Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I love going on vacation or just getting away from the daily grind, but coming home is so sweet and good. I've been away from my blog for awhile as some of you may have noticed. It was my intention to post a time or two while gone, but it just never happened.

On Friday, we loaded up our van with all our stuff (we seriously have way too much stuff for only 5 people) and headed to the nearest major city. Our first stop after a potty break was to take Xiomara for a consultation doctor appointment in the city. You can read more about that here or here.

After the appointment we drove another hour until we got to our destination: the town where my grandparents live. Grandpa and Grandma were hosting a family reunion on Saturday. All my uncles, aunts, cousins, my siblings, parents, and even my new little niece (who I have yet to blog about but will be soon) were there.

We did lots of swimming both at the hotel

and at the campground my parents stayed (which was a salt water pool that was amazing by the way)

We snuggled in arms

 and on hotel beds

We played games

and we mowed sidewalks

We had a rather interesting ride home that involved two overtired crying babies, and two adults laughing along with one toddler singing. But, then we were home and back to life as we know it. It was fun and tiring. So tiring that I meant to post this last night, but fell asleep. So tiring that Meridian slept in until 10:30 this morning! It feels so good to be home!

By the way, you have now officially been shown the first picture of me without makeup on! Also it wasn't my intention not to have so few pictures of Zoelle. Somehow, we didn't get very many of her this weekend.

Have you ever gotten away with your family for the weekend? Where did you go? What did you do? Have you ever swam in a saltwater pool?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CSN Stores Review: Phillips Avent Digital Bottle Warmer

Back in June I told you all that I would be doing a CSN Stores review and then we got the call that Xiomara was born and we came home to a whirwind of activity and trying to raise three little girls, that somehow this got pushed to the side!

Once things settled down a bit I had the opportunity to make a list of things we needed around our house. Whether or not for Chris, Xiomara, the older girls, or myself, I found everything on CSN Stores one could possibly need or want. I had a very difficult time choosing but in the end I had to go with a practical need we had.

That need was for a bottle warmer. While in Georgia, I found myself constantly up in the middle of the night running hot water over a bottle for her. Once I came home, I found myself frustrated that I even had to give her a bottle and that it took so long to warm one up while I was trying to watch three girls. Thus I started searching CSN Stores for a bottle warmer.

I came across the Phillips Avent Digital Bottle Warmer and knew instantly that was the warmer I wanted. One of the biggest reasons I got this warmer is that it can heat milk that is frozen. I knew that while I was still feeding Xiomara one bottle a day of formula, I eventually wanted to wean her from it and use frozen breast milk if I wanted. The huge plus here is, if we are away from home and have a sitter babysit, she can just pull out the breastmilk and warm it in the warmer as needed. Thus there is no waste of the liquid gold by taking it out hours ahead of time only for baby to not eat it all!!

I have found this warmer very easy to use. You just fill it with the desired amount of water per amount of liquid. Note: I do wish it came with a measuring spoon as I have to guess on the amount at times. Then, you select which temperature your liquid is: frozen, room, or chilled. Lastly, you just select the amount of ounces you are warming up. Then let the warmer get to work.

I found it perfectly warmed our bottles to not too hot, and not too cold. I love this warmer and can see us using it for the year to come with many bottles being warmed, or baby food being heated in it! For now though, it leaves this little girl

 full, content, and warm!

Buy It!

If you are in need of a bottle warmer around your house I highly suggest the Phillips Avent Digital Bottle Warmer! It is a little pricier, but I truly think you are paying for quality in that price.

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Under Construction

We are Under Construction! As a random, last minute, bored with all the rain we have been getting...Chris and I went to Home Depot last Saturday and came home with a new idea for a whole kitchen renovation! To start with, you should note that our kitchen is tiny! This whole project is cheap and will end up costing us very little money. In the seven years we have lived in this house we have updated every room (remove wallpaper, refinish floors, get whole new decor, etc.), and finished our upstairs. However, we haven't done much with the kitchen and don't ask us why as it is so easy and cheap to do we should have done it years ago. Well we did put a mini dishwasher in and found a great deal in our local paper on a stainless steel microwave (which we don't use-another story for another day there) and stove. Anyway, I wish I would have taken a before picture, but it never crossed my mind, so this will have to do! This is what our floors looked like before

Note: This is our bathroom floor currently, which is the same as what our old kitchen floors looked like. Bathroom floors will get updated eventually too. Chris took one look at this picture and told me that the bathroom floor was not the same as the kitchen. I feel foolish as I already don't remember what they looked like. Something like this I guess. Moving on then...

This is what the kitchen floors look like now

Awesome isn't it? Plus it hides the dirt on my kitchen floors oh so well! That alone has opened up our kitchen immensely and made it look so much better!  Well that and the new kitchen hardware. Tomorrow we are replacing these 70's countertops

with updated and hopefully nice laminate countertops!

