Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My favorite pajamas

I love when Ingrid wear's these pajamas...they just scream "cuddle me"  (good thing she is such a snuggle bunny lately!)

Walking to mommy....(she is getting better and better everyday.  Just the other day she walked from the living room into the dinning room!  It's weird....and wonderful!)

Home Made Floor Cleaner

For a few years now, Michael and I (okay, really just Michael) have been making our own home cleaning products.  It's amazing that you can make everyday products like floor cleaner, window cleaner, and even oven cleaner from ingredients in your own pantry.  I am sharing the recipe we use for home made floor cleaner, and best of all-it will hold up to even the most obsessive clean freak (pointing fingers at myself)!

1/8 cup liquid dish soap (we like to use method, or seventh generation)
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of very strong peppermint tea

Mix ingredients well.  Add a few tablespoons to hot water, crank up the tunes, and clean the house!

(one of our favorite things about this recipe is that it is non-toxic and won't aggravate my husbands asthma, also (and this is a BIG plus) if little hands happen to get into it, the most it would do is give an upset stomach.  No need to call poison control if ingested!  Although we wouldn't recommend drinking it....)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Favorite

This is a couldn't be simpler recipe that we like to use for lunches (but it works great as an appetizer as well).  It's fast, easy, and best of all-Ingrid Nightingale loves it!  

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Garlic Salt
Dry (or fresh if you have it) Parsley
Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato and Basil Feta Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees (we like to use our toaster oven as often as possible-it's a great energy saver!).  Split pita bread in half, and butter.  Sprinkle on garlic salt and parsley.  Top with cheeses.  Seriously, an you get any easier?  We like to pair it with fresh vegetables from the garden (courtesy my in-laws) like cucumber, bell peppers, and carrots.  In the words of Rachel Ray..."Yum-O"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Since Michael and I have been married we have tried to make anything and everything homemade.  With both economical and environmental benefits, searching how to make everyday items from scratch has proven to be a fun challenge.  So I am starting a string of postings about the items that we make at home.  This first posting will be about our homemade laundry detergent.  We have been making our own detergent for about two years, and it has worked great!  

2 cups of Arm & Hammmer Washing Soda (found in laundry detergent aisle)
2 cups of BORAX
1 quart of water
2 gallons of water
Essential Oil (any kind you like, we used lavender)
5 Gallon Pail

1. Grate 2 cups of Kirk's Castile Bar Soap and add to 1 quart of boiling water, stir well until dissolved.

2. While soap is dissolving in boiling water, measure out 2 cups of Washing Soda, and 2 cups of Borax into 5 gallon pail.
3. Once soap is well dissolved in boiling water, add to 5 gallon pail of Washing Soda & Borax and stir well.
4. Add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil and stir well
5. Add 2 gallons of water to mixture and stir well.
6. VUALA! Homemade laundry detergent- average cost per batch, $3.00- better for you, the environment and your pocket book! Fun stuff.

*We poured desired amount into an empty laundry detergent bottle-use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. This mixture will become very gel-like, so make sure to shake very well before each use. 
*On average this cost $0.01 per load!  Can't beat that!!!  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thrifty Store Finds

I love autumn.  I equally love winter.  So naturally I love a good sweater.  Yes I realize it's slightly ridiculous to blog about a sweater (and a necklace...thats coming)-but this is a really good one! And best of all, my 1 year old (I can say that now!!) picked it out.  We were strolling through the aisles of the Salvation Army, Ingrid, desperately trying to attack every garment within her arms reach,and me, trying to get her to keep her extremities inside the confines of her stroller, when it happened.  Ingrid would NOT let go of this sweater.  Upon closer examination I realized why....it was the perfect sweater.  Warm, hand knitted (okay, not really-there is a Kmart tag), I'm guessing circa 1975, and screaming "take me home".  I foresee a lot of happy memories together in our future.  Thank you Ingrid Nightingale, for finding me the perfect sweater.  (as for the necklace, I way overpaid for it, but am obsessed with any jewelry wooden, or hand beaded with leather-and I heart it)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Still Life

Still life
(at home)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

She's 1!

Well, it really happened.  My "not so long ago" newborn is ONE!  The day came much faster than I could have anticipated.  One moment I'm cradling a tiny baby, the next moment she is shoving cake in her mouth and walking half way across the room!  Here are a few pictures from our celebration!

We made our little 1 year old a lady bug cake!!  It's safe to say it's my favorite cake EVER.

