Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{Recap} Afternoon at the Park

This post will be light on words, heavy on pictures. Just wanted to share a few snapshots of our afternoon at the park this weekend. It almost didn't happen since it was rather cloudy outside, and even a few sprinkles fell on our windshield as we drove there. But we stuck it out and I'm so glad we did!

The colors at the park, even though clouds covered the sun most of the time, were spectacular. The leaves have finally "popped" here in the deep south.

These hickory nut trees were my favorite.
We brought the heels of bread and a square or two of old cornbread to feed the ducks.

Maylin watched with intensity.

I mean, her eyes.
Hope you're enjoying your last week or so before holiday craziness begins. Christmas doesn't start at our house until the day after Thanksgiving, so I'm relishing in a few final days of fall decorations and relaxation before Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, and traveling.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{Baby Food Diaries} Baby Oats with Fruit

I'm always trying to mix foods together for Maylin that will give her different taste experiences. I want her pallet to be well accustomed to many different flavors and textures. The last thing we need around this house is a picky eater!

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Also, I know I'd be pretty bored if I ate the same thing every day, so I can only assume that Maylin is the same way, even at 7 1/2 months.

One way I've discovered to introduce flavors to Maylin, as well as provide her with a plethora of different nutrients, is to mix various fruits with her breakfast oatmeal in the morning. Sometimes I even mix two or three fruits at a time. And usually I add a little sprinkle of cinnamon. This, really to me, is the flavor that melds all the other flavors together and really kicks it up a notch.

I've long since given up taking pictures of baby food because no matter how hard I try, I have yet to make baby food look decent in a picture. Really, it's just shapeless and mushy. And after I mix the oats and bananas and cinnamon together it's all brown anyway. Not very pretty to look at. I'll just give you a few oatmeal and fruit combinations {without the pictures} that have been winners at the breakfast table for us.

Oats + Applesauce + Cinnamon

Oats + Applesauce + Bananas + Cinnamon

Oats + Blueberries + Bananas + Cinnamon

Oats + Peaches + Cinnamon

Oats + Pears + Mangoes + Cinnamon

Oats + Applesauce + Pears + Cinnamon

The great thing about adding fruit to Baby Oats is that I can toss in any extra fruit I have on hand to make a really scrumptious and nutritious breakfast. Since I've been doing this for a couple months I've stopped stressing out about a specific "recipe" or "formula" and mixing different foods to create different flavors. And honestly I have yet to make something Maylin has refused to eat.

Refer to this post to see how I prepare Baby Oats.
All fruit I use in Baby Oats, except the bananas which I mash, has been steamed/baked and pureed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{In My Kitchen} Spiced Pecans

Upon first glance of this recipe, Spiced Pecans, I automatically thought it would be pecans roasted with the usual spices of Autumn. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Allspice. You get the idea.

Then upon closer inspection I realized that, no, that was not at all what "spiced" meant for the pecans lucky enough to get chosen for this little recipe. These guys would be basking in real spice. Like, make you warm to the tip of your tongue and toes kind of spice. Yes, please.

Luckily, I still had some pecans given to me by my grandparents stashed away in my freezer, and all the other ingredients are pantry staples.

If you look closely, you can see the grains of sugar coating the pecans in all the grooves thanks to the pepper sauce and butter. This was right before they went in the oven.

I really loved how easy this delectable little snack was to make. Really, it took me longer to get out the ingredients than it did to whip it all together. Probably the "longest" step was melting the butter. No joke. Then I washed up my dishes while the pecans roasted in the oven and popped one in my mouth the second the timer beeped.

MMMMMMM. Crunchy. Sweet. Spicy. Perfect. {Also, pecans count as a good source of DHA and fatty Omega-3s for all you pregnant ladies out there. Brain power.}

I see many, many batches of spiced pecans in my future. It will from now on be one of those "holiday foods" that I make around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Right up there with Apple Cobbler, Pumpkin Spiced & Iced Cookies, and Christmas Drink.

I just love finding new recipes that I instantly know will be a holiday staple from now till forever. Don't you?

