Thursday, January 31, 2013

how is it thursday already?

Things have been full-blown cray over in these parts lately.

The pediatrician was on the fence as to whether Elden has an amoxicillin allergy. He said the rash was definitely caused by the meds but that it could have been more of a side effect (the direction he's leaning) than an allergy. He said we could stop (we were on day 8 of 10) and that we'd avoid the amox family in the future unless "our backs are against the wall."

I went a little hang-happy the other day at home. We've had 3 pictures sitting on our dining room buffet since  November with spots picked out. If you haven't noticed by now, it takes us an average of 4 months to get any single house project done. Jon wasn't home from school yet, Elden was still at daycare, and all I could find was a sledgehammer. Don't you think for one second I let that stop me. Deciding to let it all hang out and through caution to the wind, I forewent a ruler, pencil and level and took my sledgehammer and nails and went to town. Sure, I may have made some sledgehammer marks and extra nail holes, but you'll never know... unless you move my pictures.

The blog! It has a new design and header. I can thank Aliya for that! I am basically in love with it.

Elden is going to be six months on Sunday. We realized that when I was nursing him this morning, at which point Jon looked at him and said, "hey buddy! You're going to be half a year old on Sunday. We're throwing you a party: it's called the Superbowl!" #lovemyhusband

Related, Jon and I are a bunch of old fogies and the thought of going anywhere/having guests over on the eve of a work/school day past 7 pm is preposterous to us. However, we both love food, especially party food. As such, we've declared that in honor of Superbowl Sunday/Elden's half birthday we will be having chili dip, spinach artichoke dip, and tortilla chips for dinner.

Work is insane. I have several pretty strict deadlines for this first quarter and I have therefore been putting in lots of extra hours. The good news is it helps make my days go fast (usually) and that it's job security. The bad news is that it means significantly less time with Elden during the week which all but slays me on the reg.

We had made such good progress on our bathroom remodel back in December. But then illnesses took over, Jon's classes started up again, and we are back to staring at just-primed wood, unfinished windows, and a lack of cabinet door. We also haven't touched the attic since the chevron wall was painted.

Being the seasoned grown-ups we now are, we have an appointment with an accountant next week to help us with our taxes, have called several mold remediation specialists for estimates on nipping any lingering mold in our basement in the bud, etc. Look at us being useful members of society!

Photo dump:

Kisses!!!!!
Scored this hat for $0.99 at TJ Maxx
Matching aprons!

Monday, January 28, 2013

siblings

One sibling is quite fond of the other...
He is always seeking her out, especially when she meows. Marsala, on the other hand, isn't so convinced about her brother:
We're off to the pediatrician. Elden has a bad rash on his torso and we think he might have an amoxicillin allergy. It's always something...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

five-minute beauty post

I have mastered the art of getting ready in less than five minutes in the morning. If given the choice, I would spend every waking second in my bed. Therefore, mornings that involve nursing a baby AND getting ready before work require me to rock at getting ready in as little time as possible to accommodate my bed addiction. Here are my "working mom who loves to sleep" tricks:

1. Shower at night. This affords you more time in your bed in the morning.
2. Pack your lunch/prepare all bottles the night before.
3. Stop caring what you look like--kind of. I should note that I also work for a company that lets us wear jeans to work. This definitely helps with the whole getting ready situation. Days that I have to dress up nicer (visitors at work or presentations) I tend to set my outfit out the night before.
4. Bobby pins and pony-tail holders are your friend. Embrace them.
5. Find the best beauty products on the face of the earth and live by them (and in them).

My usual routine involves waking up, pumping one side, nursing Elden on the other side, brushing teeth/hair, washing face, putting on face lotion, concealer, and powder (better safe than sorry, amiright?), and mascara. I usually clip my bangs up and pull my hair back into a mid-pony or bun-ish thing. If I'm feeling particularly sassy, I'll throw on some under-eye dark spot concealer (because let's face it, I perpetually have bags under my eyes...), eye shadow, blush, and actually straighten my hair. The simpler routine seriously takes me maybe 3 minutes, but I'm saying 5 to be liberal, and then if I decide to snazz myself up a bit more I'm banking that it takes maybe 10. These are the products/methods that make this possible:
This is how I look when I wake up in the morning. Except usually much grouchier.
The goods!
My go-to eye shadow 
Dark spot concealer
My trusty straightener
My current lip products (because they were free and they make my lips silky)
Final touch
Straightened hair
I don't typically wear my hair down anymore because someone has very grabby hands and he holds on for dear life. Here's my favorite (read: easiest for the payoff) hairstyle:
Pin back bangs to the side, pull into bun-ish thing
Other side
Finished product. Now if I can just figure out how to keep my bra straps in my shirt...
So to recap, here's my methods linked to the products I use:
Night before:
1. Shower 
2. Apply finishing creme through damp hair
Morning:
1. Wash face (this varies depending on what type of face wash we have at the time)
2. Apply face lotion (I use tinted)
3. Concealer/foundation
4. Powder
5. Blush
8. Mascara (best mascara I've used that doesn't clump--usually I do Sephora brand but I'm making a switch because this is cheaper!)
9. Lip gloss/chapstick/whatever you have--I got mine as my birthday freebie from Sephora, but I usually use something like this
10. Heat protector (this really helps with the frizzies in these dry months)
11. Straighten hair (I can't remember where we got mine from... I think Sally Beauty?)

