Thursday, July 31

Big event

Well Ryan thinks I can tell this story without sacrificing Beth's dignity. So I'll share it with y'all not because I want to embarrass my little girl but because it's a major first!

Tonight while I was giving Beth a bath (Ryan was at class) I noticed she was passing a lot of gas... And for fear of a third "twosies in the tub" accident I asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty. Keep in mind Beth has never sat on a toilet before but has recently become more interested in their purpose. Anyways, she got totally excited and said yes, so I dried her off a little and held her on the toilet seat and wouldn't you know, the girl went twosies in the toilet. Her first time sitting up there like a big girl! She was so excited to be sitting there I don't think she even realized what happened, lol.

I was telling Ryan after he got home about the incident and I said I think this is the first parenting thing I've been totally ignorant about. I've always read ahead in the parenting books but I haven't read anything about potty training yet because I figured we had awhile to go. I am in no rush to potty train her when she's not ready! I still don't think this means we'll start trying to potty train, but I am almost positive she'll ask to sit on the potty again tomorrow. I don't know what to do- if I should get her a little kid potty, just a seat, or what? Looks like I have some reading to do...

Breakfast of oatmeal. Pardon her bib (spit happens)-it was free and we like free!

Her waiting post for daddy. She looks out her window before lunch and in the afternoons to welcome her daddy home. :-)

Ain't that the truth!

A good article about NFP. It's easy to be upbeat and positive about NFP when you're pregnant... But talk to me again in a few months when I'm postpartum!

Tuesday, July 29

Where has my baby gone?

Where has my easy-going baby gone? Who is this child with all this personality and willfulness? Since when has "no" become her favorite word?

Welcome to toddlerhood! Where babies start working on teenagerhood right after their 18-month birthday!

No really, I love it still. It's cool to me to see her personality develop- and it challenges me to think harder and to be a better mom. It's not as easy to practice a simple distract-and-redirect(like when she's headed for something she shouldn't have, I have to do something other than say "OH BETH LOOK at this toy!" to get her attention), but it's like we're moving on to more complicated things. Since her imagination is shifting into high gear, we're reading books a lot less because she doesn't want to sit still and she gets bored, and instead we're pretending the pillar for the stackable rings is a tea pot and a round block is a tea cup. And we drink pretend tea! And of course her doll Eric needs a snack too so he munches on a "bagel" that appears to be a plastic ring.

She does say "no" very passionately now, even though sometimes through all the head-shaking she really means "yes." Her food preferences are changing now and this has become frustrating for me since I've tried to keep her eating whole, healthy foods. She now rejects most fruit (even her formerly-beloved bananas!) as well as a few other things that were on our "she'll always eat this" list. She now prefers... well, not much. She likes snack foods...*sigh* all the snack foods I've been trying to keep her away from. And she will usually eat cooked broccoli florets, chickpeas, and red bell peppers- and for that I am grateful! She doesn't usually like leftovers which makes it hard for me since we eat a lot of leftovers around here! I have a toddler cookbook and she usually likes the recipes from there, but the meals take me 2 hours to prepare! Which of course I don't have 2 hours to cook because she wants my full attention. So that's why tonight for dinner she had yogurt, applesauce, broccoli, and a bit of a wheat tortilla with beans. Because she wouldn't eat the leftover Pasta Primavera that she devoured last night.

I love this girl to death. She was so.darn.cranky today (no nap since we had an activity all day) and it was driving me insane. At some point though something went off in my head- grace from God- that this little girl wasn't trying to drive me nuts on purpose (not yet anyhow). She was a tired child and that's all, so I held her and loved her and rocked her to sleep. And I thanked God that I had a healthy, willful toddler who had a bed to sleep in tonight in her cool bedroom, who is developing right on schedule as a 19-month-old, and that loved her mommy.

Monday, July 28

Who knew?

I didn't realize Boxers were swimming dogs! Our neighbor begged us to let Finley swim in his saltwater pool, and we'd never seen him swim before so we let him try it out. I wouldn't say he loved it but he definitely liked it! He was voluntarily getting in the pool (we helped him the first time- no we didn't toss him in, just eased him onto the first step) and on Sunday when we went back he got to the point where he jumped in!

