Everything You Want to Know About Feeding Your Kids! {Book Review}

No matter how much we wish it was so, babies do not arrive with their own personal how-to manuals and Google isn't a guaranteed reliable resource for parenting questions.

Oh, how I wish they did come with at least a FAQ booklet!

When it comes to food, The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers is the FAQ book I have been looking for. Written by Anthony Porto, MD, and Dina DiMaggio, MD, this book covers nearly every feeding-related question that I have had since the births of our two children.

Information on different feeding options are covered in detail, from breastfeeding to formula to choosing the right bottle for your baby. The pediatric team gives very helpful information on milk storage for moms who plan to pump and a breakdown of the types of formula for moms who plan to formula-feed.

As a breastfeeding mom, I greatly appreciate a resource that shares the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby to remind me why I'm still nursing him past the one year mark. I have been asked at least 5 times now when we are going to wean him. My answer? When he's ready. Porto and DiMaggio stand by the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to breastfeed until baby is one year old or for as long as desired.

The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers also contains a wealth of information on food allergies, when and what foods to introduce to your child, recipes that fit each developmental stage and many other helpful resources.

Personally, I learned so much from this book! For instance, male infants have higher caloric needs than female infants. Giving your child more food at night is not proven to help them sleep longer. And, no, you should not pre-chew food for your baby (wait, people do that?!).

Overall, I highly recommend this book and I know it will be a well-used resource in our home!

The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers is available for $18.99 at various retailers.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Making a New "Home"

Well, it's officially summer now—we made it to our first parade of the summer!

Watching the parade and seeing all of the people there made me miss my family and my own small town. The small town I call "home" is about 2,000 people larger than this one and I was blessed to grow up with most of my family and friends nearby. It is so easy to take that closeness for granted until it's gone!

"Home" is cozy and knowing everyone is comfortable. I miss that.

Being the new person, the outsider, means meeting new people often (which is fun), trying to remember a list of new names (which is hard!), who's related to who and lots of small talk to build new relationships. I know it's been good for me, for all of us, but starting over again and again is frustrating. I even can't imagine how career military families feel!!!

As the years pass and more memories are made, I know this new town will become home. 

That is, if we stay here. The Lord has blessed us with so many new friendships in the past 2.5 years. To our kids, this is all they know. For my husband and I, feeling like we "belong" here will be a process. Now if only all of our families would move here too... ;)

My prayer is that we will be hospitable and mission-minded for the outsiders in this community even years from now. Becoming too comfortable and inwardly-focused  is dangerous because it can lead to stagnation.

She Reads Truth has an amazing devotional series on biblical hospitality and it defined so well the hospitality Jesus lived out when He invited us into fellowship with Him. Jesus is the great Inviter and now it is our job to reach out to others with His love.
As followers of Jesus, it is our privilege, our responsibility, our JOY to invite people to the Gospel." She Reads Truth.com
I don't want to get so comfortable in our little life that my eyes turn inward rather than reaching out to others. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

So that's where we are now: making memories, building relationships and reaching out to others.

On Saturday, we went on a mother+sons date to a local parade and enjoyed Superman ice cream (it was like a sherbet mixed with vanilla) and I had an iced latte. E ate most of the ice cream because W doesn't appreciate ice cream quite yet.

We waited and watched for a while after finishing our treats. Then the parade came through and we collected way more candy than necessary!

I love watching these boys grow up and being together as a family in our "new home"!

Every day is a new memory-making opportunity and I wouldn't trade these moments for the world.

What's your story? Have you felt like an outsider?
What is your favorite parade candy?! - fruity tootsie rolls :)

Monday, June 20

Easy-Effort: 5.01 mi, 00:46 @ 09:16 pace
Strength: 6 x 1:00 planks

Tuesday, June 21

Walk: 3 miles to swimming lessons and teeny ball.
Strength: 3 sets of 15 reps w/ 10 lb dumbbells - thrusters, bicep curls, rows, tricep kickbacks, lateral raises, running arms, 10 reps of lunges.

Wednesday, June 22

Intervals with double stroller: 4.55 mi, 00:38 @ 08:24 pace. Started as fartlek intervals of 1:00 on, 1:00 off... then I pushed a button and goofed up my watch, ending the workout. I ran the rest of the workout on the "cool-down" mode.
Strength: 20 reps of side leg raises, bridges, side hip raises, lunges.

