Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two Under Two


With a little over two months between today and my due date I have a lot on my mind about preparing myself to be a mom of two under two. This week, I have a post over on What To Expect about the things I am doing to help me feel prepared for this big life change. Will I ever be ready for two under two? Probably not, but there are a few things that are helping me feel more comfortable with the idea. I'd love for you to stop by and read about the 5 things I've been doing to prepare for the new baby's arrival.

Love,
Mary

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hallelujah.



We've had a few days of goose chasing, chalk drawing, evening walkin', sun on our face weather and we're just a little bit giddy over it around here.

Now, it wouldn't be Missouri if there weren't also a few slushy, snowy days thrown in here and there. But, this week of mostly warm days has been a little reminder that winter does end eventually and warmer days are ahead.

Hallelujah.

Hope you're enjoying warmer days as much as we are.

Love,
Mary










Monday, March 10, 2014

two in a room.

After finding out we were pregnant, we quickly landed on the decision to let our daughters share a room from the start. We have an extra room in this house that is currently serving as a catch-all storage space and is going unused at this point, but we won't be cleaning it out to create a second nursery.

We were really surprised to find that a shared nursery by choice, not necessity, was met with a lot of questions. Don't get me wrong, many who have asked about our plans were supportive but some were confused or concerned by our choice. I thought I'd share some of the questions we have been asked and the reasons for our choice for the curious or for parents who are on the fence about their sleeping arrangements.

So why put two in a room if we don't have to?

To encourage closeness. I anticipate that our girls will have a strong bond, mainly because they will be close in age. We look forward to our daughters being each others' best friends from the very start. Why not encourage this by keeping them close?

It's practical.  This choice makes sense for us for many reasons. First, we hope to have more children and don't plan on moving out of our modestly sized home anytime soon. Why not teach our children to share space from the get go? Additionally, keeping toys and cloth diapers and baby clothes condensed to one room will help us keep up with the clutter and mess.

Won't Clementine's sleep be interrupted during the new baby's wakeful months?

We co-slept with Clementine for most of the first year and we plan to do the same with this baby, so this is not a concern for us. Night feedings will be a regular part of our lives and it only makes sense to keep Hazel close while she is still eating at night.

Don't you want your girls to have their own space and privacy?

Quite frankly--No. We believe that the concepts of having "our own space" and "privacy" are very American (for lack of a better word) and that they are rooted in entitlement. We believe that our value for community should start in our home. We hope to model for our children that closeness is good. Sharing belongings and space is enjoyable because the things we have are gifts and far less valuable than the relationships we have with one another.

I am sure we have plenty of growing pains and learning ahead of us, but I look forward to figuring out this aspect of being a growing family and sharing it with y'all as we go. I would love hear about your experience with shared nurseries. How do you keep organized? How do you orchestrate bedtime? How to keep up with the chaos of toys and clothes? Leave me some tips in the comments below.

Love,
Mary

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello There, 3rd Trimester!

Clementine is struggling to share the spotlight already.
Time is flying, y'all. Yesterday marked 28 weeks for me and the beginning of the third trimester. Clementine and I braved what is hopefully the last of our snow and subzero temperature to visit my midwife yesterday morning. The main goal for the day: passing my glucose test (success!). My complete blood count showed I was anemic, but besides that Hazel and I both seem to be healthy and growing right on schedule. 

Physically, I still feel great most of the time. No swelling, minimal heartburn as long as I keep my diet in check, and only occasional discomfort. My twelve hour shifts at the hospital are starting to become a little more exhausting and I usually fall into bed minutes after Clementine goes down for the night. Hopefully a change in diet will help my anemia and I'll see an improvement in my energy level as well?

Emotionally, I feel a mixture of things. I am getting so excited for Hazel's arrival. I am very emotional, in the best way, about our growing family. I have found that all of sudden, I also feel nervous and uneasy about her arrival from time to time. Nervous about what? Childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum hormones, returning to work, making quality time for two babies and a husband, you name it.

Practically, we have been crossing some things off our our to do before due date list and boy does it feel good. We finally have two car seats that will fit in my compact car and still allow my six foot two husband to drive (I was stressing about that one!) We have a second crib and plenty of baby clothes. We still need a handful of items like a mattress, a few newborn cloth diapers, and nursing friendly clothes for mama but I am feeling great about what we have accomplished this far. 

