Archive | December, 2013

Follow Me on Facebook

31 Dec

Conceiving Faith is now on Facebook. I will be posting about faith, parenting, babywearing, cloth diapering,  pregnancy, infertility,  and all things crunchy. I will also be sharing giveaways and promotions as I find them so you don’t want to miss out.

http://www.facebook.com/conceivingfaith

5 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

30 Dec

I went into motherhood thinking a book, or perhaps the internet, could teach me all I needed to know. To an extent I guess it can. I’m an advocate of research and preparation. But what I’ve learned in my son’s 8 months of life is that nothing can fully prepare you for motherhood. Nothing. It’s hard and time consuming. You’ll cry, you’ll feel like a failure. But you will also laugh more than you ever have, smile for no reason, and be completely and utterly in love. Being a mommy is the biggest blessing God has ever bestowed upon me but it has also introduced me to some of the biggest obstacles I’ve ever faced. I’ve learned so much already and I know the lessons are far from over.

1. Motherhood has taught me that I am NOT housewife of the year. I haven’t always been the obsessive compulsive clean freak that I currently am. I remember a time right around 16 when my bedroom was a mosaic of dirty clothes and used dishes. My how times have changed. I’ve slowly morphed into my mother and cleaning has become a hobby. Before I had my son, I cleaned the house constantly. It was spotless yet I still felt as though it was a disaster. Little did I know it would soon be cluttered with toys and bottles and remnants of yesterday’s dinner. The first week home with Silas I told myself “everything can wait” and I let the cleaning, for the most part, go. Best decision ever! They aren’t newborns long. After that, I jumped in head first and falsely assumed I would be able to keep my house as clean as I used to. Listen to me when I say “Once you have kids, your house will only ever be spotless for minutes at a time.” I can only speak for my own home and maybe we are just slobs but most of the time there’s a trail of drool from the living room to the nursery, several spoiled bottles of formula lost under the bed, a pool of spit up here or there, and a whole buffet of brightly colored toys randomly tossed unto the rug. But Guess what? That’s ok. Cleaning can wait. Babies need attention and play. They need fed and bathed and tickled. Your home will not expect anything from you nor give anything in return. Obviously, dishes still need to be done, clothes still need washed, and the floors won’t clean themselves but don’t beat yourself up when a day goes by where nothing really gets accomplished. You will have tomorrow. Enjoy your little one first. Everything else can find a new place in line.

Motherhood has taught me that I am NOT the most squeamish person alive. I’ve always considered myself to have a super weak stomach. I can’t even watch action films for fear of fake blood for crying out loud. But somehow I now manage to clean up poop, wipe away vomit, and pick boogers without flinching. Having a baby obviously makes you immune to ickiness, right? In fact, I first fell in love with my son when he was naked and covered in blood and mucous 😉 And he was absolutely beautiful.

Motherhood has taught me how to multitask. Before my mommy days I could barely walk and chew gum at the same time. These days I manage to cook dinner, fold laundry, wash dishes and get in a daily dance sesh all at once AND while carrying my son on my back. In fact, there’s not very many instances of my day that I am not multitasking. It’s a completely necessary talent for survival. Without multitasking, I may never get to eat :/

Motherhood has taught me to appreciate sleep. I remember a time when sleeping in meant crawling out of bed at noon or 1pm. Now I can’t remember the last time I slept past 9am and that’s a rarity. 9am is now “sleeping the day away”. I also can’t remember the last time I wasn’t awoken at least once in the middle of the night. Oh how I love my sweety pie but this never sleeping thing is for the birds. Take advantage of what time you have to catch some z’s. There’s nothing wrong with napping with baby or going to bed at the same time as the elderly. I know this yet I still find myself up at 11 when the baby’s been asleep since 8. Have I really learned anything?

Motherhood has taught me how to forgive myself. I ever so meticulously planned and put every ounce of my energy into a natural birth and breastfeeding. I was dead set and also one hundred percent prepared for both. I did my research, took my classes, worked my butt off but I still failed at these two things. After 8 hours of back labor stuck in triage (because L&D was full) I lost my focus and got an epi. And after 2 weeks of pushing myself through the excruciating pain  exclusively breastfeeding I made the decision to switch to formula. For the longest time I hated myself for giving up in either of these circumstances. I lived with constant regret and remorse. I was living my life in the past and missing the beautiful present that was going on all around me. Forgiveness, for me at least, is the single most important lesson motherhood has taught me. It’s also the hardest lesson to accept.

Stop blaming yourselves. A perfect mother does not exist. But you are an amazing mother, and your children won’t remember the way they entered the world, they don’t care if they were breastfed or formula fed, they don’t even have the slightest clue how many times you’ve messed up. All those little eyes see is the one who holds them, the one who comforts and loves them, the one who is always there to kiss boo boos and wipe tears and make a yummy snack. To them, you are perfect. I still struggle with choices I’ve made as a mother but I’m slowly learning how to let go of the regret and forgive myself.

