Monday, December 17, 2012


I've transferred everything over to: and have already started blogging pretty regularly there. My goal is to preserve memories, since my memory fails me so often.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

1 Out of 3

Bedrest: Nope. Although do I ever wish for a day where I was banned from lifting a finger? I'll sheepishly admit to pining for those every now and then.

Baby: No way. She's a big girl. At 19 months, there is nothing about our little girl that is baby, except for some extra "fluff" (baby fat) that makes her cheeks full and her thighs adorable.

Blessing: Absolutely. The reason I started this blog, to be honest, was to pass the time during my (what I considered to be) extremely long and boring time on bedrest. However, the reason I continue to write periodically is to record the blessings bestowed on us by having our little girl in our life.

She blesses me each time she smiles, giggles when we tickle the back of her neck, drinks her pretend tea, sings "Jesus Loves Me", prays before she eats, puts her hand out and says "hand" wanting me to hold her hand, exclaims "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" after naps or in the morning, and the list goes on and on.

I only hope that I can be a blessing in her life, as well.

So, since I've got only 1 out 3 of the descripters going for me now, perhaps a name change is in order. Perhaps a new direction is in order. I want to record the wonder of her childhood through this blog. I'll be thinking about it for now, but feel free to comment if you have any ideas!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Little Teeth

Jenaleigh's 2 top teeth have finally broken through the surface, and there are THREE more waiting to pop on out and say hello (we can see the whites under the gums). Five teethers at one time. That's cruel, isn't it? But, believe it or not, she's been pretty chill throughout the whole ordeal.

Oh, yes, she's still had fussy moments (and fussy days), but no major disrupted sleep. Hoorah!

However, today has been a meltdown day for a variety of reasons. First off, our piano tuner came to tune the piano, meaning Jenaleigh and I were cast off into her room for over an hour. She was SO not happy to be parted from her beloved living room and kitchen. Secondly, I think she's a little irritated that our house guests are gone. Little Miss LOVES being the center of attention, and after a few days of doting and playing, I think she's wondering why she has to be stuck with Mommy again. 

But, we've still had our giggles to fuel our day. Baby giggles are definitely worth it all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Diapers and such.

What crazy deluded person would switch to cloth diapers after making it 11 blissful months with the convenience (ie. waste) of disposables?

That would be me.

We're still in "transition" (which is a word that has taken on a whole new meaning since my painful "transition" during labor), trying out new ones and figuring what works best for us.

Why? Eh, why not? Okay, seriously... I wanted to CD (cloth diaper) when she was little, but I was too intimidated. There are SO many options and SO many mixed reviews. Pockets, fitted, prefolds, hybrids, all in ones, etc etc etc... Well, I've found a group of moms that are crunchy (as mentioned before) and have been completely inspired by them. Not only will I be helping the environment (yay for that! believe me I'm not a tree hugger, but the God Almighty did give us this blessing of an earth, right?) but I will, hopefully save some major $$, which is always a plus in my book.

However, the experience hasn't been great as of yet. So far, we've leaked a lot with pocket diapers. I've tried doubling and tightening, but the only way to keep the leak from ... well, leaking ... is to change her super frequently. This is shock to me, because she could go for hooooouuuuurrrrsss in desposies without being changed. (Even though the diaper would get puffy and she obviously was wet. Now, note: It was not a habit of mine to let her run around with a snow ball in her pants, but sometimes it would happen due to traveling or just unexpected wetness!)

Also, another big shock (okay, not a *shock*, but something I'll need to get used to) is the laundry. Confession: I'm super lazy with laundry (maybe once a week if I'm feeling motivated), but I know with a pile full of urine soaked covers and inserts I can't let it go for days. However, I am waiting on some gDiapers to arrive (I'll let you know ALL about them when they get here), and they are designed so I wouldn't have to change the cover every diaper change, merely the plastic liner (if needed) and the insert. This means that I can rotate 2 covers throughout the day (unless there are any major poop blowouts, which don't happen too often now that she's on solids). Hopefully meaning I won't have to wash diapers every day.

In the meantime, I'm doubling up using prefolds (that I was using as burp clothes when she was little bitty) as inserts in the loaner pockets and changing her often... and using a few 'sposies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easier This Time Around?

Well, we've done it ... we both hit that number on the scale that left us terrified and we're back on the Weight Watcher's bandwagon. Our second weigh in is today and we're both expecting to see about a 5 pound weight loss. Yay! A couple of years ago, D and I joined WW and he lost 60 pounds (he's gained about 20 of it back), while I lost 40 pounds and have gained every solitary pound plus about 2 back. You may be thinking, "But wait, you had a baby! Give yourself a break!" Ha. I only gained 25 of those pounds while pregnant and I swiftly lost every # after Jenaleigh came along. (Only to eventually gain it back!)

