I’m Back!

After a very long hiatus, I am pleased to say that I am back to writing. My son will now be turning 2 next month on the 15th and we have added a new addition to the family. Little Esther is currently 7 weeks and is beautiful and healthy. I am very excited to announce that we had a homebirth with our little girl, and I would do it all over again. With all the regulations in hospitals due to Covid, it was an easy decision for my husband and I when we decided on having a homebirth.

Did the homebirth go as planned, you may wonder? I will be posting a separate blog post specifically on how my home birth went. So stay tuned for that!

I am now into restoring old wooden furniture, and am currently working on finishing an old, antique looking coffee table for our living room. I have decided that I want to experience with the Bohemian style. It is taking a lot of work and patience for me to finish it, as I still have a long way to go, but I will be sure to post the results!

My husband is working on finishing our basement for the kids, and I have so many ideas on what I would like it to be like, unique, fun, and exciting! Should I post a separate post on the before and after, as well as what thought process I had?

Let me know what your thoughts are! Or any questions you may have.

Here is the little guy giving me a hand!

I have so many exciting things that I want to write about, so stay tuned!

Why I stuck to breastfeeding

As many of you may have read one of my firsts post about my breastfeeding journey, you may have wondered why I stuck through it when I could have given up and gave my son formula. Yes it was a painful beginning to my breastfeeding journey, but as I stuck to it I figured out what works best for me. Although my son gave up taking my breast due to a heavy flow, I did not give up giving him my breast milk. From breastfeeding I went straight to pumping and feeding him from a bottle.

Yes, I was stubborn in the beginning and to start even giving him my milk in a bottle was for some reason heartbreaking. Not only heartbreaking, but I also felt like I was letting myself down or not being the mom I was “supposed” to be. Breaking the bond of skin to skin. I knew all the benefits of breastfeeding and could not drop that for the sake of my son. My goal was, and still is, is to have my son be the healthiest he can be. And the thought of dropping breast milk for the ease of myself came across as selfish to me. When I say I badly wanted to give up, I mean I really wanted to and almost did. I was crying for days contemplating what to do and trying to justify it if I was to convert to formula. My husband was being as supportive as he could, but seeing me in such a down state regarding this issue, he was also trying to justify formula so that I could have the ease of mind.

And I did, I said “tomorrow I’m dropping everything.” But then tomorrow came and I put my emotions aside as I looked down on my son and knew he deserved the best I could offer. And I did have milk. I had ALOT of milk. So for me to give up what I had, in my eyes was upsetting. Those that struggle with their milk supply, that’s another story, where definitely your child needs to eat and if they aren’t getting enough then yes supplementing with formula is an option. But to me, a woman who was producing more than enough milk, to get rid of that, was like getting rid of gold. And therefore I couldn’t.

My son is now 14 months old and although I have stopped pumping several weeks ago, I still had a frozen supply left. I am almost out but right now at 14 months my son has been getting the best I could offer him- my breast milk.

Breastfeeding isn’t easy if you have an oversupply. And pumping isn’t easy if you don’t have a portable pump. But I guess this is where we learn to sacrifice for our children, God’s creation. Whom He has entrusted us to look after and raise. I wouldn’t change my decision of breastfeeding. As I currently am a month pregnant now, breastfeeding is still my go to for our second child, and I can only hope it starts off better the second time since I am more experienced and well informed. I’ll keep you updated on my current pregnancy in future posts. 😉

Organic homemade juice

Hi everyone!

Today I would like to share a recipe that my Slavic community constantly uses and one that I have grown up with. This is organic homemade juice, with no additives, no high fructose corn syrup, and no concentrate or chemicals that may harm you, your family, and your little ones.

Once my son started eating and drinking liquids other than breast milk, I really wanted to be able to give him juice but something that was healthy and beneficial to him not just taste good and be harmful. I remembered how my mom and aunts would always make juice at home and it was delicious. This juice can be made with all sorts of fruits, whether one type of fruit or multiple fruit. I usually use apples as a base for my juice and tend to add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or whatever fruit I have on hand. Even just apples is satisfying to quench your thirst.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED (Sizes can be adjusted)

  • 2 gallon pot
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 13 medium sized apples,
  • A handful of blueberries
  • A handful of blackberries
  • A handful of raspberries

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. While water is boiling, cut apples into slices, the skin can stay on
  3. Once water is brought to a boil, place all fruits into the water and cover
  4. Let the fruit boil in the water for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pour the juice through a strainer or cheese cloth to separate the boiled fruit from the juice.
  6. The juice will be hot. I usually pour into a big mixing bowl
  7. Once strained pour into a air tight jar if not drinking right away.
  8. For a stronger taste to develop, let it sit for a couple hours or even a couple days.
  9. If drinking right away, let it cool down and add sugar to sweeten.

