Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Out of Control Merry-Go-Round

Is it just me, or do other people sometimes feel like they are on an out of control, demented merry-go-round? I feel like if someone would just let me off for a few minutes I could catch my breath and jump back on. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening for at least a few more weeks.

Thankfully, the amazing women over at Rants from Mommyland put it so poetically when they coined the phrase "The Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral". Unfortunately, I'm right smack dab in the middle of it right now which accounts for my tragic lack of blogging. It's all been crazy. The cooking and planning and decorating and shopping and wrapping and trying to get these stupid holiday cards designed and in the mail. Whew! On top of that we have three friends with birthdays the first of December and with Jay in school I've pretty much been in charge of everything.

But even with as much stress as I have going on, there is one thing I'm not stressing about this year and that's other adults' drama. Past years have been spent trying to please everyone... trying to get my brothers to be nice to each other for just.one.farking.afternoon... trying to make sure both our families were included and everyone felt their needs were met. Well, this year there is only one person I'm worrying about and her name is Turtle. If people have reasonable requests then we will do everything we can to accomodate but don't want to come? That's fine. Want to make the whole thing about you? Sorry. This year (and for quite a few years to come) this holiday is about Turtle and everyone else can save the drama for yo mama!

It's amazing how freeing the feeling is. I might have to extend this Beta Test to other times of the year! I'll be back as soon as I can figure out how to get off this mother-father merry-go-round for a minute!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daddy's So Funny

When did life get so complicated that we lost the joy in drumming on a trash bag?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bringing Home Baby: A 3 Month Nice to Have List

Bumbo

    

We used this thing SO, SO much! It was our high chair before Turtle was strong enough to sit up on her own. As you can see we used it when we went out to eat, to watch the squirrels on Grandma's back porch, and to try to help Mama play Catan. You are technically not supposed to use it on a raised surface (like a restaurant table), but we felt comfortable doing it since we were both sitting right there. We never walked away from her and the moment she started trying to stand up out of it, we discontinued it's use. We got ours at a consignment store and I highly recommend this route. This is a baby gear item that is only used for a few short months so you can find ones in good used condition. They are also easy to clean. However, if I had it to do over again, I would get the Prince Lionheart BebePod instead of the Bumbo. The BebePod comes with a strap that will secure it to a chair making it even safer to use as a presitting high chair.

 



We didn't start Turtle on solids until 6 months, but we've been using this high chair since she was just a few weeks old. Seeing that we have a dog that isn't child friendly, I wasn't able to just sit her on a blanket on the floor when I cleaned the kitchen or made dinner. This was a life saver! I could strap her in here, puts some toys on her tray and talk to her while I cleaned the kitchen, etc. We would have had a hard time finding the floor space for a full size high chair so this one that straps onto an existing dining room chair was just perfect for us. I've heard people complain that it didn't fit on their chairs and was wobbly, but we've never had any problems with ours. We LOVE it!


Playmat



Around 3 months, Turtle became very interested in stuff, and a playmat was exactly what we needed. It kept her occupied while I took a shower or did other chores (up stairs and away from the puppy). Playmats come in all shapes and sizes... and price tags. From what I can see they are pretty much all the same so we went with a small, inexpensive one.

Carrier/sling


    

It was about this time that Turtle decided she didn't like being carried in my stretchy wrap. She has always been a very curious child and being snuggled into my chest was just too boring for her. She wanted to look around. I hadn't been prepared for this and didn't really know what kind of carrier to use at this stage. I tried a woven wrap but found it to be complicated, cumbersome, and hard to tie alone. Finally I settled on a pouch sling and requested a nice one for my birthday. It's super easy to use, quick to get to her if she gets fussy, and allows her to see out when she's either on my hip or my back. In the event that she does go to sleep, it's easy for me to adjust her just a tad and have her snuggled into my chest to sleep. I put her in a hip carry before she was sitting up completely on her own. I just wrapped my arm around her and supported her. But you should not do a back carry (in a pouch sling) until the baby can completely sit up on their own.

 


   

At this point, Turtle was the spit up queen! So, bibs were my best friend. I found myself overlooking cute outfits in favor of cute bibs. My favorite one of course was the "T is for Turtle" one, but as far as their usefulness, I like the Green Sprout ones best.

Next Up: 6 Months!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Distraction

We had a super busy weekend! So, I wasn't able to put together a real blog post for today. Instead I'm going to distract you with cuteness while I hope to put together a real post for tomorrow.



Poor girl will never be a professional ballet dancer because she definitely inherited her mama's behind. Sorry, Turtle!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Officially Too Old

Recently, I have discovered that I am officially too old for a few things.

