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The Journey Begins

My husband often says that I give too many details when I am trying to tell him something. I cannot help it. I am an informative, detailed oriented person. I love to help people, even if its just by sharing my experiences with someone that can relate it to something that  they are experiencing or want to learn more about or try. That is the main reason that I started my blog…. To share and hopefully help Mama’s or even Dad’s playing the Mama role with everyday life, recipes, life hacks, and anything else I can think of. And to share my stories no matter the length! I have been married for 11 1/2 years and we have 3 handsome boys who are full of life, to say the least. Motherhood is not easy , but it is so worth it! We all just try to be the best parent for our children & pray that we raise them to be the person that God intended them to be. I strive to be a good Mom & wife. I believe that we should lead by example. I am still working on this. After 3 boys, I am still learning new things almost daily.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Our Nightly Routine

Every night, well most nights, after a long day of work, school, and the baby sitter’s house. After we come home and eat supper, do homework, bathe, and brush our teeth. It is finally OUR time!! The big boys share a room and the baby is still in mine & my husband’s room, for now. We all go in to the big boys room. The big boys lay in bed and get all snuggled in. I sit on the edge of the bed with the baby in my lap. We read a bed time story. We have a whole set of stories from the Bible for kids. A coworker gave these to me about a year ago. They are over 50 years old and they are still in perfect condition. I let the big boys take turns choosing a story each night. They either choose to read from the Bible stories or one of our Dr. Seuss books. Then I sing them a song. Ever since my oldest, who is now 10, was a baby, at every nap and every night before bed, I have sang him a song by Plumb called In My Arms. That song is just beautiful! Maybe not when I sing it, but it is to my boys!! This is OUR song. After the story and song, the boys take turns each night saying our prayer. Listening to my boys pray is so heart-warming! I love it!! I take a turn on the nights that they are a little extra sleepy. We pray for each other, for others, for our big extended family, and for other families. If we know of a particular someone who needs a little extra special prayer, we pray for them too. Our prayers are not perfect, but we know God hears them!!

Unfortunately, we do not get to do this every single night because I do work a full time job and am currently finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree. But, we are able to, most weeks, 4 days of the week on average. We start about 30 to 45 minutes before they should be going to sleep, which is usually 8:15 on normal nights or 8:45 on chaotic night when we got home late or I have an assignment due. We LOVE our time together. They really miss it when we have to cut our bedtime routine short. When we do, we usually skip the story, but still have the song and prayer. I know reading is important, but we read as part of studying as well. They will not want me to do this with them for long. So I am going to enjoy every minute of it while it lasts!! Our week day evenings are very hectic at times, so I really miss our bedtime routine when we aren’t able to keep it too!!

Our bed time routine has not always been so calm either. Before the baby came, we would start our bedtime routine, but the boys were still wound up and did not want to go to bed. They did not want to listen to the story at all and we did not pray. Somehow, they always ended up in our Queen sized bed by morning. The oldest at my feet and the, now middle boy, in between me and my husband. Some nights they came one at a time and sometimes they came together. A Mama can only be woke up so many times before saying “just get in bed”. It was no fun being big and pregnant with feet up your booty and a child on your back while sleeping as close to the edge as possible without actually falling out. I loved the closeness, but at the same time I longed to be able to sleep in my bed and not on the edge with feet up my booty!

To our amazement the first night home with our youngest, I put the big boys to bed in their room and they slept through the night, in their bed! I was so happy! For the next 5 weeks, our bed times were a little wild. It was summer and I was still out on maternity leave. The week before I started back to work, we started our new bedtime routine. Story, song, and prayer! The big boys were still, they listened, and stayed in their bed all night long. Eight months later, we do still have the occasional night that 1 or both big boys end up in our bed. But not often or frequent. It actually took me some time to figure out a bedtime routine and night-night time that worked best for our family. If it’s too early, they were still wide awake and wound up. If it’s too late, they were restless and grouchy. If they had screen time too close to bed time, they wanted to tell me everything they did in the game they played. So many variables!!! But we eventually found what worked for us.

“Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you!”

Do you have a nightly or bedtime routine with your kids?

Do I Really Need That Nursing Bra? Regular Bra vs. Nursing Bra (Wire vs. Wire Free)

Sometime during each of my (3) pregnancies, there always came that time when my boobs would grow to the next cup size, or two, and I would have to make the decision on what kind of new bra to buy. All these questions were constantly running through my mind. I tend to over analyze almost everything. Do I buy a regular, since I really do not need the nursing one yet? Do I go ahead and buy the nursing bra, because I will need it in a few more months. Do I really even need the nursing bra at all? Can’t I just breastfeed with a regular bra? If I do buy a nursing bra I should probably get the one with wires because the wire free nursing bra probably won’t be able to hold up my heavy boobs. Or can it? What do I do??!! Well, after my 3rd son and breastfeeding all of them for different lengths of time, I finally decided which bra worked the best for me.

