Monday, November 10, 2014

Going Home

 It is no secret that I love going home-
home being Arkansas!!

{the past and future spot of where we will lay our heads at night}

And this last trip didn't disappoint!

Every time we visit, new restaurants have opened, breweries have popped up, more of our friends and family have had babies and we fall more in love with the adventures of our future.

We spent time with cousins-


 We took the finally boating trip of the year, enjoyed sunrises and sunsets at the best view in the world, and spent time with my people :D 





 We went on tea party adventures and ate too much sugar!



And we revisited one of my favorite memory spots :)

The last time I visited the giant Jesus was on a romantic Bed N Breakfast weekend with the guy I wound up marrying.  We drank too much and wandered the streets of a quaint little awesome town...the next day we drove to the giant Jesus - where we ran into my super fun neighbor {Hi Cory!} who was randomly in the back of The Traveling Piano man's pickup truck.  We played on this hill- dancing, singing, smoking cigars and talking about life for the whole afternoon.  It was quite a day.

This visit was different.
Great in it's own way. This time I was with my Momma and my littles.  We played, talked and breastfed.  Then headed to a winery...because it had reached a time of day that was more socially acceptable :D 


And best part about our current military duty station? 

I get to go back in a couple of weeks :)

Happy Monday ya'll

Yours,
Mrs. Momma Lawler

Sunday, November 9, 2014

EASY Toddler Activity Time

Apparently our last day of Fall is tomorrow...
further propelling our hunt for awesome {indoor} toddler activities!

We prefer activities that engage her to come up with her own game or play - there is plenty of structure during non-play time!!

Our recent go-to's have been super easy and totally worth it.  I'm sure I have pinned hundreds of pins with the same basic ideas- I just don't know why it took me so long to implement them.

The Bean Box

Bought 3 or 4 bags of beans, dumped them in a box 
We keep an old sheet in the box to make clean up a breeze! Thanks Christina!!
We have heard her using the different pieces as different characters in a story, different beans as different forms of money, sorting the beans into like categories, and the beans have also been a dessert that Olaf was trekking across! 


The Rice Box

Same concept as the bean box, but with a lot more color!


We separated a 10lb bag of rice into 5 ziplock bags with a dollop of different paint colors in each bag.
Shake SHAKE Shake
Let them dry.

They also have their own box, an old sheet and "tools".  
K-Cup does less story telling with the rice and more "cooking".  Lots of pouring, funneling, stirring and shaking!



Buttons and Pipe Cleaners

That's it.


The first day we did this, she sat there for an hour.

An HOUR.

Threading buttons onto pipe cleaners. Lots of pipe cleaners into one button.
Sorting the colors. Matching button colors with pipe cleaner colors.

Great for fine motor skills and Momma's ability to get laundry folded and their closet organized!

Hope this gets you inspired to create an environment of open play with super easy and fun projects!

Yours,
Mrs. Momma Lawler

Monday, November 3, 2014

fall back

f a l l  b a c k 

I spent the day seeing memes 
(I think that is what captioned pictures are called now?)
about how gaining that hour with the time change doesn't count if you have kiddos...

SO TRUE.

Not only I get less sleep because of the time change, 

but the littlest Lawler decided to grow some more teeth!

But then I look outside...and totally don't care.

It is GORGEOUS.

A little terrifying to know that winter is creeping up on us.

But GORGEOUS.

Quick catch up?

JamJar is growing!
 (What? Your totally surprised?!)









She rolls, she "talks", she sits up and she makes us fall more in love with her every minute.

She is currently fighting through a little cold and it breaks my heart to see her uncomfortable! 

We've been diffusing Sniffle Stopper by Plant Therapy's line of KidSafe oils, breastfeeding, sitting is luke-warm baths and using our Baby Comfy Nose to get rid of her drainage...so hopefully she will feel better soon! 


The past couple of months have also been busy for K-Cup - 

She started ballet 


Finally potty trained! 


Started cuddling to sleep instead of breastfeeding


Had her first horse ride-


And convinced her Granny to get her an Elsa AND an Anna outfit 



Mr. Lawler and I have spent the last couple months of Fall furthering our plant based eating habits, cutting down on sugar, deepening our yoga practice, cutting back on social media and adventuring even more together.  And it is wonderful :D


And now that we are getting into a slower groove for winter...

maybe, just maybe....

I will keep up with blog posts.

