A little easier... maybe.

It's getting easier! Yay.

If I could have had a more experienced mother say any one thing to me as a new, frazzled
mother-of-a-newborn, it would have been...

"It will get easier."

One to starts to feel a little hopeless at moments of exhaustion, sleep deprivation, lactation issues, crying baby, etc. But I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it, get in the jive a little bit... meaning, showering regularly, applying make-up more than once a week, making dinner (I'm on my third night in a row, thank you very much...), cleaning at least one thing every day, etc. It feels good. :)

If I ever feel discouraged I just think... it doesn't matter if I do any of those things (above)... I am taking care of my sweet baby! I am nourishing his life and his soul and he loves me (best feeling ever). I am single-handedly sustaining his life, physical growth, and nourishment. And it's working! He's gaining weight and chunky to boot (other best feeling ever)! I am his mother.

So I'm feeling pretty good about it. Not to mention, I purposefully exercised for the first time since Jude arrived today. I did the Calorie Busting Party on Netflix. It was the cheesiest. They always have to have the token thicker person doing the work-out so us normal people don't feel bad about ourselves. Theirs was, of course, the chunky red-headed girl in the back corner. We were kindred spirits. Except she looked good and knew what she was doing. I was all alone in the living room and I was literally embarrassed at how uncoordinated and ridiculous I looked. I knew I did. I checked during a couple moves in the mirror and I was right.

But I did it. All 45 minutes. Go me. 15 pounds to go. 

And of course a picture of Jude, I know that's all you really want to see. :)


shabbat shalom!

Saturday was one of the most exhausting days yet. I worked at the hospital from 11:40 pm to 8:15 am doing a clinical with my nursing supervisor. I am not going back to work for another month, but I am in a leadership class for my bachelor's degree. I chose to do it on a Friday so Dan could help take care of Jude the next day while I slept. But then there was a tornado in Birmingham and they needed him to help with clean-up. So, he left at 6:30 and our sweet friend, Aly, came over and watched Jude for a couple hours between when Dan left and I got home. Jude was asleep when I got home (and he smiled really big at me when I came over and peeked at him) so I slept for a little less than two hours, then he woke up, ate, burped, fussed, etc, etc. Finally got him to sleep and he slept for... an hour and a half. Ate, burped, fussed, etc, etc, finally got back to sleep and slept for... forty-five minutes. I was basically a zombie by this point because I had only slept for four in the past thirty hours. I can't do that. Dan finally got home at 5:45 to a messy house and a hungry, exhausted, emotional, and grumpy wife.

I saw this sign at someone's desk while I was at the hospital and I absolutely love it. So great.

Life is back to normal today and I am so glad. I finally got some sleep and went to sacrament meeting when I woke up. When I got home Dan had cleaned up the cochinera of an apartment we lived in and it has been a wonderful day since! We are skyping with family and relaxing in our PJ's. Dan just made homemade cheesy potato bread and broccoli chicken divan is in the oven, both made with an ingredient I am very proud of... breast milk. Way to be organic and all-natural over here. We ran out of normal milk, but it works! If it's good enough for Jude, it's good enough for us. He sure seems to like it!

Jude is all dressed for the Sabbath in the shirt his Aunt Krissy made him :)

I received a package yesterday from Caroline Craven, Nicki's mom, and I am sooo oooh excited about it! She had seen that Jude was having a hard time sleeping and she sent me some essential oils and homemade soap for him! I am so, so excited. I have been wanting to try natural fixes for Jude before resorting to medication. Thank you soo much Sister Craven for thinking of me and all the soap and oils! She makes all her own all-natural, chemical-free soaps and sells them for a very reasonable price... check them out here!


lil burpy

He does not like being burped...

when he's not done eating. He looves that milk.

He had an afro today. Best baby fuzzy fro I've ever seen. He has soo much hair!

Round full tummy. Happy baby.


oh, it is love from the first time i pressed my lips against yours...

My baby slept from 10:30 to 3:45 last night.

That's five hours and fifteen minutes!

It was blissful.

He is even falling asleep in his swing and bassinet! Even if we put him in while he's wide awake. He is just getting so big and helpful to his mama.

I'm in love with him. I miss him when he sleeps for a long time. I want to hug and kiss his face and lips and feet and tummy every minute. I love to watch his daddy read him books and play him songs on the guitar. I love it when he coughs and coos and yawns and huffs and puffs and crys (some of the time) and sneezes and squints and pouts his lips and kicks and waves his arms. Okay, I'll stop. I'm pretty smitten.

The other day I picked him up out of his bassinet and he looked straight into my eyes and smiled at me! It was the most joyful, precious moment. I have the greatest baby ever. Not that I'm biased or anything...