The gift of being a stay at home mom

Last night I had a revelation of my role as a stay at home mom. I was listening to a sermon on YouTube by David Wilkerson called “The Healing of the Home.” My son is almost a year old, and I have come to realize that somewhere along the way I forgot how much of a treasure it is to be a stay at home mom. I started to miss work, and I still slightly do, but I got caught up in that feeling and sulked upon it. I started to envy the mothers who were able to go to work for a couple hours and help their husbands bring in an income. Ever since I was 16 I was already working. I was used to providing for myself, having come from a very low income family. I used my own money to buy myself my own cell phone and was already paying my own phone bill. At 19 I bought my first car and was paying for my own car insurance and gas. From my first job working for a cleaning company, to working at a grocery store, to working as a dietary aide at a nursing home, and then as an office manager at a chiropractic office. All of this I did in a couple of years. I was used to having a job.

So, when my son was born, and up until now, I was finding tough to deal with, not having a job that provides income. And I did belittle myself. I did not feel important. Until last night. Last night during David Wilkerson’s sermon he said:

“Now hold it just a minute, what I am against with all my heart and soul is the demeaning of one of the highest callings in the world, and that is to be a housewife and a mother. That’s the highest calling on earth.” “Don’t let ANYONE put you down for being “just a housewife.” or “just a mother.” “In the sight of God, listen who can find a virtuous woman whose price is above rubies. She rises early feeds her household.”

Once I heard him mention that, it really hit me, the importance of all my responsibilities. Even though I may not be earning an income, it is still my job and still my role to be a housewife and a stay at home mother. And I should be doing it with a grateful heart.

I no longer want to look down upon myself. To think I need to always be physically beautiful in the eyes of my husband, for that will make him happy. Yes, do look pretty, but what will really make a man happy is a woman who enjoys and treasures her role as a housewife and stay at home mom. (Not saying you can’t work) This is towards the women who have chosen or have been placed in the role of being a stay at home mom or housewife. To the women in similarity to me.

We don’t “just do laundry.” We help provide clean clothes that our husbands and children can put on every day and be comfortable in. We don’t “just do the dishes.” We provide clean plates and utensils that our family can have their meals on. We don’t “just make dinner.” We provide fresh, hot food, that the family can eat to grow stronger, be healthier, and not starve. We do not “just clean the house.” We vacuum, sweep, mop, dust, organize, and keep a welcoming environment that our family can feel safe and secure in. Comfy, cozy, and loved in. Our responsibilities are wrapped in love. We are not any less than our husbands or the wives who have gone back to work. Our role is just as important and just as meaningful.

So to the housewife or stay at home mom that is reading this. Your role is important. You are important for your role. Yes there will be many days where we will feel unappreciated, beaten up, exhausted, worn out, but do not let that forget who you really are. Once you start appreciating your role, your perspective starts to change and automatically from there your whole day starts to change for the better as well.

A Total Mom Day

Today I had a complete mom day. By that I mean everything that I had planned was totally destroyed. I had planned to meet with my friend and her daughter who is the same age as my son for a little picnic in the park. No I’m not quarantining or social distancing. Judge all you want, I don’t care. Any who, we planned to meet at 1:30, my son’s nap time. But I was thinking I’d put him to sleep in the stroller and we’ll be fine.

I decided to leave an hour early to stop by the grocery store thinking the lines won’t be there since it was about midday. Boy was I wrong. Thanks Coronavirus. So I decided not to go in and thought I’d arrive at the park a little earlier. As soon as I get there, my friend texts me asking if we could meet later since she just got home from waiting in line forever at Costco and her daughter just fell asleep…

Now picture this, I’m at the park with a cranky baby no longer meeting my friend and have to drive 20 minutes back home and put him to sleep. My picnic bag was all ready by the way. And once I got home I now had to put an overtired toddler to sleep which is harder than normal tired. And then my friend has to cancel completely because her mom was over.

From one plan going awry, I couldn’t go grocery shopping and didn’t have our play date. Total bust of a day.

Any body else have total mom days where EVERYTHING goes wrong??

Wanting to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle

When I first moved into our condo, I wanted every room to feel “full.” When I say “full,” by that I mean every room felt like it needed the basics of today’s expectations. Our bedroom needed a big bed frame, high off the floor with a big dresser across from it, and matching night stands. The furniture was all black and big. And at first I liked it. Our living room needed couches obviously and a coffee table smack dab in the middle with a rug underneath. Or so I thought. No, I did not get rid of everything, but I did make adjustments that not only made our home feel bigger, but also made it easier to live in mentally. You start to have more room to breathe.

