Wife, Mummy, Nurse: June 2011

28 June 2011

Sleep Is A Gift From God {Gratituesday}

Last night Charis did not sleep well (meaning I did not sleep well), but I am thankful for the naps she took today (three)!!  I was able to nap with her one of those times.  The two previous times, I was showering or doing housework.  I'm about ready for bed now.

I am also thankful that the sleep sack for N.T.'s baby is coming along.  I hope it's not too small, but thankfully N. tends to have smaller babies.

Sleep Sack

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

27 June 2011

Idols of the Heart

Book with my study notes
This summer, the church my husband, daughter, and I attend has a women's book study.  We are reading Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  So far, I definitely recommend it.  Even though I grew up in a Christian family, I did not believe that I had idols.  That was something only pagans do, right?  Well, the last few years I have come to realize that I was wrong in my thinking.  I do have idols, more than I want to admit, but the good news is, I have a gracious God who has shown me what some of them are and has brought me to repent of them.
Idols aren't just stone statues.  No, idols are the thoughts, desires, longings, and expectations that we worship in the place of the true God.  Idols cause us to ignore the true God in search of what we think we need.  (p. 23-Note: Italics are my emphasis.)
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not without hope.
God calls us to bury our false gods at the cross.  It's in union with Jesus Christ, the one who hung on Golgotha's tree, that we have the power to conquer all our idolatry and bury our gods in the blood-soaked ground beneath His cross. (p. 28)
The last study consisted of Chapters 1-3.  I would encourage you to read this book.  At the end of every chapter, Elyse has questions to help you think about who or what you are worshiping.

26 June 2011

Lessons Learned Last Week

My daughter's new favorite place is... THE BATHROOM.  Why is this so?  I believe Charis likes the bathroom for a few reasons:

  1. She's intrigued by the shower, toilet, and sink.
  2. She now has a "best friend"-AKA the mirror.
Because Charis is frequently in the bathroom, I now need to keep the toilet lid down (I learned the hard way that Charis will put her hand in a dirty toilet bowl and put her hand in her mouth.  YUCK! GROSS!) and pick up my clothes off the floor before showering.

Charis wearing my nursing bra.
Reason to pick clothes up off floor
before showering.

Charis with her "twin"

Two of My Favorite People

First Father-Daughter "Dance"
Are my husband and daughter.

Before our daughter was born, my husband was very uncomfortable around children, was reluctant to hold them and play with them, and wanted to stay at arms length away from them.  On August 18, that changed for one wee little girl, our daughter, Charis Louise.  Now, Drew's great with children, especially our child.  A few of the ways he shows his love to both of us are waking up at night and holding her so I could get sleep, changing her diapers (sometimes he puts cloth diapers on her!!), letting me sleep in (he did that this past week because I had a headache), singing and reading to her, speaking in Spanish to her, smiling and laughing with her, dancing with Charis (especially at my sister's wedding see picture to the left), the list could go on and on.

I am thankful that Drew is my husband.  My daughter is blessed to have my husband as a father.

21 June 2011

Let Me Be A Woman

Unfortunately, there are many Christians who believe that women should not be educated.  They argue that a woman's highest calling is to be a wife and a mother, so why bother educating them.  They say that girls should not go to college, but rather they should stay at home, helping with the family and learning homemaking skills, cleaning, cooking, baking, helping out with their younger siblings, etc.

I do not believe this to be so.  One of my favorite books is Let Me Be A Woman by Elizabeth Elliot.  In this book, she writes about why it is important to have educated women, even if they get married and have a family.  The reason women should be educated is to
Draw out (the root meaning of the word educate) the gifts that God has given, whatever they may be.  Surely I did not send you [Valerie] to college on the assumption that you should not marry.  A Christian liberal education will make you a better wife and mother, I'm convinced, if that is God's will for you.  If You were called to be a tax collector or philosopher I should likewise want you to have that kind of education.
When the time comes for my daughter to finish high school, I will not discourage her from attending college, but on the flip side, I will not say to her, "You MUST got to college and get your degree before getting married and starting a family."  It's a fine line and I need to be careful.  I need to be educating her throughout her preschool and school years.  We do this very informally right now.  I read out loud to her to help her pick up words and hear new vocabulary.  Drew talks to her in Spanish.  We sing and talk with Charis.  She is allowed to explore her environment as much as possible, without putting her in harms way.

