Monday, July 29, 2013

The Teething Monster

It's been a whirlwind few days of cranky baby, cloth diaper annoyance, and a disdain for cleaning and cooking. I was a little too ambitious with adding in homemade meals every night. I mean, it's just me here eating it. I learned the hard way that a lot of food goes to waste. So, I am going to aim for every 2-3 days since leftovers will fill in just fine. Oh - don't get me started on the diapers. I am so over the diapers. For now. Update soon. I promise. 

Dare I say our little bundle is finally sleeping soundly and has been since 7:45pm? What a relief. We've been having "bedtime battles" for the past few nights and Asher has been winning. He just doesn't want to sleep! Here's a little snippet of what we've got going on at bedtime...

This will last for hours! Eventually I'll go get him, try my best to keep him calm out in the living room with me covering all the bases - change, feed (if he'll eat), burp - then I'll put him back to bed and the cycle continues. Thank goodness that tonight he is letting me take breather and is staying in bed - asleep. Hallelujah. 

The little guy is also starting to show signs of teething discomfort. They're coming! He's been gnawing on anything and everything much more often and much more forcefully than ever before. Around 5pm, like clockwork, it seems the aching starts to get the best of him and the tears start to break through. He pulls on and pats his cheek and ear and the most calming thing for him has been a cool teething ring. He even prefers it over his paci. Poor little guy. 

"I never asked for teeth!!!"

Although our household has been turned somewhat upside-down for the past few days with lack of sleep for everyone and the 3 Cs of the Wonder Week (clingy, cranky, crying), we still have a content and happy baby for most of the day... As long as you're holding him or playing with him. Hence the aforementioned disdain for cleaning. So, without further ado, here is a fun compilation of his happy and giggly moments throughout the past few days followed by my latest iPhone favs... Gotta keep it lighthearted up in here. ;)

You see? A teething and wonder week filled household can still be a fun and laughter filled household! You just have to find the silver lining. Let's just say we all needed that video around here.

I bought this for Asher, and when it arrived it was MY SIZE! Talk about luck!

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hello, Relationships Wonder Week

As I type, I'm listening to the muffled cries coming from our bedroom where Asher lays in his co-sleeper bassinet, refusing to sleep. He's been a finicky with sleep this week; he's more difficult to put down, waking at midnight then again at 4am to eat. I had chalked it up to a growth spurt or maybe the solids he's been eating twice a day. Now it's getting worse and when he wakes, he is happy, very alert, full of energy, and taking in all the sights and sounds around him while trying to touch and rub anything in sight. I think it may be something more.

(FYI: It's not teething, because he is perfectly happy once picked up. No signs of pain, redness, or teeth under the gums yet. Still on "Tooth Watch" not "Tooth Alert".)

According to the wonder weeks, at 23 weeks, Asher has just entered the 'Relationships' leap. One of the signs is sleeping less or worse - this must be be what is going on.

{ Now the cries have turned to squeals and coos. A quick check confirmed - he's smiling, kicking, and pulling his arm out of his pajamas. It's going to be another long night. }

The 'Relationships' leap is the time period in which your baby develops the perception of relationships such as distance and placement of objects and people - on top of, underneath, beside, in-between. Separation anxiety may be soon to follow. They'll also start to understand cause and effect. There are LOTS of skills that they will have developed after this leap. Asher hasn't started to show any of those skills yet, so we are just now in the beginning phase and have - eek! - 26 days left of this "stormy period". Lucky for us so far, Asher is only "stormy" when it's bedtime or nap time. Throughout the rest of the day he is a relatively happy and calm baby. Knock on wood, will ya?

The SIGNS of the fifth leap, the "Relationships" leap, include:

  • Cries more often and for longer (check)
  • Asks for more attention (check)
  • Sleeps less or worse (check)
  • Eats less (check - during the day)
  • Has mood swings (check)
  • Is not pleased with many things (no)

Asher has been initiating games of peek-a-boo, which is a skill that usually coincides with this leap. He does it when he is on his tummy, tucking down his head and then popping it up with a smile. He keeps going if I say, "Peek-a-boo!"

His coos and shrieks of happiness have gotten much louder and more frequent within the past 2-3 days.

He's not demonstrating any protest to diaper or clothing changes yet. He does try to roll over when getting changed.

