Monday, October 31, 2011

Creamy Chicken & Biscuits

2 c. potatoes, peeled and diced
2. c. carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, diced
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 c. milk
1 c. chicken broth
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded  (I typically used left over chicken)
1 can of peas, drained, or small container of frozen peas  (I prefer frozen veggies over canned veggies so typically microwave the peas for about 1/2 the recommended time before adding to the pan)
12 oz can of refrigerated biscuits

Cover potatoes, carrots, and onion with water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer until tender.  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in another medium saucepan.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk, broth, and bouillon.  Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  (Chris loves Tony's seasoning so sometimes I will use about 1 t. salt and then add Tony's to taste.  If you have a favorite seasoning, experiment with it)

Combine chicken and vegetables in a greased 13"x9" pan.  (If using canned peas pour drained can into pan and stir.  I typically use a microwave steam bag and will steam it in the microwave for half the recommended time to take the frozen chill off then pour into pan.)  Pour sauce over top.  Arrange biscuits over sauce.  Back, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden and sauce is bubbly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breast milk Update

Just a quick and final update on my milk supply.  I am still pumping six times during the day and waking up to pump once in the middle of the night.  And you know what?  I am almost able to feed her with just my breast milk!  She's getting about 6oz of donor breast milk/week right now and the rest is my own.  She has gotten more picky over the past several weeks though.  She used to take donor breast milk easily, but then she started to reject it.  I guess she was developing a taste for mine (better than the other way around...).  But we've found that if we mix them half and half she takes it just fine.

Looking back on everything I tried to increase my milk supply I would probably have to say that the consistent pumping and decreasing my stress level helped more than anything.  I took the fenugreek for about 6 weeks and then added alfalfa, blessed thistle, and Mother's Milk tea for about 2 weeks.  After taking six pills/meal three times/day (yes that is 6 pills a day- 7 if you include my prenatal) for 2 weeks I couldn't stomach it anymore.  I stopped taking all the supplements (that was around 7 weeks) and my milk supply still continued to increase.  At this point I think it has pretty much leveled out.  I don't think I'm producing much more milk now than I was a couple weeks ago.  I pump out anywhere between 2oz and 6oz each pumping session.  Long story short I'll never have an abundance of milk but I am thankful I have been able to produce more than I was the first couple weeks after Phoebe was born.

My goal was to pump and see if I could increase my supply and endure pumping to feed her breast milk for 4 months.  I think with the help of our donor milk we'll be able to do this.  We still have several bags of frozen donor milk in the freezer and there's a few more that we'll be able to get at some point.

Now I'm thinking I would like to try to continue to pump some (not as much as I am doing now) for 6 months to try to get her a bit more breast milk while of course supplementing formula for whatever I can't produce.

Thanks for all your encouragement and for walking through this journey with me.  I hope this will all be easier with baby #2 but at least next time I'll be prepared knowing that breast feeding doesn't always work the way you think it should and that's ok.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Broken Foot

Man, its been a bit crazy around our house the last couple days.  On Sunday evening Chris got up from the couch to check on Phoebe, but didn't realize his foot was asleep.  So when he stood up he essentially stood on the top of his foot.  Yikes.  He heard a pop and knew something wasn't right.

It started swelling pretty quickly so we figured it was broken.  A trip to the urgent care center and several hours later our suspicions were confirmed.  Bummer.  I sat in that urgent care center with Phoebe literally bathing in hand sanitizer, trying not to touch anything, and trying not to think about all the sick people who had been in that waiting room.  We waited in the waiting room with Chris for awhile and then went and sat outside while they took him back and did all the x-rays.  I'm praying she didn't catch anything.