;)

Yours,
Mrs. Momma Lawler


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Coconut Water Kefir AND Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oats

Who is getting more productive?

The Lawler Family!

After watching a few too many documentaries - 

and working through our Happier and Healthier 2014 Resolution

We are doing really well getting rid of excess, being mindful, getting shit done and appreciating life.

The initial plan followed Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

and we have continued with that daily in trying to get rid of something we don't 
"find useful or beautiful"
(which has become like a mantra in our house!)

Most of that stuff has been donated and I've started a small pile of things that we would rather sell.

(anybody have tips about e-bay?)


I'm also on day 56 - FIFTY SIX - of doing yoga every day.

Who knew I had time to do yoga EVERY DAY!?

Mr. Lawler and K-Cup join in most days making for an even more awesome mindful experience.

And as of two days ago, I've added in the Couch to 5k program

(which is majorly killing my shins right now!)


Our house is clean.
My soul feels energized.
Our lovely littles are happy and healthy.
And we have time for all kinds of adventures.

Less is so definitely more.

And with my extra time today - 

I made a week's worth of steel cut oats & my first batch of coconut water kefir!

both unbelievably easy and toddler-helping friendly!


Mr. Lawler requested the oats -

Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oats 


You need:
6 Pint Sized Mason Jars - sterilized! 
Ladle
Large pot

3 1/3 Cups Steel Cut Oats
8 Cups Water
Couple Pinches of Salt

Bring the above ingredients to a boil
Simmer for 3-5 minutes
Ladle into 6 Pint size mason jars (fill just over halfway)
Screw on tops
Leave on the counter for 6-8 hours to finish cooking (overnight!)
Put in the fridge
When you are ready to eat them -
add some fun!
Honey, cinnamon, raisins, dried fruits, granola...
Enjoy them cold or warm them up!

And the 
Coconut Water Kefir


You need:
Kitchen thermometer
Large pot
Quart sized Mason Jar - Sterilized 

4 cups of fresh coconut water 
(I didn't have any coconuts today, so I used organic & raw coconut water from Whole Foods)
Kefir Starter

Bring the Coconut water to 92 degrees Fahrenheit 
Pour into Mason Jar
Stir in Kefir Starter
Loosely screw on lid
Leave on counter for 24-48 hours 
Taste test at 24 hours to see if it is fizzy and milky white and you like the taste!
Leave up to 48 hours
Lasts in the fridge for 7-14 days

There are so many benefits to drinking kefir- but hopefully I can do a more in depth post, 
once I've created some fun variations!!


Now it's time to get out of the virtual world and be present in the real one!

Happy Tuesday :)

Yours,

Mrs. Momma Lawler

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DIY Aromatherapy Play Dough

 

What an incredibly easy and fast project!

Oh my goodness, ya'll.

I love stuff like this because it takes very little prep time and creates a TON of play time.
K-Cup has played for over 4 hours (over the course of the week) with the two batches  I made! 


These recipes call for essential oils to get the aromatherapy benefits...so please do your research when choosing yummy smells! Some oils are NOT kiddo safe-
Hello peppermint and eucalyptus!
One of my favorite lovelies, Christina, posts all sorts of amazing EO safety (and FUN) information over on Plant Therapy's blog, so if you are interested check her out HERE!

The basic play dough recipe is :
2 cups Flour
I used my organic unbleached
2 tbl spoons Cream of Tarter 
1/2 cup Salt
2 tbl spoons oil -
 I used olive, but vegetable/grapeseed/sunflower/whatever will work
1.5 cups boiling water

1. Mix together the dry ingredients (including any spice/powder you are using for color)

2. Add the oil (and tablespoon or 2 of juice if you are using for color)

3. Slowly mix in the boiling water till it's cool enough to knead with you hands.

4. Knead with you hands :)

5. Add essential oils

6. Knead some more

7. Store in an airtight container (8 oz mason jars are the perfect size for this recipe!)


Now to add color and aromatherapy benefits, theres some wiggle/play room.

For our yellow play dough - 
I used an organic chamomile and lavender tea bag in my boiling water, a tablespoon of turmeric spice and 5 drops of lavender essential oil.

For our pink play dough - 
I used beet juice and a zen essential oil blend

and I love the calming aromatherapy blends because when it's time for play dough at our house...that generally means it's quiet time!

There are also lots of essential oils and blends that promote clarity & attention, kill germs, boost immunity...
the list goes on and on- if you aren't already into essential oils, a little research will get you there!



