10 things you’d never know about me

As you can tell from previous posts, sometimes Nathan shares his thoughts in this space, often we have pictures that Alexander or Eva have taken, but mostly it’s my joy. I relish making this little corner of cyberworld my delightful dwelling.

Hence this post – a get to know me of sorts. Just a few things about my life which may surprise you. In compiling this list, I asked the children if there were any more “strange things about mom” that I should add. Quickly and puzzled they replied, “You want people to think you’re weird?” Ha!

Here are 10 things you’d never know about me:

  • born and raised in a pastor’s home
  • never owned a curling iron
  • pregnant 11 times
  • never floss
  • doing yoga on and off for 12 years (Just the exercise not the meditation)
  • never had a big mac or a whopper
  • had 1 cesarean, 1 unmedicated delivery and 6 with epidural
  • vegetarian before I had children
  • never broken a bone
  • learned English as a second language when I was 8 years old

Now it’s my turn to hear about you. I would enjoy that very much!

 with love, Damaris
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anxiety

I began writing this post in late January.  For reasons which you will understand through the post, I have been absent from this space for several months.  I can hardly remember writing it, but it seemed fit to return with this post.  I found it in my drafts this week, and the words came to finish it.  Even though it was difficult to revisit these days as I wrote, I have prayed it brings the praise to God which my heart longs to share.


We’re snowed in on this frosted Sunday, and my mind keeps racing back to the last time I stayed home from church on a Sunday.  A couple of the children were sick, you know, the little guys that don’t cover their mouth when they cough.  Although it was prudent to keep them home from church, the worst part was that the baby was sick too.  I can’t remember having a sick baby this tiny before, and his cough was bad.  Even though I’d taken him to the doctor a couple days before, hearing clear lungs and nothing to worry about didn’t calm this mama’s heart.  Making things worse, I had been dealing with an awful sinus infection for almost three weeks.  

The pressure was aggravated by having extra people in our home since everyone is a bit out of sorts.  My parents were here visiting us for a couple of weeks, and they all went to church together.  As soon as my dad walked in, he cheerfully (clearly his soul and body had been refreshed by worshiping) asked how the morning had been.  I about lost it.  Seriously!  He wants to know?!  “Wiping noses again and again, pumped twice, changed three diapers, bathed the baby, dressed the toddler, made beds, ran the laundry, rubbed eucalyptus on their chests several times, gave them cough syrup.” And I stopped. 

The more I was rattling off the stresses of the morning, the more my anxiety grew. Right then Nathan walked in and immediately knew I was a mess. “We’ve just walked in, and you’re in a terrible mood.” All the sickness, all the messes I can’t get to –everything is getting to me. I knew what it felt like, so I excused my behavior and said it was anxiety. I thought I was being very brave to call it by name, but Nathan reminded me “It’s still wrong.”

Since the birth of our eighth child, it has been a stretching season. From experiencing a colic baby for more than three months, to not training to sleep very well, to nursing difficulties, I have felt challenged like I haven’t experienced before with our previous babies. It’s been a constant journey of laying my burdens down before the Lord, seeking His wisdom, and crying out for help. How easily I succumbed to the lie that this is too much for me! I wanted to wallow in defeat.

Living in a state of feeling overwhelmed means I lose sight of joy, and God’s sovereign and good plans for me, and I’m depending on my own strength instead of His. After weeks and perhaps months of feeling overwhelmed, my natural tendency is to become anxious.

Anxiety is deep fear that we can’t keep up with our calling.  It becomes too large to bear and too heavy to share, yet God has been bringing deep refreshment to my soul in the last few weeks.  He gently continues to calm my anxious heart.  The lie that I can’t do it comes from the enemy, but the truth is God did not give me more than He would also supply the grace for me to handle.  He will equip me for the calling.  

As we allow these verses to dwell in our minds and hearts, let us also pray for each other:

God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 with love, Damaris

The Peaceful Birth of James Nicolas

On Saturday evening, October 20th, we had plans to watch a kids cartoon movie and get ready for church. I prepared baked French toast for Sunday breakfast (ready to bake in the morning), ironed necessary outfits, and we all sat to watch the little movie. That’s when I realized that the sporadic contractions I had a few times a day the last couple of days were just a little more intense. They came so far apart that I would even forget to look at the time in order to keep better track of the progress.