I hope this helps someone else who is busy and loves to sleep. In case anyone cares, I have crazy fine hair (but a lot of it) and typically oily/often adolescenty skin--hence all the foundations and powders and general overkill. It has taken trial and error with a slew of beauty products to figure out which ones work best for me, but now that I've found them I'm never letting go!

Note: I was provided some of the products above for free to review (specifically the lotion, powder, eye shadow, dark circle concealer, mascara, heat protector and root lifter spray) but I really do use these items regularly and they have made my life so much easier. I would not tell you to use anything I didn't have a good experience with.

Friday, January 25, 2013

twenty-five

At 25 weeks, Elden poops at least 3 times a day now. He is currently taking antibiotics (for the first time ever) for his cough that had been lingering since Christmas. We're trying to figure out if he might have some asthma but we will continue this course of antibiotics until the prescribed amount is gone. Books are his favorite and when we read to him he is very attentive and smiles if you make eye contact while reading to him. We think his little knees might be a bit ticklish and he's starting to chew when we eat. We had temporarily suspended baby-led weaning but I think we're going to pick back up again. In the meantime, he's been eating usually no more than 7 ounces at a time from his bottle and I nurse him from only one side at a time (so at times he probably only gets about 3.5 ounces but that seems to be fine until his next feeding). 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ten things

1. I didn't know there was a difference between stock and crock pots. And yes, this did affect my weekly meal making recently. Fail.

2. I have seriously been contemplating surrogacy to pay off some of my student loan debt. Jon is not on board. Working on it!

3. My hair is stupidly brittle as of late. Up until a few days ago I thought it was still postpartum hair loss but Jon pointed out that it looks more like my hair is breaking than falling out. I have mixed feelings about this.What hair products do you recommend to repair crazy damaged (for no reason. Let's be real. I don't typically blow dry or flat iron it. Ain't nobody got time for that) hair?

4. I work for a company that lets me look like this at work*:
Not pictured: jeans
I had to make this image size large instead of extra-large because I just couldn't handle that hot mess in a larger size. Too much.

5. We got a property tax bill in the mail. Our bank built in our property taxes with our monthly mortgage payment. I don't understand anything about this bill. I'm not adult enough to have to figure these things out.

6. We finally took the window AC unit out of our dining room (cougheventhoughiwantedtoinoctoberbutjonsaidthatwasntnecessarycough) because our heat could not rise above 65 degrees and the house got as cold as 62 degrees. The night before we were able to, though, I had to MacGyver a solution:

We magically saw the thermostat rise up to 68. Who would've thought!? (me)

7. We bought $50 in Girl Scout cookies. Haters gonna hate.

8. I am super excited about the Valentine's Day gift I'm going to make Elden's teachers. I can't wait to do a post about it (hint: chocolate AND Oreo's are involved.)

9. Elden no longer takes his evening nap with me on the couch. He fights sleep too much when we cuddle (I suppose I'm just super fun) so we have to put him in his crib. This breaks my heart!

10. Jon and I have decided that when one of our cars dies we will be purchasing a minivan. Hopefully that is several years into the future but the wagons just don't cut it the way a van would. And you know what? I have no shame in that! I LIKE minivans. 

*May I also point out the fact that this is both good and bad. Good because most days I spend less than 10 minutes getting ready, but bad because most days I spend less than 10 minutes getting ready. I wish I had more motivation to look like a grown-up.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

sarah

I had mentioned previously that Jon and I had been traversing some deep marital waters lately.

Truth be told, the past five months have been far from easy. The issues I wrote about on Suzannah's blog are still just as present (namely that intimacy is painful) and it's taking a great toll. I feel like damaged goods. I feel distant because we share no simple way to reconnect at our most primitive level. I feel ashamed, tired, and frustrated. But mostly, I feel abandoned by God.

