Archive for November, 2009

What’s Your Parenting Style?

When I was preggers with my oldest child 8 years ago I bought and read every book on parenting that I could find.  Baby Whisperer, Babywise, Parenting Your Toddler are just a few of the books I read.  What I quickly learned was that everyone had an idea about what was best and apparently if I didn’t read their book then I would forever be a clueless, ignorant parent.

But what I also realized is that no two children are the same.  Therefore I believe that we have to raise our children in the way that is best for our family and most importantly, our child.

So over the years Aaron and I have just done with our three girls what makes sense to us and what comes naturally to us.  That meant/means breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, babywearing, and attending to our children when they cry (I’ve never believed in letting babies “cry it out”).  I recently learned that “our” style of parenting actually has a name:  Attachement Parenting.

The 7 B’s of AP are:

1.  Birth Bonding

2.  Breastfeeding on Demand

3.  Babywearing

4.  Bedding close to Baby

5.  Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry

6.  Beware of “baby trainers”

7.  Balance

We don’t believe in making schedules and expecting our baby’s to follow them.  I remember babysitting for a couple when I was in college and they had their baby’s day planned and written down for me to follow.  9am–feed baby 4 ounces of breastmilk, 9:30am–tummy time for 10 minutes, 9:40am–lay baby down in crib and do not pick him up if he cries, etc, etc,etc.  I remember the mom specifically telling me that she was trying to get her baby on a schedule and that I was not to pick him up if he cried because he needed to learn when it was nap time.  I’ll confess, I NEVER let him cry for more than 5 minutes.  Even if it meant that I just went to his room (he was sleeping on his own in his own room from birth) and talked to him to calm him down.

It seemed like torture to me!  Let a baby cry…really?  They cry because they are trying to tell us something and I just don’t understand the rationale of letting a baby “cry it out”.  Anyway..that could be a whole blog post to itself.

So we figured out early on that schedules were NOT for us or our babies.  We feed them when they are hungry.  We hold them (or I wear them in a sling) often.  Our babies have slept in our room with us until they have been around 4-6 months old.  We watch our babies and NOT a clock or a schedule.  We try to listen and discern what their cries mean.

I’m interested in hearing what your parenting style is?  Are there certain things that you do or don’t do when it comes to parenting?  I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way…just saying what has worked for us.

You can read more about Attachment Parenting on Dr. Jim Sears’ website or in his book (which I recently purchased!):


Look Who’s One Month Old!

Here are some new photos of me, Layla Joy!  I was one month old on Thanksgiving Day!

People think I’m pretty cute.  Everyone likes to talk about “all my hair”.  And my dimples.  A lot of people think I look like my big sister, Annagrace but my mommy thinks I look like Madalyn.  In fact, she says that if she doesn’t write our names on our pictures then one day she may not remember who the picture is of!

Here’s a few things about me at one month:

  • Apparently my real name is Layla but my mommy and daddy have a lot of nicknames for me.  Baby girl, Pretty Girl, Miss Dimples, Layla J, LJ, Tater Tot, Sweet Pea.  I think it’s cute how crazy they are about me.
  • Mommy likes using cloth diapers on me.  They make my butt look huge but at least it helps me fill out my clothes a little better.
  • Speaking of cloths, I’m still wearing my newborn clothes.  And sometimes they are still too big!
  • I am finally getting into a sleeping and eating routine and that seems to be making my mommy happy.  At night she usually stays up and feeds me at 1 a.m.  and then I sleep until 5: 30 a.m. (and sometimes later than that).  Then it’s back to sleep until 8 a.m.  Somedays I like to stay awake a LOT.  And in the evenings, I like to have mommy all to myself!
  • My sisters love me.  They give me lots of hugs and kisses…especially the little one.  Sometimes mommy makes her stop because she thinks it bothers me but secretly I love it!
  • Mommy put me in a bathtub the other night.  I hated it!  I prefer to get my baths on a nice warm towel while lying on daddy and mommy’s bed.
  • I have already been to my first movie–we saw “A Christmas Carol”.  I’ve also been to two different libraries.  And I’ve been on a field trip to the Charles B. Aycock Center.  AND I’ve been to the aquarium and the beach.  Annagrace thinks I’m going to be a pretty smart kid because when she’s in “school” then I’m in school too since my mommy is the teacher!
  • I finally slept in my cradle the other night for the first time.  I used to hate that thing but it’s growing on me.  Of course, if I had my way I’d sleep in the bed with mommy and daddy every night.  (Sometimes they let me for a little while!)

