Monday, July 16

Back to blogging..

At least for now. :) It has been a long time since I have updated my blog, so I will start with a basic update on us. Chris~ Is working for Neset Consulting, a geology firm working in the Western ND oil fields. His job includes collecting samples of the rock that they are drilling for, examining and describing them, and completing a geologic summery of the whole well. He works every day for 12 hours while the rig is drilling, an average of 32 days, and works and lives on site. When he is off he often gets several weeks at home! The boys and I look forward to these really awesome times! Jennie~ I am a full time stay at home mom. :) I love hanging out with my babies, and some days can be super challenging as well! I am currently over my head in laundry and dishes, and those tasks never seem to end. I am back to my passion of cloth diapering, and have even posted some cloth diaper reviews on youtube! I really, really enjoy cloth diapers, and have gotten a chance to try out several new brands lately. I am also leading Financial Peace University at church! This class is incredible and has changed the way we think and view money. It has been such a blessing to be able to go through it with out church family and friends. Judah~ is newly 3 as of June 8. He is busy, and never stops! He is also learning a lot from talking, to new stunts to pull, and everything in between. He was very proud of himself last week when he said his first Bible verse, Genesis 1:1. He said 'In the beginning, God created, uh, um, uh, the heaven and ALL THE EARTHS EVERYWHERE!' Not quite word perfect, but his enthusiasm was priceless. <3 He also knows most of the letters, how to count to 10, and most of the colors. We are going to start talking shapes here any day. :) Justice~ Is 16 months, and is just a charm. He is so happy, and can put a smile on anyone's face. <3 He is a little jabberjaws, and talks constantly. He even can say a few words already! He says "Mama, Daddy, Judah, More, Please, Yes, and All done" We are doing really well, and learning more and more about relying on God every day.

Sunday, February 26

The last year: A picture review!

I am going to give this another shot.. :)

Justice, our baby will be 1 already on March 10. Its crazy to watch him grow up.. Overall, he has had a much easier first year than his brother did, who by the time he was 1 had already been hospitalized twice.

Here are some shots of the boys last March.. (I think on the 16th, when Justice was 6 days old! Quick family tidbit: Justice got his full name on the day his first pictures were taken. Chris and I had decided not to decide on a name until we got to know him.. We settled on Justice by Monday the 14th, but Zachary, his first name was not decided until we were driving to the photo studio. Its a perfect fit and we love it!

Judah at 21 Months

Justice at 6 days!

Fast forward 6 months, and we have these pics. :)

Judah at 27 months

Both boys together!

Justice at 6 Months!!

And now some of current. These were both taken in Oregon when we were there at the beginning of February.

This is Judah on the beach.. He had a blast! He got to feed the seagulls, and he got to chase them. We found a couple bigger pieces of broken shells, including half of a sand dollar that we brought home.

And this is Justice playing in the baby area of the Portland Children's Museum.

We really enjoyed our time in Oregon. Now that we are back in ND, I wish that we could escape and go out there more often. It truly is beautiful.. Maybe someday we will live out there.

That's all for now.. We will see how long this blogging thing lasts. :)

Wednesday, July 27

Grateful for my family!!

I know I have not updated this blog in like.. Months. But in light of all of the death, and pain my family has expierianced this last spring, I thought it would be appropriate to give thanks for my beautiful family. :)

My Husband Chris:
*He loves our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ
*Is a man of true valor.
*He is my ally.
*He has helped me heal from many wounds, and stood beside me during my darkest hours.
*He is a leader, but not a dictator. He respects that marriage is a mutual parternship.
*He is gentle
*He is a wonderful father to our boys.

My Son, Judah
*Is a sensative, curious, joyful little boy.
*Gives super sweet hugs, and kisses.
*Is sensative to the needs, and emotions of others, as much as is developmentally appropriate for a 2 year old anyways
*Is an awesome big brother.
*Is very forgiving of my bad moments.
*Has taught me soo much about love, grace, sacrifice, joy, and the personality of God.