With my 1st son, I was blessed to be able to stay home with him for his first 2 years of life. I breastfed him for 6 months. I made my regular bra work. With only one income, money was a little tight, so I did not make the effort to budget in a nursing bra. It was just easier to deal with what I had. We stayed home most of the time, except for the weekly errands run. So it was easy just to lift my shirt and bra and feed away. I did not even buy any nursing tops. I was new to the whole breastfeeding thing and I never really thought about how uncomfortable and hard I was making it on myself by not investing in a nursing bra or nursing tops. Looking back, I wish I would have. It was very uncomfortable to raise my shirt and have all my belly hanging out and even more so to pull my regular bra, with a wire, over my boob. Even at home!!

With my 2nd son, I had to return to work when my baby was only 6 weeks old. Thankfully, my Mom was able to keep him for until he was 7 months old. Then he was kept by an older lady that my husband and his family had known for years from church. I only breastfed him until he was 4 months old. Since I had to pump at work and because I learned from my first go around, I did invest in a nursing bra. But, I was still too stubborn to invest in any nursing tops. I just wore a tank top under all of my regular tops. Our dress code was very relaxed, like T-shirts and jeans. With the nursing bra alone, I was much more comfortable when nursing and pumping.

By the time my 3rd son came along, I decided that I was going to definitely invest in a nursing bra and nursing tops. I had a different job, so I had a dressier dress code. I did have to return to work when baby was 6 weeks old. This time, thankfully, my sister is able to keep him. He is almost 10 months old and I still breastfeed him. I only pumped at work until he was 6 months old. I send formula and baby food to my sister’s for him and I breastfeed when we are together. I even invested in a hands free bra so I could double pump at work with ease. Great investments!!

Regular bra’s do not have the give and flexibility that you need when breastfeeding and or pumping. While they may save some money, you may sacrifice comfort and enjoyment of breastfeeding baby. Nursing bras are a great investment. Even if you only use them for a short time, they are so worth it. I have used a nursing bra with a wire and without. I loved the nursing bra with the wire, until the wires broke in several different places. They provide the support that my milk filled boobs need, but after so many times of flap down and flap up, somehow caused the wires to break. I’m still not for sure how this happens. Just to make it last a little longer, I pulled the broken under-wires out and it still supported nicely and still worked great. Then, the plastic clip broke, so the flap on that boob could not stay clipped closed. So I used safety pins to hold that side up. After 2 days of this, I finally broke down and invested in another nursing bra. This time one without a wire. I’m going to be honest. I do not love it. It does not support very well, and I am constantly pulling my boobs up in the front and pulling my back strap down. There is a reason big boobs need wires. Even more so, when they are filled with milk!

So my conclusion is that nursing bras, with a wire, are the absolute way to go!! Just make sure that you invest in at least 3. This is a good rule of thumb with any bra, actually. One to wear, one to wash, and one to rest. Even if you do not plan to breastfeed very long, they are worth the investment. You can sell them once you’re done, if they are still in good shape.

What about you? What is your bra story and which do you prefer?

What’s in Your Pump Bag?

I breastfed all 3 of my boys, but I only pumped with my last 2. I was very blessed to be able to stay home with my first baby for 2 years, before returning to work. With my last 2, I returned to work after my 6 week maternity leave. During the next few months for each of my babies, I pumped at work twice a day. This go around, I seemed to have it all together! I purchased a great pump bag that was roomy enough to fit everything I needed plus some! Ladies, let me tell ya, it really is all about the bag when it comes to pumping!! I purchased the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump with Tote. Which I absolutely loved!! The double pump saved so much time! But that tote was not quite roomy enough for me and what I needed to carry. I did not want to have to carry a purse and a pump bag to work every day. So I found and purchased the Terra – Jay Elle by J.L. Childress Breast Pump Bag 6-Piece Set. I fell in love with that bag from the moment I opened the package it came in!! I was so excited, I switched bags right away and filled each pocket with everything I needed to carry as a pump bag and purse. The front has a small zipper pocket, just big enough for me to put my credit/membership card book in, as well as my car keys. The back has a long zipper pocket for me to carry my tablet and planner, wallet and checkbook. One side unzips to easy access my double pump motor. Inside the bag is a divider in the center where, on one side, the side with the easy access side zipper for my double pump motor is, and the other side is where I put both of my nursing covers, one is an apron like cover and the other is an infinity nursing cover that can also be used as a scarf, high chair/shopping cart cover, and/or blanket. I also kept a mesh bag that contained a package of extra membranes, extra boob pads, and my baggy with my tubing. On this side, I also kept my double pumping/hands free bra and breast milk collection bottles, I usually carried (2) to (4), and my wet bag. Also on the inside, is a medium sized zipper pocket where I kept breast milk storage bags, a pen pocket where I kept my Sharpie, a small little clear pocket, where I suppose you could slide in a name card, and 2 nice sized pockets. In one of those pockets, I kept Medela wipes. In the other pocket I kept a battery pack, a car adapter, and a wall plug in so no matter where I was I had a power source for my pump. I also kept extra batteries in that pocket as well. My pump bag also came with a 4 way divided cooler bag, a mesh bag, and a wet bag. It also came with a dry cloth and a jay elle C.O.D.E. Handbook.  I kept my breast shields/connectors in the wet bag. I love being organized and this bag made pumping just that!