A few of the new skills he'll have developed AFTER this leap include:

  • Lifts things to see if there's anything underneath
  • Throws things (Today he threw Suki's toy - she loved it!)
  • Puts food in others' mouths
  • Blows air
  • Makes connections between words and actions
  • Protests when mom or dad leaves
  • Pulls himself to an upward/standing position

{ Pause for a check - needed a diaper change, made "milk" sign, or so I thought, but when I offered he just wanted to pet Suki. Back to bed. Cue the cries...  }

So we are in for a few more weeks of difficulty with sleep and fussiness. Hopefully it won't get worse, but I have a feeling it will. He started this leap on the early side, so we have a long way to go.

Some of the recommended activities to do with babies during this leap to help them develop and master their new skills are peek-a-boo and putting things inside a box and then tipping it over. I think I need to break down and buy the book to see what other activities are suggested.

{ Went ahead and brought sleepless Asher out here with me. He's sitting in his Rock & Play while I rock it with my foot. He just started tickling my toe with a smile on his face. I melt. }

Dr. Frans, the author of the Wonder Weeks, says his belief is that you should never let your baby "cry it out". He says that you can not spoil a baby with attention in the first year of life. On nights such as this one, I usually give it about 5 minutes and if the cries have not started to taper off, I will go ahead and get Asher. I have 2 sleep books I bought when Asher was only a few weeks old that most likely suggest otherwise. I haven't had much need to read them yet. I spilled water all over them and they're all crinkly.

While I'm not looking forward to losing more sleep over the next month or so, I am excited for all of the changes that are taking place with baby Asher (BIG baby Asher). It's amazing to watch their minds develop, to see them suddenly understand something that they didn't before. It's priceless, one of those parts of parenting that is indescribable. Bring it on, wonder week, bring it on.

In other news, I made - read: MADE - these delicious Panera Bread-esque orange scones yesterday. And they were amazing. Here's the recipe. Yum!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Asher the Yogi - Mommy & Me Yoga

I have been so overwhelmed for the past few days. I think when my 'to-do' list - the one inside my head - gets too long, I shut down and just don't want to do any of it. The dishes, the laundry, the explosion of "stuff" all over our counters and everywhere else in our house, cooking dinner, putting clothes away, answering Etsy inquiries and emails... the list goes on. I reach a point where I don't even want to do the fun stuff. { i.e. I have a box of photography things I ordered still sitting in our foyer, unopened. What?!? } Part of me wants to just get things done and out of the way, and the other just wants to sit on the couch and close my eyes...

So, much to your delight, I'm sure, I will just BLOG instead! :) Yes, you can thank me later.

Today, Asher and I went to a Mommy & Me yoga class with my friend Nancy and her 6 week old baby Marley (Asher's betrothed). Yoga is one of those activities people often turn to when their minds start to get overwhelmed; it can help calm and clear your head. So it was great timing for me, although, the Mommy & Me yoga isn't necessarily meditative because you are tending to your little one. The social aspect is a plus because you can connect with other moms with babies around the same age as yours and the physical aspect is definitely great. In addition, you get lots of quality mommy/baby bonding time!

I forgot how much of a workout yoga can be! My arms, legs, bum, and back all hurt already (in the good, strengthened way, of course). Asher really loved yoga! He was smiling and laughing and rolling around the whole time. His spirits stayed high into the evening, even after his squash solids and his bath. He kept laughing and happily screaming (a skill he worked on today) and then BAM! was fast asleep. Needless to say, we will be back for more yoga!

Click here for information on Downtown Yoga and their Mommy & Me classes:

To perform the mommy/baby yoga move pictured above targeting your ABDOMINAL muscles, put baby in your lap facing outward with their back on your tummy (see me and Asher) or facing you with their back on your thighs (see Nancy and Marley). Hold your legs and feet off the ground as pictured above for 10 seconds or longer if you can! Do several reps. Your abs will be sore!

Lucky for this sleepy girl-turned-zombie, John has stepped up to the plate helping out around the house. Today, I came home, expecting to be greeted by that dreaded sink full of dirty dishes and was surprised with a clean, empty sink. Amazing. Now if we could figure out a way to keep it from filling back up so quickly...

Asher's original yoga outfit. We had to make an unexpected wardrobe swap right before leaving the house!

In other news, Asher is still SO close to crawling but not quite there yet. He did "inchworm" his whole body about 3 inches forward all at one time today, which is the farthest he has been able to go in one push. He gets upset after about 10 minutes of trying, his face reddens and he starts to breathe heavily in frustration. He wants to be mobile so badly!

