Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Unfurling

un·furl
ˌənˈfərl/
verb
gerund or present participle: unfurling
  1. 1.
    make or become spread out from a rolled or folded state, esp. in order to be open to the wind.
    "a man was unfurling a sail"

If you don't know Annie Wiltse, you need to. The blogosphere brought us together and she was one of the first people I told I was pregnant when she visited Austin last January. Annie is one of those women you look at and think, wow. Her mission, her ministry, her beautiful written words...this girl has a gift straight from the hands of God that she is living to pursue and share. I grew, worshiped, and shared my baby with Annie at The Influence Conference in September and now had the pleasure of reading her incredible e-Book, TheUnfurling.

“Written for people who feel trapped in a life season, the unfurling is an exploration of laying your life open for the Lord to work the holy adventure in the midst of the mundane. deeply personal and much like a memoir, may it be an encouragement that the cost of living the flourishing life is always worth the finish.” –Annie Wiltse

To be honest, often times I feel a pang of discouragement or even jealousy that people around me are using their gifts for a greater good. Going on mission, kick starting purpose projects, or spearheading charities. I feel it's only human to be green with envy but a sin not to be using the precious and unique gifts the Lord gave me to make His name known. While reading this collection of Annie's thoughts, letter, and essays, I was not jealous. I felt portions of my heart being repaired and made new. Encouraged by her words. I found my head nodding every few sentences. Yes! Yes, Annie! Preach it!

I believe He’s given us

a unique and important role in the world, and that if we let Him, He will write 

us beautiful stories. I believe in the importance of those stories, that the 

power of God in our lives is the most beautiful thing we could ever hear or 

talk or write or sing or think about. I believe everyone has a voice to praise 

and hands to work and feet to go, and a bunch of other body parts with 

equally important purposes, and they’re all to be mobilized for the cause of 

our King.
 (pg 10)
Remember this Ruthie. Your gifts are enough. Your mission may be right here in Austin, TX and even right here inside your home. Your ministry may be those new neighbors who moved in last week and don't know a soul or even family members who sit so close to my heart. Wherever He has me and whatever He has me doing, do it with pride...pride for His name. 

He wants us. He wants the gifts He gave us so He can use them to wreak 
love instead of sin. He wants the life He breathed into us so He can use it to 
speak hope instead of despair. He wants us right where we are, right in the 
midst of our unholy mess, so He can transform the ashes we have left of the 
lives we burned down into something unfathomably resplendent. (pg 39)
So as I sit here with a sleeping baby in my lap and this morning's spit up in my hair, I am reminded that my mess can be my ministry. A life of hope is so much greater than a life of darkness living in sin without my Savior. His grace washes over me and makes my heart clean. He is calling my name, fiercely, softly, lovingly. (pg 39)
Watching Annie submit to the Lords plans for her and become obedient to His will is incredible. She is one of those women I used to be envious of but jealous no more... I am rejoicing to watch her humbling live for the name of Jesus. I applaud her strife to die to oneself only to become more like Christ. To follow those weary signs from God to Africa, to Paris, or back home to Michigan. In her short 22 years Annie has accomplished so much, but watch out world, her journey has just begun.

Click here to purchase your copy of The Unfurling.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sick baby essentials

The month of November hasn't been great for little Ford. He had a nasty cold from October 30th-November 12th and has been battling another one since last Saturday (so has mama but in babyland, who cares about me right?!). We went to the doctor yesterday to check to see if little man had an ear infection but all is well, thank God. Ford is so happy, smiley, chatting, and sweet during the day but once nighttime rolls around the poor guy gags on mucus and cannot breathe. Nights are rough on all of us. Since we've been through the ringer the past few weeks, I thought I'd share a few things that helped us get through.

Sick baby essentials


Sick baby essentials by ruthiehart1 on Polyvore


Nose Frida- I shared this as one of my newborn essentials and I can't give it enough praise! The bulb the hospital gives you basically does nothing whereas the Frida gets up into their sinuses to clear out all the junk that is stopping them up. I asked Jon last night if it would work on me haha. Buy one now!

Vicks Humidifier- this helps break up the congestion in Ford's nose and chest and we use it every night. Along with this, we've been putting him in hot, steamy showers with dad in the mornings and that really helps (and he loves them!). 

