High Five for Friday

Hey everyone!  Did you have a good week?  We’re headed home from a week long trip to Gatlinburg.  Michael had a class/conference thing he had to go to for work (the same one we went to two years ago - crazy how time flies) so Hudson and I tagged along with him.  I was excited about a little family getaway but also apprehensive about traveling with a baby.  Overall Hudson did much better than I expected.  The trip down here, while long because we had to stop a lot to feed him, wasn’t too bad and he didn’t cry nearly as much as I expected.  During the day Hudson and I stayed in the hotel and relaxed, then after Michael got out of class we’d go eat and sightsee.  We had two good, easy days in the hotel and two days where he fussed a lot and didn’t want to nap much so that was a little challenging.  But he did pretty well considering and he slept great at night so I was very thankful for that!  Now if we can just have a smooth trip home today *fingers crossed*.

Any-who…here’s what I’m High Fiving today:

1.  This rocking camping chair.  One thing I was nervous about in regards from our trip was the fact that I’d be away from my rocking recliner where Hudson and I spend, oh, 23 hours out of the day.  Ok not that much, but that’s where I feed him and rock him to sleep so it gets a lot of use.  I was afraid that not having a rocker would be an issue and only half-jokingly asked Michael if we could pack the recliner.  I was very happy to find a camping chair that rocks and that folded up nice and small for traveling.  It’s not the smoothest rocking motion in the world but it’s good enough and has served us well this week.

2.  My Moby Wrap and Ergo.  We packed the stroller and have not used it once (we actually packed a lot of things that haven’t gotten used…I told you I was an over-packer!).  I’ve just been wearing Hudson everywhere and a lot of times I wear him while we eat because he will sleep much better being worn than he will in his carseat.  It’s been great and is much easier, I think, than lugging the stroller around.  We’ve gotten a lot of curious looks which I think is strange because I see people babywearing all the time but it must be odd to some.

It really tripped out the hostess at Bubba Gump’s one night.  She tried to seat us in this teeny-tiny little booth.  I was wearing Hudson and there was no way I could fit the both of us in the booth.  We asked her for a table (there was one literally three feet from the booth) and she said that there wasn’t anyone to serve the table (the restaurant was nearly empty).  She tried to get us to put Hudson (who she referred to as “her”) in a high chair but that doesn’t fly for obvious reasons (like, ummm, the fact that he’s way too little to sit up on his own).  It got to the point where I thought we were going to have to leave and find a different restaurant when another waitress overheard and offered to serve us at the table rather than the booth.  We sat there and then the hostess girl announced very loudly to the rest of the restaurant that “there are two people sitting at a table for six and I don’t know what to do about that!”.

I really had no idea wearing a baby was going to cause such fuss!

mobyJust snoozing away while we ate at The Old Mill

3.  I was a guest blogger over here this week sharing how to make homemade stretch mark cream.  You should go check it out!

4. I did not eat this slug for lunch last week.  I came close, but narrowly escaped.  I made my sandwich for lunch and realized I had forgotten mustard.  I lifted the bread off the top to add my mustard and saw something dark; I thought it was a piece of shrivelly lettuce…you know how it gets black and mushy?  Umm, no.  It was a slug, crawling on my sandwich.  I freaked out a little and needless to say lost my appetite for lunch.  Do you know how close I came to eating that?!?  Eww.  What if I hadn’t realized I needed mustard?!?  Horrors.

I’ll be washing my lettuce a little more carefully from here on out.

slugsorry for the poor picture quality…little booger was wiggling all over the place and I couldn’t get a good focus (it definitely wasn’t because I was shaking with relief…)

5.  Michael’s class this morning was super short, just long enough to pick up his certificate of completion, so we went to Cade’s Cove before we headed home. Hudson cried pretty much the whole ride from Gatlinburg to Cade’s Cove but once we got there he settled down and we were able to drive the loop in relative peace.

The detour was so worth it! We saw a group of three bears (a mama and two cubs we think), several deer, and another group of two bears. The second set of bears were really close to us and that was so neat.

Photo May 09, 12 08 47 PMbears at Cade's CoveCade's Covedeer at Cade's Coveblack bears at Cade's Cove

Oh and this.  Michael found this on Craigslist the other day.

fainting goatsThey.Faint.Well.

You’re welcome.

(can I admit that for half a second I wanted to buy these just to make them faint?)

Linking up with Lauren.

super simple fudge pie

super simple fudge pie

I used to think making a fudge pie would be difficult and time consuming.  Guess what…it isn’t.  But shhh, that’ll be our little secret ‘mkay?  You can wow your friends and family when you make this pie and then chuckle gleefully to yourself since it took all of ten minutes of work.

This recipe was passed on to me from Michael’s mom who got it from Michael’s grandmother…a true family recipe.  It has quickly become my go-to dessert recipe since it is so very simple and quick to make.  In fact, I use I recipe so much that I quit putting it in my recipe folder and instead I leave it out on display to give me easy access (because yes, even though I’ve made it a million times I still have to reference the instructions…maybe someday I’ll have it memorized!).

fudge pie recipe

I try to always have the necessary ingredients at home; I can’t tell you how many times that has saved me when I’ve realized we have a potluck at church the next day or I have people coming over and I want to whip up something for dessert or I’m just too tired to spend time cooking something more complicated.

fudge pie ingredientsButter, eggs, sugar, and flour are staples in my pantry, then I make a point to keep several pie crusts and a few boxes of the bakers chocolate on hand as well.

This literally takes less than ten minutes to throw together.  Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

fudge pie 1Melt your chocolate in a medium mixing bowl

fudge pie 2Then add butter and melt some more

fudge pie 3Mmmm buttery, melty goodness.  Give it a good stir.

fudge pie 4Now add the sugar,

fudge pie 5the flour,

fudge pie 6and the eggs.

fudge pie 7Pour the mixture in your pie shell, pop it in the oven, and voila!

super simple fudge pie

Recipe:

Ingredients
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
- 1 unbaked regular pie crust

Instructions
Melt the chocolate in the microwave on high for one minute.  Add butter and melt on 3 (or for our microwave that is 30%) for two minutes.  Stir.  Add the sugar and flour, then slowly stir in eggs.  Pour in the pie shell.  Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

So easy.  So delicious.  Guaranteed to impress.

Hudson is three months old

Three months old already!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Month three has been quite a bit easier than the first two months of Hudson’s life.  We’ve kind of fallen into a routine and things aren’t quite so new and scary and overwhelming.  It’s so much fun to watch Hudson grow and change!   He has such a big personality for such a little guy!

Here are some things we’ve been up to this month:

Hudson started really trying hard to suck his thumb.  He’s not quite coordinated enough to get it in his mouth though so he settles for whatever skin he can get in his mouth (usually his wrist or fist).  We often hear him slurping away on his hands while he is in his carseat (which he still hates, by the way).

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I know, this is the saddest thing ever.  He finally started crying real tears.  He has only cried tears maybe three times and it is just heartbreaking when it happens!

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The wide-eyed, forehead wrinkled look is Hudson’s standard expression.  He always looks very concerned or surprised.

A lot of his hair has fallen out (and is still falling out every day), but what is there has curled up quite a bit.  Michael calls his hair “mad scientist hair” because it sticks up all over the place.  In addition to losing most of what is on top he also has a bald spot on the back where most babies get bald spots.  However he has thick, soft, dark hair on the back of his head under the bald spot so he’s rocking the mullet look.