My Son, Justice
*Nurses so sweetly. Nothing is more beautiful or natural than a babe at breast.
*Is ever watchful of his enviornment.
*Interacts with us, and brings so much joy.
*Is a good reminder of what it is like to pursue learning, without giving up. For a month now he spends all his waking moments trying so hard to sit, crawl, and explore. Though he has not mastered any of those things, he is still driven to learn.

My family means so much to me.. And God truely is in the heart of a family. Being a mother has taught me soooo much about the passages in scripture that talk about the nurturing aspects of God.. About his grace, mercy and love. Even about his dicipline.

Life is soo fleeting. We have known several people in the last few months who have lost loved ones very suddenly, with no warning. Please take a moment and let your family know you love them, and thank God for his special gift of family. <3

Wednesday, March 23

Newest Pictures of Judah, and Justice

Here are some updated pics of the boys. These were taken when Justice was 6 days old, so the 16th of March, 2011. I take pics of the boys once a month until they are one, and then every 3 months until they are 2, so March was also the month for Judah's 21 month pictures. We did not get any of the boys together, which is okay. At this age, its just stress on both the photographer, and the boys, at least in a studio setting. Still waiting for that 'moment' here at home when we have a camera ready to get the brothers together. :)

Justice, safe in Mamma's arms. He is so alert, and calm, and did a splendid job for a newborn in a photo studio. In my expieriance, shots like the ones we got with him are not an every day thing for a newborn, so I was very pleased with the way they turned out. Kudos to Jan Beauclair our photographer for doing such an awesome job!
This is one of my favorite pics of Justice. Jan had purchased this lamb when I told her I would be bringing Justice to Bismarck for his newborn pictures, and the way he is lying there with his eyes wide open just melts my heart. <3

And my Judah.. My beautiful, sensative, thrill seeking 21 month old joy. I love him so much, and have been so blessed by having the last 21 months to get to know him and love on him. Judah actually means "Praised" and we really feel like he is something we praise God for every day. His very life is a real praise for God's goodness to us. :)

You can see what a joyful spirit that he has in this picture. He is always very open with his smiles, and will spill his happyness on those around him. He has always been a natural in front of the camera as well. I am really enjoying the toddler years with him thus far. It is so beautiful to me to see how God has designed humans to find their own boundaries at such a young age, and its a bit scary to know that how I train him is going to determine in a large sense his ability to respect himself, other people, and the boundaries God has set for us in scripture. Right now we are really working on his "No". Teaching him that his no has power, and it is important. He needs a strong "No" to be able to say no to evil, and people who would use and manipulate him, causing him to walk away from God's path. The other side is teaching him that he also must learn to take a no. That other people have boundaries as well that cannot be crossed. It is such a special time to be a mamma!

Zachary Justice Hall!

We have a baby! Actually, we had him on the 10th, and I am just getting around to updating! He was born March 10, 2011, into the comfort of him mamma's arms in our home. He weighed 8lb 4oz, and was 21 inches long. Here are some pics! They are kindof backwards so, you see baby before labor. :)

Here he is, weighed in at 8lb 4oz. The midwife brings a scale, and everything that you need to get all the information for the baby when he is born. :)

Meeting Big Brother Judah for the first time. Judah just loves Justice, and gives him lots of kisses. Sometimes he needs a friendly reminder that little brothers are not for hitting though. :)

Right after birth, snuggled up in mamma's arms in her own bed. I would never, ever, ever do another hospital birth, unless it was totally necesary. The homebirth was everything I wanted, and I actually got to bond with Justice without having him taken away like they did Judah. Those hours they stole from us caused a wound in our relationship, that though healed now, was damaging Judah's first few months of life. With Justice I feel in tuned to his needs, and I am completly attached and in love with this little man. :)

Laboring with the best labor coach in the world. Labor was a lot of hard work, but he was there every step of the way to hold my hand, push back my hair, massage my hips, or just whisper sweet words on encouragement to me. Chris definatly was everything I needed in a hubby during those long hours of pushing. I love him so much.. <3

Laboring in the birth pool. Due to my blood pressure dropping because of the temp of the water, I was not actually able to have a 'real' waterbirth, but I did labor in the water for quite a while.
We are very thankful for the newest blessing God has given us.. :)