Thermometer- my doctor told me that taking a baby's temp under the arm reads low and in the ear and forehead reads high so the only way to get a true reading is up the bottom. Luckily Ford hasn't run a fever during his cold spells but I told myself if under the arm was high, I'd do  rectal test. Poor babies!

Saline drops- babies under the age of 6 months can't really take medication (other than infant Tylenol but since he never ran a fever it wouldn't do anything for him) but saline is really great for clearing him out. Right before bed and throughout the night if he wakes up, I will Frida his nose clean then do 2 drops of saline and he immediately sounds better. Make sure it is the infant kind. 

Comfy jammies (for baby and mama!)- since Friday, the only time Ford left the house was yesterday for his doctor appointment and a quick lunch with me and his mimi. It is too risky for a sick baby to be out in this cold weather, you never know who hasn't had their tDap or flu shot. I've changed Ford in and out of lots of pairs of warm footie pajamas for cuddles by the fire. Which leads me to my next item..

Netflix- over the weekend NOTHING is on TV so I reverted to watching pilots of a few new shows on Netflix. Jon and I also rented The Internship and watched a lot of football over the weekend. I'm normally a go-go-go person, even with a baby, but I've actually been enjoying the time at home with Jon and Ford. 

Luckily Jon doesn't have to travel this week (and is off tomorrow and Friday) so he's been so gracious to let me sleep in the mornings Ford is up a lot.  Ford is sleeping on me in the ergo as I type this and I don't mind one bit. I think he's also going through a leap and growth spurt (The Wonder Weeks) so he is extra clingy/cuddly. Savoring these moments because they will be gone before I know it! 


Daddy even got some ergo time. 
(Anyone elses husbands barely fit with the ergo? Jon has some huge shoulders and can't really wear the straps properly...I don't see him being able to wear Ford much longer)

All bundled up for the doctor. Oh and Ford weighed 16lbs2oz!

Napping in our bed. Another thing about a congested baby is laying flat will just congest them more. Our doctor recommended raising the mattress or even letting him sleep in the swing or carseat.

Love that dad works from home! 

Baller beanie from uncle James!

We got gas logs installed last month and since it's been cold, we've pretty much had a fire going all day. I'm slowly putting up the Christmas decorations and we hope to tackle the tree later this week. For now, it's back to the couch! Ford is gonna kick this cold in the butt so he is ready for his first Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Mamas- what remedies/products do you use for your sick littles?

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Monday, November 25, 2013

What we're up to

I've ventured outside the house a total of 1 time since Friday night and planned to stay cooped up inside today too. My weather app shows snow flurries but all I see is cold rain and white clouds outside my window. We've had the fire blazing for basically 3 days straight, shutting it off at night, and I've changed from one pair of jammies to the next. Ford and I are battling nasty colds (yes he has another one!) but luckily I'm on the ups today. 

Here's what we've been up to lately....

Back porch games and cuddles last week (temps were in the 80s!). Our deck was built the week Ford was born and we just got an outdoor sectional and grill, I've been meaning to take pictures to show y'all but now it's too cold and rainy :). 


Ford was the 7th wheel at dinner Friday night, sweet boy slept most of the time and wore his jammies out! I love being able to carry him on my hip these days.


We did do something really productive this weekend... took our Christmas pictures! I was bummed the weather forced our pictures inside but Jennifer Stamps did an amazing job and I cannot wait to see the rest!


I ran to the store to grab some last minute ingredients for our mini Thanksgiving meal that night and the boys stayed home and took selfies...


Since the first year we met, Jon and I have celebrated "Thursgiving" the Thursday before Thanksgiving. We whip up our own little Thanksgiving meal and spend the night counting our blessings and sharing what we are thankful for. We switched it up to Saturday this year and decided we may move it to May next year so we can enjoy all the Thanksgiving goodness in the middle of the year!


Soaking up these precious moments where Ford is sound asleep in my arms knowing that he won't be a baby forever. Before I had him I planned on being super scheduled and regimented with naps, sleeping, etc but now that he is here, we go with the flow. Babies don't keep and I want these moments will be forever etched in my mind. 