His eyes have changed and become a much lighter blue.  I know I’m totally biased but I think he has beautiful eyes.

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Nursing is going much better now.  He eats much faster and the pain is greatly reduced – still there, but much less than what we dealt with at the beginning and for that I am thankful.  After he eats he likes me to turn him around and prop him on the Boppy pillow in my lap so that he can look at me.  We talk and play…and I take lots of pictures of him!

On this particular day he became fascinated with some random spot on the ceiling and stared at it for a good long time.

IMG_3675Our poor little guy had his first illnesses this month.  He got a cold several weeks ago and was all congested.  I would take a really hot shower and we’d close the bathroom door to make it all steamy and then bring him in there to help loosen up the congestion.  We also made friends with the Nose Frieda, a disgusting little contraption that helps to get snot out of babies’ noses.  We used saline spray, which he hated, and I used lots of essential oils on him for his congestion and then again later in the month when he got a cough.  Fortunately neither sickness lasted long and he didn’t really seemed bothered by them.

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As long as he has been fed and isn’t too tired, Hudson is generally a very happy baby.  This adorable smile is what we see most of the time.  It’s so funny though, he is very solemn when we are out in public.  I guess it’s all the activity around him, but when were are at church or visiting family he just stares at everyone and doesn’t smile much.  I think he’s taking everything in.

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We started putting him in his Bumbo seat.  The first time he kind of struggled but now he’s a champ at holding his head up so he can sit up in the Bumbo for several minutes on his own.

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He likes to sit up now and it getting pretty good at it.  I’ll sit him on my leg and hold on to his torso; he holds that head up and looks around at everything.

IMG_3694His sad pouty lip gets me every time

IMG_3698We finally ventured out of sleepers and started putting him in little “outfits” when we go out.  He expressed his disapproval for these outfits by having massive blow out poops the first three times we put him in something other than a sleeper.  It’s like HE KNOWS…

IMG_3732He’s precious when he’s mad and he’s precious when he’s happy.

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Like, seriously, who can resist that sweet smile and those big blue eyes?

He is a spit up machine.  Multiple times a day, every day.  We go through a lot of outfits.  It doesn’t seem to bother him in the least so I’m not too worried about it.

IMG_3753And the excessive spit up doesn’t seem to be hindering his growth any!  We didn’t have a doctor’s visit this month so we measured him at home with a tape measure and weighed him on our scale (Michael weighed himself with and without Hudson and we calculated the difference).  Our teeny little squirt is now 12 pounds, 6 oz and 23.5 inches long.

He’s still long and skinny, especially compared to many babies, but he is definitely more plump than when he was first born and he’s beginning to get some adorable rolls.
IMG_3774 IMG_3781Hudson is definitely a mama’s boy right now (primary food source for the win), but loves his daddy, too, and I love seeing them play together after work each evening.  Michael is so wonderful to take him in between feedings at night so I can get some things done or just go take a relaxing bath.  I love both my boys so very much.IMG_3788 IMG_3807The paci is still very hit-or-miss.  We mostly use it to help him get to sleep.  He lets it fall out as soon as he falls asleep though and he has little use for it when he is awake.  He can hold it in on his own if he wants to, but usually he won’t and it falls out and goes bouncing all over the place.

He has quite the grip and loves to hold on to things – you can see him holding Michael’s shirt in the picture above.  He also frequently grabs his own clothes or bib and holds on to them.  Or my hair…somehow he always gets a handful of my hair.

IMG_3834We keep this little seat in the kitchen and he’s usually content to hang out there while I work in the kitchen or eat a (quick) meal.IMG_3845Look at those mad daddy skills…cooking dinner while holding a sleeping baby.  *swoon*.

IMG_3848We are not a super sporty family but we did watch the NCAA championship.  Obviously Hudson was incredibly interested in the game…

IMG_3886I really need to figure out how to put videos on my blog.  This dude is so funny.  When we unswaddle him he stretches so big and his faces are hysterical.  And when you pick him up after he has eaten and he’s all full and happy he arches his back and sticks his bottom out in a funny little stretch.IMG_3894 IMG_3906Sleeping is soooooooo much better now.  He sleeps through the night now – usually from 10-11pm to 6-7am.  It’s amazing.  He takes pretty good naps during the day; usually several short ones and one long one.  He no longer has to be held in order to sleep.  I usually swaddle him and rock him to sleep, then put him in his Rock ‘N Play with the fan on for white noise and he sleeps great.  Of course, sometimes I hold him during his nap just because I want to.  I’m hoping that the good sleep will continue from here on out.
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We get told just about every day how much Hudson looks like his daddy, but this picture of him stretching reminds me a little of some of my baby pictures.

We still have the cosleeper attached to our bed but he has yet to sleep in it.  He has been sleeping so well in his Rock’n Play that I kind of hate to mess with a good thing, you know?  However, I lay him in the cosleeper sometimes when I’m making the bed or folding clothes or getting ready in the morning.  He seems to enjoy the different view and just watches me or the ceiling fan.
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Michael’s mom gave us a bunch of Michael’s baby clothes so Hudson has been wearing some of them to church.  This yellow one was a wee bit too small but we wore it anyway.

I don’t know how our parents had the patience with our clothes.  They have tee-tiny little buttons,  no stretch, all kinds of crazy things like belts.  They are not easy to get on and off.
IMG_3953We have a good little routine going now and I finally feel like I have a little bit of a handle on things.  Since he doesn’t have to be held while he sleeps I’m able to lay him down for his naps and then get some thing done around the house.  Usually he eats, is awake for a while and we hang out and “play”, then goes down for a nap; we repeat that little cycle during the day.IMG_3956 IMG_3962We started using cloth diapers a few weeks ago.  So far I really like them.  They are easy to use and the washing hasn’t been nearly as big of an ordeal as I expected.  The only thing that I don’t care for is how big and bulky they are under his clothes but that’s probably not as obvious to everyone else as it is to me.  We’re still using disposables at night and sometimes when we are out and about, but the majority of the time we use cloth.
IMG_3966 IMG_3992Everyone says he looks like his daddy, but he definitely has some of my traits, too – he has a cleft chin like me and big feet like me (and my mom’s whole side of the family).  He also stretches just like me and it’s hilarious to watch.  We looked at some old baby pictures and occasionally I see a glimpse of me; he looks more like my brother Riley than he does my brother Brendan or me…but really he’s pretty much just all Michael.

IMG_4022 IMG_4055He lays like this with his hands behind his head a lot…so chill!
IMG_4062Easter was Hudson’s first big holiday.  We bought him a few toys and books for his Easter basket…except I totally feel down on the job of getting him his own Easter basket so we used mine instead.  I mean, it’s not like he noticed….

We went home for Easter and that was Hudson’s first big trip somewhere (one hour each way).  We were gone less than 12 hours but of course I packed nearly our whole house!  Babies require a lot of stuff…and when you have a big spitter like us you have to have extra clothes for baby, Mommy, and Daddy.  We got to introduce Hudson to lots of family and friends and we had a wonderful time.  He did pretty well traveling and being out of his routine all day.
IMG_4064His sweet Easter outfit that he wore to church Sunday morning. 
IMG_4069Then we changed him into one of Michael’s old outfits for Easter lunch.

