Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Living on Love and Llamas

About three years ago when our life seemed chaotic and my mind must have been muddled, Joey and I saw a special on CBS Sunday Morning about a couple who moved from the city to Colorado to start a farm and raise alpacas. They knew nothing about farming. Or alpacas. The alpaca ranch was a success and now they have a simple life - living on love and llamas.

I immediately told Joey 'this is it'. I want to move to Colorado in the middle of nowhere and raise alpacas. And wear a lot of Navajo prints and fringe. That's just where I was in life - ready to simplify. Don't we all have a moment where we want to move to Colorado and raise alpacas? Oh, is that just me?

Alas, Joey said no. No alpaca ranching for us. Thankfully my wise husband knows that in reality I couldn't be more than 25 minutes from a Target or HEB these days and that the smell of our dogs after they have stepped outside following a bath is about as much animal smell as I can take.

We just simplified our lives in other having a baby. Our rustic dreams of solitude are instead lived out vicariously through Alaskan reality TV. Isn't this what everyone does?

Oh, I see. You would rather watch ScandalPLL (from what I can tell this is Pretty Little Liars) and Grey's Anatomy. I've not watched these with the exception of Grey's, which I watched religiously in college. An aside: How is this show still on? Is it about Meredith and McDreamy's children?? Or McSteamy? Or is there a new 'Mc'? I digress. Besides Alaska, I watch two other reality shows: Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. Apparently I tend to gravitate toward watching shows whose subject consists of something I am incapable of doing, i.e. sewing, locking and popping, or subsistence farming the Alaskan wilderness.

Let me ask you this: what's not to love about moose hunting, bee farming, out house building or watching a family struggle for survival in the wilderness? It's the height of Alaskan reality TV. What's. Not. To. Love?

The situation that got us into watching this was not unlike when I binge watched a season of Deadliest Catch over a weekend while recovering from being sick. (Poor Joey. I incorporated crab fisherman lingo into my daily vocabulary the entire following week. I was a greenhorn. What can I say?)

Claire was only a few weeks old so we were burning the midnight oil and majorly sleep deprived. Joey and I had watched all of our DVR'd shows and our Apple TV was acting up. Enter Discovery's marathon of Alaska. Here were these people, hunting and farming against the elements to feed their family for the winter in the Alaskan wilderness. They're building their own houses out of the timber around them, developing pretty high ingenuity contraptions to solve problems that get in the way of providing for their families, catching salmon, bear hunting, building their own green houses and for heaven's sake - they've even got their own beekeeping suits. These people amaze me.

It was what we needed at the moment. If the Kilcher family could move their cattle to the head of the bay with a rising tide or Jane Kilcher could catch enough salmon to feed her family 30 dinners in the winter, well Joey and I could survive the first few months of sleepless nights, breastfeeding, bottle washing, crying and figuring out exactly what this little baby needed. While they figured out how to build a bridge over an icy river, we figured out how to swaddle a baby. When they found the bear that was ravaging the herd, we figured out that gripe water helped with the hiccups. You get the picture.

Now we are serious Kilcher fans. (Side note: this is the family of Jewel the singer.) Not only did the show encourage us as new parents, but now I also have a working knowledge of bear hunting, cattle driving and how to make your own meat smoker out of scrap metal. If we ever need to go off the grid, I'm ready.

It is also quite clear to me that I would not survive one day in this environment left to my own devices. Every time I see a Navajo print in Anthropologie or at Target (ok, mostly at Target), I'm still reminded of the little family alpaca farm that almost was.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bumpdate | 16 Weeks

I was never very good at posting updates about my pregnancy with Claire and I really wished I would have looking back. To add, I've posted a general family update and a 13 month update for Claire so why not throw another update in there so we'll be all up to speed? It feels like the right thing to do.

Baby Development

I'm not sure what size he or she is in terms of a fruit or vegetable (my app updates tomorrow), but the baby is weighing 3-5 ounces and is 4-5 inches long at this point. Last week we were at the size of a naval orange, so think a little bigger. He or she can hear us now, is developing facial muscles and visual perception. Isn't it amazing?

Baby Got Bump

"So I guess I'm really pregnant." That's what I told Joey when the bump finally started to look more bump-like. He said "The three ultrasounds you've had showing a moving baby haven't been convincing enough?" Well of course! The first time you hear that heart beat and see that little baby bouncing around on the screen it hits you that you have a tiny human growing inside you (By the way, how crazy is that?). But you know what I mean, once you start to get that round belly it gets real. And the belly is here. It still could be mistaken for a beer belly, but at least it's a more defined beer belly. I think I'm showing earlier than I did with Claire.

I'm wearing both maternity and regular clothes, but I can see that a full transition is on the nearing horizon as in tomorrow...or after meals.


I'm through the first trimester so I'm also for the most part over the nausea and extreme fatigue. I regressed a little this past week, but I'm hoping I've hit another upswing. The nausea and fatigue were both worse than I remember with Claire, although it could just be that I'm chasing a one year old all day so there's a little something extra thrown in there.

I'm also just getting over pregnancy related allergies. Yes, this does exist. Fun fact of the day. It has to do with fluctuations in your hormones and you can have allergy onset during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. I had horrible allergies/asthma with Claire for about a month and a half and have experienced the exact same thing with this pregnancy. I wake up several times in the night unable to catch my breath and dry cough and gasp for air for several minutes. It freaks both myself and Joey out. It can also happen in the evening such as when I had an attack during Small Group and had to reassure everyone that I did not have Ebola. For the most part it's when I'm trying to sleep. Changing positions doesn't seem to help. It's gotten a lot better the past week so I'm hoping I'm almost finished with this phase.

My moods are returning to normal as well. I had flat emotions during my first trimester with Claire and experienced the same thing with this pregnancy. It's such a weird symptom because you have everything to be excited about, but you're just blah. I don't think I'm an extremely moody person normally (Joey may disagree) and it stinks to feel that way. Meditating on truth from God's word has really helped to say, you know this may be what I'm feeling, but THIS is what is true. Anyway, it's on its way out right now and I am thankful! Hormones. Sheesh.


