beauty for ashes

24 May 2011

hall closet redo

This is a picture of my hall closet yesterday.  Frightening, isn't it?  Exceedingly cluttered and disorganized.  So...I decided to get some order in that sucka.  I knew I wanted to use fun baskets or boxes of some kind.  You see, I recently got sucked into the world of pinterest, which then led to Martha Stewart's website.  I do not necessarily like her personality...but I do love her homemaking skills.  So clever.  And most lovely and organized closets have boxes or baskets to help them out.

Here is all of the stuff out of the closet and on my counter:

So the family went to Target yesterday to troubleshoot this storage idea.  Can I just mention that I love Target.  I could spend hours every day there.  Anyways...cute storage items cost a ridiculous amount of money.  Literally my eyes might have bugged out of my head as I calculated the absurd cost of decluttering my tiny closet.  So we improvised.

These beauties were $15 for ten.  Not a bad price, although they are quite ugly.  I originally wanted to do eight storage containers, but when I tried these out in the closet, I could only fit one per shelf.

I had some green and yellow paint and sponge brushes left over from Jonah's room decorating, so I decided to paint these guys and steal a cute labeling idea I found online.  I took the boxes outside and got to work.  Now, I am not going to lie to you...I did not paint the back or the bottom.  But really, no one will see those unless they are being exceedingly nosy.  Here they are in progress:

Note the cute clothes pin to hold the label.  It makes it easy to switch out what goes in the box.

Now, marvel at my fabulous makeover!

Much nicer than the beginning, huh?  So proud!

22 May 2011

I made it!

I am not a very crafty person.  I wish with every bone in my body that I was...but alas...I am not.

So you cannot imagine my excitement when I created something tonight!
Unfortunately, I was dumb and did not take pictures of the project.  But I will do my best to explain what I did.
I went to this site and looked at what they had created.  So cute!

So naturally, I ripped them off.
I started with one of Joshua's ill-fitting grey t-shirts.  I cut the hem off of the bottom and then cut horizontal strips from the bottom up to the armpits.  I think I got about ten strips or so.
Then I stretched them out so each curled in on itself.  I then looped it twice around my neck and took the hem to tie the pieces together.
I had a cute  pearl broach that I added and snipped the ends off the piece I tied it with.

I really like it.
Also, I made my son a bracelet from one of the sleeves.  Isn't he the cutest thing ever?

21 May 2011

breastfeeding: frustrating and fulfilling

When I was 28 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  I had to check my sugar and completely cut out carbs and sugar, but I was able to keep my sugar levels reasonable.  Everything I read went on and on about how babies born to women with gd (yes...I called it gd...) tended to be massive.  Easily ten pounds.  Or more.  This freaked me out a bit since I was planning on doing this all natural.  It sounded extra painful.  So, you can imagine my surprise when Alice brought my sweet Jonah back and announced that he was a whopping 5 b 3 oz!  What??  Where was my gigantic baby?  This guy was so tiny!

He was able to latch like a champ before we left the Birth Cottage, so I felt pretty good.  There was never a question in my mind about breastfeeding.  It was was was perfect. 
I patiently waited for my milk to come in...
and waited...
and waited...
Meanwhile, Jonah was screaming and screaming.  And his weight dropped to 4 lb 8 oz.  At that point, my midwives encouraged me to supplement with formula while they looked for mama's that would be willing to donate milk.  It was clear that my milk was NOT coming in.  They also encouraged me to drink mother's milk tea to see if that would increase production.
This was exceedingly difficult for me.  I had always dreamed of nursing my child, of the bond this would create.  It devastated me.  When it came time to call the pediatrician and let him know that we would be supplementing, I dissolved into tears (which quickly turned to gut-wrenching sobs) and handed the phone to Joshua.  I knew my son needed to eat, but it was like tearing out my heart to not produce enough milk for him.  I felt inadequate.  I felt like I was letting my son down...not giving him the best.  I cannot describe in great enough detail the sorrow this caused.

Layla recommended that I try using a supplemental nursing system to keep Jonah to the breast as often as possible.  For those who are unfamiliar with this device, it looks like this:

You hang it around your neck and tape the tubes to your breasts so they end at your nipple.  This way, the baby stimulates your breast while getting the nutrition they need.  I was able to get donated breastmilk that carried us through the first three weeks or so, which was amazing!  I am so grateful to the ladies that helped us out.  It means the world to me.
The sns was frustrating.  It is nerve wracking to put it on and tape it in place with a screaming baby in my lap, especially when Joshua was back at work and I was trying to keep quiet so he could sleep.  But, I was willing to do whatever was necessary.
When Jonah was 10 days old, I went to a lactation support group.  There, Vicki (who taught my childbirth class) encouraged me to pump often and pick up more milk special blend with goats rue in it.  At the class, I weighed Jonah before we nursed, then nursed him (he still latched like a champ), and then weighed him after.  My heart sank as I did the math a figured out that he was getting less than 1/4 of an ounce from me.  No wonder he was screaming!  I was starving my baby.  This, of course, brought on a fresh meltdown.
I faithfully pumped and took my supplements.  Vicki also encouraged me to bottle feed at night and do the sns during the day.  This was a great move, since we were getting really frustrated at 3 am.
Eventually, we had to start formula, which sucked.
All the while, I still pumped and took my supplements.
I wish I could say that my supply increased enough to exclusively breastfeed, but no such luck.  My supply slowly increased to one ounce every couple hours.  It has been a lot of work.
But Jonah loves to nurse.  We nurse before and after each nap.  I love it.  I love the feeling of closeness.  And we will continue to nurse until Jonah is ready to wean.