…and then he spit up on Grandmama’s nice chair right as I was taking this picture.  Shh…don’t tell.
IMG_4075 Michael helped him hunt his first egg.
IMG_4076Happy Easter from our little family!
IMG_4092Some other things from this month:

I really needed to go shopping for clothes for myself so my mom came and went with us so that she could watch Hudson while I shopped and tried on clothes.  He did great, although he hates being strapped in to his carseat/stroller so Mom had to hold him most of the time.  I struggled with anxiety at the beginning of our outing just having him out with all those people around and because he was out of my line of sight.  Don’t get me wrong, I totally trust my mom to take care of him, but I just had some irrational mommy fears that someone was going to attack them both and steal Hudson.  That went away after we’d been shopping for a while but it bothered me at first.

I took Hudson to school for several hours one day.  My wonderful sub and some of the other teachers at school went ahead with a spring bookfair even though I wasn’t there to organize it.  I went one day to help out and also to attend a baby shower for one of my friends.  It was fun to go back and let everyone meet Hudson.  The kids were so excited to see me and him!  But I have to say that I don’t miss it at all; staying home with Hudson is definitely my favorite job :).

He has changed so much.  I look back at the pictures and am shocked at how different he looks in just three months.  I used to think it was weird when people would say “he/she is growing too fast!” but now I totally understand what they mean!  It feels like he was just born and now he’s growing and changing (and it doesn’t help that people remind me of that and of how fast time goes nearly every day….)

He is very alert and has such a big personality.  I could just sit and watch him all day because he is so adorable!
IMG_4108There are no words to describe the love I have for Hudson.  Sometimes I just look at him and tear up because I love him so much.  I tell Michael that “my heart is overflowing and coming out my eyes”.  Being his mommy is absolutely the best.

3 month comparison

High Five for Friday

It’s that time again…time to tell you five things that are making me happy.  What a great way to kick of the weekend hm?

1.  I got on the sewing machine this week for the first time in ages.  Since Hudson was born making time for crafting hasn’t been much of a priority.  I really needed to make some nursing tanks, though, so I escaped to my machine for a few minutes.  It wasn’t a super long project but it was nice to exercise my crafty muscles.  The nursings tanks were super easy, I followed this tutorial and hammered out 7 of them in about 20 minutes.  Plus I used the $1.80 tanks from Forever 21 so I made 7 nursing tanks for less than $14.00 in less than 20 minutes.  Not bad.

2.  We tried a new recipe this week that was really easy and really delicious.  They are called Yumm Bowls and Lindsey over at The Pleated Poppy (where I used to link up my What I Wore Wednesday post back when I wore something more than spit up covered pajamas every day) blogged about this recipe and it looked amazing so we tried it.  And it was super yum.

3.  I painted my toenails for the first time since December?  Early January?  I’m not quite sure.  I was planning to get a pedicure before Hudson was born but I went into labor before that got done.

post partum swollen feetmy very chipped toenails (and incredibly swollen feet) a few days after Hudson was born

Since then painting my nails hasn’t been that big of a priority, you know?  But now that it’s warm (some days) and sandal weather I figured it was time.  It’s amazing how one little thing like pretty toes can make me feel good.

Photo Apr 18, 8 39 16 AM

4.  We started using cloth diapers this week.  We’re not using them all the time yet, mostly just at home until I get the hang of everything, but so far I really like them.  It’s not any grosser than regular diapers and it’s not that difficult to run a little bit more laundry.  So far, so good.

BumGenius math equation cloth diaperWhy yes that is a diaper with math equations…what else would you expect the child of an engineer and former math teacher to wear?  Now if only I could find one with books on it….

5.  Yesterday I got my monthly essential oils order.  It’s like Christmas when my package comes!  My organizing loving heart was so thrilled to get bottle labels and I happily sat in the floor and labelled all my bottles.

April young living essential rewards orderlabeling young living essential oils bottlesAren’t they pretty?

Now to get one of every oil so I can use all my labels….

I wish.

Oh but if I did, how would I organize them?  By color?  Alphabetically?  Hmm….

Anyway.

This post is brought to you by this cute guy who I can hear “talking” in the bedroom so I better go get him up from his nap.

Photo Apr 18, 9 12 42 AMPhoto Apr 14, 8 34 47 AMPhoto Apr 14, 7 47 59 AM

I can hardly stand the cuteness.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone.

Linking up with Lauren

 

High Five for Friday

Friday again?  When you aren’t blogging every day Friday rolls around pretty quickly.  (Someday I will get back to a consistent blogging schedule.  Someday.  Like when I’m brushing my hair consistently and there aren’t cobwebs hanging from the bench in my foyer.  You just wish I were kidding…)

On that lovely note, here are my five things today:

1.  Monday I had a really rough day.  Hudson had had two nights in a row where he did not sleep well at all and then he wouldn’t take long enough nap during the day for me to nap, too.  I was exhausted.  I asked Michael if he would pull Hudson duty for a little while that evening so I could have a break.  Being the wonderful husband and father that he is of course he said yes, so after one of Hudson’s feedings I escaped upstairs to take a bath.  We’ve lived in this house for a year and a half and I’ve never used the bathtub…I’ve always preferred showers over baths.  But Monday it just sounded like the perfect thing.  I was able to soak and read a magazine and have some prayer time and it was wonderful.  I think I may try to work a bath in every week because it was wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating.

Not meaning to get so off track here, but I just have to take a moment and say that I think single mothers must be super women.  I’m serious.  So many times since Hudson has been born I’ve thought of the single moms that I know.  This is a hard job for sure, but I always know that if it gets too overwhelming I have Michael there to step in and give me a break.  I can’t imagine needing a break or feeling that exhaustion and knowing there is no one there but me.  So any single mom readers that I have, you are awesome and don’t you forget it.

2.  I am so excited about Hudson’s first Easter.  I know he is way too little to understand what is going on, but I’m still really looking forward to it.  We’re just getting him some little baby toys and books for his Easter basket that we would have bought anyway, but I guess since it’s our first holiday (Valentine’s Day doesn’t count…we were still definitely in post-baby fog) it’s more special.  We’ll also get to see some family that hasn’t met Hudson yet so that will be fun.

3.  A productive day these days for me is getting two whole things done around the house.  It’s such a change from the engergizer bunny I used to be who could get tons of cleaning, crafting, and other projects done.  Now my days are spent feeding, rocking, and snuggling Hudson.  I am not complaining at all.  I love my job.  It’s just very different.  All that to say that I got two “projects” done this week that I’ve been wanting to do: I made homemade body wash and homemade baby wipe solution.  Both were so incredibly easy and quick; gathering the supplies was the most time consuming part.

The body wash is wonderful.  I was a little skeptical but it lathers nicely and cleans great.  I haven’t used the wipe solution yet.  Once we start cloth diapering (that was on my goal list for this week and it hasn’t happened yet but we still have two days so maybe I’ll get that started still) we are also going to use cloth wipes.  Since I haven’t started that yet I haven’t used the wipe solution, but I can say that it smells great!

4.  On the note of productive days…my old cleaning routine was to clean the whole house once a week.  It usually took two to three hours and at the end I’d have a sparkling clean house.  When I was working I would do the cleaning on Saturday or Sunday, when I wasn’t working then I’d try to do it on a weekday so that the weekends were free.  I also did all the laundry back to back to back on cleaning day.

