Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My journey with breasfeeding

Ty is now four years old, and I can still remember the frustration and fear, like it was yesterday.  I had always known that I wanted to breastfeed my children.  My mom was a Lactation Consultant for the health department, when I was young, and it was not news to me that boobies were made for feeding babies.  I grew up chanting "Breast milk is best, put yo mama to the test!", as a joke...and also riding around in a vehicle with the bumper sticker that read "Eat at moms!".  So, if anyone was going to come out a breastfeeding mama, it was going to be me.

What nobody - and I mean nobody - told me was how hard it was going to be.  I  heard about women who quit nursing after only a day or two (I secretly called them very rude names, in my pride), but I thought that these women just didn't have what it took to stick with it.  Wow!  How little of me.  Ty latched on as soon as I got back from recovery.  We were apart for over an hour, after birth.  He was taken to the NICU for simple tests, as a result of muconium in the water, and I was in recovery from a very traumatic section.  I was so excited, because at least that part of birth was as it should be.  Fast forward to the next day.  Ty began to have some issues getting latched back on.  I began to freak out.  It was just a terrible blur of emotion and hormone induced crying.  I was frustrated and angry at my body.  First, because I couldn't have my baby the way I wanted and now, because I was told I was going to have to supliment him with formula.  The dreaded "F" word.  Was I not woman enough to provide nutrition for my child?  What was I doing wrong.

Despite a really wonderful lactation counselor, I still ended up going home to feed my son formula through a tiny medicine dropper.  He cried.  A lot.  I cried...even more.  Every feeding was a challenge.  I remember still trying to breastfeed him, and telling my husband, "I just wish I could feed him one time, without him crying".  He was tongue tied (we didn't know...) and he couldn't latch well.  It was so frustrating and scary.  But somehow we made it through and Ty was able to get 6 months of "ninny pie", before my supply drastically dropped after I returned to school.

Levi, I thought, would be different.   He was also a section baby, but the circumstances surrounding his arrival couldn't be more different.  We had a wonderful experience and he roomed in with us the entire time we were in the hospital.  But, somehow, those same old fears crept in.  He began to fuss at feeding.  He wouldn't latch properly.  I thought he was literally going to tear my nipples OFF.  I met with a precious LC several times.  We tried the "football" hold.  We tried the "cradle" hold.  We tried the "stand on one foot and balance a plate on your head while holding baby...hold"  and nothing worked.  He just wouldn't cooperate.  Or maybe we just couldn't find our groove.  At any rate, here I went, home again...with a child that I didn't feel capable of nourishing.

Nursing hurt.  It hurt, so badly, that I remember curling my toes into the carpet and biting my lip, when he latched on.  I would pry him off and try again.  Over and over.  I just can't explain the frustration I felt.  And moreover, the feeling that I was a failure.  Levi never slept well (and at 9 months, still woke every three hours to nurse).  He grunted throughout the night and spat up way more than Ty ever did.  And as the first week turned into two, we were getting nowhere with the pain and agony of nursing.  I remember visiting the LC at our pediatrician's office.  When she came in to the room, Levi was latched and feeding like it was his job.  "um, he looks great to me!", she said.  That little devil NEVER latched right, but there, he seemed to want to show off...when we returned home, we once again fell into the same old painful feeding routine.  I kept a journal of feedings and times.  (By the way, I do NOT recommend you do that.)  It is frustrating and caused me to second guess every single feeding."Is he getting enough?".

We discovered through a stool sample test that he couldn't process dairy - which I intend to write about soon, but that didn't really explain any nursing issue we were struggling with...

And then, it happened. After weeks and weeks of frustration, bitterness at my body (and sometimes my baby), pain, and exhaustion, Levi latched. He latched well and the healing began.  Slowly, there were feedings with no more bleeding, cracked nipples.  No more tears.  No more doubt or confusion. One day, he simply got it right and kept it!  I tell you this, dear mama, to remind you that YOU can do anything. 