In a separate but related issue, I have neglected to read my Bible or pray the last 5+ months. In an effort to retake spiritual leadership in our house, Jon had been encouraging me on a daily reading plan. Each day involved about 2-4 chapters of scripture. It was the perfect idea--just enough to ease me into it with daily reminders.

But then I got to Genesis.The story of Leah and Rachel consistently begging God for children in an act to outdo the other (so to speak, at least that's how I interpreted it at that moment in time) and God always answering. Where is God in this? Our marriage has been suffering. Lots of petty fights (picked mostly by me), poor communication, lack of intimacy. I have cried out more times than I can count for healing and intervention on my behalf. Radio silence.

Last night things kind of came to a head. I was utterly broken. Jon held me in his arms and let me weep. I finally found the appropriate words to explain why I've been behaving the way I have as of late. I expressed my feelings of abandonment, my jealousy of the way Rachel and Leah's prayers were answered and mine were being ignored.

Then, ever so lovingly, Jon mentioned Sarah and how God waited decades to answer her prayers for a son. He hadn't forgotten her or abandoned her. He loved her just the same. His timing was just different than hers.  And look what was born from His promise! Faithful. God was faithful.

Even though the heartache I'm dealing with right now only scratches the surface of Sarah's yearning for a child, I can kind of understand how she must have felt during those years. My new goal is to focus my prayers less on demanding my way in my timing, but rather to be blessed with the patience and hope that Sarah had to exhibit to continue to ask for a son year after year. I know I'll still have 'woe is me' moments, and at those times, I will try to remember Sarah.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

help a wounded soldier's family

Hi all. Two of my former high school classmates got married in 2010 and had a beautiful baby girl in 2011. In 2012, Alex was deployed in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber killed three members in Alex's unit and severely injured Alex--they were unsure if he would keep is arm and leg. After countless surgeries, time in the hospital, and rehab, Alex came back home. He and his wife, Mallorie, decided to buy their dream home. A few hours after closing, they discovered mold along the baseboards. Following consultation with an expert, they were told any portion of the house with mold would need removed. They started at the baseboards and by the time it was all over their entire house had to be demoed on the inside. It turns out there was water damage from what appears to be a leaky roof and the sellers had masked it by covering up the moldy, damaged insulation and removing the old drywall and improperly placing new drywall in an act of complete deception. It's despicable. It will cost $100,000 for them to get it repaired; they cannot afford this nor can they afford to rent an apartment, so they are staying in Mallorie's mom's basement as they attempt to figure out what to do next. They have applied to be on HGTV for a home makeover as this is currently the only way they can make the home they purchased habitable. They sent HGTV a video submission and have also posted it on youtube with the hope that social media can highlight their need and really grab HGTV's attention. Would you please help them? The video below explains everything and shows you the inside of their home. Please like, comment, and share this video with as many people as you can. Alex almost made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. This is the least we can do, amiright?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

twenty-four

As I write, there is a little hand resting on my arm--melt my heart whydontya!? Elden now sleeps on his belly (we put him in his crib on his back and he rolls over in less than 5 minutes) and can sit up on his own for brief stints. His favorite thing to suck on is his left foot, specifically his toes. He is very engaged in his environment and is constantly reaching to touch and grab things (and ultimately bring them to his mouth). The bad thing about this is he's very into pulling mommy's hair and also pinching our skin as he holds onto us. Elden's eyes are still baby blue so we're starting to wonder if they're going to change. Riding in the car is a breeze and he doesn't mind it one bit. We just bought him a walker to double as an activity station and Elden LOVES it. So glad that he continues to be a healthy and (now!) happy little guy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

thursday photo dump

I'm in a period of discontent when it comes to this little space. I'm sure my angst can be traced back to something like seasonal affective disorder and that it will pass over the next few days. I want what I write here to mean something to me and not just be a mundane recap of our daily routines. While I don't mind those occasional posts, I don't want to look back at our memories in an x, y, z fashion. I might try to branch out and write some more challenging posts in the coming weeks, or I might laze it up and take a nap instead. In the meantime, here's a pretty dull one for ya.

