Monday, January 28, 2013

Our blog has moved!

I just realized that I moved our blog over to another website, and never posted it on here!

Check it out, and start following us on WordPress! We won't be using this blog anymore, but it will stay up so you can see old posts :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learning to Cook

I have been SO good about cooking and even trying new things over the past week or more. Y'all would be so proud.

Today, since my picky husband is working a later shift and wasn't here for dinner, I tried out a new recipe that my mom and I came up with. I have been wanting black bean soup, and can't find a recipe that I have wanted to try. So Momma and I just came up with one! We made it today, and it is so good :) Max even approves (of course, since he loves beans of all kinds).


2 lbs of dried black beans
2 cans Original Rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
Vidalia Onion (I used half of a good sized onion), chopped
2 cans chicken broth (more or less depending on how soupy you want it)
Water (as needed)

-rinse beans, then soak overnight in water
-the next morning, drain any excess water and put the beans in the crockpot
-add tomatoes and rotel (do not drain)
-add chicken broth, cumin, and onion, plus however much chicken broth you'd like :)

Cook in the crockpot on high for 8-10 hours. Serve with tortilla chips! So easy, so good.

Crockpot meals are the best- next to no effort for some of the best meals! How can you say no to that?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our "must have" baby items

As I have said about a thousand times before, we think the less baby "gear" the better.  They really don't NEED all that stuff that ends up cluttering your house and costing you and arm and a leg.  A few people have asked me if I will be sticking to my guns as the second baby comes, especially since we have a toddler as well. And the answer? OF COURSE!  People also asked me after Max was born how we did it without all the swings and bouncers and basinets. So here it is.

These are the things that we used like crazy with Max, and that I would highly recommend:

1- The Ergo Baby Carrier.  This thing is amazing. We actually have one that was passed down from my parents that they used with Toby Ann, and it is still in great shape.  It allows baby to be held naturally and doesn't hold baby "by the crotch," plus it is comfortable for whoever is carrying him because it puts the weight on the hips instead of the shoulders.  You can use it from birth to 50lbs; in a front, hip or back carrying position; nurse in it, etc. Plus, they come in all sorts of patterns and colors now!  Check their website out and read all about the benefits of using an Ergo carrier!  These are also available at Target and Babies R Us.

You will also need to get the infant insert if you plan to use it before 4-5 months of age (which I would recommend).  We used the carrier with Max from day 5 until I was too big with Drew to carry him in it anymore!

2- Arms Reach Cosleeper- We got the original, instead of the mini cosleeper.  For those of you who are not comfortable with bed sharing but still want your little one close, this is the way to go.  It saved me a ton of lost sleep in the first few months because when Max woke up for a nighttime feeding I didn't even have to move. I was able to just pull him into bed with me, feed him, get him back to sleep, and then move him back to the co-sleeper.  It also converts into a pack-and-play and is easy to take with you on trips. 

This time around, we are actually planning to just do the whole bed sharing thing and skip using the co-sleeper.  We ended up doing that a lot with Max anyway, and if you do it the right way (no pillows, no bulky covers, nowhere for the baby to fall out of bed), it is actually very safe and is proven to prevent SIDS!  If you are interested in bed sharing, you can read more about it here or here.  

3- Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra- simply the best I have tried.  I bought several before Max was born from Motherhood Maternity for $20 or less a piece, and it was a waste of money.  They were uncomfortable, didn't work very well, and fell apart quickly.  This one is a little more pricey at around $50, but was totally and completely worth it!  Just trust me on this one...with nursing bras you get what you pay for, and if breastfeeding is important to you, you need to get the right "equipment."

4- Cotton or terry sleep and plays-  This one may seem really obvious, but I feel the need to put it on here anyway.  There is really no need for all the cutesy outfits with a thousand bulky pieces.  Newborns and infants are just not comfortable in jeans! And an uncomfortable baby = an unhappy baby, people.  We also love simple cotton onesies and cotton pants.  

*all of these are from Carters, and I love them all ;)

5- Swaddle blankets- A life saver.  Don't ever underestimate the power of a good swaddle! We got these great ones from Summer that are lightweight cotton and have velcro to help keep them snug.  Max lived in these for a while, and I think we will probably use them even more with Drew.