Motherhood is a learning experience. From the beginning and always. You live, you make mistakes, you learn from those mistakes, and you base future decisions on what you’ve learned. A cycle that goes on and on. If you love your babies, if you give them your best, then you are doing an amazing job. Never forget that. 

What has motherhood taught you?

Merry CHRISTmas!

25 Dec

I would just like to take a moment to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope that as you open each gift you remember that Jesus was the greatest gift ever given to man. No brightly wrapped package could ever compare to the sweet gift that was laid in that manger on that silent night. Through that very first Christmas gift God gave us love, hope, salvation, and life eternal. Can you imagine if that gift had never been given? Have you accepted the gift God has offered you? Jesus is truly the reason for the season. Let’s praise Him.

I love to hear from you. Tell me, what does Christmas mean to you?

Teething Bling by Smart Mom Review and Giveaway

17 Dec

My son is 7 months old without a tooth in sight but he chews and drools like mad. Surely, teeth are in his near future right? So I’ve been on the lookout for teething toys.

Since I am an avid babywearer, my son spends a good portion of his time snuggled up close to mommy. And even more of his time with his little fingers (and mouth) all over my necklaces. Yuck. I have to turn my necklaces completely around to keep him from chewing on them. I don’t like the thought of all those yucky chemicals in his mouth or the fact that it could potentially break and give us a big scare or worse.

Smart Mom’s Teething Bling products solved those problems for us. I recieved a Signature Pendant in Cotton Candy Blue and a matching bangle.

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Why I reccomend Teething Bling:

Teething Bling products are made from a food-safe, phthalate-free, federally-approved silicone so they are 100% safe for baby to gnaw on.

They are strung on a heavy duty cord with a breakaway clasp which makes them both easy to put on and take off AND very strong.

My son loves “his” new teethers. They kept him entertained the entire church service. He gives Teething Bling two thumbs up!

Smart Mom is a company run by moms just like us and their customer service is nothing short of amazing. My questions were answered promptly and with care and concern. I was very pleased with the way I was treated as a customer.

They come in a huge selection of colors and shapes so they are not only awesome for baby, but can be super cute for mom. Some of the pendant shapes include crosses, starfish, rings, and hearts. They come in every color of the rainbow as well as shimmery  and patterned pendants. Check out this awesome rainbow pendant:

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You won’t be disappointed in these products. They are adorable and quality made by amazingly sweet mamas.

To purchase your very own Teething Bling products please visit http://www.smartmomjewelry.com

Want to win one? Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter. Winner is responsible for a shipping fee of $2.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND EMAILED SO CHECK THOSE SPAM FOLDERS. YOU HAVE TIL MIDNIGHT 12/27 TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.

Ebates

12 Dec

I do a lot of online shopping. There’s nothing better than hitting a great deal in your PJs, right? So when I came across an add for Ebates I was curious. Now I’m addicted.

Ebates offers members cash back on online purchases and it is literally the easiest thing ever plus sign up is free. Let’s say I wanted to buy something online from Children’s Place (I love this store for my little because they almost always have discount codes, have a rewards program, and offer free shipping frequently) all I do is log into my Ebates account then search for Children’s Place in their list of participating stores (which is huge) and click on it. It will automatically redirect me to their site, I just place my order as I normally would and tada! I earn cash back. Just like that. I’ve already earned quite a bit with my holiday shopping. But wait there’s more, your first purchase earns you a free $10 gift card! I chose Wal-Mart for mine. You can also earn cash for referring others so please use my link below to sign up. Happy shopping!!

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=StDgqKpmBx9tlCEUwYdpzA%3D%3D

My Guide to Getting Pregnant

11 Dec

That title may seem a little silly to some. You may be thinking “How to get pregnant? Hmm. Have sex?” But for too many women simply having sex is not enough.

We tried for 14 months and did everything imaginable to conceive our son so, while I’m not a doctor, I’m pretty sure I could teach a class on fertility and the female body. I’d like to share with you what I know.

Step 1: Pray

Pray like mad and do it early. Before you even begin trying for a baby make your way closer to God. Give Him your heart and ask Him for that baby. The Bible says “you have not because you ask not.” Of course, I’m not in any way saying that if you pray for a baby it will happen automatically. God doesn’t work that way. We were made to serve Him not the other way around. But make your petition known.