I chose to sit on my exercise ball while everybody cozied up on the sofa under blankets. Of course Samuel wanted to sit with me, so we bounced on the ball for the duration of most of the movie. Since I was hoping this was labor, I held Samuel close and whispered in his ear all sorts of sweetness during the movie. It’s always a silent goodbye to the toddler when one brings a new baby home. At least that’s the tiny heartache I was feeling that Saturday night.

At around 7:30pm, towards the end of the movie, I went upstairs and took a shower wondering if it would all progress during the night and wanting to be ready. When the children were all ready for bed, I was drying my hair and told Nathan about the contractions, but that labor didn’t seem to be moving along. He agreed that we could have everything ready just in case. I saw that he pulled the hospital bag from the closet adding a few things to it. He asked if I was going to bed, which I begrudgingly did. By now it was 10:30pm, and the contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart. There was no reason to stay up to wait for what might slow down or even go away during the night. Nathan fell asleep while I watched the nightstand clock…Every…Ten…Minutes.

By midnight, I was sleeping between the contractions, since I could no longer stay awake. Nothing had changed since 7pm. At 3:04am (8 hours later), I couldn’t get comfortable to work through this contraction, and got out of bed. Four minutes later came another one just the same, and another one. By 3:15am, I knew this was it.

I woke Nathan up, made the bed, grabbed the bag, and he made the call to his parents. And we called again. And again. And again for half an hour! By 4am, we knew we had to go, so Nathan woke Alexander and Eva to explain that Grandpa and Grandma would listen to their voicemail first thing in the morning and come right over. Thankfully, our children are not early risers. : )

We headed to the hospital down quiet, empty streets – I wanted to remember it forever. We checked in to triage where they asked for my birthing preferences: unmedicated and water birth. The midwife said I was 7 cm along and that baby looked great and head down. Perfect! Then we walked to our spacious and birthing tub room. The nurse brought an exercise ball, and I rested over it with my knees on the floor. I had my verse cards and read and meditated on one for 15 minutes or so. This kept my mind focused, filled my heart with peace, and gave my a prayerful spirit.

At around 7am, I got in the warm tub. I imagined we were getting closer although the contractions didn’t seem to have become stronger during our time in the room. Now in the water, they were 8 minutes apart. I knew that the water might slow labor down, so this didn’t bother me. At 9:30am (after being in the tub 2 1/2 hours and contractions still 8 minutes apart), I asked the midwife what her opinion was on breaking my water.

I had requested not to be checked during labor, but I realized the midwife would need to confirm the baby’s head engagement before breaking the bag of waters. She returned at 10am, examined, and baby’s head was perfect to proceed with breaking the water. I was still at 7 cm. I had not dilated any more since our arrival at the hospital at 4:30am (almost 6 hours later). This confirmed that the decision was timely.

I got back into the tub, and a few minutes later, by 10:30am, contractions were very different. I stood up out of the water and hung onto Nathan’s neck. Then came another one so strong that I walked out of the tub much to Nathan’s alarm. “Where are you going?” He asked repeatedly with concern. I couldn’t say, I just needed to get out and move. I never went back into the tub.

Things moved so quickly. I asked Nathan to call the nurse because I needed help. “There must be something they can do for me.” Nathan brought me a nose strip to put on my nose! (I had asked him to pick them up at the store, for better breathing in case I felt the need). I had been feeling lightheaded during these last few intense contractions which made me feel like I couldn’t catch my breath – I just couldn’t take a breath that was deep enough. This made me very anxious, and I felt that I needed help. I couldn’t do this. Nathan gave me the nose strip which made me annoyed because I couldn’t believe he thought this is the help I needed!

In the previous weeks I had made Nathan promise that he wouldn’t give-in if I asked for pain medicine. It. Was. INTENSE! I managed to get past Nathan to press the nurse button. The nurse and the midwife came in, and I was on the end of the bed working through transition. I still wanted help, and Nathan said to me, “Remember all the people that are praying for you.”

