Lucas’ 1st Birthday Party: Mickey Mouse Themed

Lucas' Birthday Cutie
Standard

Lucas’ Mickey Mouse themed 1st Birthday Party was a big hit! I made the majority of decorations and desserts and had lots of fun. But most important, my little boy seemed to really enjoy himself. I’m glad, because I really thought at only 1 year old, that he wouldn’t be as into it as he was.

I have never hosted a birthday party, and quite frankly, am pretty uncomfortable being the host of anything. Nineteen of our family and friends came to celebrate Lucas’ Big Day with us. I was so pleased that so many of them came.

Right before the party, I was still running around trying to put decorations up and get dressed and screaming out instructions to various family members who were there helping. It was absolute chaos. I started putting things together for this party 2 months ago, and still was not completely prepared. I made the “Happy Birthday Lucas” banner, the Newborn-11 month picture banner, the “I AM 1” banner, the Mickey Balloon Wreath, the Birthday Subway Art, and the Mickey Ears for the kids. Lucas' Birthday Decor

We planned to set things up on our covered Back Patio and the Kitchen and Living Room but it rained that morning and the patio was wet so we moved chairs and the grill to the carport. I think it worked out great.

I set the start time for the party at 5 o’clock, since it’s still so hot here, especially during midday. As people were arriving, everyone visited for a little while and then we ate. I made a Coke Roast and shredded it so it could be put on dinner rolls. We also had Ribs, Hot Dogs, Pasta Salad, and Potato Salad. Everyone loved my Dad’s Ribs!

On the dessert table I had Puppy Chow, Mickey Oreo Pops, and a cupcake stand with Mickey Cupcakes and Lucas’ Smash Cake, which were all made by me with the assistance of various helpers. All of the cake was Strawberry, tinted with red food coloring, and topped with homemade Buttercream Icing. Lucas' Birthday Dessert

Once everyone finished eating, we opened gifts. Our pastor’s son helped Lucas and I open gifts, and did a great job! With Lucas in my lap, it was really helpful for him to unwrap gifts and hand them to Lucas to look at. Lucas paid attention really well to the gifts as we were opening them. I was completely surprised. There was only a time or two that he seemed more interested in the box or the wrapping paper. 🙂Lucas' Birthday Gifts

After we opened gifts, everyone headed outside to the Carport for Cake time. We lit Lucas’ candles and sang him Happy Birthday. I was worried that he may get upset or nervous with everyone staring at him and singing, but he didn’t seem to mind. Clint and I blew out his candles and I let him tear into his cake. At first, he was a little unsure and would only stick a finger or two in the icing and have a taste. Then, he started getting a handful of icing for each bite. Finally, I grabbed a fork and cut into the cake for him and he went to town. A couple of tim    es, he tried to lean over and just get a bite of the cake with his mouth. Silly boy! Once he started to burn out, he would just put his hand in the cake and squish the cake in his hands and fling it. I really think he loved all that sugar! Lucas' Birthday Eating Cake

After he lost interest, he headed for a post-cake bath and our friends Zack and Sarah served cupcakes and ice cream to everyone. Slowly, everyone left and we were left with a hyped-up-on-sugar baby. Surprisingly, he did sleep pretty well that night though. Lucas' Birthday Sillyness

I think all 3 of us really enjoyed Lucas’ birthday party and I’m already looking forward to planning next years. Although, I do wish he would stop growing up. Kids can really make you emotional!

Do you enjoy planning/hosting parties? Are you interested to know how I made any of the decorations/food?

Our (Home)Birth Story

Our (home)birth Story
Standard

My handsome little pumpkin is officially 1 year old today. People are not joking when they say time flies. So, as promised, to celebrate my Lucas’ very first birthday, I’d like to share my birth story with everyone. If you haven’t already, you should read my post Why I Chose Homebirth first.

