My Village

A few years ago our All-County Chorus students learned a piece entitled “It Takes a Village,” and the lyrics started out “It Takes a Whole Village to Raise one Child.”  I don’t think I really understood what that meant when we were working through the piece, but I do now!  You see, I’m constantly dealing with the tension of being a mom, yet also fulfilling the duties I believe God has called me to, including teaching and being a part of the worship team at church.  Being on the worship team has been a particular struggle for me, because it requires me to be away from my little guy every other Tuesday night, as well as a few hours on Sunday morning.  However, I have been so blessed by the way our family and friends have come around us to give us support!  My parents and Dustin’s parents take turns babysitting on Tuesday evenings, which they thoroughly enjoy.  At first I worried that our parents would feel that we were imposing upon them, especially since the babysitting duties included coming to our house for the evening, but it allows them to see Jude at least every other week which I think they really appreciate, and I feel like they are really becoming a part of his life (which I love!).  The first Sunday morning that we played in church we put Jude in the nursery, which was okay, but I didn’t love it.  Then, some of our amazing friends offered to hold him during the services, which meant that I could sit near him during the services, and we could nurse in between services (allowing me a much needed break from pumping!), and my sweet boy has begun to form relationships with out dear friends, which makes my heart glad.  I feel like we live in a culture of independence, and many moms end up feeling guilty when they have to ask for help, or worse, they never ask for help and try to do it all.   What I have learned is that having others step in when I need help or when I can’t be there helps me to be a better mommy when I am with Jude, and he gains the benefit of getting to know so many wonderful people!  I am so thankful for my village-my family and friends that love on my little family, pray for us, and help me maintain my sanity.  I go to bed every night knowing that we are loved =)

Baby JudeThis was little man’s outfit for church today-the jeans and polo shirt totally remind me of his daddy!

Baby JudeSpecial thanks to Grammy and Pappy for the new jeans =)

Trick or Treat

I know it is a few days early, but we decided to take little man trick or treating today during the afternoon rather than Monday night since he’s usually a little cranky in the evening.  It goes without saying that our first trick or treat excursion only included visiting both sets of grandparents.  I never imagined that we would worrying about a snow storm interfering with our trick or treating, but we made out just fine, even with all the snow!

We had to get all bundled up because of the cold-Thanks Levi for lending us the cold-weather gear!

Baby Jude and HalloweenFirst stop was Grammy and Pappy’s house (also know as my mom and dad’s place).

Grammy Debbie & JudeI went to Target looking for a costume, but decided on this cute sleeper with jack-o-lanterns on the feet and a pumpkin hat =)

Pappy Glen & JudeUnfortunately for Jude, he’s much too little for candy, but Grammy and Pappy had a basket of treats for us including some new books, which he tried out with Pappy.

Pappy Glen & JudeI’m pretty sure that Mom and Dad love their grandson =)

Grammy, Pappy & JudeNext stop was Grandma and Grandpa Martin’s house (also known as Dustin’s parents).

Unfortunately Grandma was stuck at work due to a power outage that the snow caused, but Grandpa was happy to see us!

Grandpa Dean & JudeThe puppies still mostly run and hide when they see Jude, but I’m sure they learn to love him soon!

Jude meets the puppiesWhen we got home, we finished out our Halloween festivities by watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” although Jude didn’t quite make it to the end of the movie; we’ll try again next year =)

Happy Halloween everyone!

The Best Roasted Potatoes

About a year ago we decided to get rid of cable, and I have to admit that while I was not attached to many channels, I was really sad to be losing the Food Network.  Cooking is something I enjoy, especially when I have the time.  In fact, when I was home with Jude over the summer it was my “break” time: Dustin would be on Jude duty and I would have an hour or so “off” and I tried a lot of new recipes.  Anyway, while we don’t have cable, we do have Netflix, and this summer they finally added a few food shows, one of them being Oliver’s Twist hosted by Jaime Oliver.  I LOVE this show!  While I liked Food Network, I was particularly drawn to the real chefs-chefs that actually have to keep clientele happy.  I admit-I’m impressed by slick knife skills and a passion for cooking from scratch.  Jaime Oliver definietely fits in this category; I fell in love with the show to such an extent that we decided to buy two of his cookbooks, and it was money well spent!  Most of the new recipes that I tried over the summer were from these books.