The midwife suggested that I get on the bed because I seemed a little unstable (shaky legs). With each of the next few contractions, I felt the need to push at the end of the contraction. I was on my knees and with each contraction, I could feel the progress. I held onto Nathan next to me and just focused. The midwife and the nurse were sitting in chairs next to the table of post-delivery supplies. All was quiet the entire time, until I called out that the baby was crowing. It was 11:06am when the midwife came to the bed and said to catch my baby. “That’s it. He’s here. I’m done. He’s here. He’s mine.” I was elated.

James is now almost 2 months old, and it’s a daily delight to get to know him. We are grateful for the gift of God of this new boy, and for all of your prayers and sweet words of encouragement throughout the pregnancy and as labor approached. It made all the difference to remember those cherished prayers!

with love, Damaris


Favorite Kids' Christmas Books

Our tree is up, warming scents fill each room, and festive wreathes with big velvet bows are hanging on the front porch. It’s December, and it’s Christmas! This year, we have a new sweet babe who helps us remember to savor the delights of slow and simple.

Our day is busy and our plate is full, but we try to give books a cherished piece of our day. In the chaotic flow of the holiday season, sitting down to read aloud a lovely picture book is soul-filling and grounding.

During these first days of December, we got out a new set of story books! Sometimes it’s my spontaneous craving to see a dreamy smile light their small faces yet other times we sit to read intentionally. Either way, each bed has a throw, so no matter where we plop down to read, we can grab for pillows and blankets to get comfortable.

We purpose to make Christmas a very treasured day, and enjoying these sweet books with the children is part of the anticipation and celebration of the holiday. Some of the books we recommend are from our own shelves, while others we borrow every December from the library.

The Very First Christmas tells the story of Christopher, an eight-year-old boy who no longer wants to hear fairytale bedtime stories. His mother recounts the miraculous events of Jesus’ birth and answers many of Christopher’s questions about Christmas. Christopher and his mother read familiar portions directly out of the Bible at bedtime. Children of kindergarten age or so will thoroughly enjoy the many truths in this little book.

The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey must be the most heartwarming read-aloud that takes place in the 19th century. Even though we read the story each year, we still savor every page. Gloomy Mr. Toomey has a broken and hardened heart, but his relationship with Thomas, a seven-year-old boy, and his mother begins to brighten his life. This is powerful and humorous story of hope and joy. The gorgeous artwork will captivate all ages!

The Little Drummer Mouse is a loose rendition of the Nativity story starring a little mouse. Children of all ages will be engaged by the paintings. Everyone will be lost in the details of the artwork and find it absolutely beautiful. This story will both delight and surprise you.

Christmas Farm is a little hidden treasure about Wilma and her young neighbor boy Parker. This little neighbor comes to share the doughnut Wilma makes every Saturday morning. With his help, she plants a Christmas tree farm from seeds which they care for year after year. As Parker gets taller, so do the trees. They count how many trees perish, and slowly begin to make a business together. We always feel as if we can smell the green balsam branches while we read!

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree tells of a tree so, so big, that it needs trimming. The tree top gets passed on to the maid, and continues to be passed on to bears, foxes, rabbits, and a little mouse family. A timeless and adorable children’s story.

The Nutcracker is gem that has fascinated imaginations for over two-hundred years! Written in 1816, it appeals to both little ones and adults’ sense of wonder. This charming tale is worth reading again and again.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas is a traditional tongue twister of a song, and everyone enjoys singing along as we flip through the delightful pages. Jan Brett’s illustrations never disappoint!

The Night Before Christmas is the well-known delightful poem. The arrival of St. Nick on the most memorable night of the year is enchanting. The art work is visually brilliant and full of antique ornaments and toys. A classic poem that reads very quickly as the exciting story unfolds.