They sent him home from urgent care with nothing- no boot, no crutches, nothing.  Well he couldn't put any weight on his foot (the swelling and pain had increased significantly) so he ended up crawling around the house that night on his knees and brushing his teeth kneeling at the sink.  It was pitiful.  Thankfully a lady from church was going to her mother's on Monday morning and was able to let us borrow her mother's crutches.  Chris felt liberated with the crutches because he could actually move from the couch to the kitchen.  Really, I don't know what we would have done without these.  Monday afternoon we went to see the orthopaedist who confirmed it was fractured but reassured us that he didn't need surgery or anything major and that it should heal over the next 9 weeks or so.  He also gave Chris a boot, which will be a huge help in getting around.  I go back to work on Friday so before we went to the doctor we were trying to figure out someone who could come help Chris while I was gone since there would be no way he could maneuver a baby and crutches at the same time.  But hopefully the boot will allow him to be a little bit more independent and still take care of Phoebe.  We'll see how things go over the next few days.  Meanwhile, since its his right foot I will be playing chauffeur for a few days until the pain decreases, he gets used to the boot, and figures out how to drive with it.

We are thankful it wasn't anything major and that he's still able to get around without too much difficulty now.  The pain's been much more tolerable with the boot as well since it allows him to walk without putting pressure on the fracture.

Phoebe was a trooper sitting through all the doctor's appointments!  Chris couldn't believe we had to wait over  2 hours to see the orthopaedist.  Granted this is a bit longer wait than normal but I told him he obviously doesn't go to the doctor very much because you ALWAYS have to wait...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Unashamed Plea

I admit this is somewhat selfishly motivated, yet I ask without shame.  I know many of you read my blog because you tell me you do and mention specific things from it.  Thank you.  Its nice to know that someone reads this.  It would make me so very happy if you would become a follower.  This doesn't at all mean that you will get annoying updates or will have to read it.  It just tells me that you occasionally look at it, and it makes me feel special when I look to the right and see how many "members" there are.  All you have to do is click the "Join this site" to the right and you will sign in using a gmail, facebook, or twitter account.

AND if you are my mother (so this will not apply to the majority of you...) scroll down a bit below all the "blogs that I am following" and you will see a button that says follow by email.  This is how you you will receive email updates when there is a new post.  For those of you who don't know my mom she is quite the busy bee and lives by email.  She's been wanting to get email updates for awhile so she doesn't miss anything but hasn't had the chance to figure out exactly how to do this.   No more excuses :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eat Mor Chikin'

image taken from

She does a pretty good impression, huh?

I'm not a big fan of fast food.  I hate McDonald's and just about any fast food except Chik-fil-A.  I love it!  During my pregnancy with Phoebe I ate A TON of Chik-fil-A!  Chicken biscuits were a favorite of mine and looking back I would probably qualify it as a craving.  I would often stop on my way home from work at Chik-fil-A for a morning treat.  We are big fans of Chik-fil-A in this house and Phoebe fits right in.  In fact if we try to ignore a Chik-fil-A craving, she gets angry

Mad Cow
Ok, I realize I'm getting a tad bit cheesy, so I'm done.  Thanks for humoring me :)

My best owl impression

Thursday, October 20, 2011

DIY Laundry Detergent

I have a confession.  I want to be a little Susie Homemaker.  I want to know how to sew so I can make little dresses for Phoebe and simple things like burp clothes, curtains, and valences (mostly straight lines...).  I want to clean with natural products.  I want my own little garden to grow vegetables.  I want to make my own granola bars (Chris eats a lot of these). And I want to eat organic.

As far as the sewing goes, my mother-in-law gave me a sewing machine for Christmas last year and I'm ashamed to say I've only gotten it out twice to play with it.  But I've just signed myself up for a sewing 101 class at Jo-Ann's fabric in a couple weeks and I am planning on finishing my first sewing project by the beginning of December.

Eating organic has been a goal of mine for awhile.  I tried to switch over to organics about a year ago, but just couldn't swing it into the budget.  Now that Phoebe's here I'm determined to try again.  Organic meat is my first priority.  Well, in order to do that I've got to start saving some money in other areas.  The monthly income isn't changing so we'll just have to shift where we spend our money.