Monday, April 5

Why I chose Attachment Parenting

I talk alot about Attachment Parenting, or AP. I thought I should take a moment to explain both on my blog, and on facebook what I mean.. :) While I was still pregnant, I had a bit of exposure to a style called Attachment Parenting. I found it on an online message board called "Mothering". I agreed and loved many of the ideas that the website promoted, but ultimatly wrote it off, because the overall feeling of the board was very New Age. Many of the mom's on this site were athiests, or agnostics, and I could not find anything about good Christian people practicing this style of parenting. I did not realize that many people who do practice AP do so for biblical reasons.. In fact, Dr William Sears, the one who originally coined the term Attachment Parenting, is a believer himself!

Attachment Parenting promotes certain practices, but more so, a concept that is different than many peoples. AP has certain things that are sort of like character traits. These parents generally:

Bonding right at birth~This is very very critical for AP parents. They will generally pursue a birth that has little or no medical intervention, and birth in an enviornment that is condusive to the family spending a lot of time together. This would be time without Drs, nurses, or anyone else taking baby away. This "Babymoon" is a very special and important time.

Breastfeed~Mostly practicing Child Led Weaning, or, nursing until the child decides he/she is done.

Bedding close to baby~Usually in the form of co-sleeping, or sharing a bed with the baby. Some though, simply place the basinet or crib in mom and dad's room.

Practice Night Time parenting~This basically means that they do not actively pursue rigid "sleep training" They do not allow their children to scream themselves to sleep, and reject the idea of teaching a child so young to "self soothe" Babes are also allowed to nurse at night.

Babywear~ The basic tenant of AP, is that the mamma/baby bond is divinely given by God. In order to protect this bond, baby stays with mamma. This is easily facilated by the mamma wearing the baby in a safe sling or wrap. There have been studies that suggest that children that are carried and worn, generally feel more secure*

Belief in the language value of a baby's cry~ Basically this means, babies cry when the need something. If they are hungry or wet. A 3 month old is not playing insane mindgames trying to control your mind.

Ballance~Do not spend so much time completly focased on baby to the point where you neglect you own well being, or the well being of you marriage.

Over the last several months, I have become very passionately AP. Though, as a couple, Chris and I do not practice 100% of the above, (Namely, we do not co-sleep with Judah) we do embrace the ideas that AP promotes. The ideas that are so important and real to me are:

1) God created the bond between a mamma and baby. It has become so real to me that being with me is not just a want of Judah's, it is an emotional need. Since I have started this new job, he has had a lot of trouble emotionally. :( It breaks my heart.

2) Teaching a new baby to somehow "learn independance" is silly. Children develop over time, and independance is a developmental step. Leaving a baby to cry alone to teach them how to sort things out is not productive, because a baby is not at a place mentally, or emotionally to be able to do that. They cannot understand that when you leave them you will in fact, return. This is something that is learned in time.

3) The fathers role in creating a safe enviornment is crucial. There is a reason why fathers are adressed so sternly in scripture in regards to the type of home they build for their children to grow up in. AP does focas on the mothers bond with baby, but it also understands that both mamma, and baby need a Daddy.. <3

4) Birth is a natural process. My birth with Judah was a medical success.. I had a healthy baby.. All good, right? Yes, sortof. I praise God that my baby was healthy. And I am not trying to say that is not important. But, I believe that those first few hours that were stolen by the medical professionals, who had no bond with my baby are lost forever.. And that grieves me very deeply. Should we have more children, I look forward to bringing them into this world in the most gentle, safe way possible. God created my body to give birth. And I believe in his wonderful creation! Provided that something out of the ordinary does not happen, I will be perfectly safe giving birth at home, to allow our family time to bond in a quite, un hassled enviounment..

5) One of the biggest reasons I love this thought process, is because it really focases on doing what is best for your family. Even if that means not co-sleeping, or breastfeeding ect.. Right now, co-sleeping is not in the best interest of our entire family unit. We do sleep with Judah if he is sick or needy, and we are not closed always to the idea.. But attachment parenting is really about building relationships, and doing your best to have them bud and develop in the safest, gentlest way possible..