You can nurse your baby. I do know that some women have supply and health issues that keep them from being able to nurse. And some babies struggle due to ties and other situations.  But if that's not you, and the pain or discomfort is what is keeping you in fear, please know it can get better. Find a lactation consultant or counselor in your area (most hospitals will provide this to you!). Stick with it!!!!  Keep trying. Make up your mind that no matter how many times someone says, "you should just give him formula!  He's probably starving!", you're going to stand your ground. Trust that mama instinct. Explain to your pediatrician and anyone else who asks, that this is something you're determined to do! I'm rooting for you, mama!  And IF it comes down to it and you just can't go on trying, forgive yourself. You aren't a failure!  You are a strong woman who birthed a human and is loving and caring, nourishing in whatever way you are able. 😘

By the way, we are still going strong with Levi at 23 months.  (Did I mention he LOVES his "ninny"?). 😉

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick and Easy Baked Chicken

Rosemary Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken

(Approximately 10 minutes prep and 2-2.5 hours baking)

I received a coupon from Earth Fare that boasted whole birds for $1 per pound.  I couldn't resist, so I purchased my two bird limit and immediately froze one, keeping the second out to prepare for dinner.  After a few successful chicken dinners under my belt, I thought I would share the recipe that I've put together.  The husband loves it and he isn't one to boast of favorites.  This one is on the list.

5 lb Whole Chicken (neck and giblets removed) 
3 TBS coconut oil (could sub with olive oil)
4-5 Fresh rosemary sprigs (or 1 TBS dried rosemary)
1 Medium Sweet Onion
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 Lemons
Lemon Pepper Seasoning

1.  Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and drizzle with about 1 tsp olive oil.

2.  Coarsely chop onions.  Also, cut lemons in half and set all aside.

2.  Wash whole chicken, removing the neck and giblets.  Dry with a paper towel and place breast up in the baking dish.

4.  Use your fingers to separate the skin from the breast by gently pushing them between.  Smear coconut oil all over the skin and shove it in between the skin and meat.

4.  Sprinkle bird GENEROUSLY with Lemon Pepper Seasoning.  I also use a spoon to "toss" the seasoning into the cavity and between the skin and meat (the pocket you made with your fingers).

5.  Squeeze lemon juice all over bird and throw the spent lemons along with half the onion into the cavity.

7.  Tie legs together with a string.  Anything works, really.  I usually use sewing thread.  Then, tuck the wings under the bird, so they don't stick out.

6.  Place remaining onions around bird in bottom of dish and arrange rosemary on top of the onions.  If you are using dried rosemary, just sprinkle it on the bird or onions.

8.  Sprinkle the remainder of the olive oil over entire bird and cover with foil.

9.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours.  Remove foil and bake another 30-45 minutes.  I usually spoon the juices over the chicken, just before serving.  The internal temperature should read 165 degrees.


I am currently dairy free, due to my infant son's allergy to all things dairy.  So, it can be difficult to find recipes that don't require the use of butter, milk, cheese, etc... I also make mashed potatoes, subbing coconut milk for cow's milk.  It makes for a very delicious side.

This is an easy meal that you can prepare ahead of time and just pop it in the oven a couple hours before dinner.  I usually do prep during nap time.  I hope you enjoy.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Sad Few Weeks

Trouble...trials...hardships...Whatever you call them, we've had our fair share over the past couple of months.  Seems that these bumps in the road come to us in clusters.  I suppose that when I got the call that my Great Grandfather was dying, it was expected.  He hadn't been in very good health in quite a while, so I wasn't very surprised when the news came.  This isn't to say that I wasn't very sad.  I truly love that man.  He was tall...a sky scraper of a man, to me.  I was always a little runt of a kid and it seemed he could touch the moon, if he wanted.  And, he was funny.  He always did this crazy smile with his big ole set of horse teeth (all his own, mind you, in his upper 90's).  It was meant to be hilarious and silly, and it was.  He was a man who was proud of his heritage.  Proud of the Native American blood that we shared.  He worked hard for a living and always took care of everything he owned.  I guess these things made it hard for me to see him, in the end.  He nearly died once before, years ago.  I remember walking in to his hospital room and seeing that great big man...that sweet, tall, giant of a man, curled up in the fetal position like a tiny, fragile baby.  My heart broke right into.  I remember nothing more than the tubes running out of his back, draining the bloody fluid from his lungs.  I left and cried in the hallway of the hospital.  I hate death, that way.  I thought for sure he would die then, so when he recovered, of course I was happy.  But this time, I couldn't go through it, again.  Selfish me, I couldn't go see him this time.  I couldn't see my strong Papa curled up, sick, tired, and ready for home.  I just stayed away and remembered him the way I wanted.

