Bellies, Smiles, and Diapers

I happened upon the perfect moment for picture taking today. It’s a rare thing, so I quickly snatched up the camera and clicked away. Two happy boys in their new mama-made cloth diapers showing off their cuteness. What could be better? Unfortunately, I happened to delete the majority of the pictures on accident while in the middle of transferring them to the computer. Major sad face. I still managed to get a few of the good ones saved, so I’ll share those with you and hope that the stars align again for another fun photo shoot soon. Enjoy.

So I finished up these new diapers for the boys last night.
I decided it was time to get some cute fluffy-bum pics (i.e., blackmail for the teenage years).
I propped Nolan up on Parker and let them do the rest.
Nolan was waving his arms around and inadvertently tickling Parker.
That’s why he is giggling uncontrollably in this photo.
And Nolan’s all, “What? You can’t handle my gorgeous hunk of a body?”

 After much provocation on my part, I was able to get Nolan to bust out a smile.
I LOVE this picture.
There were about 50 others like it because I went a little crazy.
I’m glad at least one was saved.
Stupid delete button.
Never again, I tell you, never again.

As you can imagine, this portion of the photo shoot was short lived.
Parker decided to play hard to get.
I think he’s practicing for when he’s famous some day and is hounded by the paparazzi.
Or something.

So I decided to focus on the less-mobile boy.
Plus, I had to get a snapshot of those incredibly chubby arms.
Can you even believe how scrumptious they are?

And Parker always loves it when I do the self-portrait shots.
He looks a bit like Bieber in this photo.
Which is why he needs to practice for the paparazzi.

What’s a mama to do with two ridiculously handsome boys?
Highschool is going to be very interesting.
Hopefully the threat of these photos being released will help keep them in line!

Oh, and aren’t the diapers cute? Love!


Newborn Procedures

I should add a subtitle to this post saying, “What We Did.” Because, as we all know with most choices in parenting, there is no wrong or right way. But, I recently had a dear friend ask about our choices so I’m sharing them. (So here you go, Heidi. I love you!) I know not all hospitals/states have the same requirements so I’ll just share what my hospital considers routine and then what we chose to deny or accept.


Routine Baby care after delivery
We delayed, but agreed to these procedures. Immediately after delivering our babies they were placed on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and nursing. The baby is wiped down with towels — trust me, your baby is not a slimy, gross mess to you in that moment. You just want to be close and so do they! We slightly delayed the cord cutting until it was no longer pulsing. After allowing the baby to nurse, we allowed the doctor to weigh, measure, take their temperature, and give a brief examination. Of course, if anything had been obviously wrong at delivery the baby would have headed straight to the NICU rather than delaying these procedures. After moving to our room, the baby was taken for a quick bath and for taking footprints. The whole thing lasts maybe an hour and then the baby stayed in our room for the remainder of the time in the hospital.

Hep B Vaccine
We passed on this one. I knew without a doubt there was no chance of me having a STD. So it just made sense to say no to this one for a newborn, perfectly healthy baby with no chance of encountering the Heb B virus.


Antibiotic Eye Ointment
We passed on this also. I try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible in my own life, so any time one is suggested I think really hard about using it. The ONLY reason the eye ointment is used is to prevent an infection from spreading if the mother unknowingly has gonorrhea. Since I don’t have it and there was no possible way of me getting it, we said no. Interestingly, my hospital’s website says it is required by law but they let me refuse it. For most of these procedures you just have to sign a document saying you are refusing service.

Vitamin K Shot
We passed on this. There are two major reasons for the Vitamin K shot: if you are going to be circumcising a baby boy or if there is a lot of trauma at delivery. The Vitamin K helps the baby’s blood clot, since that ability doesn’t develop until about 8 days after delivery. If there had been a lot of bruising or cuts during delivery, we probably would have gone with the shot. Since that wasn’t the case and we weren’t circumcising (see below), we said no to the shot. There have been some negative reports about the shot because the dose of the vitamin is so incredibly high. There is an alternative of doing a low dose of oral vitamins instead of getting the shot. That might be worth looking in to.

We passed on this also. This is obviously an incredibly personal decision for each family as there is not a whole lot of evidence on either side of the arguments. For us, this just made sense. If you want more info on our decision making, talk to me or e-mail me in person. 🙂


Newborn Screening Tests
Otherwise known as the PKU tests. This was required by our state, and I had no problem complying. It’s a basic heel prick to test the newborn for a variety of rare illnesses. They do the heel prick within 24 hours and let you know only if something turns out to be a problem.