Some things we are doing a little differently this time:

1- BOB SE Duallie Revolution Stroller- We honestly didn't use a stroller all that much with Max until he was about a year old.  And I still think that I will be carrying Drew the majority of the time for the first year of his life or so...BUT for things like walks/runs in the neighborhood, zoo trips, etc. we will definitely be needing a double strollers.  While I do not have this stroller yet and can't really recommend it, I have done extensive research on double strollers, and this is definitely the one we want to get.  It really suits our active and busy lifestyle, and we will be able to use if for a long time since it holds a total of 100lbs.

2- Sleeping Baby Productions Ring Sling- this is another thing that I haven't tried, but has been recommended to me by several people.  I really wanted a ring sling as an option this time, since I am sure Drew will be spending even more time being held in a carrier than Max did (since I will need my hands free to entertain Max).  There are several more options for ring slings, but this one is my favorite.  The way it is sewn, the price, the materials available...all great.  The lady who owns the company literally makes and sells them out of her home! I plan on getting one in the 100% linen, which is supposed to be an excellent material for a baby sling.

3- Gauze swaddle blankets- We have our eye on these by aden + anais for Target and I cannot wait to get my hands on them and try them out.  For spring and summer babies, you just can't go wrong with a lightweight blanket! I have a feeling these will be getting a lot of use!

Obviously, there are a lot of other things you need for a teeny little baby, and even more things you need for older babies.  BUT these are my favorites.  As far as "gear" goes, this is how we do things at our house.  I promise you that a baby will almost definitely love being held in a carrier or wrapped in a swaddler blanket, probably even more than being put in a swing!  I am not, by any means, saying that my way is better than yours or that your way is wrong.  This is just what has worked for us and how we plan on doing things with Drew as well. Who knows...maybe it will be helpful to you! 

Monday, December 31, 2012

A new year + 31 weeks

We have never really been ones to celebrate New Years. It seems like for as long as I can remember hubs and I have done nothing more exciting than go out to eat, come home and be lazy! I know for a fact that 2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Max, we were both asleep by 11:00.

This year we had a very low-key celebration...just us three, dinner, movies, couch snuggling, and pajamas. And it was perfect! I couldn't think of any other two that I'd rather bring in the new year with.

Even though we keep it simple for New Year's Eve, the idea of starting a new year has me pretty excited. I feel motivated, happy, and optimistic about this coming year! There is a lot that will change, and there is a whole lot to look forward to.

With just 9 weeks between us and Drew's due date, of course I can't stop thinking about what life will be like as a mommy of two boys (and I'm sure none of you are surprised to hear that...yet again). I think a lot needs to change around here to make all of our lives easier (maybe it's the new year, maybe it's nesting). I don't have resolutions, because resolutions don't get kept...but there are a few things I'm excited about doing in 2013!

Learning to cook- I know, I know. I say this all the time, and I say it every time a new year comes around. But seriously...I'm really motivated, and it is necessary at this point in our lives. I can't be a mother of two growing boys and a wife to a man with a large appetite and not be able to cook! We got new pot and pans for Christmas, along with some new bakeware...and I can't wait to use it all!

Getting organized- I've been on an organizing spree here lately, and I plan on keeping that up. I think it will really make things easier, especially after Drew gets here.

Take a ton of pictures, and learn to use my new camera- Hubby got me a DSLR camera for Christmas, and I have a lot to learn about it. I want to take way more pictures of our everyday life, not just when we do something special.

Take time for just Nick and I- we really need to go on more date nights this year. I think we have only been on three "dates" since Max arrived almost two years ago.

My favorite? Become a momma of two! I can't wait to teach Max to be a big brother, learn to have a little balance between my boys, snuggle with a sweet newborn, and love them every single minute of every day.'s to 2013! I hope it is wonderful for us all :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

30 weeks

Christmas is over, our house is a disaster area, and there are only 10 weeks or less until Drew joins our family. I knew this would happen...I have been extremely calm and not at all worried about everything we need to do. Up until now.

I knew that Christmas would go by quickly, and that as soon as it was over I would have a sense of urgency about getting it all done. I'm still not freaking out, and hopefully I won't ever get to that point, but I do feel like there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in.