Before jumping in...

Swimming like a pro!

All tired out!
And of course, a picture of Beth "posing". Because I know that's why all of you come to my blog anyway!

Saturday, July 26

Crunchy Mama

I think I can officially call myself a crunchy mama, at least according to

1. crunchy mama

Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods.

Yes, I support homebirth. I don't know that I will ever have one but I completely understand why a woman would choose to do it. Obviously I'm a breastfeeding advocate- I hope to nurse Luke a little longer than Beth since she self-weaned during my second trimester (a common thing I hear). I absolutely love baby wearing, in fact I still wear Beth when I have the chance but it's getting more difficult for obvious reasons. I really miss wearing her when she was tiny and I could just peek into my pouch and see her all curled up in there. Gooood memories! We're switching to cloth diapers (duh) and I'm really excited about the environmental impact and the ability to save money as we use these diapers as long as possible through our hoard of children we hope to be blessed with. Co-sleeping was also one of my favorite things about early childhood. Life was so much easier when Beth was nursing and she'd wake up in the middle of the night, and I didn't even have to lean over to reach for her in the bassinet. It wore on me (well, us) a little but I firmly believe that it made a positive impact on all of our lives. We will also practice (well, already are!) gentle discipline, which is a non-punitive method of parenting. That means no spanking! We will focus on natural and logical consequences, "positive" timeouts, and no yelling. It's going to be a heck of a challenge, I can already see that as she's developing her own personality and as her temperment begins to show through, but I feel deep in my heart that this is the right choice for us for several reasons. I do tend to question medical authority, especially now that I have children of whom I am completely responsible for. Why should I follow someone else's recommendations when these are my kids? What if something were to happen to them because a doctor lumps them in a category with other kids? Hence our decision about delaying and avoiding certain vaccines and my decision to give birth outside of a hospital. Now, I do not ever plan on becoming vegetarian- NEVER! I love meat waaay too much! I am of the belief that God gave us animals to take care of, but also to eat. ;-) I would love to buy organic everything, I'm starting out on that path by having our own garden but it's just incredibly difficult to purchase everything organic. I do tend to use homemade cleaning solutions like baking soda and vinegar but I don't buy organic meat or eggs. Milk I will occasionally buy organic. I really want to. But we can't afford to, despite my best efforts to trim our weekly grocery bill even further. Something else I want to add to the list is homeschooling, something I hope we can consider in the future. I know there are a million misconceptions about homeschooling- the biggest concern being socialization for the kids- but I think it's what you make of it. Sure, it's possible to have unsocialized homeschooled children. But it doesn't have to be that way, and there are many outlets available to socialize, teach, and expose kids to new things as they grow up. It doesn't have to be through public school. We'd love to be able to send our children to our awesome local Catholic school; we'll have to see about funds once we get to that point. And of course, natural family planning. Because who wants to put synthetic hormones or other icky things in their body?

I like doing these things because they feel natural. All of these things, to me, feel like that's how God intended things to be. And these things make me feel like a good wife and mom when I can get them done- so maybe there's a little bit of selfish motivation in there. (On the other hand I feel like an incompetent wife or mother when I don't get those things done!) I am definitely not as crunchy as some and I'm completely okay with that! I like eating meat! For me, I do tend to judge the way other people live their lives. It's not something I'm proud of- a big fault of mine actually- but it does help me to re-evaluate the way I'm living my life and question my practices and beliefs. And while I am trying my best not to judge people (Luke 6:37!) I do like the motivation to make sure I'm doing the best I possibly can for my family!

Friday, July 25

NFP awareness week!