Sumo (left) & Suki (right)

He still topples over when sitting, but now it's lengthening to about 10 seconds into the sit and he is slowly becoming more and more steady.

And, last but not least, Asher held his own bottle today! It was only for a few seconds, but you could just see the excitement in his face, he was proud to be holding it all by himself. 

I am looking forward to the week - we are busy, busy, busy at our shop. I also bought another week's ingredient list in The Fresh 20 cookbook and will hopefully be making some meals this week. Tonight's was a flop because we don't have a grill (arrggh) so I'll be looking for different ways to utilize the ingredients I bought. And I'm tired, just so tired...

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Zarski Household Update

This week is flying by and Asher is getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. We're out of almost all of our 3-6 month clothes now. I need to do some serious closet pruning. It's so tempting to buy new, cute clothes in bigger sizes, but knowing that he will only be in them for 2-3 months at the most helps keep my debit card in my wallet and my eyes away from Zulily. We've got so many things already that should last him awhile longer, thanks to our wonderful baby shower gifts and a plethora of outfits from both Grandmas in a range of sizes. They love spoiling him!

We're not quite crawling yet, but I'm sure any day now Asher is just going to take off across the living room. He "inchworm" crawls and sometimes moves in a circle or backwards.

In light of this quickly approaching development, I was able to talk John into letting me get a new rug for our living room. I found a great one on that matches almost too well. It came yesterday! I also put away the baby swing that we haven't used in months and our living room looks so much bigger now! It's crazy how such a small change can really brighten up a room.

Suki likes to incessantly LICK the couch, so we have to protect it with a million throw blankets to avoid wet spots everywhere. Pugs are weird. I'm also going to replace the pillows and throws with ivory ones to keep the focus on the rug. Thanks to my sis, April, for the suggestion! :)

I also finally got around to covering all of our outlet plugs with safety covers. Yay! Next is the cabinet safety latches, but we still have a little time for those. They require some drilling, it looks like, so I'll be recruiting John for some help there. You don't want to see what I can do with a drill.

After our disastrous doggy-poo incident (happened twice more after that first morning, yuck!), I took Sumo to the vet and it turns out his gastrointestinal issues are stress-related. Our furry friend seems to still be upset from his recent boarding and/or still having a hard time adjusting to Asher having taken away some of his attention from Mommy (that's me!). I'll admit that I haven't been paying enough attention to him since we first brought Asher home, so I am making it a priority to give him some extra love. I've been getting him more involved when I am sitting with Asher, too, so that he warms up to him - and it's working! He's been letting Asher pet him more than ever and has been licking him like crazy (he likes to search out delicious dried hypoallergenic spit-up; but who can blame him? Yum!).

We have a new sleep routine going on due to some serious growing! I put Asher down around 7:30pm and he is up like clockwork between 10:30 and 11 for a bottle. It coincides with John getting home from work, so I almost wonder if Asher has recognized that pattern and wants to see his daddy. (Too much "crazy mommy" on that one? My baby is a genius? Sorry.) He'll stay up for about 45 minutes or so and then is back down until around 8:00am. I'm happy that we're getting that extra bottle in and also that he gets to see his dad a little more! When wedding season starts to taper off soon, he'll get more daddy time during the day with John not having to spend so much time at our shop.

I snapped this is NC on our vaca, but he has picked the habit back up starting a few days ago.
{ Love the Honest Co. dipes, BTW. Post to come soon on that. }

While on the sleep subject, Asher has started sleeping on his side, which is going to be a tremendous help for correcting his "flat head". This morning, though, he woke up with extremely puffy eyes! From a quick Google search, it seems pretty normal for when they start sleeping on their tummies/sides and should resolve quickly, but I am going to keep a close eye and definitely mention it to the doctor at our next appointment. Has anyone else had this happen?

The swelling had started to subside at this point, (like 1 hour after waking, but you can still see it a little on his right eye. :(

I've been gathering ideas for 6 month (half birthday!!) photos of Asher. So far I am thinking of having him wear a denim overall outfit with no shirt underneath for one outfit, a cute Mudpie chevron and giraffe coverall that I purchased before he was born (perfect fit now!), a onesie/leg-warmer from Kakabaka on Etsy, and of course some bare-bottomed baby pics :). I have my eyes on the CUTEST newsboy set with vest, bow-tie, and hat, but can't justify spending $75+ on a one time wear outfit. I'll have to save that sort of thing for 1 year pics. Maybe I'll just get the hat. And bow-tie. And vest. Ha! Any cute ideas? I'm all ears!