--

If you follow me on instagram or watch the feed on my sidebar, you may have noticed I haven't added any pictures in a while. This is because I have abandoned my android phone for a Windows 7 phone. The android I had was an early model and the OS version was super buggy--it prevented me from texting or making calls more times than I care to think about. I used some Christmas money to buy my new-to-me phone from ebay and there is no instagram app for Windows, hence the radio silence. I guess I'll have to revert to photo dumps :)

 For the first time ever, little mister rolled over in his crib tonight:
We also finally got poop and a LOT of it, all without clinician intervention. That's our boy!
We did a family grocery run to Aldi yesterday. Someone has been particularly flirtatious at our last 2 Aldi trips and has elicited too many smiles to count by passers by.  
There's an arctic blast coming next week--we're ready.

I hope to make some progress on the attic this weekend but there's no one to watch Stinker so that's pretty hit or miss since his naps are so irregular. There's also a ton of cleaning that I need to get caught up on from being out of commission last weekend. I guess the excitement in my life is greatly derived from the surprises within each day...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

recovering

A(nother) nasty cold struck down all three of us late last week and I am just now able to say I think we're all operating at about 75% or better. I did make sure to get out for a few walks this weekend when we had ridiculously unseasonable 65-degree weather. Elden hasn't pooped since Friday so there's that... despite giving him a little prune juice we've had no luck and have called into the pediatrician for counsel yet again.
Walk in mid-January? Yes please.
Also, I'm pretty sure I'm that mom. Okay, I know I'm that mom. I think I call them about something at least once, sometimes more, per week. This can be traced back to my inherent need to control everything. When I cannot control the health of my child I instead try to proactively fix every little thing that pops up. I'm trying to let go. Maybe when he can talk.

In other news, Elden's been giving what we call 'kisses.' He will take one of his hands to pull your face closer to his via one of your cheeks then opens wide and sucks on the other cheek. I'm quite certain he probably just mistook my cheek for a boob (so soft, amiright?) but I'll make myself feel great and say he knows he's just giving kisses. I've been soaking up every moment and have made it a habit to cuddle with Elden for his evening nap and encourage him to sleep in my arms. This is one of my favorite parts of the day:
For the sake of full disclosure, Jon and I have been working through some pretty deep stuff lately. That has also contributed to my lack of posts--my heart is heavy and my mind elsewhere. We had a really great conversation last night and have begun moving in a much more positive direction. I promise to fill you in soon. I just like to write drafts of those sort of posts and get Jon's blessing before publishing them. Since I've been more preoccupied with fixing the problems instead of writing about fixing them, there will be a delay in that info.

Finally, Jon and I have booked our first family vacation as a trio! I have a work conference in April in Chicago so my mom is flying out with me during the week so I can bring Elden and continue to nurse him--she will watch him while I'm at the conference. Jon joins us that Friday (my mom is heading home Friday) and we are staying at a TBD hotel in the windy city! Can't wait to get back there!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

twenty-three

Elden is 23 weeks old and weighs a hefty 17 pounds, 12 ounces. We had a pediatrician appointment yesterday to get his head shape checked to see if he needs a helmet to correct it. His doctor said he was right on the fence so he gave us the referral for the plastics guy to make the final decision. That appointment is in February. Elden has turned into somewhat of a side sleeper. He also rolls over like crazy now. At one point today I put him on his play mat in the living room then ran to switch the laundry and when I came back into the room a minute later he was about two feet away from where I had laid him down. In other news, he has a new smile face:
We have quite the little ham on our hands!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

baby-led weaning

Today Jon and I started baby-led weaning with Elden. In case you've never heard of it, BLW is where you feed your baby regular foods (not purées) that are prepared appropriately for a baby to eat. This encourages hand/eye coordination, more adventurous eaters, and allows you to eat a meal as a family instead of one person having to spoon-feed the baby. We are going to give it a shot and if it seems like it's not for Elden we'll come up with a different plan--likely purées.
I should add that I am nursing him the same as before so he is getting all the food and nutrients he requires. Today we made carrots in the oven, boiled broccoli, and spiral noodles so he would have a variety of foods to interact with. He didn't do much of anything with the carrots, he held/squished (but didn't taste) the noodles, but he was quite fond of the broccoli. We don't know if he even swallowed any but the point is he had no problem bringing it to his mouth and chewing. We will continue to introduce a variety of foods in this way and see what he gravitates towards. If you're interested in reading the book we're following, you can buy it here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

poop!

Oh it has been an adventurous few days.

The poop! Look at the poop! You'd think these words would mark a milestone in motherhood. It's not. I love anything burp/poop/fart. I actually have a friend from college (who shall remain nameless for her benefit) who I regularly text about pooping. She texts back when she poops, too. That's part of why she's one of my people. She gets it, man.

