Carseat Shopping with Preschoolers- Britax Endeavours

As you know, I’ve been confined, a prisoner, if you will, on bed rest for the last month. For someone who LOVES baby things and happens to be pregnant…and in need of baby things…this was torture. So, one of my first stops on my first day of freedom was Buy Buy Baby to check out all that has changed since Bug was cooking in my belly. And, woah! It’s a LOT! One of my favorite things we checked out was the new Britax Endeavours infant carseat. This seat goes from 4-35lbs, which for a mama with a high risk of birthing a premie, this is great news!

 

Obviously, Bug exceeds the max weight limit! But he approves the comfort level!

With the steel anti-rebound bar, there is 30% less rebound in a front or rear crash.

Even Chuck could maneuver its user-friendly design.

“Baby” the cabbage patch doll appreciates the safety measures present both with or without a base. With latch or auto seatbelts, Baby is riding with exceedingly high safety standards.

Chuck really enjoyed learning about how she can help take care of her new baby sibling in this #1 safety-rated seat. Bug, on the other hand, enjoyed torturing his sister. What can I say, they were stoked to get out of the house, too! I dare you to watch to the end without laughing!

Carseat Shopping With Preschoolers- Video

 

*I was compensated to check out this rad seat. All children and their wackado behaviors are my own.

30 Days

Thirty days of confinement, rest, restrictions and caution. Thirty days of figuring out a new normal and a new sense of purpose. Thirty days to dwell in my thoughts and fears and hopes for this baby and our family.

I haven’t done them well. I don’t know how one does. Two young children who need every piece of me that I can’t physically give and one deep-rooted character of pride sitting in my heart; these have been my companions. I didn’t realize how dependent I am on being INdependent until this last month. Ladies from bible study asked 10 times before they finally TOLD me they were coming to clean my kitchen. A meal train that ended up being a literal lifeline for my family was set up without me signing off…and I am so, so glad. Several friends grocery shopped, played mom-taxi and entertained my minions…all just by DOING. Because, you see, if there is one thing us moms are great at, it’s LOOKING as if we have it all under control….even if that’s not logistically possible. So, I dedicate the last thirty days to those who just DO. Thank you.

Now, the next thirty days? Who knows?! I was tentatively released from strict bed rest! It turns out the complete placenta previa that was aggravated by a pretty large subchorionic hematoma just…moved. I mean, last week it was bad. Really, really “you’re gonna have a c-section if you don’t go into preterm labor before,” bad. And this week, God said, “move!” and it did! Even my high risk doctor was surprised at the level of progress. The hematoma is still there and relatively large, but without the concern of the previa, it’s not as big of an issue right now. I am still on “light duty,” but I am able to leave the house. I can take Chuck to our Classical Conversations community day without reprimand and I can resume our normal dance/Awana/mops routine. Most exciting to me….TARGET! I know, so basic, right? But really, Chip and Joanna have been waiting for me. I must go!

I am 18.5 weeks at this point and while spending so much time with my own thoughts, I began to count down to different milestones. The most pivotal of these to me is 24 weeks. Twenty four weeks…the point of viability. The placemarker in gestation where I will never hear the words “there’s nothing we can (will) do. Just go home and manage your expectations.” Those words still burn in my ears after our traumatic night in the ER in Vegas. So, 24 weeks comes, get this, on Dec. 24! My little minnow will be statistically “viable,” a saveable miracle on Christmas Eve. How’s that for divine?!

This Sunday, Bug turns three and I can’t help but remember these milestones with him. His pregnancy was easy, for the most part, until the end. When I was 18 weeks with him, we were camping out in the mountains near Kern river, roasting marshmallows, blissfully unaware of just how much could go wrong. And here we are with this one, thanking God for each day closer to viability. It’s that way with life in general, right? We go along whistling until someone bumps us…and then someone bigger, then maybe a car or truck and then the whole dad-gum train runs us flat over and we are like, “good grief! I get it now! Life isn’t promised. Each day is a complete and utter gift. I get it.”

So, on Sunday, we will celebrate another gift of a day with our baby (middle) boy and we will once again get on our knees to thank our Heavenly Father for all the days we’ve had, and hope to have, to bring glory to Him, raising our tribe, sewing seeds of grace and mercy and working so very hard on clipping those ties to pride. Grateful for days and the ways, He shows us gently (or sometimes not SO gently) the reflection of the parts of ourselves we need to give to Him. I do get it now.

 

Secondary Infertility and losses

Last summer, I decided to take a break from facebook. We had just experienced the heartbreak of our second miscarriage. The ridiculousness of political rants and petty complaints became a very unwelcomed distraction from processing our pain. Leaving was good for me. I learned to cling tighter to my Savior, instead of drowning my mind in constantly refreshing my feed. Brent and I worked through our raw hurt together, again, this second time, and came out on the other side stronger than ever.

Then, it happened again. And again. And again. And again. During this year hiatus, we have grasped to a tiny life, five different times, only to be shattered as it slipped away. That’s six in total. Six babies in heaven. I’m still jaw-dropped at those words. Our most recent beloved went to be with Jesus this month, almost a year to the day of his sibling.

