Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year at Thanksgiving we go around and share two things we are thankful for. It’s easy to come up with way more. The only rule is you are not allowed to say a generic friends and family, even though that’s what my grandma says every year. So every year I spend the week of Thanksgiving mulling over what 2 things I would like to share. I have so much to be thankful for this year, but I definitely have an easy top 2. maddieanddaddy

1. My husband. He has been here for me during a really rough time. He has given of himself time and time again and been so patient and gracious with me while I’ve been struggling physically and emotionally. I could not do this parenting thing without him, nor would I want to. I am so thankful for every day I get to spend with him.supermaddie

2. My daughter. She drives me crazy and being a mom is so difficult at times, but I wouldn’t trade her. She brings me great joy and I love her so much. She is a precious gift.

What are you thankful for this year?

Grace for a Worn Out Momma

grace for womI was over tired, stressed and just done. Only I couldn’t be done because I had a baby demanding my attention. All I wanted to do was eat some breakfast in peace. My husband who sat at the table with me was tired as well, having had a rough night from a cold transmitted via our daughter. I didn’t care. He got to leave and I had to stay. He got to get ready to go in peace and eat in peace. His meals weren’t all rushed. I was having a major pity party. Continue reading

Halloween Graveyard Taco Dip

graveyard taco dipI know this is a month behind, but I have been trying out various Pinterest recipes and came across this dip from the chickabug blog. We attended a party at some friends house last month and I tried it out. Very easy to make and very tasty as well. I think the thing that took me the longest was mashing up the avacados. They weren’t quite as ripe as I would have liked, but they still tasted good. And making the gravestones / tree was very easy as well. What a fun idea for making various shapes for other things as well. I’ll store that tid bit for the future. This is just a great tasting dip in general. So even if you don’t make it graveyard style, it’s a great go-to party dip recipe. It’s definitely a keeper!

The Books I Didn’t Read

books not readAs a new parent it is extremely overwhelming. There is suddenly this new life to care for that doesn’t come with a manual. So what’s the first thing you naturally want to do? Read as much as you can about how to take care of this child. The only problem is that there are a million books and they all say something different and often even contradict each other outright. This is a problem. How do you know who is actually right?

This is why I pretty much decided early on I was not going to read a million books. I did take a look at a few books. Mostly on basic baby care – changing, feeding, bathing, what milestones to be looking for. Stuff like that. Currently I have been going through a few books on making the transition to food. But again, it’s mostly for information on how to prepare the food, what types of food and how much rather than technique. And even with that there are differing views on how to present food to your baby.

Ultimately, I decided to forget about what the experts may say because one will contradict another. What sense does that make? I am the expert on my baby and I’m gonna just go with my gut and follow my baby’s lead, and so far it has worked out just fine. If an issue comes up and I need help I will probably check out a few more books and sift through the info to try a few things and see what works.

That isn’t to say books don’t have their place or that asking questions is worthless. Definitely not the case! I am so thankful we have had so many friends and family offer advice or lessons learned. I am thankful we have so much info at our disposal, even if it can be overwhelming. I’m sure I will continue to learn so much from all these avenues. But the best learning will take place in my own home in the everyday-ness of life with Maddie and that’s ok. Especially, since she won’t remember any of this anyway. That brings me comfort :)

Failure to Thrive

failure to thrive

It all began at the doctors office. Poor Maddie and mommy had to endure 4 vaccine shots. I hate these days. I know they are for her good. I know she will survive. But I hate subjecting her to this pain I know she can feel. I wish I could take the shots for her.

As if the shots weren’t hard enough the doctor called for blood work to be done as well, which would mean another shot for the blood to be taken. My little trooper did an amazing job despite all the pain and tears (some from me). But I regress.

The doctor is concerned, understandably so, by Maddie’s weight gain. She has slowed in her weight gain and is still under 13 lbs, just barely and that puts her in the 5% range for weight. Everything else is the 25% range. So she ordered some tests to be done to make sure that there are no underlying health issues going on with her digestive system. They took a urine sample as well which was quite interesting to see for a baby.

As I was waiting for the lab to call us in for the blood work I took a look at the doctors order. There were several tests ordered but what caught my attention and made me choke up and get defensive all at once was this:

Diagnosis: Failure to Thrive

Failure to thrive? Really? No way! This is my baby you are talking about! I felt like I was on the stand defending my motherhood. “She is healthy and thriving. I see her reach milestones every day. She can even sit up all on her own and is practicing for crawling. It’s not like she lays around all day. It’s not like I don’t feed her. I feed her often. I feed her until she’s done. I’ve even started giving her cereal and real food. She has been doing well with that. Sometimes I have to even refill her cereal bowl because she wants more. She’s thin and petite, but have you seen me and my husband? She’s no stick and she’s very active.”

I felt like it was a personal attack on me. Failure to thrive. I am her main food source right now. If she is failing, I am failing. Then come the self-accusations. “What if my milk is no good? What if it’s not nutritious enough for her? What if it’s slowed down and she really isn’t getting enough? Should I have pushed the formula more from the start? How can I make her drink formula that she refuses to drink? Am I really hindering her growth?”

Three words. Failure to thrive. They may not have been intended for my eyes. I know they were not meant to be a personal attack. I know that thriving in the doctors eyes is different than my eyes. But I just want the doctor to change the words and to see that although my baby is small, she is, in fact thriving! I felt like I got my first failing grade as a mother and I have to remind myself that this isn’t going on my permanent record. It won’t be used against me in a court of law. It was an order for blood work to ensure my baby is healthy. And that’s all.

