Thursday, December 29, 2011

Going Commando

Sweets is usually a verrrry regular pooper. He wakes up, eats breakfast, and then you may as well hand him a newspaper, because within 10 minutes you are going to be changing a poopy diaper. But a few days ago, he woke up with a dirty diaper and I have no idea how long before he woke that he pooped (i.e. I don't know how long that poop was sitting against his skin). When I changed him I discovered a nasty rash. Since he's not a kid that's prone to diaper rash, the intense redness and bumps alarmed me. For the first day I tried using Lansinoh pure lanolin on the rash, along with plain warm washcloths when I changed him. He cried and cried when I dabbed his little heiny, and my heart broke.

By the second day, it was redder and angrier looking, and with Christmas only 2 days away, I opted to consult my pediatrician's office. They wanted to see him, so off we went to the doctor, where we learned that it was in fact just a very nasty rash. The doctor suggested a few things to help clear it up quickly and prevent discomfort - A & D ointment (we've only ever used Boudreaux's Buttpaste, but he said he prefers the A & D on a bad rash because it doesn't sting going on, and it contains lanolin, which I like as well), oatmeal and baking soda baths, and letting Sweets go diaper-less as much as possible. Done, done, and done!
I'm usually a fan of more natural products, but I was open to trying the A & D, and I was really happy with it. It goes on easily and didn't make Sweets cry. I won't use it on a daily basis, but it's good to have on hand for times like that.

The oatmeal and baking soda bath was easy to make! I just ground 1/3 of a cup oatmeal in my mini food processor and added 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

When I ran Sweets' bath that evening, I dumped it in and swirled it around and it resulted in this rather murky looking, but apparently soothing concoction:

Sweets liked it :)

And the grand finale:

Yep. That's my child going commando in his shirt and a pair of football babylegs. And yes, I cleaned up a fair amount of pee that afternoon. But I'm ok with it. I just wanted his tushie to heal up!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Pictures

Christmas this year was as fun as I had imagined it would be...hectic, but fun! Here's a glimpse into our weekend, starting with Christmas Eve with Hubs' family. 

Sweets definitely reaped the benefits of being the first and only grandchild!

He wanted the toys unpackaged as fast as he opened them - we clearly weren't quick enough for him!

The aftermath of present opening.

Cuddling up to his new Thomas pillow. He got so many wonderful gifts!

Tuckered out pooch. 

I almost cried when I saw the wonder in Sweetie Pea's eyes on Christmas morning.

He very quickly got the hang of opening gifts himself.

There were many books...

...some cool apparel...

(courtesy of Uncle K and Auntie L)

...and a bunch of fun toys...

...including his big gift, the Little People Zoo.

He also got this adorable owl bean bag chair!

And let's not forget the pets. Kittymahn got a new catnip scratching post and promptly got stoned.

And Bighead got a new bone and a bed to replace that nasty old one.

Then it was off to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas Day festivities...

...where he opened many more gifts...

...his favorite of which was the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Mower.

One of the only pics I got of him in his spiffy Christmas outfit a la Gymboree.

Sweets wants YOU to have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Mommy's Little Helper

Don't worry, all that's in there is Shaklee Get Clean natural, non-toxic, biodegradeable household cleaner. I'd never give him chemicals to play with!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breakfast Treats

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know that I try to get my kid to eat healthy things all the live long day. But he's in an "I'm-going-to-assert-my-toddler-independence-and-do-the-opposite-of-what-you-want-me-to-do" phase right now, which means many of my attempts are met with lackluster results. I never give in to the point that I offer him marshmallows instead of vegetables (the child has never even had a marshmallow), but there are times when I need him to eat, so I have to offer him something I know he'll go for (i.e. a banana, peanut butter on whole wheat bread, cottage cheese, etc). I recently discovered, which boasts an impressive array of healthy recipes. Some aren't for me - I would never make my own crackers, for instance, but everything I have tried so far has been a winner. I thought I'd share my most recent culinary adventures in the breakfast department: Banana Waffles and Very Berry Muffins.

Breakfast is often Sweets' best meal of the day, so I try to capitalize on that and serve him really nutritious things to start his day right. These two recipes fit the bill perfectly!

First up: Banana Waffles. I made up a batch of these on a Saturday morning when Hubs was out hunting and it was just me and Sweets for breakfast. They were easy, fast and delicious, and the recipe made enough batter than I have a bag of them in the freezer for more quick, healthy breakfasts down the road. I like that there is no added sugar, and they are full of good-for-you fare like whole wheat flour, cinnamon and bananas. I added a sprinkle of wheat germ to ours, and spread them with peanut butter. YUM. We both gobbled them up!

