Friday, February 28, 2014

Love in Liberty

Ford, Mimi and I just got home from a wonderful trip to Liberty, MO! My mom's parents live there and we spent a few days showing off our sweet little boy, visiting with family, eating, thrifting, and relaxing. To say Ford is loved is an understatement. He sure does know how to put on a show and was such a happy boy, despite a little stranger danger when he first saw my gramma and cried for 20 minutes :). We were thinking Ford was going to see his first snow but besides the dirty snow piled up in parking lots, there was nothing. It was such a nice week and a great visit, I loved having extra hands to help with Ford for 4 whole days! 

Reading Charlie Brown with Gramma Great

His sleepy noise (this is how he puts himself to sleep for naps)

My sweet happy boy


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Short Hair Don't Care

Prior to last week, the last time I got my haircut was in June. Yes you can take a second to gasp and you'll gasp again when you learn that that isn't the longest I've ever gone without a hair cut. I've said it time and time again that I am not a hair person. When I say that I mean that I give myself about 3 seconds to style my hair which is only fair because I can do 2 styles...stick straight down or a simple pony tail. Do I wish I was able to tease my hair, curl it with a wand, and make it as big as Texas? Heck yes! But my thin, straighter than uncooked spaghetti noodles, body-less hair is quite stubborn. So now that you've had the back story on my lack of hair care (that sounds off... I do take care of my hair! Just not cut it)... you can see it in all of it's stringy glory. 

Not sure how long it's looked like this in the back but hey, I can't see it!

I had the incredible opportunity to visit Ethan Wade Salon in Cedar Park for a haircut and am so pleased with my hair, it makes me want to become a "hair person"! Now that's saying a lot! It is an Aveda Salon tucked right in next to a yoga studio and a mere 20 minutes from my home. I was greeted by their friendly staff upon my arrival and offered a beverage multiple times.

I let them know I was a new mom so this was a relaxing afternoon away and it was just that. My haircut started with what felt like an hour long (not really) scalp and shoulder massage and a tea tree treatment. I was in heaven. Sometimes as a mom, or really just a busy person in general, you forget to take some time to step away and pamper yourself. If I get a shower with out my bright eyed boy in the jumper peering through the glass, it's a miracle! Layla, whom I can't recommend and thank enough, made me feel comfortable, relaxed, and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. What an absolute treat it was, heck I could have just chatted at the salon for an hour and enjoyed myself. 

Layla picked my brain on what I wanted in a haircut and never have I thought so much about adding layers in different places to add weight to my thin hair. It was great to get her opinion on how to add volume to my volume-less hair. I've never had such an in depth consult before a haircut which I think is key, especially if you are doing something drastic. I took the plunge and told her I wanted short. Since haircuts come few and far between for me, I wanted something semi-drastic and fun! I was getting tired of Ford yanking on my hair and ready for some change. 

Bye bye split ends!

Y'all. I wish I would have counted the times I said, "Are you sure this is my hair? It doesn't even look like my hair!".  To say I love the cut is an understatement. 

Don't be fooled into thinking there's a bump-it under there. That, folks, is my real hair!

Now I know my hair will never ever ever look this good post haircut/style but it feels awesome. It feels fresh and healthy and after a couple hours to myself I am re-energized and feeling confident about my hair. 
(oh and it can still fit into a pony tail which is my go-to mom hair uniform!)

So if you're reading this as an Austinite or surrounding areas, take it from me and make an appointment with Ethan Wade Salon. Their mission is to provide the ultimate experience to their clients and guests and they definitely delivered. I told my stylist Layla that she will be hearing from me sooner than my normal 9 months between haircuts. This salon holds true talent, I am lucky to have visited! 

Find Ethan Wade Salon...

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Books for the Believing Parent

Before we had Ford dedicated to our church (The Austin Stone), we had to take class where we studied Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and wrote rhythms and goals for our family. They gave us a list of recommended reading to be helpful as we seek to lead and shepherd our children. I know it is tough to make time to read a book as a mama but I know how important it is to fill yourself up before you can take on the never ending demands you have. I mean, thank God for Kindles and the Kindle app for iPhone!  The Jesus Storybook Bible is our favorite and is such a child friendly yet true depiction of the bible.I'd love to know if you've read any of these books, your thoughts on them, or if you have any more suggestions for me.

Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Give Them Grace by Elise Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson
*I had the honor of listening to Jess speak last year at The Influence Conference last year and started this book this week!

Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

Come Ye Children by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

The Missional Mom by Helen Lee

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Baby Food

Before Ford was even born I knew I wanted to make his baby food when the time came. My sister made Embry's and the cost savings is incredible! Not only did the money aspect motivate me but the fact that I could control exactly what I was feeding my baby. The biggest piece of advice I can give moms about to start solids is to use the website Wholesome Baby Food. Honestly I've never used any other website (or even Google) with my baby food questions. 

Our doctor recommended we wait until 6 months to start solids but by 5 months and 1 week, Ford was ready. Food adds a whole other dimension to the craziness that is a baby but it is FUN. I love watching him try new foods, explore with his hands, and get to enjoy this stage with him. 

We started with avocado, sweet potato, banana, pear, green beans, and  oatmeal. I use oatmeal sparingly, pretty much only to chunk up thin purees and we skipped rice cereal all together because of its lack of nutritional value (and it makes babies constipated. 

Since I have a good stock of purees frozen, we haven't added too many new foods from the chart below but look forward to broadening his pallet!

