My breastfeeding journey….

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Warning warning- This post is all about breastfeeding so if you would rather skip hearing about latching, boobs, and let downs I suggest you not read on!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

One word that would sum up my breastfeeding journey is perseverance…

I think many people prepare you for labor and delivery of children, but you don’t  hear much about how difficult breastfeeding can be for some women.  I think this was one of the hardest and most difficult things after having Malayna, but has turned into the most rewarding, beneficial things I have done.  I want to share my story, because I had a VERY DIFFICULT start to breastfeeding and hope this post encourages some women that things do get easier and better or perhaps motivates you to try breastfeeding your next kiddo.  I also share this story to be honest, and let others know part of my strong passion for breastfeeding- because it almost didn’t happen….

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For those who missed my birth story check  it out here.  I was blessed to be able to deliver vaginally and breastfeed within 20 minutes of having her.  When I went to breastfeed I had NO IDEA what I was doing.  Honestly you think its easy- just latch the baby on to the boob.  I was clueless and of course May had never worked for her food before 😉 The nurses would try to tell me what to do, but I still felt quite lost.  We had a fairly good starting session to nursing. I have nothing to compare it to but at the beginning because their stomachs are so small but she would suck a little off and on for around 30 minutes.  I also was feeling a bit “off”- I guess delivering a baby can do that to you!  And I may or may not have passed out while attempting to go potty for the first time!  🙂

The two days I was in the hospital May struggled to latch on.  Each nurse would come in and try to help me and she would latch a little bit off and on, but it was always quite a struggle.  And your just so tired its hard to put the effort in!!!  Anything is difficult when you haven’t gotten sleep and are recovering.  By the next day my boobs already were in pain.   Ah it even hurt to put a bra on.  My poor mother saw way more of me those first few weeks than she would have liked!  (best to air dry lol)

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We continue to struggle with latches here and there, but I left the hospital pretty scared about going home and not feeling like it would go well.  Hormonally I could already start to fill a shift in my hormones- not quite feeling myself and struggling a lot to sleep.  We did find out just as we were about to leave the hospital May was tongue tied and needed to have the attachment part (not sure what its called) snipped.  I thought for sure this would solve all the latch issues….

I left the hospital a little worried about doing everything on our own.  Ok not a little, a lot.  Many people hate the hospital and are so ready to be home, but for me it meant regulation her temp/weight, check ins by the Doctor, and knowledgeable nurses and doctors around in case something happens.  First time mom alert! 🙂

My mom had asked if we wanted help that first night and I can remember telling her, “no I think we have things under control.”  Really all May did that day was sleep and eat, so how hard can this be? But then bedtime came around.  Sam and I both got ready for bed and placed her in the bassinet next to our bed- all ready to go to sleep…our first time as a family of 3.  We layed her down and immediately she woke up crying.  That night she cried off and on, but struggled to latch.  I was so so so worried she would starve and was not getting enough to eat!  Sam and I hardly slept, and that morning as soon as the sun rose, I called my mom.  We called the nurse at the hospital and she recommended formula.  We gave May a tiny bit of formula.  I know some may think this is weird, but honestly trying to breastfeed with a newborn that would be crying so hard, trying to recover from delivery, and being sleep deprived all made things a lot harder.   I was afraid once we started with formula, breastfeeding would become more difficult.  She would stay full longer and find a bottle way easier.

The next few days we struggled to nurse, she would latch on here and there.  I can remember my mom spending the night to help out and we would sometimes try for 2 hours to get her to latch on.  You can ask my mom if you don’t believe me.  When she would latch I can remember staying still- even if your whole body was in the worse position possible- to not break the latch.  It was exhausting and very hard.  She nursed here and there, but we were far from having it down.  I pumped a lot as well.