Thursday, June 23

Walking: 1.5 miles to swimming lessons.
Strength: 6 x 1:00 planks.

Friday, June 24

Kinda Speedwork: 3.39 mi, 00:28 @ 08:15 pace.

Did some medium-effort speed work this morning to shake things up a bit with one more week until training starts for the Wild Hog.

I ran across some people stranded and out of gas on my usual gravel route this morning... eventually we got them to the gas station and moving again. The country roads are pretty quiet in the morning so I was surprised to see them.

4 x 400m with 400m jog between sets @ 7:14, 7:24, 7:32, 7:33.

Saturday, June 25

The little ones and I went to our first parade of the year while daddy was at work. We collected wayyy too much candy and hopefully I won't eat all of the colorful tootsie rolls. The grape and strawberry ones are my favorite!

Sunday, June 26

Long Run: 6.2 mi, 00:51 @ 08:17 pace.
Strength: 6 x 1:00 planks.

Training for the next marathon starts in a couple weeks so I'm switching over to run long on Sunday mornings. During the farming busy season, this works much better because my husband usually works Saturdays when the weather is decent. The schedule just needs to stay flexible because agriculture certainly isn't a regular 9-5 job!

Total Running Mileage: 19.15 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Faith's

Keeping the Habit

Currently, I'm in that awkward space of "time off" between two marathons. I have had plenty of time to recover from the Fargo Marathon yet it's not quite time to jump into training for the Wild Hog Marathon.

Not a huge dilemma here. It just feels weird to run without a training plan. Like I was in the groove and now I'm breaking a good habit. (Uh, not good!)

British educator Charlotte Mason has written a lot on the formation of habits in ourselves and our children as well. The below quote sums up the habit:
The fact is, that the things we do a good many times over leave some sort of impression in the very substance of our brain; and this impression, the more often it is repeated, makes it the easier for us to do the thing the next time. - Charlotte Mason (Vol. 4, Book 1, p. 208).
The more often we repeat something, the easier it is to do the next time. Making time to run the training miles has formed a habit; turning running into something I enjoy rather than a burden.

Taking a "break" from a habit makes the day feel like it's missing something. I have noticed that with other habits as well - if I miss my usual time of Bible reading and prayer, I know I need to get creative to make it happen. My day without time in God's Word feels empty!

Though it takes discipline to get through the early weeks of forming a new habit, reaping the benefits of a good habit is worth the efforts.

Here are a few daily habits that are important to me:
  1. Prayer and Bible reading. Using index cards to remember daily prayer concerns. Remembering is my biggest struggle! 
  2. Exercise. Running, strength training, cross training or stretching. 
  3. Flossing. I like flossing :) 
  4. Cleaning. Working on a "focus zone" each day to keep things from piling up (i.e. Tuesday = bathroom cleaning day... oh yay!).
  5. Projects. Make time to work on a card or letter to family/friends, pray for someone, design something, encourage someone, actually write in the kids' baby books.
What is a habit you are maintaining or working to form?

Monday, June 13

Easy-Effort: 5.25 mi, 00:48 @ 09:03 pace. 1:00 x 6 plank variations.

Tuesday, June 14

Progression Run: 4 mi, 00:32 @ 07:55 avg pace. 8:45, 8:17, 7:38, 7:04,
Walk: 1.25 miles to E's first Teeny Ball practice and back home again.

I ran early in the morning and then had a blast watching E at his first Teeny Ball practice! There were so many kids that showed up and watching toddlers run is a mix of adorable and hilarious :)


Wednesday, June 15

1:00 x 6 plank series.

Thursday, June 16

??? I can't remember but I know it wore me out. Likely lots of walking AND s'mores!!!

Friday, June 17

Warm-Up:  0.67 mi,  00:05:33 @ 08:17 pace. Strength training circuit x 3 with 10# DBs.

I did my morning warm-up lap and ran home because the downpour was starting. The lightning was beautiful but a little too close for comfort! And them started the hard rain, totaling at 1.4 inches in one hour.

Saturday, June 18

Long Run: 8.1 mi, 01:09 @ 08:28 pace.
Walk: 1.5 mi (or so) while visiting with a friend.