An "old fashion candy" bar...(if' you've never tried circus peanuts, don't bother!)

Some one LOVED her cake...if you can't tell (we had a major sugar rush to deal with afterwards)

Wearing the "1" shirt mommy & daddy made her...

Opening up her presents (or chewing on them, rather)

We took her to the bagel shop for her birthday breakfast!

She loves her car/walker/thingy.  (She's getting pretty good on her own too!)

My dear Ingrid Nightingale, you're 1!!

are the funniest child I know
always want to please others
wake up with a smile on your face
say "mama" and "dada"
say "HI" to every stranger we pass
say "YUM" when we feed you
answer with saying "ah-none-none" when we ask you how old you are (which is ONE in baby talk)
love animals
love children
walk across the room
are strong willed
a snuggler
love cheese
love apples
love pizza

You...are my joy!  
Happy big 0-1 Ingrid Nightingale!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birth Story

With Ingrid's birthday just a few days away (have I mentioned that yet...?:), I have been pausing to reflect a lot on this past year.  But as her birthday approach's, I have been enjoying reliving the day we met her.  After Ingrid was born, I wrote her birth story down, in a letter to her.  I know she will never care about all of these details as much as I do, but every time I read it my heart swells with love and my eyes swell with tears. I thought it would be fun to re-read (for the 20th time).....here it is!


Ingrid Nightingale DeMars
Born: August 16th, 2009 at 9:34pm
6lbs, 14oz and 21 1/2inches