Well, I no longer have blocks of two to three hours.  I’m lucky to get one full hour these days since Hudson takes pretty short naps.  Soooooo I’m having to change my mindset from getting the whole house clean at one time to one where I do a little bit each day to maintain the cleanliness.  This is totally new to me but fortunately Pinterest has a bajillion cleaning schedules like that so I’ve been looking at those and trying to get my game plan together.

Do you have a cleaning schedule?  If so, do you prefer to do one room per day (i.e. the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room) or do you prefer to do one thing per day (vacuum, dust, sweep, etc. no matter which room it’s in)?

Right now I’m leaning toward one thing per day so that I don’t have to get the vacuum out multiple times each day that I clean a room with carpet or the duster each day to dust each room.

Hudson is being particularly unpleasant fussy today and I’ve been trying to get this post written for hours.  I’m tired of writing a few sentences here and there so yeah, I’m only writing four things today.  Sorry if this greatly offends you.

Photo Apr 07, 12 13 56 PM

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Linking up with Lauren

the ultimate hospital packing list

the ultimate hospital packing list

I am a very organized person who tries to always be prepared.  Unfortunately for Michael this also means that I’m a chronic overpacker.  I tried really, really hard (I promise!) to not overpack for the hospital…however we still ended up with seven (eight if you count my large-and-in-charge purse) bags for the hospital, plus a birth ball, Hudson’s carseat, and some other bags that were in the car just in case (yeah that picture at the top of the post is not an accurate representation of how much stuff we took).  I did use most of the items that I brought, but there were some things that in hindsight were not at all needed. Knowing what I know now I’m going to help you create a hospital packing list that will (hopefully) help you bring just the necessities.

Since I knew we were going to have a lot of bags and also that our plan was to stay home as long as possible during labor (and therefore knew we wouldn’t want to haul a ton of stuff across the parking lot and through the hospital), I tried to prioritize and pack things based on how quickly we would need them so that we could leave some bags in the car and get them later.

Also remember that I did a natural birth and so quite a bit of this stuff is natural birth specific.

1. The In Case I Go into Labor While I’m Out and About Bag

- puppy pee pads (if you read Hudson’s birth story you know these came in very handy for me to protect the seats in my van as I drove home after my water broke)
- a pair of Depends (I know, weird, but we’ve talked about this already…)
- an extra change of clothes and shoes – I didn’t have this packed and honestly I don’t know that I would have changed even if I had had extra clothes, but it would have been nice just in case.
- a trash bag – could be used to protect your seats or to hold your soaking wet clothes

*This bag needs to be packed several weeks in advance and kept in your car.  If you want to be ultra-prepared, keep another one with similar items at your place of work.  Ideally you’ll recognize you’re in labor and be able to go home before it gets ugly, but just in case you’re like me and your water decides to break all over the floor at work before you realize you’re in labor it’d be a good idea to have this.

IMG_9074last belly shot in the early stages of labor

2. Labor Bag
- tennis balls or back massager – for massaging your back during labor/providing counter-pressure – lotion – for back or foot rubs
- a large scarf – this was something we learned about in our Bradley class that can be used during labor…I didn’t end up using mine though
- puppy pee pads
- a trash bag
- plastic grocery sacks -barf bags in case you throw up
- Dum-Dums  - there is a pressure point on the top of your mouth that can help speed up labor; you can push on it by sucking your thumb or sucking on a Dum-Dum…I chose the candy
- a couple of old towels – for the same thing as the pee pads or trash bags…plus towels are just good to have on hand
- a washcloth or two – in case you want a cold, wet washcloth on your forehead
- bottled water
- a heating pad – to help with back pain
- foam gardening pads – to kneel on in case you find that your labor position of choice involves kneeling
- a pair of socks – in case your feet get cold

*I put all this stuff together in one bag.  I figured that most of this would actually be used at home to help manage labor since I didn’t plan to go to the hospital until the very end (hah!), but I went ahead and put it all in a bag just so it’d all be together in one spot and we wouldn’t be scrambling once labor began.  Things didn’t quite go as planned so we ended up taking this whole bag with us to the hospital. Honestly, the only thing I ended up using from this bag were the Dum-Dums.  I sucked on a few of them to try to speed up my labor.  That being said, for future births I will still pack a very similar bag because you just never know what type of labor you’re going to have and I may want these things next time.

3. Birth Ball

*No, it’s not a “bag” per-say, but it’s a separate (very large!) item that you’ll need to transport.  I think I used this maybe once, if any, in the hospital.  I used it a little bit at home but that was pretty much it.  My recommendation: see if your hospital has birth balls because it is a huge pain to get that to the hospital (walking through the parking lot at 2am in the freezing icy weather having to stop for contractions every so often was made even more difficult because poor Michael was trying to carry multiple bags and that ridiculous ball)

IMG_3053on our way to the hospital – the huge birth ball photobombing us

4.  The Essentials Bag (aka the things you think you will need pretty quickly during or right after labor)

- a folder for all your paperwork
- a copy of the hospital paperwork that you probably filled out in advance
- birth plan
- insurance card and/or copies of insurance card – I had my insurance card in my purse but I had also made copies to keep in the paperwork folder and I was really glad I did because they just let me hand them that rather than them having to go make copies of my card
- pen and paper
- camera and charger
- phones and chargers
- laptop and charger – I didn’t know how quickly after birth I would want to upload pictures to share with family, send emails, etc. so I went ahead and made sure I had the laptop there with us
- snacks – for hubby, not for you unfortunately (although I did sneak one granola bar because I was about to starve!)

*This was a really good bag to have.  I felt like I had all the necessities together and that gave me peace of mind.

5. Cooler 

* We brought some snacks/drinks, including orange juice to drink after the birth (a Bradley method thing).  We left this in the car when we went into the hospital, though, and then after delivery when I really needed the OJ (I had the shakes really bad) it wasn’t there.  Next time it might be better to put the orange juice in a small lunch box and carry it in with us rather than a big cooler that was too cumbersome to worry about in the throes of labor.  Definitely pack some snacks (granola bars, lactation cookies, peanut butter crackers, etc.) because hospital food is not the greatest and you’ll probably be very hungry!

6. Mom’s Bag

- 2 or 3 pairs of comfy pants – pj pants are fine, but I preferred my maternity yoga pants because of the maternity panel that hugged my loosey-goosey tummy (you can read more about my solution to that here)
- 2 or 3 large, loose shirts – I actually wore mens dress shirts with nursing tank tops from Target underneath.  That way I could leave the shirt mostly open and nurse while still being relatively covered
- something to wear home – For me I just wore the black yoga pants and button up shirt I’d been wearing that day but some like to wear “real” clothes.  I didn’t care – we were rolled right to the car and then we went straight home so there was no point in changing
- socks – hospital room floors are cold (lots of people also bring houseshoes; I bought some, brought them, and wore them exactly once for about two minutes before I shoved them under the bed…I just walked around in my socks the whole time)
- flip flops – for the shower
- a pair of shoes to wear home – Whatever you wore to the hospital when you arrived will be fine.  Seriously, the only time you’ll need shoes is when you arrive and when you leave.  The rest of the time you’ll be hanging out in a hospital room.
- nursing bras (if you don’t go with the nursing tanks that I mentioned above) – Do not go out and get fitted for nursing bras because until your milk comes in you’ll have no idea what size you are.  Instead, buy some of the stretchy sleep bras (I got mine at Target) that will accommodate many sizes.
- toiletries – Whatever you usually take with you when you travel: shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairdryer, hairbrush, contact stuff, glasses, makeup, deodorant, etc. (I know some people don’t care while they are in the hospital, but I showered, dried my hair, and put a little make up on each day…it made me feel better)
- nipple cream – The hospital will probably provide you with samples of Lansinoh but if you want your own kind you’ll need to bring it.