The Tailor Of Gloucester is the Beatrix Potter tale of a poor hardworking tailor struggling to finish a beautiful coat for the Mayor’s wedding on Christmas Day. Written and illustrated in 1902, Beatrix Potter’s art is always darling and the story always sweet. This year was our first time to discover this little treasure!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas is still as popular as ever! In classic Dr. Seuss rhyme, it tells of how joy changes everything. The author exposes the greed and materialism of this season through the Grinch, who is so cranky an heartless. Throughout the story, you’ll witness his transformation. A fun, little classic everyone should own!

The Polar Express tells the story of a young boy who embarks on a magical adventure on Christmas Eve. The train’s many excitements lead him to the North Pole for a most fantastical night. It’s a beautiful book all ages will enjoy!

Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas is a collection of picture puzzles to search and solve on every page. This is a favortie book to have in the car or carry in your bag because it’s perfect for holiday travel. Definitely a fun treasure-hunt! It’s actually Nathan’s favorite, I think : )

Each year we discover a new treasure! What are some of your family’s favorite Christmas books? Share your favorite titles in the comments below…

with love. Damaris


10 Favorite Thanksgiving Books

We’ve been reading about pumpkins and the changing leaves, busy squirrels and migratory paths. But apple harvests coming to an end and busy little squirrel friends storing away for the winter means it’s time to get out a new set of story books!

We purpose to make Thanksgiving a very treasured day, and enjoying these sweet books with the children is part of the anticipation and celebration of the holiday. These are the days to clasp a mug of warmed cider while cozied on a quilt in the living room with a stack of books.

Some of the books we recommend are from our own shelves – we visit them every year, and some are newly borrowed from the library.

The First Thanksgiving: A Counting Story moves along very quickly because it’s written in lively rhyming verse and vivid illustrations. The book explains the story of the preparations for the first Thanksgiving feast while counting 1-12. There are hidden surprises in the art and a bold turkey on every page! Do you have a sharp eye?

Sharing The Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story is a collection of paintings set in the 19th century that exude familial affection. The simple rhythmic four-line verse mirrors the ease in which this family works together to prepare their special Thanksgiving Day meal.

Saying Grace: A Prayer Of Thanksgiving is a journey back in time to the hardships and blessings of some of the first settlers. It’s the most delightful story of a young child’s faith and prayer as she recognizes God’s bounty.

Thanksgiving Day Alphabet is filled with historical facts about the special holiday. The plentiful scenes are painted in rich fall colors. Children will learn a treasure trove of details about the English settlers of 1620. Everyone will delight in the descriptions set to each letter of the alphabet.

The Story of the Pilgrims is a nice simplified version of how Thanksgiving started. The text is clear and plain which helps the little ones follow the story while focusing on the illustrations. Perfect for the preschool-aged children!

Squanto And The Miracle Of Thanksgiving is a favorite of the boys at our house! This book captures the remarkable and providential true story that so few people have ever heard. This book clearly depicts Squanto’s Christian faith and the religious roots of the holiday. The illustrations are realistic renderings which all ages will enjoy.

Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration offers the basic history behind Thanksgiving then explains how the holiday sill has meaning for us today. Recounting the difficulties of the Pilgrims and their gratefulness to God. The illustrations are old-fashioned with a wood-cut feel. A wonderful teaching tool! This Thanksgiving story is a classic read-aloud. It is a little long for one sitting, but certainly a cozy read. A great non-fiction introduction for little ones!

Molly’s Pilgrim is the heartwarming modern story of a Jewish family who have immigrated from Russia to escape religious persecution. Anyone who has had to move to a new place will understand the difficulties that Molly faces. This book has been the girls’ favorite read-aloud! They love glazing at the penciled illustrations! With a powerful message to live in peace an safety, this is a wonderful book for the Thanksgiving season!

A Cranberry Thanksgiving is a lighthearted and maybe silly story set in New England. It’s a cold and lonely cranberry farm at the edge of the sea, but on Thanksgiving, the house is warm and full of tradition. It’s a fun holiday read and includes Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread recipe!