I've been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for awhile now, but just hadn't done it- until now.  Turns out making your own laundry detergent is SUPER easy and SUPER cheap.  Helps me towards my goal of being able to afford organic meat.

1. Borax (found on the laundry detergent isle)
2. Arm&Hammer Washing Soda  (found on the laundry detergent isle)
3. Bar soap  (You can use Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, or Krik's Castile soap.  The last three are laundry soaps, so I would recommend one of those.  However, they are also a little bit harder to find- or at least they were harder for me to find.  I wanted to use Fels Naptha or Krik's, but could only find them on Amazon and they were a bit more expensive.  I found the Zote at a Hispanic grocery store for VERY cheap so chose to use it.)
4. Essential Oil (optional)

Now you have two options powered or liquid.  The powdered is a little bit easier and takes less time to make, but you can add essential oil to the liquid to create the scent of your choice.

Powered Laundry Detergent
1/2 cup finely grated soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda

2 Tbls/load

Yep, that's it.  Now, of course you could double, triple, or quadruple the recipe to make more.  I just wanted to make a small amount this first time to see if I liked it.  I used the food processor to grate the soap.  The whole process from start to finish took me about 20 minutes.

Much easier to grate in a food processor than to grate by hand

Liquid Laundry Detergent
1 quart boiling water
2 cups grated soap
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
2 gallons water (8 quarts)

1. Add soap to boiling water and stir until dissolved.  (This took about 15 minutes)

2. Pour soap/water mixture into 5 gallon bucket with lid.  (Apparently you can get used oil/pickle buckets from restaurants- you'll just need to rinse very well.  I find that a little gross; I bought a bucket from Home Depot for less than $3.00)
3. Add Borax and washing soda.  Stir until dissolved.

4. Add 2 gallons of water.  Stir until well mixed
5. Cover and let sit overnight.  Stir in the morning and you're good to go.  This will be gelatinous and will have some chunks.  That's ok.
6. Optional- add 5-7 drops of essential oil of your choice/gallon of detergent.

Use 1/4 cup per load.  You will have to stir/mix the detergent before each use.  It will gel.

This whole process took me about 40 minutes, so twice as long.

I used a large funnel to pour the detergent into a used/clean laundry detergent container and then just marked the cap with a sharpie to know how much to use.  I'm storing the rest in the bucket in the garage.  I had some Bergamont essential oil from Aveda (Aveda = another guilty pleasure of mine) that I added to the detergent.  The laundry detergent container that I used was a little less than a gallon.  (Maybe 3/4 of a gallon??)  I added 5 drops to begin with and didn't notice any of the scent on the first load that I washed.  So then I added 5 more drops for a total of 10, and after the second load I still can't really notice it.  Oh well, the clothes are clean.

Also FYI- homemade laundry detergent is low-sudsing.  So you will not see suds in your washer if you open it to look.  No worries, your clothes are still getting clean.  Suds are not what do the cleaning.

So...what is the cost benefit?

Cost of commercial laundry detergent
Well we use Tide at our house.  Granted this is not the least expensive detergent out there, but its what Chris likes.  With sales and coupons I've found that I can get 150oz (96 loads ) for $14.99, which is a pretty good deal.  Without sales/coupons you would pay at least $3-4 dollars more.

Tide = .16 cents/load

Cost of homemade laundry detergent
Washing Soda: I paid $2.50 for a 55oz box.  So this is .045 cents/oz.  1 cup of washing soda weighs 8.4oz.  So 1 cup of washing soda costs .38 cents.

Borax: I paid $2.99 for 76oz box.  So this is .039 cents/oz.  1 cup of Borax weighs 7oz.  So 1 cup of Borax costs .28cents.

Zote: I paid $1.19 for 1 bar.  This one bar made 2 1/2 cups of grated soap.  So 1/2 cup of soap costs .13 cents.

My batch of powdered detergent (2 1/2 cups or 40 Tbls) cost (.38 + .28 + .13) 79 cents to make.  If one load is 2 Tbls then there are 20 loads in my batch.

