, shout, be silent, and remember as we have encountered different situations surrounding his death. It's pretty amazing to see how our family has pulled together to comfort each other. See, my mom and my dad's ex-wife (Michael's mother; Michael & I share a Dad) now lovingly refer to eachother as "BFFs," talk on the phone, and comment on eachother's facebook posts. When God is at the center of your life, it is amazing what it can do for a family. I am so grateful for mine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fun Day with Great Friends!

Yesterday was the first day of summer break! I've been off since Colby Jane was born on March 13, and was actually really dreading school being out. Tuesdays and Thursdays have been bliss because both Holt & Lacey were in school and I was able to spend one on one time with Colby Jane and get a lot done in the house, or nothing at all, what ever I chose! Our pool is not open yet :-( since Ryan has been working overtime a lot this past week, he just hasn't had time to get around to it. We are hoping to get that done within the next week though. So needless to say we needed something to do yesterday instead of staying home and looking at our empty dirty pool.
We picked up Holt's best friend, Tray, and his mom & my good friend, Jana Raye and headed off to Spring Park in Tuscumbia, Al. When we got to Tuscumbia, we ate lunch at City Restaurant. Food was great but we forgot that it is not a state law for restaurants to be non-smoking. All the waitresses were on break when we got there (it was after lunch time) and they all were firing them up one after another. Luckily they were in the back of the restaurant and we were right by the door. As soon as the last bite of food was taken, I took all 4 of the kids out to the car while Jana paid. We were rather irritated they couldn't wait to smoke until the children were out of the establishment. But the food was good and cheap. We all 5 ate for $25, including tip. Jana & I ordered burgers and fries, the kids all 3 ate from 1 adult chicken strip meal.
We left the restaurant and went just down the street to Spring Park. They have a kid's roller coaster (my 3 & 6 year old both rode it & loved it!), a carousel, and a train to ride, and also a great playground and also a splash pad. We got there at 1:45, all the rides closed at 2. Awesome! The kids were disappointed however, they said we could ride everything for free (armbands for rides are $6 for unlimited riding) until they closed, and they actually stayed open until about 2:15. There was a school there having field day, so I think that helped us out. The splash pad was not open, apparently in May it's only open on the weekends until after Memorial Day. So Spring Park was a burnt run. I'm sure when you go early enough and get to spend the whole day it's fun though. Here is a link to their website for more info:
We were close to Florence, and I had looked at different parks online the night before. We decided to go on over to the Mariott's River Heritage Park where there is a playground and splash pad. Playground was awesome, splash pad guessed it...CLOSED! It opens this Saturday for the summer and will be open daily from 11:30am to 9:20pm. The good thing about this park is it is FREE! I loved the playground though. It's great for kids and parents. The playground itself features a huge jungle gym apparatus that has lots to do, and plenty of places to hide and explore and climb on. There were no swings but several slides. There is also a smaller train-themed jungle gym for little ones. The "floor" of the playground is cushioned, so if anyone happens to fall, it's not as bad as falling on concrete or even on land. It gives quite a bit when you walk across it. Also, no rocks or dirt for you to constantly be digging out of sandals! Our kids played barefoot for a while. It was great. There is a huge grassy area they can run and play in.
What I loved about it the playground for adults was in addition to lots of picnic tables and convenient trash receptacles, there were porch-style swings, 3 total, around the perimeter of the playground. That was wonderful for Jana, Colby Jane, and I. We could sit and talk and swing the baby in the shade while the older kids played, where we could keep an eye on them the entire time. We also used the bathroom facilities while we were there, and I couldn't have been more impressed! It was clean (the smell of bathroom cleaner was the first thing I noticed when I walked in), smelled good, and well-stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. There was also a changing station for babies.
The splash pad is huge and is just down from the playground. Like I said earlier, when it's open for the summer it has great, long hours. After 4pm it can be "rented" for a private party for $40/hour.
I highly recommend this park!! It was lots of fun for the kids, easy for adults to keep an eye on them, and not crowded. I don't know if this had anything to do with Florence area schools still being in session or not. And if you took a picnic, and didn't do anything else, all you're out is gas money because it's free! We will definitely be back.
After we left River Heritage Park, we went to Bargain Hunt. Oh. my. goodness!! I was in awe. Their baby department is unbelieveable! They had Bugaboo, Joovy, and Britax strollers and carseats for 75% off what you would pay in a more well-known store. All merchandise brand new. It may not have been in a box, but it was not used. They had the Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper that Colby Jane sleeps in (I use this instead of a bassinet this time) for $26.99. I paid right under $50 for mine, and that was with free shipping! I also found a larger swaddler for Colby Jane for when she outgrows the one she uses now for $4.99, and a Simple Wishes Handsfree Pumping Bra for $17.99. They are around $30 online. The other huge find was Pampers Swaddlers diapers, 234 count, for $35, with 10% off. Here's the kicker. All their merchandise has a date on the price label. The older the date, the more discount you get off the already low price. So my diapers were dated 4/20/12 and that's how I got 10% off. Anything that had a February date yesterday was as much as 90% off!!! I can't wait to go back!
After all those bargains, we were starving. We took the kids to Cracker Barrell because they all love pancakes, and we love the vegetable plate. Everyone ate a good supper, and the kids fell asleep on the way home. It was a great day with some of our best friends!
Sorry all the pics are at the top of the text. I'm still figuring out technicalities of blogging. I couldn't get my pics of the kids to upload from my iPhone. These are all pics of River Heritage Park off the internet.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

