Friday Just Fotos….?

Hi friends… so I’m being a bit of a slacker this week and not including any finds or favorites…just some fotos! ūüôā ¬†Although now that I think about it I guess I could have included the fun little icons/smileys that I found on my phone this week under¬†finds. ¬†So I am admittedly not a very technological person. ¬†And so maybe this isn’t news to you… but I had no idea where these cute little icons on Facebook were coming from, let alone that I had them on MY phone all along, too!! That is until my sister pointed out how lame my smileys were and showed me how to improve them! ¬†I have an iPhone and with a couple little clicks in my settings…. TA DA! ¬†How fun!

IMG_1102

 

Well there you go, a find!! ūüôā

Fotos

IMG_1075 IMG_1068

Today we got to have a fun family day! ¬†My hubby has some extra vacation days to use so he took today off and he got a glimpse into our days of playing, going to the park, being outside!! ¬†We went on a picnic and to a nearby garden and wandered around. ¬†M loved all the “fowers” and “flies” aka butterflies. ¬†It was so much fun getting to have Daddy home with us all day!

IMG_1097

Seriously, would you look at that sass?!

photo 2photo 1

photo 3 photo 4

IMG_1086 IMG_1095

Update on my sister: ¬†Baby flipped!!! ¬†YAY!! ¬†Thank you for all of your prayers, they worked! ūüôā

Any Day Now Baby K!

So I’m about to be an aunt for the first time!!! ¬†And I can’t wait!! ¬†M was the first grand baby on both sides of our family, so while my brother and sister and my hubby’s sister have had a niece and gotten to be an aunt/uncle for a couple years now, this is brand new for me! ¬†I think it hasn’t actually fully hit me yet. ¬†Mostly because I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that my little sister is about to be a mommy!! ¬†We’ve shared a bedroom, laughs, tears, food, clothes, make-up, and now mommy-hood! ¬†I cannot wait for her to embark on this new journey and know that she’ll be the best mom ever to that little girl. ¬†I’m so proud of her already!

She’ll be 39 weeks Saturday and yet as of last week, she and her husband hadn’t gotten around to taking maternity pictures yet. ¬†So, in typical big sister fashion I told her that she had to have some¬†taken, and whether they wanted them or not I was taking some for her!! ūüôā ¬†Now keep in mind, I am by no means a professional photographer, but I had¬†a little help from Pinterest for inspiration. ¬†Here are a few of my favorites!

IMG_1468 2                                         IMG_1472 2 IMG_1475 2

IMG_1500 2 IMG_1505 2 IMG_1513 2

IMG_1525 2

 

Isn’t she beautiful?!

Stay tuned for news of my little niece’s arrival! ¬†Oh and by the way, she’s currently breech…so we would LOVE for your prayers that she would¬†flip in the next week! ūüėČ

Signature

Friday Finds, Favorites and Fotos!

Has it really been a week since the 4th of July?! ¬†Why is it that time during the summer FLIES by?? ¬†I mean think about it… in Feburary, what’s supposed to be the shortest month of the year, the week drags by. ¬†And yet the 3 months of summer seem to go by in a flash. ¬†Such a mystery to me… nonetheless I hope you all had a great week! ¬†Here’s what I’ve got for you today:

Finds

Last week as we were getting ready to spend time at the campground with my parents and be outside all evening waiting for fireworks on the 4th of July, I realized that I hadn’t made bug spray this year yet and the one from last year was all gone. ¬†I ran to the store to grab the essential oils that I would need and instead decided to try this out: ¬†Suzi’s Lavendar Bug Off Natural Insect Spray. ¬†It’s made not far from here and all that’s in it are water and¬†3 of the main mosquito repellant oils: lemon eucalyptus, lavender and citronella. ¬†I normally like to make my own, but in an attempt to save a little time I decided to give it a try. ¬†I bought a bottle of clove oil (because that’s another good mosquito deterrent) and after adding a couple of drops of that in, I had my spray!

DSCF6099

 

Not only did I feel good knowing this spray was safe to use even on M, but it worked great!!!  We were camping, outside all evening and our whole family used it and no one got a single bite!! YAY!

Favorites

So I’m mildly obsessed with guacamole recently. ¬†I blame it on my brother. ¬†He used to live with us and went through a guacamole phase right before he moved out so he was always making it. ¬†Well I guess I got hooked because now I am the one making it. ¬†It’s super easy to make, goes great on wraps, salads or just as a dip and it’s pretty healthy for me, right?! ūüôā

Here’s what I use: avocado, green pepper, jalape√Īo, onion, tomato, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt & pepper. ¬†You can add however much of each ingredient you want – just as long as avocado is the star! ūüôā ¬†Yummy!

Fotos

IMG_0978 IMG_1010 IMG_1015 IMG_1027

(Top left: ready for a walk to the park!  Top right: CHEESE!!!)