I'm kind of excited, I am going to attempt a semi-pro photo shoot with him on my own... we'll see how it goes and if I'm not pleased I'll have our photog. on speed dial. :) I'm sure we'll try to fit in a session with her anyways, but I'm going to challenge myself to get some professional looking photos on my own. I've ordered a 5 in 1 reflector because I think even lighting is one of the things I am missing when I don't use a flash, but I LOVE the look of natural light. I also have been looking at backdrops and some other fun props... I'm going to try and get a post together showing my "behind the scenes" with tips for taking pics yourself and FINALLY getting together some info on photography including my equipment, tips, etc. So look out for that in about a month!

We've introduced sweet potatoes now and all seems to be going well! I really need to get to the grocery store and pick up some more of those Happy Baby and Sprout food pouches. We're doing great with the stage 1 pouches right now and bananas are easy enough to mash up in the mornings, so I'll wait to make homemade baby food that until the "fun" combinations can begin!

So that's our week so far and now I need to stop procrastinating, for real! As usual, here are some more cute pics! :)

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mommy Guilt: No More Excuses

"Mommy, why don't you want to come play with me?" 

I can't help but feel like this sentence is welling up inside of my baby boy when I am not actively partaking in playtime with him. I know that's a silly thing to think... right?

While we have a baby who sleeps like a dream (pun intended - ha!), we also have extremely limited nap times since he is already pretty well rested from the night. Sometimes we get lucky with a nap that lasts up to 2 hours, but usually they're about 45 minutes to an hour, max, and sometimes we get only 15 minutes at a time from our little bugger. That's leaves a lot of baby-entertainment time. 

When I am home with Asher all day, my goals are usually to get needed work done on the computer for our Etsy shop and catch up on the household chores (...laundry, dishes, wash those bottles that have been sitting for much longer than anticipated in the sink. P-Yew.), and also try to get some time in for photo editing and blog updates. But with a tireless little one at my feet, that can be a serious challenge.

I usually will play with Asher for 15-20 minutes in the morning after his bottle, then let him wind back down by watching his 'Signing Time' DVD for 45 min. before his morning nap. Sometimes, it plays twice.

Enter: Mommy Guilt. 

There is a lot of pressure on moms these days - well dads, too, for that matter. Yes, some of the pressure may be due to the modern dynamic of the household that has shifted in many homes, with moms and dads sharing workloads left and right; but a lot of it is now stemming from a social aspect - the Mommy Wars. (No, it's not a Bravo TV show - Oh, wait, yes it is.) From Pinterest to Twitter to Facebook and to, yes, mommy blogs like mine, there is this pressure to do everything perfectly, follow every guideline, "out-mom" even the most saavy mom. 

"Children under 2 should not watch TV." - every parenting source out there.

According to Time, children under age 2 will have "delayed language skills" and they say that it cuts down on "parent-child interaction". They even go as far as to warn against "secondhand TV" when your TV is playing in the background. 

When you've been talking to your baby all morning, played with him on his play mats, practiced sitting, rolling, standing, tried to get him to say "Mama" even though you know it's months away, and even gone on a fake "treasure hunt" throughout the house with your 5 month old who doesn't understand a thing but loves that you're smiling with him, all knowing that you are going to do everything YET AGAIN (and for longer) in the afternoon... IS A LITTLE DOWN TIME IN FROM OF THE TV SUCH A BAD THING? 

I digress. 

From breastfeeding, to co-sleeping, to how-much-tv-is-too-much-tv, we moms have been set up. We've been set up to feel guilty no matter how many organic vegetables we buy and wash with the plant-based cleaning solution and store in BPA-free containers in our energy efficient refrigerator. 

However, when you throw the white flag and just go on with your day, you are liberated. 

My baby watches TV when I need to get some things done around the house or get some work done on the computer. He gets a ton of parent-child interaction throughout the day. You know what, scratch that. I KNOW he gets enough interaction, and that's all that matters. No more excuses.

So, all you moms out there who feel guilty like me, who lie about that amount of time their child is watching TV or feel ashamed to admit that your are bottle feeding rather than sticking with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (who must be comprised of all females who have borne children, of course, so they KNOW what the recommendations should be and that you must be doing something wrong) - FREE YOURSELF FROM THE MOMMY GUILT AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB AND YOUR BABY WILL LOVE YOU AND DEVELOP AND GROW ACCORDINGLY EVEN IF YOU CUT CORNERS ON THE - LET'S FACE IT - SMALL STUFF.