About a year ago, I started to do research on minimalist lifestyles and how people can have so little in their homes but still get by. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of families showing their homes with a minimalist lifestyle and I was really intrigued. So you must be wondering, What does a minimalist lifestyle consist of? A minimalist lifestyle is about going through life with only the things that you need on a day to day basis, free of unnecessary clutter. I must admit that I am not 100% there yet, but each day I try to make small changes to help get me to where I would like to be. So far I have gone completely through my clothes and tossed away everything I do not wear. My husband and I used to have a closet full of clothes and a double dresser, one for my husband and one for myself, that was also full of clothes. We sold the dressers and now only have clothes in our walk in closet that I would say is probably 4ft by 10ft. That was my first big step to minimizing things around the house.

My second step was actually an accident. I was clearing out our living room coffee table, trying to organize the books that were placed in the shelf it contained and also was about to clean the glass top it had. As I was cleaning the glass, it reflected a glare onto our wall causing our Australian Cattle dog, full of energy, to jump “over” the coffee table and at the reflection on the wall. In doing so, she snagged the side of the coffee table and tore it from their bolts. And that was a bitter sweet moment to the end of us having a coffee table in the living room. I must say I was upset at first but then realized the space that was created, as well as the little to no importance that the coffee table held in our living room. Also on the plus side, our son could now roam freely between the couches with his toys. I am still trying to figure out where to put my books though. Feel free to give me some unique suggestions! ( I do plan on purchasing an end table or two to have on the side of the couch(es) for when I have tea or coffee). Maybe I can keep my books there?

Our Living Room Currently

Another big step was getting rid of our bed frame. It was big black and took up a lot of space, or so it seemed. We initially wanted to buy something closer to the ground and of a lighter color. So we sold our bed frame and ended up sleeping on our mattress on the floor for a few nights and to our surprise, we loved it! Right now we bought a king mattress but still have it on the floor and our room already feels much bigger.

Bedroom Currently

We try to keep our condo very minimal for our benefit as well as our son’s. Not only does it feel better for us mentally and physically, but it is also easier to clean and I do not have to worry about my son getting into anything he shouldn’t. For the most part he is free to crawl around and not feel limited.

Our bathrooms are not cluttered and very simplistic. What we do not need, we do not really have. I like my kitchen to be clean and I love my counter-top space. I love for everything to have a place and for everything to be in its place after it has been used. Yes, I am that mom that cleans up the toys before or during my son’s nap-times. Or atleast I try to be…

As I go further into this journey of minimalist living, feel free to ask me any questions or give me any advice that you have found useful or may think would be useful!

From One Mother to Another

Hello all you beautiful mothers out there!

This post will be a little different than my other posts, as I am out here seeing if I can relate to some other mothers out there. Do you ever feel like a bad mother? Or that your little one deserves better? Whether it is because you didn’t get to your son or daughter in time and they fell and started crying? Or they are teething and you thought they were just being cranky but really they are in pain. Or one day you think they are crying for no reason but turns out their tummy really hurts.

Does every mother beat themselves up mentally, hoping or wishing that they were better or should be better? Is it just mom guilt? Do we not see ourselves as confident women or wonderful mothers just because we are more judgmental of ourselves than others?

Today is one of those days for me. My almost 9 month old son is sick with a small cold and each time I go to wipe his runny nose it really irritates him and he starts to cry. His naps were sort of off schedule today making him a little tired and I just felt all over the place. Now here I am wishing I was better for him today.

Today feels like a day where I let myself down, or let my standards down a little. So as of right now, I am looking forward to tomorrow. To start fresh and be the best mother I can be for my little boy, and the best wife I can be for my husband, as well as a better person for myself and those around me. It’s hard to not judge yourself or criticize yourself when you have these goals or envision the type of person you want to be.

That brings us to the question: What kind of mother do I want to be?

I want to be a mother where at the end of the day I deserve that hot bath because I did everything I could to take care of my family, one that made the meals and satisfied the hunger and thirst of my son. A mother that put her phone down to crawl around the floor and enjoying the small moments that will one day no longer be there. I want to be a mother that puts a smile on my son’s face and am there to hold him if he gets hurt or the mother that quickly catches her son before he gets hurt.

I don’t want to be inattentive, missing the moment my son stands up for the first time or takes his first step or says his first word. I don’t want him to feel that my phone takes time away from him.

I want to leave you with a story that always make me think. I was told this story a few days back and can’t get it out of my head.

One day a little boy was at school and he was given an assignment. The teacher told the students to write about what they would like to be if they could choose anything or anyone in the world. The little boy turned in his assignment which was read by the teacher. The little boy wrote… If I could be anything in the world I would like to be a cell phone. Then maybe my parents would pay more attention to me. Then maybe they would want to play with me. And just maybe they would always have time to talk to me.

May we always have time for our children, giving them the love and attention they not only desire but also need.

Wooden Baby Walker

As my son is almost 9 months old, I can already see that he will be walking soon. There are so many different types of walkers out there. I personally prefer wooden toys when I can, so when I found this wooden walker on Amazon, I was thrilled! It is slightly difficult to assemble but once I was done with it, I was in love with the outcome. My son is still getting used to it but little by little I see him using it more.