We have been on pins&needles since last week when Dan interviewed for medical school in South Carolina... We knew if we got in they would be calling us on Thursday. Thursday morning came...

And went.

I really wanted to be there with Dan if they called to share the "special moment." So he came home in the afternoon in between his classes. He had been home for about ten minutes and...

the phone rang! From an unknown number! It was Mattie...

"Congratulations, Mr. Mulder. We would like to offer you a seat in this Class of 2016, starting this fall...."

He got in! To medical school! He's going to be a doctor! A real live white coat and stethoscope wearing, prescription writing, diagnosing, surgery doin' doctor!  

Jude was thrilled when he heard the big news...

We had to celebrate. At Pepito's. We broke all the rules and took Jude out. We kept him pretty covered. And he did great! There is nothing quite like blaring Mexican tunes to sing you to sleep.

I am so proud of my man.

We continued our celebrations with some bubbly! Martinelli's style...


We celebrated again the next night with a few friends.

(The 5 S's in action...)
The two trouble makers, Josh and Dan. They are the cutest best friends ever. You have to admit. 

Here are the details...

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Carolina Campus

He has thirty days to confirm, so we are going to wait and be sure we don't hear from anyone else that we may be more interested in.

Dan really liked the school. It was built last year so it's very new, technologically advanced, and a beautiful campus complete with a pond, fountain, and little trail. They said they are very close-knit group. Their mission statement focuses on good values, service, medical missions, and disaster recovery. We really think it is a good fit for Dan. 

So if we decide to go there (which we probably will), we will be moving to South Carolina in August! Still the South, but at least a little more northeast. We will be four hours from Myrtle beach and right at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains. At a little closer to Ashley & Scott. :) We found a cute little community right outside of Spartanburg (where the college is) called Boiling Springs, so we are hoping to find a cute little house there!

It has been quite a journey so far and we know Heavenly Father has led us every step of the way. It has been amazing to see how He has put us right where we need to be and we know we will end up right where he wants us. He truly leads and guides our lives and answers every prayer. 

We feel so blessed and are so excited!


the 411 on cloth diapers

Cloth diapering has a whole lot of negative stereotyping going on. People picture rags with safety pins in them. We've come a little ways since then. It is becoming more and more popular and it should! It only makes sense. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't do it. Yeah. 

Here's a play-by-play on the cloth diapering process from a newbie...

Here are all my cloth diapers (minus the inserts). I own eleven. That's probably the least amount I would recommend. I do wash approximately every 1.5 days. People have said to me "When you calculate the cost of doing more laundry, is it really worth it?" I do a massive amount of laundry with a newborn baby anyways, what's an extra load every two days? Water costs like, $30.00 a month. So that extra load is maybe $2.50. According to wikianswers, the average person spends $1,000 per child on disposable diapers. My diapers and two wet bags cost about $115. FOR ALL MY DIAPERS. That (should, technically) last the entire diapering life of my child. I am also using cloth wipes. I am using muslin rags that my dad got us from the Operating Room. You just fill a little spray bottle with water and soap and spray each rag before use. Then you just wrap it up in the diaper like you would a disposable. No weird chemicals on baby's precious bottom.

Here are the inserts. We are using two per diaper (two inserts come with each diaper) right now, which is recommended for newborns. When they get a little older or in the daytime when you know you will be changing them frequently, you can use only one if you please. After we wash all the diapers we just stuff each of them so they are all ready to go!

These diapers fit from newborn to out of diapers. We didn't start using them until he was about three weeks old because he was still a little small and they would have looked ridiculous, we went through approximately twenty diapers a day, and I hadn't bought them yet. The horizontal fold in the middle of the diaper is where I snapped it together to make them smaller. When he gets older we just leave those snaps undone and it's instantly bigger! We snap to make them the smallest size right now and as he grows, we just move out! If you didn't notice, that is Dan's hand putting the diaper on. He has not even the slightest problem or grossness with cloth diapers (I have heard this is an obstacle for some willing women).

Ta da! He's adorable, I know. Yes, the diaper is a little big and it makes his pants fit a little funny. But that is the biggest downside. I think I can handle it. And he doesn't seem too concerned about it. Look at that blissful baby. He loves them. But really, disposable diapers have chemicals and all sorts of yucky stuff in them. Not to mention, a landfill is their final resting place. That's not hot for the environment. But more importantly, I want the best for my baby. The softest, the most comfortable, and the best for his skin. Cloth diapers are all of those. No diaper rash over here, sister! When he was wearing disposables he had little rashes, bumps, and blemishes. Since we have switched to cloth diapers they are completely cleared up.