Be Thankful

So much to be thankful for this year.  New jobs for me and Aaron….a new house….a new daughter.  The health of our family.  New friendships and rekindled old friendships.

Just so many blessings to count today.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your families and friends.  Tell them how much you love them.  Hug your kids tight and enjoy every second of the holidays!

Drowning in Photos

I have decided to try and tackle the overwhelming task of organizing the photos on our desktop computer.  I say overwhelming because I have roughly 30,000 photos on this computer.

Yes, seriously.  I got my digital SLR camera in March 2006 and that means I have taken roughly 10,000 photos a year.  It’s insane I know.  The crazy part?  I have not backed up a single photo since June 2008!  I know that computers tend to crash from time to time and I am determined to get these photos in a safe place in case that happens to us.  But that means weeding through almost 2 years worth of photos.

So I’m wondering . . . how do you store your photos?  I am looking into getting an external hard drive.  I currently burn all my photos to DVD and I am looking into an online storage site.  Currently I am considering either SmugMug or Mozy.  While I’d like to go with a free site I am reluctant.  I want to know that my files will never be compressed, will be kept private and will not be deleted.  Not sure what to do.

Here is my process with what I have already:

1.  Review each folder and delete unwanted/temporary folders.  Combine all small “daily” folders into “monthly” folders.

2.  Sort through each and every photo.  Rename and save the “keepers” that I want to use in my scrapbook in a separate file.  I will be doing my 2008 and 2009 scrapbooks all digital.

3.  Burn all photos from each folder onto a DVD.

4.  Delete folder.

This is the most tedious work.  I have been at it for almost 3 hours now and I have gotten 4 months worth done.  The good thing is that my scrapbooking should go faster because I have already sorted through the photos!

And since we’re talking photos I’ll share a new one of baby Layla.  Here she is at 3 1/2 weeks old.





This is my first post from my phone! The girls and I are at my parent’s home tonight. I hope my hubby gets a good night’s sleep! He has been a real trooper the last few weeks getting up at night with me and the baby and helping me with supper and chores and working full time on top of all of that. I figure he deserves a good night’s sleep!

These are some random things floating through my head tonight:

1. “Say Anything” is a great movie and “In Your Eyes” is an amazing song. Love it.
2. My baby has the prettiest hair. Light brown with little blonde highlights.
3. I am very excited about “New Moon”! Hoping to see it soon with my friend Jenn.
4. I love my new G-Vegas friends. Gina and Ryan and Frances and Ned–you guys rock. Hope to have more fun times with y’all soon.
5. I received the best news last week but don’t know if I am allowed to share it yet or not.
6. Is Thanksgiving really next week?!
7. I really want to do the 25 books of Christmas idea that Lindsey posted about on her blog. Going to have to rummage through and count up how many books we already have. I also can’t wait to read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” with the girls this year. One of the best kids books ever written in my opinion!
8. I love that my 7 year old is interested in forensics. Maybe she will live out my dream of being either a CSI or a crime scene photographer! She got a kid’s forensics book from the library and informed me today that investigators help determine a corpse’s gender by the hips because women’s hips have to be big enough for babies to pass through. Is it awful that my little girl is interested in this kind of stuff?! She also loves mystery books like Encyclopedia Brown so maybe a career in fighting crime really is in her future!
9. Casting Crowns version of “I Heard the Bells” could be the best Christmas song ever. I get chills every time I hear the line “God is not dead nor does He sleep…”.
10. Speaking of Christmas–for those that don’t know already from facebook, my 7 year old no longer believes in Santa. I hate it! I knew she would figure it out earlier than most kids and honestly thought last year that she knew but this year she finally put it all together and my hubby could not lie to her and told her the truth. It makes me sad. She has been sworn to secrecy so as not to ruin it for her friends and sisters and cousins!
11. I am ready to get back to a healthier lifestyle. I let things go while pregnant-didn’t exercise, didn’t always eat nutritious foods. But I am getting to the point post c-section where I think I can start walking again and I need to start eating better! Planning to get back on Spark People (which I used with success in the past) and I want to get back to running which I loved when I was doing it.
12. Madalyn will be 4 years old next week! Crazy. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. She wants a Scooby Doo party!
13. One day I hope I will be a responsible adult. One who pays bills on time and doesn’t lose things. Since moving we have misplaced our Flip camera and I have lost my mp3 player. So frustrating!!!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday Social