But back to the poop! There's a reason for its mentioning. As I had written in my last post, nighttime equals nightmare for us lately. On Saturday we decided we were going to attempt crying it out. Elden screamed for about 20 minutes when we put him down for the night, then was out until around 2 am. Then he woke up and screamed almost nonstop from 2-4am. He finally settled down but mostly whimpered and fussed til 6.

Naps on Sunday went textbook. Totally perfect. Hence our confusion about nighttime.

Sunday night we cried it out again. This time he screamed for about 35-40 minutes when we first put him down, then again for about half an hour straight at midnight. Pretty much every 5-15 minutes after that, he would quiet down then start screaming again. Finally by 4:30 am, Jon and I couldn't handle it any longer and we went in and got him. We brought him into our bed with the conviction that crying it out wasn't what was best for our boy and the resolution to regroup at sunrise.

Thank God for flex/vacation time because it allowed me to get about 2 solidish hours of sleep before I stumbled into work. As an aside, if you ever lose faith in humanity, cause your child to not sleep for about three consecutive weeks and post relentlessly about it on your social media accounts. You will be greatly humbled by the kind words of encouragement, support, and advice. (Thank you to everyone who has lifted our family up over these past few weeks. You're heroes.)

So yesterday we decided to put Elden down in his crib at night, let him cry it out when he went to sleep, but then get him and put him in his pack n play in our room at the first sign in the middle of the night that he wouldn't be crying himself to sleep. The other potentially life-altering thing we discovered had to do with the poop. I told you I was going somewhere with this. When I called my mom on my way into work (in tears, natch) about how confused/frustrated/exhausted we were, she mentioned how Elden's poop is often a somewhat startling chartreuse color. We were told that yellows/greens were normal for breastfed baby poop so we didn't think anything of it. She said she had changed lots of breastfed baby diapers and never seen such a vibrant yellow green. After asking Dr. Google, I happened upon this little gem. Let's see here: colic? Check. Cramps/GI discomfort? Check. Bright green poop? Check. Along a similar line, I found other items that talked about increased feeding/fussiness during the day if you have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Homeboy was drinking 9 ounces at a time. I've never heard of a baby eating that much. I decided to give it a go and both times I nursed him last night I only offered one side and I kept it at the firing position until Elden was more interested in his hands/my face/everything but the boob. Other than that we really didn't do anything differently last night.

Then he fussed for about 30 minutes at bedtime (but only fussed) and slept through the night, well past 6 am! I'm not sure the root cause or if anything we did yesterday had a positive effect, but I'll take it. Hopeful for another good night tonight but feeling at the very least more mentally prepared/rested in case tonight regresses to a bad night.

In other news, Nikki helped me paint completely painted, entirely by herself because I don't have that type of patience or talent, a chevron accent wall in our attic (soon to be half playroom/half office) over the weekend! She posted pictures and wrote all about how to replicate this in your own abode here. I am really excited about this room and have big, big plans for it. Plans that include a built-in desk/bookshelf, homemade baby jail, DIY valences, etc. It will certainly take time to complete, but we're already making great progress (famous last words). I'll try and post some updates along the way.
Tuckered out with Oma while his ma and Nikki painted
I also told Jon that he started classes yesterday so he took the tiny guy to daycare and headed down to Canton. He then called me thirty minutes later to inform me that classes start on Wednesday, not Monday. After some serious face palming I did a quick search and realized Jon's correction of my mistake was actually a mistake--his classes start Thursday. So I guess even though I caused him an extra trip I saved him from a second extra trip? That's fair, right? I guess you can say the moral of the story is to always Google the poop first, quadruple check the semester start dates, and keep the boob rocked out for as long as humanly possible. And when all else fails, chocolate.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

twenty-two

Elden hit the 22-mark on Friday/5-month mark on Thursday. Truthfully, week 22 has been a crazy difficult one for us. We're having major nighttime issues and we can't figure out the cause (there seems to be more than just a schedule change/I don't wanna sleep cause). Since he got sick he either seems to have forgotten how to roll over or just no longer cares to. One of his favorite things is to be held, facing out at chest level, and bounced up and down and side to side. Kiddo's gonna LOVE rollercoasters one day! We've decided he isn't ticklish but will oft giggle if you lock eyes with him and give him a huge grin. Even though nights have been tough, he's more pleasant during the day than he used to be, so that helps a little. Hoping that by week 23 we have the sleeping thing figured out...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

baby essentials

I feel compelled to write a post about the things that have absolutely saved my life in the last five months. What's the reason, you ask? On Wednesday night Elden's Snuza Halo went off. If you're unfamiliar, the Snuza is essentially a movement monitor that can detect a baby's breathing. If it doesn't detect motion after 15 seconds it vibrates for 5 seconds to try to stir the baby. If it still doesn't detect movement after those 5 seconds, it alarms so you know to check on your child. This happened once before (on Jon's birthday, natch) and the reason it had alarmed was because it had fallen off his diaper. However, Wednesday night while Jon was in the shower it went off so I went rushing in to check on Elden. I called his name as I ran in and he didn't stir until I rubbed his tummy. Could his breathing have just been shallow? Yes. Could he have actually stopped breathing for 20 seconds? Maybe. If he had stopped, I don't even want to think about what could have happened if we didn't have the Snuza.

