Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Clara's creepy monkey doll. But he's made of organic fabric!

A visit from Clara's Dad

Monday, August 29, 2011

I never really got a good picture. Using the camera was a new experience, and my finger kept getting in the way of the flash.
The visit from Clara's dad was nice. Clara was obviously excited to see him, and they played most of the time he was here.

Messin' around with the Nikon D50

5 months old. Already?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Click the button twice to make us REALLY happy. :) And for more smiles from the bean.

Things are wonderful with us right now. Clara is thriving. She's growing so fast. I can't believe my little bundle of joy is going to be 5 months old tomorrow! She's so smart. She takes in everything around her and decides things for herself. When she meets a new person, she studies them. Decides if she likes them. Sometimes she doesn't.
In other news, I'm still desperately looking for a job. I amped up my resume, apply to multiple jobs everyday. I'm on several sites like Monster. There are several places that I've put at least an app a week in. Nothing. I'm getting really desperate. :(
I'm thankful that thus far, Clara has been raised by me instead of by a daycare. Granted, it's led to some pretty interesting attachment scenarios. She likes for me to hold her all of the time, unless she's immersed in her play, which is thankfully becoming more abundant as she develops more. I'm really excited for the stage when she can sit on her own and play, but can't crawl yet. That will be exciting. And it's coming up soon!
I feel really lame in saying that I've enjoyed every stage thus far. I mean, the newborn stage wasn't that great. I was very new, so I was terrified to even lay her down in her crib. That she would somehow find a way to suffocate, aspirate, or something. I didn't want anyone else to hold her. I was still going through complications from my c-section, and breastfeeding came with it's difficulties. But I loved that she slept so much. I loved that all she wanted was to snuggle with me. I loved that I didn't have to deal with bottles or formula, or baby food. Things were simpler. All I needed were my boobs, the pack n' play, and a stack of diapers and wipes. Now I have all of this stuff to lug from room to room, and place to place.
I will never. Ever. Forget the day that she smiled for real; not because of gas, but because she was happy. My mom says she smiles 1000+ times a day, and I wouldn't doubt it. It was so cool when she could hold a toy, and play with her hands. She finally had means of entertaining herself.
Then came the giggles. They're still a bit far between, and I swear the same thing never works twice to make her laugh. I always make her laugh on accident. Something that didn't work previously to bring the giggles out, works now, and vice versa. And the discovery of the feet. That was a BIG step that I think is undervalued in child development. Once she figured out how to do that, all bets were off. Discovering how to maneuver her legs so she could reach her feet was a big deal. Now she knows how to move! Last week, she scooted herself 3 feet on her back across the floor. She can pivot in circles around her head, and roll from her tummy to her back. In fact, tummy time has improved so much. She actually enjoys it now. She can do it for 20 minutes without being fussy.
Now she does this maneuver in which she arches her back, and pushes up on one leg, then rocks back and forth. I think it means that she's about to start rolling from back to tummy. Yay!
She's getting to the stage where she loves testing sounds. She'll throw a toy, or see what happens when she hits my mouth repeatedly while I sing to her, or hit herself in the head with her rattle (I wait for the tears every time, but they never appear. She's a tough cookie.) I love each stage more and more. I love seeing her grow, and learn, and explore. But I feel like I'm missing so much at the same time. I guess I just don't want her to grow up tooo fast.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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Day 4: Something Green

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eye. Singular. Mine.
This picture made me realize, 1- How bad my split ends are, 2- How tired I look, and 3- Is that a WRINKLE!?

Also, please vote for us! Click the button twice and I may just do a giveaway next week!

Day 3: Clouds

So, I'm sorry to disappoint, but it was a cloudless day today. The bean and I took a lovely walk that ended up being a very sweaty and hot walk because we did the sling.
I was going to snap a picture at the end, but the baby was sleeping and sweaty. And I wasn't going to risk waking the beast.
I'll be doing days 3 and 4 of the Photography Challenge, and I'll resume tomorrow with Day 5 and so on. (Sorry for getting behind).

What's in my diaper bag?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1. Pampers Dry Max diapers, size 2

2. Palmer's Cocoa butter butt cream. That's what I call it. It doesn't leave a sticky white residue like the Desitin does.

3. Pampers sensitive wipes. I've mad home made baby wipes that I use at home, (message me if you want to know how I do it) or we use a baby washcloth and baby soap, but on the go, these wipes are great because they have no alcohol. Yay!

4. Johnson's Baby Lotion. At home, we use the 'natural' lotion because it has no perfumes or dyes. But this is okay for on the go. We've used it maybe 10 times.

5. Johnson's head-to-toe Baby Wash. No tears formula. Great for when we're gone all day and Clara in slobbery. Once again, at home, we use the 'natural' kind. Or the bedtime kind... it seems to calm her.