Homemade powdered detergent = .04 cents/load

My batch of liquid detergent (36 cups ) cost (.38 +.38 +.28 +.28 + .13 +.13 +13 +.13) $1.84.  If one load is 1/4 cup then there are 144 loads in my batch.

Homemade liquid detergent = .01 cents/load

Final Thoughts

I'm a convert.  I will make my own laundry detergent from now on.  I've always preferred liquid detergent over powdered detergent and the homemade is no different.  Even though the liquid takes a bit longer to make, it makes more, its cheaper, and I like using it better.   I will probably "splurge" and use the Kirk's Castile Soap next time.  The more I read about the different companies the more I am interested in Kirk's and for about $1-2 more per bar I don't think it will add a significant cost to the detergent.

UPDATE- I have found Fels Naptha at Walmart, and it is what I used in my latest batch.  However, I did like the Kirk's Castile soap better because it is more natural.  I also thought the Fels Naptha had a bit of a funny odor.  I don't smell it on my clothes at all, but noticed it while grating it. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Diaper doodie...I mean duty

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  And at our house Team Bowen shares that responsibility.  Although he was a little grossed out by her first meconium diaper at home, Chris has since gotten over the shock and handles the doodie like a champ.

As I think I've mentioned our decision to use cloth diapers was based on both the financial benefit as well as well as the desire to be "green".  And yes I guess the fact that doodie doesn't really bother me :) We have 12 of the Bum Genius 4.0 diapers which are pocket diapers that have a snap closure.  They are supposed to fit babies 8lbs-35lbs.  However, they have such a wide crotch and there is so much extra material because they expand to fit larger babies, that I don't like them right now.  We do use one at night sometimes, but for now we prefer using the bumGenius 3.0 All-In-One (AIO) diapers with hook & loop closure.

bumGenius 4.0 with snap closure

See how much extra material there is?

bumGenius 3.0 with hook & loop closure
(basically the same closure as a disposable)

Still bulkier than a disposable, but less than the 4.0
We actually like the bulk right now because
otherwise all her 3 month pants would be too big

I have 8 of the 3.0s.  They cost $9.95 each so I spent $80 on these diapers which will last through 16 lbs.  The first 6 weeks using disposables we spent $70 on diapers.  Now granted we used a lot more diapers the first several weeks than we do now so I don't think my monthly diaper expenses would continue to be quite as high but this is the only price comparison I have.  I have heard that the increase in utilities is almost not noticeable (because you are washing more and therefore using more water)  We've been using them for about a month now.  I'll report back after a few months to let you know how our utility bills are being affected.

So the question is, how hard is it to wash them and maybe more of what you're wondering....what do I do with the dirty doodie diapers?  I don't find it hard at all!  When I change her diaper the dirty diaper (wet or doodie comes off and goes directly into a Planet Wise wet bag that is hanging next to her changing table.  No rinsing, scraping, or washing; just throw it in the bag.  (We will have to alter this process once we start solid food, but breast milk poop easily rinses off in the washing process and is water soluble.  After we start solids I am planning on purchasing a diaper sprayer to spray off the poop in the toilet.)  We have never had a problem with smells.   The Plant Wise bags are wonderful, and you can throw them in the wash with the diapers.  They even come in super cute patterns.  I have a large size that hangs next to the changing table and a small one that I carry in her diaper bag for diaper changes on the go.

Now when its time to wash I take the bag and empty it into the washing machine.  I do wash them every day because I only have 8 that I'm regularly using right now.  (Most of what I've read recommend having 12-18, which would mean you could wash every other day.  Once we start using the 4.0 we will have a few more diapers and more flexibility with washing.)

Washing Steps:
1. Cold water pre-wash (no detergent)
2. Hot water water wash (add detergent- about 4 Tbls)
3. Extra rinse cycle with cold water
4. Tumble dry low**

1. The recommended way to wash is to do a cold water pre-wash to clean off the poopy residue.  My washing machine doesn't have a pre-wash cycle and honestly I don't know what a pre-wash cycle is or does.  So I put mine on the "2" of the regular fabrics wash cycle on a mini-load and run it.