Hearing Test
Again, this is required in Illinois (and 25 other states), and we had no problem doing it. They check for hearing problems while the baby sleeps, so I’m fairly sure it’s painless. 🙂

Blood Sugar/Jaundice Tests
We didn’t have to worry about these tests with Parker. But I had Gestational Diabetes with Nolan and blood type incompatibility, so we had to deal with these blood tests. He had his heel pricked every time he ate to check his blood sugar for the first 24 hours. Since I had been doing it myself for the previous 3 months, I had no problem with them doing the same thing on my newborn. He slept through most of them anyway. The Jaundice blood test is a bit sad to watch. They have to get a lot of blood, so they have to “milk” the spot where the prick. We had to go back to the doctor a couple of times for the first two weeks to make sure that jaundice still wasn’t a problem. It never was for him, they were just being extra careful.


And that about covers it!
We chose to room-in with both babies and refused any sugar water or formula they offered.
They were with us, fed by us, and cared for by us since Day 1!

(Oh, and for those of you who are wondering about cloth diapers, we used the hospital given disposables during their first days/weeks. Those first diapers can be doozies, and it can be hard to get the cloth cleaned up from them. Plus, you just had a baby, why are you thinking about adding one more thing to your schedule? ;-))

Let me know if you have any questions–I’d be happy to help!


Toddler Tuesday

My friend Beth has been posting “Toddler Tuesdays” for quite sometime now. I’ve always benefited from the fun activities she shares, so I thought I’d try my own hand at it. I’ve linked up to her post so you can find toddler inspiration from all sorts of places!

This train set helped us get through the Winter.
He loves it and has spent hours upon hours playing with these trains.


The weather has been exceptional for early spring, so we spent a TON of time outside last week. In the pool, digging in dirt, at the park, taking walks, at the zoo — you name it and we were doing it! Now we are back to normal rainy/chilly spring weather so the fun has moved back indoors (much to Parker’s disappointment, he may just be California baby at heart).

To ease the pain, we spent our morning playing with water. It’s not the same as a pool, but this activity kept him busy for about 45 minutes. That’s a huge success in toddler world. I grabbed a couple of mixing bowls, a strainer, measuring cups, a sponge, a funnel, and some food dye. He was occupied moving the water from bowl to bowl, mesmerized by the water. It also helped teach him how to move more slowly and carefully when carrying liquid. We dyed the water in one bowl and watched the water in the second bowl slowly turn the same color as water was transferred over. This was a huge hit!


And of course they spend a lot of time jumping around on the bed in diapers. Aren’t my little guys cute?
(Side Note: They do still wear cloth diapers, we just had a couple of rounds of sickness so they’ve been in disposables. Yes, that’s my fear of man talking, but I just thought you should know. :-))
(Second Side Note: Nolan is smiling because I’m acting ridiculous and that is why Parker has the “what is my crazy mom doing?” face on.)

What have you been doing with your toddlers?


Mom #2

So as I wrote my post last week about my wonderful grandmother-in-law, I couldn’t help but think how blessed I’ve been with my second family (i.e., my in-laws). Gram was on my mind because she was just here for a visit, but I realized I have never really said much on the blog about my mother-in-law either. And let me tell you, much could be said. And it’s all good.

On a car trip to Michigan in 2010 (left to right: Parker at age 1, Cyndi, and Gary)

I’ve stopped thinking about Cyndi as my mother-in-law, and more like Mom #2. My mom and I are incredibly close, so no one could take her place. But that’s the awesome thing about Cyndi. She has never tried to take that place. She knows that I consider my mom one of my best friends, and she has never infringed upon that. She has her own spot in my life. She has become a close friend and I have shared some of my deepest struggles as a person and as a mom with her.

Nor does she fill any of the mother-in-law stereotypes. She is the farthest thing from an overbearing, nosy, pushy, and unhelpful MIL. From day one she has treated me with respect and has honored my relationship with her son. Even when we were talking about marriage after only6 months of dating. She and her husband were patient, gave good advice, and then trusted us to make the right decision.

Leaving on the cross country drive to IL (left to right: Cyndi, Nikki, me, and Brian)

I had the privilege of getting to live with my in-laws for three months before we moved to Illinois. We needed a place to stay while our lease was up on our apartment and before school was going to start for Brian. It was the first time I felt like I got to know a bit of Cyndi. I learned that she was a really easy person to talk to. She would always listen and respond with empathy, but never overstep any boundaries with giving unwanted advice. In fact, the way she allowed Brian to blossom as an individual is a huge example to me in my own mothering. I freak out at the thought of Parker starting to make his own decisions (and sometimes bad decisions), and being okay with seeing him get hurt sometimes because of them. She is such an example of prayer and trusting God to ultimately take care of her children.At the LA Zoo in 2010

And she is generous. Whew. I can’t even begin to list all of the things she has done for us in getting us on our feet. From opening her own home, to her wallet, to her time–she is always there to help. Always to help and never to judge. What a huge blessing.

