March 31, 2010

Teddy Bears and Vampires

We have basic cable at our house, mostly because we don't see the need to own the biggest cable package known to mankind. Somehow we manage to get a few obscure channels in this basic deal including MTV2, which plays popular music videos in the wee hours of the morning.

Those of you who are exceptionally perceptive may have noticed that most of my posting occurs very late at night or in the early morning, after Jonathan and Nathaniel are asleep. And to keep myself company, I occasionally have the TV on in the background.

As I was typing away last night, I was half-listening to the music videos that were playing when I heard the song 'Uprising' by the band Muse. Because I am a closet Muse fan, I leapt out of my chair and raced over to the TV. ONLY TO BE GREETED BY THE SITE OF EVIL, VAMPIRISTIC TEDDY BEARS.

Of course, since I only saw part of the music video, I was forced to go back and watch it in its entirety online. And it was equally creepy the second time around.

For those of you who haven't seen the video (and aren't calling it up via Google right now), it contains images of giant, villainous teddy bears walking around a model city a la Godzilla and wreaking havoc.

Although the song itself is meant to be a social statement based on the G20 protests which took place last year, I was left feeling more than a little unsettled. Because of the teddy bears. But, according to Muse, that was the point. 'Uprising' is meant to convey the idea of trust that was broken. And what conveys that message better than the juxtaposition of a symbol of childhood trust with mayhem?

Nathaniel has a small herd of teddy bears strewn across his room. But after seeing that video, I'm going to be giving them a little extra space for the next few days.

March 30, 2010

Three Months of Smiles

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Three Months of Learning

My little boy is three months old. Three months. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that I was walking out of the hospital like the Tinman (gotta watch those stitches, you know) and changing the first of many explosive diapers.

These past months have been a learning experience for this mama. And although they have been wonderful months, there are a few key things I wish I would have known before squeezing a human being out of my body.

1. Green, chunky poop is normal for babies. And thanks to those diapers, you will never crave cottage cheese again.

2. Naptime is for the weak. At least, according to a three-month-old. Take your preconceived ideas about your little one sleeping daily from 1-3pm and chuck them straight out the window. Unless you gave birth to a robot (ouch), your baby won't be on the perfect sleep schedule. So be prepared to be flexible.

3. The ugly toys will save your sanity. No matter how unappealing that homely toy may be, keep in mind that your baby may just love it to pieces. Thus making it the prized possession you will guard with very your life during those long hours of teething.

4. The words 'baby gear' and 'budget' will never be uttered in the same sentence. Or in my case, you wouldn't utter the word budget if you were subjected to Chinese water torture.

5. It's all worth it. Every moment of crying and every second you want to pull your hair out because your child is inconsolable seem to fade away when you see that little smile and those two adoring eyes staring back at you.

March 29, 2010

Attack of the Duckies

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The Not So Classic Nerd

When I was in high school, I went through a nerdy phase. Now when I say "nerdy phase" most of you are probably picturing big glasses and a pocket protractor. Or perhaps even big hair and scrunchies. I will have you know, I was WAY beyond all of that... because I went through the hair and scrunchy phase in junior high.

I was a LOTR geek, otherwise known as a SUPA' FAN of the Lord of the Rings movies. I read the books, memorized the movies, and knew everything about the actors' lives, both onscreen and off. And I was not alone. Within my school, there existed a small group of us who were equally obsessed with these cinematic marvels.

We lived and breathed Lord of the Rings. When the first movie in the series premiered, we saw it multiple times in the theater. By the time The Two Towers was released, were were hooked. So much so that we stood outside for the entire day, in the midst of a Minnesota winter where the weather was comprised of freezing rain and sleet, camped out with other die-hard fans just to see the movie on opening day.

After seeing the Two Towers, several of us decided we needed to learn Elvish. Because every high school girl wants to learn a fictional language. So learn it we did. And then we used our vast knowledge to pass notes back and forth, in Elvish, during class. Because no one would know what we were saying. Oh, weren't we clever?

The final movie in the series, The Return of the King, brought us to an entirely new level. For weeks, we planned and schemed to get tickets to the midnight showing. We even designated a relative to arrive at the theater and purchase tickets for us, since we were obligated to be at school when the theater opened.

The night of the final premiere, we made matching t-shirts with gold, metallic paint, featuring the One Ring. Yes, there are pictures. But I fear that my fellow Super Fans would hunt me down and murder me in my sleep if I publicized them. Nerdy phase and all, you know.

We arrived at the theater with five hours to spare and spent the time pacing back and forth and counting down until midnight. When the time finally arrived, we were first into the theater and claimed our seats to enjoy the next three hours.

Eventually, the hype died down and we grew out of our nerdy phases. But for all the work we put into it, I still have my t-shirt. And I still know Elvish.

March 28, 2010

The Angry Face

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Why I Went A Little Crazy

Birth control. It can drive you crazy, figuratively or literally. Some of you may remember that I mentioned that I am unable to use any form of hormonal birth control but I never went into detail. Now, the day has come when we will journey down that road.

Before Jonathan and I got married, I started looking into birth control options. It's a type-A personality thing to do, you know. Being overly-prepared and researching every possible option.

After I read everything I could find on the billion choices on the market today, I decided on one of the easiest forms of birth control, the NuvaRing. As the classic infomercial line goes, "You just set it and forget it!"

Flash forward to less than a week after starting the NuvaRing. I'm alone in my apartment, sobbing my eyes out on the phone with my mother, who I'm sure was seriously considering hopping in her car and driving the three hours to my apartment just to make sure I was going to live through the night. No, I wasn't dying. Nor was I in any pain, physically at least. But I was an emotional wreck from the birth control hormones which had sent me spiraling into a depressive episode.

LESS THAN A WEEK. That's all it took and I was a broken mess.

Now for those of you who have never experienced something like this, you're probably thinking that I didn't tough it out, after all, hormonal birth control methods take some adjustment. And you are welcome to think that. But had you been on the other end of the phone that night, you would have understood that what was happening was far beyond feeling a little blue.