TDF New Roast Recipe!

I have a fairly new Gooseberry Patch cookbook "Super-Fast Slow Cooking." I haven't used it much but it's a great cookbook. Ryan started his week of night shift last night, so that means I've got to cook.

Colby Jane and I made a big grocery haul yesterday while the kids were gone. I wore her in the Moby. People here are just fascinated by baby-wearing. They've just never seen it I guess. I love it. It keeps people's hands off her, and more importantly, keeps her content. She usually goes right to sleep when I put her in it and sleeps the whole time I'm shopping.

Back to my recipe, I'm trying to cut out milk products right now because Colby Jane has had such a time with her belly, and colic. 5pm-9pm is no fun at our house, but she does really well when we are in public, so I think nobody believes me! Haha! All 3 of my kids have had the same temperament as babies. Once you got them settled, you better leave them alone or you'll be sorry! This recipe sounded so good, and just different. Not your run of the mill spaghetti. Here it is:

Italian Beef & Pasta
3-4 lb beef chuck roast
2 onions, sliced
13-1/4 oz can sliced mushrooms (I do not eat mushrooms so I omitted this)
2 (26 oz) jars marinara pasta sauce (I used storebrand spaghetti sauce)
2 tbsp zesty Italian salad dressing mix
16 oz pkg spaghetti, cooked

Combine all ingredients except spaghetti in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Slice beef; spoon sauce over cooked pasta and serve beef on the side. Serves 8-10.

It did make a huge pot! I was cooking this for my family and another family from church that I was taking a meal to, so I added a large can of diced tomatoes to make more sauce. My house smelled so good, and the beef was so tender. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

What's Your Parenting Style?

Authoritative, permissive, disengaged, attached? So many to choose from. I'm sitting here watching the Attachment Parenting guru Dr. Sears on The View. He is so nice and positive, very grand-fatherly, not at all what I expected! While I think he has some wonderful ideas and views on parenting, and I'll bet he is a fantastic pediatrician, I just can't imagine that I would still be a good parent or good wife if I practiced everything he preaches.

Dr. Sears has 7 Baby B's he says are ideal for parenting your children.
1. Birth bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Baby wearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Belief in baby's cry
6. Beware of baby trainers
7. Balance

The first "B" is something I totally believe in. Closeness immediately after birth. That one is pretty obvious. Even if there are medical complications that keep mom & baby apart for a period after birth, there is a catching-up period that makes to bond just as strong as if nothing ever happened.