It was Saturday August 15th, 2009 and your dad and I were having a very lazy day.  We spent the entire afternoon doing nothing but laying on the couch watching the Food Network.  Your due date was quickly approaching (August 18th) and I had been so worried about having to be induced.  That day I was having horrific heartburn, worse than I had experienced through out my entire pregnancy.  I must have taken about 50 tums that day, but nothing would do the trick.  Your dad joked that “Maybe it’s the start of labor”  I laughed it off, but inside I just KNEW it was something! In addition to awful heartburn I was having Braxton Hicks contractions that were so strong I couldn’t even walk through them.  I went to bed that night at about 10pm, but didn’t fall asleep until 11pm.  Then it happened.  At 12am Sunday, (after only 1 hour of sleep) I woke up with a very acute pain in my abdomen.  I told myself it was just normal pregnancy discomfort, and tried to go back to sleep.  But I didn’t have time!  A few minutes later I had another pain that lasted a bit longer.  Your dad was already asleep by this time, so I didn’t want to wake him up.  I decided to just “wait it out” and see if the pains continued….and they did!  I was up all night long with contractions that were about 5 minutes apart.  Finally by 2am, I had come to terms with the fact that I really was in labor.  I was so excited!  I knew that soon I would be meeting my precious baby girl.  That night, I laid in bed-rolling back and forth with each contraction-just concentrating on breathing and relaxing.  Finally, by 5am my contractions were getting so strong and painful that your dad woke up.  He looked at me and asked what was wrong.  I told him that I had been up all night with contractions.  I think it took him a while to digest what I had said-but finally he woke up enough to realize that I was really in labor!  (he is groggy when he wakes up)  He felt so bad I was up all night alone, but I just didn’t want to wake him up.  I look back at that night now and feel so nostalgic.  For those 5 hours, I was the only person on this earth who knew that I was in labor.  It was me and you kid.  That being said, when your dad was finally up I was so happy to have company and support!  We sat in bed together at 5am, it was completely dark outside, the streets were quiet-and we talked about what we should do.  We decided to call the phone nurse and tell her what was going on.  When I told her I had been having contractions all night she asked me how far along I was.  I told her I was due in 2 days and she said “Oh!  We will get a room ready for you” She also told us to call back if we decided to come in.  So we got up, showered, ate breakfast and called the hospital to let them know we were on our way (It was now 9am, and I had been in labor for 9 hours already).  It was such a strange feeling carrying our hospital bag downstairs, and pulling out of the parking lot-just knowing that we were on our way to have a baby.  The ride to hospital was only 5 minutes, but I remember each turn we took on our way there.  We got to the emergency room parking lot and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was real or a dream.  Maybe it was lack of sleep, or the mind numbing pain I had been in for 9 hours, but I couldn’t believe this was real.  We checked in, and then a nurse sat me in a wheelchair (which I thought was stupid) and wheeled me up to the 5th floor.  I barely remember this wheel chair ride up to labor and delivery; I do however remember each contraction, and the time distortion that came with it.  Finally we got up to our room, I put on my attractive gown, and the nurse put a monitor on me to check how far apart my contractions were.  I remember when she told me I was having contractions every 5 minutes that I was just so happy that I wasn’t  imagining this!  Finally around 10am my doctor (Dr. Hill, with a wonderful Georgia accent) arrived and checked me.  I was at a 4!!  They told me I could stay, it was really happening!  I was in a lot of pain, but still in good spirits.  The nurse encouraged us to walk around, so we did.  On our painful walk we passed by the nursery.  There was a tiny baby girl all wrapped up and sleeping in her bassinet-your dad and I looked at each other and it really hit us-we were about to meet our baby girl!  To fast forward a bit:  I labored all day long with out any pain medication.  I wanted to have an all natural birth, and I did!  It was so hard, but I never once even thought about getting pain medication.  Each contraction became stronger and more violent.  By 2pm (12 hours of labor under my belt, and only 1 hour of sleep) I had dilated to a 6, and was becoming more and more exhausted.  I decided to labor in the water, because I had heard that it helped ease the pain, and for me-this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Later we would find out that you were stuck, with your head turned-so I was experiencing a variation of back labor.  At this point I remember thinking that I just didn’t want to do it anymore.  I was done.  Exhausted.  I felt like I didn’t have a lot of fight left.   I moaned through each contraction, anticipating its end.  Finally I had dilated to a 7 around 3pm!  Since the “transition” part of labor is from 7-10, the nurse got out all the birthing tools and told me she thought within a couple hours you would be here!  She also told me she had a natural birth just like me.  I asked her how the “end” was…..she looked at me with a look of empathy and said “It gets intense”….I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew it couldn’t be good!  Unfortunately transition lasted more than a couple hours, in fact I spent over 5 hours stuck at a 8 and 9.  Finally around 5pm the doctor came in and talked about breaking my water.  Even though I wanted my water to break naturally, we agreed since I had been in natural labor for 17 hours, that we would go ahead and release my water to help speed things up.  My doctor and nurses were great; they allowed me to have the exact natural birth I wanted, without suggestion of drugs or IV’s.   But I think everyone knew, including me, that we needed things to speed up.  After he broke my water we realized your head was turned to the left, which is why my labor was taking so long-you were wedged in there pretty good!  Once we realized what was going on, I asked the doctor if he thought I’d be able to have you naturally, without surgical intervention.  He looked at me with such sympathy and said in his charming southern accent “I sure hope so dear”.  I was momentarily worried, but decided then and there that there was no way I just spent 17+ hours in labor without any medication to end up with a c-section.  We prayed, and just concentrated on progression.  Finally, around 8pm that night I had dilated to a 9!  I had such a burst of energy at this point because I knew I was almost fully dilated.  After being checked the nurse realized I had a cervical lip, which she had to manually stretch out while I pushed.  That might have been the most horrifically painful part yet!  Finally, after another 45 minutes of laboring I was at a 10!  The nurse looked at me and said “Laura, you’re at a 10, you can start to push”.  I will never forget that feeling!  It was here.  Despite my exhaustion and delirium from the pain, I thought I might jump through the roof with excitement.  I was determined to push my heart out.  I didn’t have time or energy for lazy pushes.  So with my first push I gave it my all, and the nurse looked at me surprised and said “wow, that was great”.   As I continued to push for the next hour I remember thinking…”There is no way this baby is coming out”.  Even though I felt like I wasn’t making any progress the nurse looked at me and said “you’re doing great, I can see her head”.  With a few more pushes your head was out.  I was shocked when they told me this because I didn’t even feel it.  Then the doctor and nurse told me to stop pushing.  I remember frantically telling them I had to push.  I got a stern reaction of “No, don’t push Laura; the doctor is getting her shoulders out”.  And then it happened.  Within a split second you transitioned from one world, into the next.  I felt your tiny arms, hips, and legs come out.  I thought to myself “That was a real child”!  All of the sudden everything around me fell silent.  I felt as if things were moving in slow motion.  The doctor held you in front of me and it was as if I had always known exactly what you looked like.  You’re hair, eyes, nose, mouth-I had always known you.  Then reality hit.  I looked at your dad, and with tears in his eyes and a look of shock on his face he said “I think we know who’s nose she got! (at the time, we were thinking it was his…….currently it’s still under investigation)  Dr. Hill suctioned out your mouth and again with that charming accent said to you…”I’m sorry dear, give Dr. Hill a hug”.  The nurse said “Let’s give her to mom”.  Then it happened again.  Everything slowed down and things went silent.  The people around me were talking and moving, but I couldn’t hear anything because at that moment she put you in my arms a euphoria came over me that nothing else could imitate.  I remember saying “Is she really mine?”.  Your warm, wrinkly skin close to mine, your crying deafening, I said over and over to you “I’m so sorry sweetie”…you had just been through quite the journey yourself!  I couldn’t stop kissing your sweet head and cheeks.  You were here.  All of those hours wondering who you were, what you would look like, all of those pieces of the puzzle finally fit.  My soul has never felt so full.  And to this day, I can’t think of any word to describe those first minutes (and frankly, hours) with you other than euphoria.  It was all worth it.  22 hours of natural labor.  It was worth it.  You were always meant to be.  I love you. 