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My milk came in a little late- around day 4-5.  And when it came in boy did it come in!  I was extremely engorged.  I was in even more pain, and now Malayna struggled to latch on even more.  I tried cabbage, cold and warm compresses, pumping, but continued to be engorged for a few days.  The best way to relieve engorgement is nursing, and that was not going well!  Imagine giant rocks is all I can say!

My good friend Kim had connections to a wonderful Family Doctor (who I now go to who is fabulous) and lactation support at Kish Hopsital.  She invited me to the Breastfeeding Support group on Thursday morning and I can remember to this day bringing in May, coming into the support group and everyone going around sharing questions they had.  When it came to me, I just cried and cried- in front of those whole group of women I didn’t know.  Immediately I got help from two of the most wonderful lactation nurses- Jennifer and Judy.  They spent time with me, and got Malayna to latch on.  I couldn’t believe it??!!  The knew how to position my body and her to help us latch on.  I felt encouraged and it gave me hope that I could do it.  I also had other woman come up to me and share how they had overcome those first few weeks- and it will get better.  Alright, this has to get better than right?!

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Weeks went on and she continued to struggle so I got desperate and started to use a nipple shield.  This helped tremendously but was also hard because I felt like I always needed a million props to help me nurse.  I continued to meet with Judy and Jennifer, and go to support groups.  Judy and Jenn were available to chat on the phone at multiple times.  Each time I met with them I felt like they truly cared, listened, and helped me. They spent lots of time with me and didn’t feel the rush I often feel when meeting with people in the medical field.  A lot of breastfeeding moms worry they are not producing enough milk and they would reassure me May was getting enough by allowing me to weigh her on a scale.  Thankfully she always gained weight really well!

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May began nursing really well using the nipple shield, but eventually I wanted to wean her from  it.  Around 6 weeks, we slowly took it away and she did well, but we had new problems.  She grew really fussy especially in the evening and sometimes during feedings.  I quickly leaned I had an oversupply of milk and a fast letdown.  This caused too much milk to come in too quickly which resulted in  gas and possibly overfeeding.  I also was engorged frequently and had to pump to let some out.  Jennifer and Judy, once again educated me on how to help both of these and eventually my milk leveled out and May could handle the fast let down.  Here is some more information on an oversupply.

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/fast-letdown/

Around this time I had a lot of pain again (I had pain off and on these 6 weeks so I thought it was just normal).  I had been using the nipple shield so I thought my nipple needed to get used to the sucking again.  After being in so much pain I was in tears, it was time to call my doctor.  Thankfully she is extremely knowledgeable in nursing and knew to culture my milk.  What?!  I didn’t even know they did that.  After testing my milk they found out I had a breast infection. So just to summarize- pain, difficulty latching, oversupply, forceful let down, and now breast infection.  Only by the grace of God and determination I had, did I not give up.  There were many a nights I wanted to, but was encouraged over and over by Judy and Jennifer as well as my family and friends to keep trying.

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After getting over the breast infection, we were now nursing without pain and May was doing great!  She nursed quite frequently, and there were some days I felt like all I did was nurse.  After going through all that I know full well why nursing does not work out for some woman.  I also know why it is not possible for every woman to nurse.  Honestly, if I didn’t have the lactation support and a Doctors help, I probably would not have been able to nurse.

It’s hard to explain the joy I feel while nursing May.  There are moments she gets so excited to nurse and giggles on and off as she nurses.  May is always on the move, and to this day it is a special time for us both to slow down and cuddle.  I have to be honest and say that it wasn’t all a bed of roses.  There were many nights when I just wanted one break to get some sleep, or times I had to nurse awkwardly in the car or with a dress on! I also struggled with getting plugged milk ducts- very painful!  She struggled a lot to take a bottle so for the first year it was very hard to ever leave for more than 3-4 hours.  And then there is the pump, don’t even get me started on how fun pumping is 😉  But its all worth it!