I'm glad you stopped by for a little update. I hope my pregnant and postpartum readers are feeling great!

Love,
Mary

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Peaceful Mornings: Mama First (part two)

Last week I wrote a little bit about how I am working towards taking better care of myself starting with my mornings. I wanted to add a little more about how I have been taking care of my heart as well. I think so many moms want to spend a little time quietly preparing their hearts for their day each morning but it can be difficult to accomplish much with limited time. Here are a few things that I find helpful:

A short, structured devotional. Having something to guide your time in the mornings is really important when there isn't much of it. I have been a big fan of Spurgeon's Morning and Evening as well as the She Reads Truth daily emails. I love that I can access these on my phone because I can still read them on early mornings without actually leaving bed. Clementine is a light sleeper, and often I choose just to stay in bed if I hear her sleep is restless when I wake. I anticipate that this will also come in handy when Hazel arrives and we are co-sleeping and night nursing once again.

Gracefully following a reading plan when you have more time. I am easily discouraged by falling behind on bible reading plans due to the lack of alone time I have as a working mom. After reading this post by Jami Nato awhile back, I was encouraged to approach my Bible reading a little more gracefully. I now follow a plan, but I don't get caught up in staying on track. I read when I can, I don't play catch up, and I don't get caught up in unnecessary guilt. Personally, I am a big fan of a thematic reading plan.

Journal a few guiding thoughts and prayer topics for the day. Realistically, there isn't much time for as much writing and reflection as I would like. Instead, I jot down a few questions or reflections from my reading to think and pray about through out the day.

Most importantly find what works for you. Avoid putting off taking care of your heart for the mystical "some day" when alone time exists in abundance. With early risers, light sleepers, co-sleepers, and night nursers in many of our homes it is helpful to approach our devotional times with grace and flexibility. Evenings or nap times worked better for me for a long time until Clementine started sleeping past 5:30. During early infancy, much of my prayer and reading was done while breastfeeding.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Peaceful Mornings: Mama First

Some things get repeated over and over again because they're cliche, other things because they are true. The idea of self care is an ever visited topic in the world of motherhood. At one point or another each mom I know has spoken of it, and how important but difficult it is to accomplish. For me, making time for myself before the sun rises each mornings is a way for me to prepare my heart for the day ahead.

In my never ending quest to keep my life simple, I broke down self care into two categories of focus: body & soul. Today I wanted to share my routine for caring for my body each morning.

Taking care of my body means developing the simplest routine possible for my skin and hair so that I feel put together before I start my day. Most mornings I manage to squeeze the essentials into about fifteen minutes by keeping my make-up and hair fairly natural.















Face: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer and 3 in 1 Concealer// Cheeks: e.l.f Essential All Over Color Stick// Eyes: Sonia Kashuk Matte Monochrome Eye Quad and Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner and Covergirl Lashblast Mascara// Lips: Burt's Bees Lip Balm

Now that I have some length to my hair again, most days I just run a brush through my curls and smooth in a little leave in conditioner.  I also love these tutorials for quick hair from Jessi and Haley and I fall back on them often.

Getting dressed has never been easier since being pregnant has limited my wardrobe to about seven outfits I rotate through each week. I look forward to adding more variety once I am bumpless, but for now I welcome the ease of a small closet.


The newest part of my routine is a little yoga first thing in the morning. Since time is limited before Clementine wakes up (or I head out the door for work), I only make time for ten minutes of yoga before she wakes. While I would really like to learn more about yoga, for now this Good Morning Yoga sequence has been a regular part of my mornings. I am finding it helps me wake-up and has been helping with some of my pregnancy hip pain.

What about you? How do you make time for self care each day? Do you squeeze it in early before the kids wake or wait until they are preoccupied with play?

Love,
Mary

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cinnamon Maple Hot Cereal






Serves 4-6
1 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1/4 cup red quinoa
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup amaranth
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups water
optional: butter & milk

Rinse quinoa and amaranth. Bring water to a boil and add both kinds of quinoa and amaranth. Cover and reduce to a simmer for ten minutes. Add oats and cook for an additional five minutes. 

Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Top with a dollop of butter and a splash of milk.