29 May, 2014

Moving On

As of today, I will no longer be blogging here. It's slightly sad, but not much is changing except for the name. Still me. Still you. {I hope!} Still the Army, kiddos, and life in general. 



I've got a new post over on Sew Raising Arrows today, so please go check it out and follow over there! 


And while you're there, you might want to check out my Etsy shop too. :) I know, I know. Shameless self-promotion. What have I got to lose?! I'm excited about my new adventures, and I'm hoping you'll stay with me for the ride! It's bound to be interesting.


27 May, 2014

Open for Business

I have two exciting things to share with you today. One you already sort of know about, and the other I've been keeping a secret. Until last week, only Joe knew about it. Like everything else, I couldn't keep it a secret from my best friend, Melissa, very long. ;-) Ok, so here goes.

Thing #1

My new blog, Sew Raising Arrows, is officially live!! It has a clean, new design, and is hopefully easy to navigate. You'll see pretty much the same things you see here as far as content is concerned. I'm just changing the name of the blog to fit my lifestyle a little bit better. I've also got new social media 'handles', so be sure you check those out. I also have a new email address, so if you want it you can just leave a comment here and I'll share. :) Before you head on over to my new blog, let me tell you about something else you're going to see...


Thing #2



You are looking at Sew Raising Arrows - the Etsy shop! :) Opening an Etsy shop is something I've had on my mind since before Millie was born. I could have done it then, but I didn't want to have to take a step back once she was born. Really, it's a good thing I didn't because life was crazy once that girl arrived. Lately I've been feeling the need to do something. I never could put my finger on what exactly, but then the more I thought about doing this - opening a shop on Etsy - the more excited I got about all of the possibilities. I'm hopeful that this will go well.

For now, my focus is on selling pouches like the ones in the photos. If you've been reading long enough, you know that I can sew more than just those things. So, maybe in the future I'll be creating other things as well. Joe keeps thinking up things I can make and sell in my shop, lol! It's funny that he keeps thinking of these things (because he comes up with something new almost every day!), but it's also pretty awesome because I know that means he supports me 110%. :) Can't say I don't love that. 

Anyway, I'm excited about all of this, and I hope you will all go check out the new blog and Etsy shop! I'm planning to do a little giveaway on the new blog within the next couple of weeks. Don't miss out! 

15 May, 2014

Changes

It's taken a lot of thought lately, but I've decided to change a few things around here. Well, technically, not here. Let me explain.

When I first started thinking about changing things, I really just wanted to change the name of my blog. I'm still a military wife - GI Joe's Wife - but that's really not the focus of my blog anymore. Let's face it: most of the time I post about my kiddos, or baby-related things. So I feel like a change is needed. The good thing about blogs is that they can change and grow with you.

Not long after I decided I needed a change, I found a verse that I really liked. And the rest just came together.

Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior's hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
~Psalm 127:3-5

We are raising arrows. Our hope and prayer for our kiddos is that they will grow up knowing and following Jesus. He has blessed us with them, so we will raise them to know Him. 

The new name I came up with is Sew Raising Arrows. I added "sew" partially because "raising arrows" was already taken, and partially because I'm not just a parent. I do other things, too - things that I enjoy, like sewing. 

I'm sharing all of this for two reasons:

  1. As of today (after this post goes live), I will be changing my IG and Twitter handles. I'll also be changing my FB, but since I don't post there too often it's not really a priority. I'm on IG and Twitter pretty much all the time, and I know that most of you will probably notice a change. ;-)
  2. I am also going to start a whole new blog, with a URL to match. This won't happen for at least a few days (maybe even a week), and I will definitely be sharing the URL. I will redirect everyone to that page once everything is "live" over there.
I also have another little surprise to share (NOT of the baby variety ;-)), but I'm not quite ready for that yet. So here's to growing and changing. I hope you'll all stick around for it!



12 May, 2014

Tricked, Spoiled, and Blessed

I was very pleasantly surprised this Mothers Day. I had thought that Joe hadn't gotten me anything. Usually what happens is I remind him of an event, suggest a gift or two (because he needs some help), and then leave the rest up to him. A few days ago, I asked if I'd have a gift by the weekend. For the last year or so, he's been notorious for getting me gifts way after the fact. Anyway, he pretty much had me convinced that my gift would be here late. 

On Sunday, he woke up and got in the shower before my alarm went off, so I got a little extra rest before church. As I was getting ready, I heard him running all around the house. I really just assumed that he was getting diaper bags and stuff ready. I thought I smelled coffee, but I was kind of hungry so I chalked it up to that. Since the girls were still asleep when I was finished getting ready (wahoo, happy Mothers Day to me!), I came in to get some breakfast. And I found coffee, donuts, and a gift waiting for me on the coffee table. Shock. Of. A. Lifetime. He totally fooled me! I got one thing I asked for and a surprise gift, too.

Rings with the girls' names on them. LOOOOOOVE!
(I asked for this. ;-))

And a Nicholas Sparks book I haven't read!

My mom also gave me some flowers, which was totally unnecessary and also very sweet. :)

Please excuse the mess that is my kitchen counter and bar. 
It's a work in progress.

I also got a flower from church when we were picking up the girls from the nursery/children's church. I was definitely not expecting anything (mostly because they didn't do this last year), so it was a sweet surprise.