I didn't have any major cravings during Claire's pregnancy, more like leanings toward certain foods. Potatoes were my food of choice with Claire and with the second pregnancy as well. I could eat a loaded baked potato for every meal and be perfectly content. During the first trimester there were a lot of foods that I didn't want such as Chinese food, meat and especially bacon (!). There was a lot that just didn't sound good to me. With the exception of meat, almost everything sounds ok now. Oh, and I like bacon again. Maybe a little too much. I didn't consider bacon in the meat category. Vegetarians can't turn down bacon, right?


I'm feeling little movements now and then, usually at night. I think I started feeling flutters around 13 weeks.

Girl or Boy

Both Joey and I feel like it's a girl, but what do we know? The only thing I have to go on is that everything is exactly how it was with Claire's pregnancy.

On the radar

This week I get tested for gestational diabetes. I was diagnosed during the last pregnancy at about 25 weeks so this time they'll start testing at 16 weeks. If I pass the 16 week test, they'll test me again at 24-25 weeks. Up until the 23-24 week mark, Claire's pregnancy had been for the most part cake. The diabetes was a game changer. Several other symptoms began to appear about a week or two prior to the diagnosis that I now know were related to the diabetes.

Gestational diabetes seems to be different for everyone. Some have to go on insulin right away and others can get away with all kinds of stuff. People also have different food triggers. I was in that hard to manage category, but I was able to stay off the insulin. I was very strict on the diet and actually had to be more strict than the recommended diabetes diet to keep my levels in an ok spot. It's also more than just a healthy eating thing. You have to eat so many carbs paired with a certain amount of protein. You have to eat meals and snacks at certain times throughout the day. You have to test for ketones once in the morning and test your blood four times a day and record all that plus everything you put in your mouth. In my case and especially toward the end, I had to walk for at least 20-30 minutes, 30 minutes following meals to keep my sugars down. This was all foreign to me and very overwhelming. Again, some can get away without following the system strictly, but I could not. Felt like a full time job and I already had one of those. And like I mentioned, there were other symptoms that came with it. Thankfully, I was able to stay off insulin and Claire was born at a normal weight ten days early without having complications or having to be induced.

So...needless to say, I don't want it again! But...the odds are high. But...not impossible that you may not have it on a subsequent pregnancy. I've heard of several people who didn't have it with their next child and I'm hoping this will be me. The silver lining is that I very well may get to have a diabetes free Thanksgiving if I pass this test and the next test may be the week following Christmas. Skirting this around the holidays would be awesome. If it does happen, well, at least I'll know what to do and hopefully it won't be as overwhelming. And of course, a positive would be that I won't gain as much weight if I'm on the diabetes diet from 16 weeks and on. I'm all the about the silver lining.

Things are definitely moving a lot faster with this pregnancy. I think this has to do with having Claire to keep us preoccupied. With Claire it felt like getting to the point of 20 weeks to find out the gender took forever. Now, we're both thinking it's only a month away! I'm hoping we get to find out the week before Christmas.

Tomorrow we get to hear our little one's heartbeat again! Yay!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Year and Then Some

The Birthday Girl

Because I'm sure Claire wouldn't appreciate me posting her one year update during her freshman year of college, I'm finally taking care of it today. Have I told you that she is just precious? Joey and I can't get enough of her and we're both surprised her cheeks haven't become concave from the 5.2 million kisses we give her each day. If you see her walking around with concave cheeks in a few years, you'll know what happened. It was out of love.

The last update I gave was at 10 months so this will encompass from that point until today.


Eating PB&J

Up until about two weeks ago she has eaten most foods like a champ. We must be in some sort of phase. She no longer gobbles down veggies and is now more selective. If cheese is near, she's aware of it. She points at it and looks back and forth between me and the cheese. This Cheese Stand Off happens almost every day. I don't mind her eating cheese, but a girl should only eat so much of it and should definitely branch out. I can see her as a teenager stating that she's a Cheesetarian.

Despite her mother willing her to like avocados (she's a Texan for goodness sake!), they're still a no go. She also refuses to drink milk. I guess I don't blame her. I have never liked milk. Incidentally, she's not really into her bottles anymore either.

She tried her first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She loved it, but I discovered that we have not quite grasped the concept of taking a bite. She wanted to stuff each whole triangle into her mouth. We practiced with a muffin the next morning with a similar approach.

She prefers feeding herself so she eats mainly finger foods with the exception of yogurt.


We have been really fortunate with her sleeping habits. She still takes two naps about 1-1.5 hours each and sleeps from 7PM to 7AM. I really thought she would have dropped the morning nap by now, but this girl needs to sleep and surrenders immediately. The time change did of course have an effect, but thankfully her wake up time had been moving closer to 8AM anyway so we were back with a 7AM wake up time within a week. She has been a little more fussy the closer we get to her old nap times and sleep time, but it's starting to even out.


Claire started taking steps about 10 months and it felt like she was running in just a few short weeks. She is like the Flash. For a while she would try to run through things and over things, but rarely around them. We had a lot of bruises during that time. Now that she's a veteran runner, she's more savvy. This girl does not like to sit still for more than 30 seconds unless she is reading a book.

She is also a climber. She pushes things around to use them to climb up to places where she is not supposed to be. I swear she has Inspector Gadget arms because her reach doesn't seem possible.


Reading with Dad

During the last three months she is increasingly truly playing with her toys. She loves books, puzzles, carrying around her stuffed animals, stacking toys, putting items in and taking them out of her purse, and toys that she can manipulate. She also loves playing with empty boxes and bottles.

She's just started paying attention to the TV. It all started with Neil Diamond on the Today Show. She never watches the TV - couldn't care less. So Joey and I have it on in the morning while we're getting ready for the day and she mostly seems oblivious. Enter Neil Diamond. He played Sweet Caroline and she was mesmerized for the entire song. John Cougar Mellencamp has had a similar effect since then. Apparently she likes classic rock'n roll. My Dad would approve. She will watch a little bit of Bubble Guppies while she's eating a snack, but really it's just during the music.

She's a pretty rough and tumble girl. She loves to wrestle with Daddy. I'm also wondering if she will enjoy gymnastics. She tries to do forward rolls, although I've yet to see her flip all the way over.