Second death was much less expected and I still haven't looked it in the eye.  I was doing something around the house when my husband walked back in from work, ten minutes after he'd left!  He gave me his phone to use for the day (I had lost mine, for the millionth time) and said that my Mom called to tell me that my Aunt was found unconscious at her home and it didn't look good.  "What?!" I said, cried, the word...I felt the tears coming.  What did he mean?  He meant it didn't look good.  And it didn't.  My Aunt was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.  Gone.  Selfish me.  I told her I'd mail her those photos of Ty...I promised I'd send them to her and the only thing I did was forward her a photo of him on her phone.  I didn't want to mail the real pictures in just any envelope.  I wanted to buy the kind that wouldn't bend them up in the mail.  I didn't get around to it and she never got her pictures.  She must've thought I had forgotten if my life was so busy I didn't have time to mail a couple of photographs.  My heart broke in half...again.  Not only the photo thing, but Saturday night (before she passed on Tuesday), my husband and myself were invited to dinner at my Grandma's house.  We didn't go.  We opted to go on our anniversary date and send Ty with my parents to my Grandma's...My aunt was there.  I should've been there...

My Aunt was a talker.  Ask anyone who knew her and they'd tell you that.  My Dad can talk the "horns off a billy goat", but Vickie could out talk him any day.  She was kind, but straight.  I remember that we always called her Sergeant Carter, because she would make us walk the line.  She was always, always, always smiling.  She looked just like my Dad, for the world.  They could've been twins.  She knew Jesus and she shared his love with everyone she met.  She had a way of letting her kindness rub of on others and I'll never forget that.  What an inspiration.

We can't change it.  We can't go back.  Death is hard.  It gets more frequent as we grow up.  It hurts.  It breaks us down, but it also teaches us.  I know where my Grandfather is...I know where my Aunt is.  They are rejoicing and praising the Son.  I am so happy to have that assurance.  I miss them.  I love them, but I am comforted.  Death teaches us to enjoy the time we have.  Enjoy the people we love.  Minister to others.  Give our time, effort, talent, money...It won't last!

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
-Mark Twain

Saturday, August 4, 2012

YOU are going to make something delicious!

I am going to tell you how to make your own breadcrumbs.  You can use them for many dishes.  I'll be the first to admit that I neither chef nor cook.  I just know how to follow directions, fairly well.  It's usually hit or miss.  This process, however, is always a hit.  

I will normally only need a small amount, because I only have to really cook for two adults.  I save the end pieces from a loaf of bread and all the crumbs from inside the bag.  I prefer Food for Life bread , so that's what I use for my crumbs.  You may use ANY type you like.  If you wanted to use hamburger buns, you could...anything works.  Dump these into the chopper.  I recommend breaking the bread up into small pieces, first.  

Chop the bread until it becomes very fine "crumbs".  

Dump the crumbs onto a foil lined cookie sheet.  Be sure the crumbs are spread out so that they will toast completely.  

Bake in a preheated 250° oven for 5 minutes, stir, and continue to bake for additional 5 minutes.  Now, if you are baking dense or moist breads, then you may need to bake a little longer.  The trick is taking the pan out every so often and stirring the crumbs.  If they feel coarse and crunchy, they are ready.  If they are still soft and spongy, then they need to stay in a little longer.  Remember, stirring is important so that they bake evenly and don't burn.  

Once your breadcrumbs are finished, let them cool.  Then, you may add any spices you like.  Some ideas:  Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Powder, and Parsley Flakes, Italian Seasoning.  The ratios will depend on your taste! 

Until you're ready to cook, store your crumbs in the fridge or freezer!

To actually use the breadcrumbs, I recommend dipping chicken breasts in melted butter (I use about 1/4 C Smart Balance).  Then, roll them in the breadcrumbs.  Place meat on foil lined pan that has been sprayed with PAM.  Sprinkle any remaining crumbs over meat and pour any remaining butter over, as well.  Bake uncovered at 350 °  for an hour or until the juices run clear.    

I used the same recipe for flounder fillets, last night, and it was super good.  Just cut baking time to 10 minutes and bump temp up to 450° !

Oooooh, Mama!  It's some good eatin'!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yes. I'm that mom.