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But at the end of the day, I love every moment.  I enjoy slowing down in our days, looking down, and touching her sweet cheek.  I love the look she gives me when she looks up at me or plays with my necklace or mouth.  I love that I am giving her amazing nutrition that has lots of immunity, nutrients, fats, and protein fueling her growing body needs.  I love that its all about sacrifice and yes, it is hard and yes its not always easy, but to me its so much more than the food- its the bonding that occurs between her and I.

So where am I today?  May turned 13 months and we are still nursing.   What?!!  Yep that’s right.  I read this article on extending breastfeeding, chatted with other mommas who did extended breastfeeding, and knew it was the right thing for May and I.  I am so proud of my friends who have gone beyond a year, and to be honest am quick shocked how common it is to nurse beyond one year.  My goal was always to get to 1 year, and when 1 year came and went, I knew it wasn’t time to stop.  This article does a great job of explaining all the benefits of extending breastfeeding and the nutrition babies get the second year: http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/.  Honestly, it’s a little hard to share that I am still nursing because I know some people don’t think it’s needed after one year.  I understand, I used to be one of those people too.  You may think I am weird, but I’m pretty sure you already thought that!  I also think at the beginning one advantage to nursing taking so long is to slow down and rest, but now that May is on the go all the time- I still enjoy those peaceful, restful moments with her!

My new goal is to get through flu/cold season, it is one of the worst viral seasons around, and I am hoping this will continue to help her.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the past year

Few Tips:

Use lactation consultants!!  I had two absolutely amazing lactation nurses who helped me and my sister multiple times those first few months.  Kish Hopsital has an amazing breastfeeding center that woman can come into for free to get help and assistance.

kellymom.com has amazing resources to use! check it out!

Call your other breastfeeding moms and get tips from them.  I was on the phone a lot with friends who had breastfed to get any advice from them!

Don’t go anywhere for a few weeks….just focus on breastfeeding all the time.  To build up a good supply it is beneficial to breastfeeding your baby on demand!!  Yes this does mean sometimes every hour.  The more you nurse, the more your body will signal you need the milk and in turn it will product more.

Have snacks and water everywhere you go.  You will be so so so hungry and need to continue to eat and drink to maintain a good supply.  Let people bring you food.  Your too busy and tired to prepare it yourself!

As hard as night feedings are- they are important for your supply.  Many breastfed babies do not sleep through the night for a very very long time- this is normal!

Biggest Surprises:

How incredibly HUNGRY you would be!!

How hard it would be at the beginning, but how amazing and easy it would turn out.

How long and how much they nurse at the beginning.  May would take 40 minutes sometimes every 1.5-2 hours from the beginning of her last session.

How difficult losing weight would be.  I thought for sure I would be one of the woman who lost all their weight from breastfeeding.  I had no idea some woman held unto the weight.  Thankfully I was introduced to Cinch (now Shaklee180) and started losing my baby weight.  It was packed full of protein and had lot of vitamins and nutrients that can actually help boost your milk supply, but before Cinch I could not lose the baby weight!  I knew the protein was key!!

http://www.motherhooduncensored.net/motherhood_uncensored/2010/11/let-the-post-partum-belly-roll.html

What a special bond and experience it is to nurse 😉  How passionate I would become about nursing and helping other woman nurse.  How much it would change me.  How much I would LOVE IT!!!

Thank you Lord for allowing me this opportunity with your precious precious child you have entrusted me with!

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Preparing for Baby

Preparing for baby….

A few tips I learned along the way to help transition after having a baby.  I have lots more to learn, and only experience with one, so feel free to add any I forgot!

Meal Registry….This was one of the biggest and best blessings after having May.  As many of you know preparing a meal after you have a baby is out of the question.  I had a amazing family and many friends who brought us meals those first few weeks which was incredible blessing.

Sticking with the meal theme.  It is really nice to also have snacks delivered- trail mix, bars, things to much on because as you nurse you are SO HUNGRY and are eating constantly.   Sara brought us a bunch of Trader Joes goodies that were great to have.  I just remember having such a strong appetite after May was born and eating everything in site.  Perhaps it was because I spent 10 months with very little appetite and nauseated and that finally left me! 🙂 Its was nice to have some fast- snacks!