What type of things have you done to help educate your child/children?  
Do you send them to private or public school?  Do you home school them?

20 June 2011

Knitting for Babies

Beginning of Snug As A Bug Sleep Sack
At our church in Maryland, there are currently 5 women who are pregnant, two of them were announced yesterday.  We also found out about another pregnancy last night.  I get to knit items for three more babies!!!  The next baby shower is July 16, so I plan on knitting 3-4 items for N's baby.  Currently I am knitting her a snug as a bug sleep sack (pattern can be found at: Shop Minimalist Knitter).  I plan on buying BARNSLIG Burp cloths from IKEA and making a cake with them and the items I knit.  On top of the cake, I plan on putting a snake that I knit.  I was told that the theme of the shower is "Snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails; that's what little boys are made of."  I plan on putting up pictures after they are finished, but for now, the above picture will have to do.

15 June 2011

Childbirth Classes

I came across this article, Here's Why We Don't Learn in Many Childbirth Classes, and I was reminded of our Lamaze class we had before Charis was born.  Drew and I were scheduled to take a Lamaze class on July 10 and 17 of 2010.

Unfortunately when I was pregnant, it was SO HARD to try and find a childbirth class that I would be able to attend without worrying about work.  I worked full time nights as a RN in CCU at a local hospital and had a difficult time finding various childbirth classes that I could attend all the sessions.  I finally found one and thought I had "lucked out", but my husband's grandmother died on July 7 and the funeral was on July 10, in Pennsylvania, 5 hours from where we lived.  I did not go to the Lamaze class on July 10, but was able to go to the class on July 17, after getting off work at 7:30 that morning (not my brightest move).

Unfortunately I made a few "mistakes": 1) Not researching the different types of classes.  Looking back I think, I would have liked to take a Bradley class (maybe next time). 2) Not looking sooner.  Unfortunately, some of the classes I did find that would have worked with our schedules were full.

Good things about our class: 1) The class was small.  There were 5 couples, which meant we got to practice our relaxation techniques more and have the instructor help us out more.  2) The instructor gave risks and benefits of many procedures.  Unfortunately, she did not cover water birth, not that my hospital would have allowed that anyway.  3) The instructor stayed with my husband and I for 1-2 more hours trying to cram material in that we missed the week before.

When I went into nursing, I had a dream to work in labor and delivery, but not anymore.  I don't necessarily like saying, "This is the policy of the hospital.  So, we can't to XYZ for you."  Which is what I feel I would be forced to say if I worked in L&D.  Now, I sometimes think I would like to become a Doula or Child birth educator.  I do want to read some books first, such as: Husband-Coached Childbirth, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, Children at BirthAssistant Coach's Manual, and Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (all of which are required if one hopes to become a Bradley child birth educator.)

14 June 2011

Homemade Ketchup

Ingredients for Ketchup
Over one week ago, I decided to make Ketchup.  More and more, I like knowing what is in my food.  The less processed, the better.  I am especially tired of many companies putting high fructose corn syrup in their ketchup.

I decided to post the recipe:
6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. vinegar
5 Tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup water

1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Stir and bring a a boil.
3. Turn down the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Or until desired consistency.
4. Place in container and put in refrigerator.
5. Enjoy eating it, especially since you know what's in this ketchup.

My husband LOVES this and has pulled it out of the fridge on 3-4 occasions already!!  This is a keeper.

10 June 2011

Cranberry Almond Couscous {Guest Post at It Keeps Getting Better}

Cranberry almond couscous
served with chicken and spinach salad.
As many of my family and friends can tell you, I love cooking and don't hesitate at making them guinea pigs when it comes to serving them food.  Now that it's summer, I especially look for ways to include more fruits and vegetables in my cooking.  When a fellow blogger was recently seeking guest posters, I was thrilled to help her out and offer to write something.  I choose to provide a vegetarian recipe.