As I said in my previous post, we had our first meeting with our midwife on 9/14 at 37 weeks 1 day. The very next day, I started to lose my mucus plug. Now, you Moms who have been through childbirth probably know that doesn’t necessarily mean “Oh NO’s the bebe is coming!!” but it did mean that things were happening, specifically that my cervix was probably dilating.

Clint and I were running around town gathering up all of the required supplies from lists the midwife gave us and ordered and received my birth kit. I had an appointment with the OB on Thursday, 9/20 and with the midwife on Friday, 9/21. Later that evening, a very large portion (if not all) of the mucus plug came out. Of course, it can regenerate, but I had been losing it for about a week now.

Several people kept telling me that I would probably go overdue, since this was my first pregnancy. But I kept telling everyone that I knew he would come early. I just had a feeling. My mother-in-law and boss both said that they knew I would have him early, simply because I said I would. Like I said, I’m a control freak, everyone can vouch for that.  At the 9/21 appointment, my midwife agreed with me and said she thought it may be sooner than my due date too, which was 10/4.

The next day, Saturday 9/22, when I woke up I was having some cramping. I was pretty sure it was contractions, but since I had never experienced them I really wasn’t sure. I’ve always heard that you should either take it easy or just change up what you’re doing and see if they continue. Since I was already lying in bed, I got up and showered and got dressed for the day. They stopped before I even got out of the shower. I told Clint, half joking, that baby was coming today so we better get things squared away. We finished cleaning up the house that day and had plans with friends that afternoon. I had a few contractions, here and there, throughout the day, but nothing that stuck around. Although, at the time I wasn’t sure that any of it was contractions because it really just felt like mild cramping. I did tell everyone that baby would be coming- tonight! Since this could be our last day as a childless couple, Clint and I decided to spend a little time together.  Later, we went to a sports bar to watch the Mississippi State football game. While we were there, my contractions picked up a little bit, but still only felt like cramps. We got home around 11 pm and decided to walk around the neighborhood. Once we got going, I had a lot of pain in my hips and back. Clint had to literally walk with his fist pressed in my lower back to make it manageable. I think we made two laps, which was a little over a mile, before I couldn’t take it anymore. We then decided to go ahead and lay down for the night.

It seemed like as soon as I fell asleep, which was not easy to do that late into pregnancy, I woke up with an extreme urge to pee. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom but didn’t make it. This was about 12:40. Once I got to the bathroom, I realized there was no color or smell to what I had originally thought was pee. I screamed for Clint to get up, that I thought maybe my water had broken. We were so excited!

I called my midwife and let her know. She wanted to make sure that baby was still moving at his normal rate and that the liquid from my water was clear. She told me that contractions would probably start shortly and that I was to drink a big glass of milk, eat a big meal, and GO TO BED! I thought, who is she kidding? I can’t sleep! I ran around took care of a few things and  finally climbed into bed around 2 am. This is also when the actual contractions started. Clint fell fast asleep and I drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours.

Finally, around 5:30 am I couldn’t stand it anymore and got up. The contractions hurt while I was lying down. As soon, as I got up they were much easier to deal with. (So glad I was not forced to lie in a hospital bed ;))We ate breakfast and called our parents to let them know. I did not want anyone at the house except my 16-year-old little sister, who was going to help Clint through the labor. My Dad dropped her off within an hour or so of the call. I called my midwife again sometime around then and told her I was starting to get nervous and that I would feel more comfortable if she were at my house. She showed up around 9 am, along with her apprentice. They set some things up, told Clint to start getting the birth pool filled up with water and checked mine and Lucas’ vitals. This was the first time I was ever “checked”. I was 3-4 cms dilated and 80% effaced. My midwife told me that I was too happy and smiley to be in active labor so she and her apprentice went to get breakfast. Then I started to get anxious. This wasn’t active labor?! No, I wasn’t in excruciating pain– but, I had hoped I was further along and just handling the pain well.