(Bottom left: she loves these things! ¬†Bottom right: 1st time at Tropical Sno! ¬†“Love it!”)

Updates: ¬†In the last couple of weeks she’s started being able to put on her own pants/shorts/pull up diaper. ¬†She can officially count to 14, sometimes 15. ¬†She can carry on a full conversation with you. ¬†And the other day we caught her singing the whole “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” song to her baby while making the baby do the actions!!!! So cute!

Have a wonderful weekend! ¬†As I used to say to my students: Stay safe & Make good choices! ūüėČ

Signature

To Take the Class or Not…That’s the Question…

childbirth ed

Childbirth education classes. ¬†Are they all they’re cracked up to be? ¬†Are they really that important, necessary, worth your time?

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted in my pregnancy series. ¬†In keeping with the sequencing of preparing for baby, it seemed the next logical post should address the idea of childbirth education classes and their importance to pregnant mamas. ¬†Let me just start out by saying that whether you’re planning, or hoping for, a natural delivery or medicated, vaginal birth or cesarean section, childbirth education classes are a MUST in my opinion. ¬†The ultimate goal is for mamas (and dads) to have the¬†confidence to make their own choices and decisions during the childbirth experience. ¬†This confidence comes directly from educating oneself and being fully prepared for what is about to occur during that beautiful time. ¬†Childbirth education classes don’t just educate; they can relieve stress and anxiety by explaining the ins and outs of labor, inform mamas of their options, teach relaxation, breathing and pain relieving techniques, create and foster a bond between mom and dad in preparation for baby’s arrival, inform dad about the process, support he can give and his role in the birth of his child and prepare new mamas for what lies ahead.

“Taking a course is not a requirement; you’ll get to give birth no matter what,” says Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Workman Publishing). “It’s just that they call it ‘childbirth preparation’ for a reason: it helps prepare you. It takes the mystery out of it. Information is empowering, and what you don’t know can scare you more than it should.”

Although most doctors, midwives and doulas across the country recommend their patients take some sort of childbirth education/preparation class, more and more women are choosing to forgo taking the class in exchange for doing their own research on the internet (which might explain why you’re reading this post in the first place! ;)). ¬†According to a study by¬†Listening to Mothers II: Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences (Declercq, Sakala, Corry, & Applebaum, 2006), researchers found that only about 56% of women expecting their first baby took a childbirth prep class and 9% of experienced mamas took a class. ¬†However, 82% of women included in the study claimed to have wanted more information about the birth process. ¬†These statistics are startlingly alarming for maternity doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas. ¬†Basically what it means is that although women admit to needing/desiring to be better informed, they are not following through with taking the classes that can give them this knowledge. ¬†This leads to women in the delivery room who are not prepared, have no information on breathing or relaxation techniques (think this might have something to do the fact that¬†81% of first time moms have an epidural!?) and who have to rely whole-heartedly on their provider for advice and what to do. ¬†Not only does this cause more work for the provider, but it also creates an experience where the mama is unable to take charge of her birth and make informed decisions on behalf of herself and her baby where she is in control.

Benefits of Childbirth Education Classes

  • Build mama’s (and dad’s) confidence in herself and her ability to give birth
  • Educate on the process of labor including stages, what to expect, duration of each stage, etc.
  • Inform mama on signs of labor, when to call your caregiver/go to the hospital or birthing center, what to do if your water breaks, how to time contractions, false labor vs the real deal
  • Give parents the ability to discuss and dispel fears and concerns not only with the childbirth educator, but also with other couples with similar concerns
  • Educate on pain management techniques including breathing, relaxation, massage, aromatherapy and pain medicine options.
  • Not only teach about breathing techniques, but also give mamas an opportunity to practice these techniques ahead of time so that she feels more prepared for labor
  • Inform dads (or birth partners) on support to give laboring mamas, what to expect and what role to take in the childbirth process (things to do, get, be in charge of, etc.)
  • Build a community of support by getting to know other couples in your class that are going through the same thing you are
  • Inform mamas of what to expect before, during and after labor, both physically and emotionally. ¬†Including recovery information and tips.
  • Educate new parents about care of newborns – safety, feeding, diapering, overall care, how to identify illness, how to deal with fussiness, etc.
  • Give parents¬†an opportunity to tour their birthing facility (if classes are taken at the same location) – this reduces anxiety, gets you familiar with the surroundings and eases tension when labor actually starts because you’ll know exactly where to go!

