Thursday, October 27, 2016

Really Woolly 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury: A Book Review

I wasn't familiar with the Really Woolly books but I love bedtime treasuries, as they remind me of a specific one my mom read to me growing up. The Really Woolly 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury is a beautiful book of stories, rhymes, and devotions for a little one at bedtime. Actually, the whole book is more like a devotion for little ones for bedtime. It's really (woolly) sweet. ;) Each chapter contains scripture, instruction, poetry, and stories related to that theme-- forgiveness, peace, God's guidance, thankfulness, and so on. At the end of each chapter, there's a "bedtime treasure" which consists of a summary point ("Every good thing comes from God") and a question for discussion/thought ("What has God given to you?").

I expected this book to be a collection of stories about the Really Woolly lamb, but instead it is definitely more of a devotional with rhyme and scripture, as I mentioned above. Neither is better than the other, just different. Though I'll always love bedtime stories and plan to read them to G. as she grows, I do like this concept of a devotional for young children. I'm not sure if bedtime is the best time or if I'd like it better for morning, but either way it's a lovely book-- content, cover, illustrations, and a great way to introduce spiritual concepts and the attributes of God to little ones.

4 stars. :)

[This book was provided to me by BookLook Bloggers at no cost in exchange for a review. This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Seven Quick Takes

It's been ages since I joined the SQT bloggers! It's now hosted by Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum, so hop on over to check out the other links as well. Baby G is sleeping oh-so-adorably beside me in her carrier after we got home from my mothers' book club at church this morning, so I'm taking the opportunity for some me-time instead of throwing in the next load of laundry. I'm really tempted to go make myself a cup of tea to sip while I type, but judging by her occasional fluttering eyelashes, she might be awake by the time I did that...


Speaking of the baby, she's ELEVEN WEEKS old! I can't believe how fast it's gone! I read the quote somewhere of parenting that "the days are long and the years are short." I can totally see that. I love the sweet little rhythm we're settling in to around here. Not that it's all easy and no tears (and I'm still getting used to my postpartum body!), but I feel like I'm getting the hang of things more and fully immersing myself in this beautiful vocation. In the midst of changing diapers and cooking meals and wiping spit up, there's a deep joy. There is purpose. I'm pouring myself out to raise this little human being, this precious gift from God, and it's amazing. Sure, I'd like a little more time for myself, I wish my face would quit breaking out from all the hormones, and I'd pay big bucks for a baby how-to manual...but in the end...this motherhood thing is the hardest and most incredibly beautiful thing I've ever done.

And hey, it helps that she's the cutest ever. The smiles just melt me. 


I'm fasting from Facebook for the 40 Days for Life. It's been awesome. There are things about Facebook that I love (keeping up with people, groups for advice, using it for events, etc.) and there are things are FB that I loathe (comparison, judgment, TIME-WASTING-- I'm guilty of all three). Every once in awhile I feel like I'm getting too attached and I taper down my use. But I haven't fasted from it like this for a long, long time. And it's wonderful. I can't believe how much simpler my life feels. I'm so much more in the present moment. I pray more. I think of others more and reach out to them by snail mail or phone call or text. And I'm surviving without asking my FB groups all the questions I have about baby-raising (in fact, I just might be praying about them more...)


On the flip side, I'm binge watching Downton Abbey. Yes, I know I'm late to that party but man! I LOVE this series!!! It's like a Pride and Prejudice that lasts longer than six hours (different time period but same wit and manners). I just finished season 4 and need to order season 5 from the library. I'm not sure how I'll survive until then (Netflix is not in our budget...). My favorite peeps: Mrs. Hughes, Anna, and the good old Dowager Countess.


My dairy/soy free diet continues. And it's not too bad. I've restocked the fridge this week with homemade bread, zucchini muffins, pot roast, chickpea salad, pulled pork, and tacos (minus cheese for me). Now all I need is to find some dairy-free chocolate chips because I'm craving cookies something fierce. 


We are LOVING fall. My husband works late hours this month because it's Respect Life month but we've still been able to enjoy it together. The weather has been gorgeous and the colors stunning. Despite my previously foiled trip to the pumpkin patch due to a flat tire, I did procure some pumpkins and gourds from a nearby farm selling them roadside, so our home is now decorated. I also have a cute, whimsical scarecrow that was in a free pile (!) at a garage sale this summer. He's the cutest addition by our porch steps, although my husband thinks it's hideous. What do you think? ;)


We're doing this book study/DVD series at my church for eight weeks. It's amazing!!! LOVE it. It's been such a blessing-- both the content and the dozen women I've met through it. It's truly helped me focus on the beauty and dignity of women as God created them as well as the beauty and dignity of motherhood (both physical and spiritual) that He's built into our very nature. The study has also covered great topics like comparison, emotions, expectations, and body image. 