We also have some cute mosaic glass tile backsplash that will be put in after that and I think that will complete the look! :) Well besides a new stainless steel fridge, which will probably have to wait. Unless you have one for sale and live close to me, then call me!

Can you tell I am excited?!?! I'll keep you updated as I go along.

In the meantime, also be on the look out for a new blog look here as I am in the process of a blog re-design and figuring out exactly what I want my blog to look like and to have in my blog. That makes me both scared and excited. Scared becuase I don't want to mess up on my over-all design and look that I have in my mind. Excited because I know my blog designer will do a fantastic job!

What about you, do you have a blog? Have you hired someone to design it for you or are you talented enough to do it on your own? Have you ever gone through a kitchen renovation? How did it go?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A busy adventure

This is new territory to me. Three girls, three and under. They giggle, they cry, they all want mama, they snuggle, they sleep, and then they don't. It's fun, it's exhausting, and it's busy! But, not that busy!

When I had Zoelle, everyone couldn't seem to wait to ask me when we would have another. It's a funny thing, but I thought two years apart in age were normal, that is until I had Meridian. I remember people sort of giving me this look that was almost sympathetic for having two so close in age. Now though that I have a three year old, a 14 month old, and a one month old people no longer have sympathy for me, instead they pity me. And it bothers me. I go out to Target or even church and I get all sorts of looks from people when they see all three. Then the comments come. "Oh honey, I am SO glad that is you and not me", "Aren't you a busy mama?", "Oh my, how old are they?", "And all girls" "I bet your husband was disappointed he didn't get a boy", "Will you try one more time for a boy".

*Does he look like a man desperate for boys? I think not!

Really people, I'm not sure how you want me to answer you?? Sometimes I want to be just as rude to you as you have been towards me. Sometimes, I just laugh and nod my head. But most of the time, it just makes me sad. When has life changed to you, a complete stranger telling me I have too many children, too close in age? You are not me, you are not in my life each day. You do not know me or my family. And you pity me, but I say don't pity me. I am enjoying this. Instead be envious of me and this life I have. For it is rich. I get to snuggle three little girls, give them kisses on their owies, bath them, change dirty diapers times two, nurse seemingly around the clock, and get very little sleep some nights. Oh sure, I have my "bad days" like today when all three were crying and nothing seemed to get done. I sometimes look with envy at the couples who have no children or only one and slightly wish we could go back in time and enjoy it all over again. However for the most part I am blessed. Blessed to raise these three girls with the man of my dreams, blessed to be on this wild, crazy, and yes busy adventure.

So don't pity me, don't roll your eyes, pat my arm and tell me you are thankful it's not you; for if you do, I might just tell you that I'm thankful it's not you either. Or I might be kind and invite you to observe us through our busyness and you will perhaps see that we are just like you, but just well...umm busier. But a good busier. One full of laughter, tears, and love!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Medela Supplemental Nursing System Review and Medela Giveaway

When we had our first meeting with our social worker about adoption, I told her that I was currently extended nursing and that I planned on nursing Zoelle as long as she wanted to. She asked me if I would consider adoptive breastfeeding and I told her that without a doubt, I would do my best to breastfeed our adopted child whenever that happened.

Time passed, Zoelle weaned, and I birthed Meridian. Time passed some more to the point where Meridian wasn't nursing a ton but enough to still have some supply of milk. That is when I got the call. It was so my desire to nurse this new baby, yet I knew that in the end, I'd have to probably be ok with some supplementing.

When I first met Xiomara, they told me she was hungry and would be needing a bottle soon. However, they held off on her bottle to allow me to try nursing. It was the most beautiful thing in the world for me to see my daughter, who doesn't even look like me, latch on and nurse. However, it quickly became apparent that my milk supply would not be enough for her. Thus, I started supplementing with a bottle.

When I spoke with a lactation consultant, she suggested trying a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) as a way to boost my supply. When I came home from Georgia, one was awaiting me and I got right to work using it.

The SNS is useful as the baby receives formula all while still nursing. The nursing stimulates milk production and the formula satisfies the baby as she nurses.

I found the SNS to be very easy to set up. I was a little nervous at first that I would have leaking milk out one side or the other while I was feeding, but that didn't happen. It also has three different tubes to control the flow. The very first time Xiomara latched on using the SNS was the best she had ever "nursed". It reassured me knowing that she wasn't just getting formula, but that it was also boosting my supply and giving her breastmilk.

The only con I see to it, is that it is hard for me to set up and use when I have the other two girls at home and I am by myself. Meridian kept continually trying to come over to me and pull at the cords, etc. However, the fact that it helps my supply and feeds her in a way that we can bond is well worth it to me. Good work Medela! Thank you for reaching out and helping adoptive mothers who are breastfeeding their children!