Today is the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter Humanae Vitae! To mark this occasion, this week has been declared "Natural family planning awareness week". So I'll put in my little plug (maybe a little TMI but nothing I'm not afraid to share publicly!). :-)

NFP has been a blessing to our marriage since before we were even engaged. Ryan and I took a couple to couple league class together to make sure this is what we both agreed with and then proceeded to plan the rest of our lives together. It came naturally to both of us- though I had irregular cycles and therefore did not have the "textbook-perfect" cycle. But it makes sense. Seeing a woman's cycle on paper- observing the signs of fertility and infertility- it really makes you think, "God really knew what he was doing!" I feel so blessed that God has led us down a path in which we both wholeheartedly accept, even though we do occasionally have crosses to bear. It's completely worth it though, as we have the faith in God to help us plan our family. No barriers between us and God- complete trust! Talk about surrendering one's will to the Father.

I've wanted to be a mother since...Well, as long as I can remember. And now that I am a mother I hope God chooses to bless us with a large family. If he decides two is enough for us, then I will happily (but reluctantly I'm sure) accept, and if he decides 12 is right for us then I will also happily (but reluctantly I'm sure) accept that as well. ;-)

There are many methods of natural family planning, and we use the sympt0-thermal method by CCLI. Other popular methods include Billings, Creighton, and Marquette. And don't think NFP means "not for protestants"! To my non-Catholic brothers and sisters- natural family planning is a lifestyle, a way of living in conjunction with God's plan for our bodies. If you have the desire to speak with other non-Catholics about NFP, I can happily refer you to some friends! This website is a good start for non-Catholics.

Thursday, July 24

First night in cloth

Ok you might think I'm obsessing about this but it's really just another good excuse to post a cute picture of Beth! She's spending her first night in cloth and she's been wetting through her disposable diapers at night for weeks now... We'll see how it goes. And yes, I put some pants on her because believe it or not she's pulling off her diapers now if she doesn't have pants or shorts on. I've heard about kids doing this but I guess I just didn't expect it to happen to me! Hopefully if all goes well she won't be able to pull off the diapers with snaps- but the ones with velcro might come off a little easier.

Today I went for a quick trip back to the midwife to have my glucose test. I brought Beth with me and she did wonderfully; in fact, the midwife was really impressed with Beth's maternal instincts! They had a life-like doll, 8 lbs, looked like a newborn and she was just head over heels in love with that doll! The midwife said most kids are fascinated with it for 30 seconds- Beth played with it the entire time we were talking and while she was drawing my blood. It made me proud! But it looks like Eric has some competition! Maybe this will be Beth's gift when Luke is born- a new, lifelike doll. Or should it be something else that's not baby-oriented?

Brushing teeth

Brushing teeth is fun!

Wednesday, July 23

Growth spurt

It really seems that in the past 2 weeks Beth has outgrown all of her shoes, he disposable diapers and some of her clothes. I'm really bummed out because she has some really cute shoes that she hardly got to wear!!! And I don't know what to buy her right now clothes-wise, I guess just more warm-weather stuff that can eventually be layered in the fall. Size 24 months! Wow! I bought her some long-sleeve 24 month-sized stuff last spring when everything was on clearance but we are far from needing long sleeves right now.

Here are some pics of what's going on right now right next to me!

Monday, July 21

Cloth Stash

Our stash, as of today. Beth has 10 so far with covers and the rest are Luke's. I have a handful more coming in; I should have everything by the end of the week. It's really become an addiction- scouring the internet to find deals on used, new, and handmade diapers.
I'm waiting to wash them until I get everything in the mail that I'm expecting- then I'll do one load and get Beth started. :-)

The big swtich

Today we had our first appointment with the midwife. The most exciting part first: during my exam, my midwife immediately felt Luke's head under my left ribcage. It was so obvious that she showed Ryan and me where to feel it and we were both able to sort of bounce his head between our hands. It sounds rough but it wasn't- it was like we could feel it sloshing around in my belly. Very very cool! On the other hand, it means Luke is not in the head-down position yet! It's still early but I would prefer he flip himself sooner than later- apparently the only OB who will deliver breech babies is about to move out of town! So flip baby, flip!