*Basically pack as if you were going somewhere for a weekend of nothing but lounging.

Things you don’t need (that I packed and thought I needed…)
- underwear (they will provide you with some lovely mesh panties to wear)
- nursing pads (it’s doubtful that your milk will come in while you are at the hospital)
- towels (I thought I would want my own towels so I didn’t have to use the icky hospital towels, but let me tell you after you give birth there is quite a bit of blood, and it got on the towels each time I showered, so I chose to use the hospital towels and not get blood all over mine)

7. Dad’s Bag

- two changes of clothes
- toiletries

*Ok honestly I don’t know what Michael packed since he packed his own bag, but I’m pretty sure that was the gist of it.

8. Baby’s Bag

*Don’t pack one.  Seriously.  I brought a diaper bag crammed full of stuff that we didn’t even touch.  Just put the few things that baby needs in your own bag.

Here’s what baby actually needs:
- a going home outfit – Don’t pack a gown because the straps in the carseat have to come between their legs.  Get something that has the flaps that cover the hands in case baby’s fingernails are long and scratchy.  You might bring two options – a newborn size and a 0-3 months size.  Hudson was tiny and even the newborn swallowed him up, but you just never know.
- a picture outfit – If your hospital does pictures and you plan to have them taken
- a hat – If it’s cold.  The nurses at our hospital make personalized hats for each baby and that’s what Hudson ended up wearing home because it fit better than any of the ones I brought.
- a blanket – To tuck around baby in the carseat if it’s cold.

{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_5hospital pictures

IMG_2675going home outfit and hat the nurses made

That’s it.  Honest.  The hospital is going to dress baby in little onesies with a hat and keep them all swaddled up the whole time.  I can’t imagine that you’ll be wanting to play dress up with your baby just yet, so just bring what they need to leave the hospital.  The hospital will provide you with diapers and wipes (and you’ll get to take them home with you).

9. Miscellaneous Stuff

- pillow – I prefer to sleep on my own pillow so I brought that from home
- blanket – I used the hospital blankets most of the time and ended up using mine only once when I got really cold.  I could have left this at home and just asked for another blanket and that would have reduced stuff to carry.
- extension cord and/or power strip – In case the outlet isn’t close to your bed or you have lots of electronics to charge.
- essential oils – I had just gotten my oils a few days before I went into labor so I wasn’t really sure what all I could do with them.  I used my lavender on a bad rash I had after delivery and some of the others on my feet to help with pain and to relax me.  Next time I’ll know how to use them better and they will be a staple in my hospital bags.
- baby book – You might write in it while you’re there.  I didn’t until we get home. (this is the one we have, I really like it so far)
- Boppy pillow – It makes breastfeeding much easier (not that it’s easy) since you aren’t having to hold the baby up the whole time.
- carseat – Duh.  You can’t leave the hospital without one.
- an empty bag – You will probably accumulate stuff while you’re at the hospital, so bring an empty bag (you can leave it in the car until you need it) to put all that random stuff in before you leave.
- snacks for the nurses – Definitely not necessary, but we wanted to say “thank you” to the people who took care of us.  We brought them a bag of snacks (granola bars, raisins, candy, etc.)

So…. I suggest packing everything that you can well in advance and stashing it all together out of the way.  Then, make a list of the things that you can’t pack until the last minute (glasses, laptop, makeup, etc.) and lay that on top of everything.  That way when labor starts you don’t have to waste mental energy remembering what you needed to still get.  Or, in the case that something crazy happens and you have to go to the hospital without your stuff, someone else could run by your house and grab those items.

IMG_9005you can see the list laying there on our stack of bags (bottom left corner)

On the same sheet that I wrote out what we needed to wait and pack right before we left, I also made a checklist of all the bags and items so that we made sure we got everything to the car.  I even described what the bag looked like (i.e. pink polka dot duffle bag) so that Michael knew which bag was which.

It looked like this (minus the descriptions because I know you don’t care):
1. Car Labor Kit (already in the van)
2. Labor Bag
3. Birth Ball
4. Essentials Bag
5. Caitlin’s Stuff
6. Michael’s Stuff
7. Hudson’s Stuff
8. Miscellaneous Stuff
9. Carseat
10. Snacks for Nurses
11. Empty Bag for Random Items
12. Cooler

Those are my hospital bag necessities.  What about you?  Was there something you definitely had to have at the hospital that I didn’t put on my list?  Please share in the comments below!

High Five for Friday

Helllooooooo Friday  Wanna know why I’m happy today?

1.  SLEEP!  Yes, it has finally returned.  Tuesday night Hudson slept 7 hours (10:30-5:30) and Wednesday night he slept 8.5 (!!!) hours (11-7:30).  I woke up at 6:45 and didn’t know what on earth to do with myself.  And then last night he fell asleep at 9pm.  We kept expecting him to wake up to eat one more time before bed but he keep sleeping so we finally laid him down…and he slept until 5;30 this morning!  Another 8.5 hours!  I suspect he’s in a growth spurt because in addition to the sudden increase in sleep he’s also wanting to constantly eat during the day the last few days.  I sure hope the great sleep continues after the growth spurt is over!

2.  My neck is better.  Wednesday morning I leaned over to set my glasses on my bedside table and I felt my neck catch.  It was unbelievably painful; so much so that I was afraid Michael would have to come home from work to help me with Hudson.  The spot that was injured (I’m guessing) swelled up and I looked like I had a humpback (lovely).  A little heat, a little ice, a lot of my essential oils, and Michael rubbing it helped.  The pain was much better in 24 hours and almost completely gone in 48.  I still have a little soreness if I turn my head too far but it’s way, way better than it was!

Being hurt is one thing.  Being hurt with a baby that needs to be held and changed and fed is so much more difficult.  I now understand what people mean when they say “moms don’t have time to get sick!”.  I’m just so thankful that it didn’t last long.

3.  I’m going clothes shopping today.  On the one hand I’m not excited about that at all because I’d much rather be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and I know the sizes I’ll have to get today will be disheartening.  But on the other hand it will be so nice to have some clothes that actually fit right now.  I won’t buy much since I hope to lose my pregnancy weight soon but for now I’m tired of wearing my ill-fitting maternity clothes and I need some other options.

4.  Speaking of losing weight, this week I finally got back to healthy eating.  Since Hudson was born I’ve eaten tons of fast food and junk and such.  I’m finally feeling like I have it together enough to focus on some of the other things in life besides feeding, changing, and rocking a baby.  I’m not dieting or anything, just trying to make better choices.  Splurging was fun for a while but it’s really nice to be back to eating good healthy food that makes me feel better.

5.  It’s time to mix up more laundry soap.  Sounds like a strange thing to make me happy, but I’m mostly excited by how long the first batch of laundry I mixed lasted us.  Wanna guess?