Buy it!

Medela has made this wonderful product not only for use with adoptive mothers but also to help mothers of preemies, or babies who have latch or suck problems. If you are looking for something like this, I highly suggest you to look for this system. It will help you!

Win It!

Because not every mother is in need of a SNS, yet also because Medela is a wondeful company, they are offereing one of my readers a set of Tender Care Hydrogel Pads and a tube of Tender Care Lanolin.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Medela, look around and come back here and tell me something you learned. Please do me the favor of making sure you leave your e-mail address in the comment if it is not visible on your profile. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

1. Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you are. (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)
3. Follow Medela on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)
4. Tweet about this contest making sure you include @jewelsntreasure and @Medela_US along with a link to this contest somewhere in your Tweet (1 tweet/entry per day)
5. Become a fan/like of Jewels & Treasures on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

That's It!

Winner will be chosen at random from Winner has 24 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.
Contest ends Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. CST!

*Congrats to #11-Alison Hoping you get to enjoy this fully with your new little one on the way! :) Oh, and check out those Medela bras because I have heard they are wonderful!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Celebrating Seven Years

With the most incredible man ever!

On August 9, 2003 I pledged my heart to him and gave him my first kiss ever. I plan on there being many more years and many more kisses to come! Happy Anniversary to my hubby Chris. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Month

Happy one month old birthday beautiful little Xiomara Marie! I cannot believe it has already been one month. One month since I was awakened in the middle of the night by a text, then a picture of you, then a phone call saying you were here. One month since I felt my heart fall deeply in love at the first sight of you.

You are amazing! So precious, so sweet. I sit here and type this as you are napping right next to me. Sweet, and content. I can already tell that your dad and I's vision for you to be a child full of joy is correct. You smile all the time in your sleep.

Speaking of sleep, right now that is all you want to do. Sleep the day and night away. The other day dad and I were saying how we can't wait until you can interact and coo to us. However, we both just looked at each other and realized that we can wait as it has already gone too fast sweetie. I'm already missing how tiny you used to be and I know you are only getting bigger. We can never go back in time only forward and I want to enjoy each second with you.

I love you Xiomara and I am so incredibly happy you are here in my arms where you belong. God has incredible plans for you. He has made you whole in Him.

So happy one month and this next month, slow down a bit, ok? I love you!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

Did you know that this week (August 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week? As a mom who has breastfed all three of her daughters, and still am breastfeeding two of them, breastfeeding is obviously important to me. Zoelle and I nursed for 2 years, 8 months, and 8 days before she weaned naturally and all on her own. I was proud. Proud of myself as that is a huge accomplishment, but mostly proud of her and that she was able to make the decision on her own without pressure from me or others around her. A lesson we could all learn from couldn't we?

Anyway, I wanted to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week in some way and somehow. I could easily post a picture of me breastfeeding any of my three girls, but I don't think that will change the general attitude of disgust people have towards breastfeeding. In fact, it may only increase it. However, I recently came across an article that made me really think. I love when articles do that, but this one made me think to the extreme. It's controversial. Yet, I believe so very true. Why don't you check out the article yourself and then come back and share your thoughts with me.

As a fellow Christian, I have never once thought of breastfeeding in this way. This article really opened my eyes. In fact, each week in church because one of my daughters is bound to be hungry, I have to leave the service, make my way to the nursing moms room and nurse my daughter. This means I am bound to miss the sermon as someone is going to be talking in the nursing moms room. I remember when I had Zoelle I felt that it wasn't right. Why should I be shuffled off to some room on the other side of church only to do what is completely natural? Why can I not sit in church fully clothed, and fully covered and nurse? I suppose I could, but then I would receive the definite stink eye from many.

Now as I said, I know this is controversial. I'm not out to create controversy, but rather to make people think and broaden our narrow views in our little box of the world. I am all for modesty, but what about self control for a man who sees a woman breastfeeding. Is he not to keep his thoughts clean and pure? Why is it that I must be the one to remove myself from doing a perfectly natural thing in public because someone (man or woman) thinks it is wrong?

I'm not sure I have the answers to those questions. Instead I just have a lot of thoughts going through my head and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject! So go read the article and come back here and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Christopher!

Happy 27th Birthday to my handsome hubby! The man who stole my heart at 17 and I know I'm never getting it back from him (and I'm ok with that).

To the man who treats his little girls like three little princesses

Who is a gentle, soft-spoken, quiet, yet funny, man of God. Who works hard at his two businesses each and everyday and is always dreaming and believing for more! I love you, I'm proud of you, and I will have a gift for you! Happy Birthday honey, may God this year pour out his blessings on you as you strive to be more like him!