She also enjoys being outside and running around in the grass. She likes to collect leaves, acorns and sticks which Mommy is constantly keeping out of her mouth.

Independent play has increased significantly and she will go into her room and sit down with her toys or books and be content for 10 minutes or so.

Growth and Development

She's tall and slim. I really thought we would go through a chunky baby stage at some point, but it never came. She's 68% for weight and 98% for height. She now has four top teeth and four bottom teeth and finally has enough hair to hold a clip-on bow.


This has really come along since 10 months. She says "mama" and "dada" and mimics a lot of the sounds we use. She is constantly babbling, talking to her stuffed animals or when "alone" in her room playing. There have been times when Joey and I have thought she has said a certain word in the right context, but we're not positive. When we visited my parents a few weeks ago she seemed to say "Ba" every time the dog was near. Our dog's name is Bo so we're wondering if that's the connection.

Testing Boundaries

Waiting for cookies

Whew! We are definitely in this stage. She is aware of what she is not supposed to touch and tests Mommy and Daddy's consistency in enforcing the rules. I have tried various methods of discipline, but I think we're about to have to go to the drawing board because things are getting real if you know what I mean. Currently, I am holding her hands together in mine for about 30 seconds (which she hates) while we talk about obeying. Her response to this is now going limp on the floor. We'll see.

Affection and Humor

This has developed even more over the last few months. She will now lay her head on Joey's chest when he gets home or when we are putting her to bed. When we hold our arms out and crouch down she will run into our arms and give us a hug. She also occasionally attempts to give us a kiss. It's usually a full open mouth kiss or a lick, but we don't care. We love that we're getting snuggles!

She laughs a lot now and seems to be aware of when she's acting silly. We've noticed a few different laughs. Her belly laughs are super sweet, but what tickles us is when she does her "Hmmph!". It's eerily adult and it's like she's amused with us all.

Looking at birds with Dad

I really don't know how else to term this, so 'cognitive' will have to do. It's so fun to watch Claire make connections between objects, words and actions. When we read she can now point to animals or objects when we ask her where they are. She knows where her nose, ears and mouth are and points our's out as well. She tries to brush her hair with combs and hairbrushes and "talks" on anything that looks like a phone while putting it up to her ear. She knows that her mirror and bracelet go in her purse and the shape pieces go with the puzzle. She puts utensils in bowls and pretends to stir.

This all came out of the blue. She points at things and wants you to tell her what they are. If you've ever watched the old movie The Miracle Worker, the story about Helen Keller, it reminds me of when Helen first realizes that hand signs correspond to objects and runs around touching each object and asking her teacher to sign what it is because she's made the connection. I love it! Although, we are ourselves lost for words at times. Umm...yeah, that's a mark on the wall where we bumped it with a chair when we were moving. Or yes, that's some kind of electrical thing that I don't know the name of. That kind of stuff. Her favorites to identify right now are butterflies.

Cupcake for Halloween
We are having so much fun being parents to this sweet girl! She has a lot of change on the horizon both developmentally and for our family in general. The next monthly updates should contain how she reacts as Mommy gets bigger and slower (!) and we prepare for a possible move.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What We've Been Up To

Let's see, where to begin? How about we go with the order of things? I'm pregnant! We celebrated Claire's first birthday in October. I resigned from my job about three weeks ago and am now officially a full time stay-at-home mom. We're getting ready to put our house on the market. That's about it in a nutshell. The only anticipated thing was Claire's birthday.

So, these are all my excuses as to why I have not been posting to this blog. I've been stunned into paralysis for the past three months. A very active paralysis if it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense, I'm blaming it on pregnancy brain. Just go with it.

I'm about 14 weeks pregnant today. It was an early August night when Joey asked me what I wanted on my pizza to which I responded "I can't even think about that right now." and showed him a positive pregnancy test while balancing Claire on my hip. We ordered the pizza a few hours later when we both recovered from our shock.

We are super excited! It was pretty surprising news. It took three years for us to get pregnant with Claire and although we had discussed growing our family, it wasn't something on the very immediate horizon as in before Claire turned one year. Or so we thought. God of course, has had other plans all along.

I was a little nervous going to the doctor. We've had two pregnancies with two different outcomes. We've received devastating news and over the moon exciting news during that first visit. I walked into that office with peace about both, but hoping for that over the moon moment again. There are few moments in our lives that compare to the excitement and thankfulness upon seeing a little baby's heart beat on the ultrasound screen. It was another over the moon moment! We are so thankful God chose us to be parents to this sweet little one.

This brought us to the point of making a few decisions. Claire's pregnancy was roses up until I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes around 24 weeks. It took a lot of effort to manage my levels and I barely stayed off insulin. I had been working from home part time which was pretty difficult to balance with an almost one year old in the house any way. I worked during all nap times and some while Claire was awake and running around. Joey and I made the decision that it was time for me to resign. I'm thankful that it was an option and fully believe it was the right thing to do for our family. Absolutely no regrets.

The next decision came to the house. We love our house. We love our neighborhood. It's been the perfect size for our family of three. And although a little tight, it would still work with our new little one on the way. However, it just may be that this is the right time to make a move with the current market. After visiting with our realtor and getting an idea of what we're looking at, we'll be shooting for first of the year. Eek. It was so much easier buying a house when we lived in an apartment and didn't have to worry about selling a house. Anyway, if it all works out then we'll move and if not we're perfectly fine with sitting tight.

During all this, my baby turned one. I'll devote an update specifically to this Big Girl in the next few days. Watching her personality develop the last few months has been so fun. She's precious.

Who knew so many changes would be coming our way in a matter of a few months? God has given us peace about each one and we are so thankful.

And now that I'm fully a stay-at-home mom I have taken up knitting, the Real Housewives of Somewhere, wearing my pajamas until noon and am contemplating making my own bread and soap.

Claire just runs wild.

Only two of those are true. Can you guess which ones? Ok, it's the bread and soap, but that's in the Advanced Homemaking class and I have yet to take the prerequisites like Making Dinner Both Parents and One Year Old Will Enjoy and How to Get Smashed Green Bean Stains Out of Toddler Clothing.

