Monthly Archives: February 2014

Book Review: The Breastfeeding Culture!

Check it out! Look at what came in the mail today!

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Need a closer look?

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Any breastfeeding book is exciting I suppose. But this one is extra special to me. Because….

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My very own breastfeeding story is on page 80!

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A year ago I wrote this post about how my story was going to be published in a book! And now I have that book. I am one of only two stories given in the chapter on food sensitivities. At the beginning of the book she says:

When I put out the call for stories of online breastfeeding support to be submitted for this book, I received hundreds of responses from mothers willing to share their experiences.” 

I had no idea that so many people offered their stories, and I am so honored that she chose my story to be in her book.

This isn’t a very good book review since I haven’t actually read the whole book yet. But I was too excited to let you all know that I got the book! 🙂  So far from what I’ve read it’s a great book.  In each chapter it has several personal stories from moms on each of these topics:

Booby Traps

Pumping and Working

Breastfeeding After Losing a Child

Breastfeeding Preemies in the NICU

Food Sensitivities

Exclusive Pumpers

Milk Donors

Too Little, Too Much: IGT and BFAR

Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Breastfeeding with Depression and Mood Disorders

The Unexpected While Pregnant

At the end of the book she has several pages of resources to help you with any breastfeeding troubles. It looks like a great book, but of course I’d say that because my story is in it. 😉

I’ve saved a hand written note from the author for over a year so I could tape it into my book.  And today I did just that!

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You can buy your very own copy here from Amazon!

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And then there were 3

James (3 1/2) Gideon (1 3/4) Faith (2 months)

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Taking pictures of my kids by myself is not easy. I am super bummed James wasn’t looking at me in this next one. It would have been a perfect picture! Gideon looks like a child model! ha ha

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Not too bad:

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At this point they were pretty much done. I was using all kinds of bribes to try and get a few more pictures out of them. 😉

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James is a wonderful big brother! He loves Faith so much. He is always saying, “She’s so cute!”

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Gideon is really sweet too. He can say baby now and asks to hold Faith about once a day.

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God has really blessed us with three beautiful and healthy children. Titus and I love them so much.

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Help!! I don’t know what to do with a happy baby!

As many of you know my first born wasn’t a happy baby.  We figured out a few things (like giving up dairy) but he was still fussy for the first 19 months of life. I feel like I grew as a mother and parent, and learned so much from that first year of James’ life. But. it. was. horrible! To have a constantly crying baby, that needs to be constantly held and doesn’t sleep well is very very draining in every single way. 

James’ first Christmas 2 1/2 months old.

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James magically became a happy baby the day we had Gideon. Go figure on that. I worried my whole pregnancy! How in the world could I take care of James AND BABY!! I’m not going to lie, that summer was pretty hard. I had to give up dairy and wheat with Gideon. Gideon also woke up to nurse every 2 hours until he was about 14 months old. No I’m not joking!

Aug 2012 Gideon is about 3 months, James is almost 2. This picture sums up our summer pretty nicely.

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I couldn’t put Gideon down either. He cried quite a bit, and if he was happy on the floor James would attack Gideon (out of love) so I had to watch both of them all the time. I had people tell me, “Oh enjoy these years!” “I miss my kids being babies!” “They are so sweet at this age! And then they grow up!” What a joke! I couldn’t wait for them not to be babies anymore!

While I was pregnant with Faith I remember telling my aunt that I wasn’t looking forward to the big black hole I seem to live in the first year after having a baby.  It’s not really postpartum depression, it’s just really hard!

But Faith! Faith is different!

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She hardly ever cries. And when she does it’s pretty easy to figure out what she needs. James and Gideon like to hold her and talk to her, but when she’s playing on the floor they mostly leave her alone. Oh, which by the way, SHE LIES ON THE FLOOR! I don’t know what to do! I forget to even try and will ask Titus to hold her so I can go do something quick. I feel guilty leaving her on the floor. Shouldn’t I be holding her? Isn’t she lonely on the floor by herself?

