Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Going, Going...

But not gone!

I am here.

It seems as though our life is and has been going non-stop since the middle of February!

I am convinced that now things should slow down.

Hang on tight as I catch my breath and find my words.

They are coming...soon I hope!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

365 Days!

I feel at a loss.  A loss for my little baby.  For the infant he once was. 

Encouragement fills me as I think about the places he will go and the things he will do.  Puddles he will jump in and frogs he will catch. 

But for a moment, I am allowing myself a bit of sadness.  To grieve the infant stage, to accept that he is no longer smelling of fresh, swaddled goodness. 

My baby boy is One.  He is O-N-E! 


Stay tuned for my reason why we believe that our calling is to be a family of four...and no more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I think this is normal...

To say that my kids are picky eaters is an understatement.  Meal time is a struggle and we really work with our kids to eat a whole variety of foods.  It generally does not work. Little Girl often refuses to eat what we have before her because she is stubborn and is determined to just say no.  Little Guy on the other hand is just plain picky and does not like much.  Needless to say one of my tactics is to put the food on the table in front of them and walk away.  I keep a close eye, but from a distance.  Usually I get fusses at first. If they are hungry enough they eat, even if just a little bit.  Sometimes I get all out screams and hollers. Depends on the day.

I often get frustrated while feeding Little Guy because he often gets angry with whatever it may be that I am trying to give him.  Please understand that I am patient and try many different foods, but often we just go back to fruit.  He does not like things that most babies love.  Cheese is generally out of the question unless melted (hello choking hazard?!), Chicken is turned away, Tofu is given this pretty tongue-out action and avocado... forgetaboutit!

With Little Girl it is often it is a struggle to just get her to take a taste.  Once she does she sometimes says "Yum!", eats one more bite and then refuses to have any more.  Why?  Because we want her to.  So she won't.  Oh dear, her teenage years will be fun!  Now please understand that she is a very picky eater also, but most of the time she is just being stubborn. 

We sit at the table almost every night as a family.  Scott and I do our best so set a good example of what good eating habits are.  We eat plenty of veggies and wholesome food in front of our children and encourage them to eat along side us.  We do our best to have healthy snacks and often try to encourage wise decisions, but in the end it's a struggle.

Tell me.  What do you do to encourage your children to choose healthy foods?  Do you have "rules" for meal time?  How do you handle picky eaters (at the age of One!)?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Lenses

My mind has been full lately.  
Full to the brim.  
Work, kids, husband and family stuff.  
We have been exploring new ventures over here. 
Much energy has been consumed.
  The energy that is generally aimed at keeping a home. 
Dinners have been left undone, laundry has been left in baskets and toys have been left scattered.
But we are doing life.  
Doing it the way we feel it should be done. 
And I looked around and said, "Hey, if a misplaced toy here, or a chicken nugget there, that means were doing life, then that's the way it's going to be." 

And to me,
Focus comes when you bond through tough, busy times.  
You realize that you miss family dinners, cleaned homes and peace.
  So then peace comes, because you crave it.
You want it, you need it.

We are finally slowing down here.
I can feel the beat of the drum.
Slowly the rhythm is coming back.
We needed the crazy, to refocus.
So now we sit with new spectacles on life.
Soaking in the moments we shared and the new moments we will create.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


You see, I have not posted in two weeks. And if you asked me why I would tell you that it was for a lack of time. But really, it was frustration.

Words were not flowing, my mind was a garbled mess. I tried but I could not form a complete paragraph that made any sense. Below, in the edit box I am currently typing in, are six partially written paragraphs of a mother's thoughts so incomplete it's maddening. Write. Start over. Write. Start over. Leave. Come back. Open computer. Write. Start over...I was searching. For answers, direction, guidance. Wanting to go to others for help, not trying to provide help here. I had none to give. 

Wondering who would judge me for my tactics. If I posted one way, what would the others think? But really it's about my babies. Me. Us.

Frustration. Sleep. Why is it that so many mothers struggle with the sleep of their child. Parenting is tough. I found myself sitting not in the black or white but in the gray. What the heck is the black or white? I really felt, and often feel, that with sleep and babies there is one way or the other. (Read: sleep training or attachment parenting). But I hate it. I get mad at myself when my babies won't nap and cry about it. But then I make them spend consistent time in their crib...like it or not. Am I mean? Or am I doing the "right" thing?