I debated on running 10 miles but talked myself out of it. Remember, no training yet!

Sunday, June 19

Happy Father's Day!!!

Total Running Mileage: 18.02 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Faith's Mommy Moments.

Father's Day Creations with Simple Calligraphy

The little ones and I have been working on a Father's Day art project this week and my latest book to review, Simple Calligraphy, was a wonderful inspiration!

My oldest did all kinds of hand printing and painting for the background of the project. Then came time for the lettering.

Simple Calligraphy is a short and sweet guide through the basics of calligraphy. Judy Detrick walks you through the art of lettering, numbering and creative flourishes. She equips the reader with the skills to create their own elegant invitations, custom cards and personalized designs.

I do recommend investing in a calligraphy pen if you choose to purchase this book. Seems like common sense, but I didn't have one just laying around!

While I wasn't able to get the full feel of calligraphy, I was inspired by the beautiful typography in this book and used a similar style in our Father's Day creation!

My "freehand calligraphy"... Calligraphy pens are recommended!

The author makes great recommendations of calligraphy tools and supplies for beginners to purchase and she also includes creative project ideas to try.

My first set of calligraphy pens are on their way and I'm looking forward putting the lessons in Simple Calligraphy to work!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Tell Me About Your Shoes

I'm not quite sure how to even start this post.

My writing topics are usually pretty light on this blog as I write about the joys of motherhood, running all over the place and my faith in God but the Lord has been on my heart to mention the Orlando shooting.

Many people lost their lives in Orlando over the weekend and my heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones. Some of the news articles I have read have portrayed a very disturbing view of Christianity - like the idea that we would celebrate another person's suffering. That perspective is so far from Jesus' teaching that it makes my stomach turn.

Though I do not agree with the lifestyle choices of that nightclub, I have nothing but love for them and pray for them as EVERY LIFE is precious in the eyes of our Mighty God. May we lift up prayers of healing and peace for the victims of this tragedy.  #prayfororlando
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ROMANS 12:15
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. PSALM 34:18

For lack of a better transition in this post (really there is no good way to change the topic), I have some light, running-related talk and some questions for YOU. More specifically, your shoes.

My new Scott running shoes came in the mail last week - yeah shoes! I'm an Amazon.com shoe deal-hunter and am pretty pumped when I find quality shoes for a good price (like under $50!).

Running shoe hoarder! Here's my shoes from 2014, 2015 and 2016! Just... can't... throw away...

Once a year, I buy a new pair of running shoes and then I rotate my two newest pairs of shoes for training. Scott running shoes are my favorite and I probably put way too many miles on my shoes before replacing them, but it's worked for me so far.

My favorite color? I don't have a favorite color! This year I guess pink and neon green will be my thing.

Check out the How Often Do You Need to Replace Your Running Shoes? article from Runners Connect if you're looking for more info! They have a ton of helpful resources.

Now it's your turn!
  1. What is your favorite brand of shoe? 
  2. How often do you replace your running shoes?
  3. How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?
  4. Do you run in the same pair or rotate pairs?
  5. And just for fun... what's your favorite COLOR running shoe?

Monday, June 6

Easy-Effort: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:34 @ 08:33 avg pace.

I'm starting to feel like myself again!

Tuesday, June 7

Walk: 1.6 miles with W in the stroller and E biking to and from the park.

Wednesday, June 8

Easy-Effort: 4.01 mi. 00:36 @ 08:57 avg pace.
Walk: 1.72 miles with W in the stroller and E biking to the park and back again.

Quiet morning run with the dog followed by some park time with the kids. I did the monkey bars at the park and I'm pretty sure that counts as an upper body workout! I snuck in planks while we were playing in the backyard too: 6 x 1:00 plank series.

Thursday, June 9

Walk: 1.35 miles with W in the stroller and E biking. 1:00 x 6 plank series.

Friday, June 10

Walk: 2.33 miles with a friend and our strollers.
Easy-Effort with double stroller: 3.35 mi, 00:30 @ 08:57 pace.

This morning was already feeling hot, hot hot! Ole ole, ole ole. {insert song here} 90 degrees is in the forecast for today.