Link Below

Baby Toys – Kids’ Activity Toy – Wooden Push and Pull Learning Walker for Boys and Girls – Multiple Activities Center – Assembly Required – Develops Motor Skills & Stimulates Creativity

Best Products for Mothers who Pump Exclusively

When I first started my journey with breast feeding, as in my other post, it did not turn out how I had planned and from starting off with exclusively breast feeding I started exclusively pumping.

In the beginning of my pumping days I started with a Spectra pump provided by the hospital I gave birth in. I must say I really did like it, other than the fact that pumping in general made me feel like a milk making machine or some sort of cow being milked. The Spectra was really easy to use and had minimal buttons to press, and included a little light so that you can see what you are doing in the dark, if you pump during the night.

If you know that you are pumping, definitely do some investing in a durable, rechargeable, portable pump. Pumping gets easier if you know you can travel with it and not worry about finding an outlet.

Two great options for that would be an Elvie pump and a Willow pump. Both are expensive but with the time you will be spending pumping, it makes it worth it. They fit snuggling right into your maternity bra and suction onto your breasts when turned on. If I had known about these pumps earlier, I could have saved on so much headaches, stress, and anxiety from the pressure of being home or finding a place to pump. Both come at around the same price, one pump for around $280 or double pumps for $500. The willow I believe only sells as a double.

I personally have the older version of the Willow Pump, the Willow 1.0 but right now they have a 2.0 that is out. With the 2.0 you can either pump straight into the bags that you can purchase from them, making it easier to pump and store during travel, or you can pump straight into the container and dump into a storage bag of your choice or bottle. The Willow 1.0 can only pump into their spill proof storage bags. From the research that I have done, a lot of people say that it is silent but from owning one I will say that you can hear it but it is definitely quieter than a normal pump.

Both the Willow and Elvie pumps connect to an app that keeps track of all your pumping sessions as well as the ounces pumped, whether the right breast or from the left breast and also stops pumping automatically once the bags or containers are filled. Both pumps are very easy to put together and also simple to clean.

My sister-in-law has the double Elvie pumps and she loves it as well. Being a new mom and knowing that she would be pumping, she got two right away to double pump and save on time. This also allows her to be able to pump while she is making dinner for her husband or is out on the road visiting friends or family, or if she is running late to an appointment, she can pump on the road, which I have also personally done. To be able to pump in the car is amazing and relieving.

They try to advertise them as being silent and unnoticeable but from my experience, they are not as silent as some say and you can notice them because they make your breasts look like they doubled in size. So, I would not be out at a restaurant with them in my bra but if that works for you then go right ahead! I just found it easy to go places as I could easily pump in the car every few hours or in any bathroom en route.

I got my portable Willow pumps too late, when my son was 7 months because I was so tired of dealing with pumping only at home or carrying around the big pump and trying to find an outlet wherever I went.

For my next pregnancy I will be investing in the Willow 2.0 to not have to deal with what I dealt with during the beginning few months of my pumping journey. I am choosing the Willow 2.0 because it can pump straight into the storage bags or the container made for it, giving me more options. If straight into their storage bags then there is less to clean as well. Although you need to keep buying their specific storage bags.

So, all you mothers, invest in your happiness! Because these pumps definitely make a difference. They have in mine and they will in yours too! And no I am not sponsored by them, just writing this from experience and hoping I can save some of you from doing the mistake that I did and got them too late.

Final Pros and Cons of Willow Pump

  • Saves time
  • Portable
  • Rechargeable
  • Easy to store
  • Can pump into storage bags
  • Can pump into container
  • Easy to clean
  • Better suction than Elvie
  • Can pump anywhere anytime
  • Expensive
  • Not completely silent
  • Still noticeable
  • Can only use their specific storage bags to pump into
  • Suction is less than Spectra or Medela

Final Pros and Cons of Elvie Pump

  • Saves Time
  • Portable
  • Rechargeable
  • Easy to store
  • Pumps into container
  • Easy to clean
  • Quieter than the Willow
  • Can pump anywhere anytime
  • Expensive
  • Can slightly hear it
  • Noticeable
  • Has a light on when in use that you can see through your shirt
  • Can’t pump into storage bags

I will add the links to their sites down below:

Willow Pump

https://shop.willowpump.com/

Elvie Pump

https://www.elvie.com/en-us/

Skip Hop Explore

Loving his skip hop explore 🙂

Skip Hop Explore makes for a wonderful gift for your little as well as helps strengthen their leg muscles for when they are ready to walk. My little boy could not be happier with it and uses it every single day. Will link it in the side bar, just click on it and you will be rerouted to the exact page on Amazon! Grab it while it is on sale for $45 off!!

Enjoy 🙂