So I removed the NuvaRing and managed to get through the next few weeks until my body returned to normal. At that point, I was through with the principle of set it and forget it. Give me something with more maintenance that doesn't make me think my life is meaningless, and I'll take it. Heck, I'd sign up for that plan in a heartbeat!

So after talking with my doctor and establishing that NO, I was NOT suicidal, she wrote me a prescription for the pill. And thus began my second trip through hell.

Looking back, the pill was worse than the NuvaRing. The phrases "rock bottom" and "crazy" can't fully be understood until you're sobbing into your fiance's shoulder while you know that you have every reason in the world to be happy.

Suffice it to say, the pill was not a success. Nor was the mini-pill, attempt number three at birth control.

In the end, my doctor concluded that my body was not able to handle the hormonal treatments. Which severely limited my options for birth control.

Three months after our wedding, Jonathan and I found out that we were pregnant. Which, incidentally, has nothing to do with what type of birth control we were using. But it is relevant to the rest of this post.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I feared that the following nine months would be a repeat of the horror show I had previously experienced. But IT NEVER HAPPENED. Sure, I was occasionally hormonal (some of you may remember my posts about yelling at our cable company, which may or may not have been linked to pregnancy hormones), but it wasn't anything near what I experienced while on the pill.

Now that my little boy is almost three months old, I have been forced to reexamine the topic of birth control. Because I don't want to push 19 children out of my vagina a la the Duggar family. And let's be honest, the idea of condoms is pretty unappealing.

And so this type-A personality is willingly subjecting herself to what could possibly be her fourth living nightmare. After talking with my doctor, I am going back on the mini-pill with the prayer that experiencing pregnancy and birth somehow made my body more tolerant to the hormones.

Let the roller coaster ride begin!

March 27, 2010

Get Well Soon

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The Tired Face

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The T-Shirtpalooza

I am a self-admitted t-shirt addict. And despite the fact that I live in Minnesota where it is sub-zero for the majority of the year, I am absolutely obsessed with short-sleeved shirts. My collection has grown over the years, beginning during my high school days working as a slave to the man at Old Navy, and it now takes up an obscene amount of room in my closet.

And now that it's nearly spring and my arms won't turn into popsicles when I decide to wear short sleeves, it's time to break them out once again. Let the rejoicing ensue.

I recently went through my piles of t-shirts looking for a few of my old favorites when I realized something. My shirts aren't just meaningless articles of clothing which keep people from gawking at my post-baby belly, they tell a story of my life over the last few years...

There is the ABOUT SOMETHING t-shirt (and I must credit my sister with this nickname). Apparently, I went through a faze in college where all of my shirts had to be about something, be it a cause, a company, etc.

There is the SECOND-HAND t-shirt, the type that I have borrowed or was given from friends. Some of which I have kept... others made their way straight into the garbage can along with certain memories.

There is the BIG t-shirt, otherwise known as my husband's shirts. Not so big on him and normally too big on me. Not any too large, though, when I was sporting a colossal baby belly. Incidentally, Jonathan has since reclaimed his shirts.

And finally, there is the NEW BODY t-shirt. You know, the kind that hides those certain places where having a baby ravaged my body, but still accentuates my very toned arms (the advantage to lifting a heavy baby all day long).

So in honor of this ever-growing, behemothic collection of shirts, I bid you all good night. And ask if you would like to go t-shirt shopping with me in the morning?

March 26, 2010

My Black Thumb

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Udderly Wonderful

Okay, so the title is a bit much. But I have been ABSOLUTELY DYING to use that one ever since I cracked that joke to Jonathan the other day. Thank you. Now I will move on.

So in order to make the title of this post correlate to some aspect of our lives, I feel obligated to discuss my hunt for the perfect nursing bra with all of you. Again.

Remember awhile back when I talked about falling head-over-heels for Allure, a lingerie store in St. Paul, after they ordered a nursing bra in my size? Well, let me complete this long and twisted tale for you...

The bra was ordered and after patiently waiting for two weeks (apart from where I called the store, asking what was taking so long because the word "patience" is not in my vocabulary), it finally arrived! Excited beyond belief, I headed into St. Paul to try it on. Meaning the babe and I were there in record time.

And it was too small, the STORY OF MY LIFE when it comes to bras. Ask my mother who acted as my bra-shopping comrade during my high school years. My demeanor was somewhat lacking in the puppies and rainbows department after our many failed attempts at finding a bra that fit.

After the disappointing news, I headed to the Mall of America for some therapeutic shopping. T-shirts make it all better. Really. You should try it sometime.

After several hours of drowning my sorrows in piles of 100% cotton, I realized that I could wait a little longer until the right size arrived. So I waited.

And waited.

And finally called the store back. The very patient clerk told me that she had been unable to reach the proper company representative, but that the bra would hopefully arrive soon. And the following day, I received the phone call I had been awaiting. IT HAD ARRIVED! [This is the part of the blog where you hear the angelic chorus.]

I tried on bra number two, a pretty little number made by Elomi, and it fit. PERFECTLY. Like it had been made for my Dolly Parton-esque boobs.

And so this nursing bra saga comes to a close with a happy ending for all. The dairy farm has a new home. And the lingerie store will finally hear the end of my phone calls.

March 25, 2010

Good Old Fashioned Naptime

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Losing the Spare Tire: Results Show Week 10

At almost three months out from giving birth, we're still working on losing the baby weight. And to all the people who told me that all my clothes would fit differently after having a baby, you were right. And I realize that now. Meaning, I am temporarily conceding the issue but DANG IT I WILL BE ABLE TO BUTTON MY FAVORITE JEANS AGAIN!

Speaking of buttoning jeans, I would like to share that I am finally able to button two pairs of my pre-pregnancy jeans. CUE THE CELEBRATION! And for all of you who are wondering what I was doing before, I refer you to Google (hair band trick for jeans).

Although my waistline is continuing to shrink, thanks in no small part to running and ab crunches, it's still a work in progress. In contrast to last week, the scale didn't read a smaller number but I successfully maintained my weight, which leads me to only one conclusion: the freebies are over.