Saturday, June 11

Easy-Effort with double stroller: 7.2 mi, 01:05:0 @ 09:04 avg pace.

After rummage-saling the morning away, the kids couldn't wind down for nap time. I put them in the stroller and went for a nice run so W could nap and E could "rest".

Sunday, June 12


Total Mileage: 18.56 miles (running), 7 miles (walking)

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Faith's Mommy Moments.

Battle Cold and Allergies with the NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator #MomsMeet

'Tis the season for allergies!

As a Moms Meet Ambassador, I received an assortment of nasal and sinus products from NeilMed, the largest manufacturer and supplier of LVLP (Large Volume Low Pressure) saline nasal irrigation systems in the world.

Neilmed's products help to alleviate common nasal and sinus symptoms in a simple, safe, effective, and affordable way. They have also developed a growing line of products for baby care, ear care, and first aid.

NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator is a lifesaver for parents of littles! This nasal aspirator system safely and effectively suctions baby’s and toddler’s stuffy, runny or congested noses.

The 2-in-1 design allows parents to use the NeilMed® NasaBulb aspirator or as an effective Nasal-Oral suction device, where parents can use suction force generated by the mouth to alleviate nasal congestion in babies and small children. Personally, I just use the NasaBulb end to clean baby's nose rather than using the tube suction.

This product comes with 7 in-line disposable filters to prevent mucus from inadvertently entering the tubing and reaching the user’s mouth. Plus, all of the re-usable parts easily pull apart and can be sterilized with boiling water or in the microwave.

The only downside is the parts are small and are a choking hazard for little ones! My kids desperately wanted to play with this but I had to be extra careful to keep it out of baby's hands. The filters and other parts would be easily swallowed.

You can buy the NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator for $9.99 to $14.99 depending on your retail location.

Use the promo code “MOMSBLOG” for $3 off your purchase of NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator through NeilMed’s web store, neilmed.com!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Our State Park Adventures

It's June already... How can this be?!

I have been taking it easy since the Fargo Marathon and that's the plan for all of June — 3 runs a week or more if I'm feeling it. My goal is to recover well and be (somewhat) rested and ready to start training for the Wild Hog Marathon by July. Runner's Connect has an awesome article on marathon recovery and you should really check it out! Being patient with recovery is hard but it's totally worth it.

Even without running much, I still find that I'm wiped out! Our one-year-old has been fighting a double ear infection the past week or so (and I suspect he had it for a while longer) and it makes for some cranky, long days and nights. Thank God for medicine to heal him up!

This weekend, the kids and I went to visit my parents and we adventured to the nearby state park. We took the kids on a "hike" (slow and short) and I am itchin' to run the trail around the lake someday.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip:

We had a picnic on the beach with ham, cream cheese and pickle roll-ups. Those are my FAVORITE especially when someone else makes them :)

"Let me in the water, Ma!" W is my fearless, determined baby and, if not for the restraint of the stroller, he would have crawled right in.

A breathtaking view over the lake. I could have stood on the dock and watched the water all day. The kids probably wouldn't be as patient though.

The top view of a wildflower. I got a wood tick while wandering into the ditch for this picture but it was worth it! Wood ticks creep me out...

Thankfully, E didn't see this guy. The little snake was dead but he still has such a fascination with poking and touching everything (dead or alive).

I love watching him run! E's running shoe of choice: Spiderman water boots.


Monday, May 30

Easy-Effort w/ double stroller: 3.25 mi, 00:30 @ 09:22 pace.

This was my first run after the Fargo Marathon. My left knee tightened up near the end of the run and I found out it was due to lack of stretching. My IT band on the left side is a little tight still. I need to be more disciplined with stretching!

Tuesday, May 31

No running.

Wednesday, June 1

No running again. Not even a single mile for National Running Day!

Thursday, June 2

Easy-Effort: 3.55 mi.

Easy run/walk with the dog. Beautiful morning! My left knee tightened up at the end of the run again.

Friday, June 3

No running.

Saturday, June 4

Easy-Effort: 5 mi, 00:46 @ 09:07 pace.

This time I made it to mile 4 before my knee tightened up. It's not painful, just more of a discomfort nagging thing. After some foam rolling, all is well!

Sunday, June 5


Total Mileage: 11.8 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.