Thanksgiving: A Time To Remember is our family’s all-time favorite! We read short portions of this book at the dinner table everyday in November. This book refreshes our memory of the courage and sacrifice that the Pilgrims made and of God’s provision for them. It is a moving account of the Mayflower crossing and the first winter in the New World. This book will help you establish a tradition of sharing your gratefulness with one another at home. It encourages families to build a legacy of memories and thankfulness and celebrates faith, family, and freedom.

Every year we discover a new gem! What are some of your family’s favorite Thanksgiving books? Leave a comment sharing yours!

with love. Damaris


A Family of 9 Living on Costco for a Year

Over a year ago, I began a little project for the blog which I labeled “Costco”. It consisted of saving our weekly receipts and tallying all our food purchases. The project began the first week of October, 2017. So after our last grocery shopping trip in September, 2018, I enlisted a helper and a couple of calculators. Thirty minutes later, we had the grand totals of what a family of 9 spends at Costco for groceries and non-food items in a year.

For some of you our expenditures will seem like an exuberant amount, and for some it will appear to be ridiculously low. The point of this little project was not to point out the frugality or over-spending of anyone, but to sincerely reveal to you and myself what we tracked in a year for either reference or curiosity.

Here are a couple of things that have jumped to my mind as I’ve pondered on our trends in purchasing at Costco and about what we could do to be more efficient:

1. Natural Foods

If I look for patterns in the food we eat, I’m sure that eating healthy is cheaper. Eating healthy can be harder, though, because it usually means more non-processed foods with shorter shelf life. This means that it only helps our budget if I plan ahead. We always plan our meals at least a week in advance. Knowing what we’ll be cooking ahead of time means we can take one weekly trip to the store (which also saves on gas). But most importantly, we can plan ahead for how to use up any leftover ingredients to ensure nothing goes to waste.

2. Food Storage

We have a small chest freezer, and we use it to stock up on cheap meats and sale items. We also take time to cook and freeze in bulk, or simply make extra whenever we prepare a meal and then freeze the leftovers.

3. Eating Out

Since we are a homeschooling family, all of our meals are done at home. Nathan always takes leftovers, which he actually prefers to a sandwich. We never eat at a restaurant, but we do pick up 2 Little Caesar’s pizza ($5 for a large) or doughnuts on the weekend for a special treat sometimes.

4. Feeding the Troops

During this past year, we did some traveling and packed all the meals to take with us. The receipts saved throughout this year reflect our trip out east to Boston last fall, a ski trip in January, camping in late spring, and our end of summer visit to Washington DC.

5. Stuff Costco doesn’t Carry

We shop at Costco once a week. On some occasions, we stop at a smaller grocery store for herbs, ice cream, and random items that Costco doesn’t carry plus we rarely need. This could be candles, cosmetics for me, or a specialty ingredient before hosting a meal. We probably spend about $50 a month at the local market or Trader Joe’s.

6. Hospitality

Our family makes meals for friends or has friends over often which we needed to consider as additional food from Costco. On average we extend hospitality (hosted a meal) once a week throughout the year.

So….drumroll….from October 2017 to September 2018, we spent $6,090 on groceries!

For non-food items, we spent $1,714 at Costco. This total refers to:

pajamas

underwear

paper goods

ziplock bags

athletic shoes

shorts

athletic sweatshirts

batteries

socks

dish soap

laundry detergent

diapers

baby wipes

hand soap

flannel shirts

razors

shaving cream

deodorants

toothpaste

toothbrushes

cold medicine

band-aids

jeans

vitamins

probiotics

protein drinks

indoor and outdoor plants and bulbs

Do you shop at a bulk warehouse?

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, I’d love to hear your opinion!

With love, Damaris


What I Packed for A Hospital Water Birth

I just finished cutting the boys’ and Nathan’s hair which was the last thing on the ‘preparing for baby’s arrival’ to-do list. Whoo-hoo! I did want to clean the windows, but it can be done when baby’s here (or this week!).

I’m entering week 39, which means that the big surprise day is getting closer. Every morning when I wake up, I’m grateful for one more restful night where my energy is renewed. During the day, I do try to stay active, although I sit and sometimes lay down if my stamina is really lagging.