Here's a snippet to the post:

I love pasta salad, but couscous is something I tend to avoid because I usually don't like how it is put together.  But, I decided to try my hand at a new culinary endeavor and come up with this pasta salad.

09 June 2011

C25K Program {Try New Adventures Thursday}

This week, I decided to start the Couch to 5K program.  When I first heard of this, I had to look it up.  I thought it may have been R2-D2's cousin from Star Wars.  C25K is a 9 week running program designed to help people get off the couch (like me) and run 5 kilometers in under 30 minutes at the end.

I started on Monday and went walking/running this morning.  My goal is to do this on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, preferably in the morning, but on Saturday, it will be when Drew gets home from work.  I would also like to sign up for a 5K race and run/jog it.  This will help keep me motivated to finishing the program.

I decided to do this for a few reasons.  To:
  • Get in shape.  I want to be fit and active before I get pregnant again.
  • Get my weight under better control.  I know, I had a baby, but I want to get my BMI where it should be.
  • Be able to keep up with Charis, as much as possible, and if I'm out of shape, that will be harder to do.
  • Enjoy God's creation.
Photograph of me taken this
morning after running.
Do any of my readers exercise?  If so, what helps keep you motivated?  One of my fears is that I will give up 2-3 weeks into it.  I want to keep at it.  I do enjoy exercising, but don't always like the time involved.  Thankfully, this program has worked for the three people I know who've done it.

I linked this to Try New Adventures ThursdayMingle With UsThankful Thursday, and Terrific Thursday.  

04 June 2011

The Cooks Next Door

One of my favorite cooking blogs is The Cooks Next Door.  The two administrators and authors are Alaina and Stephanie.  Their
 Goal is to inspire you to creativity in your kitchen, richer times with family and friends, and a greater enjoyment of the gift of food.
They frequently have gluten free recipes, since Stephanie's husband has Celiac's disease.  They strive to have most of their recipes contain fresh, seasonal food, but they also realize that many people, like themselves, are on a budget.  Often they do reviews of recipes found in magazines and books.  Go to their blog.  It is full of recipes and pictures.  Plus they currently have a giveaway going on.  One of the recipes I want to try is curried meatballs.

02 June 2011

Memorial Day Festivities

One of my favorite blogs is Alicia's Homemaking.  I like it for a few reasons.  It's written by a SAHM who was working as a full time nurse before having a child.  Now she stays at home full time.  Sounds vaguely familiar.  Doesn't it?  Every Thursday, she has a blog hop entitled "Try New Adventures Thursday."  This will be my first Thursday venturing over and linking to her blog.

My in-laws were in town over the weekend and left on Tuesday.  On Monday, May 30, 2011, we (my husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and I) decided to go see some of the memorials in Washington, D.C.  A stones throw away from our apartment.  I got Charis out of bed around 10:30PM shortly before going.  We were able to see the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial.  Unfortunately, my camera battery died after the WWII Memorial, so I don't have many pictures.








It was so muggy.  I would recommend that if you decide to see the monuments at night, you take bug spray and a fully charged camera battery.  I also suggest trying to go when it's not so hot and humid.  It was AT LEAST in the high 80s.  Thankfully, Charis was a trooper.  Towards the end, she started getting cranky and was only quiet if somebody was pushing her stroller.

Flats and handwashing challenge recap

The Flats and handwashing challenge is officially over!!!  I would be lying if I wrote I was sad about this.  I am thankful for my maid AKA the washing machine.

Overall, I do think it was a good experience though.  I was able to get over my fear of using flat diapers.  I had to learn the folds and see what worked for Charis.  I found what worked best for her was the pad fold in the Flip diaper.  Unfortunately, we could not do this 24/7, such as when her Flip diaper would get soiled.  They origami fold worked well for us, but the drawback to this was, I had to use 2 flat diapers because I needed to get a bigger rise.  See my reason in OsoCozy flat diaper review.  And because of this, I was not willing to try using any folds at night (except folded up in her FuzziBunz, BumGenius, or Handmade diaper).