6. Gas relief drops. Great for upset tummies. Baby tummies, of course.

7. Johnson's baby powder. We never use it. I'm not sure why it's still in there.

8. The nose-sucker. The dreaded nose-sucker. She hates it.

9. Nail clippers. Her nails grow at an alarming rate.

10. Arm & Hammer Diaper Bags. AWESOME. You CAN NOT smell even the worst diaper when they're in these bags. I use them whenever we go to a friend's house, and I want to be polite and not dump a smelly diaper in their trash. I have thought about using them for dog poop... but I think they're too expensive for that. It's nice because they clip right on to the ring on my diaper bag.

11. Mr. Brown Cow Can MOO! Can You? Well... can you? This is one of Clara's favorites. Mostly for the chewing and throwing aspects.

12. St. Ives hand lotion. I wash my hands extremely often, due to being a germaphobe and OCD. I HATE HATE HATE when my skin is dry.

13. Dove body spray. When I forget to put on deodorant.

14. Palmer's Cocoa Butter swivel stick. I use it as chapstick. BEST CHAPSTICK EVER.

15. Tide-to-Go pen. BEST for getting stains taken care of before they set.

16. Tommee Tipee 9 oz. bottle. AWESOME. I will never use another bottle with my kids. It transitions so well from breast to bottle.

17. Formula Thing-y. Holds 4 servings up to 8 oz. I HATE that I have to have this. :(

18. Plum Organics baby food. Perfect for when you're on the go. They even have a spoon that screws onto the top, so you can squeeze baby food directly onto it. No need for a bowl.

19. Bib. For eating and lots of 'chewing fits', as I call them. My child is rather drooly.

20. Camera. So I can capture many precious moments. (Insert 'aww' here.)

Day 1: Self-Portrait

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Add a button to your blog

If you haven't noticed, I added a button to the right side of the blog. If you would, please add it to your blog. :) Thanks! Oh. And vote for us PLEASE! :)

Making Baby food

This would be my first time making baby food. I randomly decided to start today, and used the food I had in the fridge, but it is NOT organic. I'm planning on everything I make from now on to be organic.

I started with carrots. Here is my set-up. A steamer in a sauce pan, and a peeler and cutting board. Oohh, fancy.

I peeled seven carrots under hot water, then cut them into small discs.

These are my best friends: A baby food processor (although you could use any processor) and baby food freezer trays with lids. I have two of them. I suppose you could use ice cube trays, but I don't like the idea of stuff getting into my baby's food.

I added about half of the chopped carrots to the steamer, added the lid, and let it go about 15-20 min. Then I checked a slice with a fork and it was done!

I blended the carrots in the processor, then added breast milk to thin it out.

I spooned out the carrots into the freezer tray to freeze. When it's frozen, I'll dump the 'cubes' into a freezer bag and reuse the trays for more baby food. It saves on storage space.

I then repeated the process with the remainder of the carrots, spinach, and bananas. I steamed the spinach and added breast milk. I obviously didn't need to steam the bananas. I didn't add breast milk to the bananas because they were already thinned out. I will freeze the spinach and bananas into the trays as well, once the carrots are done, but for now, I just put them in storage containers, and stored them in the fridge.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've been trying to post more often, as well as take more pictures. So, I stumbled across this post and decided to take the challenge. I'm going to try to do most of the pictures about the bean or parenting, in keeping with my blog theme. Look out for Day 1 tomorrow!

Day 1: Self-Portrait
Day 2: What you wore today
Day 3: Clouds
Day 4: Something Green
Day 5: From a high angle
Day 6: From a low angle
Day 7: Fruit
Day 8: A bad habit
Day 9: Someone you love
Day 10: Childhood memory
Day 11: Something blue
Day 12: Sunset
Day 13: Yourself with 13 things
Day 14: Eyes
Day 15: Silhouette
Day 16: Long exposure (but I can't do that with my camera, so it's going to be 'Guilty Pleasure' instead. I hope you don't mind. :)
Day 17: Technology
Day 18: Your shoes
Day 19: Something orange
Day 20: Bokeh (Which I also don't think I can do, but I'll try.)
Day 21: Faceless-Self portrait
Day 22: Hands
Day 23: Sun flare (We'll see)
Day 24: Animal
Day 25: Something pink
Day 26: Close-up
Day 27: From a distance
Day 28: Flowers
Day 29: Black and white
Day 30: Self-portrait

Proud Mama Monday

My little bean looks so big! This was taken this morning while she was in her swing. She loves that cow sooo much! My brother-in-law's Mom gave it to her, along with a 'got milk?' bib. (They're dairy farmers). The wetness on her outfit is from a wash cloth she was chewing on earlier.

This one was last night after she finished a bowl of cereal and organic peach puree. (I love seeing that the ingredient list says one thing: organic peaches).