Above is the "wet bag." It's made out of the same material as the diaper shell. It easily holds all the diapers I have. I bought it at the same place as my diapers. Once you have your dirty diaper, just throw it in this bag. When laundry day comes, take the diapers out, remove the inserts, and throw them all in the washer. Also, be sure everything is unsnapped. This is probably the most tedious, unenjoyable part of cloth diapering for me. But it's really not bad. If there is any solid BM on the diaper, flick it in the toilet.

The laundering process.

1. Do a hot rinse.
2. Wash like normal with a tinge of detergent. It is recommended to use something more natural, like a  homemade detergent with baking soda, borax, and soap (it's easy and cute, see for yourself).
3. Dry. Sunlight it preferred, but you can dry them in the dryer, too.

The green wet bag is my bag for home. The black one is for when I go out. I can just keep it in my purse.

I originally committed to using BumGenius All-in-one snap diapers. I did many hours of research and decided they were the best. They cost $17.50 a diaper. (That is the cheapest I found them). It was going to be an investment to purchase them all, but I knew it would pay off. I had a baby shower and my sweet, thoughtful friend Kim gave me a Simply Cloth cloth diaper from Just Simply Baby! I already had two BumGenius diapers I bought with gift cards, so I was able to compare. BumGenius are a little cuter and have better colors, but not worth the price. They are almost identical. There are small differences. The BumGenius are a tad better quality. The Simply Cloth diapers are $11.50/diaper! They are so much more reasonable so I decided to go with them. The company was started by a stay-at-home mother in Atlanta who does have them made overseas but she employs other stay-at-home moms for everything else. She has a thirty-day return policy on all diapers, used or not!

If you are considering using cloth diapers but do not want to fully commit, you can use my friend Kim's great idea... only use them at home! You can use them when you are at home with all the conveniences readily available and when you go out you can still use disposables and you will not have to worry about it. You will still save tons. I have been doing this since I received several packages of diapers as gifts and it really is nice.

Are you convinced? I am. Feel free to comment if you have any questions I would love to answer them!

*If you decide to buy cloth diapers through this company, enter the coupon code 'ARRM' and put my name, Rachael Mulder, for a reference & you will give 5% off your entire order (if you are a new customer)!


swinging serenity

My baby has fallen asleep not once, not twice, but three times in his swing in the past two days. W. Oah. That's progress. Major progress. He is becoming so much more aware of his surroundings. The other day he actually noticed the little plush toys that hang from his swing and twirl. He was like... Hmm, what are those? Maybe this swing isn't so bad.

I mostly have his father to thank for this. When I get him to sleep I rock him for approximately... thirty minutes. Or forty. Or fifty. Or however long it takes for him to fall completely asleep. That makes for one extremely fatigued forearm and one tired mama (shh'ing turns out to be very soothing and makes me sleepy!)

When Dan gets him to sleep, he rocks him for about 50 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes and then gets tired and puts him in the swing. I wouldn't even dare such an ambitious task for fear of him waking up, fussing, crying, and then having to start all over (which does happen occasionally). These past few days when he has put him in his swing... he falls asleep! And coos! And appears to be in complete serenity. I am now trying to be more ambitious myself and put him in the swing more readily. 

Alright, nap time!


pretty baby

just a couple pictures of the prettiest blue eyes we ever did see...

he's working the cloth diapers! i will do a whole post about them soon. :)



can babies have insomnia? i was starting to think mine might. he has slept for no more than seven hours in the past 15 orr so, that takes work for a wee one of less than a month. he was up from 1:30 - 3:30 last night and then awake again at 4:30. one measly hour?! he's been up almost all day besides an hour or so we stole in the ergo baby. poor thing must be exhausted! we bought this cadillac of baby swings for our little guy with the hopes of getting more sleep. naive. he will be calm and content and as soon as we put him in the swing he is crying hysterically. as soon as we take him out... asleep. it looks pretty comfy to me, not sure why he's not too fond of it. hoping it will grow on him. i wish they made one in my size.