It was exactly a year ago yesterday that we found out we were pregnant! I was feeling nostalgic remembering coming into the living room seeing Jon on a stool whistling Christmas music while hanging ornaments on the tree and I shoved the test toward him and started crying tears of joy. What a full year it has been and I can't believe this holiday season I will be celebrating with my son!!! Last Thanksgiving (2 days before we found out we were expecting) I remember silently hoping that we'd be holding a tiny baby the next year. Well, Ford isn't so tiny but the Lord has blessed us indeed! As we head into Thanksgiving week I can't help but to feel abundantly blessed and eternally grateful for the intangible gifts in my life. Jesus Christ on the cross, my loving husband, Ford Nehemiah and the ability to stay home with him, stubborn little Ernie, my supportive family, a circle of friends that I consider family, my loyal blog readers. I'm sending love to each and every one of you today, this week, and through the holiday season. 

Happy Monday friends, I remember how awesome the week of Thanksgiving is during college or in the working world...laid back and extra time off. Enjoy!




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Friday, November 22, 2013

How we cloth diaper

A couple of months ago I shared our plans for cloth diapering once our baby boy was here and big enough. Well... we are about 6 weeks into our cloth diapering venture and absolutely loving it so I thought I would share how it is going, my wash routine, etc.

Nothing cuter than a cloth diapered booty

After researching the different kinds of CDs, I knew right away that pocket diapers were for us. Especially with a boy, I love the option of doubling up on inserts at nighttime or whenever I perceive he will be a heavy wetter. We have 24 Bum Genius 4.0 one size snap pocket diapers. Most CD mamas have a variety of styles, brands, etc but the OCD in me wanted every diaper to be the same so we have 6 of 4 different gender neutral colors. For all things cloth diapering, I order from Diapers.com. Other supplies we have: 2 Kissaluvs diaper pail liners, 2 Itzy Ritzy wet bags, a Bum Genius diaper sprayer (that we don't use yet), and a diaper pail. Oh and coconut oil! I bought a giant tub of it at Costco for super cheap and don't imagine I will go through it all EVER. Since you can't use traditional diaper cream on CD booties, coconut oil is a CD safe and natural alternative. I scooped some into a smaller container and keep it at his changing table. 

Ford is 100% cloth diapered all day, every day. I love it. To be honest, the days leading up to when we started (I wanted to wait until A. he was big enough for the diaps and B. he wasn't going through 12 diapers a day), I thought "What the heck did I get myself into?! I don't wanna cloth!". I was terrified. Looking back I'm not really sure why I was so scared but cloth diapering is a piece of cake. The first weekend we started, we stayed home most of the time just to be cautious. We weren't really sure what we were doing and an explosion is easier to clean at home than out and about! And it took all of 2 days for me to be Team Cloth! We did use disposables when we traveled to Dallas and Ohio, it's just easier than packing bulky diapers and washing away from home. I was SO ready to get back to cloth since Ford kept leaking out of the disposables. *To prep our diapers we washed only once and have had no issues. 

So our routine. Ford goes through about 5-7 diapers a day and I wash every 3rd day with about 2-3 diapers to spare. Y'all.... the washing is so easy! I hate when I hear people say "oh cloth diapering doesn't save time or money because of the washing." It is so easy to keep up with and we haven't noticed an uptick in our bills. 1 extra load in the washing machine every 3 days, that's cake. And I hang dry so there is no added electricity there. Since Ford is exclusively breastfed, there is no need for me to rinse his poopie diapers. Potty diapers are easy. Unsnap and throw into the diaper pail. Poop is basically the same but with added wiping and I usually smear coconut oil on his tush just for preventive care. As gross as it may seem, I take off the soiled diaper, fold it, and put it right into the diaper pail. The only semi yucky thing about dealing with the poop is on wash day I remove all the inserts from my diapers and that can smell a little funky. Breastmilk poop doesn't stink per se, it just has a different smell. 