20 months.  Yes, TWENTY months…almost 2 years!  Amazing.

Oh and not only that, guess how much that cost…

$20.00!  That’s $1 per month for our laundry soap.  Double amazing.

homemade laundry soap ingredients

When I first decided to make our own laundry detergent we were living in our apartment and did not have the space for the liquid that seem to be popular (and have to be stored in 5 gallon buckets).  I finally found a recipe for powered detergent on Pinterest and gave it a try.  Like I said, the supplies cost $20.  The hardest part was grating the bars of soap (talk about an arm workout) and then all you have to do is mix it together.  We stored it in one of those big clear plastic containers that cheese puffs or pretzels come in (you can see ours here).

We do about five loads of laundry a week and this container lasted us twenty months (I told a few people 2.5 years the other day but when I went back and checked it was really only 20 months…so sorry about that!).  Of course now that we have Hudson (who creates significantly more laundry for being such a small person) it won’t last quite as long.  This time I bought different soap and I bought my ingredients at Kroger (a little more expensive), so my total cost was about $33.00.  But still…that’s a pretty good price for the amount you get!

What are you happy about today?

 

Linking up with Lauren

BeBand three ways – Works for Me Wednesday

At the beginning of my pregnancy I bought a BeBand from Target.  A BeBand is basically just a stretchy, spandex-y, tube-top-ish piece of fabric that you can use to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy pants.  The idea is that you leave your too-tight pants unbuttoned/unzipped and then wear this band over it and it holds your pants up (sounds like something I could use more than just during pregnancy!). I used it a few times but didn’t really like it.  It would never stay in place and either rolled up or down and drove me crazy.  I think most of that was due to the fact that my pants were already too tight and pushing their limits even before I gained that first pregnancy pound.  I ended up just moving into maternity pants pretty early and wearing long shirts to cover us the saggy belly/crotch area until my belly filled out enough to actually warrant needing maternity pants. The BeBand went into my drawer for months.  I actually offered it to someone else who was pregnant but she wasn’t interested so I just hung on to it.  I’m glad I did, because as the months went by I found some more uses for it. The second way I used it (the first being for its original purpose) was as a tube top of sorts.  I struggled with so many of my maternity tops being much too low cut.  At the beginning of pregnancy I just layered a tank top underneath to bring the neckline up a little higher.  As my belly grew the tank tops got too tight around the belly.  I wasn’t about to buy a bunch of new tanks though!  One day a thought popped in my head and I grabbed the BeBand and put it on like a tube top.  That worked perfectly!  It covered everything that needed to be covered and raised the neckline, but it didn’t restrict my belly or have annoying straps that kept falling off my shoulders. IMG_8978 I used it as a tube top for several weeks leading up to delivery.  Then after delivery I found yet a third use…as a girdle. You see, after you have a baby your stomach is all loosey-goosey.  It used to have this big baby in there, plus a placenta and fluid and all kinds of other stuff… and now all of the sudden it’s empty.  It just feels weird and it’s hard to stand up straight because all that weight that you were used to carrying around is gone.  I found that in those first few days I much preferred wearing my maternity yoga pants that had a full panel that went over my stomach because that stretch panel gave me a little support and it felt like it was holding my stomach together.  I really wanted to wear all my pajama pants but they were just normal-waisted and didn’t give me any support like the maternity pants. Enter the BeBand. I wore the BeBand around my stomach…not to hold up my pants in this instance, but to hug my tummy just a little bit and give it that extra support.  That way I was able to wear my loose pajama pants.  I only needed it for about a week before that strange empty stomach feeling went away, but it was wonderful to have while I needed it. I had actually considered buying one of those very expensive support girdles for after pregnancy that are supposed to help your stomach shrink back.  I decided it was probably not that effective and didn’t want to waste my money.  I also bought a cheaper post-natal support belt from Motherhood Maternity, but it was too stiff so I took it back.  The BeBand ended up being perfect – it gave me support but wasn’t too tight.  Do I think it helped my stomach shrink?  Probably not (not that the expensive girdles necessarily do either), but it gave me that little extra hug my waist needed. So don’t write off your pants extender after the first few months!  If you’re like me you’ll be able to extended its life (pun totally intended) through your pregnancy and beyond!  Who knows, I might even find more uses for it in the future. Oh and a bonus…this YouTube video shows you how to use two t-shirts and a belly band to make a DIY baby carrier.   Pretty cool.  A fourth use for your belly band! The BeBand (and it’s many uses) works for me! And a Hudson picture…just ’cause he’s cute :). Photo Feb 09, 12 52 28 PMIt’s hard to believe this little guy lived inside my tummy for nine months…no wonder if felt all strange and empty after he was born!

P.S. Come follow My Chocolate Moments over on my new Facebook page!

Hudson’s two month update

I am a little in disbelief that it has been two months already!  I feel like I just welcomed my little guy into the world yesterday…and yet at the same time it’s like he has been with us forever and I can’t imagine life without him.

Hudson had his two month check up yesterday.  He weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces (11th percentile), was 22 and 1/4 inches long (18%) (although I think he’s actually longer…he wasn’t stretched out all the way when they measured him), and his head is in the 47th percentile (I forgot what they said the circumference was).  Everything else checked out great.  So he’s a little squirt but he’s growing and healthy and that’s what matters.

We recreated this picture from his first pediatrician visit – three days old on the left, two months old on the right.  My poor jaundiced baby has a much better color now.  His arms have filled out a good bit and he doesn’t just look like wrinkly skin on bones anymore.  Four pounds and two months make a big difference!

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We’ve had a big month.  His first month we mostly stayed holed up in the house.  This month we’ve been out and about a good bit and he has changed a lot.

Last month Hudson had a big list of things he disliked.  Now he likes (or tolerates) all of those things (well, he doesn’t like being hungry or having a dirty diaper, but he doesn’t freak out about it as much).

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He started spitting up quite a bit.  When I say quite a bit, I mean a little bit after just about every feeding and sometimes a big one thrown in there for good measure.

He went to the chiropractor a few times to try to get some gas and latch issues worked out.

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He started smiling at us, not just in his sleep.

My mom went home after 6 and 1/2 wonderful weeks of having her stay with us and help out.  I cannot even imagine how much harder the first month of his life would have been without her here to lend a hand.  I was so afraid for her to go home and for me to be on my own during the day.  It was an adjustment but we’re figuring things out.  Some days I get next to nothing done before Michael gets home from work but I know that will improve eventually.

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He started pooching out his bottom lip when he would get upset.  It is the sweetest but saddest thing ever!

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Hudson experienced his first snow (from inside the warm house, of course).  Yes, we had a big snow in March!  So weird.

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He went from getting super upset anytime anyone set him down to really liking to lay on his back and look around.  He’d lay on his changing station (right now that’s the ottoman in our living room since I never feel like walking up to his nursery) and stare up at the fan.  We set up his little activity gym so he could lay there and look at the colorful animals.  He likes it sometimes.

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He does this funny raised brow, one-eyed peek thing when he is just waking up.

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He still likes to be crunched up in a little ball when you hold him.

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Any day that we have good weather we try to take advantage of it and go for a walk.  Hudson usually falls asleep within 10 minutes.

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Now that he will let us set him down for a few minutes, we’ve been able to eat meals without having to hold him or eat in shifts (sometimes).  We put him in his bouncy chair by the table while we eat and he’ll hang out there for a while before getting upset.