I absolutely loved my appointment. I was the only "patient" there (Ryan came too) and we talked with the midwife for at least an hour. She listened to me- even my silly concerns like my obscene spider veins- and really talked me through things and answered all of our questions. I didn't feel like just another patient that she needed to hurry up and see so she can meet her daily quota. It was really nice! She has me doing a daily food log so I can monitor my protein intake (uh oh) and has asked me to take a couple of supplements to naturally boost my iron and tone my uterus (alfalfa and red raspberry leaf tea). I really prefer the natural, non-pharmaceutical way of preparing my body for birth, one reason being that taking prescription iron supplements was really hard on my body!

Right now I'm really satisfied with our decision and don't imagine that feeling changing anytime soon!

Beth also had a well-baby checkup this morning and she is, of course, doing just fine. She's 26 lbs 6 oz (75%), 32 inches tall (50%) and in the 90th% for head size. :-)

Sunday, July 20

A few weekend pictures

Our first-and only-cucumber. It was good, I just wish we had more!

Beth enjoying a lunch of ham, red bell pepper with cream cheese dip, and some leftover cheerios. I love her grin!

Our little family last night before Ryan and I left for our anniversary date. We had dinner at Benihana and then he had gotten some free tickets to a Martina McBride concert, so we went to that for a little bit then got some ice cream. :-)

27 weeks pregnant! Last night we might have done a little shopping too- I got this totally cute dress at Gap Maternity for $18- marked down from $60! It's my new favorite dress.

She's such a cutie! Anytime we pull out the camera now she puts on a huge grin!

Friday, July 18

Totally tacky...

...But I'm doing it anyways because people have asked me to! I've registered for a few items for Luke at Just type in our first and last name and you can view our registry!

Thursday, July 17

Port Aransas '08

We left late Friday night and took advantage of a sleeping baby in the car- or so we thought. Turns out Beth prefers to stay awake in the car, lol. She slept from 7-9:30 then was up until we got there at 11:00! So traveling at night doesn't work for us anymore!

Unfortunately the seaweed was terrible this year but the trade-off was the million olive snail shells we found! They all had snails in them so we threw them back each night, but we all still had fun collecting them and letting them crawl all over our legs. :-) Beth surprised me and was totally fine with picking up and touching the snails (I guess it's only bugs that bother her) and she was totally fearless with the mounds of seaweed (ick!). She preferred to play in the sand instead of the water but was fine when the tide was low and she was able to sit around in some of the small pools of water. I guess she just didn't like the waves. I actually didn't go past my knees in the water this year, probably for the first time in my life. I just didn't feel like getting beat up by the waves since I'm moving a little slower these days, plus I *hate* the excessive seaweed. Ryan went in deep a few times, a couple of times to fish and he caught quite a bit of fish! We threw those back too but he had a fun time catching them!

My goal was to not let Beth get sunburned at all- we succeeded! Beth actually tans pretty well considering how white her parents are (ahem) but she did NOT get a burn! It helped that she wore her surf-shirt in the heat of the day and covered her shoulders and neck. And she wore her hat at all times too! I got a little pink on my back when the stuff wore off and Ryan a little red on the back of his legs. Overall not too bad!

I thought this was a cool pic of my youngest brother.

Mostly olives, a live sand dollar, a dead crab and a couple of sharks-eye snails.

He caught a fish!

Worn out
Luke's first trip to the beach...sort of!

Wednesday, July 16

3rd Anniversary :-)

Happy 3rd wedding anniversary to us. :-)

Today we got back from our yearly family trip to Port Aransas, I will update with photos and stories soon! We all had a really great time! Now I have to go unpack though so check back tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 13

Our first cloth diaper!

We got our first cloth diaper in on Friday- it's a Pocket Change that was on clearance and I couldn't help myself, lol. So far Beth is intrigued but I haven't actually put it on her yet because I need to wash it and I'm waiting to wash for a few days (I'm expecting a handful more over the next few days). Cloth diapers require special washing so I can't just toss it in with a regular load. This week I should be getting several more for Beth including a Happy Heiny, 2 Thirsties Fitteds and a Thirsties cover and 3 Dappi covers. For Beth I still have a small list of things to buy for her including Dream-Eze Fitteds, a Happy Hempy, a Bum Genius one-size and maybe a wool soaker (anyone knit?). I'm getting one or two of each to try them out until we figure out what we like.
Just over her disposable diaper. They're so soft- I can't wait to switch her!