And her relationship with my sons? Incredible. I love watching her interact with them. She is so, so, so good with kids. I remember watching her teach Parker how to roll over when he was a baby. It was amazing to me to watch her patience and persistence. She just has a relaxed way of handling tantrums (which I hear she had plenty of experience with Brian!) and smoothing out bumps in the day. I love learning from her!


A Monkey Quilt

So I made Nolan a little monkey quilt during the last weeks of my pregnancy. It measures 44″ x 44″ and is the perfect size for snuggling my baby boy.

front of quilt

It’s super simple and used fabric that I already had on hand. I I cut 4.5 inch squares from the novelty monkey fabric and from a variety of tan and green fat quarters. Then I cut 2.5 inch strips of fabric from a variety of brown, tan, and green fat quarters to frame the squares. Easy peasy.

back of quilt

I had almost enough of the monkey fabric to make the back, so I just added some strips to make up for the difference in size. Again, 2.5 inch strips leftover from the fabrics I used on the front.

20120321-210531.jpgclose up of quilting (and my bigger boy admiring the work, ahem, or maybe just the monkeys)

I did a really simple wavy line using my walking foot for the quilting.
It went super fast and I really like the waviness in contrast to the sharp squares.

20120321-210523.jpgclose up of binding

I used leftover fabric from the back of the Block-a-palooza quilt. I always do the binding by hand. There is something so wonderful about finishing off a machine quilt with a bit of handsewing. Plus, since this was a special quilt for a special new baby, it gave me lots of time to pray and think about the little guy while I was stitching away.

Hooray for monkeys!



I’ve introduced you to several family members and friends over the years I’ve been blogging. There is one person who deserves her own post, even though she’s been mentioned before. This post is long overdue and I’ve written it a dozen times in my mind.

This is a post about my grandmother-in-law, Jerri. Or, as I have always known her (since day 1 when I was just starting to date her grandson): Gram. She welcomed me as a family member from the first time we met. I guess she could tell her grandson had a special thing for me.

After only knowing her 2 months (and being out of the country for the majority of that time), she opened her home for me to live in until my apartment was ready. She and her husband helped furnish me with kitchen supplies and a couch when I moved out on my own (again, after just a few months of knowing them!).

She gave me her piano as a wedding present, and bought our first refrigerator. She crocheted the most beautiful and ellaborate blanket as a first anniversary gift. Even though I know it hurt to see us move across country, she enthusiastically supported Brian in his decision to pursue education. She has given up her husband for months at a time so he could help us renovate our house. She has furnished my sewing room with a huge cutting board, an OttLite, fabric, and sewing books. She has given countless blankets, hats, scarves, stuffed animals, booties, and sweaters to my sons–sewn, knitted, and crocheted in love. She has given Parker some of his most prized toys, ones which I know Nolan will love too.

20120321-150658.jpg 20120321-150705.jpg

More than all the generosity she has shown, she has been an example of treating me like her own granddaughter. She renewed my love for knitting and tried to teach me to crochet. She spends weeks out of her year to visit with us and help me with the house, with projects, with cooking, and with my boys. She is incredibly knowledgeable in all things crafty, and she teaches with patience and precision. I will always have a special place in my heart for my own grandmother, but Gram has created a new space in my heart that is all her own. And I know she has an incredibly special place in my sons lives too!


Work in Progress

Like so many people across the blogosphere, I thought I’d contribute a “WIP Wednesday” type post. I do have a few craft projects I’m working on (now that our amazing little 2 month old is sleeping 10-12 hours a night!!). Even more than crafting or homemaking, I am beginning to realize that people are the biggest “works in progress”. The more I see myself that way, the more grace I extend to other less-than-perfect people in my life. I’ve been seeing a lot of my own shortcomings lately, and am so thankful for the patience that my God (and my husband, and my friends) so graciously bestow upon me. I only pray I continue to get better at doing the same for them!


So, my first work-in-progress is my little Nolan. What a sweet heart. I love seeing him grow each day. He is huge already (15 lbs, 10 oz at his 2 month check-up) and very strong for his age. He’s almost completely holding his head up on his own.

He sleeps like it’s his God-given profession. Seriously. Long stretches at night, 3 hour naps during the day, and happy as a clam the rest of the time. It’s so easy to love such a sweet, chubby guy!


And then there is Parker. Oh, my amazing boy Parker. The one that shows me how much in need of grace I am. He pushes me beyond all reason and self-control. I fail miserably at being patient with him when he needs it most. And yet, we’ve had some of the sweetest moments as he’s grown into a boy.