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Bathtime no longer sounds like something from a horror movie.  He has gradually gotten to like it more and more.  First the screaming went to whimpering, then to tolerating it quietly, and now he seems to enjoy it.  In fact, the other night he was crying and then stopped as soon as I put him in the water…the total opposite of how it used to be.  We give him a bath just about every evening.  We don’t do a full washing each time (except around his neck because of all the spit up – eww), but we’re trying to get him in a routine.

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The carseat isn’t a huge scream-fest all the time either.  I’d say it’s about 50/50 now.  Sometimes he is totally chill in the car, other times he screams at the top of his lungs for 10 or so minutes before falling asleep (usually about 30 seconds before we pull in to wherever we’re going and have to get him out…which wakes him back up)

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He has outgrown all of his newborn clothes and even some of his 0-3 month clothes are too small.  He is so long but so skinny that he outgrows them in length well before he’s even started to fill them out in the width.  His clothes are so baggy!

We put him in his first little outfit that wasn’t a one piece sleeper.  And then he proceeded to have his first blow out poop on said outfit (I’m sparing you the picture I took!).  It happened in the car on the way home from church and got all over his carseat too.  Yuck.

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He still fits fine into newborn diapers, but we were running out so I went ahead and put him in size ones.  He’s so skinny, though, that you have to cross the tape pieces over on top of each other to get it tight enough!

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Sleeping is going much, MUCH better!  He doesn’t have to be held all night anymore.  I usually have to get up with him once or twice a night to feed him but then he goes right back to sleep in his Rock N Play.  The co-sleeper is kind of a bust right now, although he did take a two hour nap in it one Sunday afternoon.  But for now we’re sticking with what we know works and eventually we’ll try to transition to the co-sleeper and then the crib.

We’ve even had a few nights where he slept for a five or six hour stretch, got up to eat once, and then slept for another two to three hours.  He’s not consistent yet, but we’ve made so much progress this month that I know it will just keep improving.

During the day he naps in his swing, his Rock N Play, the Moby Wrap,…or while I’m sitting and holding him.  I try to vary where I put him for naps so that he will get used to sleeping a variety of places.

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The day Hudson was one month out was our first venture out in the world other than doctor’s appointments.  Since then we’ve gone all kinds of places.  The first time I went out with him on my own was so nerve wracking, but now it’s pretty common.  We’ve been out to eat several times, to church and multiple church functions including a ladies’ retreat (I didn’t spend the night, but I drove down and back both Friday and Saturday…35 minutes one way so that was our longest trip for sure!).

I won’t say that going places with a baby is easy, but it’s getting to be the norm.  My biggest accomplishment was taking him out shopping.  Up until about a week ago, Michael and my mom had done all the shopping and we either stayed home or stayed in the car while they ran in.  We finally went in to Kroger one evening – Michael got the groceries and I just followed with Hudson in a separate cart.  Then later that week I ventured out to Hobby Lobby, Target, and the mall.  My first shopping trip with a baby!  It went well and he slept pretty much the whole time.

We also went and visited Michael at work after our big shopping trip.

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We definitely don’t have a routine or a schedule yet, but we do have a general pattern of eat, “play” (awake time), and then nap.  Some days that goes much better than others.  Some days he’ll have several great naps and I’m able to get some housework done.  Other days he is very erratic and only naps for a very short time.

Most of the time he fights sleep really hard and it can be really hard to get him to nap.  He has gotten better about falling asleep on his own though.  Often once he’s sleepy and I’ve rocked him some I can lay him down and he’ll drift off on his own after a while.

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His physical changes don’t reach out and strike me until I look back at pictures (like the comparison picture at the beginning of this post).  His eyes have lightened from a very dark navy blue to a more gray-blue.  His hair has started to curl more, just in the last few days.

Everyone says he looks just like Michael, but we still haven’t gotten either of our baby pictures from our parents to compare.  The little cleft in his chin and his big feet definitely came from me though.

He is trying so very hard to suck his thumb.  Usually he either gets it in there sideways or will just suck on the side of his hand.  He uses his paci some but he never really has cared too much about it so I think at this point if he doesn’t already take it regularly then he probably never will.  Which is fine, although I’d rather break him of a paci later than his thumb.

IMG_3560He has started cooing.  It’s so adorable, like he’s trying to talk to us.

He is very, very active.  He’s a restless sleeper and makes tons of grunts, snores, and other strange noises.  When you lay him down to change his diaper his legs go all over the place just kicking and swinging around.  He squirms and wiggles a lot while he is nursing, too (ouch).

He’s battling his first cold right now.   His little coughs and runny nose are so pitiful.

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On Sunday, the elders at our church presented Hudson with a little Bible.

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We just fall more in love with our Mr Hudson each and every day!  He brings us such joy.

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first two months

 

so what’s the deal with essential oils anyway?

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I’ve posted a few things on Facebook and Pinterest recently about essential oils and as a result I’ve had a lot of questions about what they are and how I’m using them.  I thought I’d go ahead and address that here to (hopefully) answer everyone’s questions.

I really didn’t know much, if anything, about essential oils (EOs) until just a few months ago.  I mean, I’d heard of them and knew there were some like lemon and lavender and peppermint.  I knew that lavender and lemon were popular to use while cleaning.  I had even thought I’d added an essential oil to my homemade cleaner when I first made it a few years ago (fyi, the scented oils at Walmart in the candle section are not EOs and don’t really offer anything to your cleaning products other than a scent…don’t make that mistake like me).  A friend of mine who is kind of crunchy, hippie-ish like me and who gives me lots of little tips and such had also mentioned EOs on several occasions, many time when we were talking about baby-related items.

So a few months ago I decided to track down some essential oils.  I’d heard great things; I really wanted to have them to add to my homemade cleaners (in place of the fake-ola scented oils I used the first time) and I was planning to use them to make some homemade hand soap and baby wipe solution.  I didn’t really know where to buy them so I posted on a local Facebook group to see where in town I could get some.  I had a ton of people comment and the one thing I kept seeing over and over was that I should order them from Young Living.

I started talking with one of the ladies who’d suggested Young Living and then started doing some research of my own.  The more I talked to her and the more I researched the more amazed I became about these oils.  Supposedly, according to everything I was reading, they could be used for way more than making household products.  They could also be used for tons and tons of health issues.

One of the options when you sign up as a wholesale customer with Young Living (you can either buy straight from their website and pay retail or you can sign up to be a wholesale customer and get them at a significant discount) is to get what they call the Premium Starter Kit.  It comes with eleven essential oils, a diffuser, and some other small samples.  The oils are what they call Everyday Oils – the oils that are most popular, most versatile, and that you’d want to use on a regular basis.  I was a little conflicted about the cost but finally just decided to use some of my Christmas money and give it a try…it they turned out to be as great as everyone says then they’d be totally worth it!

I was so excited to receive my oils in the mail and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  As you know if you’ve been reading for a while, I had a lot of back pain during pregnancy.  My oils came on a Thursday and that day my back had really flared up and was hurting badly.  Unfortunately my chiropractor was only open Monday thru Thursday and I couldn’t go Thursday afternoon so I was going to have to wait until the following Monday and just deal with the pain over the weekend.  Ouch.