Hope you all have some fun - and get the littles involved with the making!

Happy Saturday :)

Yours,

Mrs. Momma Lawler

Monday, August 11, 2014

Social Media Cleanse

Hi World! 
As life would have it, I'm entirely too far behind on my blogging.  

For good reason though :D

Life with two babies is fantastic and busy!

But before I start posting all of our latest adventure updates, recipes and DIY projects - 
I want to explain our new social media cleanse.

It's too much.

I'm aimlessly peruse my Facebook newsfeed reading complaints about life from acquaintances of over a decade ago.  I have accumulated hours of pointless reading of weird articles that I have no actual interest in.  I devour unlikely "news" stories and then don't bother to check the validity of them.

Mr. Lawler and I are reading/working through The Desire Map by Daniella LaPorte,
{A M A Z I N G} 
and while answering questions dealing with wastes of time in my life or things that bring me down - 
social media almost always makes the list.

I love instagram. I love blogging. I love looking at pictures of my close friends and families new babies and life adventures. I love bring awareness to normalizing breastfeeding and parenting by one's own instinct. I love pinterest.  

The rest of it drains my energy.

And even though it's a drain on my soul, I still find myself scrolling through my newsfeed while trying to relax in the tub, when the big girl is distracted playing her own games and when the hubby is driving and we are in the car.  

The straw that broke the camels back?

Today at lunch, I asked K-Cup to come sit down at the table and she brought my phone with her saying 
"Momma forget her phone".

Nu-uh.

I'm not going to be THAT mom. 


My first plan was to ditch Facebook entirely.  
The hubby hasn't Facebook-ed in a year and is enjoying the disconnect! 

Then I remembered all the family and close friends that I don't see often because of the whole Army thing.  I want to be able to connect with them and Facebook is entirely too convenient for that.

Plus, I want to keep my Lawler's Lovelies page.    

So the current plan is to detox myself with a Facebook friend's cleanse.  

My personal page is going to become just that. 
A PERSONAL page.

If I don't interact with you in a REAL sense, 
it's time to get less personal.

I have become what I consider to be REAL friends with people I interact with only through social media, and I want to continue with those relationships.

But if we don't really interact in any way besides seeing random pictures of the pets of some guy I met one time at a Frat party 7 years ago...it's time to end the Facebook relationship :D

The reason I'm explaining all of this is I don't want to hurt feelings.

I know a lot of people comment and "like" things on my personal page, and I feel some of those people may feel jilted, but that's exactly why I'm keeping my public page! 
 I will still post blog updates, pictures and articles to that page and if you want to stay involved after the cleanse - that's the way to do it!  

Plus - if I am jacking around less on Facebook - I have much more time for fun projects resulting in fun blog posts! :D 


Thanks for reading - and I hope you continue to!!

More interesting and fun posts to come in the future ;)

Happy Monday

Yours,
Mrs. Momma Lawler



Friday, June 20, 2014

My Trip to Labor Land {JamJar's Birth}



Oh, where to begin.

How about with the contractions that started about a week before delivery?

I mean..I was POSITIVE that I was going into labor any minute for a week.

They say you will know.

I KNEW.

And I was wrong.

They hurt.  Like period cramps, coming every 5-10 minutes for almost an entire week.

This did not seem fair.

I felt like a first time mom since I never had "real" contractions with K-Cup!

But then I gave up.
(of course that is when things get real!)

It's Saturday, May 3rd and we go on an adventure!

The contractions stop me along the way, but I had officially given up on caring how far apart they were and how often they were.

We hit farmer's market, went to one of our favorite local farm-to-table restaurants, drove into KC, went to the amazing World War I museum, the park and then Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is when the lightbulb in my brain clicked...probably because for the first time I had strangers stopping and asking me if I was okay during contractions!

We got in the car and timed a few of them...still not constant.  Ranging from 5-8 minutes apart.

Damn.
We were only about 5 minutes from the birth center instead of the hour it takes from our house!

So, we go home.

About 10pm we go to bed and I pre-warn Mr. Lawler that I think tonight will be the night.
(I had been saying that for a week...so I'm not sure how serious he took me!)

But the difference in tonight was I also texted my mom (who is 4 hours away, but planning on being at the birth) that I believed things were getting real, but that we were going to bed.

12:45 AM

I had been waking up to a few contractions that were significantly stronger for a couple of hours...but this time I had lost bladder control and wet the bed during one.