So those are my thoughts! Thanks for reading!

*Obviously, this depends on the parents, and many other factors as well. Babywearing, or any of the practices listed will ensure an happy healthy baby.. Emotionally or otherwise. I do believe that they create a place where it is easier to be happy and healthy though..

Tuesday, March 16

Ways we have and are saving money!

Its is crazy how creative you get when you are trying to save money! I have really been enjoying learning how to stretch the money we have. I have to say that Attachment Parenting, and being just old fashioned crunchy really helps.. :)
So, here is a list of all the crazy things we do.. :)
1.) We use cloth diapers. They say that using disposable diapers, from newborn to potty trained costs you an average of 1800 dollars per child! That number is crazy, but when I look at diapers in the store, I am surprised it is not more..
I love the cloth diapers that I use. We use a combination of an old fasioned prefold, with a diaper cover. There are very cute covers available these days, and very econimical too. We get by with about 15 prefolds, which cost around between 15 and 25 dollars a dozen. (The ones we got were 17) Since we use them with a diaper cover, we are good with the infant size, and do not have to worry about buying new diapers as Judah grows. For covers, we have a few different styles. We mainly use gDiaper covers. These diapers are WONDERFULL! The outside of the diaper is made of a cotton/polyester blend that is very soft. They come with waterproof liners that snap in. You simply put your prefold into the liner, and velcro the whole thing on baby. These are nice trim diapers as well.. We also use the Bumkins Vented Diaper Cover. This is another one of my favorites! Very lightweight, and breathable, these keep baby dry and rash free! I will have to take pictures of my diapers and do a follow up post. :)
2) We also use cloth diaper wipes. This makes sense really, seeing as how we already are washing diapers. After using these the past several months, I can not imagine how we ever used the flimsy disposable version. Right now, I just use all those baby washclothes that we never used when he was little. They work like a charm. I make my own diaper wipe solution by mixing water, baby shampoo, and a generous amount of baby lotion. They smell so good!
3.) We use family cloth. This replaces toilet paper. This also seemed like a logical thing to do, since we are already washing diapers, and wipes. You can buy cloth online made specifically for this purpose, but Chris and I have found that you generic cheap baby washclothes work very well. This is another thing we love! We were kind of surprised, but its nice not having to worry about you TP tearing.
4.) Reusable sandwhich bags. Right now we just use the heavy duty ziploc bags, and wash them. I am looking into investing in sandwich bags and wraps that are made of a more durable material.
5.)We breastfeed. When Judah was a couple of months old, and was having some tummy trouble, we looked at buying a formula for him. That stuff is crazy expensive! Cans ranged from 8-30 dollars if my memory does me well. And those only make 15 bottles. On top of the price benefit, breastfeeding promotes the God given mamma instinct, and seals the connection of baby and mamma. I can not imagine weaning Judah right now. (Actually, I can imagine it right after he bites me.. but that is another story)
6.) I do not use disposable feminine products. I was surprised to learn that there are other things to use that are way cheaper, and more comfortable in the long run. I prefer what is known as the diva cup, which is washable, and reusable. Some mammas will use Mamma Cloth, which is a cloth version of a disposable pad. Mamma cloth is easy to make, and saves a few more pennies in the budget.
7.) I wear Judah. While we do have strollers that were given to us, this is not something we would have spent a lot of money on, though they do come in handy.. :) (Especially with a new baby when you can snap the sleeping baby carseat and all, onto the stroller) If we had not been given one though, we would have saved that money. I wear Judah in different types of wraps or slings depending on the activity I am doing. If I am doing housework, the best option for me is for him to be on my back, so my hands are free. This is easiest with a Moby type wrap. Which is basically a long strechy fabric that you tie the baby on with. Very fun too! If I am shopping, or hanging out, will use a ring sling. This is a sling that goes over one shoulder, with a pouch for the baby or toddler to rest in.
8) We waited a long time to introduce Judah to solids, and when we did, he eats things that we eat, so no baby food expense.

That is about all I can think of now. That was fun to type out.. :) I am enjoying becoming much more natural, and less wastefull.. It really is a fun journey!