dan has been at school today so i've had to rough it out on my own. come early afternoon i was really starting to feel uncomfortable in my hygienic state and was dreaming of a shower. jude had finally fallen asleep and i had secretly placed him in his swing. i knew i must take advantage of my window and shower. i peeped in on him one last time and he was wide awake. this meant one thing. i had no more than 90 seconds before he was in hysterics. i scurried into the shower and washed off as fast as i could, then thought... oh! i'll just take a bath with jude since he needs one too. i ran out to get him, he was crying in the misery of his swinging papasan seat. i scooped him out and into the tub it was. he liked it. he's so sweet in the water. almost always calm and content. we were just finishing up when boom... bowel movement blast off in the water. i got us up as fast as possible (which was not fast at all) and held on tight to my shivering, slippery baby as i kicked the tub stopper out from over the drain. i ran into the closet with my naked, wet, cold, screaming baby to grab the puj tub so i could rinse off any floaties that might have gotten on him. i managed to figure out the origami fold of the tub with my free hand and get in the sink. the water finally warmed up, and as i was rinsing him off... spew! urine stream all over me and him, it even splashed him in his eye. (nothing makes me feel worse than this. poor thing. to my defense it's only happened twice) i rinsed him off, plopped him on the bed, strapped on a diaper and threw some clothes on the sweet little one. i put him in the swing so i could hurry and rinse myself off... thank goodness we have two showers because the first one was a little out of commission. jude was traumatized by this point. i hurried and cuddled with him and fed him and he calmed down. but he still wouldn't sleep. i was starting to worry about him. dan got home and  i had him take his temperature. 97.2. i have been cuddling him and loving him and he is finally asleep. i have gotten none but i am so thankful he's sleeping i'm not going to risk it by getting up and putting him in his bassinet. so here we are. recovering from a long day...


south carolina here we come

nothing is more precious than my little less-than-a-month old laying in his little bassinet at 3:40 in the morning, just looking around, cooing, yawning, flapping his arms through the air, and hiccuping. what a well-behaved little prince. although i surely wouldn't mind if he fell asleep. i am used to being awake all night with him. it's his favorite time of the day. daytime is for sleeeping, silly. it is rare that he will just lay in that little bassinet and be content. we have a swing in the mail! hopeful that it will arrive today and i can get a little more sleep. i usually strap him into the ergo baby and walk with him/rock him for an hour or two until he is (supposedly) sound asleep and then i very carefully unstrap the ergo and put him in his bassinet. if i make a premature transfer he will wake up and we start over. we are in the process right now!

we arrived home from south carolina last night! my sweet dan had an interview for medical school! (VCOM). my goodness. how mature are we?! i am so proud of him. sooo proud. proud as punch. buttons popping off my shirt proud. we left on monday morning and took the six hour trek north. we enjoyed our stop at the chick-fil-a dwarf house half-way there in atlanta. we arrived in the afternoon and checked into our nice little hotel. we then found the campus, made a quick walmart stop and looked at a few houses to get a feel for the area. the sun went down far too fast so we went back to the hotel for some hors d'oeuvres  and drinks and then settled into our plush king-sized bed and watched the national championship. ROLL TIDE! we smoked LSU. it was so much fun. we got to sleep way too late. i spent the night trying to keep jude content and keep the crying to a minimum so dan could get a good night's rest. good luck. jude and i slept for about two hours that night. he's a little night owl.

he owns our hearts.

he is so precious. i just looked down at him in my little ergo baby and he is smiling with his precious blue eyes rolling back in his head. i can hear the quiet lull of his erratic breathing with the occasional sigh. california smile he got from his daddy. he smiles when he is falling asleep. i'm in love.

morning came all too soon and dan got all spiffy for his interview. he looked so sharp in his charcoal grey suit and power tie. bagel for breakfast, practicing interview questions on the way, and off he was. i'm so proud of my man. jude had his longest cry yet on the way back to the hotel. first time being alone in the back seat, not fun. we got our check-out time extended, took a fabulous nap, and got cleaned up and packed up.

before we knew it we were picking dan up and it was time to head home. his inteview was from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm and included three 30 minute interviews, lunch, a tour of campus and spartanburg, and a few other presentations. he feels really good about the interview. we will find out their decision a week from thursday!!  it's been amazing to see where life takes us. we think we are making plans but we are, thankfully, at the will of our Heavenly Father. we are excited to see where life takes us next.

our ride home was long and rainy. jude slept the entire way (explains why we are awake right now), but he did great. he loves his plush little maxi cosi seat. we took a little detour in atlanta, sang our hearts out to hey jude and wicked, and had some nice chats on the phone. overall, a very successful trip!

ps- what i learned about bringing a baby on a trip: 7 outfits is not enough. i thought i was overdoing it and bringing way too many. wrong. he got the spat upon gown PJ treatment the whole way home.



This little boy is on the night shift schedule. He has his nights and days a little mixed up. We are trying to get him on a better schedule... it's not easy. When this boy wants to sleep, he sleeps. When he wants to eat, we feed him. When he wants to be awake, he's awake. We have been trying to keep him awake this evening so he will sleep. We had a photo shoot together and he managed to stay awake the whole time. You go baby! 

best poofy curly hair ever

getting sleepy...

second wind

and he's out. there's no waking him up now!