‚ÄúPrepared childbirth classes remain a valuable experience for individuals who participated. In the present study, the majority of women who attended classes viewed childbirth educators and prepared childbirth classes positively. Women who attended classes were more satisfied with their labor and birth experience and felt more prepared compared to women who did not attend classes‚ÄĚ –¬†‚ÄúPatient‚Äôs Perspectives on the Role of Prepared Childbirth Education in Decision‚ÄĚ, Lamaze Institute

Types of Childbirth Education Classes Offered

  • Lamaze¬ģ International:¬†a contemporary curriculum that supports birth as normal, natural, and healthy and empowers expectant women and their partners to make informed decisions. ¬†For more info:¬†http://www.lamaze.org
  • The Bradley Method¬ģ:¬†helps women prepare for a natural labor and birth without the use of medication or medical interventions. ¬†For more info:¬†http://www.bradleybirth.com/
  • Hypnobirthing¬ģ:¬†teaches mothers that if you remove fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be part of labor. Intense relaxation will enhance natural birthing instincts that lead to a calm and serene birth experience. ¬†For more info:¬†http://www.hypnobirthing.com/
  • Birthing From Within¬ģ:¬†prepares mothers to give ‚Äúbirth-in-awareness,‚ÄĚ not to achieve a specific birth outcome. ¬†For more info:¬†http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/

Where Do I Find a Childbirth Education Class?

Or talk to:

  • Your caregiver – doctor, midwife or doula
  • Your birth facility – hospital or birthing center
  • Friends and family
  • Community resource centers

So there you have it. ¬†Some of the ways that educating yourself ahead of time through childbirth education classes can help before, during and after your childbirth experience. ¬†Can you find some of this same information on the internet?? ¬†Probably, and in fact people like me would be without readers if no one used the good ol’ World Wide Web to educate themselves. ¬†However, there is something to be said about having that back and forth conversation and relationship while learning, the ability to ask questions and get expert advice, building and fostering relationships not only between you and your spouse/birth partner, but also among other couples preparing to take the same journey as you and the educator who is a certified expert in this content and obtaining hands-on skills and practice that can only be achieved through childbirth education classes.

I get it, you’re thinking that all that breathing crap is hooey when it comes time for labor and yeah, yeah it will all go out the window when the pain gets tough… but I’m here to tell you that that isn’t always the case. ¬†Take it from a girl who “breathed” her way through a natural childbirth. ¬†Furthermore, don’t you suppose those breathing and relaxation techniques might come in handy later in life?? ¬†For example, when the baby has colic and won’t stop crying for hours, or when your toddler has pushed you to the limit?? ¬†Besides, these classes are about WAY more than just breathing (as we’ve already established)! ¬†So if you haven’t done so already, do some research and get yourself signed up for a childbirth prep class. ¬†Trust me, you won’t regret it…but if you don’t, when the going gets tough right around being dilated to 5-6…you’ll wish you had! ūüėČ

“We could all use a little Lamaze in our life endeavors. ¬†Between each push, remember to breathe.” -Unknown

Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

American Pregnancy Association

Lamaze Institute, ‚ÄúPatient‚Äôs Perspectives on the Role of Prepared Childbirth Education in Decision‚ÄĚ

Listening to Mothers II: Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences

 

Fresh Cherry Cobbler/Crisp

cherry crisp

Remember last week when I promised you a super yummy recipe for your fresh cherries?!  Well here it is: Fresh Cherry Crisp

What you need:

  • 4 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl combine cherries,¬†1 1/2 cups white sugar, and 4 tablespoons flour. Pour into 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over cherries.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

**Special shout out to my neighbor for this awesome recipe!! :)**

Enjoy!!!

Signature

 

Happy {Belated} 4th of July!

images-4

4th of July is one of the best holidays ever, isn’t it?!! ¬†I mean what’s better than enjoying time with the family, barbecuing, going to parades and fireworks and soaking up the sun? ¬†Did you know that over 150 million hotdogs were eaten Friday and 700 million pounds of chicken were purchased last week leading up to the 4th?! ¬†WOW!!!

Growing up, the 4th of July was a huge deal in our house! ¬†Each year we dressed up in our patriotic colors and spent the day parade hopping, having a picnic lunch, going swimming in the afternoon and spending the evening in the park walking through the carnival, eating our standard fried chicken, pasta salad, chips dinner and waiting for the fireworks to start! ¬†Same thing every year! ¬†Luckily for me, my husband didn’t have much in the way of 4th of July traditions with his family, so he acclimated right in (minus the parade part because for some crazy reason he HATES them!!). ¬†Now that we have M, it’s been so much fun to spend the day with her, showing her our traditions and yearly activities and getting to experience them in a whole new way, through her!

Here are some highlights of our day:

IMG_0947

Waiting for the parade to start and of course we sat facing the sun so she was squinting and looking mad in all of her pics! ūüôā

IMG_0949

Parade!

IMG_0958

Swinging at the park!

IMG_0959

Time for fireworks!!!

 

How blessed are we to live in this great country!?! ¬†Happy Birthday, America…