We went to lunch after church, which is something we never do. Then we just spent the rest of the day hanging out around the house. It was really nice!! 

I kept thinking about things our pastor said at church yesterday, and one thing really stuck out to me. Out of all the women in the world, God chose me - specifically me - to be the mother of these girls. I don't know why, but He did. He made me the most influential person in their little lives, and gave me the ability to stay home to love, care for, raise, teach, grow, and cuddle them. It's often a pretty tough job, but it's a special one. In all, the message was a good reminder that I have a special calling and an even more special place in their lives. And I'm so grateful for them.




Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
~ Psalm 127:3-5

09 May, 2014

Birth: Pain Free vs. Drug Free

Looking back on both of my girls' births, I can't help but compare them. They are drastically different, and that difference really kind of surprises me. 

From the beginning of Millie's pregnancy, I knew I wanted to try for an all-natural (drug free) birth. My doctors induced me with Charlotte because of my gestational diabetes, and also because I had some hypertension. It definitely wasn't what I wanted, but truthfully, I wasn't prepared to fight them on it. I did get them to wait an extra week before inducing, but that was as much fight as I had in me. Most of that I think was that Joe was in WLC, and unable to go with me and help me 'fight' them.

I really did want to try and avoid having an epidural with Charlotte. But with induction comes lots of medications and interventions. Even though I wasn't induced with the ever-feared Pitocin, they were still forcing my body to do something it wasn't ready to do yet. And once I hit transition, I was pretty miserable. I couldn't get out of bed (which still frustrates me), so there wasn't much I could do on my own to help relieve the pain. Eventually, I asked for an epidural. When the anesthesiologist couldn't come in a few minutes, I asked for pain killers. That is something I still wish I hadn't done. The epidural was fantastic, but the pain killers were basically useless. All they did was make me sleepy, which isn't something you need when you're in active labor in the middle of the night!

I ended up pushing for 2 hours, which now I think is mostly because I couldn't feel anything. Sure, I could feel the pressure of her moving, but I couldn't actually feel how/where she was moving. The plus side to that was that my body had time to stretch, and I didn't tear.

I didn't notice it then, but there were plenty of downsides to having a "pain free" birth:

Charlotte was so sleepy. She was pretty alert after her birth, but she was still groggy - too groggy to nurse before they cleaned her up. She was so sleepy that we had to wake her for feedings. I wonder now if that's why she developed jaundice while we were in the hospital.

I was sleepy. Birth itself is tiring, but the medicine made me plain exhausted. I thought that I was just tired from giving birth, but the truth is it isn't that tiring. I felt like a zombie. 

I was smiling, but I was asleep on the inside. Haha:)

I also had a little bit of difficulty walking - even to the bathroom - while we were in the hospital. 

Part of me also wonders if my "baby blues" were fueled by the drugs I had while in labor. I was so incredibly emotional.

Whereas, with Millie...

I went into labor on my own at 39 weeks - a full week longer than I was pregnant with Charlotte. I was in labor much longer, but I felt that the contractions were far less painful.

Taken while I was in labor. Do I look totally miserable to you?! Nope. ;-)

I did have an IV placed (for saline), but I could move around with help from my nurse. Changing positions, having Joe put counter pressure on my lower back, and using the labor/exercise ball helped tremendously.

I pushed 3 times. The actual I'm-doing-this-on-my-own pushes lasted mere minutes. My body did most of the work before the nurse was actually telling me to push. 

I did tear this time, but mostly because I went from 8.5cm to pushing in less than an hour. My body just didn't have time to stretch properly.

Millie nursed for about half an hour, less than an hour after she was born, while we were doing skin-to-skin. She started rooting and bobbing her head, all on her own. She needed very little assistance. 

Taken probably 10 minutes after she was born.

She was also very, very alert. We didn't have to start waking her for feedings until we came home from the hospital. Even then, the times we woke her were few and far between.

The biggest difference: I felt great. I mean, yeah, I hurt pretty badly from tearing and being stitched. Otherwise, I felt great - especially mentally. I was tired, but I wasn't exhausted. I was up and walking after Millie finished her first feeding.

It has taken me longer to heal because of the tear, but in every other way I felt so much better after giving birth. And it makes me wish I had been able to do it this way with Charlotte, too!

The difference in how I've felt this time makes me want this kind of birth for everyone. It's just so much better. It makes far more of a difference in how I feel - and how my baby feels - than I ever imagined. Sure, an epidural would have been nice. Who doesn't want to be pain-free!? But the pain of contractions is completely manageable, especially if you take the time to educate yourself on natural ways to handle it.

Am I totally against drugs during labor? No. It's kind of hard to say that after having them with Charlotte. Do I wish I hadn't had them the first time? Absolutely. Whatever anyone says, babies do get that medication in their system, and it does make them groggy. There are even chances of other things happening, but I'm not into fear-mongering. (All you have to do is Google the risks of having an epidural anyway. The information is out there, you just have to look for it.) 

Barring extreme circumstances, I think everyone is capable of having a drug-free birth. And I encourage it! It's empowering. I thought I felt superwoman after having Charlotte...and I felt even more so after birthing Millie with no drugs! I wish that for every woman, because our bodies can do amazing things!