Mommy Talk: Meeting your baby

My brother’s wife who I love dearly is overdue with her first baby. She and my brother are expecting a little boy any moment now. Her pregnancy has gone smoothly and my nephew has grown without any complications. I’m so grateful that God has been with her and the baby. I know God is more excited than anyone for my nephew and his parents to meet.

I’ve been obsessively keeping my phone on me. I jump to check it every time it buzzes. The whole family is anxiously awaiting that blessed message that tells us Elijah is here. I’ve been texting back and forth with my sister-in-law tonight and I expressed to her how I cannot wait for her to see her baby for the first time. I told her that the baby will recognize her immediately and scream for her.

All of this waiting for a new family member to arrive has got me reminiscing on Gideon’s birth. I too was overdue. I thought he would never come. With each passing day I grew more uncomfortable and felt something was wrong. My instincts served us well, and after a complicated labor resulting in an emergency cesarean section, Gideon arrived. One of the things I am most grateful for in life is having a recording of Gideon’s first scream. He let everyone know that he was not happy about being abruptly removed from his warm home, and wanted to be put back where he came from. Gideon was confused and scared when he was born, and I wish I could have gathered him up in my arms. I had no feeling from my neck down and only saw him for a few seconds before they whisked him away to help him breath better.

Last night I stayed up late sitting on my couch looking at pictures and video footage of Gideon’s first 2 months.

Gideon at 1 week.

Gideon at 1 week/first day home.

I gave him a few more kisses than usual when he woke up for his midnight feeding last night.

I learned through personal experience that, no matter under what circumstances you meet your new baby – whether following a natural birth, medicated, cesarean, or even adoption – God gives mothers and babies a gift that no one or nothing can take away. Not medication, augmentation, stress, or fear. At one point or another, a baby and its mother will fall more deeply in love with each other than anyone outside of that experience can understand. If you are a mother you know exactly what I mean. If you are an expectant mother, a rush of love is coming your way like you’ve never felt in your life and I’m excited for you.

Here’s to babies born, being born, and to be born!

Gideon’s First Thanksgiving!

Gideon woke up after a rough night of teething and light sleep with a big smile and eager to chat. Bless his little heart, he was in a good mood the morning of his first Thanksgiving. He is such an example and encouragement to me. Gideon does not hold grudges, and he shows love even when he might be under-rested and uncomfortable. Even when he is not in the best mood and does things to express his discontent, all Gideon really wants is for his feelings to be validated and understood. Far be it from me to put down his feelings. More often than not, when he is unhappy about something, calm is more quickly restored when I let him know that I understand how he feels and why. Gideon might not yet understand exactly what I’m saying; but he is learning very quickly to interpret my face and tone of voice. I can’t start empathizing with him too soon. It is frustrating when things don’t happen the way you wish they did.

I am grateful for my sweet, smart, active, expressive, tenderhearted, vocal little boy.

God is the cornerstone of our family and Daniel is the beam that keeps the roof from caving in. My family does not work without him. One moment Daniel might drive me up a wall, but the next countless moments Daniel still puts his arm around my waist and pulls me close in the middle of the night. He would rather be home with us than out doing something else. He could spend hours and hours in his wood workshop, but instead you’ll find him zooming through the house with his baby on his shoulders. Daniel walks in the room, and Gideon and I light up because we know the fun that’s coming our way. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ll never get to the bottom of the reason why Daniel picked me. But much like any love we receive that is God-centered, all I can do is be grateful and spend my life showing him that.

I’m grateful for my loving, strong, intelligent, ingenious, talented, attractive, humble, judicious, thoughtful husband.

I am grateful for so many other things (my parents, my brother, my family by law, my friends, etcetera, etcetera), but I wanted to especially remember how I felt this first Thanksgiving as a part of a family of three.

In Gideon news, I walked in to him standing in his crib TWICE today after nap time.

First time Gideon stood in his crib by himself!

First time Gideon stood in his crib by himself!

Just a few pictures my brother-in-law captured of us this evening:

poor baby.

poor baby.

Gideon's First Thanksgiving 2

Gideon: “I’m thankful for abuelos that get me nice sweaters.”

what?? I'm wearing bolivian alpaca??

what?? I’m wearing bolivian alpaca??

My sister-in-law and I put together a Thanksgiving feast, so I spent the day cooking and prepping some delicious dishes for the family. Everyone in Daniel’s immediate family was at my home, and we had fun like we usually do. I feel terrible that in all the madness I forgot to Skype my parents, but we will make up for it tomorrow. Gideon and I spent an hour and a half talking with them yesterday and that was great. We had lunch together, sang songs and played.

I am thankful for Skype!

5 Things That Make Me Happy

There are a lot of things that make me happy in my daily life. Here are 5 of them.

1. I love picking Gideon up from his crib after he’s been sleeping. His face and body are toasty warm, he shoots me big smiles through his pacifier, and he always welcomes of a few minutes of snuggling. Plus he’s just adorable in his PJs.

Gideon in the morning

Gideon in the morning

2. I love to see Daniel and Gideon have fun. I make Gideon laugh a lot, but I never see him have more of a blast then when he’s with his daddy. Gideon adores Daniel.

Gideon is flying!

Gideon is flying!

3. Gideon and his cousins. It couldn’t get better than seeing my nieces, nephew and son playing in the fall leaves together.