It is also true that sometimes Claire runs wild, but now I get to run right alongside her with a little bit more freedom. Many over the moon moments to come!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Living La Vida Leper

This picture pretty much sums up the last week. Lots of tears and lots of Mommy holding Baby.

We experienced our first real baby illness as well as our first after hours doctor visit this past week. Claire had Hand Foot and Mouth Virus. It's pretty much the equivalent of baby leprosy. We were in quarantine for a week.

Ok, so it's not baby leprosy and we didn't have to live in a cave wrapped up in cloths like lepers. You got me. It did however time itself to be when Joey was out of town for a few days (had to leave the day after she developed symptoms) and following two weeks of myself getting over strep throat and being in a quarantine of my own.

By the way, because the name of the virus grosses me out so much, I will be referring to it as 'HFM' from here to eternity or at least to the end of this post. What is it about the name that is just so nasty? It brings to mind images of the plagues in the Dark Ages or Mad Cow Disease.

Something that I have found absolutely funny is people's reaction. Ok, I don't remember anyone having HFM when I was young, but I have heard of several kids having it now. It seems many families of littles that I know have had it. A common response has been a horrified "Well, where in the world would she have gotten something like that?" (See? It's totally the name.) You would have thought it was Dengue Fever. Yup, we took Claire on a tour of the Amazon last week to pet the piranhas and we think that's probably where she picked it up. The library, people. I think we picked it up at library story time. But it's so contagious that it could just have been from the shopping cart at the grocery store. Who knows?

It all started last Monday with a little spot next to Claire's mouth, followed by another two or three spots within an hour or two. And then the real fun began. Blisters developed over her feet, legs, hands, arms and a few on her torso. We're talking dime-sized blisters. It should be called Hand, Foot, Face, Mouth, Leg, Arm and Somewhat All Over Virus. I would have had no idea what it was except that a friend of mine posted that her daughter had it on Facebook a few days prior to Claire showing symptoms.

I called our pediatrician and got an appointment for the next morning. The virus has to run its course so there really isn't anything you can do except bring the fever down. Our child is not really one to be still for long and isn't a snuggler, so when she laid in Joey's arms under a blanket with her lovie and then fell asleep, we knew she was not feeling well.

Sure enough, her fever had spiked to 104. Off to the after hours clinic we went. We received confirmation that it was HFM and also found out Claire still had an earache from the previous week. We also learned that after hours pediatric clinics can sound like child torture chambers. I seriously almost had to check on the kid next door and the other kid down the hall. What was going on in there?

Joey left the next morning and boy was he lucky. Things got rough. Word of advice, unless absolutely necessary do not Google 'HFM' and click on the images. I suppose these pictures are posted in online medical journals or something, but I didn't need to come across that in my GMS (General Mom Search). Unless you are that child's mother or nurse, nobody needs to see that. Honestly, what really got me was when someone told me that their child lost a toe nail. Anyone who knows me well, knows that losing a toe nail or finger nail is a perfect way to send me over the edge. Somebody get the smelling salts.

Anyway, the sad thing is that there isn't really anything you can do but sit it out and make sure they continue to drink their bottles and fluids. They get blisters down the throat so it can make the latter tough. Claire had a really bad case. She cried for about two days straight and refused food for three days. Poor baby. I had her in long sleeve pajamas and socks for an entire week and bathed her once in the morning with coconut oil and once more at night with Dr. Bronner's Soap. I was so paranoid about her blisters getting irritated and infected from crawling on the floor. Her little blistered body made me want to cry!

Once they are fever free for 24 hours they are supposedly not contagious, but who can take their child out and not be publicly shunned (see previous leper reference)? She looks like she's had the pox! Parents would have picked up their children and run from us. I would have. So we stayed inside for a full week for good measure. It took at least five days for Claire to return to normal behaviorally, although the blisters are still healing and peeling 11 days later.

Somewhere around Day 4 both she and I developed Cabin Fever. It's commonly found in both HFM child and caretaker. We looked out the front window a lot. Thank goodness the neighbors across the street were moving so we had some form of entertainment.

It was also during this time that I tried to develop a love for TV in my child. I know, bad and desperate parent moment. Up until this point, it's been a rare occasion that we have kid's shows on and I have made it a point not to sit her in front of the TV. But...

Nothing would make her happy because she felt so bad. I would hold her while she cried and she would want down. I would put her down and she would cling to my leg and cry with her hands up. This went on for at least two days. So I thought, what we need is some education on what you do when you're sick. You lay on the couch under a blanket snuggled up with Mommy watching cartoons. This is what all the other sick kids seem to do on Instagram. She wasn't having any of that. Ironically, I ended up finding comfort in Doc McStuffins and Little Bear myself so I just left it on. I needed to be reminded that there was a world out there. Even if it was a world where toys come alive and talking bears have fully furnished houses. (An aside, as much as I like Alaskan reality TV I would never make it secluded from civilization for more than a week. Obviously.)

I'm sure Joey was a bit alarmed when he returned from his business trip. His daughter was wearing mismatched pajamas and socks and looked like she had gotten into a bout with Tracker Jackers. But she did smell like coconut. His wife meanwhile was just shy of crazy having been on a steady diet of baby tears, blisters, oodles of laundry, work and Doc McStuffins overload. Thank goodness for my neighbor, Seresa, who braved plague exposure to bring this Momma a yummy dinner and let me see another adult face during the week!

Things are thankfully back to normal around here. Claire is still healing, but seems to be doing great! She is also taking four or five steps at a time. So much fun! We are excited to have been able to get out this week and be social. Ok, by social together we've really only gone to the grocery store and to lunch with Daddy. We are taking a break this week from the library and the Amazon just to be safe. Speaking of Amazon, do you think they make an inflatable bubble that I could put Claire in from now until she graduates college?

If you would like to add 'Claire not losing a toe nail' to your church's prayer list, this Momma would be forever grateful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

She's 10 Months!

I can't believe our sweet girl is 10 months! It's been flying by. Joey and I are constantly surprised to find a little girl in the crib each morning instead of a little baby girl. She's too big! Ten months crept up on us, but a lot has happened during this time. She's so much fun!