2. Then when that's finished I add my detergent (about 4 tbls.  I will sometimes use a little less because really I'm only washing 6-8 diapers at a time) and run a regular wash cycle (I turn it to the "10") with hot water.  You should not use your regular detergent.  I certainly know people that do, but it's not recommended.   You should not not use detergents with with enzymes, dyes, brighteners or fabric softeners.  Why do you ask?  Well, these chemicals leave residue on your clothing that makes them look and smell nice and clean.  The problem is that when the residue builds up on your diapers it decreases the absorbency.  And no one wants a leaky diaper.  I have chosen to use a special separate detergent because I am determined to make my diapers last and I don't want to use anything that could potentially affect absorbency.  Click here for a list of recommended detergents.  Charlie's Soap, Rockin' Green, and bumGenius Diaper Detergent are also good options.  I am using Plant right now, and honestly right now I can't remember why I choose this one.  But I'm happy with it.  I'll probably try Charlie's next.

3. Self-explanatory

4.  It is recommended to line dry your liners and tumble dry your inserts if you are using a pocket diaper (bumGenius 4.0)  So when I wash these I throw the inserts in the dryer and line dry the liners.  With the All-In-One diapers (bumGeniusAIO terminology) are so absorbent they take FOREVER to dry.  The first few days I hung the diapers out to dry overnight then I would feel the inside fleece of the diaper and it felt dry so I would put them back on her.  Then I realized that even though the inside fleece that sits next to her skin was dry the liner inside was still damp!  I was putting damp diapers back on her bottom!  Whoops.  After that I started to put them in the dryer with several towels because I couldn't wait that long for them to dry.  I have to run my dryer through 1 1/2 cycles in order for the inserts of the AIOs (3.0) to dry completely.  Now, if I were able to line dry the diapers outside in the sun they would probably dry faster.  However, I would have to go down 2 flights of steps in order to do this and break some neighborhood rule in order to do this (we're not allowed to hang clothes/laundry outside), so I do not.  Another note about the sun though- if you get stains on your diapers the sun in the best remedy.  If I start to notice stains I will break the rule on occasion to get my diapers pearly white again, but I'm not going to push my luck.  I have not had any problems with stains or smells so far.  My diapers come out smelling fresh and ready to go back on my baby's bottom!

And that is how we do diaper doodie...I mean duty at our house.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 week Stats

We went to the doctor for Phoebe's 2 month appointment yesterday morning (we're a little behind schedule) and she checked out great!

Weight- 10lbs 1.5oz (25th percentile again)
Length- 22.5 inches (50th percentile)
Head- 14.5 inches (5th percentile)  So she's got somewhat of a small head, but that's alright.

She also got her 2 month immunizations yesterday and I saw her cry tears for the first time.  :(  Her eyes have watered before, but yesterday she had tears running down her sweet face.  She pretty much cried or slept for the rest of the day, but this morning she was back to her happy self.

Phoebe was excited about the Tennessee v. Georgia game last weekend.  Chris was hoping Phoebe would be his good luck charm for a Tennessee win.  No such luck

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Littlest Pumpkin in the Patch

A few weeks ago my mom bought Phoebe an adorable Halloween onesie.

We had thought it would be cute to take Phoebe to a pumpkin patch and take her picture in the pumpkins where she really could be the "littlest pumpkin in the patch."  Cute idea, right?  We thought so!

Here's what Phoebe thought of it...

Yeah, not so cute...she wasn't a big fan of being set down in the middle of the pumpkins

Once she fell asleep she didn't mind as much.  At least her paci is orange so it matches...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 10

In no particular order my 10 favorite baby items that we have used over the past 2 months

1. BabyBjorn
Love it!  This has been great for carrying Phoebe.  I use it when I go to the grocery store because its easier to get her in the Bjorn than haul in her heavy carrier/car seat.  I don't feel like our car seat sits very securely on the grocery cart so the Bjorn is perfect.  I also use it to hold her in around the house.  For example she's sitting in it with me now as I'm blogging...