Yes.  I’m that mom.  The overprotective, anal, routine oriented, when things don’t go my way I lose it mom.  Well, half of me, at least.  The other half of me is laid back, fun, “no, you don’t have to wear shoes outside”, forgets to shower mom.

I have found that somewhere in the middle is the person I’d like to be.  Although I struggle daily to become a better mom, person, wife, daughter, etc…I just fall short.  I look around at friends who juggle three kids and a job, yet still have time to create the perfect meal in their spotless kitchen.  That’s not reality, right?   In plays my love/hate relationship with social networking sites.  I find myself constantly comparing and contrasting my life with those of acquaintances online.  (Quite unhealthy and a complete waste of energy.)

I have a loving, wonderful husband.  I know that he loves me, truly, and I him.  My son is my other true love.  He is a pistol.  He has my temper, and my husband’s determination.  A perfect blend of both of us, he has brought absolute joy into our hearts.  But babies are frustrating, tricky little rascals.  They change, almost daily.  They evolve and develop at a rate that simply blows my mind.  I assume I just didn’t realize how much I would need to mesh the two halves of my personality in order to make life work.  I am still working at that, constantly.  When things go according to plan, I’m so happy.  I’m relaxed.  I can get so much accomplished.  However, when things go awry, that really throws me for a loop.

I wish I were more like my mom, who always says, “you worry too much…just relax!”.  I would LOVE to just relax.  I wish I had a dial to up or down the “relax” to meet every situation I face.  And I’ll admit, I do not lose it over legitimately horrible things.  I am surely the most optimistic when things are at their worst.  But if my son misses a nap, heaven help us, the sky is falling.

Why, oh why do I fret over silly things like napping or eating?  Is this normal?  I’m not sure, what is normal?  I believe I respond this way because in the moment, I can’t see the light.  I can’t see the end and I think, “oh, no!  This is how life shall be, forevermore!”  Ever the dramatic, huh?  I am so thankful for wise friends who lend their ear for a bit of chewing.  I love to hear responses from moms who don’t have it all together.  The ones just like me.  These pals say exactly what I already know, but coming from someone else, it’s like salve on a wound.  I also know that spending time in the Word is another way to find wisdom, comfort, and a little bit of hard lovin’ that tells me to put my big girl panties on and be the mom my son needs.  

So, this blog is just a little vent/therapeutic writing and I hope that I can daily grow into the person I wish to be, while being content in the knowledge that God made me specifically equipped to care for my child and family (thanks to a wise friend for that nugget of reason).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Making Baby Food Couldn't Be Easier!

Today, I whipped up a few batches of bananas and avocados for Ty.  So, I figured that I'd save someone the trouble of researching the process with this quick tutorial.  Making your own baby food couldn't get any easier.  You don't need fancy puree machines, nor do you need any expensive freezer storage systems!  

1.  Buy a ripe avocado if you're planning on making the food soon.  I will just ask the supermarket produce person to show me which are riper (they're usually darker in color and a bit softer).  Cut the avocado in half, moving your knife around the entire piece (and around the large pit in the center).  Twist the knife slightly to separate each side.  Use the knife tip to remove the pit.


2.  Peel the avocado or use a spoon to spoon it out of the skin.

3.  Chop the avocado into small cubes.  This just helps it blend a little better.  Add the cubes to your chopper or blender.  Notice I'm just using a cheap Black and Decker "Chopper".  It makes smaller amounts, so if you'd like to make larger, go with a blender.

4.  In this step, you need to add Mommy Milk, Formula, or water.  I prefer Mommy Milk or Formula (at least that way I'm adding even more vitamins & goodies).  Generally, I start small.  I'll only add a half ounce or so, blend well, check consistency, and add more liquid, if necessary.  I've noticed that avocado takes more liquid than bananas (or other more smooth fruits/veggies).  They're generally more chunky and take longer to puree.  


5.  Ty is not a huge fan of texture, just yet.  So, I tend to blend until I get a fairly smooth consistency.  Using about 1 to 1.5 ounces of MM in the chopper.  This takes about a minute or two.  I'll stop the chopper, use the spoon to push down any runaway pieces and resume.

6.  Next, I'll spoon the puree into a ziplock bag.  This will be used as a piping bag, which just makes filling the ice cube trays MUCH easier and there's not a whole lot of waste!  