I do not want to get into it. But it boils down to this. I want my babies to be happy. These past two weeks we struggled. And now, we may have a light in the end of the tunnel. He slept today. And was happy the rest. Victory.

Will I still struggle when I feel that the "right" thing to do is let him have a bit of time in his crib mad at life? Absolutely. Will I still feel that annoying feeling when he is not sleeping and refuses to no matter what? You bet. Will I rock him to try to get him to sleep? Sure, if it works.

But here we are. When he is 10, he will be sleeping and I will be wondering why the heck I was loosing sleep over all this. And the "black" and "white" will still be there. But for me. I will sit happily in the gray. Driving myself nuts.

Roll with it Janelle. Roll with it

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mama's Opinion: Chicco KeyFit Infant Carseat

We are an active, on-the-go family and the Chicco KeyFit Infant Carrier was perfect for us!

This car seat is sturdy, durable, and strong; yet, still light, easy to carry and very easy to use.  Safety ratings are a very important factor when our family considers a car seat and the KeyFit ranks number one in Consumer Reports testing and reviews.

It appears to be very comfortable for infants and babies alike.  The car seat comes with removable infant inserts to hold even the smallest of babies.  Both of our children enjoyed this seat until their first year (well almost for Little Guy) and spent many hours sleeping away while we were traveling, dining, shopping, folding laundry...  There were many times that we brought our sleeping baby from the car to the house or restaurant and they would happily continue their nap.  

The KeyFit base is very easy to use and incredibly secure. The LATCH connectors are built like a car seat buckle so that attachment and removal is easy. Securing the base into the car with the LATCH is quite simple with their one handed "center-pull". If your car does not have LATCH the KeyFit base provides built-in belt lock-offs that are easy to use and very convenient. We have used both the LATCH and belt lock-offs with this base and felt that the car seat was equally secure with both. The leveling markers on both sides show if the base is installed correctly so there is no guess work when installing. The car seat itself snaps easily into it's base and is easily removed with a one hand release.  After installing a Graco SnugRide we were very impressed by the many features the Chicco KeyFit had to offer, making it much easier to get a secure attachment to the car.

For our family we thought that Chicco could really work a bit harder on creating a better, more effective sun shade to protect the little one from direct sunlight.  Also, the KeyFit does not snap or fit onto any part of the front pull-out section of most shopping carts.  However, after reading many reviews about dangers of putting car seat carriers onto the top of shopping carts we chose to put the car seat directly into the basket while shopping. Unfortunately, this does take up most shopping space requiring mom to get a bit creative.

Overall we were so happy with this carrier! And we believe it is a wonderful choice for your new little one!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Warm Dinner: Chicken Enchalada Soup

In college my roommate and I would often frequent a local eatery just to have a small bowl of their delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup.  After consuming copious amounts of soup and realizing we had spent entirely too much money at the restaurant, we decided it was time to figure out how to make it ourselves.

I had an idea as to what went into the soup, but I was not certain.  One weekend, and about four batches of soup later, we were pleased with the outcome.  This soup has been a staple, go-to dinner since it's creation in our small college apartment.  And every time I make it I feel just a tad bit nostalgic. 

Janelle's Chicken Enchilada Soup

4 uncooked chicken breasts - diced
2 cans drained corn
1 medium size can of green chilies
1 (32oz) box chicken stock - one cup set aside
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 packs Lawry's Enchilada Sauce Mix
2 Tbs. chili powder (to kick up the heat use chipolte chili powder)
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried basil

In a large pot combine all ingredients together with the exception of the one cup chicken stock and the enchilada sauce mix.  In a small bowl whisk together the one cup of reserved stock and enchilada sauce mix packets.  Blend until the mix is thoroughly dissolved.  Add to the pot.   

Simmer on medium/low for at least three hours.  

Top with crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and a few slices of avocado.  


Saturday, February 5, 2011

He Wasn't Breathing!

Do you know what to do when your baby chokes?  By the grace of God I asked the pediatrician for a quick review about two weeks ago.