2. BOB Ironman jogging stroller
This has been wonderful for me to use and take her out running with!  It's a smooth ride for Phoebe and very easy for me to push.  I would say it's a little heavy but I can still maneuver it easily and it is lighter than a lot of other jogging strollers.


3. Medela Easy Expression Hands-Free Bra for breast pumps
This has been a lifesaver!  With as much pumping as I do, it is fabulous to have my hands free to read a book, play on the computer, feed Phoebe or whatever.  Even if you are only pumping on occasion I would still say this is a must-have!

4. Pampers Swaddlers
Pampers makes the best newborn diapers hands-down.  We tried Huggies as well as off-brands and Pampers Swaddlers fit the best and leak the least.  Really, this is the only newborn diaper to purchase.

5. Bum Genius 3.0 Cloth Diapers
I know not everyone is interested in the cloth diaper route, but for the past couple weeks we've been using them we have absolutely loved them!  No blow-outs, no leaks and makes me smile every time I'm not throwing away a dirty diaper.

6. Baby Einstein Around the World Play Gym
Phoebe LOVES her play gym.  She loves to look up at the star that flashes lights and plays music.  She will just smile, laugh, dance and be entertained.

7. Snap N' Go Stroller
We opted not to purchase the stroller/car seat travel system.  We bought our car seat off Craig's list and use (also second hand) this snap n'go stroller.  I love it because it is SO light and easy to maneuver.  I don't have to fight to get it in and out of the car or set-up.  It takes two seconds and it makes tight turns very easily.  When she out grows the baby carrier and snap n'go we will probably opt for an umbrella stroller.

8. Fisher-Price Zen Collection Cradle Swing
Phoebe also loves her swing!  She will look up at the mobile (we do wish the mobile moved on its own though) and listen to the music; she loves to swing too!  It will calm her and put her to sleep, but we try not to use it for that very often because we don't want her to "have-to" swing in order to go to sleep.  Another thing I love about this swing is that the base comes off and acts alone as a baby seat.  I will often bring her into the kitchen in the seat while I'm cooking or upstairs while I'm folding laundry, taking a shower etc.  I like this because we don't have a lot of space for multiple baby contraptions so I am a big fan of any 2 in 1 designs.

(this is not Phoebe)

9. Summer Infant SwaddleMe Blanket
Phoebe sleeps SO well in this blanket!  We swaddle her every night and she's a great sleeper!  This is another must-have for my sanity and quality sleep.

10. Paci Clip
Phoebe loves her paci, but I'm sure like most babies she spits it out or loses suction fairly often.  I am a bit of a germaphobe (just a bit though) so I love the paci clip because it keeps her paci from falling on the floor or any other undesirable surface.  I don't really like the paci clips at Babies R Us or Target that I have seen.  But we found this one in a speciality store and I love it!  I love the thin ribbon and the button clip.  I'm sure someone craftier than myself could make them and then pin it...  This particular one is super fancy, but it was the only"B" one they had.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


As I reflect back on the past couple months and struggles I had trying to nurse Phoebe and produce enough milk for her, I am amazed by one thing- grace.  Many people have come beside Team Bowen these last couple months to love and serve us.  Thank you, I don't know what we would have done without you all.  Nothing quite prepares you for having your first baby.  Yet, there are two people in particular that showed me grace and extended grace to me in a very special way during these past couple months.

Grace can sometimes be hard to understand and even harder to accept, especially in a society that values the individual "earning" or making a way for himself.  I often feel like I have to "work" in order to earn people's favor or find a way to "repay" people's kindness.  Yet I know this is not the freedom I am called to live in.  Although that sometimes might be the way that people relate to each other in our western society, it is not the way that God relates to us or intends for us to relate to each other.  God lavishes His grace on us through His Son Jesus Christ.  We cannot earn God's favor or our own salvation, yet He chooses to freely give it.