Breastfeeding is definitely something I practice and believe in. No, breastfeeding does not mean you will have a perfect baby. All my babies were breastfed for a period of time, and they all cried and have had belly issues when they were newborns. So did my friends' babies that were formula fed. I believe it is best for baby and mommy, and I loved that it was convenient. I loved never having to pack bottles or powdered formula that spilled out into my diaper bag, and I loved never having to get up in the middle of the night and make or warm a bottle. I did not love waking up every night to feed the baby because I was the only one that could, but you win some and you lose some. It was still the best thing for my family.

Baby wearing. YESSSSSSSS!!! This has saved me with Colby Jane. I have a Moby wrap and man, when 5pm rolls around and she's on a crying jag and I need to cook supper, I can almost always put her in the Moby, she will go to sleep, and everyone gets what they need. I am looking into getting a ring sling now because the Moby has A LOT of fabric, and with summer coming, we'll burn up in it. Ring slings have less fabric and are more breathable, but take some practice. Here is a link to some good information on types of carriers/slings/wraps. You can purchase them through this site, or even rent one to try it out. There are lots of good pictures and descriptions to help you decide what you might like to try.

Bedding close to baby. This one I practice for a period of time. While Dr. Sears does approve of full-out co-sleeping, I am not a fan of this. I do NOT sleep well with a tiny baby in the bed. I'm scared that the baby will get rolled over on or smothered by the covers. I do on occasion let them sleep on my chest with me propped up on pillows, usually after the early morning feeding when I'm just dozing anyway. I don't make a habit out of it though. Holt and Lacey were both sleeping in their crib in their own room at about 2 months old. I think Colby Jane will be in our room much longer though. She and Lacey will be sharing a room, and Lacey is still sleeping in the crib. It has just dawned on me though that I could convert her to the toddler bed "setting" of the crib we have and move the pack & play into her room for the baby. I'm in no hurry though, especially until Colby Jane starts sleeping through the night (STTN).

Belief in Baby's Cry. There is NOT crying it out (CIO) in attachmed parenting. Period. I am a violater of this belief. Sorry to disappoint you. I let Holt CIO at about 3 months old, and after 3 nights of that, he has STTN ever since. He's now 6. I also let Lacey CIO at around 8 months. She also survived, and still STTN. I did not see any decrease in their trust in me or long-term psychological damage. I know my study of only my 2 children so far may not mean anything to some, but our bedtime routine had gotten so long and ridiculous trying to get the baby to sleep, Ryan and I both agreed to try the CIO method and it worked. It helped us have time for ourselves. With each child, after letting them CIO, we were able to give them a bath, read a story, sing a couple lullabies, and lay them down. Within 15 min, they were dead asleep. When it comes to a newborn however, crying is the only way they have to communicate with you. I believe in responding quickly to a newborn's cries. I run the gammut of interventions to soothe them: feeding, diapering, cuddling, playing. I just can't take a newborn crying. But as they get older and start to show some personality, you learn what to respond to and what to (try to) let them work out on their own.

Beware of Baby Trainers. This one is really saying to beware of me, but the only thing I do that this one disapproves of is the CIO method & sleep training. It also advises against rigid/strict parenting styles that put baby on a schedule & encourage parents to watch the clock instead of watching their baby. I can see how you can put a formula-fed baby on a feeding schedule because they usually get the same sized bottle everytime their fed, therefore their appetite is pretty predictable. I have always nursed on demand. I've never understood how a breastfeeding mom could nurse a baby on a schedule. Breastmilk completely digests in 90 minutes, and sometimes less depending on the fat content of her milk. And the fat content of breastmilk fluctuates throughout the day, so therefore so does baby's appetite. Dr. Sears warns that this type of parenting is "convenience" parenting and only yields short-term gains and long-term loss, and not a wise investment. I wonder if baby is screaming her head off, and the clock says it's 30 minutes until it's time for her to eat, do you just let her cry? How sad to deny baby food when that's what she is crying for.

Balance. This one is not very clear to me as it kind of as it seems to contradice everything else he says. On one hand Dr. Sears says give everything up for your baby. The relationship between parent & child is more important than any other relationship. But then he throws in this last "B" that encourages you to be careful to not neglect your own personal needs or the needs of your marriage. Sorry, but the only time I have to attend to the "needs" of my marriage are at bedtime, and after I've given every ounce of my being to my children throughout the day, and then my husband and I go to bed, in the same room as any number of our sleeping children, that kind of puts a damper on things.