The 2012 WW is a little different than it was in 2010 -- for example, (most) fruits and vegetables are ZERO points. Translation: We can have as many as we want! Also, we're given a higher point allotment for the day than I remember us having. Daniel even asked me if it seemed "easier this time around." A tad bit. But, I think it's easier for him because he has 43(?) points to eat, whereas I only have 34! :-)
*Been-there-done-that tip: It's *SO* much easier to lose weight when your husband is taking the journey with you. In 2007 and 2008 I tried Nutrisystem and WW without him, and while I saw some results, they were minimal. Don't have a husband who wants to lose weight? Find a friend -- but, don't suggest it to her. That could be what you might call... insulting. Wait until she starts complaining about her weight and then ask if she'd like to be your weight lose buddy!

MY WEIGHT JOURNEY -- Curious about what I've tried; what worked; what didn't? Obviously I'm not a success story when it comes to maintaining my weight; which, is our biggest goal for this weight loss round. We're going to *try* to tackle it and keep it off. I'm also bringing God into this battle with me. I've usually forgotten to ask for his help when it comes to losing weight. But, why? He's my biggest Ally!

Age 12 -- Weight: 200+ lbs. Yes, Seriously.
Age 13 -- Lost 60 lbs. Method? Starvation and Interest in Boys. Would not recommend this.
Age 15 -- Lost 10 lbs. More boy craze was my motivation, and therefore I severely limited calorie intake.
Age 18 -- Gained about 20. But, I was comfortable with where I was.
Age 19 -- Gained 45. Blame it on getting married and eating cheap junk.
Age 19 -- Lost 15. Nutrisystem. Eh. I wouldn't do it again -- it was mostly processed foods (that can't be good for us, right?) and was unrealistic to keep up with.
Age 20-21 -- Gained 15. Stress. Life. Etc.
Age 21 -- Lost 15 doing WW by myself.
Age 23 -- Gained 25.
Age 23 -- Lost 40 with the help of WW and Daniel joining my side.
Age 24 -- Gained 15. Got pregnant. Gained 25.
Age 25 -- Had baby. Lost 25. Gained 25.

Wow... Is that what we call "yo-yo" dieting, or WHAT?!?! Hopefully, the next line in this journey will read "Age 26 -- Lost 50 pounds, kept it off for good." Prayers would be appreciated!

So, Weight Watchers and weight issues aside, I've also been busy preparing for Little Bug's "One"-derland Celebration! I've made a high chair tutu, decorated a screen with pictures of her, created Wonderland direction signs, made invitations, and more! Stay tune for photos and maybe even a tutorial or two?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Promises

I come to you during one of my few precious spare moments... (Perhaps "spare" is a bit of a misnomer... there's a ladies' Bible class and lesson waiting to be studied for, laundry patiently sitting in the dryer, Pampered Chef packets waiting to be assembled, etc, etc.)

I make no promises that I'm "back" to blogging frequently; I'll just take it one post at a time.

What's changed in the past 3 months?

Jenaleigh is crawling and cruising. Scary, no? For all those new moms who yearn for the day that their little one puts one knee in front of the other becoming a mobile critter, you may bask in the glory for an hour, but then you will probably realize terror. Mobility means the ability to get into trouble. Alot of trouble.

Nevertheless, it is a joy watching her learn more about this world through first hand exploration. 
* Been-There-Done-That Tip : When your little one is old enough to warrant cabinet locks, make sure you leave one cabinet accessible to her and fill it with baby friendly containers so she can play while you cook or clean. Jenaleigh loves playing with her colorful bowls while I wash dishes.

We're starting to eat more local, organic, fresh foods. I was blessed to be asked to join a "crunchy mom" group on Facebook (although, I consider myself about as crunchy as a bowl of mush) and through that avenue have been introduced to local farmers through which we have been buying free range eggs, butter, grass fed meat, and more. (And we're looking forward to the organic produce CSA that we've signed up for starting in May!)
*Been-There-Done-That Tip: If you're just beginning to eat organically, be sure to check out the list of the "dirty dozen". This has a list of the 12 produce items that have been shown to have the most pesticide residues. Memorize these items or stick them in an evernote file on your phone and begin purchasing the organic versions of these fruits and veggies. The top "dirtiest"? APPLES! A fav at our house that we now only buy if they're organic. 

I'm also baking bread every week -- it's my one small step to help rid our family of all the preservative laden foods we ingest.
*Been-There-Done-That Tip: If you're going to be baking bread frequently, take a day to measure out all your dry ingredients (minus the yeast) for a month's worth of bread. Separate them into individual baggies and stick them in the fridge. When it comes time to make the bread all you'll have to do is pull a bag out of the 'fridge and add your wet ingredients and yeast!

I've gained weight. Ugh. The second I stopped exclusively pumping I packed on 10 pounds. (Okay, maybe this is a tad bit exaggerated, but not much -- I've gained about 15 pounds since the end of November!)
*Been-There-Done-That Tip: When your baby weans, remember that you're not going to be burning those extra 500 or so calories like you would nursing; so adjust your diet accordingly! Don't be like me and continue piggin' out!

Jenaleigh can talk. Seriously. She says "chicken" (at random times), "hey" when you walk in the room, "bye bye" when you leave, and of course the ever favorite "DA DA"! It's beyond interesting to watch her carry on conversations with that stern look on her face. She'll look up at me to let me weigh in on the subject and when I provide her with a very serious, "You don't say?", she'll continue. So cute.