Spiced Pecans

  • 2 cups {or more!} pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tsp Tabasco pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Get Cookin'
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, coating the pecans thoroughly with butter, sugar, and pepper sauce.
  3. Spread flat on cookie sheet.
  4. Roast in oven for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  5. Allow to cool and enjoy! Store in mason jars at room temp {or wrap with ribbon and give as a gift}.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{Real Mom Life} Night Terrors

For a long time I had trouble going to sleep due to striking fears I had for Maylin's safety at night. I'm not sure if this is common for other mothers, whether you're a first time mom or not, but I have a hunch it is. These fears increased when we graduated Maylin to her crib upstairs, which at the time seemed so far away from our master bedroom.

I was scared on behalf of Maylin for all sorts of things, but there are three fears in particular that plagued me. And instead of telling myself I was being irrational, my mind would flesh out all sorts of scenarios that I would allow to replay over and over in my head.

SIDS is the first and probably most prominent fear. I've always been terrified of SIDS, painstakingly doing "everything right" so that Maylin would still be alive come morning. I'd swaddle her, run a fan in her room, no loose clothing or blankets or bumpers or toys or pillows or animals in the crib, lay her on her back on a single, thin fitted sheet... and still my mind would create extremely vivid and detailed visions of me walking upstairs, opening the door, and finding her face down, not breathing, her face distorted from suffocation.

Then I became almost crippled by the belief that Maylin would be taken in the night while Michael and I were sleeping, that I would wake to find her simply vanished. Again, my mind replayed images of me walking upstairs, opening the nursery door, and finding a completely vacant crib, an open window through which she had been kidnapped.

The third prominent fear of mine is that Maylin would suffer from nightmares. There actually was a period of a few weeks when Maylin was about 4 months that she would wake suddenly from a deep sleep with terrified, heart-wrenching screams. Sometimes I was able to calm her pretty quickly, and other times her screams would continue. I became convinced she was having nightmares, or that she was seeing frightening things in the house that were invisible to me.

I'm telling you the truth when I say I was wrecked every night by these fears. Sometimes I was able to make a comment to Michael about what I was afraid of, and he would quickly reassure me in a calming manner that those things were irrational and that Maylin was perfectly fine. I'd take a deep breath and let them go. Other times I whispered a quick little prayer to banish my terrors, took a deep breath, and let them go. But eventually, the devil, that crafty serpent of old, realized he had a hold on me, and spun me into a downward vortex of captivity that hopelessly ensnared me. I soon realized for the sake of my sanity and my family that God would have to take full control over the situation.

So, I went to war.

The Word of God truly is sharper than any two edged sword, able to slay the toughest, most evil of enemies, which this time happened to be the terrors of my mind. I "stumbled upon" {love how God works that way} a chapter in Psalms that spoke directly to my fears. I started to read this Psalm every night after I put Maylin to sleep. I read it over and over, letting it juxtapose with my three most prominent fears so that I was basically debunking the false scenarios that replayed in my mind. I started praying this Psalm outside Maylin's nursery door after putting her down, praying away what frightened me and letting the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard my heart and my mind from fearful thoughts. Throughout the day, when I put Maylin down for her naps, I'd read this Psalm, letting its promises and truths penetrate the deepest parts of my thought life until I believed what God was saying.  I read and recited this portion of Scripture so often I had whole sections of the chapter memorized without consciously trying to do so. These are the portions that spoke to me the most {emphases mine}::

Psalm 91
{The LORD God} will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall right by your side, and ten thousand by your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense {repayment} of the wicked. For you have made the LORD, the Most High your refuge and your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent {dwelling}.
 'He{She} will call upon Me, and I will answer {her}. I will be with {her} in trouble. I will rescue {her} and and honor {her}. With a long life I will satisfy {her} and let {her} see My salvation.' 
Verses 4-10, 15-16

Now, about a month out of what I call "the war zone," I'm able to confidently put Maylin to bed at night with peace knowing she is safe and sound. And when the tremors of fear creep into my thoughts, which they sometimes still do, I'm able to pull on my arsenal of weapons from Psalm 91. I'm able to put my hand on her door and say a quick verse, or sit for a minute on the top stair giving my fear to God while reciting His truths. It's comforting to know that in the future, when Maylin goes to school, or sleeps at a friend's house, or starts driving, or takes a trip without me, or goes away to college, or gets married, I can always, always, always, no matter what my fear may be at the time, call upon God's Word. He is faithful. He is true. I can rest in Him.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