I think it's really important to stay as far away from stress as possible during pregnancy, especially towards the end. This is part of that whole "attachment patenting" philosophy that I definitely believe in. If my due date was tomorrow, I know everything would be fine. We have everything we NEED, and everything is ready in a way. So...I'm continuing to not stress out about it. The only list I have made is of things that HAVE to be done. I'm keeping the rest in my head, because I know writing it down will make it worse!

Drew is continuing to grow, and so am I, of course! My next appointment is in a week. I have to have my platelets re-checked because the last time they were checked they were abnormally low. If they don't come up on their own I will have to be on a steroid regimen for the remainder of this pregnancy, and I may even have to see a hematologist. The reason platelets can become a problem is that they have to be above a certain level in order to receive an epidural during labor/delivery. Please be praying that my platelets will have come up on their own by next week! I would rather not have to go through all the steroid treatments if it can be avoided. But of course I am thankful that treatment exists and that I really don't have much to worry about!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did...I will be posting about ours soon!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dear Max

My sweet, sweet boy,

Oh how your momma is loving this season with you!  

Last year, Christmas was wonderful, but this year has been even better!  We love watching you learn to love Christmas and everything about it.  We took you to Tanglewood to see the lights a few weeks ago, and it was so much took it all in, and said "wow" the whole way through. The sense of wonderment you have had with this entire season is truly incredible, and it has made it more fun for your daddy and I, too!

I can't believe how big you have gotten.  I know I say it all the time, but lately I can't help but wonder where my baby went and how I ended up with this amazing little toddler in my life.  I keep telling Daddy, almost every day... "look how big he is! Look how big he looks!"  You are learning so fast and changing every single day, and I just hope that I am soaking it all in as much as possible.  It seems like you have a new word to say each day, and you are even starting to put words together occasionally.  You have started saying "please" every time you want something, and I love it.

  One of the funniest things we have realized lately is that you have one of your favorite books ("I Love You Through and Through") partially memorized!  As I am reading it to you, you get ahead of me and start saying words that are on the next page, and it really is quite hilarious.  

Speaking of love reading with me lately.  We read all of your favorites at least twice each every day, and your list of favorite books seems to be expanding like crazy.  You are also loving to play with cars and trucks even more lately, if that is possible.  

I hope you are starting to understand this whole "baby" thing...your little brother will be here so soon!  You fall asleep with your head on my belly each and every night, and you are completely obsessed with babies.  If we ask you where baby Drew is, you point to my belly and say "in there!" You give him kisses, and we talk about him every day.  I just know that you are going to be a great big brother.  I can't wait to see you two together, and I am so glad that God has blessed me with two sweet boys.  

Your Daddy and I love you so very much and we are so proud of you!



***ps...this is the first of many "Dear Max" letters I will write, and I wish I had started sooner!  Hopefully someday he will be able to look back and read them, and in the mean time I will love writing them (and looking back on them to see how he has changed).


 Our family LOVES husband seriously had the icicle lights up on our house on NOVEMBER 3RD. In all honesty, I was slightly embarrassed, but he absolutely insisted.  We have some old family traditions that we love to participate in with our extended family, and we also love starting new traditions of our own.  Nick and I did these sorts of things and loved Christmas even before having Max, but this time of year is even more fun when we get to see it through his eyes.  Last year was amazing, even though he was only about 8 or 9 months old...but this year? Fantastic. In every single way.

Every time we go out at night he points out the lights, he loves dancing to Christmas music with me, and he just has this sense of awe and wonderment that is contagious to us all.  He points out decorations and wrapped gifts and calls them "pretty," and he has loved helping to pick out gifts for all the people on our list.  

One of the traditions we started this year is an advent calendar, and it's not exactly the typical way of counting down to Christmas.  We got a traditional advent calendar from Target (the reusable kind with a door for each day), BUT rather than having a piece of candy to eat each day or a little trinket being inside each door, we have a note in each door.  Each note has an activity for us to do as a family that day.  Some days we have watched holiday classic movies like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and others are things like Christmas shopping or "family Starbucks date."  It has been so much fun and Max has LOVED it.  I highly recommend doing this!

Just 10 days until Christmas, ya'll!