Why I love night time at my house.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's me-time. Clara typically sleeps from 10-11 p.m. until 7-9 a.m. It's fantastic. She takes 4 or 5 cat-naps during the day. It makes for a very happy mama and baby. She's such a good little sleeper. She only woke up during the night in her first month of sleep, during which she would only sleep in her swing. I'm so happy that ever since, she sleeps in her crib for every nap, unless we're out on in the car. And she also sleeps in her crib every night. ALSO, she takes a long-ish nap around 11 a.m., so our mornings are fairly simple and laid-back. But man, does she wanna play when she wakes up. Jumping, and playing, and kicking, and eating her feet, and eating WHOLE BOWLS OF CEREAL! I'm such a lucky mama.

Breastfeeding & my sadness

Friday, August 5, 2011

Since I found out I was preggo, I decided I was going to breastfeed the bean for at least a year. I was so excited about giving my baby the best food that I could. Mind you, I was also very excited that breast milk is free (you know, besides the pump, nursing bras, etc.) and that it's always ready. No bottles and formula to lug around, and especially no bottles to wash!
I wouldn't even let formula near my little bean when she was born. I made sure that the nurses in the hospital nursery knew that she was to have breast milk only. Then we tried to nurse. Things were very rocky at the start. However, while I was in the hospital, I think I was too preoccupied with my own C-section pains and recovery to worry about breastfeeding. I knew that things would be tough at first, so I wasn't too worried when Clara would latch, suck for a couple of minutes, then pull off and fall asleep. I was sure that if she was hungry, she would eat. Wrong.
I know that some weight-loss was normal for babies, but Clara dropped from 6lbs 15oz to 6 lbs 4 oz in 3 days. They almost didn't let us go home. As we were leaving the hospital, they told us that Clara had a touch of jaundice.
Our first night home, Clara slept for 10 hours straight without waking up to eat. The next day, I couldn't get her to latch at all. I called the lactation consultant, and she had us come in right away. Mind you, I still couldn't drive or even lift her car seat. So, my birth mom was visiting at the time, and dropped us off at the hospital. I pushed Clara in her car seat in a wheel chair to the lactation wing, while a security guard pushed a cart with my diaper bag, the car seat base, and the boppy. I was in tears the entire appointment, and so stressed and worried about Clara's well-being. Half-way through, the consultant called down to the ER, and I was admitted for exhaustion. Needless to say, we were not off to a good start.
About a week later, I had to go back to the hospital for a CT, due to an infection in my uterus from the C-section. I had to have a contrast solution, and the doctor told me that I couldn't breastfeed for 24-48 hours! I, of course, didn't bring my breast pump, so I fed Clara as much as I could before taking the solution. A short while later, I cried while giving her the first bottle of formula. Then another, and another as the day went on. After that initial, horrible day, it became easier to pump, and have the BD feed her a bottle, since she had no problem switching back and forth. We went downhill after that.
At the end of May, I got back on birth control. I chose the Implanon birth control implant. It has been horrible. The gradual (but big) weight loss I was experiencing up until this point reversed, and my breast milk supply dropped DRAMATICALLY. I've taken supplements, drank special tea, and tried pumping every hour on the hour for a week. When that didn't work, I tried pumping for 20 minutes every time after Clara finished eating. When that didn't work, I pumped after, and in between feedings. NOTHING HAS BROUGHT MY SUPPLY UP. I'm getting my implant removed on Thursday, and I hope my milk returns. Right now, I only have enough to do 3 feedings a day. The rest is formula.
I'm so disappointed. It was tough to get the hang of, but once the bean and I found our niche, breastfeeding has been wonderful. I love that time with her. She looks up at me, and swings her arm around, grabbing at my face or my necklace. It's precious, and I don't want to give up this bonding experience.
If you know of anything that you've tried, or think will help us, PLEASE share it with me. I'll do anything at this point.

Interesting... thoughts?

I'm trying to come up with new blog topics. I mean, I could continuously write about Clara, or my weight loss, etc. But things aren't really that interesting on a day-to-day basis. Clara does interesting things and all, but probably things you don't want to hear about on a daily basis... such as the consistency and color of her poop... or her teething or sleeping habits.
So, I've been researching, and a few ideas have come up. But if you would like to hear my experience or thoughts on a topic (sure...?), or have any ideas for me, please send them my way. Thanks!