This motherhood business is hard in so many ways. I want to do the best I can for my child and sometimes I don’t know what that is. I find myself praying for wisdom every day in caring for this life. Praying that God will help her, protect her, grow her and teach her despite my mistakes and ignorant parenting. And I know He will. I pray she will thrive, not just physically, but in truly living abundantly in and for Christ.



Just Another of Life’s Comical Situations

I will not gripe because I am practicing gratitude for my home, but I do have to express one of the joys of multi-unit living that I experienced yesterday. Maddie was on the floor playing while I was getting dinner together. I had just broken up some sausage and scooped it into the pan. I used my arm to turn on the faucet to wash my meat infested hands and lo and behold…..nothing. No drips. Nada. What to do?

It was almost comical how terrible the timing was. Not only did I have my hands full of raw meat and no running water, but I had a baby on the floor that I didn’t want to go near until this was remedied. What to do?

The first thing I did was assess the situation. Do I have any water? I had the Keurig container’s blue light shining at me so I knew I had that option, but then I would have to wash the outside of the container too. Hmmmm…..should i just stick my hands in the toilet and wash them first. Is that any better? Which is worse – raw meat hands or toilet hands? It disturbed me that I was even thinking these things. Finally, I remembered we have lots of baby wipes around so I “washed” my hands as best I could with the wipes. Then I extracted some water from the Keurig and went to the bathroom where I proceeded to wash my hands as best as I could with soap and the cup of water.

Once the water came back on I washed again. It was quite the unusual predicament! I guess there was an emergency water shut off, so no signs were posted. At least dinner came out good!

Have you ever found yourself in a similar predicament? What did you do?

Humans: Created in His Image

Image courtesy of  ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What makes us human?

What a loaded question! Some would have you believe that we are just evolved animals, that somehow time and evolutionary anomalies have created an intelligent species such as ourselves. I find this extremely hard to believe, and not just because that’s not at all what the bible teaches. I find it hard to believe because humans are so different from animals that I don’t have the faith to believe that time alone could create the differences. Continue reading

Creation Shouts Creator

Image courtesy of By Idea go] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of By Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a child I wanted to be a scientist. First I think it was an astronomer, then astronaut, then marine biologist. I just really loved science. I nixed the astronaut thought after space camp and science and I grew apart as far as a career goes, but my fascination has never ended. I think what I love most is that the more we learn about the world around us and how it works, the more amazing it becomes. The intricacies of the universe are simply astounding. And I find it impossible to believe it was an accident. I am ok with not knowing everything because there are some things that are just impossible to know with 100% certainty. But I do know that there had to be a Creator.

I also know that it takes way more faith to believe this was all some random accident billions of years ago. I don’t know exactly how God did it. Did he create the world in literal days, or over lots and lots of years? One day I’ll ask Him. All I know for certain is that He created it and He created us. We did not evolve from any animal, but more on that in another post. Continue reading

My Review: Tazo Chai Tea

Did you know that the word Chai means tea? So essentially when we say Chai Tea we are saying tea tea. Kinda redundant if you ask me but I didn’t make up the name. This is one tid bit of info I learned in reading about the line of Tazo Chai teas that I received samples of from Smiley360.comtazo2

I am an avid tea drinker so I was excited to try them out. From the chai I have had in the past it is definitely not my favorite kind to drink but I thought I would give it a shot anyway. Sometimes it takes a bit to get used to something. I was not disappointed. While I don’t think Chai will ever become my favorite, I did enjoy the spicy flavors of fall in each cup. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and pepper are the basis for most flavors.

I tried each flavor by itself first and then I added in some vanilla almond milk. I had to try them in the morning because they are all black teas and I didn’t want caffeine close to bed time. I definitely liked them better with the milk added. The creaminess gave the tea a cozy consistency. By far, my favorite was the Vanilla Caramel Chai, followed by the Regular Chai, and then the Chocolate Chai. tazo

They also make latte concentrates so you can just add milk and don’t need to brew any tea. I look forward to trying that out with the free coupon I got. They do have a Pumpkin Spice Chai for the season as well. If you like pumpkin pie it’s probably really good. And they do make a decaf Chai as well, just not in the vanilla caramel flavor. Sad. Oh well, I guess I can have my vanilla caramel chai in the morning and then something decaf later in the evening. I don’t love winter, but I do like warm drink season.

Making Money Online: Swagbucks

swagbucks_logoUsing Swagbucks is a really simple way to earn money online. You won’t earn a fortune, but without much effort you can you earn $5+ a month. It just takes a few minutes of time. Everyday you can earn a few points by completing a few short tasks and if you a do a few searches a day you can also earn more points.Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 10.57.46 AM

There are multiple other ways to earn as well: playing games, printing and using coupons, special offers, online shopping, surveys and watching videos. If you use google chrome and download the extension it will alert you of opportunities to earn points while you are shopping online or if a special code is posted on facebook.

It’s amazing how fast the points add up. 500 points is equivalent to $5 and there are a wide array of gift cards you can redeem it for. Personally, I only redeem it for amazon gift cards because the ratio is 450 points for $5. I get a little more for my money and I use amazon alot for various purchases. It’s especially helpful for Christmas shopping, which I can’t believe is coming up in a few months.

Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 11.13.28 AM

Just a small sampling of gift card options available

Also, if you use Bing to earn points too, you can redeem them for 500 Swagbucks as well. As previously noted, this works out great if you redeem them for amazon gift cards because you get a little more bang for your buck.

All in all I have loved this site. It took me a little while to get used to it, but now that I have I average between $10-$20 per month. I’ll take it!

If you don’t believe me check out my post on How I used surveys, Bing and Swagbucks to purchase an i-pad mini.