On day 3, I remove the inserts from my diapers and throw everything into the washer. We have this washing machine if you are interested, we love it! It is so easy to use and huge. I pour about 2 tbsp of Purex Free and Clear detergent into the slot and set up my wash cycle. I'm gonna pause for a sec and say that after tons of research on cloth diaper safe detergent, I found that Purex Free and Clear is 100% safe and SO cheap! Many people use detergents made by the diaper companies that are incredibly expensive but Purex is so darn cheap. I believe you can use some sort of Tide Powder but you have to be VERY careful about dyes, additives, brighteners, etc. Back to my wash cycle. I program the cycle to start with a cold rinse followed by a HOT wash and an extra rinse and spin at the end. This cycle seems to be working really well for us and we haven't run into any stink issues yet. Luckily stripping diapers is pretty easy if we ever have barnyard smells. And believe it or not, my washer does NOT smell either! The whole cycle takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes and once done, I hang dry my diapers and inserts outside on our deck. 

My laundry helper

One thing I was worried about was poop stain on diapers because let's face it, babies can poop like crazy! I was discouraged after my first wash when my poop diapers were stained. If you are a CD mama or considering it, I highly recommend joining The Cloth Diaper Compendium on Facebook. It is such a great resource and full of awesome information. I was told that sunning my diapers would magically remove the stains and what do you know... it worked! Even dried poop stains are GONE with a little sunshine. In fact, I haven't had a good day of sun my past few wash days so I've hung dried inside and earlier this week put them in the sun and boom. Stains gone. Once my diapers and inserts are dry, I usually stuff while playing with my little man and that takes about 5 minutes. 

I was initially really nervous about changing cloth diapers out and about but it is pretty much the same as changing a disposable except I carry a wet bag with me for dirties. The wet bag locks in any liquid or smells and I empty the diapers into my pail right when I get home. One thing I am currently weary about is having to spray my diapers once Ford starts solids but hey, we will cross that bridge when we get there!

Honestly I am so glad we decided to cloth Mr. Ford and will definitely be cloth diapering future babies. Not a day goes by where I don't think, "Hey! I've saved $15 in diapers this week." Yes the initial investment is high but cloth diapering pays for itself very quickly and continues to pay for itself for years to come. If you have an older baby in sposies and are considering cloth diapering, my sweet friend Teressa wrote an awesome and informative post titled, "Is it too late to start cloth diapering?". And my fellow new mommy Kaitlyn wrote a great post this week explaining the different kinds of cloth diapers and the pros/cons of each. One thing I will say is if you are considering cloth, your husband HAS to be on board. Men (and women too!) have a hard time getting over the 'dealing with poop' aspect of CDing and it's not something you want to force your spouse to do when you're already dealing with caring for a new little one.

If I forgot anything, feel free to ask any questions in the comments! Make sure your email address is attached so I can respond!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2 Ingredient Chocolate Brownies

Similar to the delicious Diet Coke brownies I posted, these brownies are just as yummy and just as easy! The secret ingredient? Pumpkin! I didn't want to put pumpkin in the title because people are weird about it but honestly, you can't taste anything more than ooey gooey chocolate in these

Ingredients
1 19.5oz box brownie mix (I used low fat to make them even healthier)
1 15oz can pumpkin 

1. Mix together
2. Pour into a greased baking dish (I have done both 9x13 and 8x8 and I like using the smaller pan for thicker brownies)
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Use your best judgement here...if they are still too gooey, cook longer.
4. Let cool and eat right away or top with icing and enjoy!












Monday, November 18, 2013

Ford's Dedication

Yesterday Ford was dedicated to the Austin Stone Community Church. Jon and I brought Ford before our church and promised to raise him up in the love and care of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In our faith, we believe in believers baptism, instead of infant baptism. We pray that one day in the future, Ford will ask Jesus into his heart and accept Him as his savior, on his own and participate in an immersion baptism. Jon and I took a class and formulated family goals, commitments and rhythms that will help us lead Ford in His walk with the Lord. We are blessed with such a supportive family, church family, and friends to encourage, love, and with our family. It was such a beautiful and special celebration!


“Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:4-7





Church took a lot out of Ford because he slept during the first few hours of his celebration party! We had friends and family over to our house for lunch and if you can believe it, we were sweating on our patio because it was 88 degrees!





Yes my baby was in a diaper outside in the middle of November...and he was still sweating!


My mom had her wedding dress made into a dedication/Christening gown for her grandbabies so we got some pictures of Ford wearing it looking like a little prince!