It was just a teething biscuit. No more teething biscuits.
Last month Claire decided that purees were for babies. Since that time we've been doing all finger foods. She loves chicken, turkey and steak and the girl can't get enough green beans. The green beans must be from a can, none of the fresher frozen variety. However, canned peas are out and frozen peas are in. It's trial and error around here. I have to limit her cheese intake as it disappears immediately from her tray. Her favorite fruits are mandarin oranges and pears. She also loves scrambled eggs. Oh, and she still doesn't like avocado. I do not understand this. It's the basis of guacamole!

We have also discovered that she loves dog food. Doesn't like avocados, but loves dog food. Oh, and beets. What the heck is that about? Beets are to be forced upon children, not welcomed! Again, I don't get it.


Well, we've officially lost the third cat nap (insert Mommy Dinner-Making Tears here). There are pluses and minuses to this development. It enables us to leave the house for as long as we need to after she wakes up from her afternoon nap and she goes to sleep right at 7:00 PM. The only negative is that she can get pretty tired around the old nap time, but refuses to close an eye. I'm sure she'll catch up to it soon. (please oh please!) She is still sleeping a solid 12 hours each night.


I stand on this and fall forward with it to the ground
She took her first steps last week! She's only taken two at a time and then will crouch down, but she does this a few times each day. I'm thankful she's showing some timidity because she's been pretty kamikaze in the area of physical development.

She pulls up on everything and walks around with support from one hand. She will stand unsupported during these sessions for a minute at a time.

We think she may be a climber. She tests everything out for foot and hand holds like Cliffhanger. For instance, she pulls out the bottom of the oven and tries to climb up on it to reach the knobs. She will also try to climb anyone who's holding her. I'm a little concerned that the next step after walking will be running up a wall to do a back flip. I guess there are some positives: that would be YouTube gold and maybe we'd be on the Today Show...

Claire loves to dance. This may be because she watches So You Think You Can Dance with Mommy while drinking her bottles. She hears music and starts doing the Cute Baby Bouncing Up and Down Dance. So precious! Joey and I have also learned the moves to this dance so we can help encourage it. Baby dance choreography is tough.


Just knocking down a few of Mommy's towers

She loves to knock down the towers of blocks that Mommy builds. She will cross a room to knock down a tower. It's core to her No Tower Left Standing mission. We will have to work on this before we play with older children. I could see this becoming a point of frustration.

This little girl loves to play with her Daddy. They're favorite game of late is Claire-o-saurus Rex. Daddy stands up and puts her right in front him like a mask and they turn into Claire-o-saurus Rex and stomp around the house sneaking up on people. It's a family favorite.

A little standing action, dress up with a basket cover and giving Giraffe some love
Lately she likes to crawl under things almost as much as she likes to climb. Claire is the queen of peek-a-boo and also loves to put things on her head or shoulders. Yesterday morning she spent half of it with a pair of pajama pants draped around her shoulders and gravitates toward accessories. She may have watched a few episodes of Project Runway with Mommy in the early stages of life.

Her favorite books are those with action items for the reader such as Sandra Boynton's Tickle Time or Ann Dewdney's Llama Llama Hop where Mommy tries to illustrate the action words while reading. She thinks this is hilarious. So does Claire.

Light and Fan Obsession
 She is obsessed with lights and ceiling fans. Her Grammy let her turn the lights on and off at her house and since then she's been hooked. I let her turn off the light in her room when it's time for bed. She loves this! Her obsession can appear creepy to the casual observer as she just stares at the ceiling every so often and raises her hand to it. (insert Twilight Zone music here) Ironically, 'Light' was my first word as a child and I'm wondering if she might choose it too.

Despite choosing stuffed animals over dolls, Claire is a people person. She loves being out. If she is in a fussy mood, we need to get out of the house. As long as there are people to watch, she's good to go. She will stare at someone and smile until they smile back. Sometimes I think to myself "Oh honey, that person looks like they may not be in the mood to smile.", but it never fails - they always smile back. She'll make you feel pretty good about yourself.

Growth and Development

Claire is 19 lbs 11 oz and and 30 inches. She is currently wearing 12-18 months.


She's had the bottom two teeth since three months and has been working on the rest for a while. At her check up the pediatrician checked her mouth and said "Wow, she's going to have a mouthful of teeth in no time!" And sure enough, the upper tooth to the right of her middle tooth area is out. It's seems odd the order that they have come in, but oh well! We can see another bottom tooth and her upper middle teeth are on their way as well. I'll kind of miss her smile with only the two little bottom teeth though!

Fully aware that this is "a no"
That's a no

I feel like she's been sincerely testing me for the past two months and I go back and forth on what she understands about the word 'no'. These are the no-no's in our house: the fireplace, trash can, electronics, eating books, standing in the bath tub, getting into the dog food or chewing or his kennel, crawling into the dishwasher and pulling up the outer pieces of the play mat and chewing on them. This is typically the daily stuff.

I distract a lot, but it only goes so far and I want her to learn as we go. I'm pretty sure she does understand that she's not supposed to be doing some of these things. When she gets mad she will go straight for the books and chew on each one or she will rip up the edges of the play mat and chew on them. All while looking at me with a scowl on her face. I shudder to think about the teenage years. I don't know where she gets this strong willed trait from.


She is also showing more distinct signs of affection. She puts her head to yours or on you. It's her version of a hug or kiss. It's precious. She also shows affection toward her stuffed animals. She will crawl up to her bunny, monkey or frog and bury her face into them. How many times can I say "It's so precious" in a post?

A side note, we bought her first doll a few weeks ago and while she loves to play with her tiara, bow and the ruffles on her dress, she does not show any affection toward her. Princess Doll has been scooped and outnumbered by the native Stuffed Animal Posse.


Her sense of humor has definitely developed. Making funny faces always results in her little laugh. Equally entertaining is watching Mommy or Daddy yawn or sneeze. She cracks herself up as well. Usually this happens when she's talking to herself in the car or in her high chair like she's practicing her stand up routine and she'll just break out a funny face and laugh.