In the meantime, I am going to work on this for myself, as well.

...and here are some more cute pictures, I am done with my rant for the day.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Who Am I & What Am I Doing Here??

I feel like I haven't yet really yet revealed very much about myself. I am still "finding my voice" on this blog, in a way. So, I would like to answer the all too generic questions of who I am and why I am here with the goal of putting my thoughts and my day to day on the internet for anyone to read. It's not that complicated, really.

I am an introvert at heart, although I have overcome a lot of my shyness throughout the years. I've never been the social butterfly. There was a point in my life where I thought that meant something was wrong with me. I tried to force myself into being someone that I wasn't. I tried on so many different "selves" only to end up exactly where I started. And that's ok. I am still learning that happiness is not conforming to others' idea of what you should be, but it's being true to yourself no matter what that truth happens to be. 

I am sensitive. Overly sensitive, at times. I can't tell you how many times I have been told that I "need thicker skin". Sometimes I think I must have a target on my back, but in reality I probably just take things too personally or let them sink in too deeply. I quickly turn to "flight" rather than "fight" when I am aggressed or when personal situations become too much for me. It's my method of protecting myself. At times, this can backfire. It's something I need to work on, I guess.

I have a big heart. I love my coffee. Sometimes I wonder if I love the idea of coffee more than the coffee itself, because I often (most of the time) will brew a cup and not even take a sip.

I love my husband and my son more than anything. John and I are a team in parenting, in work, and in love. It's not always easy. There are days when we don't agree on many things. But we get through them and we are stronger in the end. As long as we remember that we are that team and that we will make it through, we can see the light at the end of any tunnels.

Although I am a new mom, I do not want to lose myself. I am creative. I am always expressing myself artistically whether through drawing, writing, taking photographs... I don't want to let that part of myself go because that's what makes me me. I don't think you should ever have to give yourself away just because you've become a parent.

I like to include lots of fragments in my writing. I know they're there, but I like them. I hate it when I see incorrect grammar and incorrectly spelled words, although I've made my share of mistakes. We are all human.

There are so many reasons I wanted to start this blog and many more that have become apparent along the way that push me to continue. Initially, it was a great way to keep everyone in the know with our baby boy's development and growth and our stories. But as time has gone on, I realize this has a lot to do with me. I want it to be about my life with a baby. My experiences, my wisdoms-gained. I get this excitement when it comes to helping someone who may be going through something that I have myself, giving or getting advice on why something worked versus another. I realize everyone has different experiences and preferences. Sometimes it's nice to contrast and compare, build a sense of community among us new moms in a somewhat unknown territory.

My blog also acts as a showcase for my somewhat newfound hobby, photography. I love photography. I didn't have any real hobbies until just recently. I was always engrossed in school and then work and that left me little time to "play" per say. I am happy to have a new place to show and track my progress, post pictures that I have taken and am proud of. My self-taught growth is apparent even in the few months that I have been doing this and I like to look back or critique my work. I think it's important to have a talent that you can take pride in. I think it helps add to one's own self-worth. And that alone is reason enough to keep doing anything you love. 

Blogging in itself is a hobby. It's an outlet. I love to write and I always have. I have to feel inspired or else it doesn't flow. Those days are "picture posting" days. But when I really feel something and need to get it out, I am thankful to have a place to do it. Some people have sports. Some have music. Others go to the gym. I like to write. I'm glad that I am letting myself explore that again. Of course I love my music, too. Just don't ask me to play anything for you. Or sing. Oh, please, don't ask me to sing.

It's also great way to find the humor in an otherwise awful day. It's better when others can laugh with you at things that can so quickly take your day into a downward spiral.

I hope my blog will help other moms out there find a sense of relief that we are not alone. I hope I can inspire some laughs and maybe even some tears (good ones, of course). Being a new mom is not easy. I think we all need as much support as we can get. There is so much to learn and it's nice to have others near that are going through it with you. When your day is filled with load after load of laundry (didn't I just wash this?), back to back feedings, the endless washing of bottles, playing with that same toy again and again, there is less showering and makeup than spit-up and carrot stains (the worst), and going out of the house seems like a chore when all you want to do is sit on the couch and do some browsing on the internet, a blog can be a comfort and a friend whether you are reading one or writing on one.