Around 10:30 a.m., the contractions started to actually hurt. My water was broken, which can make labor more painful since you don’t have the “cushion” from it and Lucas was “sunny-side up” which can cause really bad back labor–which I was having. Clint had to push on my lower back with each contraction to ease the pressure. I wasn’t screaming or anything, but it hurt. Clint was WONDERFUL, though. He kept doing a lot of the stuff we had practiced from the HypnoBirthing and Bradley Method books. I got nervous here and told Clint and Shaye that maybe I should have just gone to the hospital. They both looked at me like I was crazy, and said I didn’t even act like I was in pain, what was I talking about? I asked Clint to call my midwife at this point.

When they got back, she checked me again and said I was around 6 cms and fully effaced. Progress was good, but of course, I was hoping it was more. She said I could get into the birth pool at this point. Clint wouldn’t get into the pool with me and I wanted him right there for every contraction, rubbing my back and talking me through it. I really don’t think I would have stayed so calm without his voice in my ear and hands on my back. I think that’s part of the reason the pool was uncomfortable for me though, I just felt like I couldn’t get close enough to Clint. I also think maybe the water was too high because I just kept floating and couldn’t get anchored down.

In the Birth PoolOnce I was in the water, I told my midwife that I was having the urge to push, a very strong urge. She checked me again and told me that I was really close, but there was still a lip of cervix there, that I needed to wait. I fought the urge, while telling them I couldn’t, for the next couple of contractions, which were one right after the other. She told me that he was very close and had me touch the very top of his head coming down the birth canal.

Eventually, she told me that if I really needed to push, to give it a try. This is where it became really evident that the pool just would not work for me. I got out, pushed while on a birthing stool, with Clint holding my upper body, and lying in bed for a little while. I did not like being on my back, so I got up and walked around some and tried pushing in various places/positions again.

I think eventually my midwife noticed that I was tired and offered for me to lie down for a little while and push. I remember being extremely hot at this point and a cold rag on my forehead. I think it was also around this time that my contractions almost stopped. I ended up pushing sometimes with a contraction and sometimes without. Shaye offered a mirror once, which we had talked about beforehand, but I was too grumpy to tell her I wanted it. At one point, my midwife said that I needed to drink some juice or milk or something for some energy. For some reason, I chose chocolate milk. I gulped a big glass of chocolate milk. They said I would push and he would begin to crown and then stop and the top of his head would disappear. Eventually, I figured out “how” to push and it wasn’t much longer after that. Once his head was out, the midwife had me sit up some and touch Lucas. I held onto him, pushed one final time, and “caught him” and pulled him to my chest. On 9/23/2012 at 1:52 p.m., after about 13 hours of labor, Lucas Cole was born weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and 20 inches long.

5 minutes old

Birthing my son, and being so involved in the process, without monitors and IVs and machines beeping, was the most empowering thing I have ever done in my life. I truly felt like a superhero afterwards, and still do!

Next time, I will definitely have a mirror handy! I also want to try the pool again or maybe the birth stool. I’d rather not birth lying down again. I think a lot of my nervousness and anxiousness was just from not knowing what to expect, though. So hopefully, next time will be a breeze. One can hope, right?

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you should check out the books I mentioned! Did you enjoy the birth of your child(ren)? Did anything unusual happen? Would you ever consider a homebirth?

Don’t forget to subscribe for future posts!

 

Why I Chose Homebirth…

Why I Chose Homebirth...
Standard

Yes, I had a homebirth.

No, it wasn’t an accident.

No, we didn’t go to the hospital afterward.

I have dreamed of a waterbirth since I was 12 years old and saw one on TLC’s A Baby Story. Clint knew I had always wanted one, but said there was absolutely no way–we were having a baby in the hospital- with doctors and an operating room close by.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I did the mainstream thing, and went to the OB and started being cared for by her. I already did not and still do not like her. I mentioned trying to conceive to her one time and she told me that I would probably have a hard time nursing my child, even though I did not mention it or ask her opinion. Then, when I was around 20 weeks, I mentioned that I wanted a natural unmedicated childbirth. Her reply was that when I felt the pain, I’d ask for an epidural. And, when I told her I didn’t want an episiotomy, she told me she would probably do one anyway. Um no, I just told you I didn’t want one.