Have I mentioned that this girl is awesome? Each day is more fun and I can't wait for the Fall when we get to be outside more and don't even get me started on holiday fun! Oh and it's her birthday season too! I'm excited about it and sad about it all at same time. Love each new stage, but also a piece of me that wishes I could freeze time. I don't think Claire feels the same way. She's ready to go. So...we are too! Bring it on 11 months!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All In A Day's Work

Some of you may already know that I am working part time from home and working in the same job, but from my dining room table. I am so thankful that I work for a company that will allow me the option, but from time to time I do question my sanity. I guess I'm a working stay at home mom. (although truly all moms who stay at home are working - no doubt!). It's been a challenging hybrid to make work!

Here are the things that make my work day a little...different:

There may be a pea on Friday.

I am constantly telling the piles of laundry or dishes to "talk to the hand" while I'm working. They're literally staring at me over my right shoulder. I can feel them.

The high chair doubles as extra work space. I'm sure Google will implement this for all their employees once they see this. (Note for Google - it only works sans-baby)

There is a good possibility that I must dance and/or widely mouth phrases to a curious audience while on a conference call. (These people have no idea what's on the other side of the line.)

I'm ok with my co-worker falling asleep on the job.

Although, this same co-worker is a bit of a brown-noser.

I have a second job in surveillance at all times.

I truly may whistle while I work. Or sing You Are My Sunshine. Or make raspberries. Or suddenly burst up from my chair while saying "No, no, no, no!" in an effort to re-locate my co-worker to an area that has less problem potential.

Spin toys and paci's are the new paperweight.

There is a good possibility that spit up is on my shoulder. Or maybe it's yogurt. Or banana. The possibilities are endless.

By far, the best thing about my new job is the view.

Who needs a corner office?

Friday, July 18, 2014

9 Months and Some Change Update

Things are moving pretty fast around here. Especially certain things, or rather certain people. Specifically, a little girl named Claire. Holy smokes she's fast!

I haven't updated since she turned six months. Ouch. Maybe this is because I have spent every day since then chasing this little ball of lightening around the house. She started crawling right about that time. She started speed crawling at six months and three days. We're now in warp speed mode. I'm estimating that I bend over to pick her up and re-route her from danger at least 432 times a day. There is a good chance I will look like Quasi Moto within a few more weeks at this pace.

Here's the 9 month and some change update:


We are just finished with a phase where we didn't like to stop to eat because that means you have to stay in one place. Thankfully we have moved on and are back to a normal appetite.

She still drinks four bottles a day, but now eats a solid food breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

We are making the transition from purees to soft solids. I had fun getting creative in making her purees, but this solid food stuff is just as fun. Her favorite foods are yogurt mixed with fruit puree, green beans, grapes, mozarella cheese, butter beans and chicken. We just tried banana pancakes (banana/egg pancake) this morning. It was a new flavor and texture so she was a little unsure. We are going very slowly on grains so the only one that she has been introduced to thus far is quinoa. Oatmeal will probably be next on the list.

Favorite snacks are Happy Creamy Yogurt Bites and celery sticks (cut large they're great for teething).


Very thankfully we are past a rough sleeping phase that last nearly two months. She woke up a little before 5:00 AM for nearly two months. Ouch. We've worked our way back up to a wake up time between 6:45-7:00 AM.

She still takes three naps a day. I think we're about to drop the early evening catnap though. Oy.


As mentioned, this girl is constantly going. She crawls everywhere. I will say that she has slowed her walking desire now that she's able to speed crawl. Although she pulls up on everything. She climbs on top of laundry baskets, through and over chair rungs and will completely bulldoze over myself or Joey if we're on the floor in her path.

Diaper changes have also become a battle as she goes into an alligator death spiral when anyone attempts it.We found a magic plastic coat hanger would do the preoccupying trick for about two weeks, but we're now over it. I'm physically worn out after each diaper change.

She will also stand for about 30 seconds or so. She's had some pretty rough tumbles and has become more timid with each fall. She also likes to walk with help.

She claps! She loves it. We love it. There is a lot of clapping in our house.

She dances. Or we think it's dancing. She bounces up and down and gets very excited - especially when music is playing.


I love watching her play. She sings to herself while she plays with toys or explores. It's so sweet. She loves her piano and and her new push walker toy. Her favorites are always unconventional toys, meaning things that aren't toys at all like spaghetti scoops, Gatorade bottles and Tupperware.

Books are still fascinating. I'm afraid I say "Books are for reading, not eating" about 500 times a day. She opens them, looks at the pictures, looks at me and then into the slobbery mouth they go. She loves books with animals and also those that have touch and feel textures.

She loves to watch our dogs. She'll stand at their kennel doors with hands on the gates and just smiles. Between the three of them there is a lot of drool in our house.

Looking out the window is a favorite pastime. She watches the birds, neighbors and looks for her Daddy to pull in the driveway.

We've gotten into this habit of showing her videos of other kids from Facebook and Instagram. She laughs and smiles. She also happens to love videos of herself. Hence why we started showing her that she's not the only kid who has videos.

Claire loves going on walks around the neighborhood and meeting new people. A new favorite is going to the library for story time. We read books, sing nursery rhymes, play with new toys and meet lots of new babies. Claire pretty much ignores me the whole time and finds new people to play with and toys to chew on. I don't take it personally. She definitely isn't timid when it comes to meeting new people.


We're still awaiting this update physically. I just know she's lost that little baby look. So sad!

She's had the bottom two teeth for several months, but just this past week we have noticed that two top teeth are coming through! It's no wonder. It think the slobber to tooth ratio is 32 liters to 1 tooth. She's like a little slug leaving a trail! A sweet little slug though!

We've also noticed that she is picking up on the meaning of our words. When we ask her if she wants to read books she actually looks to her books. Same thing with asking her if she wants a bottle. She immediately becomes fussy and looks at the counter where we mix it all up.

She says 'mama' and 'dada', but we're not sure she associates with us. We don't care, we love it anyway! She also makes many other repetitive syllables and loves to talk to herself. I thinks she's fascinated that she can open her mouth and make sounds.

I know I've said it before, but so far this is the most fun stage! She shows us a new smile or expression nearly every day. She is just so precious and each day we are more thankful for her.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bananas, Spit Up and Baby Tears

Bananas, spit up and baby tears. It's what I'm wearing today and all before 8:00 AM. Washing it down with a cold cup of coffee. Claire is officially mobile as well as asserting her independence in all areas.