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Call your friends. I texted or called a lot of friends those first few weeks to ask questions- especially nursing related.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Enlist lactation nurses.  I can not suggests this enough.  I know not every momma wants to breastfeed, but if you do- make sure you know where you can go to get help.  If you live in this area I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Jenn and Judy at Kish Hospital.  They have a whole breastfeeding support center you can go to (free of cost) to get help with breastfeeding.  I know many breastfeed with no issues, but for me this was so critical!

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Research a Pediatrician/Family Doctor beforehand.  This was something I didn’t really think about until after I had May. Thankfully my good friend Kim had a wonderful family doctor that we absolutely LOVE!
Schedule a massage or hair cut.  Or perhaps both?!  After you have a baby I felt so frumpy and unattractive- I am sure smelling like baby spit up, and having milk dripping everywhere didn’t help.  I remember going in for a hair cut with the lovely Miss. Renee and feeling so much better!  Even just going to the store and picking out a new shirt can help make you feel a little more attractive, and less like you haven’t slept in weeks 😉

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Take Shifts.  My husband would often go to bed super early (8pm) and I would take 8pm-5am and then he would take over.  Often May would still be sleeping but it was nice to spend a few hours not having to listen for her.  Sam would take her sleeping in his office while he worked from 5am-9/10am.  This wasn’t every day and I do understand many don’t have husbands who work from home, but don’t try to do it all on your own- especially those first few weeks!

Enlist grandparents.  We have such great grandparents on both sides who LOVE LOVE LOVE to watch and care for May!  It has been such a blessing for them both to watch May so that Sam and I could go out and do something together or meet up with  friend.  Those first few months I would actually go spend the night at my moms so Sam could get a full nights rest without having to hear from May.  My mom would take May and only bring her to me when she needed to be fed.  May took a LONG time to adjust to sleeping at night- often would be up for a few hours here and there so this was such a blessing and I always felt like I slept so long and hard when I dind’t have to worry about hearing her.

Spend some quality date nights together before the baby comes.

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Recover with good nutrition– it can make a big difference in how you feel.  There is lots I can say about proper supplementation- especially with nursing moms, so email me if you want more information (katie.odom09@gmail.com).   Vitalizer is the powerful and convenient approach to complete supplementation providing the best spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-aging phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics all in one daily serving.  You would have to eat all of the goods below to get the vitamins and nutrients available in one vitalizer strip!  Crazy huh!  I also strongly recommend Shaklee’s muscle recovery drink- Physique.  It works to rebuilds muscle and helps muscles recover—from a work out or surgery or labor. I know of doctors who have surgery patients take it after their surgery to help with the recovery.  One of my friends used it after delivering and is confident in made a huge difference in her recovery.

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 I HEARD recently as a shower gift someone gave them a cleaning service.  What a great gift for a new momma!

Try and prep and prepare as much as possible before baby comes, but realize it will never all get done!  I tried really hard to get all my Christmas  and birthday shopping done beforehand.  Think ahead to the first three months post baby and try to get all the birthday gifts, errands, run, clothed, washed, etc. all set and ready so you have nothing to worry about except taking care of your sweet little one.

Rent some good movies.  Those first few weeks you sometimes nurse every 1-2 hours for 40 minutes at a time- watch a good movie, relax, and get some rest.  I love $1 redbox movies!

Don’t schedule anything for that first month you are gone- just enjoy the baby!

Looking back I wish I would have napped more when May napped.  I was horrible at this, and don’t know how I managed to function with so little sleep. I often stayed up really late because between 9-11pm would sometimes be a hard time for May.  I should have napped more looking back.

Shaklee180: Take your health in a whole new direction!

It is finally here…Shaklee180! !!