What’s in your bag?

Easy Pork Chops & Rice

Ingredients:

  • (4) to (6) Small Boneless Pork Chops
  • (2) Cans Beef Consomme
  • (1) Onion
  • (4) Bell Peppers
  • (2) Cups of White Rice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium to large skillet, brown both sides of pork chops. Slice the onion and bell peppers. I usually get one green, one yellow, one red, and one orange bell pepper. I love the colors!! But you can do it however you want. In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spray with Pam, then add the rice. Lay the browned pork chops down next. Then pour both cans of beef consomme over the pork chops. Next, add the sliced onion and bell peppers. Cover with aluminum foil and let cook for 1 hour. Check to make sure that all pork chops are cooked through and the rice is done and onions and bell peppers are soft. Be careful when removing the dish as well as the foil. It will be very hot and steam will rise when removing foil. Serve as desired & enjoy!!

Crazy thing…. My husband eats the pork chops and rice, but I only eat the rice, onions, and bell peppers. My boys… well they have an “alternative” meal on these nights. They are so picky. Well, 2 of them anyways. My 6 month old can’t eat it just yet, but watches every bite we take. Hopefully, he will love it as much as my husband & I do!! 🙂

Smothered Burritos

Ingredients:

  • (2) cans of Ranch Style Beans
  • (2) cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • (1) lb of Ground Hamburger Meat
  • (8) oz of Shredded Cheese (I use Colby Jack mix or Cheddar)
  • (5) Burrito Tortillas

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. Brown the ground hamburger meat in skillet. In a bowl, mix ranch style beans, cream of mushroom soup, and (4+) oz of shredded cheese. Mix in ground hamburger meat after browned and drained. Spoon in mixture into tortilla and roll into a burrito, closing both ends. After rolling (5) burritos and placing them into 13 x 9 baking dish, cover them with the remainder of the mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top. Bake for about 20 – 22 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Serve with Love & Enjoy!!!

This is a really great recipe that is quick for all you busy Moms & Dads!!! I don’t like a lot of meat, but I love these burritos! I did not make up this recipe. In fact I’m not sure who did. I worked with a lady in my early 20s who gave me this recipe. She told me that she got it from someone else.

Yoga While You Pump!!

My 5 month old baby is breastfed. So since I work, I pump twice a day. Both of these times are during my 8 – 5 work shift. I use 30 minutes of my hour lunch break to pump and then I take a 20 to 30 minute break in the afternoons to pump. During lunch, I usually pump 20 minutes. In the afternoon, I usually pump for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how busy I am and what time I am actually able to break away from my desk. I usually talk to my husband on the phone or look on Facebook or Pinterest on my phone while I pump. But today, I decided to do something a little different and much healthier during pumping sessions. I decided to add a little Yoga and stretching while I pumped. I sit alllllll day long, except for the few times I get up for lunch and pump breaks, and bathroom and drink breaks, or to take files to another department. Then, when I go home, after getting supper fixed for my family, I sit more to nurse my baby, and study with my (2) school aged boys. Then, after I get them in bed, I sit some more to do my studying or homework. My thighs hurt often through out the day at work from sitting and by the time I crawl into bed I have cankles. You know, when your calves meet your ankles and you cannot tell where one part ends and the other part begins.

I use the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump and I love it!! I use a hands free pumping bra with this. I breastfed all (3) of my boys. My first for 6 months, my second for 4 months, and my now 5 month old, still going strong. I used a single electric pump with the older two. This go around, I feel like a pro!! Not only at pumping, but at breastfeeding all together. I’m a multi-tasker! So having a double pump and being hands free has given me so much freedom while I pump! So, today during my lunch pump, I tried a few different stretches, such as neck rolls and just moving my legs a lot, like kicks. You still have to be very careful not to do a stretch or pose that may unhook something and or spill baby’s liquid gold. During my afternoon pump, I tried a few Yoga poses such as Warrior, Mountain, and Tree. Let me tell you, I felt tightness and stress immediately relieve, and I do believe during my afternoon pump, I may have pumped and extra ounce.

I am going to continue to Yoga while I pump with yoga poses and stretches that are easy to do while hooked up to a breast pump. Just an FYI, I am not any where close to being a doctor or professional of any type in the medical field. I am just sharing what I am trying and what I find helps me get through my pumping sessions in a healthy way. This may not be for every pumping Mama.

What do you do while you pump? Read, exercise, or just relax and enjoy the quiet “mommy” time? I’d love to hear from you!!