Actually making the food is incredibly easy! I have a Cuisinart dual blender/food processor, nothing fancy, and it does the trick. Here is the process I use:

1. Peel the fruit/veggie if necessary. 
2. Cut up the fruit/veggie if necessary. I cut my bananas/pears/sweet potatoes into big cubes to make the steaming easier. 

3. With the exception of bananas, steam the food. I use a glass Pyrex casserole dish with a glass lid, add water to the bottom, and microwave. *Keep the water you steam in unless you plan on using breastmilk/formula. I stopped pumping so we use steamed water to thin purees (I rarely do) which is perfectly fine because the water retains nutrients.
4. Dump in the food processor and pulse away. You want to make sure you don't have huge chunks or else baby will choke but I do try to keep my purees chunkier. 
5. Scoop into ice trays and into the freezer.

6. Pop into freezer safe bags labeled with the food name and date. Wholesome Baby Food gives you timelines that show how long certain foods can stay in the freezer.

My hungry little helper

I wanted to share some tips I've picked up along the way to help make the process easier.
  • You don't have to use breast milk. The first batch of sweet potatoes I made I used about 16oz of breast milk to thin it out and if I was bottle feeding Ford I would have cried a little bit. The potatoes really soaked up the milk and I had to use additional water. Ford gets enough milk from the tap so water is just fine.
  • If you do use breastmilk, use fresh milk, not frozen. Breastmilk cannot be frozen, thawed, and frozen again.
  • If you use store bought baby food for traveling, be sure to bring oatmeal to chunk it up. My doctor told me that if you start with thin foods, your baby will prefer thin foods. And if you start with chunkier foods, they prefer that. I wanted Ford to be used to chunks so it made the transition to finger food easier. 
  • Don't buy the fancy baby food makers. They only steam and puree SUCH a small amount so it doesn't seem to save you time. And ice trays work PERFECTLY fine. No need to purchase the $8 silicon holder, although I do have 1 I was given as a gift. Also, you only feed babies purees for a few months (my doc says by 9 months babies can eat all adult food) so you'll have to store a bulky appliance. 
  • Each ice cube of food is about 1 oz
  • Check Wholesome Baby Food to see what foods you can buy frozen. I use frozen green beans which really simplifies things!
  • Ford loves avocado and there is no need to use a food processor to make it. Mash it up, add some water if needed, and you're done!
  • Spice it up!!! I try everything Ford eats and I was grossed out by how bland his oatmeal was. After doing some research on Wholesome Baby Food, I read that cinnamon, garlic, and a few others are baby food safe. I use garlic powder (not garlic salt) for savory things, and cinnamon for sweet things.
  • Don't be afraid to mix things up. Ford wasn't a fan of green beans alone but when I mix them with butternut squash or sweet potatoes, he downs them. We also mix banana with avocado, and pretty much any fruit with oatmeal.  
  • Each night I try to think of the next day and what I want to feed Ford. I use small Gladware containers and grab his breakfast and lunch purees from the freezer to thaw overnight. He doesn't have a temperature preference but I try not to feed him ice cold food so a few seconds in the microwave does the trick. 

  • TMI but watch your baby's poops. I was feeding Ford pears at dinner and he would wake up in the night with poop so I switched to feeding him bananas in the evening and pears in the morning. 
  • Instead of peeling and coring apples, I feed Ford unsweetened applesauce and he loves it. Easy peasy. 
  • Get this bib. Trust me. 
My doctor said to continue purees for another 2 months and then we can introduce more finger foods (grilled fish, shredded chicken, cottage cheese) so I'd love to know what tips other mamas have for making baby food! 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Finish This v 7

I've missed a few weeks but I'm back and linking up with up with  (Nicole {Three 31Lisa {The Coastal Chicster}and Becky {The Java Mama} Jen {The Arizona Russums}). 

1. I plan on buying...I asked Jon what he thought I should put for this one and he said a 68 fast back Mustang. That's more of his plan but hey we share money and I think Ford looks pretty darn cute in a classic car.

2. I give FOSSIL  5 stars because...I own the same watch in two colors and noticed a few stones missing. I went into the store and they told me it would be $40 per watch to replace some tiny stones despite the lifetime warranty their watches have. I tweeted to Fossil, we had some communications, and y'all... I am pretty sure they sent me two brand new watches for free. I mailed mine in to "get worked on" and they looked flawless when they were sent back to me. Thanks for your rockstar customer service Fossil!

3. I felt courageous when...I attempted to labor without an epidural on a very high dose of Pitocin for 8 hours. You can read my 2-in-100-women-experience-this-during-labor birth story here. How I did it? I still don't know but I lived to tell the tale!

4. I feel about swimsuit shopping like I do... when I am excited about something new?? I've accepted the fact that thanks to my giant belly (don't tell me I wasn't huge y'all, people assumed I was having twins) and chunkamonk baby, bikinis are no longer in my summer wardrobe. Thank God that one pieces and cute tankinis are in and stylish these days because I'm actually having fun picking out a few new suits (I usually got a new suit every other year pre baby) and let me tell you...having your belly covered when you are at an all inclusive stuffing your face with guacamole and fried deliciousness is just amazing. No need to suck in or worry about that inevitable pooch when you sit down. Now who's to say I won't bust out my bikinis for my next pregnancy. Man I loved the looks from people who assumed I would go into labor at any moment at the pool.

Now it's your turn, finish the sentences above!

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