Tonight we had one of my favorite recipes I tried over the summer: Roasted Potatoes.  I don’t know if it is because Jaime is from across the pond or because he grew up cooking in a commercial kitchen, but some of his methods are very foreign to me, yet work really well.  For this dish, you heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Here’s the first new technique: you put some olive oil in a sheet pan and place it in the oven to heat up before adding the potatoes.  Meanwhile, peel a few potatoes and slice into a large dice.  New technique number 2: Place the potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water; place the saucepan over high heat and as soon as the water reaches a boil, take the potatoes off the stove and drain.  Allow the potatoes to steam for a few minutes in the colander.  Add a few cracked cloves of garlic and some fresh rosemary leaves to the potatoes, and carefully add them to the sheet pan of oil in the oven.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are beautifully golden brown. Add salt to taste.

These potatoes are just so good-heating the olive oil ahead of time and par-boiling the potatoes really cuts down on the cooking time, while at the same time creating potatoes with the perfect soft interior and crunchy exterior.  You must try them!  Better yet, get the cookbook and check out some of his other recipes.

The Milk Memos

Before I went back to work, one of the things that helped me make peace with going back to work was the book The Milk Memos.  It was recommended to me by a dear friend, and I’m so glad that I bought it!  This book follows a group of ladies that work for IBM and were dedicated to feeding their babies their milk, even after they went back to work.  IBM actually has a lactation room (can you imagine???), and this group started when one of the authors returned back to work  and left a note in the lactation room asking if anyone else was using this room.  After she received a response, she began bringing in notebooks, and they shared their thoughts about leaving their babies to come back to work, pumping, starting solids, and everything else new moms are trying to figure out.
Pumping at work has probably been the biggest challenge about being back at work (besides missing my little one of course!), and what I found most comforting about this book was hearing from women who made it to that year mark.  Those of you that have been there know that pumping in a cold storage closet is not nearly at gratifying as nursing-there is no sweet face to look up at you-no cuddling.  However, I am super proud of the fact that my baby has not had one drop of formula since he was born, and my goal is to breastfeed exclusively for at least his first year, so I keep on pumping!

I really feel like this book is a must read for any mommy that is going back to work and is dedicated to nursing.  It is a very entertaining book on its own, and I think that even a mommy that hung up her pump long ago would find it entertaining.  You can get your own copy here:Paperback or Kindle

Any other milk mamas out there that made it to their goals??

First Sniffles

My baby has his first cold =(  I knew that this day would come, but I didn’t fully realize how scary and helpless it feels to hold your child when he is struggling to clear his nose and threat and not be able to do much to alleviate his discomfort besides saline drops and a bulb syringe.  I am so thankful that his cold started on a day that I had off from work and I could give him my undivided attention.  Obviously I know precious little about baby colds, so I’m hoping it clears up quickly.  I would gladly be sick in his place if I could…

Anyone have any tips for making him comfortable?

I’m back!

After three weeks of work, I’m finally back to blogging, and on a new site!  If you subscribed to my old site, you will need to subscribe to this site again-sorry for the inconvenience!  I’m still figuring out the ins and outs of my new site, particularly with pictures, but it should be back to normal soon.

With three weeks of work under my belt, I have so much to share, but I am in desperate need of sleep, so for now I leave you with some numbers from my first three weeks:

Number of nights Jude has slept through the night since I went back to work: 2 (He really is getting better though, and I think we have hit another growth spurt)

Average number of ounces of milk I pump a week at work: 60 ounces (!)

Number of times someone has come looking for me while I have been pumping at work: at least once a day! (and in case you were wondering, I pump in my storage closet, so I just stay quiet in my closet and pretend I don’t exist when this happens!)

Number of students I teach: 236 middle schoolers (scary thought, isn’t it!)

Number of detentions I have given: 0 (although I was close once or twice!)

Number of days I cried after dropping off Jude: 1, but I experience many emotions everyday when I drop him off

Number of days I have been thankful for my amazing little family: each and everyday =)

Have a blessed Friday!