Clean myself off and get back in bed.

1:25 AM

I pee myself during a contraction again and call my mommy.
:)

Mom is already on her way, she left around midnight because she "knew".

1:30 AM

Call my midwife, contractions are 4-6 minutes apart and she says to go ahead and head in.

I wake up Mr. Lawler and we get loaded in the car with K-cup and begin the worst car ride EVER.

I mean seriously.  Contractions in the car are terrible.
You can't move freely and the movement isn't at all conducive to staying relaxed!

I snapped at Mr. Lawler a couple of times for going too fast, and he admitted later that he was almost hoping to get pulled over just to say "my wife is in labor!"

2 AM

We get to the birth center and she "checks" me.

2-3 centimeters,

What a miserable thing to know.

I was 2 centimeters 4 days before.

All of these contractions and pain and so little change.

But I tell myself, 3 is better than 0, 1 or 2.

My midwife offers of one of the triage rooms
(not like a hospital triage room...this is a beautiful little room with a day bed and couch)
and tells me she will check again in a couple hours and go from there.

My Momma arrives at 4 AM :D

Mr. Lawler falls asleep, K-Cup is wide awake and watching a movie on the computer and Mom is learning how snappy I get when someone is trying to talk to me during contractions!

(Sorry again, Mom!!)

A lot of this is a blur to me because I had checked out and gone to Labor Land...but Mom said I had one spot on the wall that I kept going to during contractions and would just lean into it and smoosh my face into the wall!

Between contractions I was snacking and bouncing on my ball and going into child's pose on the ground.  Overall, a little miserable and not having the relaxing, spiritual water labor that I had imagined!
(Snacks I packed? What to pack in your birth center bag!)

5 AM

The midwife checks me again.

Heart breaks.

I'm still 2-3 centimeters.

She gives me a muscle relaxer and advises us to go home.
Home is an hour away.  I am NOT having contractions in the car again.

5:30 AM

We check into the Marriott.

This was definitely an EXPERIENCE.

I really don't remember most of this time-  Mom and Mr. Lawler have given me play-by-plays!

I go to the bathtub and lay there forever.  Many, many contractions and I'm getting loud.

Like primal moaning loud.

Mr. Lawler tries to get me to listen to my birth playlist and I get grouchy with him again -
was not in the mood.

I attempt to sleep

(Mom and K-cup are in one bed and Mr. Lawler in the other)

But have to get out of bed and sway my hips every time I have a contraction.

The muscle relaxer has made my mouth dry and I remember complaining about that a lot.

Did I mention that I am LOUD.

I can't believe that we didn't receive complaints!

Mom orders breakfast about 7 because I announce I am starving...

Take one bite and the greasiness makes me sick.

Back in the tub.

I remember having a particular contraction that caused me to smoosh my face into the tub wall and then thinking how unbelievably gross that was to do in a hotel tub!

8:45 AM

I'm in the tub having a pretty bad time...Mom is sitting on the toilet lid telling me I HAVE to get out.

My reaction is to say "No"
 I'm in too much pain and this is the only place i have found that makes me feel more in control
(which is funny because even after the monstrous amounts of natural labor videos, books and blogs I had studied...I had close to no control!)

But then I do remember her telling me that I was going to have this baby in tub hotel because there was no time in-between my contractions.

Oh.

I guess it is time to go.

I had felt like there was barely anytime between contractions for hours, mainly because I was drifting off to sleep/Labor Land in between them...

but now there was actually NO real time in between contractions.

This is where it got funny.

We waddle my very loudly moaning pregnant self to the elevator where we meet our first stranger.

He wisely decides not to get stuck in the elevator with the crazy woman in labor.

I think we were 6 floors up...maybe 7.

So, of course we stop on nearly every floor.

One floor a little girl tries to get on as I am leaning against the wall with my hands making some horrendously loud animal sound...her mom grabs her shirt and pulls her back out of the elevator!

Next floor, teenage girls tries to get on...my mom blocks her and says no.

Make it to the lobby and Mr. Lawler is getting the car.

He says that a couple minutes before the front of the hotel was full of people.

By the time he pulled around and we were climbing in the car...they had scattered.

9AM

We arrive at the birth center and I, for some reason, strip off my shirt as I'm walking the door!

Different midwife is on-call and she checks me.

8 centimeters.

I almost cry from relief.

She tells me to head to my birthing suite.

Everything really becomes a blur.

