Gracie’s Colorful World

As Gracie is approaching the 1 year mark (still blowing my mind here!) her capacity to learn things seems to exploding! You can just see the wheels churning as your ask her to point out the animals in a book, find you the toy you asked for, share her food, or help “clean” the kitchen. The other day my mom and I had four different colored blocks out. We asked Gracie to find the yellow one. I promise that she found, was coaxed to, somehow got the yellow one three times! Later when my dad tried to ask her to find the yellow one, we didn’t have as much luck, but hey, she’s not even one yet, so I think we’ll be ok! In the spirit of trying to find fun new activities for Gracie to do inside and encompass some new learning aspects, I came up with the idea of doing themed color boxes. The first day I threw all the yellow toys I could find into a box. We talked (ok, I talked and Gracie listened attentively) about each different object and how they all were different textures, shapes, and sizes, but all YELLOW! Later that night we even put yellow food coloring into the bath, along with some of her yellow toys. The  food coloring does not stain the bath, bath toys, or skin, so this is super easy and fun!

This definitely isn’t something that I am doing everyday.Every few days I have been trying to switch out what’s in the box, and then put that color into the bath when we think if it. It helps give Gracie a new perspective on how to play with some of her toys, and helps make bath time even more fun. Here are some more pictures of a few different colored boxes we have put together to play with.

Blue-themed box

Red-themed box
So go have some fun, and color your world happy!

73.Sparkly clean white snow
74. Gracie
75. Bright eyes
76. Little finger poking
77. Eating dinner I didn’t have to make
78. Dustin
79.Furrowed brows of concentration
80. Snotty shoulder after nuzzly hugs
81. Big, fat snowflakes slowly falling

This week I have tried to be more mindful of being thankful for things that I normally wouldn’t think about being thankful for. Things like piles of laundry. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of doing laundry. Has my mom come over a few times to tackle those piles of laundry? Perhaps. Do I leave clothes sitting in the dryer way too long because I don’t want to have to put them away? Yes, yes I do. But this week I have tried to find the blessings in dirty laundry. I am thankful I have clothes to wash and a place to wash them. Thankful to fold little brightly colored leggings. Thankful to feel the warmth of the clothes as they come out of the dryer. So much to be thankful for in a dirty pile of laundry.

65. driving through the country and seeing clothes on a cloth line to the silo
66. a wagon and trellis in the yard
67. dirty dishes
68. giggles and bright eyes
69. clutter to clean
70. laundry
71. golden wisps of hair
72. sleepless nights

Playdough Saturday

Today was a playdough making day. My last attempt to make homemade playdough was a little sticky, and when I say a little…I mean a lot. It was stick to your fingers, stick the floor, get stuck and still see it on the table kind of sticky. I had attempted a recipe without cream of tarter, as that was the one thing I was missing. Even after adding the extra flour… it still wasn’t working. After getting some cream of tarter from Grandma Steiner, we were ready to try it again. The recipe I used was originally found  here. It called for:

1 cup flour

1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbls. vegetable oil
food coloring 
Stir this all over medium heat until your ball of playdough is formed. This recipe turned out great! Not too sticky and looked good enough to eat. I should say that in full disclosure, Gracie usually thinks anything looks good enough to eat!
We went with 4 drops of red food coloring to make some pink playdough because there can never be too much pink for these Steiner girls! We also added a few kitchen toys to experiment with the playdough, including cookie cutter, measuring cup and straw. Daddy discover that once you stuck the straw in the playdough, you could then blow on it and shoot out little playdough balls. Pretty sure we’ll be finding a few on the floor tomorrow, or next week, or whenever we get around to mopping.
I think Gracie had fun with it, even if she wasn’t allowed to eat it, and trust me, she tried pretty hard! She especially loved ripping it apart into smaller pieces and squishing it in her hands. We talked about how soft and squishy it was, and how it could be formed into different shapes, shoved in things, and pounded flat. 

Easy Saturday winter fun!

I have been keeping track of my gifts on my phone and have decided to share them weekly. Writing them down in the moment allows me to savor my thankfulness both then, and later when I share them again here.