The weight won't fall off on it's own and wishing it away is no longer doing the trick. So here's to cutting out the late-night snacks of cookies and crackers in favor of once again looking sexy in my favorite jeans.

Sleeping Boys

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March 24, 2010

You Unzipped Your Pants Too

Today I met someone who profoundly lacked a filter. More so than myself. And for all of you who have followed my blog for any amount of time, this comes as a great shock because it seems improbable, nay impossible that there could be ANYONE ON THE ENTIRE PLANET EARTH who could lack a filter more than myself. But I don't go around spouting off phrases like, "Well you unzipped your pants too!" At least, not as it relates to sex. And not when speaking to a complete stranger.

It all started in Target. Normally when I shop with Nathaniel, people don't see much of him since he is snuggled into his car seat. Today was different however, because he screamed (no, not cute little baby cries, I am referring to WINDOW-SHATTERING, EAR-SPLITTING SHRIEKS) each time I tried to set him in his seat. So he spent the shopping trip reigning supreme from the comfort of mama's tired arms.

And since Nathaniel wasn't buried in his car seat, everyone could see him and was admiring his cuteness. Including the woman without a filter. Who, FOR WHAT REASON ONLY GOD KNOWS, felt absolutely compelled to come up to me and strike up a conversation about her 19 year-old daughter who had a child out of wedlock, all the while peppering her story with phrases such as, "Well you unzipped your pants too!"

It's almost so unbelievable that I wish I'd had someone to experience it with me, but trust me, had any of you been shopping with me, you would've been scraping your jaws off the floor much like I was, while simultaneously trying to subtly move away from this unique personality.

And once I finally succeeded, only after hearing how her daughter's dead-beat boyfriend was no longer interested in a relationship with the baby, we finished our shopping trip. QUICKLY.

Master of the Plastic Rings

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Pups

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March 23, 2010

The Most Unlikely Toy

It's funny how children choose their favorite toys. You could purchase the biggest, baddest, most popular toy on the market and a little child might still prefer a tiny stuffed animal.

As a child, my parents filled my crib with stuffed animals. And now all of the newbie-parents out there are having a fit. OH MY GOSH. STUFFED ANIMALS IN THE CRIB?! AND YOU LIVED THROUGH YOUR CHILDHOOD?!

And for those of you who are not hyperventilating into a brown paper bag right now, I will have you know that nowadays, having stuffed animals in the crib with your baby is considered a serious risk for SIDS. But then again, so are bumpers. And blankets. And sleeping while wearing a hat.

Really, it is amazing that I lived to produce my own child after sleeping in a crib with a bumper, stuffed animals, blankets, and probably a few hats.

But because they loved their little girl, my wonderful parents wanted me to be surrounded by warm, snuggly stuffed animals (which, at the time, was considered perfectly safe). I had a slew of the fluffiest, most adorable stuffed animals a child could want... and do you know what I picked as my favorite of all the animals? A tiny and very flat dog.

Really, Pupps as he came to be known, wasn't much of a stuffed animal at all. He barely had fur and wasn't soft or squishy. But he was my favorite. And had anyone tried to take him away from me, I would've fought them to the bitter end.

Over the years, Pupps endured some wear and tear and had to go to the hospital numerous times for stitches (thanks, mom). He went on "vacation" a few times and was nearly lost forever at a garage sale. But somehow he made it through my childhood and he still sits on my nightstand.

Looking at Pupps tonight made me wonder... what will Nathaniel pick as his favorite toy? Will he like the fluffy bear that his mommy and daddy bought for him before he was born? Or will he take after his mama and become inseparable with the most unlikely of toys?

ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

March 22, 2010

Alien Crossing

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Three Years

Three years ago today, I went out on my last first date. Had you asked me then what my life would be like over the following three years, my answer likely would have included graduating from college and getting married. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected that those years would include so many unexpected AND JUST DOWNRIGHT CRAZY twists and turns.

By far, the most unpredictable change in my life was getting pregnant. Sure, I knew that I wanted to have children. Someday. But Jonathan and I were just starting out as a married couple. After our wedding, we moved in together and were busy enjoying some of the (ahem) privileges of being married that we had chosen not to indulge in before we tied the knot.

Because I couldn't use any form of hormonal birth control (a long and twisted tale for another blog), we had chosen to use condoms as our form of pregnancy prevention. Let me just inform all of you out on the interwebs... YOU HAVE TO USE IT EVERY TIME. Did you hear me? EVERY time. (Most of you are sitting at your computers, shaking your heads and saying WELL, DUH.)

Seeing the little blue line on the pregnancy test was pretty shocking, although I'm not sure what I expected after NOT using birth control every time. So the following nine months definitely went under the category of unexpected circumstances when I look back at the last few years.

With the birth of my son, my whole world changed even more. Suddenly IT WASN'T ABOUT ME anymore. Need a shower? Too bad. Want to eat? Baby comes first! This change altered my existence completely, something I never expected to happen within three years.

And right now, I am watching my baby boy sleep peacefully in his crib, knowing that the time I spend writing this entry is likely the only time to myself I will have within the next 24 hours.

AND I AM OKAY WITH THAT.

Which is one of the greatest changes of all. I don't mind sacrificing my time for my son and enduring that change in my life. Because for all of the changes that I have experienced over the last three years, both good and bad, I can honestly say that I am the better for them. And despite the unexpected circumstances which have cropped up in my life, if I had to do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing.

Because the last three years have completely altered my life. They brought me my husband and my son. And that means more to me than a few hours of free time.

March 21, 2010

Tree Faces

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FuzziBunz Diapers: The Cloth Saga Continues

A year ago today, if you would have told me that diapers would be the epitome of my excitement right now, I would've laughed in your face. BUT HERE WE ARE!

I went back to my new favorite baby store, Peapods, after purchasing my first round of cloth diapers because I just couldn't pass up the chance to use a few more coupons. YES, I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH COUPONS. I ADMIT IT. I planned to buy a few more BumGenius diapers since we'd had such success with them, but in the midst of my shopping spree I spied another stack of cloth- FuzziBunz diapers.