Just a few random blogs from the web that you may enjoy.

1)  Layla would not go to sleep last night.  She just wouldn’t give it up and close her eyes.   So I was feeding her and Aaron was awake with us and he and I both had our blackberries in hand (’cause we are dorks like that–sometimes we even text each other when we are in the same room!).  I remembered that I had bought her a Beatles lullaby CD and popped that in so we’d have some soothing music to listen to.

And then I remembered I had read about a Queen lullaby CD (our family looooovvveesssss Queen!) so I googled it on my blackberry.  That led to a discovery of TONS of very cool lullaby CDs.  Check out Rockabye Baby Music and you can purchase lullaby rendition CDs from artists such as Bob Marley, Guns n’ Roses, U2, Pixies, Tool, Nirvana, Metallica, AC/DC, Green Day and many more!  We are huge music fans (and our other girls already are as well) so we will definitely be getting some of these lullabies on CD for Layla!  Unfortunately there is no Eric Clapton version yet!

A few of my favorites so far:  “Heart Shaped Box”  by Nirvana, “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen, “Clocks” by Coldplay and “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC.  And the artwork on the covers is awesome.  Come on…who can resist singing your child to sleep at night to the tune of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails?

2)  ABC and 123. Just found this blog tonight and have just started looking through it.  Looks like a fabulous homeschool resource and I see lots of turkey crafts and projects which we will be beginning next week in preparation for Thanksgiving!

3)  Superwhy!  Gotta throw this one in for Madalyn.  Since we cancelled our phone and our cable we now only have the basic networks along with several PBS stations.  Thank goodness for PBS Kids.  It gives my kids a good fix of “kid” shows and there are several shows that are reading based that Madalyn has really fallen in love with!  Superwhy, Word Girl and Word World are just a few.  I’m partial to Superwhy although that spelling fairy song really annoys the mess out of me!

4)  Last but not least I’ll share this oldie but goodie just in case you have been living under a rock and have not heard of it.  Etsy rocks!  And since my playgroup moms surprised me with a monetary gift in honor of Layla’s birth I have been perusing the site looking for a new baby sling.  We have two and neither are all that comfortable.  I love supporting crafters and Etsy is a great way to do it!


Works for Me Wednesday

I had good intentions to post something yesterday but it didn’t happen because I was soooo sick!  Fever, aches, chills, headache.  Thinking I may have a very mild flu virus.  I feel much better today.  My fever is under control and the aches and headaches are gone.  Hopefully the worst of it is over.

So today is Works for me Wednesday–on Thursday!  If you can think of a great tip you want to share then join me by posting on your blog!

Layla is now 17 days old.  We are just loving having her in our family.  She is such a good baby!  We all just love her to pieces!  I thought I’d share a few items that so far have “worked for me”!

1)  Reuseable Nursing Pads.  I really like the Green Sprouts organic cotton flannel nursing pads.  They are SO much more comfortable than the disposables.  And if you have sore nipples then the more comfortable the better.  I have bought other brands of reuseables but these are by far the most comfortable.  If you know your way around a sewing machine you could make lots of these for very little money.  Or you can purchase them on Etsy–just search for nursing pads.  Trust me, your boobs will thank you.