This afternoon is a restful one. So while I sit on the exercise ball and sip hot caramel apple tea, I’m going to share everything that’s currently packed in my hospital bag. Disclaimer: I’m not an over packer. I rather do without than pack it just in case : )

There are a few things for mom during labor and post-partum as well as for baby. Dad has a couple things in there too.

During labor and delivery:

Tek Gear Sports Bra

With light support, it doesn’t feel tight around the torso or constrictive. I have been wearing it for the last few weeks, and love it so much I got two colors.

Maternity Tunic Tank

This tank is for wearing over the sports bra while laboring in the birthing tub. It’s long and light and will keeping me modest. I have been wearing this tank through late pregnancy, and it’s comfortable.

Essential Oils

A good friend was sweet to give me a roll-on bottle of Comfort Blend. She said the lavender, peppermint, and orange help ease the discomfort of the intensity of labor. It smells so good!

During my first deliveries, I wore the hospital gown and then another one over it as a robe so one had the open back and one the open front (for decency purposes). But the hospital gown still made me feel a lot like a suffering patient and frumpy. A simple, stretchy, lounging outfit is far better after a hot shower!

Nursing Tank

It’s enough support while comfortable to sleep in. I also like having my belly covered when I nurse.

High waist leggings

The support has enough stretch that I can wear it all day while smoothing and holding everything in for me to feel comfortable and discrete.

Long Tank

Covers the bum with the leggings, but also light in case I get hot.

Light Athletic Jacket

This is easy to throw on or take off if I’m getting cold or want to walk the hallways.

Socks

If my feet are cold, I can’t seem to get warm, so these are packed in the bag because the hospital ones are like slipper socks with rubber bottoms and tube-like (one-size fits all).

Toiletries – travel size shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, makeup remover wipes, travel size hairspray, hair elastics, bobby pins, razor, q-tips. Actually, my toiletry bag stays packed all the time in my closet.

Lanolin Balm

It’s my favorite, but it does stain. I always use it with nursing pads.

Nursing Pads

I always get so large, that the thinner the pad, the better. These are the ones I have used for many years.

Light Shirt

The style of this shirt is flattering for post-partum and long in the back to cover the bum. I plan to wear over the nursing tank with leggings for going-home outfit.

Discrete Underwear

I have never used these before, but it’s been recommended to me, and I can see the ease of slipping on and tossing after use. I hear they will stay in place so much better than the large pads the hospital offers. I will try anything to make the first few days post-partum a more comfortable recovery.

For Baby:

One-Piece Pajamas

I packed two of these. I love dressing the baby in clothes from home! I’m always surprised at how they end up fitting.

Swaddling Blanket

We have a couple of new ones, and I love the color of this one.

Pacifier

Just in case it helps.

Bonnet

I think it will be too big, but it’s in the bag.

For Dad:

If we’ve labored all night, sometimes he’s liked to just change undershirt and brush his teeth to feel a little more refreshed. From previous experience, I know he won’t shower at the hospital and usually will head back home to the other children once everything is settling down and baby and mama are resting.

Electronics – phone, phone charger and laptop (will grab when we leave for the hospital).

with love, Damaris


Life Lately

Pumpkins, acorn squashes, buttercup squashes, and butternut are adorning the inside and the outside of our house. Slowly they make their way into the oven, meanwhile, we still have a fall harvest farm stand. We have small decorative pumpkins for sale too!


Doesn’t fall inspire you to get in the kitchen? Butternut cream soup, snickerdoodle bread, maple pumpkin pie (here’s the recipe), beef stew, homemade chai lattes, fresh apple cake…Ahhhh. Our tummies are warm and full. Baking season is in full swing in our farmhouse kitchen, and no one’s complaining. I’ve been putting some muffins and sweet loaves in the freezer for when the baby comes. A little prep will come in handy : )


The crisp air is uplifting, and since the evenings are shorter, we’ve done a couple day outings with Nathan. Even the flower colors are stunning! We hope to get out a few more times before the northern frigid temps settle in.


The older five children are in fall sports. It’s really low-key, but it’s so fun to get out there and kick the ball on cool Saturday mornings! They play a game of soccer followed by flag-football.