The FuzziBunz diapers caught my attention since they didn't have the velcro tabs like so many other cloth diapers; instead, they function with snaps which have a far greater lifespan than even the highest quality velcro.

As the saleslady was telling me about FuzziBunz, I realized that I had found a diaper that could endure the test of time and a very well-hydrated baby (I resisted the urge to do a little excited dance around the store, I'll have you know). The diapers themselves are equipped not only with snaps, but they have adjustable elastic around the legs which allows the parent to tailor the size of the leg holes to fit the baby perfectly. In addition to this, FuzziBunz also provides replacement elastic (sold with the diaper) to use once the first elastic bands are worn out.

We've already established that I'm a sucker for a good deal and it was hard to pass up the prospect of a diaper that could possibly outlive its usefulness. I picked up a few of the FuzziBunz One Size Diapers and tried one out as soon as we got home.

The adjustable elastic leg bands worked perfectly for us and I was able to tighten them to the proper numerical setting (based on Nathaniel's weight) in seconds. The snap closures also provided us with multiple options for tailoring the fit of the diaper to my little boy's body.

FuzziBunz One Size Cloth Diaper
Price $18.95
Fit

Absorbency
Waterproof/Leak Prevention
Quality
Overall Value

After using the diapers for several weeks, we have experienced some serious leaks in the leg holes (I mentioned one of them here), despite the fact that we have the diapers adjusted to fit Nathaniel based on the company's weight specifications. And since leaky diapers and wet clothes are a PET PEEVE of mine, I am less than completely satisfied with our overall experience with FuzziBunz.

Leaks not withstanding, there are definite advantages to using the FuzziBunz One Size diapers, since it is possible to tailor the fit to your baby in a more custom manner than other one size diapers currently on the market. And who can say no to the bright, cheerful colors? All in all, the FuzziBunz diapers are made to be very high-quality products and will stand the test of time, but as our family learned, finding the perfect fit for your baby isn't as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Update: After adjusting our FuzziBunz diapers twice to try to find the right fit around the legs and continuing to experience leaks, we opted to sell our diapers and go with another brand.

March 20, 2010

Rocking the Outdoors

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March 19, 2010

Pants on the Ground, Pants on the Ground

Oh yes, I just wrote that title. AND NOW YOU WILL ALL HAVE THAT ANNOYING SONG STUCK IN YOUR HEADS. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Backing up to the point before I made you all twitch in American Idol agony, allow me to assure you that there was a reason behind my title beyond causing yet another refrain of "LOOKING LIKE A FOOL WITH YOUR PANTS ON THE GROUND."

I met my mother for lunch at a local mall this afternoon. We finally made it inside the restaurant (quite the feat for those of you who understand how difficult it is becoming to lift my not-so-little boy in his car seat) and we grabbed a booth.

We spent the better part of an hour talking about life and babies when my mother (who was holding Nathaniel) mentioned that his entire butt felt wet. My initial thought was that he was just sweaty. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO WAY THAT HE COULD HAVE SOAKED THROUGH HIS DIAPER AND A THICK PAIR OF CORDUROY PANTS. BECAUSE I SAID SO.

But then a thread of doubt crept into my mind. My little boy seems to have a talent for the directionality of his waste; if there is any opening in a diaper, be it the most minuscule little crease, he will aim for it, find it, and KABOOM- sayonara to another pair of pants.

To put my mind at ease, I took Nathaniel to the bathroom, armed with my trusty old diaper bag. AND OH MY GOODNESS, HE WAS DRENCHED.

Now when I say that he was drenched, I don't mean he had a sweet, small baby-sized diaper leak. I mean to say that he had a MEAN OL' TEXAS-SIZED VOLLEY OF PEE. The diaper was soaked, his onesie was drenched, and his pants were soggy.

And this was the one time mama didn't bring spare clothes. Head meet desk.

So we strapped a clean diaper onto his bum and re-dressed him in his pee-laden clothes, with mama's profuse apologies. The look on his face was clear: GET ME OUT OF THESE DRIPPING-WET CLOTHES, WENCH. OR ELSE.

No mama wants to find out what "or else" means to an angry, pee-soaked baby. Thank God we were at the mall and they had a Baby Gap.

Nathaniel went home with a new pair of pants. Mama went home with a valuable lesson: always be prepared!

Dry Wishes

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Easter Baskets Live On

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Oil Can

We all remember the classic line in the movie "Wizard of Oz" where the tin man freezes up and is begging for the oil can, right? Because that was my life today. Minus the oil can and supplemented with ibuprofen.

I wouldn't be writhing in agony every time I try to walk, but for the fact that I went running both yesterday and today. YES, RUNNING. I DRAGGED MY UNFIT, POSTPARTUM BODY OUT THE FRONT DOOR AND TWO MILES AROUND THE BLOCK. And after I had run all of 30 feet, I was out of breath. I think that speaks to my current fitness level because it's awfully difficult to get your heart rate up when you're sitting on the couch in your underwear, nursing a crabby, teething baby.

So in lieu of spending another day sprawled out on the sofa surrounded by old bibs and empty cans of Diet Pepsi, we broke out our jogging stroller and took it for a spin. And with the exception of my body threatening a heart attack due to overexertion, it was a success. BUT THANK GOD THE WEEKEND IS APPROACHING... because I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Oh, and could someone please pass me the ibuprofen?

Losing the Spare Tire: Results Show Week 9

Last week, I wrote about needing a new scale. That situation has not changed. So I'm doing my best with the one we have... until garage sale season rolls around and I can find something that doesn't have the reliability of the Titanic.

Over the course of the last week, I eked out another pound. HURRAH.

And now, in honor of my one-pound loss, may we please have a grand round of applause for my butt? Because it has stuck with me through thick (ahem, pregnancy) and thin and seems to be the only place on my body that remains untouched after bearing a child. And I think that deserves a round of applause... or at least a slice of cake.

March 18, 2010

Our Diaper Hybrid

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Breast Pumps Are Like Cars

In previous blogs, I have discussed how much I love my breast pump. And it's true- having a pump has made my life much, much easier. I've been able to go out with my husband and (gasp) by myself without the babe and not worry about making it home before Nathaniel becomes hungry. It also means that we don't have to spend an arm and a leg on formula... because if the dairy farm is unavailable, there is always a stash in the freezer.