Here are my top baby items that I absolutely can't live without:

1. Snuza Halo Baby Monitor - Originally got this because I was paranoid about SIDS and Jon knew we would sleep better at night if we had it on the baby. We had considered some motion pads that you can put under the sheets, but we had read about a ton of false alarms due to the baby moving off of the pad. We liked that this clipped directly on the baby's diaper because false alarms were much less likely. Even though it is a little pricier, this is absolutely the #1 baby item I couldn't live without. (see above)

2. ERGObaby carrier - This is a pricier baby carrier, but the adage that you get what you pay for is so true. I have worn this comfortably for hours and it is often times one of the few ways to calm Elden down. It converts into a side and back carrier as well and can hold a baby up to 39.7 pounds. It's amazing.

3. Summer Infant Video Monitor - Jon's parent's got this for us this Christmas, so yes, I did live without it for about 4-5 months. However, now that we've got it I can't imagine going back. This monitor is glorious when it comes to knowing what your baby is doing in his crib. It helps us figure out if we should go in when we're doing "cry it out" with Elden and it gives me peace of mind at every little noise he makes. I can simply turn on the video feed and see if he's okay instead of being tempted to run in there to check on him.

4. Play mat (with light-up toy) - It took us about 2 months to put batteries in the little light up tiger on this thing and the second we did Jon and I shared the sentiment of, "why didn't we do this sooner!?" This revolutionized our lives and allowed us to actually sit down and share a meal together. We simply Velcro the light-up tiger on Elden's bouncy seat and bring him into the dining room while we eat. The lights can keep him entertained for seriously an hour at a time. It's glorious.

5. Vaseline with Cocoa Butter - We use Vaseline all. the. time. on our guy. We use it instead of diaper cream to protect against diaper rash and I also use it on his face because these winter months coupled with all that drool from teething have him dried out. It doesn't contain anything like alcohol which most lotions do so it doesn't burn Elden when I apply it. Plus it's cheap and multipurpose. 

6. Honest Diapers - We primarily use Honest on Elden. They are non-toxic, sustainable, chlorine-free, and plant-based. Coupled with Honest wipes, these things do a crazy good job of keeping diaper rash at bay. It certainly doesn't hurt that they come in ridiculously adorable patterns and are automatically mailed to my house each month.

7. Vulli Sophie the Giraffe - I had heard great things about this teething toy, but I also noticed the steep price tag. I asked around and the consensus was that most babies really liked chewing on her. We decided to give it a shot. We haven't looked back.

If I think of anything else I'll be sure to share. None of these companies have paid me or provided me free products to review their stuff. These are genuinely my top baby items. I hope it helps as you prepare (or already did) to welcome your little one. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

gingerbread jersey snore

You know those Mucinex commercials where the booger people live in your nose and talk? I often times envision little elf-type people inhabiting my brain and acting as the source of all my cravings/emotions/actions. It's almost as if they're manipulating each neuronal pathway in my head to get me to do what they want.

I promise I'm not crazy.

Elden's 22-week picture will likely not be posted today (and probably not tomorrow either) because last night we discovered something. You see, it's been a nightly battle of the century for the past 2 or so weeks to get homie to sleep at night. On Wednesday night after letting him cry it out for 30 minutes I went in and just held/cuddled him for about ten. After that, I put him down in his crib, still awake, fully expecting him to begin crying. He ultimately drifted off to sleep and mostly slept through the rest of the night.

Fast-forward to last night--Jon and I decided to read to him and cuddle with him before we put him down for the night to see if these nightly battles were just his desire for a little more downtime with mom and pops before bed. While nursing him, I began to read him a book. He drifted off to sleep and I read him a second book. Then we laid him in bed--no fussing at all--and he remained asleep. Jon and I high-fived and headed to our room to talk about a Bible passage we had read that day.