Ryan and I have figured out how to get our dog Finley to bark. It really takes a lot- he hardly ever barks! I think we had him for over a month before we heard him bark the first time (not a horrible quality in a dog, let me tell you!). We've had some...let's just say bug issues in our house the past couple of weeks and Finley is ALL ABOUT bug-catching! He goes crazy trying to catch something- anything moving and gets incredibly riled up when Ryan starts waving his arms around in the air like he's trying to catch a fly. In fact, this is where the barking comes in- Finley can't help himself! It's hilarious because he has this big huge bark that he rarely uses so it totally caught us off guard! Here he is after a bug that crawled behind the sofa (little does he know Ryan already caught and killed it!). Maybe this is a clue into his former life? Exterminator?

Wednesday, July 9

Birth Center

After a lot of thought, research, prayer, and consideration, Ryan and I have decided to labor and deliver Luke in a birth center. This means no more OB and no hospital! I am incredibly excited about it for a host of reasons, the main reasons being the support I will receive from the midwives and the fact that I will have my med-free birth. :-)

For anyone unfamiliar with a birth center, I'll describe how ours works. It's a converted old house where 2 midwives and a staff of nurses work. It's like a regular doctor office in that there are exam rooms and an ultrasound machine, and they have all the modern technologies that a doctor would have. Except midwives are only female, and these ladies are much more supportive of my desire to birth med-free. Once I go into labor I will be in one of their birth suites, and I can labor however/wherever I want to! Bed, shower, bath, birth chair, parking lot, living room, kitchen... And the same nurses and midwives that have been seeing me for the remainder of my pregnancy will be there during my labor and delivery to support and assist me. This is a change from my OB/hospital birth, where I was seen by a million nurses (thanks to shift-changes) and my OB showed up to check on my a couple of times and the last 10 minutes of pushing just in time to catch the baby. I am looking forward to having a different support system this time.

The philosophy of birth at a birth center is that a woman was created by God to give birth. It is not a medical problem that she needs to be "delivered" of- so we will use the natural means necessary to provide pain relief (like the water), manage labor (not rush it), and have the baby. Overall, it's still going to be a lot of work for me-it is labor!- but I am already much more relaxed at the idea of doing things this way.

When I say a "med-free" birth, I mean I will not have the option to have an epidural. If I need an IV or something else for whatever reason, they have that and will not hesitate to use it- after all, they want me and Luke to be healthy just as much as we do! I will probably have a water birth, meaning I will push and deliver Luke in a tub. It's not set in stone yet, luckily it will never be set in stone and if I decide I don't like it then I can change my mind!

Of course we have looked into safety precautions. The birth center is equipped to handle minor medical emergencies for mom and baby, and if something else is needed then we are a couple of miles from the hospital where I delivered Beth so I can easily be transported. Last year of 104 births, they only had 4 transfers and 3 of those ended in c-section. Those are good odds!

I feel incredibly lucky and even more blessed that I had a relatively easy and healthy labor and delivery with Beth. I am low-risk for any health issues right now- if for some reason I should become "high risk" then I will switch back to my OB. But my age, health, and birth history mean I'm a perfect candidate for a birth center!

A new tooth

I think it's incredible how one tiny little tooth makes such a huge difference in the disposition of a baby. She has been cantankerous off and on (mostly on) these past couple of weeks- hard to get down for nap, not wanting to eat, super-clingy... You moms know the drill. Sunday she had a few crazy diapers and then Monday we noticed a little white bump- sure enough it popped through. I knew she was teething but I thought it was a different tooth coming in! Tuesday she was an absolute angel, back to her old happy giddy baby self. :-) This make tooth number 12- she now has the top and bottom eight and four molars.

Monday, July 7

Cloth Diapers

Some of you may remember that we considered trying out cloth diapers for Beth but things just didn't work out. Well after 18 months of buying diapers and wipes and filling landfills, we're going to try cloth out on Luke. We actually already have a decent-sized stash thanks to a friend who totally hooked us up with some diapers from their son. Right now we have a handful of pocket diapers, all-in-ones, and some covers. So all we'll have to buy to get started with Luke is some prefolds and maybe some fitteds. The decision to move Beth to cloth hasn't been made yet. Part of me thinks I'll already be doing the work (washing diapers) for Luke, may as well do it for Beth too. But the "big kid" diapers are a little more expensive so that's why we hesitate.

