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One

We made it.

I realize that I’m clearly stating the obvious here but there were days, too many, that I really wasn’t sure we would. It’s safe to say that pretty much nothing went the way I was expecting it to over the past year. Some of which I have found explanations for and some of which I may never understand this side of Heaven. Sure, it took more patience, strength, prayers and tears than I thought I had in me. But we made it.

So this isn’t going to be the sappy “my-how-time-flies” one-year blog post that you’ll see circulating facebook. I wish it was. But my desire is to give a little hope to the new moms in the thick of it, feeling like they’re drowning and wondering why they aren’t experiencing the warm fuzzies like everyone else.

So to that mom:

You can do this. You are doing this. You are doing an incredible job. I know it feels thankless and that all of your endless sacrificing is accomplishing absolutely nothing. I know that you think your prayers are hitting the ceiling. I know you feel like you will never be you again. You are empty, tired, hungry, and maybe (probably) even smelly. I know it’s not fair. I know you did everything right. I know you’d give everything to fix the problem, or even just identify it. I know you’d do anything for them. I know you have held nothing back. God knows it too. He planned this. I don’t know why. You don’t either. I know you wonder how “she” does it while knowing exactly how. God planned that for her too. He hasn’t left you, ever.

You’ll see.

When they smile with no teeth, or two teeth. When they giggle. When they run away from you wobbling side to side. On the rare night they fall asleep in your arms (or maybe just in their crib without crying). When they reach for you. When they say “mama”, when they dance, when they splash, and when they are sitting in their high chair surrounded by loved ones singing “Happy Birthday”, You’ll see.

You’ll see then how the depth of your love for them is just a tiny glimpse of God’s love for us. And if we would give all of ourselves for them, how much more so would He for us.

This stuff is hard, but you aren’t alone. He is here and so am I. Because we made it. And so will you.

So here’s to year one. The year that challenged and strengthened me more than any other and to the beautiful little girl who opened my heart to depths I never would’ve known otherwise. My Mae.

 

 

Mae’s Homemade Goat Milk Baby Formula

Homemade Goat Milk Formula01

Well if you have been around here long enough you know that my pretty little baby has given her mama quite a run for her money.

From nursing issues, to digestive issues, temperamental issues and just the general what-the-heck-is-happening issues, these past ten months have not been what I thought they would be. Instead of snuggling in bed all day smelling one another and being intoxicated by the sheer bliss of our bond like I’d expected; we spent most days battling more challenges that I can even wrap my head around.

BUT it is getting better. So much better. We have been able to pinpoint many of the factors contributing to Mae’s challenges and as a result we can begin to fix them.

One of our most recent major breakthroughs was this homemade formula.

I’d heard about it since Mae was five-weeks old but always thought it was a bit too unconventional and worried that putting her health and development into the hands of an online formula recipe was rather risky.

But after nursing, pumping, and multiple kinds of commercial formula failed, I was left with this or soy. SO we did soy. And it worked. But everything I read about it sent chills down my spine so I kept digging.

I consulted a well-known doc via twitter, a nutritionist, a local holistic doctor and our awesome naturally-minded chiropractor and they all pointed me here.

So I took that as the go-ahead to give it a shot. Wouldn’t you know it, Mae’s sleep and mood improved dramatically. This stuff is seriously magic.

It does take a bit of an investment to get going and seems overwhelming at first but now I can have a 2-day batch ready in less time than it takes to drive to Whole Foods and buy her formula there. There are some bulk-prep tips for combining some of the ingredients ahead of time that I am anxious to make it even more cost and time effective.

But here is the best part, it is nutritionally on par with breast milk. Also, it’s so much cheaper than commercial formula. Seeing how much it has improved our quality of life, I am just bummed I didn’t start it sooner.

Mae’s recipe is actually a combination of two of them based on what I have found to work well for her.

Adapted from the Weston A Price Website:

Ingredients
This makes about 36oz but I always double it to last us two days since her intake is pretty high.

Homemade Goat-Whey (make this the night before)

Place 2 quarts of Goat yogurt in a mesh strainer lined with a cheesecloth set over a bowl. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl. Place whey in clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 5 cups. (The leftover yogurt in the strainer is delicious with honey!!)