However, this cuteness does present itself as a struggle during worship services (especially while DA DA is preaching.) I do my best to "shush" her, put a gentle finger over her mouth, and yes, sometimes even stick the paci in as a silencer. I do not want her to lose her love of words, but I figure a little gentle training on appropriate situations during which one can jabber can't hurt, right?

I sell Pampered Chef! I am so so so so so diggin' my new gig as an Independent Consultant with the Pampered Chef. Seriously. The income is wonderful (helping to quickly demolish those hospital and doctors' bills); the product samples are discounted/free; the people are fun; and my schedule is flexible. I get a little "adult time" a few nights a month and earn money doing it. (Plug: is my personal website at which you can order any time of the month.)

At first when the idea popped into my head, I squashed it. After all, aren't photography (which we only do on a very limited basis right now), piano lessons (4 kids), teaching Bible classes, keeping up with a bebe enough? But, I'm oh so glad I dove in. I'm able to get an extra sense of accomplishment through meeting and exceeding my goals that I've set through the business. Don't get me wrong, raising, training, and teaching my little one will be the ultimate accomplishment; but it's also nice to have that little extra "something".

We've moved on to the next stage as a family. I don't exactly know what that stage is; but I do know for the first 6-7 months of her life (especially the 1st month) we were in "survival mode". Trying to figure out how we all fit in together; our new schedules; new family dynamics; etc. I'm not claiming that we've got it all worked out, but it's coming a lot easier.
*Been-There-Done-That Tip: Don't worry if the first few months with a new baby seem odd. You'll experience all sorts of emotions that come with a new identity (you're a Mommy now!), the shift of your spouse's id (he's a Daddy now!), and the overall stress and joy that come with a new baby. Just keep your eyes on the hope of a more "normal" (a new "normal") future while not forgetting to cherish the current moments. Yes, I'm so glad to be able to sleep through the night in our bed. But sometimes (if I'm in an "emotional reflective" mood) I miss getting to see her in the middle of the night; getting to hold her little fingers that wrapped tightly around mine when she drifted off; and the sweet snuggles that only come in the middle of the night. 

Our (almost) 11 Month Old Big Girl Who I Love SOOOO MUCH! :-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

6 Months, 7 Months, 8 Months, Where did it go...

Dear Jenaleigh,

The time is going by so quickly I sometimes have to make myself stop and catch my breathe. The first few weeks you were in our arms went by slowly (hello, sleepless nights!), but ever since then I feel like I'm running behind an out of control truck trying to catch it by the rear bumper so it won't fly by so fast.

I love every minute of being your Mommy -- the laughter, the smiles, the "looks", even the tears. I am so beyond blessed to call you my daughter!

Let me tell you a little bit about the past 30 days or so...
12/25 -- Your first Christmas! You loved loved loved opening presents (more so than the actual gifts in some cases) and then our little family went to worship God as we do on every Lord's Day. After that, Gigi, Papa, and Cousin Richard came over for more present fun, and oh the fun you had....

12/26 -- Sad day in the Howell household, Jenaleigh, you had your first double ear infection! The next few days were no fun. When we thought you were better, we traveled to Knoxville so you could see your Mamaw, but you ended up getting sicker!
1/8 -- Your Gigi and then your Mimi came and stayed with you while Mommy & Daddy went on a little vacation to Nashville. You had tons of fun with them (Mimi even let you play with Kitty!)
1/16 - You started crawling! Since then, you have completely mastered it, and are into *everything*!

So, Jenaleigh, those are the big moments in your life lately. You've been a pretty busy baby!

At 8 Months, You LOVE:
- Your "molecules" (little block like toys that fit perfectly in your hand and your mouth)
- Your sippy cup... Bottles? Eh... Those are for babies... You want your sippy and will only tolerate a bottle!
- Yogurt. Yum. Yum. Yum. (Mixed with a little fruit, of course.)
- Trying to eat all of the cords in the house. You keep me on my toes!
- Kicking Daddy in the face... Yes, it's a fun game *for now*... !
- Mario Kart. Mommy and Daddy have begun to play it every once in awhile, and you stare at it mesmerized (therefore, we have to greatly limit the time it's on around you -- we don't want you turning into a couch potato! no no no!)
- Men. Seriously, you give your biggest grins to all the men at church, leaving the women feeling a little left out. 
- Your "Da Da". You (of course) love your Mommy; but, when you see Dada get up to preach or walk down the aisle at church, you go gaga! You kick and squeal and are so so happy!

At 8 Months, You Don't Like...
- To be left waiting for your food. When you want it, you want it! No patience whatsoever!
- Having to sit still for too long. Mommy tries to keep you occupied during church with your special church only toys, but you really want to crawl around!
- Being tired. (of course) You need your sleep, in your room, with your sound machine, in your crib. You are a "creature" of habit!

Other than that, there's not too much else you don't like. You may be demanding at times, but you're easy going and lovable. And your faces and looks? They are to die for!

I love you little baby!

Your Mommy