I am a COMPLETE control freak (Clint will vouch for this) and was terrified of how my labor would turn out. Yes, terrified. But, I loved being pregnant. It made me feel so accomplished that I was growing our baby with my body. I wanted to feel the same way about the birth of this sweet baby– accomplished. In an effort to be as confident as possible in our birthing plans, we started reading books. First, I read Ina May Gaskin’s book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I loved that book! It was a complete confidence booster. But, it also reinforced my fears about a hospital birth. Then, I bought HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition and Clint and I read through them nightly and practiced almost every single thing in each book. I knew my body could do this, I just hoped my doctor or whatever OB was on call when I went into labor would also know.

At my 36 week appointment with the OB, the nurse checked all my vitals and then told me to get undressed and the doctor would be in shortly. I answered that I wouldn’t be getting “checked” today so I would keep my clothes on. She looked at me funny and fumbled out the words okay she’ll have to talk to you about that. The OB came in and I explained that I really just didn’t want to be checked, that it would either make me antsy (if I were dilated) or disappointed (if I were not). Really, there is just no reason to be checked. You are introducing the possibility of an infection and this particular OB has broken waters before when “checking” a woman. She said that was fine, but next week we would. Then, she mentioned planning an induction within the next few weeks. An INDUCTION? I’m not even full term until 37 weeks?! She explained that yes we would wait until I was closer, but in order to ensure that she is the one who delivers, we should plan an induction. I told her that I would not be planning an induction that I would just have to take my chances. Maybe I would get lucky enough that a doctor with some bedside manner would be on call, right?

Even with all of the books, planning, and constant encouragement from Clint, he started to notice that I was getting more and more anxious about a hospital birth. I explained to him that once I went into labor, we would labor at home as long as possible before I was stepping foot in a hospital. He agreed with me and jokingly made the comment that maybe we would stay home long enough that we’d have our son at home. I took this as my chance to actually get some information about a homebirth. That was a green light, right?

37 weeks

When I was right around 37 weeks, I called and had an hour long conversation with a midwife an hour and a half from us and set up a meeting with her. She ensured me that she would be praying about whether or not she should take over my care. That evening, as I was driving home, I prayed. Not that I would get my way or that Clint would let us do it, but that God would take control of the situation and not let my emotions get in the way. I prayed that I would feel peace about whatever decision would be made. Immediately, I had a complete sense of calm wash over me. For the first time in weeks, those anxious feelings were completely gone. He is good! The next day we had our appointment, and we LOVED her. So, on 9/14/2012 at 37 weeks and 1 day, the midwife and Clint both decided that we could transfer care. I was ELATED! From that moment on, I was only excited. I knew we had made the right decision and that God had led us to the point we were at and would continue to provide.

My sweet sweet tiny little boy is growing up. On Monday, he will be 1 year old. To celebrate the occasion, I will be posting his birth story. I hope you’ll be back to read it!

What’s Your Love Language?

What Your Love Language?
Standard

 

Marriage is hard. And wonderful. And frustrating. And such a blessing.

After dating for 2.5 years, Clint and I tied the knot on June 14, 2008, at our church. We were married by our previous pastor, Brother Garland, who had been called to another church a few months before. During our premarital counseling, he gave us a copy of [amazon-product region=”us” text=”The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” type=”text”]B0032CVAQQ[/amazon-product] written by Gary Chapman and stressed to us how important he thought it was that we read it.

We did read through it before the wedding, but it was sort of a rush through. Our relationship had been extremely easy until that point. Yes, those 2.5 years had been a long-distance relationship, but we seriously rocked the long-distance.. if that’s possible? I didn’t get the pre-wedding jitters, I knew without a doubt that this was the man God intended for me and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I wasn’t sure if I wanted children or not, but we would figure that out later.

clint sara 8-10-07

Our first year of marriage, well- it was tough! It was difficult to get used to being around each other all.the.time. Like I said, we only saw each other every other weekend and during school breaks while we were dating/engaged, so this was a major adjustment for us. Things definitely smoothed out around the second year though. But around that time, I decided that we should continually try to better our relationship. I started buying marriage books and devotionals here and there for us to read through together.