Yet despite my immense fondness for my breast pump, I have come to one very important conclusion: breast pumps are like cars. Because you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION to what you are doing.

As I sat here typing code into the blog and making some changes, I was pumping. AND NOT WATCHING WHAT I WAS DOING. BIG MISTAKE, MAMA.

And now I have a giant wet spot on my nice, clean jeans because I completely filled the container and it overflowed all over my leg. Apparently, I need a license to operate my breast pump.

Oh Great and Mighty Thumb

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A Crunchy Granola Suggestion for Your Diaper Pail

In conjunction with the cloth diaper saga, I have been looking for other ways to simplify our lives (read actually stay in the budget and thrill my husband) and to make our family more environmentally-friendly. To reduce our carbon footprint, if you will. Other than our two old cars. And the fact that I go through countless Diet Pepsi cans in a week.

My latest money/environment-saving endeavor comes in the form of recycling our Diaper Genie. For those of you who don't know, this is a diaper pail which is made for disposable diapers and requires a specific type of plastic refill bags.

Determined to use our diaper pail for the cloth diapers and because I was tired of buying disposable refill bags, I ordered a Wahmies Bag online. These bags are waterproof but reusable, and exactly what I was hoping to find.

By using an empty Diaper Genie refill bag cartridge to hold it in place, I was able to use the Wahmies bag with our pail. So if any of you are considering making the switch from disposables to cloth, know that it is possible to recycle your old diaper pail and save the environment... one pail at a time.

March 17, 2010

Baby Sun

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March 16, 2010

The Diaper Cannon

Every day, especially these last few that have involved screams, tears, and teething, I look forward to Jonathan coming home from work. It is wonderful to be able to spend time as a family and having another adult around means that mama gets a break from changing all the dirty diapers herself! (I'm trying to teach Nathaniel how to do it himself a la Stewie from Family Guy, but so far... no dice.)

Even though I may not be the one scrubbing out the poop (thank you, cloth diapers), I am often still involved in the changing process. Because when daddy is home, mama gets promoted from poop slave to entertainment coordinator. And yes, that means dancing around wildly, singing, and waving my hands in the air during the bum cleaning process. QUITE THE SIGHT.

During one such diaper change tonight, in the midst of what was reminiscent of a tribal rain dance, I stopped to check Nathaniel's bottom. And Jonathan reacted LIKE I HAD SET OFF A NUCLEAR WARHEAD IN A DEN OF PUPPIES.

Some of you may remember the incident last week where Nathaniel's butt exploded in a barrage of green and yellow poo during a 5am diaper change. And yes, THE CARPET IS FOREVER STAINED GOLDENROD YELLOW, thank you very much.

This was the reason why my knight in shining armor was ready to sacrifice life and limb for yours truly... because I was staring down the barrel of a loaded cannon. NOT WISE, MAMA.

But tonight, my little boy decided not to redecorate the floor of his bedroom. Which leads me to only one conclusion. HE'S SAVING IT ALL FOR 5AM.

Tweety

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that the Adventures of the Stay At Home Mom is now busting onto the Twitter scene. You can hear my rants, raves, and designs to buy another t-shirt throughout the day @Alyssagamlin.

March 15, 2010

Digging Out The Pink Wig

Today, I looked back on my pregnancy pictures. Wistfully.

No, I don't miss the belly the SIZE O' TEXAS. Nor do I miss the backaches, leg aches, foot aches, headaches, or crotch pains that accompanied my pregnancy. No, folks, this is all about the hair. I had some gorgeous pregnancy hair, if I do say so myself.

For those of you who don't have the slightest clue as to what I'm talking about, I'll let you in on a little secret. When a woman gets knocked-up, her body goes into overdrive with all sorts of funky changes (DUH). One of the best changes (besides the baby), is thick, luscious hair.

When that little blue line appeared on the pregnancy test, I had no idea what to expect, but I soon discovered that my somewhat fine, often straggly hair was about to take a turn for the better. And I ROCKED my pregnancy hair.

After I gave birth to Nathaniel, I expected my hair to go back to its normal state, but I was pleasantly surprised (read downright shocked and delighted) when there was no change. MY HAIR STAYED THICK AND BEAUTIFUL! I WAS A FREAK OF NATURE AND WAS GOING TO RETAIN MY MODEL-ESQUE HAIR!! SIGN ME UP FOR A L'OREAL CONTRACT AND AN AFTERNOON CHAT WITH OPRAH!

If I believed in karma, I would be writing about it right now. Because I even made a comment to my mother (who very wisely cautioned me against premature celebration), telling her how thrilled I was about my "new hair."

It all changed two weeks ago.

And now my hair is falling out in clumps. CLUMPS, PEOPLE!!! And we are not talking about losing a hair or two as I'm using my blowdryer. Every day as I finish styling my hair, I am EARNESTLY PRAYING that I will have one or two strands left on my head so I can point to them when people walk by and mistake me for Mr. Clean.

In college, I purchased (and wore, oh yes) a bright pink wig because I was the kind of girl who liked to get reactions out of people. And now I'm wishing that I knew where I put that infamous wig. Because it would hide the two strands left on my head.

PINK WIG... I WILL FIND YOU!!

The Looney Bin

You all are going to miss me when they ship me off to the looney bin. And if today is any indication, it won't be long now.

Ask any mama how things went when her baby was teething (as I have in the last few days) and she will tell you, 'Oh, it was hard.' Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you this is a lie. A BOLD-FACED LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL.

Teething is not hard. Teething is HELL. With two big blue eyes and very loud screams.

Yes, it is sad to listen to your baby cry. But when that crying is an all-day affair, you will reach a point where you want to join your baby in kicking, screaming, and cursing that blasted tooth at the top of your lungs. NO SOLID FOOD IS WORTH THIS!

And the worst part of it? Looking into those sad blue eyes and knowing that you can't do anything to make it better. Except holding the teether inside your baby's mouth and cursing that tooth under your breath.