Not mentioned specifically in his "Bs" are his views on gentle discipline. I do not practice this view. My husband and I believe in spare the rod, spoil the child. We spank. Dr. Sears would be appalled at how I'm potty training my 3 year old, but all I will say is she is VERY strong-willed, and I've tried every other option. My pediatrician completely approves of my method, as she practiced it with 2 of her own 6 children.

So, I will say that I do like some of the attachment parenting views, but as with most things in life, I will take what I need and leave the rest. I must be doing the right thing because I have been blessed with the 3 most awesome kids on Earth!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lactation Cookies

I've posted this recipe on Facebook for my nursing mama friends but I want to include it on my blog, I think it will be easier to find that way.

These very tasty cookies contain 3 ingredients that are supposed to help boost milk supply: oats (it
must be old-fashioned rolled oats, not quick-cooking or instant), brewer's yeast, and flax seed meal.

Fenugreek is one of the oldest galactogogues (substance that increases milk-production) and I read on another blog that some bakers open a couple capsules of it and put it in their dough as well. So I put 3 in mine (more is better, right?). I found this fenugreek at Wal-mart but they must have ordered it for someone that didn't buy all of it because I haven't seen it since. You can find it at most any vitamin/health food store. Fenugreek can be taken by mouth, and the effective dosage for increasing milk supply is around 1500mg three times a day. That's usually 3 pills 3 times a day.

Most people in our area have never heard of Brewer's yeast. I've been told by workers at Walmart that it is on the baking aisle, but I've yet to find it. Apparently it comes in pills and a powder. I've not found the powder here in Savannah, and haven't really looked that hard for it. You can purchase the powder online I found today. Some cans of it as low as like $5.50 for a pound. I just use my mini food-processor to pulverize the pills, and sift out the large pieces left using a strainer to get the powder. I am on the hunt for a mortar and pestal to grind them up.

Lactation Cookies Recipe

1 cup butter
 1 cup white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken Pillows

Found this recipe on Pinterest!

Chicken Pillows (I renamed it because the other name for this was lame!)

2 (8oz) cans of crescent rolls
1 can cream of chicken
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk

4oz cream cheese
2 tbsp butter
1tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 large chicken breasts cooked and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar
2 tbsp milk
1-2 cups cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x13in dish.

Mix together milk, 3/4 cup cheese, and undiluted soup.

For the filling, mix cream cheese with butter until smooth. Add garlic & onion powders. Add in chopped chicken and cheese and mix well. Add 2 tbsp milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper (*I don't think it needed anything!).

Unroll crescent rolls. Place 1 heaping tbsp chicken mixture on each triangle and roll up starting at wide end. Drizzle small amount of soup mixture on bottom of dish. Place cresent rolls seam side down in dish. Drizzle remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake about 30 min.

Motherhood is NOT a Competition

So I'm going to try my best to get a copy of Time magazine today so I can actually read the article, but after reading several rants and reviews, I know what the gist of it is.

The picture on the cover of Time magazine this week is very provocative, featuring a sexy 26 year old mom nursing her (much older appearing) 3 year old son, who is standing on a chair to reach her breast. I agree with a post I read that Time missed the opportunity here to show a mom cuddling her 3 year old while nursing, since no one really nurses their older child in the position they chose. Ever.
I wonder if people would have been so weirded out if they had chose a more nurturing pose? But controversy sells.

Now on to the title, which suggests that you're a crappy mom if you don't/didn't breastfeed. I've been on both sides of this. My first child was a boy, and I was young and unprepared for breastfeeding. I thought it would come naturally, and let me tell you, it did not. It hurt like heck. He had a terrible latch & I didn't know how to fix it. I gave him a bottle too soon and he developed nipple confusion. My pediatrician finally convinced me I would still be a good mom if I put him on formula, so I did. That was the best decision for all of us at that time. I still felt like a failure as a mom. Had I seen this Time magazine cover right after that happening to me, I would have probably curled up into the fetal position and cried for days. When my next baby was born, a daughter, I was determined to make breastfeeding work. With a lot of determination and perserverance, I nursed her for 18 months. She self-weaned. I am now nursing my 3rd baby, another girl, who is 8 weeks old. I plan to nurse her until she self-weans. I hope she nurses until she's 2.