Ingrid Nightingale, you are a blessing.  You have filled our home with joy.  We are grateful for everyday we get to wake up and see your beautiful face.  We couldn’t love anything more.  Welcome to our family.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(so, it's rare that I'm actually "wordless")

11 weeks

18 weeks (even though my doctor said she couldn't tell the gender, I knew this baby was a girl after seeing her on the screen!)

So next time around, we will wait longer to do the 3D ultrasound, but even though Ingrid Nightingale (then known as "Edith Winter") was still a bit alien looking-she was adorable.  Waving, sucking her thumb, squirming around-and still refusing to tell us that she was for sure a girl!)

32 weeks (I can actually tell by her facial structure that this is for sure the same baby I gave birth too-it's all in the profile!...oh yeah-and the enormous head size)

38 weeks pregnant (and only 12 days away from meeting my little miracle, Ingrid Nightingale)

(Okay, so what'd I say about being "wordless")
With Ingrid's birthday just a few days away, my mind is constantly flooded with memories about her birth, and the days leading up to it.  Looking back at this ultrasound pictures reminded me of my very last ultrasound, done at 39 weeks.  I didn't get any pictures from this ultrasound, but distinctly remember as the last time I got a look at Ingrid before she was born.  My entire pregnancy I was completely clueless that at the end of the journey there would be a REAL baby (okay, so obviously I knew that I was going to give birth to a baby, but it being my first pregnancy, and I had such a hard time actually comprehending how there would be a real child-it doesn't quite make sense to our human minds).  The closer I got to my due date (which I never actually met), I slowly began to realize that soon we would be having another member of our family.  During this ultrasound at 39 weeks we got a really good look at Ingrid-her cute button nose, forehead, lips, high cheekbones, and what sticks out most in my mind-her wrists.  A weird thing to remember right?  Wrists?  She was busy waving her little arms around and she had a good amount of newborn fat on her wrists.  I just saw these plump little arms that met these tiny little hands with the cutest fingers protruding from them.  For some reason, at that moment I knew that there was a real baby in there (the constant kicking and feet in my ribs didn't quite tip me off :).  And 6 days later, I got to meet her!  

(disclaimer: in the future I promise to be more "wordless")

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ahhh....I'm back

We are finally moved in!  Yet being "moved in" doesn't necessarily mean you're "settled"....I'm not sure when the latter will happen.  In fact, we've had a lot of basement flooding issues, that I would love to complain about, but I've done that enough today! I really have determined to despise anyone who says "Hey, how's it goin'?".  BUT the baby is down for a nap, I am resting comfortably at my parents (did I mention basement flooding....carbon monoxide due to plumbing repairs...yeah)....and ice tea is in my belly-so maybe the day is looking up.  We are loving living near family again-it's safe to say Ingrid sees her Grandma at least twice a day.  Michael is still looking for a job, but in the mean time is loving working out on the farm (I am entering pie's in the county fair, and hanging laundry out on the line like a good farm wife.....okay only one of those things is true).  The thing that has consumed most of my mental energy right now (besides Harry Potter that is...oh yeah-book #4!) is the fact that in just 5 days my little girl will be ONE!  We are having a blast planning her party and celebrating the most magnificent year of our lives. 

A few pictures to catch you up....

Loves the swing!

I walked in on Daddy playing dress up with Ingrid...
This is a vintage pea coat and hat that belonged to my Great Aunt, I can't wait for it to actually fit Ingrid!

I love a baby at slumber

Baby curls....