It Wasn't A Fluke

Apparently, the fact that my two-month-old son is in the process of getting his first tooth wasn't a fluke. BECAUSE WE ARE NOW CUTTING TOOTH NUMBER TWO.

Perhaps my little boy is two months older than we think? Perhaps my pregnancy was the first-recorded eleven-month gestation, because it seems next to impossible that my son is teething when he is too young to even hold the teether in his own mouth.

Hmmm. The world's longest gestation. SOMEONE CALL GUINNESS.

March 14, 2010

BumGenius Diapers: The Cloth Saga Begins

After doing some research into the best options for cloth diapers, I decided to kick off our cloth saga with BumGenius diapers. Lucky for me, there is currently a coupon out in 'Pregnancy' and 'Pregnancy and Newborn' magazines for BumGenius diapers (spend $10 or more on BumGenius products, receive one BumGenius All-In-One cloth diaper free).

So being the creative and resourceful personality that I am (read stubborn and a sucker for a good deal), I braved my local WalMart and purchased every copy of 'Pregnancy' they had in-stock. I then proceeded to purchase several more magazines from Barnes & Noble because I WAS GOING TO GET THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY ON DIAPERS, DANG IT.

Since only two local stores sell BumGenius diapers, I headed up to St. Paul to visit Peapods, a natural baby care and toy store. Their selection of cloth diapers was somewhat daunting for someone who had been a firm believer in disposable diapers, but I was determined to use my coupons and give cloth a try!

I picked up a small mountain of diapers and carried them to the checkout. You can imagine the look on the cashier's face when I dumped the pile onto the counter and whipped out my coupons; she was somewhat less than excited. (And who could blame her? I used to work retail and I HATED customers like me... people who would make you do six different transactions so you could get six free diapers. OH YEAH, I did that.)

After getting the diapers home, I strapped a one-size diaper to my son's backside and waited for the tell-tale rumble. When it came, I tore the diaper off his little butt and checked that thing like I was looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The diaper was very absorbent, especially with the newborn insert sitting inside and adjusted to fit Nathaniel very well. We continued to use the one size diaper over the next few days and found that it was made well, although we did experience an explosion that left mama with poo all down her jeans when she waited just a little too long on a changing. THANK GOD IT WASN'T IN PUBLIC.

BumGenius One Size 3.0 Cloth Diaper
Price $17.95
Fit
Absorbency
Waterproof/Leak Prevention
Quality
Overall Value

We also tried the BumGenius All-In-One diapers and were very impressed with the simplicity and efficiency of the system. The All-In-One diapers (size XS-L) worked perfectly for us; they have an excellent fit and are easy to use. These diapers are great to toss into a diaper bag since they don't require additional pieces, which is great for a sleep-deprived and somewhat forgetful mama like myself.

BumGenius All-In-One Cloth Diaper
Price $15.95
Fit
Absorbency
Waterproof/Leak Prevention
Quality
Overall Value

BumGenius provides quality diapers for a good overall value. Although the initial cost to diaper your baby's bottom with this brand will be a hefty sum, you can be assured that the diapers will provide you with good absorbency and a quality fit for your little one.

Widgets

To those of you who attempted to use the feed widget I posted recently, my apologies. We have had some issues with widgets as of late but the current email subscription widget should do the trick. If you would like to receive email updates from the Adventures of the Stay At Home Mom, simply enter your email address into the subscription box (located in the right-hand column) and everything SHOULD RUN SMOOTHLY. In theory, at least.

March 13, 2010

Happy to Be Awake at 5am

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make... and if it is littered with typos, please excuse the mess. I am typing this on an apple laptop and I am in the 1% of extremely un-cool people who is absolutely useless with macs. I am a PC and Windows 7 was not my idea. But I would like to take credit for it.

Moving beyond my love of my HP laptop, we have spent the beginning of this weekend up north with my family...

And last night, my little boy slept for 7 hours. Yes. 7.

And there was much rejoicing.

I don't know if it was falling asleep on grandma or just the fact that he was so tired from the big day at the tattoo parlor and sushi restaurant (another story for another blog) that he just couldn't keep his little eyes open.

It was SO wonderful to have him sleep for a solid seven hours. But I have to confess... by the time we hit 6, I was starting to pray that he would wake up. Let me put it this way- the dairy farm was open for business. Those of you who have never nursed won't be able to relate to this, but those of you who have had this experience can understand the EXTREME DISCOMFORT that I was in at 5am this morning.

But I would take extreme discomfort in exchange for 7 hours of sleep every night. Ah. Someone hand me my pillow.

March 11, 2010

Losing the Spare Tire: Results Show Week 8

I need a new scale. And I'm not saying that the same way I would say that I NEED some chocolate or NEEDING a new t-shirt. (For those of you who don't know, I have a t-shirt problem. AND YES, I AM ADMITTING IT. It ranks up there with my Diet Pepsi problem.) I'm saying that I need a new scale in the way that I should go out and purchase one because mine has decided that giving one consistent weight reading is too difficult.

My scale is reminiscent of something you would find out of the stone age, but I have been hesitant to buy a new one. Forking out money so a piece of plastic can tell me how much chocolate I've eaten in the past week just isn't fun... unlike buying a cute, new t-shirt.

So I'm thanking my lucky stars that it's almost garage sale season because I will be on the hunt for a gently used scale... that doesn't give readings that fluctuate by five pounds.

I think, after stepping on the scale no fewer than ten times and adjusting the settings to try to get an accurate reading, that I maintained my weight from last week without losing anything further. Of course, eating my weight in trail mix over the course of the last seven days might have hampered the weight-loss progress somewhat, but I still consider this week a success since I'm not gaining back any of those baby pounds.

And there's always next week to break my addiction to trail mix...

Holy Crap... Literally!

Warning: This post contains graphic images of baby poop. If you are eating cottage cheese, I highly recommend that you put down the spoon.

Around 1am this morning, Nathaniel woke up and fussed until I fed him. As usual, there was the tell-tale rumble in his diaper about halfway through the feeding so once he was done, we headed back to the nursery for a good ol' fashioned diaper change.