I made it through the Quick Takes and she's still sleeping! Maybe I'll go make that cup of tea after all!

Happy weekend, sweet friends!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesday Talk #53: This Unpredictable Life

Some days feel like a crash course in the unpredictability of life. And that no matter how prepared you are, you're just not prepared enough!!

Like the day I was making a mini road trip to meet my mom and sister at a pumpkin patch, with all sorts of things packed in the car to be prepared for the day..only to get a flat tire on a country road alone with a baby in the car.

And then found out when the mechanic arrived that I did not have a spare tire.

First tow truck ride...
we can cross that off the bucket list!
Or there was the day I finally had a fridge stocked full of delicious comfort foods to feed my hubby and me for the week...only to find out that night our daughter has a dairy allergy and I needed to eliminate all dairy and soy from my diet for breastfeeding.

So much for all that cheesy goodness.

Yet things have a way of working out. Baby and I are safely home and she had her first ride in a tow truck. I'm learning how to avoid all the hidden dairy ingredients and will probably loose some postpartum weight in the process.

So here's to lessons that make me realize I'm not in control no matter how much I try to be (I imagine God shakes His head at my stubborn self wearily sometimes...).

And here's a recipe for a delicious soup in my fridge that I can no longer eat but that you might enjoy! ;) (Actually, I plan to make it again with gnocchi instead of tortellini).

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Birth Story: Part III

I was so worried that there was meconium since I was early, not late, with labor. I asked the nurse what it means when there's meconium prior to 40 weeks and she said it could either mean baby is just ready a little early-- or it could mean fetal distress.

Oh, thanks. That makes me feel so much better. Goodness!!

She did try to reassure me and said that NICU would be coming to the delivery and they would be standing by in case baby girl swallowed any meconium and they would be the first to assess her.

Peter and I continued to pray and we also texted our families to pray about this new development. My sweet parents and sister live an hour away and soon after getting our text decided to come up to the hospital right away in case anything negative were to happen.

Triage was somewhat of a blur of increasingly painful contractions, my doula arriving and helping P. with my pain management and emotional support, and me losing my Chik-Fil-A lunch into the nearest trash can (that's as delicate as I can put it...). I'm so thankful we had been very solid about our decision not to get an epidural because I have no doubt I would have re-thought things in those moments. However, my contractions were so close together, it's doubtful I would have been able to get one anyway had I changed my mind.

About two hours after our arrival they moved me into my labor and delivery room. An IV was started and I began to receive antibiotics through it as I had tested strep B positive early in my pregnancy and protocol was for me to have at least 4 hours of antibiotics for baby's protection (baby G got tired of being in there before she'd had the full dose, however...another reason I was glad to have NICU on board).

I was very hopeful about the nursing staff prior to admission. I mean, you'd think most nurses working in L&D would love their jobs and be amazing birth coaches and advocates for their patients. Perhaps most are.

But mine was not.

I later found out from friends who work at the hospital that she is known to be the grumpiest nurse in the department. Fabulous. She did not disappoint. She barely spoke to me, did not coach or encourage at all through my contractions, stood by the computer the whole time, and even gave me a medication without checking my dilation first (being a nurse myself, these things make me so upset, although at the time I was so focused on the contractions I mostly ignored her).

On the flip side, my doula and my husband were the most amazing birth team ever. Wow. My heart warms even now at their tireless support. My husband held me and stayed by my side the whole time, speaking words of comfort and encouragement. My doula had great manual techniques for pain management and helped me focus on the purpose of my labor and not panic from the pain. Both of them prayed with me throughout. I had brought a journal of prayer intentions from friends and family and others and we prayed for those intentions in my early labor. As things got more intense, I would just offer up all my pain (in union with Christ's suffering on the cross/Colossians 1:24) for the collective intentions.

No one can prepare you for the pain of labor. The nurse said my water breaking also made my contractions more painful because there was no fluid to offset it. I also think my labor was particularly "fast and furious" because of baby needing to get out fast-- both my body and God knew that and I'm grateful. It was nothing like my early contractions at home that I had laughed through. It wasn't even like the contractions in triage that I could talk through with a grimace. These were all-consuming, whole-body-feels-in-pain contractions.

My ideal had been for a completely medication-free labor but the one intervention I had been on the fence about was the IV pain med Nubain. It seemed to have the least side effects and wore off quickly so I was somewhat open to it prior to labor. With the contractions coming almost on top of each other, I was exhausted and losing strength. The breathing through contractions was no longer helping. I remember one contraction I just said "Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus" over and over. I also remember starting to lose it with my focus and during a crazy-painful contraction on my hands and knees on the bed, I shrieked, "I want Nubain" to my doula and the nurse.