These pictures are why I love nursing.

I get to look down at my sweet boy.  And it makes my heart happy.

17 May 2011


So, recently I have been trying to get in touch with my craftier side, and this little machine looks like it would be fantastic to own!!

And I can enter to win it on this blog...and so can you!!

tatertots and jello

16 May 2011

swing swing swing on a summer (that feels like fall) day

Today was absolutely gorgeous!  My lucky son got to hang out outside for most of the day.  First, he hung out with Nana and Papa (and guard dog Maggie!) in their front yard.

Then we met Sarah, Verity, and Esther at Winthrop Park.  First activity on the agenda:


After a good nap and a good meal, I decided to try putting him in one of the swings.  I had tried this about a month ago, but he was, to quote Sarah "too floppy" and he hated it.  This time, success!

It was a wee bit chilly, so we had to break out the long-sleeved onesie and beanie.  And the adorable babylegs.  Which totally did not match his beanie.  But whatever...
Oh, and if you are wondering what he is staring so intently at, here you are:


She wanted to go faster, and faster, and faster!

As he got more comfortable, he cozied into the swing, pulling his legs up and settling back.

Love him <3

I did actually swing him back and forth a bit.  You just cannot tell that from these pictures.
I wish I could have captured the myriad of expressions on his face as he was swinging.  Happy, scared, concerned, pensive, all in rapid succession across his adorable little face.

So fun!

15 May 2011

elimination communication

In an effort to be even more of a hippie mama, I am seriously looking into trying elimination communication, or as the pros call it, EC.
Now, I am starting this journey knowing next to nothing about this.  All I have heard is that I can significantly reduce the number of dirty diapers I have to wash out.
Need I say more???

Here are some resources I have found helpful thus far:

diaper free baby

This site has some really great information, although I felt like I kinda had to dig a bit to get to it.  I am a simple girl...just give it to me straight!  It did have a lot of good information though!

born potty trained

This one was my speed.  Simple and to the point!

free to ec

This one is a woman's personal story.  It is cool to look at someone else's experiences.

So...I think we may try this.  It can't hurt...
I will be honest, I am a little skeptical.
I will let you know how it goes.

tasty treat

 I recently discovered a new favorite recipe.  It is easy and quick and it tastes ah-mazing.  I found the recipe online one night when I wanted something tasty and my husband was gone for the evening.
Not that Joshua was the tasty thing I wanted.
or...maybe he was...but that is beside the point.
I had coconut, cocoa powder, and almonds.  I also had oats.  And did not want to use flour.

So, here is what I came up with:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
Put margarine, milk, sugar, and cocoa in a sauce pan.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat and continue to boil for five minutes.
Remove from heat and and stir in vanilla and almond extract.
Stir in oats, coconut, and almonds and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper and let them cool and harden.

They look super tasty!!

10 May 2011

Jonah's first swim!

Today I took Jonah to the pool in Sarah's neighborhood.  It was a blast!  I was a little nervous about it because it was a bit chilly out, but Jonah really seemed to enjoy it.
I apologize in advance for the pictures of me in a bathing suit.
And the million and one pictures!

I got cloth swim diapers.  They are super cute.  Here we are getting ready:
swim diaper by bummis

the 3-6 month shirt is a wee bit large!
 I also have a rally fabulous sling that is made to be worn in the water and dries quickly in the sun.

sling by taylormade
The water was freezing!  At least, it was at first, and any time I had to get out and back in again.  But Jonah did not even seem to notice!  He would catch is breath each time I dipped him farther in, but he made no complaints.  First we dipped just the feet.

And then, the most shocking part, the torso:

He loved it!  I took him out of the sling for a bit and let him kick his legs to his little heart's content.  He had tiny baby goosebumps and would shiver every now and again, but he was smiling and really into the water. We played with these lovely ladies:
Sarah, Esther (3 months), and Verity (2 1/2 yrs) Gray swimming with me and Jonah!
 So much fun with these lovely ladies!
My mama!


Sarah and Verity!

Poor Verity loved running around the pool, which is a big no no!  She ended up in time-out for a few minutes, but did great the rest of the time!

 And then she put on a performance for us!

Eventually I decided that we should warm up for a bit.  Nana wrapped him in a towel and sat out in the warm sun.  He looked super cute in his hooded towel!

And Jonah and Esther both needed to rest after such an action packed day!  They both fell asleep poolside while the rest of us partied it up!
I took a moment to relax as well.  Note Esther in the background.

And my baby has adorable toes!
After the pool, Jonah and Esther had a few fun moments of tummy time.  They had quite the intense conversations!

It was a lovely day!  I am so excited that Jonah really liked the pool.  Cannot wait to go again!!