52. slow traffic and good music on the radio
53. wobbly baby steps
54. the cheesiest grin ever and two little, gapped baby teeth showing
55. little fingers grasping tightly to mine in the dark as we rock
56. cleansing rain offering a fresh slate
57. the smell of damp earth
58. sun breaking through on the horizon
59. when it feel like spring in winter
60. smell of wet pine needles underfoot
61. husband who is as much of a dork as I am
62. a hand to hold while hiking
63. chit chat with a friend

Food Colored Bubble Bath!

Now that’s it’s winter, we’ve had to be a little more creative about keeping miss Gracie entertained. She loved going outside this last spring and summer. Even at only a few months old, she enjoyed the change of pace of laying outside on a blanket, looking up at the green trees overhead. Though we have enjoyed playing in the snow a few times, it’s hard for her to move around after getting all bundled up. After looking at Growing a Jewled Rose site, I was able to find a ton of ideas and indoor, creative sensory play for all ages. Here is a taste of Gracie and I having some bathtub fun.

She loved all the swirling colors in the bubbles. In fact, she thought they looked so good that quite a few scoops of colored bubbles went straight for the mouth! She seemed to enjoy the feel of the foaming bubbles, as we usually don’t have that many bubbles in the bath tub. I has also frozen some water with food coloring for colored ice cubes. We tried those in the tub as well. Once again, she wanted to eat these! I think the coolness felt good, and she enjoyed sucking on the ice cubes. We then got to watch the ice cubes melt and get smaller in the warm bath water.
This was lots of fun, kept Gracie entertained, and was super easy! All you need is:
  1. Lots of bubbles!
  2. Food coloring
  3. Food colored ice cubes
I went pretty basic on this first go around at a sensory-themed bath. I think it would also be lots of fun in the sink, as we could get the bubbles built up a lot easier than in the bath tub. So that’s all there is to it, now go enjoy your own colored bubble bath! 

Cloth diapering

So what’s cuter than a baby in a cute handmade cloth diaper? Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything either! So I can’t honestly say the we are strictly a cloth diaper family. The main reason being that I am really bad at keeping up on laundry and don’t have enough diaper covers to last until I get to the next load of laundry! I’m still experimenting with them, and it’s kind of fun to try to improve on the design. I have to say that when we do use them I feel exceptionally eco-friendly and also very crafty, since they are handmade by yours truly! In a grand scheme that I imagine from time to time, I think it would be fun to make them to actually sell, and also be able to donate for those in need of them. That grand scheme is pretty far off, but it’s fun to dream. Tell me what you think. Do you like cloth diapers? If nothing else, take a moment to look at a cute baby, in a cute handmade diaper, sporting some bedhead! 

Breastfeeding-My Story

So I know I have only been a momma for a short time in the grand scheme of things, but I want to try to share some tips that I wished someone had shared with me! One things that has been both very difficult at times, but in the end a great blessing, is being able to breastfeed Gracie. When I first started I had no idea what I was doing! Even if you think it will come naturally, it will probably take a little practice, or in many cases like mine, a lot of practice! Gracie was a good eater from the start, but I think because of a combination of latching issues, and a very quick letdown and excess of milk, I was quickly sore, cracked and bleeding…ouch!! In this post I hope to help some of you that may be going through similar issues with breastfeeding, or for those that will be breastfeeding soon and are looking for some advice.

  1. Seek help! I went back to the hospital a few days later to get some help from the nurses. I later went to a lactation consultant, which was very helpful and helped me get on the right track to healing and happily feeding my baby. 
  2. Motherlove nipple cream. Seriously, this stuff seemed pricey at first for such a small amount, but for what it did, it was worth it! You only have to use a little and I preferred this much more over the Lanolin creams.
  3. Nipple shield. I know that some don’t like this, and I was hesitant at first because I thought Gracie might not latch well without it later. And though I know it won’t be the same for everyone, I am glad I finally used it. It helped me heal and allowed Gracie to handle my quick let down a little easier. And I can tell you that now at almost a year, Gracie breastfeeds like a champ and we have no issues!
  4. Learn to nurse laying down! For whatever reason, it took me forever to come to this position of nursing, but once we got the hang it of it, I wondered why I hadn’t been trying this from the beginning. If I could go back to when she was nursing every hour or two, I think I would just lay in bed,nurse and enjoy my baby, and never get up!
  5. Don’t give up!   This is a two fold tip. The first part being that even when it seems hard, with some hard work it can get better! It has been such a blessing to breastfeed my baby for the last year. Health benefits are amazing, it is cost saving, time saving, all around convenient, and a wonderful change to bond with your baby. The first two months were very hard for me. Between the bleeding, cracked nipples and lack of sleep, I was not enjoying breastfeeding! There were a few tears along the way…ok, many tears, but now I am so glad to have stuck with it! I wouldn’t have thought it almost a year ago, but now breastfeeding is like second nature. Ok, here is the second part to this. If for some reason you are unable to breastfeed your baby and had really wanted to…it’s OK! You’re not a bad momma and there is still plenty of ways to nurture and spend time with your little one. My mom wasn’t able to breastfeed me, but still showered me with love and attentiveness. She spent that time giving me bottle to bond, look into my newborn eyes and show me I was loved. So don’t feel guilty if you can’t! Just keep loving your little one!
I hope this helps those of you out there ready to start breastfeeding, or dealing with some breastfeeding issues! These are just my personal experiences and thoughts, but I hope they can help! Enjoy your baby and the time you spend with your darling one!