But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loves us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus... For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:4-8

Liz, who has been giving me breast milk to supplement Phoebe's feedings because I could not produce enough on my own, has been a wonderful representation of God's grace to me.  After reading one of my first blog posts Liz contacted me and mentioned that she had been pumping extra breast milk and had a bunch stored in her deep freeze. She offered it to me if I wanted to use it to supplement Phoebe instead of formula while I worked to increase my own supply.  Yes!  So with Liz's help I was able to feed Phoebe breast milk.  And then a few weeks later when I had decided to stop trying to nurse Phoebe I still wanted extra breast milk, but I felt bad asking her.  I felt like I didn't "deserve" more breast milk because I had "quit" and was no longer working to nurse her.  Sub-consciously I had rationalized that she was giving me the milk and that I had "earned" it because I was working so hard to breastfeed.  I had to stop and think, no, I never deserved the milk in the first place.  That was the beauty of it- she had been showing me love and grace by giving me something that I needed/wanted and wasn't able to produce on my own.  In this way she was a sweet picture of God's grace to me.

The Lord has also used my neighbor, Judi, to reveal His grace to me.  Judi has given her time, resources, and herself to me.  She not only accompanied Phoebe and I to all of our lactation and occupational/speech therapy appointments, but also came over to the house and would spend at least an hour with me to help me nurse Phoebe and manipulate the SNS.  Judi brought us over several meals and supplied me with several batches of lactation cookies to help increase my milk supply.  She has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support through her prayers and encouraging words.  Judi had a way of coming over to check on us at just the time I would be having an emotional breakdown.  Her selfless giving has again been a reminder of God's grace.  I certainly did not deserve all her help and support and could not have earned it in any way and could never pay her back.  But that's the point- she's not expecting me to pay anything back; her love to me is an extension of God's grace.

I am reminded of the parable of the lost son in Luke 7.  The younger son squandered his father's wealth and his inheritance after essentially telling his father he wished he were dead.  Yet when the son returns to his father after hitting rock bottom His father, like God, lavished him with grace welcoming Him back into the family and throwing a big party to celebrate his homecoming.  Certainly not what he deserved or he had expected.  On the other hand, the older son had stayed at home with his father and did everything "right" just as his father had asked.  He was working to "earn" his father's favor and blessing.  Yet he is not rewarded for his hard work because we cannot work to please God or to earn His favor.  He chooses to freely give us what we do not deserve- that's grace.

Thank you Liz and Judi for being a picture of God's grace.

Phoebe and Judi, aka Gigi, Mama Gigi, or Mama Judi

As a side note we have been using cloth diapers for almost 2 weeks now and LOVE them!  I mean look at how cute these diapers are.  Because of the fun colors you don't necessarily need bloomers.  And then when I changed her diaper I can just switch out her bow and ta-da easy outfit change :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Phoebe's Baptism

Last Sunday October 2nd, we baptized Phoebe.  It was a special day for us as we welcomed her into the covenant family.  Chris and I made vows: acknowledging Phoebe's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, claiming God's covenant promises in her behalf and to look in faith to Jesus for her salvation as well as our own, and thirdly to dedicate Phoebe to God promising that we will endeavor to set before her a godly example and that we will pray with and for her and bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It was also a blessing to stand before our church and know that this congregation of the body of Christ will stand beside us to help teach, nurture and love her.

We are very serious listening and responding to our charges to raise Phoebe in a Christian home

Because Chris is an ordianed minister in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) he is able to preform the sacrament of baptsim and therefore baptized Phoebe!  It was his first baptism (you don't baptize many infants in college ministry...) and a sweet time for both daddy and baby.

With Reverend David Hall 

Cece, Grandpa, Uncle Chris, Mamo, Papo and Caylee came to celebrate the special occasion