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Excited for my family/friends who are beginning the Shaklee180 program!! Not only are they losing weight but they are doing it in a healthy way! Getting to a healthy weight makes a difference in your all-around health.

For only $3 they are getting as much protein as 4 eggs, as much fiber as 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup or cauliflower, 1 cup of pineapple, as much calcium as 2 cups of milk, as much vitamin D as 10 oz of tuna, and as much leucine as 5-oz chicken breast.

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On conventional diets, up to 40% of the weight you lose could be muscle. Leucine is an essential amino acid that signals your body to retain muscle, so you lose the right kind of weight (FAT). An essential amino acid is a protein that must be taken in through diet because it cannot be made by the human body. Leucine can also lower elevated blood sugar levels and is necessary in promoting the healing of bones, skin, and muscle tissue.

This is quite possibly the last weight-loss program you’ll ever need

Did you know the average American attempts 4 diets every year!!??

Other weight-loss programs may help you lose weight, but Shaklee 180™ is designed to help you lose the right kind of weight and learn how to keep it off. With products that help you burn fat while you retain muscle, Shaklee 180 includes personalized support, online tools, and amazing rewards to motivate your success. Because it’s not just about going from before to after. It’s about getting all the way to your happily ever after-after.

Here is how it works….

The first 90 days are spent losing the weight.  The second 90 days are spent keeping it off.

To begin (for those wanting to lose weight):

The first is the Turn Around Kit

turnaround_kitOver $395 Retail Value

Lose Weight

Go from before to after with clinically tested weight loss products** – and a program designed to burn fat, not muscle. This customizable two-meal kit delivers a complete program of smoothees, snacks, energizing tea and metabolic boost* – along with access to exclusive tools and rewards.

Each customizable Turnaround Kit includes:

1. Two healthy meals a day, Energizing Tea, and healthy snacks, in your choice of flavors PLUS Metabolic Boost*.

2. Free personalized support and Shaklee 180 online tools ($9.95 month/value)

3. Access to the Shaklee 180 rewards†

4. Free Shaklee 180 Workouts ($19.95 month/value)

5. Free upgrade to expedited shipping on your first order ($26.95 value)

6. Eligible for FREE products through “3 for Free” when you sign-up for AutoShip***

During the second 90 days you learn to keep the weight off with the lean and healthy kit.

Lean and Healthy

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Over $239 Retail Value

Create a Leaner, Healthier You

Embrace your After-After TM with clinically tested products* – and a program designed to create a leaner, healthier you. With Leucine-powered smoothees and VitalizerTM delivering over 80 bio-optimized nutrients to the right place at the right time, plus exclusive online tools and daily support, you’ll find everything you need to fuel your day.

Each customizable Lean & Healthy Kit includes:

1. 30 healthy customizable meals in your choice of flavors

2. Your choice of Shaklee VitalizerTM (30 day supply)

3. Free personalized support and Shaklee 180 online tools ($9.95 month/value)

4. Access to Shaklee 180 rewards

5. Free Shaklee 180 Workouts ($19.95 month/value)

6. Eligible for FREE products through “3 for Free” when you sign-up for AutoShip**

Products are gluten free and low glycemic

Everyone knows losing weight is hard to do.  So it doesn’t stop there.
Shaklee provides customizable support and online tools ($9.95 value)

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Free burst workouts ($19.95) value- who doesn’t love a quick, calorie burning exercise you can do right at home!  Also available on your smartphone!

tumblr_inline_mfx0a3tAZc1rcwfgsRewards as you go!  From ipods to trips to Paris! Each week 25 people will win prizes to achieve their health and nutrition goals!

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Free Membership- Automatically get 15-25% off any Shaklee products (19.95 value)!

And all this can be FREE next month when you find 3 people to join you on your 180!tumblr_inline_mfwzyqwG8G1rcwfgs

Save Money while doing it….148545_130121610484702_974694353_n

And join thousands of people who have lost the weight….