From the second we announced our pregnancy, Ford has received so much love and so many prayers from all of you and we couldn't feel more blessed, thank you!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

My 0-3 Month Essentials

Ford is 3 months old and officially out of the newborn stage.  It's crazy how quickly babies grow out of not only clothing and diapers but baby products too. I think back to how much crap stuff we had around the house that we didn't use during those first few weeks and wanted to share what products worked for me. I was also thinking earlier this week how my nightstand has evolved from nipple cream, pain meds, and the TV remote for late night feedings to just my cell phone and a burp rag.




Fisher Price Rock and play- we originally didn't get one of these and my neighbor assured me I'd love having it around the house for an extra "station" for baby and now I can't imagine life without it! Ford slept in the bassinet for the first few days but was super congested which is normal for a newborn so he started sleeping in the Rock and Play and is an awesome sleeper. The R&P is so lightweight and can fold up so easy making it the perfect thing to take on the road, take to my parents, or even move to the kitchen for Ford to hang out in while I cook. They are really affordable too!

Medela hands free pumping bra (not pictured)- I shared this in my breastfeeding essentials post and I still use it everyday. I can't imagine having to hold my pump on my boobs, hands free is the way to go. 

Graco Duo Connect Swing- I know there are tons of swings out there but this one is awesome because it doubles as a bouncer. The chair part of the swing can be removed and becomes a bouncer which cuts down on a house full of giant baby products!

Nose Frida- I actually just got this a few weeks ago but wish I would have gotten it sooner. The bulbs they give you at the hospital just don't work as well. I bought my NF at Babies R Us with a $5 off coupon so it was only $10...worth every penny!

Ergo- don't be scared of the price tag because it will be the best investment you make as a parent. This carrier is ergonomically good for babies legs unlike the Bjorn and other forward facing carriers. I also hear that those carriers are the worst on your back and even with a big baby, my back never hurts carrying him in it for a couple of hours. I also love that I will be able to wear him in it until he is 30+ pounds (at the rate he is growing, that may only be a year!). I do want to mention that the newborn insert was so bulky and didn't work for us. Maybe if he was born in the winter but it was too hot and because he was so big, just felt awkward. I first wore him at 2 weeks without the insert and he did fine. The ergo makes grocery shopping, prepping dinner, and even doing chores SO easy.

Summer SwaddleMe swaddles- Ford is no longer swaddled but these were a lifesaver. Instead of having to learn to fold receiving blankets, these were easy to pop him in and Velcro which he rarely broke out of. He wore the SwaddlePods when he was a newborn then went to the traditional swaddles until he was no longer swaddled.

Britax B Agile travel system- my sister had her daughter a year before me and did lots of research and testing when it came to baby strollers so naturally I got exactly what she did. We LOVE the Britax B Agile system because the stroller is incredibly lightweight, easy to fold up, and requires no adapters for the carseat. I'm not a runner but I can't imagine having a bulky BOB stroller for everyday use and I already know I want the double version when baby #2 comes along.

Dr Browns Bottles- Ford is exclusively breast fed but we've started doing 1 pumped bottle a day and absolutely love Dr Browns bottles. Yes there are more parts than your average bottle but they are known to cut down on air intake, colic, and spit up. The maintenance is really easy and they work great for us. 

Infantino Playmat- we started using this playmat after about 2-3 weeks. The colors and sounds were great for Ford to focus and learn and now he loves batting at his toys! 

Flashlight iPhone app (not pictured)- perfect for late night nursing sessions where you want to keep the lights low and relax

 What were your newborn essentials for the first 3 months?
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

#instavisit

Last weekend our cousin Claire came to visit all the way from Seattle and it was an absolute blast! I call her my cousin because we are indeed related but it in a funny way. We still haven't figured out our relational title but her grandma is my great grandma's cousin. Anyone know what that makes us? Anyway, both of my sisters came in town to hang with us and we had an absolute blast showing her around Austin, loving on the babies, eating Mexican food, and totally vegging out. I made it a point to bring my nice camera out and about with us but of course it stayed in the car and everything was captured via Instagram


Mt Bonnell in Austin, TX




Ford loves his auntie Claire!



Cori and Embry also came in town so of course we got lots of adorable pictures of the cousins. Search the hashtag #EmbryandFord on instagram to follow these cuties!





One of my favorite pictures...




What a ham! His aunts sure do make him happy



Jon and I have now put Seattle on our to visit list!
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