1) Booty dancing. (Although I don't think anyone should really be doing that! But at my age it just looks like a train wreck.)

2) Staying up past midnight. (Which now makes me feel like I have a hang over even if I haven't had a drop of alcohol.)

And after yesterday...

3) Skinny Jeans (Well, actually any fashion item that has the word "skinny" in the title.)



I mean dude! I look like a wanna be hipster/emo boy. Actually... I look like my awesomely cool oldest little brother, except without the cool factor.

See, what happened was, I ran into Old Navy to get Turtle a fleece outfit to keep her warm this weekend.  As I walked in I saw a table full of skinny jeans. Having seen tons of adorable outfits consisting of skinny jeans on Pinterest and given my style-envy/best friend's ability to include them in her wardrobe, I thought, "What the heck! I'll try on a pair!" 

I laughed so hard in the dressing room that I thought they were going to send someone to check on me. Then I snapped this picture and set it to my best friend and brother. Both of whom got a huge laugh out of it! Granted my best friend said if I changed the shirt and shoes I could probably pull it off. But I'm afraid I'd have to have a whole new wardrobe and that would negate the 30% off coupon I have for Old Navy.

So, I have a feeling I'm just too old for skinny jeans. Have you come to terms with being too old for something lately?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Weekend Warriors: Amazing Maize Maze

As a family, we are weekend warriors. We work hard during the week and play hard on the weekends. This weekend we went to the Amazing Maize Maze. I've never done a corn maze, but our friend L loves them! So we all agreed to go. It was actually a blast and I can't wait to try it again next year. Especially now that I kind of know what to expect.

The maze was out at Rual Hills and after the maze we decided that the historic homesteads would be a great place to get some pictures.


Daddy tried out the Boba carrier too and really liked it.  Mama really liked we can now share the carrying responsibilities. Plus, is there anything more awesome than a man with a baby in a carrier?



There was a blacksmith there showing off his skills. 




And a little kitchen garden out by the homestead.


 The front porch made a great place for some pics.





The wind made it a little cold but other than that it was a perfect day!



So, what are the Weekend Warriors up to this next weekend? Well, hopefully a car meet on Saturday morning followed by a trip to the Renaissance Faire. The Ren Faire is something we do every year, and this year I'm so excited to include the Turtle. I think she'll love all the colors and music and activities. We'll see though. I'll make sure and update you all next week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge

So, last Wednesday, I told you about the Pinterest Challenge that Sherry over at Young House Love had extended. Well it's one week later and I'm happy to announce that I pretty much accomplished my missions!

Mission #1: Turkey Shirt





I bought a pack of white Gerber Onesies and washed them Friday night. I grabbed all the scrap fabric I had left over from decorating Turtle's nursery (which had already been washed), some fusible interfacing and the shapes Lindsey from The Cottage Home had so graciously included in her template and headed over to our friends' house to get started. 




We cut some squares of fabric and fused them to one side of the interfacing.



Then we traced the shapes on the paper side of the interfacing and cut out all the shapes. Then we pealed back the interfacing and ironed them down onto the shirt. Easy peasy!



Then I took just a little bit of embroidery floss and free handed some legs, eyes, and a beak. And there you go folks! A perfectly festive first Thanksgiving shirt for my baby girl.



And here she is, not so happily, modeling it for you all.





Mission #2: Paci Clips

This one was a little more tricky given my rusty sewing skills, and through this process I discovered that my sewing machine apparently needs a tune up! Since it was bought when I was in middle school and stored in eleventy billion closets since then, I guess it's not surprising.

So, first things first. I cut out 10 1/2" x 4" strips of fabric. And since I don't have a nice cutting ruler or rotary cutter, I used my trusty paper cutter to cut a template from cardstock. That made it easy to ensure that I was getting nice square strips.


Then I pressed under a 1/4" hem on the short ends.


At about this point, Turtle, my trusty side kick fell asleep! Light weight!



Then I pressed them all in half.



Then pressed the long raw edges into the middle.


Then I simply pressed them in half again.




Now... this is where it got tricky. My sewing machine is not wanting to advance the material at the beginning and ends... basically when there is only a little bit of material. So, I found myself pulling the material through to get it started all while trying not to sew my finger... oh and while a post-nap, energetic little one was trying to pull up on my peddle leg. Yeah, it was a bit of a challenge which is why the nice picture tutorial kinda takes a hike here. But basically...

You sew down each of the long sides. I attempted to line the material up with the inside of the pressure foot, but as you can see my stitches are not nearly as straight as the one in the awesome tutorial.




Then you slip one end through the suspender clip, fold it back over and sew it down. My machine really was not a fan of this part. (Mental note: find local sewing machine repair place.)