One book I got was [amazon-product region=”us” text=”The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage” type=”text”]B007V698DG[/amazon-product], also written by Gary Chapman. When we got it and I looked through it, I decided we should read through [amazon-product region=”us” text=”The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” type=”text”]0802473156[/amazon-product] again and it was such an eye opener this time around. Gary Chapman includes personal stories of others, which I find really interesting. It was fun to read through and go, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely you!”

Clint and Sara August 2013

I think it’s extremely important to learn each other’s love language, though- and what it takes to keep each other’s love tank full. Clint’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation, followed by Quality Time. Mine are Acts of Service and then Physical Touch. We are complete opposites, always have been. 🙂

If I didn’t know and focus on Clint’s love language, I would probably show my love by doing the things for him that make me feel loved. I mean, it’s great if I get up on Saturday morning and cook him breakfast or hold his hand when we’re out and about, but neither of those things are going to make him feel loved the way me thanking him for something he does around the house or just hanging out on the couch watching a movie with him does.

[amazon-product region=”us” text=”The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” type=”text”]0802473156[/amazon-product]is definitely a book that I would recommend to any couple, newlywed or in their 25th year of marriage. Have you read it? Do you speak your spouse’s love language in order to make them feel loved? 

Under Sink Organization

Lucas' Birthday Sillyness
Standard

I love organizing things! Love, love, love it! BUT, I have a hard time staying organized. I always tell people I like the idea of being organized. But what do ya do?

Well, over the last few months-s l o w l y… I’ve done a little here and a little there to get things organized around my house, particularly the kitchen. Plastic baskets from Dollar Tree have been a godsend. 😉

I have been really pleased with the new under sink organization system I have so I wanted to share it with you.  Here is what underneath my kitchen sink looked like:

Before Under Sink

(I forgot to take a picture before I got started, so there are already hooks to hold the dowel rod.)

There was so much wasted space under there that it drove me crazy. Plus, I had just invested in some UNpaper towels and wanted to put a little bucket or can under there for the dirties until laundry day.

I bought the hooks from Lowe’s on the curtain rod and hardware aisle. I just bumped into them looking for something else, but they were cheap so I grabbed them up. I also got a dowel rod out of the lumber section. All of the baskets came from Dollar Tree.

After Under Sink

I love this setup. The mini red laundry basket is super cute and the whole thing is completely functional for me. The first two spray bottles on the rod are the main two I use and they are easy to grab out. When we have a dirty UNpaper towel, I can just throw them down there out of sight, the trash bags are still right there for easy access and all of the dishwashing soaps are front and center. Behind all of those, I have some vases, flashlights, and other miscellaneous stuff that does not get used very often but has nowhere else to go.

Before_After Under Sink

Like I said, I’ve been very pleased! Are you organized? Is the space under your sink functional- or just a pile of random cleaning supplies? How do you like my setup?

Yes, I Cloth Diaper (Part I)

Standard

This is the first post in the Yes, I Cloth Diaper series. They can all be found here.

Being the budget-aholic that I am, as soon as I found out we were pregnant, I figured up a monthly amount to see exactly how much our addition to the family was going to be. I can’t remember the exact number I came up with, but it was quite a bit. Diapers and formula are really expensive!