Just throwing in a delicious baby eating doughnuts, because he’s irresistible : ) Nothing speaks fall cozy like waking up on the weekend to enormous doughnuts Nathan’s picked up fresh from the bakery!

with love. Damaris


Favorite Newborn Things

Muslin Blankets – we usually get one or two new muslin blankets when we have a baby, but this time, we needed a couple more since Samuel has sole ownership of his. He’s become so attached to his three “night-nights”, there isn’t a chance he’ll be sharing with the new baby. Muslin blankets are so light, soft, and versatile! We use them for swaddling in the early weeks, as a nursing cover, and as car seat cover to mention a few.

Zipper Pajamas – I love a simple, one-piece footie pajamas! The zipper makes it all the faster for diaper changes. There are so many cute baby clothes out there, but I’m all-practical these days. I’ve also learned that babies dislike things going over their heads (things that don’t open down the front or back), and they’re annoyed at all the fussing over them (lots of buttons or snaps that take for-e-ver to clip on).

Diaper Cream – I have never tried this one before, but it was a good price at the grocery store : )

Comb & Brush – it was time to replace the set we had since we’d been using it for our newborns since Alexander was born 13 years ago. The brush bristles are so soft.

Pacifier – most of our babies used a pacifier for the first few months, some only the early weeks. Although I realize some babies never take to the pacifier, it’s still good to have on hand in case it’s soothing to them.

Pacifier Holder Clip – I love that it doubles as a teether. Since it’s made from natural wood without stain, it’s safe for babies to suck on. We’ve never had a pacifier clip before, so I’m curious how it will help.

Sound Machine – we’ve never bought one before, but I hear all the time of it’s wonders. This one is pretty small, which I liked.

Baby Bonnets – we all think they are just the most darling accessory for babies. I’m sure they’ll be too big for our tiny newborn, but I’m ready to make baby cute & cozy!

IKEA Blankie Bunny – it’s so soft! I loved the color

contrast for keeping baby’s interest.

Baby 2 in 1 Wash – in a natural body wash + shampoo that smells angelic. First of all, it had to be a pump because washing a baby requires 6 hands : ). With chamomile flower extract, vanilla, and blueberry leaf extract, I think I’m going to look forward to baby bath time! All the scents were delicious, but this one is almond milk.

Burp Cloths – the size of these is like a washcloth. With terry cloth on one side, it’s really useful for wiping and absorbing. It came in a pack of five.

Burpy Bib – this generously sized burp cloth is soft muslin. It doubles as a bib in later months as it drapes over baby’s shoulders and has snaps to keep it in place. This was a sweet gift from a friend : )

with love, Damaris


Third Trimester: Researching Water Birth

The third trimester comes with lots of decisions! It’s not the nursery colors, travel systems, or baby monitor model that I’ve been attempting to decide on this time around. Although I have picked up a few small precious items for this baby which I’ll be sharing with you soon, a couple of things needed to be decided within the next couple of weeks. I’m referring to questions like: Epidural or unmedicated labor? Should we go to a birthing center this time or deliver at the hospital? What should we name the baby?

Today, I wanted to share with you what we’re thinking and how I have been preparing. By this point you know that we’re planning on having a water birth. This choice surprises me a little too (I’m not a water person), but my midwife does lots of water births which gave me confidence. Why we picked a water birth?

  • Pushing stage is easier and shorter.

  • The water also reduces the feeling of pressure.

  • Provides privacy which means more calm and quiet.

  • Encourages a gentler arrival and transition for baby.

  • Warm water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.

  • In the later stages of labor, the water has been shown to increase the woman’s energy.

  • The effect of buoyancy lessens a mother’s body weight, allowing free movement and new positioning.

  • Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.

  • Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.

  • The water seems to reduce stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors.

Sources American Pregnancy Association, mamanatural.com, bellybelly.com.

How have I been preparing?

As you can see, we’re slowly addressing all the big third trimester decisions. But the baby’s name…well, that might just be a delivery day surprise!

with love, Damaris