I feel sad when I look at all the clothes she has out grown. I finally understand what all those people were talking about! I am totally enjoying Faith as a baby, in a way that I never did with my boys. Some people might judge that statement but if you haven’t had a fussy baby than you really really don’t understand. And to those moms that have had a fussy baby, it’s truly truly worth it to keep having babies until you get a happy one. It is a completely different experience that every mom should have!

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Speaking of having kids. I have been very very surprised at the amount of people who assume we are done.  Random people at the park, at stores, in church (“I had three kids in three years too! It’s hard but then you are done and they grow up and move away.”). It took me awhile to figure it out, but I think it’s because we have both genders now and most people would stop.  Well I guess we aren’t most people. We hope to have more children. We view children as a gift and blessing from God.

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Proverbs 17:6

Children’s children are the crown of old men; And the glory of children are their fathers.

Not every one comes away from a big family with a good experience, but I did. I love my family and love the thought of having my own big family. We haven’t set a magic number of when we would stop, we’ll just take it one baby at a time. And if babies are really as fun and easy as Faith than we have a happy future a head of us. 🙂

Valentine’s Day 2014

I like holidays! 🙂 I special days! 🙂 So I like Valentine’s Day! As my kids get older I’m trying to do special things for holidays.  I don’t always succeed, but I try. This year I made heart shaped french toast. My boys could have cared less…but I liked them!

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Because I’m cheap and don’t like to waste money I didn’t make a lot of them. And I saved the scrapes to feed the ducks, which we did after breakfast.

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James

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Gideon

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Ducks!

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New family picture! (Gideon did not want to sit there, he wanted to keep chasing to ducks)

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My Valentine!

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My silly boys in their new jammies!

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Annnnd, my flowers! I really love flowers! Especially during winter time!  (and yes we do think that is a cabbage in the middle. I told Titus I will make him borscht out of it before it gets too old. 😉 )

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Today at the park…..

It’s been on the cold side (all you MN people be quiet!!) for the last few weeks and we haven’t been to the park in a while.  My boys I think have cabin fever or something, from not going anywhere.  So today when it reached 60 I packed everyone up in strollers and a bike and took them to the park.  By the time we got there the wind had kind of picked up and Gideon was mad because James brought a bulldozer and he didn’t have one.  The snow has been melting all day so there were large puddles all over the place, which of course my boys had to play in.  Do you know what happens when little boys play in puddles in Feb???? THEY GET COLD!!! James decided he didn’t want to ride his bike home and of course he would do that to me on the day I took the stroller and not the wagon! This was the very first time I had taken the double stroller with Faith’s car seat.  As you can see below the stroller wasn’t made for two toddlers, a bike, a car seat, and a baby.  Something (or one) had to be bumped off.  I am soooo happy I threw the Moby in the stroller last minute!!

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I totally wore the wrong skirt to the park.  I love love love the long maxi skirts, but when there is slush on the ground it gets so dirty.  I really hope I can get it clean.

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Both boys were crying because they were cold. At least Faith was nice and warm in the Moby. She was asleep too!

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 It’s almost all up hill on the way home, and before you think I’m amazing, I only made it about a block before Titus came to get us. 🙂

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You might think the park trip wasn’t worth it, and I might have agreed with you except for the mom I met there today.  I never caught her name, but I do know that she:

a. Had three kids in three years

b. Grew up on a farm in Montana (her parents are visiting right now and as soon as I saw her dad I knew they were farmers. 😉 ) I think she was home schooled too.

c. Moved here with her husband to go to Denver Seminary

d. Her husband is going to school on the GI Bill (no joke!!)

e. When I said that because of the GI money and some VA disability money and really cheep rent Titus doesn’t have to work and is home a lot she just nodded her head and said, “My husband too.” (No this isn’t a dream!)

f. She literally lives just a few blocks from us.

She got my number and I really really hope she calls me and we can have them over. She said that they live in an apartment and don’t have a yard or anything. I told her to come over any time because we have a great backyard that is fenced in and lots of riding toys for the kids!! God works in such wonderful ways! 😀

When I thanked Titus profusely for coming to get us he said, “You were only 2 blocks from home!” I just might have slapped that boy if Valentine’s Day wasn’t tomorrow! 😀

 

Faith’s first denim skirt (2 month pictures)

Poor Faith, the future home school student already has her first denim skirt. Any home schooled girl will understand this to the fullest extent.