We broke out a nice, crisp diaper and cleaned up his butt. I laid my little boy down in his crib to go wash out the cloth diaper when there was yet another rumble.

Back to the changing table we went!

I unfastened diaper number one and slid diaper number two into place when, very suddenly and without any warning, poo EXPLODED out of my son's butt, splashing the clean diaper, changing table, and the floor in a very special shade of yellow/green poop.

And because I'm that kind of mama, my first request (upon calling for Jonathan's help) was for the camera.

What Happened to Your Blog?

The blog has undergone a major overhaul and it was long overdue! Hopefully you will all find this page a bit easier to navigate since it's significantly less "busy" than it's predecessor. Feel free to poke around and check out the changes. If you have feedback on how to make the site more user-friendly, I always welcome comments or emails!

March 10, 2010

The People of Subway

Since we don't get to spend much time together when she's at school and since she is currently home on spring break, I got together with my little sister for lunch today. We met up at Subway in Hinckley, MN. For those of you who live out-of-state, Hinckley is the half-way point that EVERYONE stops at between the Twin Cities and Duluth. To give you an idea of the kind of town Hinckley has become, it makes most of its revenue off of a casino and fast food joints directly off the highway and is the proud owner of Tobies, a restuarant that desperately needs to hire some new chefs. But I digress...

Anna and I sat down with our sandwiches and I was treated to a sight which I hope never to see again. A mother had handed her little baby A PLASTIC BAG TO PLAY WITH. YES, LET'S GIVE THE BABY SOMETHING HE COULD USE TO STRANGLE HIMSELF. BECAUSE THAT'S ALWAYS FUN. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to bear children.

After we finished our sandwiches and Nathaniel had been given a bottle, I brought him to the bathroom to change his poopy diaper. I walked into the bathroom... NO CHANGING TABLE. At which point, I was sorely tempted to change him and smear poop all over a booth purely out of spite. And then I remembered that it wasn't the employees' fault that they don't have a changing table.

Once I got home (just for fun), I looked up the cost of putting a changing table in a restaurant. To purchase and install a Koala Classic Horizontal Changing Station, the cost is $185.99. A mere $185 makes things sanitary for your customers. ARE THE OWNERS REALLY SUCH CHEAP, PENNY-PINCHING IDIOTS THAT THEY CAN'T AFFORD A CHANGING TABLE?! Come on.

I ended up changing Nathaniel in his carseat (twice, actually) and the manager apologized that they didn't have a place where he could be changed. Still, I will think long and hard about going back if I have to change my baby in his carseat.

After the plastic bag and poopy diaper adventures, Anna and I did get some quality time to catch-up on life and we were able to take a few pictures. It was a fun... and very unique... lunch date.

Dear Box Fan

Dear Box Fan,

If you are the reason that my little boy slept for FIVE HOURS last night, then I am in your debt. You are officially my new favorite household appliance and I thank you.

Sincerely,
Alyssa

March 8, 2010

Mobile Giveaway!

Congratulations to our winner, Christine, who was selected by random.org. Thanks to all who participated!

All of you have seen the adorable mobile that hangs over Nathaniel's crib (if you haven't, check it out here). Challah, my favorite Etsy seller, handcrafted this precious mobile for my little boy (who has become absolutely fascinated with watching it spin while laying in his crib)!

Because I can't get enough of Challah's adorable creations, I contacted her and asked if she would be willing to do a giveaway for my readers and she graciously agreed. For the giveaway, she stitched a one-of-a-kind fish mobile and it will be awarded to one lucky reader.

To enter to win the fish mobile, you must do the following:

1. Subscribe/follow the Adventures of the Stay At Home Mom (if you are not already a follower).

2. Visit Challah's Etsy Page and comment on this post, telling me your favorite item listed on her page.

As always, extra entries into the giveaway are available! To enter again and increase your chances of winning the mobile, you must:

1. Comment on any of the posts from the Adventures of the Stay At Home Mom (good for one extra entry, only one comment will be counted per person).

2. Become a follower of Challah's blog, A Journey of 1000 Miles Begins With A Single Step, and leave a comment on this post informing that you have become a follower (good for one extra entry).

The winner will be chosen via random.org on March 12 and notified via email. Good luck!

The Secret Is Out

The secret is out because mama finally figured it out today- all the fussing and drooling wasn't an unhappy or tired baby. It was because MY BABY HAS A TOOTH!

That's right, my little two-month-old baby has a tooth. One of his bottom teeth has poked through and my little guy is chomping away on daddy's hand as I type because all of his teethers are too big to fit in his teeny tiny mouth.

So if any of you lovely readers have good suggestions for teethers, bring them on! We are officially teething. God help us all.

I Saved Our Planet

A year ago, I was about as far from a crunchy granola girl as you could get. When I first met Jonathan, he had to force me (and we are talking practically at gunpoint here, people) to recycle. No joke.

It's not that I hate the environment. Heck, I like the ozone layer as much as the next gal. I just don't think that my pop can is going to kill us all.

The past year has brought about my evolution into a crunchy granola mama and my personal feelings on recycling (a practice which I have adopted, you will all be happy to know) have changed. I have begun looking for ways to save money and be more environmentally-friendly.

Take our latest money-saving/planet-saving idea, for example. We are only using baby wipes now if we are traveling with Nathaniel; at home, we have converted to washcloths. And I have to say that it works ever so much better than wipes when it comes to cleaning poo off a dirty bottom.

I took an old wipes case, filled it with baby washcloths folded in half and poured enough water in the container to just cover the washcloths. When I need to use one, I squeeze it out and wipe. Voila. I just saved our planet.

March 7, 2010

First Visit to the Park

It was so gorgeous outside today that despite the significant lack of sleep last night and my body screaming DUDE, TAKE A NAP ALREADY, we decided to go on a family walk.

What started off as a walk around the block (camera in tow), ended up being Nathaniel's first visit to the park. We walked down to the park where, after much cajoling and begging because taking pictures at the park WOULD BE FUN, we hiked through the snow down the hill to the park. And Jonathan was very patient with me as we took pictures on the swings and the slide.