I am going to revamp my approach here a little. I want to be open and honest and gain your trust and your friendship. I want to reveal more about my days, even the dirty details that might not make for a Stepford, but certainly pertain to new motherhood. Because that's why you're here in the first place, isn't it?

So this is me. Some days I will be ripe with optimism and some days I may feel a bit down. There will be times when I can't help but let out the inner cynic. (Ok, lots of times for that one.)  There will be days when I express fears and others when I am fearless. There are going to be times I am just so excited to share something and others when I just want to slap up a few pics and be done with it. Sounds a lot like life to me.

I hope you enjoy it. :)

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why My Angel-Baby Scares the Crap Out of Me

My baby is an angel. No, really. Yes, he has his moments like all babies do. But he sleeps through the night 99.9% of the time. 12 hours +, people. He's happy everyday. He smiles at everyone. He patiently waits while I prepare his bottles (sometimes). He sits happily in my lap when I am watching TV or eating or working on the computer. He cries maybe 3 minutes a day on average. No, I'm not bragging. Read on.

I'm telling you this because I am scared #$%*less to ever have another baby because you know that ISH ain't happenin' twice! Since having a baby, we've now been exposed numerous horror stories from other parents who've had difficult babies. Babies who had colic and cried all day or babies who would not sleep. There have been a few nights when our little guy has woken up for an hour at 4am and just a handful where he has woken a second time and I am an absolute sleep-deprived zombie the next day! Even with our sleeping champ, my house is currently a disaster and I still have a hard time keeping up with daily duties like laundry. How in the world would I handle a baby who wakes up multiple times a night or does not go back to sleep or cries and cries and cries???

Let me back myself up a bit. I feel like I have 3 kids already in some ways. I have 2 pugs that are so high maintenance, they are like children. Ok, I'm slightly exaggerating; but at least combined they are like one child. They are allergic to anything and everything, so we have to homemake food for them and heat it up twice a day. Luckily, John can make and freeze large batches once a week at the restaurant. If they don't get their homemade meals, they start losing their hair and smelling really, really bad. The grass makes them itch so they poo on the porch - yay. They have been to the vet more than Asher has been to the pediatrician in the past 5 months. They always have ear infections and even need a special shampoo. They try to eat anything of Asher's, so I have to make sure to move all of his things to an unreachable-by-pugs spot before leaving the room with him. The get into the bathroom trash at least 3 times a week even though it's gated off (I need to get a trash with a lid in there... it's on my list.) And here's the real kicker - they randomly get fits of vomiting and diarrhea such as this morning when I let them out of their cage only to release poo-covered dogs to go running through the house. That's right - think mop, vacuum, mop again, the disposal of two rugs, and some serious dog baths before Asher's morning bottle. I think it was a test of my patience and strength. I hope I passed.

We haven't been talking about expanding our cozy little family any time soon. I never imagined stopping at one, though. I feel like Asher might be lonely without a sibling to play with or grow up alongside. I grew up the middle girl of three girls, and we had our fights and your normal familial disagreements that may or may not have gotten physical from time to time, but we have so many wonderful memories with each other. We text or talk to each other almost everyday. We share silly jokes that no one else gets. We're there for each other when we need advice or just to vent. I would hate for Asher to miss out on that.

In all honesty, I know its something we could handle, either way; we would make it work like so many have done before. Every baby is a blessing, even the difficult ones. Maybe we are blessed to have had our first be easy so that we can settle into this new life and all the changes that come along before having our world flipped upside down by a little night partier. I mean, at least we have most of the basics down and know some of what is coming our way. Praise-worthy parents who have been there can assure that you find ways to adjust, you learn to make it work. And, yes, those early days do pass and these are only short stages that do not last a lifetime. In fact, they pass more quickly than you can even imagine. That still doesn't ease my anxiety that we may down the road end up with a tiny little tornado that keeps us up all night or drives us to invest in earmuffs. It makes me happy that we are in no rush to add another to our roster. Or maybe we will pull our chips while we're still ahead and our magical number will just be one.

Have any of you dealt with a difficult baby or was there a big difference between your babies' temperaments? Pin It Now!