{Real Mom Life} Carving Time to Read Scripture

As  our household manager and a work-at-home mom {yes, I consider raising my daughter from home work}, I've found it very difficult to maintain a scheduled daily Bible study. I've always thought it essential to carve out a few minutes each day to read my Bible, reflect on my life, and pray about issues on my heart. And I {mistakenly} assumed that since I'd be home with Maylin every day it would be easy to keep up my before-baby Bible study time. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Now, more than any other time in my life, I've struggled to have that daily time of closeness with God. I haven't quite figured out why that is yet. Yes, Maylin does take much time and energy and most of my day is filled with feeding, changing, entertaining, and soothing her. But can I really use her as an excuse? I don't think so. She takes at least three naps a day, and for at least part of one of her naps I should make the time to focus on God. Do I ? No. I'm washing dishes, or doing laundry, or sweeping the floor, or blogging, or reading my latest library book, or making baby food. Because for some reason at the time I think those things must be done immediately, that they're most important, or that perhaps if I'm not doing something "productive" then I'm not really pulling my weight as our household manager.

I have a feeling that I'm not the only mom at home that is dealing with this issue. I'm certain there are more moms out there who are missing that alone time with God because they're so busy working around the house trying to keep up with chores so at the end of the day they can feel like they were "worth something" or "productive". Definitely guilty here.

So what's the solution here? As I've reflected on this issue, I feel there are five simple promises I can make to myself to make my Bible study time a daily reality instead of wishful thinking.

1} Rise & Shine Earlier
I get up pretty early already, around 6:15 or so. But I've developed a bad habit of sipping coffee in bed or lounging around not really doing much until Maylin gets up at 7:30. What I really need to do is make that time between 6:15 and 7:30 count. I'm rising at an acceptable time, but I'm not shining like I should be. If I were completely dressed and ready for the day before Maylin gets up, instead of wet hair in a towel & still in pajamas, I'd be able to maximize her nap times by spending the first half of her first nap reading my Bible.

2} Set Time and Space
With a set time in my mind, like the first half of Maylin's first nap, I'm much more likely to make Bible study a part of my daily routine. Instead of saying, "I'll read when I finish this load of clothes," or "maybe after lunch I'll have time to sit for a minute," I'll have that specific time set aside just for Bible study. Another thing I'm setting aside is a specific place. We just ordered the cutest accent chairs from Target that I arranged near our living room window that faces the back yard. It has always been my intention to curl up in one of them with a book, but I've yet to do it. I believe if I make that my new space for my Bible reading with all my materials nearby and my coffee ready, I'll look forward to sitting there to read. This is much better than trying to read my Bible in bed or while I'm feeding Maylin.

3} Eliminate Interruptions, Distractions, To-Dos
It's easy for me to worry about the dishes in the sink, think about the errands I need to run later, or jump to fold the clothes when the dryer beeps. But I'm going to practice ignoring those household chores that can wait. Also, I'm not going to make a mental to-do list during my reading time. This is difficult for me, because as soon as my mind has a free minute it's up and running to think about what needs to be done next.

4} No Guilt
This is probably the hardest one to follow through with for me. Each time I sit during the day, my mind automatically starts chiding me by reminding me of everything I could be doing, cautioning me not to be lazy, or telling me to use my time wisely. Taking time to read my Bible every day is the most important thing I can do with my time. No amount of anything is worth the value of alone time with God. Therefore, there will be no guilt in my mind when I spend 30-45 quiet minutes soaking up Scripture.

5} Be Accountable
I'm not generally a person who needs to link up with someone else in order to do things I set my mind to do. I'm pretty self-disciplined and self-motivated, so telling someone my plans to ensure that I'll follow through isn't something I do often. However, I do think it's important in this case to be accountable for my actions. I work best with a plan, on a schedule, in a routine, by a list. Those things keep me pretty accountable to myself. Therefore I'm going to write a Scripture reading plan according to what I want to read, then write it on my calendar where I can see it and check it off.