Just one of the many tests showing Shaklee users who use Cinch (now Smoothees) in addition to working out lost more weight, had greater lean muscle mass, and lose more body fat than people who only worked out but did not use Cinch.

cinch_plus_exercise_resultsWhat Does Leucine and Muscle Have to Do With Losing Weight?

On most weight loss diets, you end up losing muscle in addition to fat. That’s because when you take in fewer calories than your body needs, your body has less energy to fuel basic biological functions. To make up for that, your body breaks down muscle proteins for energy. This is bad because it’s your muscles that help burn calories. Here’s where leucine does its magic while you lose weight; by stimulating protein synthesis it helps your body preserve muscle mass while you lose the right kind of weight-from fat, that is. In turn, your metabolism stays up, which is the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for the long haul.

Contact me today to get started on you 180!  katie.odom09@gmail.com

Want to check out a video about Shaklee 180?
Want more information on the website?  These include some success stories too!
Want to check out the kits and supplies?

Check out my 180 story!  Just to add an update- I still use 1 smoothee a day and am still losing weight!

Devoted

Devotion: often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle.

Last year I heard K-Love (I believe) share about choosing a word to focus on throughout the year.  I spent some time praying and thinking about what my word should be this year….and I think I came up with devotion.  I then went to biblegateway and typed in “Devotion” to see what scripture came up and this was the first verse.

2 Kings 20:3

“Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”

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Perfect verse for the year!  I want 2013 to be a year in which I am devoted first and foremost to the Lord, my family/friends, and in everything I do whether small or big.

Devoted to God

I have to admit at times I am not always fully devoted to the Lord.  I choose other things before Him, and often choose my own self over pleasing Him.  I am reminded over and over again that all that really matters is pleasing God.  At the end of the day I want to “do what is good in your eyes.”  When I really stop to think about why I am frustrated or angry does it really matter in the big picture?   God loves me so much and wants nothing more than my total and complete devotion.  He forgives me so much over and over again and I am so grateful for His grace on my life.  Why is it so hard at times to read His word or pray when I know that is the solution for many of my difficulties?

One thing I have enjoyed reading from is the You Version app (also can do on the computer).   From the app you can pick the She Reads Truth reading plan!  To read more about she reads truth click on the link below.  The current plan is, “Fresh Start.”  Something I always need!  I

http://shereadstruth.com/how/

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If you go to Christ Community, we will be starting a new study in a few weeks on Thursday nights-  Women Gone Wise in a world gone wild.

Devoted to my family

This year I want to carry selfless affection and dedication to my hubby and May.  I admit this past year I wasn’t always the most patient and encouraging to Sam.  I often took my frustration or stress out on him and not only was I not being the wife I was created to be, but I wasn’t loving him as God called me to.  I want to serve him without always being noticed and care for him.  Really really care for him- in the small things- bring him down lunch when he is working or take time out to give him more massages ;).  I know they seem silly but when my focus is so much on taking care of May, sometimes I forget those little things with Sam.   A few things that show my devotion to Sam is being on time.  I admit I am not always the best about being on time, especially after having May.  It seems so much harder with a kiddo to get to places on time, but I know I am respecting him when I do.  I also know a clean house is very important to Sam- another hard one when you have kiddos, but order is very important to him so I am organizing each section of my house slowly.  Beginning with the basement.  I have to be honest, I LOVE when things are organized so it feels great when they are.  Also, want to speak words of encouragement to him- especially in front of others.  I also want to remember to do more date nights. We are so blessed with having family and  friends who are willing to watch May, but often our schedules get so busy we don’t have time- but this has to be a top priority for us!

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Devoted to Health

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One reason I love my job, is helping others make small or big changes in their health.  I love hearing how people feel better after simple changes to their supplements and cleaning products, and I know this will only grow this year!   I want to be dedicated to my business team of moms and help them continue to succeed in their mission of helping others finding natural solutions to their health .  I want to always remember to ask God for guidance as I integrate Him in my business and want to please Him!  I want to continue to be used by Him!  I’m excited to see what God has planned for the year!