Gideon and Co.

4. Taking care of business. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to raise Gideon at home and take care of managing my household. Two of the things that bring me joy in being a housewife is seeing a basket full of stuffed clean diapers, and Abby catching some rays while I fold laundry in the afternoon when the sun hits just right.

Taking care of business

5. Ending the day with a clean kitchen. Yesterday evening was a little out-of-the-norm for us. We got a late start running some last-minute Thanksgiving errands, and by the end of the night my kitchen looked like I’d never  cooked in one before. Making dinner was especially chaotic last night; but it was delicious and well worth the mess.

The Before Picture

The Before Picture

The After Picture

The After Picture

What are five things that make you happy about daily life? 

Gideon is 8 Months Old!

Ok so every month with Gideon has been great in its own way. Gideon at every and any age is my favorite. He is constantly evolving; so to ask me what’s been my favorite month with Gideon would issue the same response as asking me what my favorite song is: a blank stare. Comparing Gideon now to Gideon 4 months ago is like comparing apples and oranges. Right now, my favorite is when he’s 8 months old. Next month, my favorite will be when he’s 9 months old. You get the idea. Here are pictures and a video of Gideon during his 7th month of life.

Gideon is 8 Months old!

My boys!

My boys!

Gideon and I Gideon and I

GIdeon and Gourds

We took Gideon to see some local farm animals. He does not like goats, is indifferent to donkeys, and loves chickens.

We took Gideon to see some local farm animals. He does not like goats, is indifferent to donkeys, and loves chickens.

Gideon at the Farm Gideon at the Farm Gideon at the Farm Gideon and Pumpkins

Gideon signs “more”, and make way for REAL whey!

Yesterday was such a great day. First of all, I decided to join Gideon for his morning nap, and we slept together for an hour and a half. It was bliss. I never regret taking naps with my baby. There is nothing better than waking up to him touching my face, or to his smiles. When Daniel got home from court, he played with Gideon while I got ready for the day. It was at that moment that Gideon decided to use his first sign!

I was literally jumping around with joy. I couldn’t help myself, I was am a proud mama. What surprises me most is that we generally teach him to sign for “more” when he’s eating. We rarely think to do it during play. But Gideon is so smart that he got the concept, and related it to something other than eating. Just more proof that our children become great despite us!

We got ready, packed things up and went to Lunken Airport for lunch and for Gideon to see some airplanes. We took our nephew there when he was Gideon’s age, and it seemed like a good tradition to follow. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the airfield, and then took a stroll around the area. Unfortunately, we only got some video of our time at Lunken.

But when we dropped Gideon’s grandma off at her house, we took the liberty of having yet another fall photo shoot of the little guy.

Gideon in the Fall

Gideon has some crazy hair!

Gideon has some crazy hair!

Gideon in the Fall Gideon in the Fall

Gideon and Mimi

Gideon and Mimi

On another completely different topic, I have begun making Gideon’s formula myself. If you are interested in the how and why, let me know and I’ll write a blog post about it. But as part of the recipe, I’m supposed to collect real whey. I used to think that whey was that expensive powder stuff that guys bought in college to build muscle. My mother-in-law who makes her own yogurt, taught me that real whey is the protein-rich liquid that separates from the solid part of milk and yogurt. In the quest to pull away from processed and denatured foods, I decided to make my own whey. It’s been great and really useful! Here’s how you do it:

All you'll need is whole fat plain yogurt, a bowl, a strainer, and a tea towel.

All you’ll need is whole fat plain yogurt***, a bowl, a strainer, and a tea towel.

1. Place about 1/2 of a container’s worth of yogurt in the tea towel, tie all the ends together and let the whey strain from the yogurt, through the strainer and into the bowl. Refrigerating is optional, and might even slow down the process.

Making Whey

2. To speed up the process and put more pressure on the yogurt to produce whey, you can hang the cloth containing the yogurt from a cabinet door knob and let the whey drip into the bowl for a few hours.

Making Whey

3. When you think the solids of the yogurt are dry:

– refrigerate the whey, which can last you up to 6 months

– use the whey in recipes, in your breakfast smoothies/shakes, or in your homemade baby formula

– open the tea towel to a pile of fresh, raw, delicious cream cheese! It smells so great! (I didn’t take a picture, my apologies)

– you can put the cream cheese in a food processor with strawberries and a bit of maple syrup and slather it on a bagel, or make it in a recipe like cheesecake.

All I’m saying is: why buy [overpriced] powdered whey from GNC, plus yogurt, plus your Philadelphia cream cheese, when all you could buy is one item and yield all three by-products? It makes financial sense if nothing else. Plus it’s just easy.

*** As a newbie, I just purchased my favorite brand of yogurt. Well, I was utterly disappointed with how little whey it yielded. After doing some more research I learned that you should use yogurt that does NOT contain pectin, which is a binding, thickening agent added to the yogurt to prevent separation. Here is a picture of yogurt I found that is pectin-free, and behind it a jar of whey!

Tip: Look for a whole fat plain yogurt that does NOT  contain pectin.

Tip: Look for a whole fat plain yogurt that does NOT contain pectin.

Pectin? No whey!

No pectin? Lots of whey!

Do you have any delicious recipes that call for whey or cream cheese?