What I take issue with through all this is how harsh people are reacting towards moms who choose to nurse for an extended period of time, which to most people is beyond the age of 1. I have never nursed an older child, but I know several moms who have. Most of them were still nursing their child at 3 years old. I know those kids, and they turned out just fine. They are smart, independent, and well-adjusted. Just as much as my first child that was not breastfed for more than a month is.

It is commonplace in most other developed countries in the world for 3 year olds (and older kids) to still be nursing. They even do it in public and people don't bat an eyelash. Here is what the World Health Organization recommends:
"Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond."

The Time article apparently also focuses a lot on attachment parenting (AP) which basically encourages you to breastfeed for an extended time, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, and gentle discipline (no spanking allowed). I practice some of these things, but not the idea as a whole. It just doesn't all work for our family. However, one thing I leave up to my kids is the breastfeeding part. I don't force it on them or make them do it longer than what they wish. My son was not happy breastfeeding, so we stopped at a month. My first daughter decided 18 months was enough for her. My 8 week old is loving it, and I'll do it as long as we are both happy with it; if she decides she's done before I am, so be it. As long as she is nursing, I'm happy, so I guess it's mainly up to her.

There are no proven negatives to extended nursing, with in the toddler years. My own personal opinion is that weaning should probably start to be encouraged by the mother if the child is still nursing at 3 years old, but that is just me. But if a mother chooses to nurse her child until he goes to kindergarten, so be it. I am not a member of that family, and I don't know what works best for them and why. Who am I to judge? I guess if it were wrong to nurse a child that long, our bodies wouldn't be capable of being able to do so.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What NOT To Say To a New Mom

Well-meaning attempts at conversation are made by well-intentioned people to new moms who are homonally hyped up, sleep deprived, and uncertain how to navigate the newborn baby territory, and often those comments make these new mommies second guess their own instincts.
Here are a few of my pet-peeves that people have either said to me or to friends of mine with whom I've had this conversation:

1. "If you're anxious, the baby can sense that."

No. crap. You're kidding? REALLY? Any self-respecting new mom that has read ANY parenting book or magazine article has heard this, unless they've been living under a rock. And if they haven't, that's okay too because if they've had their baby home for at least a week I'll guarantee they've picked up on this tidbit. Saying this to a new mom shames them for having normal feelings of anxiety that ANY person would have after caring for a new baby that's on their 3rd hour of an afternoon crying jag. By drawing attention to the fact that her anxiety is making the situation worse negates her right to be frustrated sometimes. It's not all roses all the time with a new baby, and you're not a bad mom if your baby cries and that makes you anxious. It was such a relief when a friend said to me once, "You know my newborn son was having one of those afternoons where all he could do was cry, and I had just about lost it, so I put him down in a safe place, and I just went outside and screamed. As loud as I could."

2. "Is mommy starving you to death?"

Ok, this is something you don't say to the baby. But I'll bet when this is said to baby, mommy is within earshot. With each of my children when I was breastfeeding, especially in the early days, if they opened their mouths for any reason at all, I put my boob in it. It was the one thing I could do that would stop the crying and make everyone in the house happy for at least 20 minutes at a time. And a lot of times, this happened every hour that I would need to do this. So for someone to come visit, hear the baby whimper, and automatically assume that the baby was being "starved" even if it was said in a sing-songy baby voice was devastating to me as a new mom.

3. "Is the baby sleeping through the night?"

Because the answer is almost always no. And it is then implied that you are doing something wrong as a new mom when your baby is not sleeping through the night at 2 months old. Some people are this lucky!! I so far only was this lucky with 1 of my 3 children (my 3rd is only 7 weeks but I don't see her sleeping through the night anytime soon).