Friday, July 12, 2013

While Baby Was Asleep... Healthy Banana Bread

I am obviously not a food photographer and certainly not a pastry chef. I ended up with a sweet tooth this afternoon while Asher was napping, and in trying to stick with my healthy eating plan as much as I can, I decided to see if there was a healthy option I could whip up. I saw the quickly browning bananas sitting idly in my kitchen and knew they would be perfect for some good ol' banana bread.

It is definitely always easier to make the full-of-fat-and-gooey-deliciousness desserts and pastries than the healthy ones. At least, it's easier to make them turn out well! (Also, I only had wheat flour, so I had limited options. Shh...) I scoured Pinterest for wheat flour banana bread recipes and lo and behold this RECIPE from the blog A Full Measure of Happiness. I substituted the milk with almond milk since that's what I had on hand. 55 minutes later, I had a perfectly browned loaf of banana bread on my hands - complete with wheat flour, almond milk, and the superfood walnuts.

{  QUICK FACT: Walnuts are powerful antioxidants and can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have also shown them to BOOST BRAIN POWER with their omega-3s that help with visual memory, multitasking, and problem solving. Yes, please!  }

Mine came out a little more lumpy than the beautifully pictured bread on Pinterest, but it was delicious anyhow. I did alter it a bit with the almond milk, so that could have been the culprit. I brewed a fresh cup of coffee and spread some cococut oil on my delicious, healthful slice of banana bread. Next time I might just try substituting coconut oil for the butter altogether!

You may already know, but coconut oil has so many health benefits and uses. I'm not one to go soaking my hair in it or anything, but using it here and there when it can yield great results and smell like a yummy coconut, it sure sounds like a win-win to me!

Here's some info on coconut oil:

Coconut Oil: Your New BFF
101 Uses for Coconut Oil

Asher was awake by the time I got the bread into the oven, but I'm always amazed at how productive I can be while he is sleeping some days. I also unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry, and got some work done on Etsy. I'll hold on to that on the days that I want to do nothing more than lay on the couch while he's napping. We all need those times like that, too!

What things have you gotten done while baby is asleep?

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Carriers: Why Splurge?

I never registered for a baby carrier for my baby shower. I found one that was on sale for $12.99 and figured that it could do the job just as well as those pricier ones out there. Boy was I wrong. I finally experienced the difference between quality baby carriers and cheap baby carriers and now I can tell you why you should splurge on a baby carrier (or at least register for one).


  • Safety 
  • Ease of Use
  • Comfort & Ergonomics for You and Baby
  • Style
  • Flexibility & Longevity of Use

Introducing the Stokke MyCarrier. This baby carrier fits the bill, excelling in each of the above categories. I decided to "baby wear" Asher when we toured NC last Tuesday using the MyCarrier and I have to say, I don't think I would have been comfortable walking around on this rock 2280 feet in the air with Asher in any other carrier.  The Stokke MyCarrier features the same technology in it's straps and fasteners as mountaineering gear. He was not going anywhere.

In addition to its high level of safety, this baby carrier is simple to use. It can be worn 3 ways - front forward facing, front rear facing, and on the back. Switching from one mode to the next is easy and quick. Sizing the straps to fit one parent to the next takes seconds. 

COMFORT. The ergonomic engineering of carriers is probably one of the main reasons that one will cost more than another. This is probably the biggest reason you would want to splurge on a baby carrier. If you buy a carrier that does not offer comfort, you won't be baby wearing very often! The MyCarrier is supportive all around and takes the comfort and positioning of your baby for optimum development into consideration, as well. It has an optional aluminum back support bar that John and I took advantage of and I did not feel any back pain after walking around with Asher in it throughout the day. 

The Stokke baby carrier can be used from birth to 3 years, which is pretty awesome if the need arises far down the road. It looks nice and sleek, too, in my opinion. Even John didn't mind sporting it around town, so it is great for daddy baby wearing, too! There is also a little pocket on the side where you can put your keys or cell phone AND it has a sun/sleep shade if your little one falls asleep. Awesome!

I used the bib accessory which is shown in all of the pics with Asher sucking and chewing on it. :) The pack came with two so I can throw this one in the wash and still have one to use.

The Stokke MyCarrier is definitely worth the splurge whether you are looking for a new carrier or you are adding one to your shower registry. I wish I had gotten a nice one like this sooner! I definitely would have been baby wearing more often and probably would have made it to the grocery store a lot more frequently in those early months with our little guy. You live and you learn! We'll be trying out the other carrier positions very soon, so keep your eye out if you want to see the 3 in 1 in action

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