So I started brainstorming some ways to save a little dough once Lucas was here: Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapering. I had already thought about breastfeeding but wasn’t really sure about it, since I’d never really been around anyone who had nursed their child. My OB had also made a comment that I would “probably have a hard time nursing a baby”, but that’s a completely different post. So I started seriously considering it and researched, researched, researched. Clint was pretty supportive of that idea, but when I mentioned cloth diapers he said “Do what?!” Lucas Cloth Diaper 5 Months

From then on, I spent A LOT of time researching cloth diapers. All the designs were SO cute. Who doesn’t want owls and monsters and chevron print on their little boy’s butt? I mean, really? Here’s what I found:

According to BabyGearLab.com, here is the average disposable diaper usage until potty training. Diaper Usage Chart

Of course, every child is different, but this is a good estimate. I personally think Lucas would go through more than that. I know, right now, at almost 12 months, he still goes through about 7 or 8 diapers a day. Also, the 24 month and 36 month columns should probably say Stage 5 and Stage 6 diapers. Based on my local Walmart’s prices, here is what 3 different brands of diapers will cost you, per child.

  • Walmart Parent’s Choice – $995
  • Pampers – $1,400
  • Seventh Generation – $1,875

In comparison, you could cloth diaper a child for around $300. That’s 1/3 the cost of using the off brand disposable diapers! ONE THIRD!

I’ve bought new diapers and I’ve bought used diapers and I’ve resold some of the ones that didn’t work for us. With all of that, I have only spent $465.02. That’s only about half of what I would spend for one kid in disposables, BUT, I can reuse every single diaper I have bought on every other child we have. With each sibling we give Lucas, I estimate we may spend another $100 apiece. I would say that’s worth it!

Lucas Cloth Diaper 9 Months

Oh and by the way, once I explained all of this to Clint, he was sold on cloth diapers, too… smart man.

Do you have any questions about cloth diapering? Leave a comment, and I’ll try to clear up any questions/concerns! So keep an eye out for Yes, I Cloth Diaper (Part 2)!

Yummy Homemade Hummus

Standard

Mmmm.. hummus. I love hummus. Especially Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Back to that in a second, though.

My plan is to post 2-3x a week. Hopefully. I had originally planned to post this the other night and then SURPRISE, our AC drain was apparently full of years and years (and years) of gunk. As a result, it was clogged and overflowed. Luckily, my husband, Clint, found it when the laminate wood floors squished as he walked across them. Errr, not the sound you want to hear under your laminate, soak-up-all-the-water-and-swell, floors. So after a trip to Home Depot and my Mom coming to help out, we have new squeaky clean drain pipes and bubbled up laminate floors. Oh, the joys of homeownership.

Oh, I also plan to post my homebirth birth story soon. So keep your eye out for that!

Back to hummus land…

This stuff is so good, you should definitely make it. And yes, it does have peanut butter in it. I’ve heard Tahini is pretty expensive—and they didn’t have it at Walmart when I looked either. I promise you don’t taste the peanut butter, but it is needed. Here’s how I do it:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 16 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

¼ jar roasted red peppers

1 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp olive oil

Juice from ½ a lemon

1/8 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

Dash cayenne pepper

Dash salt

Open and rinse the chickpeas in a colander. Then, you need to take the skin off of each chickpea. It’s really easy. You just squeeze it between your fingers, slightly, and it comes right off. The first time I made this I didn’t do it and my hummus was not the silky smooth hummus that I wanted. So, it’s worth it!

hummus skin

Next, add all of ingredients except the roasted red peppers and chickpeas to a food processor and puree for around 1 minute. Now you should add half of the chickpeas and run the food processor for about a minute, add the second half and run for another minute. You will probably need to stop the processor and scrape the sides a couple of times in there.

It will not be the consistency of hummus at this point and may still have some whole chickpeas. This is okay!

hummus almost ready

The last step is adding the roasted red peppers. Process this until it looks smooth and silky (about a minute or two).  If it is too dry for your liking, add a little olive oil – a little goes a long way here.

Lucas certainly approves of this recipe! I would say this is one of his absolute favorite foods.

hummus lucas

I’ve also heard of another version where you would leave out the Roasted Red Peppers and add a ½ packet of dry Ranch seasoning. You would need to add some additional olive oil, which I would do at the end to get it to the consistency you want. I’m going to make it and serve with raw veggies at Lucas’ 1st Birthday Party-which is only 15 days away!!

Do you like hummus? What do you like to dip in it? Ever made it yourself?