We were enjoying a great dinner with friends. I was sitting next to my Little Guy and he was eating like a champ. I was proud. Moments later, he started to choke. As in not-breathing-in-distress choking. I quickly pulled him out of his chair, flipped him upside down, and after about twenty back thrusts he coughed up a goo filled portion of dinner. He started breathing. We were so very blessed and thankful.  

However, he immediately began struggling again, breathing but stressing.  Keeping his color, but coughing and wheezing heavily with copious amounts of drool and goo coming out of his nose and mouth. (Did you know that excessive drool is a tell tale sign of a blocked/partially blocked airway? We did not).  He would calm down and then start up again every thirty seconds or so.
We began to think it was an allergic reaction as it sounded like his airway was tightening.  We were not overly concerned because he was clearly getting enough oxygen and he didn't seem too bothered.  But the wheezing was a bit disheartening. We headed to Urgent Care. They were concerned about a partially blocked airway, they wanted him in the ER.  The ambulance arrived. The paramedics believed he had aspirated food. We headed to the ER.  My little ten-month-old baby boy was in an ambulance.  But he was okay, he was breathing.  

The ER was a joke. I will spare you the details but after a few breathing treatments the doctor sent us home with "well, he has food in his lungs, he will probably get pneumonia" as our diagnosis.  Um...thanks.  We saw our pediatrician first thing in the morning.  She was very concerned and sent us up to one of the best children's hospitals in the world.  They too were concerned.  And no, they were not going to just sit by and wait for him to get pneumonia. They moved into action. The Pediatric ENT, and Pediatric pulmonologist were called in and our little guy was scheduled to head into the operating room.  
In Pre-Op, we met with the Anesthesiologist and her Resident.  Our nerves were calmed a bit by their patience and obvious care for our son. They gave the Little Guy something in his IV to make the "transition easier" and told us we would see an affect in about 30 seconds.  And in less than thirty seconds the kiddo was slap-happy drunk!  Handing him off to the anesthesiologist was not only the funniest thing I have ever seen (have you seen a "drunk" 10 month old?  It's hard not to laugh) but the hardest thing I have done as a mother.

In what seemed like 20 minutes later, the doctor came out holding a vile which contained the smallest pieces of food.  The doctor looked like he had won the lottery, so proud!  

All was better, resolved, healed.  Forty-five minutes later we were out of post-op and on our way home. So thankful to have a healthy baby boy with us.  So thankful for a wonderful hospital so close by! 

All of this to say.  Please know what to do if your baby chokes.  Please do not take the first doctor's word of advice.  Please thank the Lord for your healthy little's.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little Pick Me Up Please!

I have struggled for a while now between the idea of having a coffee habit and not.  I find that I am often dragging by the late afternoon.  I am still going to bed way too late and being woken up once a night to nurse my precious boy. It leaves me...tired and often snappy.

To brew a pot or not?  It's a tough question for me.  Simple as it may be I have decided that I will wait until I am done breastfeeding.  My reasoning is understandable. I do not want too much caffeine regularly passed into Little Guy. And my reasoning is a bit silly.  After he is done breastfeeding we will have whole milk in the house...wayyyy better in coffee! 

So I will stick to my Starbucks once a week for a while.  But soon, very soon, I will enjoy a cup or two daily with most other adults in America.

Monday, January 31, 2011

To Be Beautifully Me

I am not, nor will I ever be my mom.  That my friends, is a sad thing.

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be like my mom.  Strong, hardworking, dedicated, loving, kind, nurturing, selfless.  I wanted to be just like her.  Staying home taking care of my own kiddos, loving on them, caring for them, being there for them. 

Well here I am.  My mom had four kids, I have two.  How she did it I will never know because really I feel like I am going through the motions with nothing being brought to completion. Never ahead. Never finishing all the tasks I desire to complete. Often jealous of the correspondence between friends that I simply do not understand because I am too busy keeping things going in my home. Often feeling guilty when I desire to be away. 

My mom was selfless.  I am striving to be that way, but fail all too often.  But I ask, what about my sense of self?  Is it selfish to want a sense of self?  To maintain who I am, who I was, who I want to be? To have my own friendships? I will never be like my mom because she was fully selfless giving all of herself to her kids.  I honor her, respect and admire her.  But I must remind myself.  I am not her.