He is an individual–one who I’m just learning to respect for his own choices and preferences. You want to wear a long sleeve dinosaur thermal shirt when it’s 80? Well, I’ll try my best to advise you to do otherwise, but it is your choice and it is your body. I respect that.

I love this crazy kid. I wish I didn’t see so much of my sinfulness in him. I pray he learns to rely on God and to look to his Heavenly Father who will never fail him, so unlike his very human and frail mother.


Well, that’s enough for the serious aspect of this post, don’t you think? On to the craft works-in-progress. I decided to expand my boy’s diaper collection so I’m working on four new covers for them. I had a bit of waterproof fabric leftover from each diaper, but not enough for another diaper, so I decided on making some snack bags. We’ve been lunching outside and at the park frequently, and I’m tired of tossing wasteful plastic bags all the time. So, snack bags will be coming with us on our outdoor outings soon!


A Day of Perfect Moments

I spend most of my days focused too much on what I have to do, what needs to change, what I wish was different, and what I fear might change. But not today. Today has been full of perfect moments and I’m spending my energy focusing on those. It feels wonderful.

I started the day with a run to Trader Joe’s and made it out buying a weeks worth of groceries for $46. That was definitely a perfect moment.

Then I spent some time coloring and practicing sticker skills with Parker while he napped. I love watching his imagination develop as he asked me to draw each family member and a whole train full of his favorite things–with Parker as the engineer of course. So perfect.

Then my wonderful natural doctor worked his magic on me. I’ve been off lately and he identified my pancreas and thyroid as the culprits. After some voodoo-like treatments, I’m feeling normal again. Perfect.

Then Parker helped me make lunch. He sings this “spreading” song when he helps me with the peanut butter and jelly. Holding his hand in mine, spreading jelly, singing away–it was so incredibly perfect.

The kiddos napped at the same time. Perfection!

Then we took care of some errands–filled up on the cheapest gas in town ($4.16!!), made bank deposits (feeling so good about getting out of debt, paying hospital bills, and saving), and then went to the park. Mundane, maybe, but perfect.


As you can see–the 80 degree last day of winter was absolute perfection.


Then back home for homemade pizza and some long-awaited time with Brian. Nolan napped sweetly on me while sucking on his chubby hand. Parker and Brian played on the swings and ran around the yard sword fighting. It was so perfect.


A totally normal day, filled with normal things, and yet, it was so perfect. I’m so incredibly thankful that this is my life. I am so utterly blessed.



Hello little blog. I’ve missed you. I have about a dozen half-written posts in my head, but haven’t gotten around to writing my thoughts down for the world to see.

But really, the silence around here has been due to more than just lack of time. It’s lack of originality. The more blogs I read and the more time I spend on Pinterest, I feel like every thing that I could say or any project that I could attempt is just recycled material. Nothing new.

I’m not trying to be a Debby-downer (although I have been accused of that before), but I really feel unoriginal at the moment. I’m just another stay-at-home mom trying to do the best I can at the most impossible job that anyone can have. I lose it on some days. I cry some times. Other days are better and I feel like I’m getting a handle on life. I struggle with who I am as a person–with my lack of confidence, self-control, contentment, stability, selflessness, etc. I struggle to find new ways to tackle the loads of laundry and the dirty dishes. I re-write out a budget every two weeks in an attempt to get a hold of my anxiety about finances. Some days all I do is pray and others I forget to acknowledge God at all. I try to care more about my friends than I do for myself, but many times I just want them to meet my needs. I feel like I have the best and the worst job in the world. I’m trying new craft projects, attempting to live a natural lifestyle, trying to get a flat tummy — just like everyone else.

Yep, I’m just another person writing about what everyone else is writing about. How hard life is. How great life is. How frustrating life can be. How meaningless some days can seem. How incredibly important other times are.

Thanks for bearing with me and for taking time out of your day to visit this little space that I’ve created. It means a lot to me. I promise I’ll be back soon with all my un-original thoughts and projects. But today, I’m just living my very ordinary life. Just like you.


Flour Tortillas


Today I made flour tortillas for the first time.
It won’t be the last.
These were surprisingly easy, fast, and tasty.
I made them a little thick and they reminded me of the tortillas used in the Big Fat Chicken Tacos from Del Taco. Which just happen to be my favorite fast food indulgence when I’m in CA.
I used this recipe, but substituted olive oil for vegetable oil.
You know, real oils and fats are my thing.
I did have to add a little bit of water to the dough because it wasn’t forming the way I wanted.
The flour was probably measured in a less-than-perfect fashion.
It’s how I roll.
Anyway, make these tortillas. You won’t regret it!