We should have known that pride comes before a fall. #badchristians

Elden was up all throughout the night, and it was the kind of "up" that required bouncing, humming, general motion-that-isn't-easy-when-it's-2:30-and-you've-barely-slept motion to calm down. I think it's GI-related still (no poops yesterday) and I have every intention of bringing this up at his noggin-check next Friday.

Anyway, when I got to work I stumbled into the kitchen and opened the drawer that holds our K-cups. You can imagine the little brain elves' joy when I opened the drawer that had been empty spare decaf yesterday and found this:
The brain elves did a collective little dance. It likely resembled a Ke$ha concert all up in there. I then proceeded to dabble through the drawer as we (the elves and I) decided which roast we wanted (we sprung for medium... desperate times).

As I made my coffee I heated up my Pop Tarts for breakfast.

Now. Don't you even think you need to lecture me on the lack of nutritional value in a Pop Tart and the fact that I'm no longer 7 for one second. Trust me, I know. But when it's 6:30 am and you're getting ready to leave for work and you got about 3.5 collective hours of crappy sleep the night before, you're just trying to survive.

Okay. I'm lying. I packed myself the Pop Tarts last night after we had gotten Elden down and talked about our reading. I was fully awake and joyous at our bedtime success and lack of screaming baby. Stupid pride! STUPID.

Anyway, imagine my brain elf horror when I pulled out my gingerbread Pop Tart and found this monstrosity painted across the surface:
Perhaps it's my irrational, but very real, fear of clowns. Perhaps it's the magnitude of spray tan this gingerbread girl seems to have undergone. Perhaps it's those hauntingly hollow eyes and those balls? (oh! snowballs! okay I still don't get it) she's holding. It almost scared me away from eating my Pop Tart. 

But then the elves told me what better way to end this than to eat and therefore destroy evil gingerbread Snooki? So I did and it was delicious. 

But right, 22-week picture. I'm tired. He's cranky. Tomorrow I'm embarking on a huge painting project with Nikki. So it'll have to wait.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

colic

I think I've finally come to terms with the fact that we have an incredibly difficult baby. The first time Jon asked if we had a difficult baby I just shrugged it off and said "nah, that's just newborns." But then I finally jumped off the denial bus and realized that yes, Elden is indeed a total pain in the behind. Not that I love him any less or that I think he's intentionally challenging, but that the stark reality is that he's just a tough kiddo.

I've mentioned it before, but Elden had (and still does to some extent?) colic. If you're unfamiliar (you lucky fool), colic is loosely defined as incessant crying in otherwise healthy newborns with no known cause. I should have known something was amiss when our first night in the hospital with Elden he just would not stop crying. It started around 11 pm and by 3:30 am our nurse had come into our room at least three times to see if we needed help and to try to persuade us to let her take him to the nursery so we could rest. We politely declined every time because 1) this was his first night on earth and I didn't want to be apart from him, and 2) I had a feeling taking him to the nursery would involve letting him cry it out (seriously, nothing helped--he had a fresh diaper and I kept nursing him) which troubled me greatly since he was so very new and the thought nearly broke my heart. I just assumed this was a newborn--they cry right? But for hours and hours straight, I had no idea. It continued into those early weeks at home. At least 3 days per week, but usually more like 4-5 days per week, Elden would cry on and off for anywhere between 5-9 hours straight. Nothing we did really helped; the only thing that offered any type of (momentary) relief was the Moby wrap. I guess in some ways we were fortunate because Elden's episodes usually began in the early afternoon and he would finally sleep by about 9-11 pm (the crying didn't permit for napping) whereas a lot of stuff we read indicated colic episodes tend to begin at night. So there's that.

As all of the online resources we used indicated, Elden's colic did gradually start to subside and the good days finally started to outnumber the bad. If I had to guess, I think Elden's colic was/is really GI-related. That boy was the hardest baby to get a burp out of and is still somewhat difficult to. He also seems to constantly be gassy and is visibly uncomfortable because of it. One of the most frustrating things about his episodes was that as he was screaming he would be swallowing air. There were times I literally beg-yelled at him to stop swallowing air because that just ensured the cycle would be repeated the next day. I felt helpless. I was overwhelmed. There was more than one occasion where I called Jon in hysterics and begged him to leave school early because I couldn't handle listening to the crying anymore.