Instructions

  • Put 2 cups filtered water into a pyrex measuring pitcher and remove 2 tablespoons (that will give you 1-7/8 cups water).
  • Pour about half of the water into a pan and place on a medium flame.
  • Add the gelatin and lactose to the pan and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • When the gelatin and lactose are dissolved, remove from heat and add the remaining water to cool the mixture.
  • Stir in the coconut oil until melted.
  • Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients into a blender.
  • Add the water mixture and blend about three seconds.
  • Place in glass bottles or a glass jug and refrigerate.
  • Before giving to baby, warm bottles by placing in hot water or a bottle warmer. NEVER warm bottles in a microwave oven.

For questions, this group is a wonderful resource for moms wanting to try this recipe.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a health professional and I am by no means qualified to advise you on health/nutritional issues for your child. I recommend you consult your pediatrician before determining if this recipe is right for your baby. Also, it is illegal for raw milk to be sold for human consumption so goat dairies will require you to sign a waiver indicating you have been made aware that it is intended for pets only.

 

Kirsten - My first child was similar. People always thought it was colic, but I knew he was just too AWARE. From the second he was born he had an opinion about everything…while it seemed that other babies I looked at were in some kind of dream state :). Just wanted to say that I think it’s a sign of intelligence…(at least that’s what I told myself when I was losing it!). He is now 8 and so smart and much much easier to reason with ūüėČ Hang in there!November 20, 2014 – 7:20 pm

Eight-Month Photos

Something feels kinda off about sharing her 8-month photos on the eve of her 9-month birthday but I am just going to roll with it. This kid is trying so hard to show me how to do that in more ways than one. I am not sure I will ever fully get it but I have been learning a ton about relinquishing the illusion of control I have clung to so tightly. I swear I have learned this lesson before but I guess I needed it to come around again. And again.

My best girl Ann always has such wisdom to share, yesterday she penned these words:

Sometimes the most revolutionary thing that you can do is simply turn away just for a moment from doing ‚ÄĒ¬†and make space for being…We come the most alive after being the most still.

Why do I feel so compelled to do? Why is¬†being so difficult? I have a few guesses as to why I struggle so much with that but I think most of us would have to admit that it’s largely because we want results quick. We lack the patience to wait on The Lord and the strength to trust that He will make all things beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Our security tends to get stuck within ourselves.

However, after 9 months of doing everything I possibly could to try to fix each of #littlebabymae’s issues, I am now focusing more on letting go, settling in and trusting that As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30) I have to realize that God has Mae in His perfect protecting, providing hands. As J.S. Park states,

‚ÄúGod is at once bigger than our minds can comprehend and closer than our hearts dare to believe.‚ÄĚ

So while I have been working through all of that, #littlebabymae has been turning into a toddler. I am not even kidding. She operates in high gear all day every day and wants to walk so badly! I am convinced it’s any day now. I know I am supposed to want time to stand still and for her to stop growing up but with every stage of independence this kid gets happier and happier. Happy baby = happy mama so I say bring it on. But just for a little while, because it can’t be possible she’d be this cute forever…

Little Baby Mae 8 months - web14Little-Baby-Mae-8-months---web03Little Baby Mae 8 months - web06Little Baby Mae 8 months - web01Little Baby Mae 8 months - web09Little Baby Mae 8 months - web10Little Baby Mae 8 months - web07Little Baby Mae 8 months - web18Little Baby Mae 8 months - web17Little Baby Mae 8 months - web16

Photos of the two of us by my dear Kat Braman

Kaylie B. Poplin - These are perfect! So beautiful!October 17, 2014 – 12:23 am

Samantha - I love those last photos of the two of you, so precious!October 17, 2014 – 4:09 pm

SEE Sessions with Jessica Sloane

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Join designer & stylist, Jessica Sloane, and myself, for a comprehensive experience in the art of seeing.

February 10 ‚Äď 11 at The Cordelle in Nashville, Tennessee

Our objective for SEE sessions is to help you, as designers, stylists and photographers, to intricately explore how to approach a wedding both aesthetically and relationally to create a final product that is unique to each client and artist.

During Day One, we will be sharing our experience and perspective on: finding your voice as an artist, discovering inspiration, client interaction, building & creating opportunities, storytelling and timeline management. We will review photography techniques for composition, posing and lighting. We’ll also give tips on shooting and styling for getting published.

Day two will include a fully styled wedding editorial shoot where attendees can observe, participate, practice and receive feedback from the instructors. There will be a Q&A at the end of the day to ensure that each attendee walks away with a renewed sense of inspiration and direction in their role as an artist.

Seating in limited, to enroll, visit SeeSessions.com