Nathaniel was less than enthusiastic about the whole experience, as he slept through the entire event, but it was fun nonetheless. Someday when I mention going to the park, I'm sure the reaction will be something along the lines of THE PARK?! REALLY? CAN WE GO NOW?? But for now I will settle for the sleepy face.

The Cloth Saga

Those of you who knew me when I was pregnant probably heard my very strongly-worded opinion regarding cloth diapers. And it probably included something about living in the stone-age and being completely unsanitary.

I am currently eating a piece of humble pie, thank you very much.

I spent some time talking to one of my good friends during a lunch date this week and she educated me on the improvements that have been made to cloth diapering in the last twenty or so years. Cue my interest. Anything that saves that amount of money even if it involves WASHING OUT POOP WITH MY BARE HANDS must be worth a try, right?

So in the next few weeks, we will be starting the cloth saga as we begin our adventure with cloth diapering. We will likely be trying more than one kind of diaper, and you will all be the first to know which brands I like and those that I hate. BRING ON THE POOP!

March 4, 2010

Losing the Spare Tire: Results Show Week 7

After the way I ate this past week (read LOTS of sugar and a rekindled love of Wendys), I fully expected to see the numbers on the scale go up. So you can imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale expecting the worst and saw that the number had DROPPED.

I have only one thing to say about this... THANK YOU NATHANIEL. I fully credit nursing with the three-pound loss this week since I did absolutely nothing to help it along, unless you count parking my butt on the couch, watching old episodes of Stargate (yes, I am that nerdy) and making whole meals of homemade trail mix.

So since this magical weight loss isn't going to last forever, I should probably consider changing my diet to something that doesn't reflect my eating habits from college. Exercise has gone out the window these past few weeks, but this coming week, I am resolving to get some sort of physical activity in at least five days, even if it's just walking around the mall.

So here's to dragging my butt off the couch, pretending that I like veggies, and the start of week eight...

March 3, 2010

It's A Freaking Owl

To keep Nathaniel entertained this morning while I jumped into the shower, mama broke out the big guns... the toys that came with his bouncer!

When I first attached the toys onto the bouncer, the look on my little boy's face was a combination of YOU'VE BEEN HOLDING OUT ON ME, WOMAN and OH MY GOSH! IT'S AN OWL! A FREAKING OWL! AND WHAT'S THIS?! A HEDGEHOG?!

Incidentally, who puts a hedgehog on a child's toy? What ever happened to little teddy bears? What possibly possessed the Fisher Price marketing department to put a hedgehog on a bouncer?

...Because in two years, my little boy's favorite animal will be a hedgehog.

video

Loving Petunia Picklebottom

Let's kick this one off with a little-known fact... I never win anything. Ever. In fact, hell would freeze over before I won any sort of drawing.

Hell froze over this week.

Just for kicks and grins, I entered a drawing for a Petunia Picklebottom baby sling through thebump.com and I nearly fell out of my chair when I got an email from the Bump team telling me that I had won! Once I scraped my jaw off the floor and the shock wore off, I quickly pounded out a response email profusely thanking them and telling them what kind of sling I would like.

It arrived today in some very beautiful packaging and Nathaniel and I gave it a try. The pattern is absolutely adorable and it's very easy to use. My little boy seemed to enjoy being held in it and, best of all, I discovered that it provides hands-free nursing!

I wouldn't have spent the money on this high-end baby product if I hadn't won it (since they retail for about $72), but it sure is fun to have and if you have money to burn, I do recommend it!

Rocket Launcher

I'm convinced that my little boy has a rocket launcher firmly embedded somewhere in his butt. Why is this? Because of the poop that comes shooting out of his buttocks at mach 3!

Today is the third day in a row that Nathaniel has pooped so hard that the poo exploded out of his diaper and up his back. But today mama was smart and reacted fast... so that only one of us ended up with poopy clothes!

And then we changed his onesie...

March 2, 2010

Sing Along

The last two days have brought about a fun new activity for Nathaniel and mama- a sing along! From my own childhood, I remember a song about three little fishes, a pond, a shark, and the wise mama fishy. It's a great song. Really. And despite the shark, still child-friendly.

And for some reason unknown to me, it is Nathaniel's favorite song. He absolutely LOVES when I sing this song to him! It makes him smile and coo... and he even tries to sing along. Bet you've never seen a baby try to sing...

March 1, 2010

Crib Chronicles

Being the ever-determined mama that I am, today I decided to conquer naptime. And I picked the one and only day that Nathaniel wouldn't nap to begin this process. Brilliant planning, mama. Just brilliant.

My good friend Kylie recently sent me a link to an online article which talked about sleep training for babies. Now before y'all break out your torches and pitchforks, I KNOW that Nathaniel is too young to be put on an effective sleep schedule. Breathe, people. The article discussed ways to set your baby up for a good sleep schedule in the future so parents aren't forced to break bad habits when the baby becomes old enough for sleep training.

One of the ideas for good sleep patterns that was proposed by the article was imposing regular naptimes throughout the day, something I have let slide. At our house, Nathaniel chooses where he would like to plop his royal hiney down for a nap; some days it's the bouncer, others it's mama's bed, and on especially fussy days, the ONE AND ONLY PLACE (AND THERE WILL BE NO NEGOTIATION ABOUT THIS, WENCH) he will nap is in mama's arms.

Given the fact that we've had some trouble recently with Nathaniel being willing to fall asleep in his crib at night, something needed to change. So off to establish a good nap schedule we went. And there was only one problem- he wouldn't nap.

By luck of the draw, I managed to pick the day when my little boy was wide awake and refused to be put down in his crib for a brief snooze. But what he didn't know was that he got his stubborn streak from mama.

There was no bouncer today. There was no time spent laying on mama's bed because DANG IT if he was going to sleep, it was going to be done in the crib!!


In the end, it was a draw. Nathaniel fell asleep for about a half-hour (a measly amount of sleep compared to his normal schedule) but it was done in the crib. Small triumphs. Baby steps get on the bus... baby steps down the aisle... baby steps... (For those of you who haven't seen 'What About Bob,' go rent it. Now.)