2)  Fisher Price Soothing Motions Glider. We were blessed to have one of these given to us by the sister-in-law of our boss.  I don’t know how we would have survived these first few weeks without it.  Layla takes naps in it and on really fussy nights she sleeps in it (she’s not too fond of her cradle just yet).   It glides both ways–back and forth and from side to side and the seat swivels all the way around.  It is awesome!

3)  Fuzzi Bunz and Thirsties cloth diapers.  I think it’s funny when I tell people we are using cloth diapers.  Most people say, “really?!”.  I never thought I would use them either–and probably wouldn’t if I was working full time because it is a time commitment.  I had decided to use disposables for the first month or so until I was recovered from surgery but Layla’s little bum was getting so read from the disposables that we decided to go ahead and start with the cloth diapers.  I already had a Thirsties diaper that I purchased months ago and I was blessed to be able to buy 11 fuzzi bunz diapers (and a diaper pail) from a friend for only $50!!!  It was an incredible blessing because there was no way we could have afforded to purchase 12 diapers at full price.  So far we love the cloth diapers.  I love the Thirsties because they have velcro but the Fuzzi Bunz have snaps that will allow them to grow with her and will probably fit her right up to potty training time!

So what works for you this week?!


November is National Blog Post Month

So to promote the challenge to blog something everyday for the month of November, Nicole at OhMyWords and Heather at Everyday Life have come up with some ideas for daily blog topics.

Here are their ideas:

Mondays: “Not Me Mondays” (blog about mishaps embarrassments)
Tuesdays: “Top Ten Tuesdays”(make a top ten list for whatever you want)
Wednesdays: “Wednesday Works” (share something of the old “works for me” school of thought or share a project you’re working on, want to work on, need help with or even share a behavior/habit you or your family is working on)
Thursdays: “Thoughts for Thursdays” -of course!- (blog about a topic of opinion)
Fridays: “Flashback Fridays” (blog about a memory or even photo from the past)
Saturdays: “Saturday Social” (share new or favorite websites or blogs you come across)
Sundays: “Sunday Survey” (random questions)

You may recognize some of these ideas from other blogs around the web.  I thought it would be fun to use these for journaling prompts on days when I just can’t think of anything blog-worthy to write about.

I think I’ll start tomorrow though.  It’s late and I’m tired!

Who needs sleep anyway?

Here I am.  Wide awake.  At 1 a.m.  It could be because of the craziness of my infant daughter’s schedule.

Or maybe the large amounts of Mt. Dew I have been consuming–partly because I am craving it now that I can drink it and not feel guilty and partly because it helps with the headaches I’ve been having off and on for the last week.

Whatever the reason I am here at 1 a.m. on the computer while the rest of the family is asleep.  Any minute now I expect that Layla is going to wake up ready to eat and I guess I’ll go to bed then too.  But for now I’m blogging!

Here are some random thoughts going through my head:

  • Layla has not gained any weight back.  We have been for two weight checks and she still sits at 6 pounds, 13 ounces which is about 12 ounces less than her birth weight.  I’m trying not to get concerned.  Madalyn did the same thing when she was born.  C-section moms get a lot of fluids before and during surgery which shifts to the baby and then is lost after birth.  Still . . . I wonder if I am producing enough milk.  I thought for sure I was but now I’m wondering.  The doctor asked me to pump over the weekend which I have had time to do all of twice.  I was able to get almost 2 ounces the first time and 1 ounce the second time.  I see my OB-GYN tomorrow and my pedi wants me to ask him for a milk stimulating med “just in case”.
  • I’ve been doing well.  I had to take a Darvocet tonight and that was the first one I have taken in about 5 days.  I’m still sore at times but I notice improvements everyday.  I see Dr. G for my follow up tomorrow.  Luckily Aaron will be coming home to watch Annagrace and Madalyn while I go to my appointment.  Whew!  I was NOT looking forward to taking all 3 of them in with me!
  • Although I am doing better emotionally this time I still get the baby blues from time to time.  It’s been mild compared to last time but still I have my moments.  Being home 24/7 with three children while trying to homeschool the eldest and keep the middle (and suddenly sassy and defiant) one from smothering the baby . . . not to mention putting up with my senile dog who has a terrible allergy/itching problem . . . well, it’s enough to drive anyone insane.  I think I’m holding it together pretty well so far!
  • I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner.  I am trying to remind myself about what is REALLY important during the holidays.  Money will be very tight around here this year because I am not working for about 7 weeks or so.  So I am trying to think of meaningful and frugal gift ideas for the few people that we want to give gifts to this year.
  • I am seriously worried that I will not be able to teach Madalyn how to read.  I don’t know why I am so concerned about it (she is still 3 years old after all) but it is one of those worries in the back of my head.
  • I need some better accessible clothing for breastfeeding.  I have one “nursing” top that I wear a lot.  We haven’t been out in public a lot yet so it’s been okay but I really need to get some more tops.