A new crawler and tile floors are just not a good mix. I feel like a baby concussion is right around every corner. In fact, we already had a wipeout this morning that resulted in angry tears for nearly ten minutes. Breakfast was a battle of the wills. She wants to feed herself and Mommy has to play keep away with the spoon. I feel like I'm playing some sort of weird Mom video game. Just trying to get the food filled spoon through to the safe zone, aka Baby Godzilla's mouth. I provide my own sound effects. Baby Godzilla thinks this is funny.

At seven months and mobile, Claire is into everything. She makes a beeline for all that looks unsafe. Pulling up on sharp cornered dressers, unwieldy and germy Diaper Genies or chewing on door stoppers. But then again, who wouldn't want to gnaw on a 3 inch piece of coiled metal?

The sweet little look in her eye as she crawls toward her Mommy is priceless. I love it. Out of all the door stoppers in the house to choose from and she wants to come to me! She crawls to me with her bright brown eyes and drool dripping mouth and my heart just melts. And then I realize she just wants to use me as a prop to stand up. Oh well. I still love it even if I am being used.

I asked her if she might be interested in hiring a stunt double, but she declined as she likes to do her own tricks. Other valid options are to turn the house into a padded cell of sorts or wrap her in bubble wrap like the Michelin man. I'll probably opt for Michelin Baby for cost effective purposes.

Time to get anything done for myself is incredibly limited as I'm either working during a naptime or on Claire duty which is now all hands on deck. Case in point? Yesterday I did my makeup in the reflection of the microwave door because anywhere else was too risky while Claire was in play. I am in this very moment lifting my head out of the work and Mom Trenches to get a breath of fresh air before the day really begins to pick up speed. You know how that is!

Will I change my shirt? Not until after 10:00 AM. What's the point? There's one more stop on the liquid accessories that have been added to today's wardrobe. Bubble gum flavored antibiotics is on all the Paris runways this season. Oui?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Few of Mommy's Favorite Things: 3-6 Months

It's time for a quick run down of Mommy's (that's me) favorite items for our 3-6 month old. I said this on the 0-3 month list, please keep in mind that we've had one child and of course all kiddos are different. What worked for Claire may not for other babies, including ours in the years to come! These are just a few things that have been lifesavers or loves of mine over the past three months.

A few milestones that we have embraced and worked through during this time have been rolling (this happened right at 3 months), teething, seasonal allergies and introducing solid foods. This time around it seems like we have a lot more of the little things that we love. Not a lot of gimmicky stuff, just the simple things that made a difference with whatever we were going through at the time.

This list could be summed up into the following categories: Things That Keep Our Baby Safe, Things That Make Our Baby Happy and Things That Help Us All Get a Good Night's Sleep.

Soft Sheets
A little after three months and following Claire learning to roll over, she would only sleep on her tummy. Besides freaking us out on several levels by face planting while sleeping, she would rub her face over and over on the sheets. Her little cheeks began to chafe to the point that I thought they were going to bleed in places. We had what felt like soft flannel sheets, but obviously they were not as soft as we needed. We swapped these out for Sateen Sheets from Babies 'R Us and her cheeks healed in no time. Pottery Barn sheets are great too! Good crib sheets are apparently worth the investment. Lesson learned.

Aden and Anais Sleep Sack
We have two of these and I absolutely love them. At three months we had to swaddle wean because of the little roller. I can't say that the Sleep Sack helped with the weaning process although I suppose it may have to an extent. She wears it for warmth and comfort. We love it because it's lightweight, breathable and made of the same muslin material as her other blankets. Some of the other sleep sacks are made of heavier material. With the unpredictable weather around here, this can be too much. We put her in footy pajamas at night and a onesie during the day to sleep in under the sleep sack. She will usually grab a corner of the bottom material as a comfort while soothing herself to sleep. They're cute too!

Zipper Pajamas
Oh snap! Anyone else feel like PJ's with snaps can be like putting a puzzle together? It feels like calf roping (I have never calf roped a day in my life) and then trying to put pajamas on it. If I miss a snap, Claire will wake up in the morning with a leg completely out. This is why we like pajamas that zip up for this stage. I've heard this is also great when baby learns how to unsnap their PJ's. Thank goodness we are not there yet!

Breathable Mesh Bumper
Bumpers are a controversial topic for many. We had to ask our pediatrcian because Claire would roll and knock her head pretty hard against the side of the crib. Because she rolled early, she didn't have the head control yet to keep her head from going overboard with momentum. Our pedi said we could try a thin bumper and that it would be better than her hitting her head. Plus, at this point she did have enough head control to keep her head up. We opted for the breathable mesh bumpers. No more Noggin Knock Outs. In our case, this was a good solution. We are about to lower her crib mattress and now that she has more head control, we'll either go bumperless or get thinly padded bumpers. Depending on your point of view, either of those could be shocking to you!

Angel Care Monitor
Remember the whole face planting following rolling over I mentioned before? Well, she would face plant in the corner of the crib and go to sleep. Mommy and Daddy did not sleep. I even tried it out myself as a test and I couldn't breathe (not in the corner of the crib, just the face planting part)! We begged and pleaded with her to turn her little head - nope. Have I told you that she's strong willed? 

We decided on getting the Angel Care Monitor that goes underneath the mattress and will sound an alarm that will wake both baby and parents if baby's heart rate doesn't register after 15-20 seconds. It signals a false alarm every once in a while, but it helped us to rest easier. She turns her head now. We sleep. Life is good.

Can you tell that the whole rolling at three months rocked our world a little? Ha!

Nose Frieda
I admit that when you first look at this product it looks absolutely disgusting. "No way I'm doing that!" you might say. And then your baby's nose gets stopped up completely due to a cold or in our case, allergies. You suck it up (literally, I suppose) and you just do it. Claire doesn't love it, but who would like anything stuck up their nose? This worked so much better than the nasal aspirators for us. Along with saline drops, this helped us get through the few weeks of allergies.