Elden still has bad days where he won't nap, only wants to be held, and is generally unhappy. We also had the misfortune of segueing immediately from colic into teething. Tuesday was one I would qualify as a "bad day." The more I think about it, the more I realize we seem to be on the positive portion of a sine wave--the good days were almost nonexistent in the beginning, then began to increase, but we seem to be losing the good days again. And truthfully? It's been crazy difficult. It's brought out the worst in us as both parents and partners. Lots of yelling, lots of frustration, lots of crying. There were times (yes, plural) in the early days where I seriously asked Jon if we could put him up for adoption because I was so discouraged and desperate (I'm sorry, son. I love you and wouldn't trade you for anything). I'm sure the postpartum hormones were a contributing factor, but the desperation was there regardless.  The worst part is watching Elden suffer. From what I read, there is no evidence that a baby with colic is actually suffering, but if one of those experts were to sit in my house with me during one of his episodes I think they would change their minds. Part of the reason I believe this is because when Elden is having a good day or hour or moment, he is ridiculously happy. The happiest, even. So smiley, so joyful, so content to be hanging out with mom and dad. I believe he wants to be a model baby but there is just something preventing him from doing so.

I'd be lying if I said I never experienced resentment of my friends who have what I would qualify as "easy babies" (non-colicky ones). To this day I don't feel comfortable leaving Elden with anyone other than Jon if I can't be around because if he does experience an episode the stark reality is that Jon and I are by far the best (and usually only) way to get him to calm down. This isn't any fault of our friends or family--it's the fact that we live with the kid and have dealt with this nearly every day since his birth and we know exactly how to hold him to get him to somewhat (briefly) relax. This basically means I'm not really getting out, at least not without Elden. Not getting a real break has been pretty brutal, but I'd rather sacrifice my sanity than Elden's comfort, especially for something he has no control over. I also feel bad for our families--we tend to avoid going to see them spare special occasions because we know that Elden is MUCH more likely to have a bad day if he's not at home for his usual routines. When this happens, it means that not only did we have to deal with a bad day and our families have to deal with a grouchy baby, but we also will then have to deal with a bad night once we get home. I feel like our families are missing out on the quality grandson/nephew time that they--and we--so dreamt about, and that makes me bitter when I hear friends talking about all the time their kids are spending with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. This is by no means a fault of my friends but rather sinful nature on my behalf and I'm trying to work through it. If you are one of my friends with a babe, please don't feel like you can't share your child's great adventures with me. I'd rather bring my sin into the light for accountability sake and not to put you on a guilt trip.

I wish there were more resources for parents of children with colic. Although, after typing that, I realized that if I had proper resources at my disposal I would have been too frustrated/exhausted/angry to seek them out so I don't know how helpful it would actually be. If your baby has colic, please just know you aren't alone. I think that was one of the other hardest parts for me--feeling like no one in our immediate circle of family/friends fully understands what we've been dealing with. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that "that's just the nature of a baby." Rest assured, parents of non-colicky babies, what we are experiencing is not just the nature of a baby. I know you're just trying to be helpful with such sentiments, but it really just feels like you're discrediting all that we've faced and makes us feel like we're merely being dramatic when we tell you how damn hard it's been. I wish I had more of an "it gets better/easier and life gets much more dreamy" conclusion to this post, but when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture at this moment in time that's not really the case for us. I know this won't be our life forever, that one day Elden will be able to use words or at least point to help us figure out what's wrong. I'm also hoping that if my suspicions are correct and it is GI-related, as he continues to grow and mature his little body will as well and the source will correct itself. But at the very least I do hope. I hope that each day will be a good day and that I will feel like a more adequate parent.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

impromptu double date night

On Friday was my work's holiday party at Pickwick & Frolic. At the last minute at work on Friday, a few people couldn't make it so we had extra tickets that we paid for regardless of whether they went to use. I asked the lovely lady in charge of the event if I could offer 2 of the extras to Heather and Paul and she said of course. Well, in the biggest shock of the parents-with-young-children-century, they were able to make it! We couldn't stop laughing about the fact that not only were we hanging out past 9 pm, but that we were able to do so very last minute even though we all had littles at home.

We even snapped a phone photo! Classy.
We started the evening with cocktails and appetizers, followed by a ridiculously delicious buffet and dessert, rounding the night off with a comedy show downstairs at Hilarities. The headlining comedian was Kenny Rogerson and he was hi. lar. i. ous. Seriously--if you EVER have an opportunity to see this guy do stand-up PLEASE don't let it pass you by. I emphasize the importance with my caps lock.

Once the party was over we swung by the in-laws' to get our little guy and headed back home for the night where we easily transferred Elden from carseat to crib without problem. To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

We had a blast and while we were at dinner we realized the last time we all went out together was when Jon and I lived in Chicago and they came out to visit us the weekend we got engaged. You know, just THREE FLIPPIN' YEARS AGO. With the fun we had I assure you I will make certain the next double date occurs well before 2016.