4. "Well I raised (insert number) kids and they all turned out fine."

I don't care how many kids you raised. And if you were raising kids before 2000, things have changed just a little. It is no longer safe for a baby to sleep on its belly, and carseats are required by law. I know your kids survived sleeping on their stomachs and rode in the front seat of the car beside you, however, a lot of smart people got together and did some studies and discovered that a lot of kids died because of those parenting practices. Therefore, new recommendations and even laws were passed to protect as many children as possible from dying unnecessarily. When it comes the safety of children, please don't make a new mom feel ridiculous for doing what she feels is necessary.

5. "Just give the baby a bottle."

This comment right here is what cut short the breastfeeding relationship I had with my son. Not all babies go from bottle to breast easily, and the chances of that happening sky rocket if a bottle is given too soon. It's called bottle-preference, or nipple confusion, either is equally detrimental to breastfeeding. It's not as easy as just giving the baby a bottle for everyone.

6. "Maybe your milk is not rich enough."

This one was never said to me but it was to my mom. All I can say is LOL! How crazy!

7. "It's okay to take the baby out in public before she gets her shots, it will build her immune system."

Not everyone has the same feelings as me on this, but I kept all my babies in until they had their first round of shots. My pediatrician told me that if my newborn were to run a fever before the first round of shots, protocol was for the baby to have a spinal tap because it was likely that it was meningitis. There had been confirmed cases of pertussis, which can be deadly to a newborn, in the county we lived in and surrounding counties. These were reason enough for me to keep my babies home, and screen visitors as much as I could. It is ridiculous to think you can build a baby's immune system by "innoculating" her with exposure to sickness. A baby's body is spending all its energy growing in the early weeks; why would you want to subject it to sickness too?

8. "That's not a real smile, it's just gas."

For lots of new moms, those first smiles are the only tangible reward she gets from baby for all the hard work she's putting in caring for her newborn. Don't steal her joy!

9. "Don't hold the baby all the time, you'll spoil it."

You can't spoil a newborn baby. ALL newborns want to be held, all the time. It's not a new concept you're teaching them by holding them. They are born wanting to be held. They have gone from being in the warmest, coziest, safest place on earth, constantly being rocked, swayed, and serenaded by their mommy's voice and heartbeat, to being thrust out into a cold, hard, bright world, and having to wear clothes and diapers. So look at it this way, all babies are born spoiled.

So there are a few of the things you shouldn't say to a new mom.

How about things you should say? Here are some suggestions:
1. What can I bring you for dinner?
2. Where is your laundry room?
3. Would you like me to take your older kids outside to play while you and baby nap?
4. You're doing a great job ;-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And baby makes...FIVE!!!!

Oh. my. goodness. I haven't posted to this blog since 2009!!! EEK! Well, to catch you up to speed, we bought a house, got new jobs, and had another baby. That's the short version.

Colby Jane Waggoner was born Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm weighing 8lbs 1oz & 19.5in. Healthy, and even with hair!! Who woulda thought?? I still can't believe I have a baby with some hair. She is just perfect!

Holt is now 6, and Lacey is 3. Holt is in kindergarten, loves superheroes, playing the wii, and can't wait for summer so we can swim all. day. long!!!! Lacey is going 2 days a week to preschool, and loves it. She loves princesses, high heels, and being my shadow. I don't know how I functioned before she dictated every aspect of my life at home! She also can't wait to swim. all. day. long!!!

Ryan is now working at PCA (the paper mill) in Counce, TN. It's shift work, but wonderful benefits, and no headache of owning our own business anymore! I'm now teaching at Hardin Co High School. I'm still a nurse, but I am teaching the health science classes students take in high school that want to go on and work in the medical field. I LOVE my job! It's something I've always wanted to do.

Of course, we bought the PERFECT house for a family of 4. We are now a family of 5. We plan to make it the perfect house for a family of 5 now! We have a swimming pool, and plan on that being our "staycation" spot until we can afford to take the kids to Disney, hopefully in about 3 years. I'll try to take some good pics of the house when we get the pool open and post about it.