Non-scratchy Bibs
I guess it's true what people say: "a good bib is hard to find". What? You don't know anyone who says that? Oh well.During the 3-6 month timeframe we have gone through a lot of bibs. I would say on average that we go through about 5-6 bibs each day, but in the days of major teething we would go through a lot more.

Some of her bibs lost their velcro-ness after a few washes and the corners peeled up and scratched her face or neck. Our favorite bibs are the cheap bibs from Target that come in packs of 12 or so. The velcro continues to work through many washes and although the liner can come undone (did I mention they're cheap?), they do the trick. I also like the ones that snap. Those aren't as cheap, therefore I don't have as many.

Teething toys
Fact: everything becomes a teething toy in the hands of a 3-6 month old. like Sophie, the Melissa and Doug fish that are mentioned in the previous post and old fashioned teething rings that you can freeze are awesome! It's true. I have genuinely thanked God for Sophie the Giraffe. It's catnip for babies.
Activity mat squares
The majority of the floors in our house are tiled which I have always loved. I'm not a fan of carpet. Then Claire was born. Now I feel like our floor is made of bruises and hospital visits disguised as tile. Thank goodness a friend of ours let us borrow their foam floor tiles. I plan on getting a set of our own as well. We do most of our sitting up in this area. It's all set up for her stunts.

Toys that clip onto things
Don't you love my technical speak? I still have quite picked up the tried and true mommy lingo yet. I'm referring to toys that will clip onto the stroller, the car seat, the walker, the activity gym, etc. You never have to pick them up. It's great.

Nighttime Diapers
During this past month Claire began waking up randomly in the middle of the night with a soaking wet diaper. Two things: first, we increased the size and second, we got the super absorbent nighttime diapers. Not having nighttime diapers is probably something that we should have picked up on a little earlier. Game changer. We sleep. Life is good.

Two things we still love: Aden and Anais blankets and our sound machine.

See? I told you the list was a simple one. I am curious as to what our next list will contain as we're now out of the infant stage. So exciting!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Six Month Big Girl

I can't believe she's six months. Claire has been a part of our lives for half of a year! 'Precious' doesn't even capture how these last six months have been for our family of three. Before I go all mushy, I better give you the six month scoop:


We've come along way from the avocado of last month. So far we've tried sweet potatoes, peas, carrots and bananas. Oh, and we just tried a frozen peach in a mesh teether. Does that count? Anyway, she loves peas and carrots and is warming up to bananas. She is now actually swallowing her food - not just tasting it.

She still drinks four bottles a day, but now is more on the 5 oz. per bottle instead of the full 7 oz. Although, today as a mature six month old she has eaten 7-8 oz. bottles. Maybe she heard that she is a big girl now.

Claire also eyes and tries to reach for anything that Joey and I are eating. It's a good reminder that as her parents we've got to get our good eating habits back. Eek!


Since we last chatted there has been a time change - Spring Forward to be exact. Apparently kids are supposed to sleep "later". This was not our experience. It's not that big of a deal, but Claire wakes up between 6:15-6:30 AM instead of 7:00 AM. We have no business complaining about sleep as we get plenty for parents of a six month old, but just wanted to share the update.

She is still napping three times a day with a 1.5 hour nap in the morning and afternoon and an hour or so in the early evening. Her bedtime is still between 7:00 - 7:30 PM.

The crib mattress is however about to be lowered. She is getting a little too
curious with the railing and her strength is growing by the day.


Claire is scooting! Or rolling. Or scoot-rolling. She's on the move. She sees something she wants on the floor and figures out a way to get there. This may entail crossing treacherous toy terrain and showing a few sock monkeys and stuffed giraffes who's boss. Claire and Mommy have yet to go head-to-head on this boss business, but I see a conversation or two in the future.

She sits unassisted for almost several minutes unless she's uninterested and would rather stand. Then she just gets mad.

This girl still loves to stand. She loves her walker although we do limit the time she spends in it to make sure she's spending more on tummy time and learning to crawl. Side note - it really hurts to have ones toes run over by a baby walker.


Play time gets more and more fun! She can now pick up most toys with intent. Her favorite toys are the Melissa & Doug fish and her rings. She spins spin toys, pulls pull toys and shakes rattles. Of course, most of these toys are still going in her mouth.

Books are still a favorite. She leans over the side of the rocking chair to signal that she wants you to read another book. I have to cut her off. Bookworms still need naps.

The best thing? She laughs! Claire likes it when Mommy gives her zerberts or makes funny noises.
She is now singing. I know, I know...singing, right. Well we think she is. She has always loved us singing to her and now she makes sweet little coos and sighs musically. It's so sweet. She would rather sing talk than eat her bottle. And this girl likes to eat!

She is incredibly interested in our small dog, Bo. She scoots around in a circle as he walks around, following him with her eyes everywhere and smiling the whole time. I feel like she wants to make friends. Only, Bo is a little disinterested. She's handling the mild rejection fairly well and continues to persevere in pursuing her little friend. It's so sweet. Keep trying baby, he'll come around.


Her 6 month appointment is next week so we will get the full update at that time. A few of the things that we have noticed are that her hair is thicker, she seems to be Jolly Green Giant long all of the sudden and she has lost the infant look completely. Wheh! Insert bittersweet Mommy Tears here.

We have pulled out all of our 6-9 month gear and are in a lot of just plain 9 month. More Mommy Tears.

Also to report, we have teeth - two to be exact! I can't say those days weren't rough, but she handled it like a champ. Mommy and Daddy were not prepared for teeth quite yet, but at least we've got those first two bottom teeth under our belt.

A little sad news to report is that Claire apparently has allergies. We went for a walk on the first day that yellow pollen blanketed everything and boy did we pay for it. An hour or so after getting home her nose was so stopped upped and she would sneeze over and over again. So sad! It took her a week to get over it. But there was a silver lining! Lots of snuggles for Mommy and Daddy! We have an active little girl and those moments are
increasingly less so we'll take it!

Joey and I are having so much! Each new stage has its challenges, but there are infinitely more joys at every new turn. On the 7 month horizon (Oh, that sounds way too old!) we're looking at crawling, maybe more teeth...who knows! Whatever it is, we're ready for it!