7.  The easiest (and cheapest, by far) way to freeze the baby food is by using ice cube trays.  First of all, each cube will be 2 ounces.  This makes measuring food a breeze.  Secondly, they stack pretty conveniently into your freezer and are easy to fill using the piping method.

8.  Pipe your food into the tray, filling them to the top.  It's ok if you don't fill up every cube!  I also tap the tray on the counter a couple of times, to be sure there aren't any large air pockets.  Using plastic wrap (which I didn't have, so I used plastic baggies), cover the tray and place in the freezer.


 9.  Once the cubes are frozen, I take out the tray, twist it to break the cubes free, dump them onto a paper towel, and divide them up into breast milk storage or freezer bags.  They can either go back into the freezer or begin thawing for the day/week.  Hope this has helped show you just how easy making your own baby food can be.  It's not difficult and I truly enjoy doing it, when I have the time.  Hope you will too!  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I write this after lying awake for too long beside my husband, who’s sleeping like a log after returning home from being out of the country for a week.  He flopped onto the couch and didn’t move until I drug him into bed at 9:30.  Sleep eludes me, however.  As I lay there thinking about life, sex, coupons, Ty sleeping through the night, and a bag of other things, I also began thinking about my childhood.

When I was young, we lived in a single-wide trailer with blue shag carpet on
Possum Holler Drive
in Pumpkintown, South Carolina.  Yes, that’s the truth…I couldn’t make that up.  We were dirt poor, but I didn’t know.  My brother and I always had what we needed and even most of what we wanted.  I remember very little of my childhood, but a few memories from this time still make me smile.  It was the Eighties, and if you’re from the Eighties, you know why I think these memories are so special.  I remember Transformers, He-man and She-ra, My Little Ponies, Thunder Cats, The Gummy Bears (yes, my husband, it was a real TV show)  Popples, Wuzzles, Fraggle Rock…and I could list more.  My mom introduced me to my first scary movie:  Arachnophobia (which is probably what solidified my fear of spiders), which she rented as a prank on my father, who is literally petrified of them.

Speaking of which, I’ll share a quick story.  My Dad worked third shift, so I would sleep in the bed with my Mama (before David was born).  One night, as the street light shown into the room, I woke up from sleeping to something I’ll never ever forget.  There, silhouetted on my bare scrawny legs was a HUGE spider.  I can still remember it crawling over me and the sheer terror I felt as I bolted like lightening out of the bed, screaming to the top of my lungs.  My Mama thought that someone had broken into the house or that it was surely burning to the ground.  Nope, it was arachnophobia at its finest.  We, as in she, captured the spider in a glass jar so that we, as in she, could terrorize my Daddy with it when he came home.  True story.

Continuing on, I remember thinking about how big of a deal it was that my parents let my sister and me stay up extra late to color in our gigantic coloring books, which were strewn all over the living room floor…all over that blue shag carpet.  I think about my mom making Jiffy Pop popcorn (the kind you cook in the little pan thingy) and how we heated our home with Kerosene.  I can still see my Daddy filling it up on cold nights.  Times were different then.  Life moved slower, as it does for children.  I was oblivious to responsibilities and hard times.  My parents carried that burden and we are allowed to be innocent and little.  I now know what those adult responsibilities and sacrifices feel like.  I now know that my Daddy has, on more than one occasion, sold his possessions to make for us a Christmas filled with gifts.  He would be ashamed for me to share that, but I think it’s noble.  I am appreciative of the fact that we didn’t have lots of money.  It makes it all the more special knowing the love that went into making our life work (as cliché as that sounds). 

I’m so proud of my family.  I miss being little…I would go back in a heartbeat to be on the floor of the bedroom I shared with my brother playing with our dinosaurs and transformers.  I would like to be listening to NKOTB (no, I will not write it out, b/c true followers will KNOW).  I miss filling out MAD libs and laughing about something until we got the church giggles.  I would love to take a trip to Weeki Wachee to see the mermaids (and pitch a fit for a little doll mermaid until I got one).  I want to be in Florida with my Cabbage Patch Camera (110).  I would love to make my parents young again.  I’d like to rewind time and appreciate those fleeting moments of my life.  I can’t though, and I’m not sad about that.  I have a wonderful life and I’m so happy.  And in thinking about that time we spent living in the trailer, I find a warm spot…a really great cluster of memories I thought I’d share so that I can use them to create new memories with my family.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  You really are the best.