Step 2: Make Love

Obviously sex is required. Just do it! There’s no need to have sex every single day. In fact, if your spouse has a low sperm count this is counterproductive. Every 2-3 days is plenty. Sperm can live for several days in there. Ladies, don’t let sex become a chore or a burden and don’t forget about your husband. When you are trying to get pregnant, it’s easy to let love making turn into “just sex”. Keep it romantic. Make your spouse number one. Aim to first love him and put everything else behind that. It’s okay to plan sex around ovulation but don’t dwell on that. If hubby doesn’t want to know, don’t tell him. Trust me, you will have more fun trying and everyone will be a bit less stressed.

Step 3: Get to Know Your Body: OPKs and BBT

So it’s been several months and “just having sex” isn’t really working. Now’s time to pull out the big guns.

What is an OPK? It’s a test (very similar to a pregnancy test) that predicts ovulation by detecting and measuring the amount of lutenizing hormone (or LH) in the body. This hormone is responsible for signaling the follicles in the ovaries to release eggs. The successful release of mature eggs is ovulation so the dectection of a LH surge typically means ovulation will occur in roughly 12-48 hours

BBT stands for basal body temperature and this is the only way (other than an ultrasound or blood work) to confirm that ovulation has occurred. OPKs are great for predicting ovulation but they aren’t fool proof. Sometimes your body can gear up to ovulate and fail causing a positive OPK but no ovulation. This is why OPKs and BBT are best used together. To measure your BBT you need a BBT thermometer. That’s it. All you need to do is take your temperature every morning at the same time before getting out of bed or moving around. A sustained spike in BBT confirms ovulation. Combine OPKs and BBT with charting and you may learn a lot about your body. God created us very intricately and our bodies are so amazing! For more information on charting and tracking BBT go to http://www.fertilityfriend.com

By using these tools you can determine if you are ovulating each month.

Step 4: Make an Appointment

If you have confirmed that you are ovulating each month, are using OPKs and BBT to time intercourse, and still haven’t gotten pregnant within a year, it’s time to see a doctor. Remember, it can take an average, healthy couple up to a year to conceive so patience is important. Don’t jump the gun. Likewise, if you have confirmed that you are not ovulating at all or are ovulating irregularly go ahead and make an appointment. You do not need to wait a year in this case.

Your OB GYN will be able to run some tests and do an ultrasound in an attempt to diagnose the problem. Don’t forget about hubby. He should have some blood work and a semen analysis done as well.

Depending on the diagnosis, switching to a RE (reproductive endocrinologist) may be necessary. There are several options from here including fertility drugs, IUI, or IVF.

More things to try:

Good health is essential. Start taking prenatal vitamins, get some exercise, and think about your diet. Many fertility problems are caused by poor health.

Ask your doctor about natural supplements to help with fertility.

Mental health is important as well. Pray, do yoga, or meditate.

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My very first noticeably positive test 🙂 That photo was taken at 11 days post ovulation/12 days post trigger shot. It was our 14th month actively trying and our very first cycle with a RE. We used Clomid.

Please feel free to ask me questions about my journey. I will help the best I can.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving + Recipes

4 Dec

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! So I know I’m a bit late but, as holiday weekends tend to go, It’s been busy around here. I LOVE the holidays. I love food, family, and reflecting on the meaning of the occasion be it blessings or Jesus. This year I felt especially blessed. It was my son’s very first Thanksgiving outside of the womb. Last year I was about 3 months pregnant after fighting a somewhat lengthy and certainly difficult battle with infertility. I’m so thankful God allowed me to become a mommy and even more thrilled about the fact he chose me as Silas’s mommy specifically. He’s my perfect little miracle. He is, of course, only one of my many blessing. I am beyond fortunate and have God to thank for every ounce.

I spent my day with my loving family (just another of my blessings). We had a Thanksgiving lunch with my husband’s family then dinner with mine. I’m afraid to step on the scale at this point 🙂

I have a small (okay maybe huge) sweet tooth so I made a few deserts. No secret family recipes here so I’ll share. I apologize for the lack of photos but these goodies are long gone by now.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 chocolate pie crust
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 container of Cool Whip (thawed)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8oz package of cream cheese (room temp)
Some melted chocolate for drizzling

Mix peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until creamy. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into crust. Melt chocolate and drizzle desired amount over pie. That’s it! So yummy.

My dad’s only request was a dirt cake. Also super easy and he loves them!

Dirt Cake

1 package of oreos crushed (I put mine in the blender)
1 8oz package of cream cheese (room temp)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups of milk
2 small boxes of vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 container of Cool Whip

Mix together powdered sugar, butter, and cream cheese and vanilla.

In a separate bowl. Mix milk and pudding mix. Chill until set.

Once pudding has set fold in Cool Whip.

Add cream cheese mixture then, in a serving bowl, layer oreos and cream cheese mixture. Chill. So easy!

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday. What were your plans?