But I had heard that Valor and Panaway (two of the oils in the Starter Kit) were great for back pain so when I got home Thursday afternoon I ripped open the package and applied those two right away.  I applied them again Thursday night and then Friday morning before work.

Y’all.  My back pain was gone.

Now you know I’m pretty natural and what I lovingly refer to as “crunchy”.  I’m into organic food and making my own soap and natural childbirth and all that jazz.  I avoid taking medicine and I tend to lean toward more alternative medicine options.  However, I’m still a total skeptic.  I thought chiropractic care was total witch doctor stuff until I started going and saw such improvements.  I thought reflexology was a hoax until I had that done and absolutely could see a correlation between the feet and the rest of the body.  So even though alternative medicine keeps proving to me that it’s the real deal, I was still skeptical about these “voodoo-witch-doctor-y-medicine-man essential oils”.

Well color me converted….

I could not believe that in less than 24 hours, three applications of oils could do what chiropractic care had only been able to help with.  That discovery alone is worth the price of the oils, in my opinion.

Something else that I’d dealt with during pregnancy that you might remember was snoring.  As in, one night Michael actually got up and checked out our window because he was certain that there was a motorcycle in our front yard….then he realized that was just me snoring!  Prior to pregnancy I only snored when my nose was stopped up, but the added weight gain plus the way pregnancy hormones loosen up your ligaments and stuff to prepare for birth was making me saw logs.

I’d read that Valor applied to the bottom of the big toe helped with snoring.  So I tried it.

Not one time after I started using Valor every night did Michael wake up to me snoring.  I can’t say I stopped completely because no one was awake to hear me, but I was no longer disturbing his sleep like I had been every.single.night.

Very shortly afterward Mr. Hudson made his appearance and learning about my oils took a bit of a back burner.  In hindsight, I so wish I had discovered them just a few months earlier.  I think they would have been fantastic during pregnancy (since I was avoiding taking any medicine during that time) as well as during labor and recovering afterward.   I did use them some during those times, but not to their fullest potential because I hadn’t really had enough time to experiment and figure out what oils to use for what issues.

Some other things I’ve also used them for:
- I had a horrible rash on my inner thighs after my labor due to my legs staying constantly wet for so long with all the amniotic fluid and such.  I used lavender on it two or three times in the hospital while we were recovering and it cleared up within two days.
- I used some Gentle Baby Hudson’s diaper rash and it improved significantly overnight.
- I’ve had three infected hangnails over the past few months and each time applying Thieves, lavender, and/or Purification (I kind of alternate them) dried up the infection within a few days.
- I rarely get headaches (usually only when a sinus infection is coming on), but the lack of sleep with a new baby has caused some fatigue headaches.  Peppermint and M-Grain (a blend specifically for migranes) have knocked them out in about 30 minutes.
- Thieves is an EO blend that is amazing for killing germs.  We’ve used that one a lot since Hudson was born to try to keep him from getting sick.
- I woke up one day last week with a zit, one of those painful ones that is just a bump under the skin that hasn’t come out quite yet.  I applied Purification twice during the day and by the end of the day the zit was gone!

I actually had most of this post typed up Wednesday to post on Thursday but I could tell I was starting to get a cold/sinus infection and I really wanted to try out my oils and see if they made a difference so I could add those results to this post.  Spoiler alert: they did!

Just about every year around this time I get some sort of sinus junk that usually results in me losing my voice.  I can always tell when I’m about to get sick – I get a headache and feel very tired.  Well…with having a new baby and being up in the middle of the night two or three times a night, headaches and feeling tired are kind of commonplace these days.  So I didn’t catch it quite as early this time.  Wednesday it progressed on to a sore throat, sinus pressure in my face, my ears were hurting a little, and a little bit of a rasp in my voice.  My protocol previously has been to start taking Benadryl at the first sign and sleep extra.  Sleeping extra is out of the picture right now and I really wanted to avoid Benadryl.  I started using a variety of my oils Wednesday night before bed.  I still felt pretty crummy in the middle of the night when I got up to feed Hudson but Thursday morning I was feeling markedly better.  I continued oiling throughout the day Thursday and by Friday morning I felt completely better with the exception of a little runny/stopped up nose.  I had less than 48 hours of a runny and mildly congested nose and then that was gone too.  Oils for the win!

And those are just a few of the things that have worked for me in the few short months I’ve been using them.  I’ve heard incredible stories from others about how they have successfully used EOs to fade stretch marks (I’m excited to try that!), clear up acne, to get pregnant, for weight loss, to manage their kid’s ADD/ADHD without medicine, to heal eczema, to reverse autistic tendencies, to regulate blood sugar and get rid of diabetes, and so much more.  I am constantly amazed at how the oils are working for people.

So yeah, this skeptic is now a believer.

Young Living essential oils on the go

I even got a cute little carrying case so I can carry some of my favorites in my purse/diaper bag.  And since I got my initial starter kit I’ve placed two more orders or oils because I just love them so.

Now that I’ve seen what they can do I want to share them with everyone!  Michael laughs at me because any time he (or anyone else) mention various and sundry ailments I’m like “I have an oil for that!”.  You know how when you find a product you love that you just want to tell everyone about it….that’s how I feel about oils!

I don’t claim to know everything.  You’re welcome to ask me things and I’ll try to find the answers, but I’ll also go ahead and direct you to some of my favorite resources.  This is a great website that really helped me as I was trying to learn about oils.  Here’s a look at nine of the Everyday Oils and this video is very beneficial if you have the time and want to learn more about for what the oils can be used (there’s also a good explanation about what EOs actually are).  This and this Facebook group have some interesting testimonies and info as well (apologies for the horrible grammar I just used there).  This blogger blogged for 31 days about Young Living essential oils – there is a ton of information there!  And of course we can’t leave out Pinterest.

One random note that I didn’t know and wish I had before I got my oils…they don’t smell like candles.  Some smell better than others to me, but they are not the delicious, artificial candle-y scents.  They smell very much like a spa/massage place, which isn’t necessarily bad, just not what I expected.

Disclaimer: I only endorse Young Living oils.  My research has brought me to the conclusion that these are the best – they are a reputable company, they don’t put additives or fillers in their oils, and they have a commitment to producing quality products.

So…

What do you know about essential oils?  Do you already use them?  Had you even heard of them before?

Did this answer some of your questions?  If not, let me know in the comments or shoot me a message and I’ll try to help you out!

Are you interested in getting some oils?  Let me help you out!  Go here to find out how to sign up.  When you sign up with YL you get your oils at a wholesale price.  You can be a distributor if you want, meaning you can make a little money by sharing about the oils, but that is not required.  Honestly, when I signed up I only did it so I could get the wholesale price for my own oils.  I am not a salesperson and I’ve always said I’ll never sell anything.  But people have started asking about oils and I’ve seen how wonderful they are and I want to share that with others.  If I happen to make a little extra income that’s an added bonus, but if not that’s ok too.

But anyway, if you think you might want to become a distributor as well or just try out some oils, let me know.  I’d love, LOVE to get you started on your journey to better health.

(oh and in case you’re confused…you DO NOT have to sell Young Living in order to use their oils.  That is totally optional.  Nor do you have to pay an annual fee like at Sam’s Club or Costco.  You don’t have to order a certain amount or number of times.)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Oh, and don’t forget to come join My Chocolate Moments on Facebook so that you can keep up with my essential oils journey…as well as all the rest of my shenanigans.