I’ve been reminded over and over again that God put us on this earth to live in community, to glorify Him. His love is only reflected by ours. So, this village, the people who’ve brought coffee or embraced snot-drenched sobs on their shoulders…these are the Hands and Feet. These are the ones who, without always the right words, show with action, the cross. Thank you.

There’ve been other tragedies and joys and endless hours of news, both personal and public, through the last year. It’s documented in my heart, instead of my page. Our actions, and inactions, haven’t always been understood or appreciated by those around us, and that’s ok. Healing and grieving and growing are processes, undertaken in intimacy with Jesus. Everyone does it differently. But, all you who’ve suffered, too, know, I know. And I love, too.

My babies all have names. They’ve all been loved for every second of their existence. Every bit of their being was felt and cherished. They will be remembered at due dates and loss dates…even if I have to reference my “list,” because there are so many. What mother doesn’t remember her baby’s birthday? I’m trying.

So, I suppose the point of this is…well, I’m not really sure. Maybe to try to express courage? Or insight for those who’ve wondered? Or just to document some late night, wine-induced rambling from an aching mama-heart.

Chuck and Bug are our world. They perfectly stretch our parent wings and if they complete our family, we are joy- filled. But, we stand in utter confusion at God’s plans for our family. It’s a sense of paralysis. So, I humbly ask, for those who’ve walked through the fire of secondary infertility or recurrent losses, please reach out. I need some anecdotal hope, one way or the other.

And to my husband, thank you for being mine. Thank you for holding my hand so tightly when I’m crashing to the ground. Thank you for carrying the weight this year. You have. All of it. This life hurts, but it’s also full of sweet, sweet joys and I’m so glad you’re the one by my side for them.

 

Dairy free and surviving, plus a recipe

 

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I don’t believe there is a single person on the face of the earth who loves ice cream as much as I do. Or cheese. Or creamy, cheesy pasta with buttered bread on the side. I know, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Alas, this heart is on restriction because the tiniest love of my life is allergic to all things dairy and delicious. I wanted to ignore it or deny that the positive test result COULD have something to do with why my boy was projectile vomiting across the room. There was no way that me cutting dairy would stop his eczema from spreading like the pox. But, the day of truth came when the GI asked if after a month of me limiting dairy, had baby Bug’s symptoms lessened? I had to undeniably say yes. So, because I’m eating for two, here we are, he and I, restricted to the watery sweetness of almond and coconut milks.

 

It’s been this way for two whole months now and I am pretty proud to say that I have figured out some cooking hacks to psych myself into believing I am still indulging in creamy goodness. For example, did you know you could boil raw cashews and then purée them with water until you reach the creamy consistency you need for pretty much any recipe that calls for a “cream of” soup? Also, butternut squash can be steamed and puréed to the consistency of cheese sauce…and you can kind of pretend it’s the same thing because it has the same color and sweetness, too! All this to say, I am surviving. I only sort of cry a little inside when I see someone bite into a big, cheesy burger. And it doesn’t hurt so much now to watch my girl eat her frozen yogurt if I have a nice heaping bowl of dairy free sorbet from Menchies. I mean after all, isn’t that face worth it?!. image

 

 

In an effort to help others, here’s one of the recipes I have conjured up. I think even the lactose-lovers in your family won’t notice what’s missing!

 

CREAMY CHICKEN, BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE

What you’ll need:

1 cup rice, cooked

1lb chicken thighs or breasts

1 large head broccoli, chopped finely

1 cup raw cashews

2 cups water

4 strips bacon if desired

Chives

salt and pepper to taste

 

First you want to boil your raw cashews in two cups water for about thirty minutes. Once done, strain water but set aside. Put boiled cashews in your blender or food processor and add about a quarter cup water. Purée adding water as necessary to reach the consistency you desire. While your cashews are boiling you can precook your chicken by pan frying it in coconut oil for about 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and shred. Cook bacon and break into bits. Once your cashews, bacon and chicken are done, mix shredded chicken, broccoli and cooked rice with the cashew cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with bacon and chives, cover with  foil and put in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until broccoli is to desired tenderness. Remove foil for the last five minutes of cook time.

 

The final step is to put this bad boy on the table for all to enjoy. It won’t disappoint!

 

 

Easy Honey Mustard Chicken

The prep...2 minutes, tops.

The prep…2 minutes, tops.

As is pretty much always the case, I took a recipe I had and I did what I could with the ingredients I actually possessed. Except this time, it turned out so delicious, I made it again! And, it’s easy peasy! Like, make on an after-school sports night EASY! Here’s the breakdown…and I’ll will make it quick so you can get the kids to soccer.

 

You need:

4 thawed Chicken breasts

1/2 cup Yellow Mustard

1/4 cup Honey

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Olive Oil (to grease the baking dish)

How to:

Preheat your oven to 425. Toss the chicken breasts in salt and pepper…not too much, but just enough. That’s helpful, right? Combine mustard, honey and vinegar in your GREASED baking dish with a whisk. Greasing is important. Ask my husband, aka the dishwasher. Oops! Finally, add your salt ‘n peppa chicken to the honey mustard goo and cover completely. Pop it in your preheated oven for 30-40 mins and voila…scrumptious!

The Presentation...had to snap this quick before it was gone.

The Presentation…had to snap this quick before it was gone.

They will ask for this one again. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!