         

      Happy, healthy baby=Happy Momma!

      Gracie’s Story

      As we are drawing near to Gracie Lynn’s first birthday…wait! Did I just say FIRST BIRTHDAY!? It feels like only yesterday (minus a few or more sleepless nights) that she was being born. As I start out, This Mamma, section of the blog, I would like to post the story of Gracie’s birth that I wrote up shortly after she was born to share with our birth class. Hope it isn’t TMI for anyone, because to me it’s beautiful! We went all natural and I am so glad we did. Her birth was amazing, beautiful, and so blessed. Here it is!

      Gracie’s Story

      Mild contractions started on Jan 31st in the afternoon. They didn’t feel bad at all, but starting out consistently right away at 3 to 4 min. I continued with my normal activities and took a walk. They were beginning to become a little stronger in the evening, but I still wasn’t sure that they were real contractions as they were very mild, but were already 3 min apart. I went to bed that night, hoping to get some sleep and see what happened. Sleep was not coming that night as the contractions continued every 3 min and lasted 15-30 sec. They were uncomfortable enough to keep me from sleeping, but not painful. That morning I decided to call the doctor, just to update and see if they thought it was labor or just practice contractions. They had me come in for observation. We arrived at the hospital around 10 am on Feb 1st. The nurses checked and I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. They decided to admit me. I was a little skeptical as I felt it would still be awhile and might have been nice to labor at home. But baby decided not to wait too long! Thing kept progressing and by noon I was 4 cm and 100% effaced. The contractions were becoming stronger, but I still felt that I was in control and could handle each one. I used the birthing ball throughout the afternoon and often hung onto Dustin through a contraction. Though the contractions were more painful, in between I could still interact with others. My labor didn’t really seem to be going by the book, so I was also unsure what stage of labor I was in! Around four they checked and I was 7 cm. They filled up the tub and I got in. The water felt good at first, and then some nausea hit. I immediately vomited, but felt some relief afterwards. After 2-3 contractions in the water I started feeling like I could push.  They came to check my progress and I was already at about 10 cm and baby was ready to come out! My water had never broken, but I was ready to push! They didn’t want me to push at first because the doctor wasn’t there. After about 15-20 min the doctor arrived and started coaching me through pushing.  Between pushing I could still talk and was able to feel like I could rest briefly. After about 15 min of pushing, Dustin told me he could see her head. I asked if she had hair. J The doctor told me if I could hold the pushes a little longer she would soon be out. Then and there I was determined that she was coming out! After about 10 more min of pushing the head was out and I delivered the water sac intact. The rest of her seemed to come easily and they lifted her out of the water and onto my chest. She was crying immediately and got 9 out of 10 on the APGAR. They said water babies usually don’t cry right away and therefore don’t get a 9. We were very proud of her first “grade”. J I held onto our baby girl and they waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Dustin then cut the cord. After getting out of the tub I had to get some stitches due to some tearing. They took her away briefly to keep her warm as I got out of the water. After finishing the stitching they returned her to me so we could spend some time in skin to skin contact. It’s so amazing to think that our baby is finally here! Gracie Lynn Steiner came into this world on Feb 1st at 5:11 pm weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and 19.5 in. long.