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She doesn’t seem to mind! (at least not yet!!)

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Two months old!

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Smiling!

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Big brother James

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Thinking deeply

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She was more interested in chewing on her hands than smiling at me.

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Daughter and Sister

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We love you Faith!

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Re-seasoning my grandmother’s cast iron pans (and a lesson in being hasty)

When Titus and I got married I bought the Rachel Ray pots and pans set. My mom tried to tell me that it might not be the healthiest way to cook, but I told it was fine since I had made sure that it wasn’t aluminum. 

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What I failed to research though, are the health risks connected to cooking on non-stick cookware.  The more I’ve read about it the more I’m convinced that it isn’t the way I want to go with my pots and pans.  There are so many things I want to do or buy to help my family be healthy and can’t afford it. But cooking on something healthier is something I can do help protect my family.  So in the last few months I have decided to switch to cast iron cookware.   There are a lot of benefits to cooking on cast iron which this post isn’t about, go google it yourself. 😉 

This post is about inheriting two of my grandmother’s pans. Okay I didn’t really inherit them in the sense that she left to directly to me.  When my grandparents died everything was left in the house that they had lived in.  I asked my aunt and uncle if I could have any of the cast iron pans that were left in the house.  They said sure, so I have two of them.  Since they haven’t been used in such a long time they needed to be stripped and re-seasoned. I think one of the very best things about cast iron is that you can’t ruin it! I even read about a guy that fixed his cast iron pan that broke in two.  When considering having a large family having indestructible things around is a good idea! 🙂

I got a really neat square pan.  I’ve never seen one like the before! It’s great for french toast!

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And I got a regular round one.

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And at a second hand store a few weeks ago I found this cute little guy.

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The following directions did not originate with me. I followed this blog post pretty much to the T:

http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2010/12/reconditioning-re-seasoning-cast-iron.html

All I did was spray oven cleaner on each pan and let it soak for a few days. She recommends wearing gloves when you do this. I recommend wearing gloves for each stage!  This process is very hard on your hands. I ended up with very very dry hands with multiple burns!

Sprayed with oven cleaner:

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soaking in trash bags

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After a few days I wiped them all off with paper towels and sprayed them again and let them sit another few days.  After that I soaked them in water and vinegar for about 60 min.

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After that I scrubbed them down and put them in a super hot oven, 500 degrees.  I only had olive oil on hand to grease them with.  Next time I’d like to try lard and see how that works.  Every 30 minutes I had to put more oil on and every 15 minutes I had to wipe them down to avoid pooling.  Even doing this my round pan did pool a little bit.

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After letting them cool completely this is what they look like now:

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Julia’s pans are very golden, and I’m not sure why mine didn’t turn out the same way.  The only way I could get mine to look that way was to have my flash on when I took the picture.

And the first thing I cooked in each one (just to prove nothing blew up!)

Pork and Mandarin oranges

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Fried egg. It’s going to take some time getting used to cooking on cast iron.  It’s a really hot pan so my eggs bubbled up a little bit.

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And monkey bread (I love the fact that you can bake in the pans too!)

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I do think I was too fast in trying to re-season my pans.  I think I should have let them sit a few more days in the trash bags with oven cleaner.  I was in such a hurry though because I really wanted to write this post. 😉 And because I had already boxed up my other pots and pans and needed these.  Also I just happened to be doing this project the week Gideon kind of freaked out and was crying all. day. long.  I just wanted to be done with the pans.  The round one especially doesn’t look great, and today after cleaning it I think I saw some rust which means I didn’t scrub all of it off after the vinegar soak.  I do regret being so fast to get it done.  But the good thing is that I didn’t ruin the pans.  I can always re-season them again if I want to.  And maybe not do all of them at the same time so I’m not so hard up for pans.

I wish my grandma was still alive so I could ask her where she got the pans.  Did they originate with her? Or did she get some passed down from a mother or grandmother?  I’ll never know, but it’s still special cooking on them.  Maybe one day I’ll pass them down to Faith, and she can cook on her great-grandmother’s pans. 😀