Good Move.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clara is very happy here. She's been going down for bed within 30 minutes of 10:30, and getting up around 8 or 9 a.m. Yesterday, she rolled over for the first time. (Many tears and frustrated tummy times over the past 4 months to get there.) She has also discovered her feet, which have become her new favorite toys. She tends to grab both feet and roll to her right side, then let go and roll to her back. She's very talented, wouldn't you say.
The random outbursts of tears and limited general fussiness has decreased by 99.9%, which makes us both very happy. Also, she FINISHED her bowl of cereal today. I'm a proud Mama. Needless to say, being home is doing both of us some major good.
I feel like my confident, happy self for the first time in a long time. I love being closer to my family and having Clara get to spend time and get comfortable with the family members she's only met once or twice. We've been taking a walk every day, seeing more friends every day, and being in a state of general happiness.
Clara has adjusted so well (much better than I thought she would) and is loving her new room. Thank you to Auntie Rachel for that. =)

I would love for you to share any big changes that you or your child(ren) have gone through that turned out to be a huge positive.

I need to get my butt in gear.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let's face it. It's time for me to lose the rest of this baby weight. I used to run. I was very slow, but I loved it. It felt nice to be in good shape and workout all of the time. I have now become a bump on a log. I look in the mirror and don't even recognize myself. I want to look like I did before I was preggers. False. I want to look better than before I was preggers. I've been doing a lot of ab work and yoga, but I need to do some serious cardio if I want anything close to resembling a bikini-ready body by next summer. I have some major work ahead of me.
To achieve this goal, I need a running stroller. I registered for one at first, but then I found the travel system I currently have for super cheap at Meijer, so I gave up on the jogging stroller. I've never used a jogging stroller, so I'm not sure how it compares to mine. The one I have currently is very smooth, and is easy to fold up and store. However, the handling is really crappy. Whenever I go into ANY store, Clara is always being jolted because I'm running into stuff. And forget trying to steer with one hand while holding a fussy baby. It's not happening.
I thought that I would be able to "run" (as I call it... but it's more like jogging in place...) with my current stroller, and that I would just have to pay attention to the terrain, and make sure that Clara was snug as a bug. False. I can't use it. Even if I found the flattest terrain, the stroller would apparently jolt her spine too much, which is harmful to her development. Then I read that she shouldn't be in a jogging stroller at all until 6 months! Preferably a year!
Clara is still too little to be in just the stroller part, so she's still in her car seat on the stroller. So question for everyone, do you think it would be okay if I jogged with Clara in the stroller since she's in her car seat? I'm really curious, and I don't want to have to wait until my Mom or sister are home in order to run. Thanks!

I definitely wouldn't mind this one, which goes for $150 at Babies R' Us... but I can't justify spending that much on a stroller...

I'm back at it :)

Now that I have internet access, I'm going to update my blog much more often. (yay!) In recent news, Clara started cereal about a week ago. It didn't go very well at first, and more was on her than in her. We took a couple of days off and tried again yesterday. I made the cereal much thinner this time, and added a bit of baby food for flavor. Oh. My. Goodness. She loves it! She even opened her mouth when the spoon was coming her direction. AND she ate most of the cereal! She was smiling and giggling throughout the experience.

Not liking the cereal so much...


I'm sure most people reading this right now are like, 'what a crazy lady! being excited about her kid eating cereal...'. Well, deal with it. I'm sure I'll speak often of her poop, sleeping experiences, and sickness. Stop reading now if you want... except I know that you're addicted to my adorable bebe. :)

So... if you like reading about my daughter's achievements, and my shortcomings, please like us! And follow us, for that matter! Please vote on Topbabyblogs.com by clicking the link below. Only two clicks to put a smile on the piglet's face. :) Thanks!

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"We laughed until we had to cry, we loved right down to our last goodbye, but over the years we'll smile and recall for just one moment we had it all"

Hello readers... if you exist. :) I hope you're still there. I'm back living with my Mama at home until I can get back on my feet and the bean and I can get a place of our own.
Things didn't work out with the baby-daddy, so after more effort than I was able to give, things didn't work out. I'm single parent, for now, at least. Until we can make things work.
With BD living an hour away now, along with his AMAZING family, it's just Clara and I. And my Mom. And her whole family. But that's besides the point. :) I hope that Clara will get to see her Daddy often, as well as his family. They have always been wonderful, and she deserves to have them in her life. I wish they were still in my life, too. However, I've been realizing that love isn't always enough. I still love BD very, very much. I hope that someday we can make our relationship work, when he's ready for this kind of life and this kind of commitment. I have nothing bad to say. We tried and failed many times, and finally I decided that enough is enough for now. He is a wonderful person, and he loves Clara very much. I want us to co-parent in harmony, and have the bean grow up being the happiest, healthiest little girl in the world. With two parents who love her very much.
I know that when my parents divorced when I was 10, I was always hoping that they would get back together. It would be so romantic. They would get remarried, and my three sisters and I would have both parents under one roof. Most children dream of this when their parents go separate ways, and I know that Clara will feel this way, too. I just hope that we can make her dreams come true and be a happy family.

"Letting go of someone dear to you is hard, but holding on to someone who doesn't even feel the same is much harder. Giving up doesn't mean you are weak!
It only means that you are strong enough to let go!"
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