I think it took me a while to get down the hall, I do remember having to stop and have a few contractions against the walls in the hallway.

Then comes the urge to push.

It really does feel like you need to go..well...like you need to poop.

And I start repeating that.

I head to the bathroom but I'm told not to push and to head to the bed!

My amazing cousin Jess has showed up at this point and has taken K-Cup out to the lobby
(where there is a whole little kids corner)

and my mom, Mr. Lawler, my midwife and my nurse are with me.

Midwife tells me to wait to push until I'm fully dilated and I have a centimeter to go.

I'm on my knees, then reclined on my back, then curled over a peanut ball...the nurse is using a doppler thing to listen to the heartbeat what seems like every couple of minutes.

They ask me if I want to get in the {beautiful} tub and I don't because I'm too hot.

At some point I become fully dilated because they went from telling me not to push, to push!

And wow.

It is called labor for a reason.

My midwife has been giving me all sorts of instruction...but at one point she tells me to stop yelling from my mouth and to yell from my vagina instead.

THAT is the line I remember Mr. Lawler repeating and then thinking "What did he just say!?"

My mom was behind me the whole time, supporting my back and coaching me as well.

I remember her telling me not to cry...and me thinking (maybe I said it out loud) for HER not to cry or pass out! She's a fainter...just like me!

I get up and use the bed post to squat and push.

Then my midwife got serious.

There was a change in her tone and I felt it.

The nurse wasn't able to find the heartbeat and my amazing midwife knew it was time to get this baby out.

She got serious and told me we needed to get the baby out now and I needed to do it.

And I did.

A couple more big pushes and I was no longer pregnant.

10:18 AM

We had a baby.

A baby that didn't cry.

This was the worst minute of our lives thus far.

She didn't come straight to my chest.

All I see from under my bent leg is a blue body and the nurse saying "I can't detect a heartbeat."

Mr. Lawler was standing down there because he had "caught" the baby
(and is also a nurse)
and I looked at him for reassurance and he has tears streaming down his face.

In that minute the nurse and midwife had pulled out oxygen masks/tank for the baby
 (I have no idea from where!)
And had told Mr. Lawler to slap and stimulate her feet.

I had reached under my leg and was holding onto her.

My mom was holding onto me.

10:19 AM

JamJar Lawler cries.

JamJar Lawler breathes.

The worst minute of our lives is over.

And then we have this:





The midwife said my water must have broken as she was coming out because there was never any fluid until then.  We did delayed cord clamping and this rocking little nurser was latched on within the first couple of minutes!




Then my super awesome cousin, Jess, brought Kennedy in and took all of these incredible photos!
(Check her out at Irie Ideas




 We had our first herb bath -









My nurse, the most amazing ever (except my husband!), asked me what I would like for breakfast, and when I wasn't hungry she brought me a blueberry/spinach protein smoothie!

And then went ahead and offered me pancakes (how could I refuse!?) ...that she then went and cooked for me! 

And with the exception of my Daddy's pancakes...they were the best I'd ever had :D



One of the things I loved about all my experiences at the birth center is how involved they were with K-cup.  Always letting her hit the buttons on the heart beat monitor and squeezing the pump for the blood pressure cuff...it was the little things that made the experience with them even better than it already was.




And as if they couldn't get any cooler...

A couple hours later they baked us a cake and brought it in while singing Happy Birthday to us!



And look at that labor room! 

 

We went home about 10 hours after birth and I felt GREAT.
They took extra precautions in evaluating JamJar because of the not-breathing - and she passed every test with flying colors.

I was so incredibly impressed with New Birth Company in how professional, warm-hearted and interactive they all were/are.  No one ever made me feel bad for calling with questions, every appointment was on time and allowed for long chats with the midwives, our support during the intense moments of labor was perfect for what I needed and my midwife and nurse acted quickly, calmly and perfectly when a stressor presented itself.  

And a huge THANK YOU to my hunky husband, best friend and partner in life - he was there for me every step of the way and I couldn't feel luckier to have him be the father to my girls :D 

Our little JamJar is now 6 weeks old and I feel incredible.  
Having a natural birth is SO much different than a medicated one.

All my "stuff" felt completely normal at two weeks
(TMI?)

and all my lochia stopped at 2.5 weeks.

She breastfeeds great, even tandems with her big sister every now and then! 

It's been a wonderful ride so far :D

(birth announcement designed by Simple Simon Design)


Yours,

Mrs. Momma Lawler