Devoted.  Wow I said a lot and I could say even more, but writing this out helps me refocus and also holds me accountable when I look back on this post periodically.

2 Kings 20:3

“Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”

Anyone else have a word they would like to focus on?  I would love to heat it!

Christmas

We enjoyed celebrating Christmas with family and here are some pictures!

Christmas Eve….Christmas at the Kleckas

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The next Mozart…Cecelia never forget who got you your first piano ok ? 🙂IMG_3177 IMG_3232 IMG_3243 IMG_3252 IMG_3265 IMG_3270 IMG_3291 IMG_3298 IMG_3322 IMG_3337Christmas at the Odoms!  Grandma and Grandpa Odom had a wonderful Christmas and I got to meet my adorable, nephew Levi!!! IMG_3347 IMG_3361 IMG_3364Malayna was spoiled by so many and had a wonderful 2nd Christmas!  Thankful for our time with family and the birth of our Lord!

2012: A Year in Review

2012:  Year in Review-

Here are some brief highlights from the year and blog posts that were the most popular.

Winter:

Birth Story

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We started off the year learning the ropes as new parents to our precious Malayna Faith.  The beginning of the year is mostly a blur as it involved lots of diaper changes, feedings, and carrying sweet May around.  Breastfeeding became a small part time job.  She loved to be held or carried and didn’t always sleep the best, so not much was accomplished other than taking care of her!  I began my journey as a stay at home mom and life changed a lot!!  My house became more dirty, I took less showers, got less sleep, and was never more happy to be home taking care of my daughter.

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On Feburary 16th– My sweet niece, Cecelia was born and just when I thought my heart couldn’t get more full- it did.  Lauren and I quickly began leaning on each other as we navigate the new waters of motherhood.  We cried together and laughed together, and enjoy spending our days going on walks, having lunch, or just chatting on the phone!  Cecelia and May love each other so much and May gained a best friend that day.

Top 10 Baby Must Haves– *My most popular post 🙂

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I started this blog in March and have enjoyed a way to document May’s first year. Don’t worry you aren’t getting rid of me that fast- I still plan to blog next year! 🙂

First blog

Spring:

May was dedicated at church on Mothers day and I celebrated my first official mothers day!  I started my hobby of garage sale shopping  and finding sweet deals on toys and clothes!

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Malayna started crawling.  With the weather turning warmer we enjoyed walking and bike rides together.  We enjoyed meeting up with other moms for play dates.  She also took her first swim lessons!

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Summer:

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Malayna enjoyed her first plane ride down South to meet the O’Grady family.  She did very well traveling together and made such special memories for our first vacation together.

South Carolina

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Sam traveled to Brazil for the third time leading a group of High school students on mission trip to do English Camps.  He saw many students lives changed and lots of fruit come from his trip.

Brazil

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I began working from home as a health consultant for Shaklee distributing health products.  I quickly learned the ropes of a small business and enjoyed helping others have a healthier home and body.  My team grew with other women passionate about staying home with their children, helping others find natural solutions to health problems, and in November was able to make Director!

Starting Shaklee

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We made a trip up to Michigan to meet the Simpsons!

Cloth Diapering

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Fall/Winter:

A group of women and I started a Thursday night Womens  study at Dekalb for around 100 women.  Sam continued to led 50 high school students in Housegroup- helping lead other adults in mentoring and shepherding freshmen through seniors on how to apply God’s word to their everyday lives.  He spent a lot of time pouring into students and helping develop leaders.  I am so proud of his ministry!

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I enjoyed my first overnight without May with the Brownie Townies!  Sweet memories were made and it is always such a treat to spend time with them!

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Our Malayna began talking, turned one, and started walking!

Malayna’s First Birthday

We are so blessed by the Lord and look forward to what He has in store for 2013.
Happy New Year!

The Odoms

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