Baby girl is about to wake up so I guess I’m off to bed!

A Baby Story

Almost a week a not a blog post in sight!  Such is the life with a newborn and two other aggravating sweet and adorable children to care for!  It has been a crazy week.  I’ve been having a harder time recovering from my c-section than with the previous two but I’ve been doing much, much better emotionally than I did with Madalyn!  After 9 days of taking Oxycodone every 4 hours around the clock I am happy to say that I am now pain-medicine free (except for an occasional Tylenol or Motrin!).

So I finally have some time to sit and write about Layla’s birth!  Here are Aaron and I a couple days before Layla was born at some friends’ Halloween party!  It took three pregnancies but I think this time my belly may have gotten bigger than his!

me and Aaron


So Aaron and I headed to the hospital on Monday morning, October 26 at 7 a.m.  Here we are as we were walking out the door.  Very anxious.  Very nervous.  But VERY excited!

Leaving for the hospital

My surgery was scheduled for 9 and things went very smoothly and right on time.  I was checked into my room, changed into a hospital gown and peed in a cup and then got settled into bed so the nurse could start my IV.  I had two really great nurses working with me.  Trish was with me from the beginning right up until I was rolled to my post-partum room.  She was really nice and helpful and supportive.  I had to have a good crying spell (I was soooo nervous!) and the nurses were just wonderful in assuring me that everything would be okay.  My surgical nurse knew about my background and my post-partum hemorrhage after Madalyn was born and she made a point to tell all of my caregivers so that they would be extra careful in watching me for complications.

After just a little while my friend (and nurse anesthetist) Susie came by and hung out with us until it was time to go to surgery.  My mom and dad also arrived soon after that.  I informed the nurses that I did not want Layla to receive erythromycin eye ointment/drops or the Hep B (I reneged on the Vitamin K literally that morning–read up on it the night before and scared myself into letting them give it!).  Anyway…they were okay with the Hep B but the ointment was another story.  The nurses told me that they would notify the nursery staff.  Then they told me I’d have to talk to the pediatrician.  It ended up being a big ordeal because they didn’t have a form for me to sign saying that I refused it and in the end the hospital notified risk management and the pediatrician and after I talked with her (the pedi) she told me that she was told by risk management that she needed to “report it” to the health department!!!  Crazy.  But I stood my ground and said that I did not feel she was at risk, I did not have an STD and I DID NOT want her to receive it.  (Dr. G and Dr. P–the pediatricians–both later told me that they agreed that Layla was not at risk and Dr. P even said that he thinks in the next few years children will be separated into low and high risk groups and the low risk babies will no longer receive it.  In fact, right now there is a nation wide shortage of the medication!).

So after we got that settled–I signed the refusal form literally as I was being rolled down to surgery–it was off to the operating room!  This photo was taken as Dr. G was opening me up!  I was so anxious to meet little Layla!

Me in surgery BW

Aaron was not allowed in right away.  I had requested it but they do not like the spouses in the room when the spinals are put in.  I’m not sure what the reason is but it seemed like forever before I saw him again.  They had difficulty getting my spinal in and actually had to try twice before they got it accessed.  And then it seemed to take a long time before I was numb enough.  They got my urinary catheter in and then Aaron was brought into the room decked out in his surgical garb.