Then you cut a 5 1/5" piece of coordinating ribbon, keeping in mind that the ribbon will need to loop through the paci and back over the suspender clip so you don't want it to be too thick. Fold the ribbon over and tuck it into the open end.



Then simply sew that end closed, catching the ribbon.



And TADA! You're done!



It can now get covered in drool! Sometimes I swear my daughter prefers chewing on the clip to the paci.

So! How did everyone else's projects come out? I can't wait to see! You can head over to Young House Love's post to see all the projects linked up from the challenge.

P.S. If you want to check out all the projects done by the hosts of the Pinterest Challenge you can check them out here, here, and here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

She Won't Eat Puffs, But She'll Eat Poop: The Scary Tale of a Halloween Night

I was going to post about our weekend adventures today, but this story is soooo much better. Halloween evening started off pretty hectic. I'd put off buying candy and had to stop on the way home from work. I picked up Turtle at my mom's and we headed straight to the house. The setting sun was my enemy and I was going to beat him! Thankfully, we got home, got Turtle dressed, got the candy in a bowl, and got settled on our blanket on the front lawn to take some pictures and greet trick or treaters.


Turtle was only marginally happy with being dressed up. And really wasn't a fan of her cinnamon bun head gear. But she wormed up to the idea after a while.




And she really doesn't understand the concept of the ubiquitous "facebook picture" yet.



"Mama. What are you doing?"

But she definitely got on board with the whole candy thing.



Although she wanted to drool on every piece before we gave them out. She said she was just making sure they weren't poison.




But soon it got too cold to hang outside, so we had to move the party inside. That's when things got interesting. I put the puppy in his crate and put a blanket down on the floor since I needed to vacuum but hadn't had time (and Turtle is deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner so doing it during the week is out.) I sat on the couch to find something to watch on hulu. Turtle crawled off the blanket and under the swing. I could see her but thought she was just intently watching the puppy which wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Well, when she didn't move for a few minutes I thought I'd crawl down there and stare at the puppy with her. When I got down there, I realized it look like she was sucking on something. So, I stuck my finger in her mouth and to my HORROR found puppy poop!!!!! OMG!!! Where she found it I have no idea.

I had absolutely NO idea what to do or how serious the situation was. So, I of course first googled it so see if any of my reputable sites had anything about it not being a big deal. Truthfully I was hoping to not have to call anyone and admit what had happened. When all I could find were message board posts, I finally got on the phone and called the pediatrician's after hours number. While I'm on hold my cell phone battery starts dying and I have to plug in upstairs. At this point I've turned off our front porch light but upon hearing kids ringing our door bell and banging on the door, I realize that I've left the side porch light on since we leave that one on all the time. So, I unplug long enough to turn that light off while Turtle screams since I've left her in her crib alone and obviously I'm leaving her forEVER!

I tell the on call service that I have an 8 month old daughter who has eaten what I believe to be puppy poop and I have NO idea what to do! After giggling and telling me that I've made her night (thanks!) she says she'll have a nurse call me back. Shortly there after she calls me back and says that the nurse recommended connecting me to Poison Control (Duh! Why didn't I think of that!). So, I tell the Poison Control operator what has happened and she asks me a bunch of questions, "Is the baby healthy? Is this your dog? Inside or outside dog? Is the dog healthy?" Eventually, she tells me that as gross as it is, this is fairly common and as long as the dog is healthy and the baby is healthy Turtle should be just fine. Just keep an eye on her and let the pediatrician know if she starts having problems.

Whew!

I think I breathed for the first time in like an HOUR! Needless to say, we battoned down the hatches at went straight to bed. Mama was tired from all that! Sorry trick or treaters! So, there ends my first call to Poison Control. I'm pretty sure it won't be our last. But with this face, how could I be mad at her for long? Hope your Halloween was less eventful than ours!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Up until the last few years I've always hated this holiday. My dad was the neighborhood pain in the ass, calling parents and truancy officers on errant kids. So, getting our house egged or firecrackers thrown into our carport was my experience of the holiday.

Additionally as a strict Christian family we never were allowed to participate in trick or treating. Some years we did attend Fall Festivals or Hallelujah Parties at our churches. One uncharacteristicly fun memory is of riding to the church with our neighbors. That year I dressed up as Queen Esther in my Childhood BFF's mother's belly dancing skirt and it was the closest to "sexy" I'd ever gotten. Later that week though, I about sucked the skirt up into the vacuum cleaning before returning it to her. I couldn't have been 10. It's strange what your brain chooses to hold onto. Why can't it hold onto where I kicked off my shoes last night!

This memory was overshadowed though by the year my mom dressed me and my brother up as Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. If you don't know who that is, don't worry about it. But trust me; it was by far the scariest costume I've ever worn!