That stuff is wonderful. And a little weird. It helped for only an hour but that was enough to regain my strength. I've never been drunk or drugged but it felt like a combination of both. I could still feel the contractions but they felt like in early labor and were much more manageable. My head was foggy and I felt very tired. My parents and sister then arrived and came in to visit during this time. It was so good to have my family there as well. My doula said she felt that the Nubain was a good decision. Even though I'd like to try again someday without any meds, I think it was a good decision, too. It gave me a much-needed hour to breathe and re-focus and gain strength from my family and Peter.

But all good things come to an end and it wore off. This time the contractions were absolutely indescribable. One on top of the other, it was all I could do to drape myself over my husband and moan deeply with each one. I was very inward-focused and not very aware of my surroundings but simply focusing on enduring one contraction at a time. My doula reminded me each one is bringing your baby downward and closer to meeting us. I remember thinking if they came in and said we have to do a C section, I'd gladly say "wheel me away." (which makes me laugh now, especially knowing how much I did NOT want a C section). I was watching the monitor for baby's heart rate and her heart would dip from 140's to the 60's during contractions...very scary. I said something about it to P. and I'm sure my nurse overheard but she didn't say anything.

During the contractions I began to feel like I had to push. I told my not-so-great nurse and asked her to check me for dilation-- she proceeded to tell me she didn't think I was that far along and that she can't just check me to check me. (see what I mean?) I couldn't argue with her because I had more important things to focus on so I continued to endure the contractions and even let my body push a few times. I did ask her if I could have more Nubain or if she needed to check me before giving it (because I was pretty sure she was supposed to!!). She said she didn't need to check me and gave me some more. (This also makes me furious because it can be contraindicated to give Nubain too close to delivery...)

About twenty minutes later, I still had to push and I begged her to check me. She did and begrudgingly (at least I thought it was!) announced I was completely dilated.

This was around four hours after we'd arrived at the hospital. My doula couldn't believe how quickly things had gone. She looked at me incredulously and said, "Laura, THAT was transition!!" (Transition is often seen as the worst and hardest part of labor without an epidural...the most intense contractions as you dilate from 8-10cm.) It was a great feeling to know I had made it through stage 3 of labor.

Time to push!!!

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

My Birth Story: Part II

I decided to finish my sandwich before we left for the hospital because all the books say to eat before you leave because you won't get to eat once you get to the hospital! (In this case, bad idea...) We then found the girl who prayed over us on our way out and thanked her again and told her how much it meant to us.

On the way to the car in the parking lot I kept having contractions and had to stop and bend over for each one. It was an odd feeling because I was very aware of all the people around us and trying to appear normal but I was feeling anything but! Sheesh...a people-pleaser even in labor!!

When we got to the car I had another contraction and squatted down between our car and the one next to us. So painful! When I got up, I noticed I felt wet and was concerned there was more bleeding. But as we drove to the hospital fifteen minutes away, I checked and realized my water had broken!! Everything was happening fast and we were both feeling the craziness of it all. I was a week early yet things were moving right along! I don't remember a lot of the drive but I do remember calling my sister to let her know and for some reassurance during contractions since she'd been through this three times! I think I even started crying when I told her how much it hurt.

We got to the hospital and P. was very smooth and calm as he found the correct parking garage (it's a huge hospital and there are five!). We hadn't done a hospital tour so we weren't even quite sure where to go. I had another painful contraction and this one had me bending over in the corridor where I started crying from the pain. P. tells me this was the moment when he started to worry and get scared from seeing me in so much pain. But God continued to provide for us as a hospital staff member saw us and got a wheelchair and took us where we needed to go. She was a friendly African-American woman and said how that morning she had asked Jesus for "good things to happen" and this was going to be one of them (me having the baby!). So sweet. Another staff member saw my husband carrying his Bible (the one thing he grabbed in the that man) and she said something about how we would be fine because God was with us.

We finally got to the unit but they were very busy and I was put in triage. Several nurses and a nurse practitioner came in for an assessment but were all very casual about things. I was at a 1 or 2 when they checked me so I'd imagine they thought I was a first time delivery and it would be a long time (an average first-time labor is around 12 hours). When I went to the bathroom to give them a sample, I noticed something terrifying to me. My water wasn't clear. I knew something was wrong.

When the nurse was in, I told her my fear-- I think there's meconium in my water.

She shrugged a bit and said she didn't think so but they'd run a test. I was frustrated and showed her my pad.

"Oh my," she said. "Yep. That's meconium."

There were three things I feared most for my delivery-- that the baby's heart would drop with contractions, that the cord would be around her neck, and that there would be meconium in the water.

All three things happened.

To be continued...