Things went quickly after that.  Susie and Aaron kept me calm by talking to me and telling me what was happening.  I heard Dr. G say the work “rupture” and I freaked out because I instantly thought “ruptured uterus”.  Then Susie said, “It’s almost time!” and I knew he meant that he had ruptured my membranes (amniotic sac).  Just a few seconds later and I felt them pull and push REALLY hard on my stomach and out came my beautiful little girl!

Layla Joy–born at 10:06 a.m. weighing 7 pounds 6.5 ounces, 20 inches in length with a headful of dark brown hair and dark blue eyes!

Layla being born BW

Dr. G held her up for what seemed like a long time so that I could get a good look at her.  She screamed and then opened her little eyes and looked right at me.  I will never forget that!  I never experienced that with my other two children.

The best part of the surgery was having the bassinet positioned right beside me so I could see everything going on.  Again, didn’t have that experience with my other two.  By the time I saw them for the first time they were already swaddled up.  Layla was grabbing stuff from the beginning.  When they first pulled her out she had her umbilical cord in her hand.  Then she grabbed her oxygen tubing.  (Even now she likes to grab onto things–especially the straps of my tank tops and her sisters hair–yes, already she is grabbing Madalyn’s hair!).

Layla after birth

I was able to watch the nurses get her footprints and I could see Aaron cut her cord!

Aaron cutting cord

After they got her cleaned up and swaddled they let Aaron bring her over to me and he sat with me for a long time.

me aaron and layla

I started feeling really out of it and I said that out loud and Susie realized that my blood pressure had really dropped.  They quickly gave me some meds to bring it up and then I felt fine.  Aaron left with Layla and the nurse to go to the nursery and Dr. G finished me up and I was taken to recovery.

It wasn’t too long after that (maybe 30 minutes) and they were able to bring Layla to me.  Again–something I had not experienced with my two previous babies.  I didn’t see Annagrace or Madalyn for several hours after and it was after I was already settled in my post-partum room.

This is the first photo of me holding Layla.  Right after this I stripped her down and was able to hold her skin-to-skin on my chest and a few minutes later attempted to nurse her (she wasn’t all that into it but was able to latch on for a few seconds).

me and layla in recovery 2

I was in recovery for about an hour and then we were all taken down to my post-partum room.  Aunt Steph (Aaron’s sister) arrived shortly after that with the new big sisters and my brother and sister-in-law and mom and dad were there as well.

The next few days were TOUGH.  I had A LOT of post-op pain.  That was my only complaint of my whole stay.  They took me off my Dilaudid pain pump and put me on pills and only gave me ONE pill that was suppose to last for 6 hours.  By the time 3 hours had passed I was literally crying in pain.  The nurses called my doctor and had my pain meds changed to 1 OR 2 every FOUR hours instead.  It made a big difference!  I had to use a lot of ice and heat packs on my incision and abdomen.  I have to say that although the surgery was 100 times better this time the recovery was worse!

After two days though I was feeling well enough to come home.  Here we are all ready to go!  The pediatrician said that Layla was in the intermediate level for her jaundice and she did not require labwork.  (However when we returned to the doctor two days later they sent us for labwork (it was fine).  She had lost from her birth weight down to 6 pounds 14 ounces as well).

me and layla leaving the hospital

I couldn’t wait to get out of that tiny little hospital room and get home with my all my girls!  Annagrace and Madalyn were SO excited to have their baby sister home!  She has gotten a lot of hugs and snuggles and kisses these first couple of weeks!

3 girls

Aaron had the week off and it was nice to spend time getting to know our little one.  Aaron was wonderful taking care of me!  He made sure I took my medicine, fixed my meals for me, and got up with me during all hours of the night for feedings (and occasionally to help pull me up out of bed!).  We were really sad when he had to go back to work!

We are so happy that our little Layla arrived safe and sound  and that I didn’t have any complications!

Welcome to our family Layla Joy!



November 2009