Anyway, I've never been one to enjoy being scared. I am an anxious person by nature. I don't need help! I love rollercoaster but never the first time. Marginally scary movies give me nightmares. And I anxiously await the passing of Halloween so that my decorating and party planning blogs will move onto something other than candles dripping blood and food that looks like body parts.

So, all around, Halloween is just not my thing. That is, until I started studying the ancient Celtic calendar. For the ancient Celts, Halloween (or Hallowmas) was the new year celebration. For this one night the veil between our world and the next was thin, allowing your loved ones who had passed on to return and commune with the living. That's why we carve pumpkins. It allows the familiar spirits to find their way home while scaring off any spirits that would do you harm.

This really spoke to my spirit and changed my entire outlook on Halloween. As Turtle grows up I think I will present Halloween as a day to talk about and remember those of our family who have gone before us. Maybe even a day to visit family graves and decorate them for the holidays. But for this year, I think I'll go through my pictures and take some time to "talk" to Turtle about my great-grandmother Bonnie (my name sake) and how she was always watching out her kitchen window when we would pull into the drive way. Then there's my mom's mom with whom Turtle shares a middle name. She would stand out on the front porch and watch us pack up our car. We would have to drive past her house to turn around and she would still be standing on the front porch waving at us as we went back past. Something about these two simple gestures always made me feel loved and wanted. I miss them both, and I'm sad that my Turtle never got to know them. But maybe through our Halloween celebrations she will come to feel like she did.

Before we go, here's a little traditional Halloween treat... my little geeklette in her Princess Leia costume. And yes, I'm taking full advantage of her being too little to voice her own opinion! This may be my only opportunity! I'm hoping to get some better pics tonight. If I do, I'll make sure and share them with you later in the week.



What special traditions make Halloween special for you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Guest Post

Today we have a very special guest blogger. JJ is one of my oldest, dearest friends. I like to say (borrowing from Grey's Anatomy) that our husbands are the loves of our life, but JJ and I are soul mates.



She's my confidant, my sounding board, my partner in crime, my comic relief, and my style envy. I don't think I could get through the day without talking to her. We got married just weeks apart from each other and a year and a half later found out that we were pregnant just 2 weeks apart from each others.  She is a beautiful person and a wonderful mother and I am honored to have her guest blog for me.

The idea for a guest blog came up a few months ago. JJ always saw herself as a career mama, and I always saw myself as a stay-at-home-mama. Strangely enough, we have found ourselves in the reverse situation. Thankfully, we have each other to remind us that the grass isn't greener on the other side. You can check out her blog here.

So, today, I proudly present to you JJ's Pros and Cons of the Stay-at-Home Life



Pros

- I get to spend all day with my daughter. She is my little shadow. She goes everywhere I go. She drools; I drool. Ok, we aren’t quite that close.

- I set our routine. No one else is stating when Caitlyn eats, sleeps or poops. I decide when she eats and sleeps. She is in charge of the pooping schedule.

- Because I’m home all day, I don’t have to spend all evening getting housework done. It gets done during the day or throughout the week allowing for things like walks, going to the park and the occasional playdate.

- Mid-day/week shopping! I hate crowds. Being able to shop during the week when there are hardly any crowds is awesome.

- I can go three days without a shower and no one cares. Seriously, my husband doesn’t even notice my greasy hair anymore.

- I don’t have to get up before the butt crack of dawn to get ready and get Caitlyn to daycare. My husband’s 5am alarm does however, wake me up. Have fun at PT, sucker!

- I get to wear whatever I want everyday. PJ’s all day – sure. Jeans and the tee that I slept in, why not? Cocktail dress with sneakers, not quite, but I technically could if I wanted to.



Cons

- I have NO “me” time. I haven’t spent more than 3 straight hours away from my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I love that little drool monster, but “Ma Mama” needs a break every once in a while. And dear husband, going to the grocery store by myself does not count as a break.
- Umm who wants to be able to go three days without a shower and not have anyone notice? Gross!

- Naptime is not “Mommy time.” Nope that’s laundry, dishes, and clean the house time. Actually, I haven’t taken a nap since the baby was born. Thank god for coffee!

- My adult interaction includes the checkout people at Target and saying “hi” to the neighbor. Oh and random conversations with the dog. What in people years, she’s 21 so it counts. When my husband is actually home, we do get to talk in the evenings so that helps.

Being a SAHM has been quite an adjustment for this former career woman, but I love every minute I get to spend with my daughter.



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Thanks JJ for giving us a glimps into the your world! You can follow her over on her blog Wife of the Party. P.S. If you want to check out my long winded Ode to the Working Mama Life, you can find that here.