It's refreshing and freeing to realize reading my Bible is not wasted time. When I was teaching, I had this mentality that I "deserved" the time to just sit and reflect on God because I'd been at work the whole day. I could use a few minutes to relax. Now that I'm home with my daughter, it's almost like the reverse is true. Because I'm not "working" in a financial sense, I don't "deserve" to sit and read. This is a lie straight from Satan and I will no longer let it abide in my heart. I am thankful that I'm able to raise our daughter from home, and this work is just as important as teaching that classroom of precious fourth graders. It's also just as important now, perhaps even more so, to be focusing my mind on God for a set time each day as it was then.

Moms, I want to encourage you. There is time for alone time with God. And as women who are home most of the day it's easy to start believing lies that creep into our thoughts. Let's not allow that. I need my God just as much at home as I did in the working world. So, with these five promises to myself, I'm ready to turn over a new leaf. How about you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

{Miss Maylin} 7 Months Old

Somehow in all the kerfuffle of my new pregnancy, Halloween, and the general day-to-day busyness of life, Maylin turned 7 months old. We're over halfway to one year. I'm not believing this. I'm just not believing it. Here are some development specifics.

At 7 months old, Maylin::

~ weighs 14 lbs 0 oz
~ loves to eat solid food, so much so that she is quite demanding when it comes to eating. She will grunt, beg, scream, and verbally anticipate it the entire meal. And gets upset when it's "all gone."
~ has eaten new foods this month: banana, peaches, pears, green beans, blueberries, mango, squash, baked potato, and {gasp!} a french fry {and the world didn't end}.
~ has been introduced to sippy cups, both ones with the straw and regular. She hasn't gotten the hang of either.
~ nurses 4-5 times a day.
~ naps 3 times a day, each nap for an hour and a half.
~ loves her little "green ring." That's what she's holding in her pictures. Girl never puts it down.
~ recognizes the hand signs for "all gone," "eat," "more," and "milk." She hasn't started signing back yet.
~ traveled to El Paso, TX.
~ has developed a strong attachment to me, always wants to be held by me and cries when I'm out of sight.
~ is strong enough to crawl and will hold herself on her hands and knees while reaching for objects. She has yet to figure out how to move her hands and feet coordinately to move forward.
~ notices Deuce {our dog} and likes to reach for him to feel his fur.
~ wears diapers size 2.
~ wears clothing size 3-6 months, 6 months, a few 6-9 months {although I have to roll the sleeves}.
~ babbles and says these new sounds: "bla," "da," "tha," "ma," "ba." However, she doesn't make any one sound intentionally; for example she may babble "da da da da" or "ma ma ma ma" but has made no connection that those are our names. No sound/meaning connections.
~ has developed a sense of object permanence. For example, when I hide her passy behind my back or behind an object, she reaches for the place she saw me put it. The "out of sight, out of mind" thinking is gone.

You are the light and joy of our lives, little miss. We love you so!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

{Baby Davis #2} Oh BABY, Here We Go Again!

That was my first thought when I took the pregnancy test back in September. 

Another BABY. Sometimes I still can't wrap my mind around it, though we've known for well over a month. So much will change, in a good way, when this new baby makes its appearance. 

Michael and I are both so very excited. We knew when we began the process of growing our family that we wanted to have our children quick and close together. And it looks like that's going to be the case for these two little ones. I am anticipating watching them grow up together, a built in best friend that they'll play with, whisper to, plot against. In my mind I can already hear them playing on the slide in the backyard, tromping up and down the stairs, giggling, slamming the door as they run in and out of the house, and yes, even fighting and arguing. 

I'm expecting the first few months when this baby is still a newborn to be difficult, of course. I'm not so jaded as all that. But after, when they're both a little older, I think it will be rather fun. For everyone in our little family.

Legacy is a word M and I have been talking about frequently over the past year or so. What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our children? What kind of legacy do we want our family to have? One of our visions is of a close knit family, close both relationally and in age. In my mind I sometimes have the feeling that all of our children are already here with us and waiting, invisible, and it's our job to bring them into the world and into our family. I can't imagine our family with any more or less members than we've planned, it's just a matter of when they will arrive. This new little baby is just the second child-sized piece to make our family complete.

I wrapped the test in a box for Michael with a few little notes & surprised him when he came home from work.

While I was pregnant with Maylin I did weekly belly bump pictures and pregnancy updates {on my old blog}, but with this pregnancy I plan to do those bump shots and updates on a monthly basis. This will make my already hectic Mom-life much more manageable! Post about Month 2 coming soon.