Don't worry about the work and mess- I have a big support group online and a few friends around here that use cloth also so I'm not incredibly concerned with screwing up too badly. Please offer me and Ryan support during this process- it was a hard decision and we need support!!!

We have Fuzzi Bunz Pocket diapers, Proraps All-In-Ones, Bummis Super Snap covers, and a few other random covers and pocket diapers. What I need to get to make my collection for Luke complete are Kissaluvs fitted diapers and some Indian Pre-Folds with Snappis. Eventually I want to try the one-size or all-in-one bumGenius. Probably not immediately though, as these are the ones we tried with Beth and they were pretty bulky. I couldn't imagine having those on a newborn!

There are a million and one types of cloth diapers out there and I'd love to try them all! From what I hear, different brands are better depending on the occasion. Some fit boys better, some fit chunky babies better, some are better for car rides, some better for newborns...etc. So it'll definitely be a learning process.

And on another note, my girl had her car seat checked out today by a car seat safety technician and I am happy to report she has been riding safe for 18 months. :-) I'll be going back to have her seat checked out again after we get out new car since the new car will have a different system (Latch instead of seatbealts) and plus we'll need to have Luke's seat checked out too once we actually get that. But that made me really happy to FINALLY have her seat checked out!

Sunday, July 6

25 weeks

And boy, am I feeling it. I'm slowing down now, and bumping into door frames quite often! Little things are starting to wind me, and I can tell that I'm having braxton hicks contractions on an irregular basis. So I guess being so big is God's built-in reminder that I'm actually pregnant and I need to remember to try to slow down!

Friday, July 4

The rest of our day

Beth and the rolly polly!

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July! Our little neighborhood has some wonderful free things to do today, but Ryan and I decided Beth is probably too young to enjoy a parade and fireworks. So we're going to skip that tonight (along with the free symphony concert) but we'll do it all next year maybe when she'll appreciate it more! Instead, our community pools offered free admission today so Ryan came with us to the pool and we had some free lunch (hot dogs and chips, nothing fancy!). It was during nap time though so Beth wasn't her usual self, but I'm glad we went earlier since it looks like it may rain now. And we usually don't go to the pool before 3:00 due to the sun intensity but we all slathered up and I think we all made it out without a burn. So now everyone is sleeping, and I'm not sure what we'll do this evening, probably just grill some steaks if it doesn't rain.

Beth and dada.

She got a new hat- on clearance at Old Navy!

My artsy shot of our sleeping dog. It was taken without a flash and it quite dark in the room, I'm not sure why/how it came out so bright. I really need to learn how to use all my features!

Wednesday, July 2

The camera is here!

Wow, wasn't that quick? It got here this morning and of course I've already taken a ton of pictures to try to learn about some of the new features. Here are a few of Beth and our garden- I think the quality is much better and honestly it's a lot easier for me to use. Uploading is the same (plug in the USB, nice and easy) and it takes the same memory card as our last camera so I don't have to buy a new one. Which is really cool because I had some photos on the last camera I wasn't able to upload but they appeared on this camera so I could get them this morning. You can click on the picture to see it bigger (I think).

Old camera- Beth and daddy at a restaurant. She REALLY liked the stuffed bull (or whatever)- she "moo"ed at it the entire time we were there!

Baby cantaloupe- our first one! Finally!

Our first big cucumber

Beth. Love the clarity.

Our garden! The trellis is homemade by Ryan- the cucumbers and cantaloupe are using it.
Taking a stroll through the tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 1

From our camcorder

These are digital pics from our camcorder that I just now uploaded. Enjoy a trip down memory lane!
Our little Aggie girl!

After a bath

Napping with daddy

Sucking on her wrist

Ok this one isn't so old, but it's a still from the other day. :-)
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