Because of this challenge, I see at least ONE change coming in our cloth diapering practices.
  • Now, I plan on using folded flat diapers as inserts in pocket diapers, such as FuzziBunz or BumGenius.  For two reasons, 1) Flat diapers dry faster than microfiber inserts and 2) Microfiber inserts tend to stink MUCH easier.
I would be willing to do this IF I HAD TO.  If I had to COUNT EVERY PENNY, I would do this.  Yes, things are tight with us, but thankfully, not that tight.  If I had to do handwash diapers all the time, I would do a few things differently
  • Buy different brands of flat diapers.  Some flat diapers might work better for smaller babies and other diapers would work better for larger babies.
  • Have 24-36 flat diapers in my rotation.  I would not want to spend up to an hour every night handwashing diapers.  Doing it for one week is one thing, but I would not want it to rule over me.
  • Purchase at least 2 more Flip diapers.  Like I wrote earlier, the pad fold worked best for Charis in a Flip diaper.
  • Use disposable inserts when I am out of the house.  On Sunday night at 6:00 PM, Charis had a HUGE BM (I blame the cauliflower from the night before) and cleaning it at home is much better.  With an insert, I would have had an easier time.
  • I would probably try to find a washing facility that would allow me to wash the flat diapers every 2 weeks in a washing machine, even if they were "clean".  There were times, especially when Charis had a BM, that I was not completely positive the diaper was sanitary.  
  • I would buy a few yards of a hemp/cotton blend or bamboo fabric and make a few flat diapers and doublers with a sewing machine.  I would do this to help increase absorbency at night.
To find what others are saying about the challenge, go to http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/flats-and-handwashing-challenge-over-and-done/

OsoCozy flat diaper review

For the Flats and handwashing challenge organized by Kim at Dirty diaper laundry, I received 6 bleached flats and 6 unbleached flats from OsoCozy to review.  The website states that prior to washing them, they are 27 inches X 27 inches (unfortunately, I did not measure the flats before prepping them).  After prepping the diapers and using them for over one week, the unbleached flats are 28 inches X 23 inches, and the bleached flats are 26 inches X 23 inches.  I don't know why they are different this way, but I measured multiple flats of each kind.

Bleached flats have been bleached at a factory and therefore they are white in color.
Cons of using bleached diapers are:

  • The strength of the fibers is weaker because of the bleaching process.
  • I noticed the bleached diapers were getting pilly.
  • Additional pollutants can be released in the air due to the bleaching process.

Pros:

  • Faster prep time.

Unbleached flats have not been bleached at a factory and have a beige color.
Cons of using unbleached diapers are:

  • More prep work because they have retained their natural oil.  I washed and dried my unbleached diapers two more times than the bleached diapers before using them.

Pros to unbleached diapers are:

  • They are better for the environment since they have not been bleached.
  • They are softer due to retaining oil 
  • Hide stains better because of the beige color.

The biggest drawback I found by using OsoCozy is that they are a smaller size than other flat diapers on the market.  I don't see them working for a bigger baby until they are potty trained.  My daughter is 9 months old and is 27 lbs. and 31 1/2 inches long.  Her rise is about 19 inches, and her waist is 22 inches.  For the diapers I received, I had to partially overlap two diapers before doing either the kite fold or origami fold.  Though, I found that they pad fold worked well for us.

Overall, I did not have a problem with absorbency (except for Day 2).

Based on the pros to using unbleached diapers and the bigger size of the unbleached flats, I would recommend to my readers if they were to buy OsoCozy flats, that they buy the unbleached flats.

Note: I received 6 unbleached flat diapers and 6 bleached diapers from OsoCozy to use during the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and reviewing them.  I was not compensated in any way.  My review on this product is reflects my experience with this product.