I also tried the Very Berry Muffins and they were like little bites of berry-filled heaven ;) I love muffins because they're so easy to fill with wholesome ingredients, and to grab on a busy weekday morning when we're all running out the door. Obviously my $80 per week grocery budget doesn't allow for tons of fresh berries in the middle of winter, so I used frozen ones instead.

Just as nutritious, and I had a coupon!

These muffins were a huge hit. Loaded with anti-oxident rich berries, whole wheat flour and oats, they tasted delicious and kept us going until lunch time! We ate them up so quickly I didn't have a chance to photograph them, so this is courtesy of weelicious:

And I just wanted to take a moment and put in a plug for one of our other healthy mealtime favorites around here: Chobani Organic Greek Yogurt. Did you know they make a kids' version? They are perfect for a quick lunch or protein-packed snack without a lot of sugar or additives. Since they come in a handy 4-pack, one often appears in mama's lunch as well ;)

Lunch of champions.

This yogurt is Sweetie Pea endorsed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Motherhood Rocks

I seriously wish I could hit pause on life right now. Sweets is at the best age! He's so funny, so cute, so full of personality, and he learns something new every day, it seems. Right now he is obsessed with belly buttons. He loves to pull his shirt up and inspect his own, and he likes comparing his to ours (not as fun when we're out in public. I have actually said the phrase "no, no, Mommy's belly button is sleeping." Ha!). He has the most random vocabulary that includes "cheese," "star," "juice," "ball," "oh no," and of course "mama" and "da-duh." If I ask him if he loves his mama, he yells "mama!" If we say "are you the cutest boy?" he nods yes very emphatically. I want to hug him all day every day.

There is nothing I don't love about being a mother. That may sound crazy, I know. Did I like being up 3/4 of the night, every night when he wasn't sleeping? No, I didn't like it, but I always love holding my sweet-smelling, sleepy baby, no matter what time it is. Will I like it when he gets that dreaded first tummy bug? Defintely not, but I will love making him feel better in that way only mommies can. Do I enjoy swishing poopy cloth diapers in the toilet? Not particularly, but I love those special conversations we have at diaper changing time. If circumstances allowed, I would have a dozen babies. Things being what they are though, I suspect I'll have to settle for less ;) Even having said that, I have to dismiss all the "so when are you going to have another baby?" questions I get frequently with a wave of my hand. Can't even think about it right now, because things are too easy and too fun!  

Two of his favorite things: a toy with wheels and Elmo!

First trip to the library!

He's such a big boy he can climb up into this chair all by himself!

I seriously cannot stop buying Christmas presents for this little man. Every time I say I'm done, I find something else for him. There's nothing better than buying presents for your baby!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back in the Game

I noticed something this week. I was walking down the hall at school when I realized I had a spring in my step that hasn't been there for 16 months (well...maybe more like 18 months. It's hard to have a spring in your step in the last two months of pregnancy ;). It could be that I'm consistently getting 7-8 uninterupted hours of sleep most nights. It could be that my struggles with my thyroid disease finally seem to be under control. It most likely has a lot to do with my new school - a breath of fresh air when I was suffocating. And yes, it could have something to do with the fact that I just found $50 that was given to me for Christmas last year and heck yeah I spent it all on myself. At Sephora. And it dawned on me: I'm back in the game. Personally. Professionally. In life in general.

The months following Sweetie Pea's arrival had the unique designation of being both the happiest and the hardest months of my life. Here I had this beautiful little baby, whom I loved so much I couldn't even articulate it, and all my feelings for him would often come out my eyeballs as I sat and nursed him. He makes me happier than I have ever been in my life, ever. But, as you know, he didn't sleep for beans. And a couple of months post-partum my thryoid disorder, which had gone into remission while I was pregnant, came back to haunt me full-force, right about the time that I returned to work to face a very challenging workplace dynamic. Ever since, I've felt like I've been living in this fog of self-preservation.

Wake up. Swipe some concealer under my tired eyes. Get baby and self out the door. Arrive at work. Go through the motions of pretending I'm a well-rested, together person. Meetings. Pumping breaks. General work drama. Pick up baby. Pray baby will be entertained by his exersaucer long enough to make something (anything) for dinner. Fall into bed. Hope to get 2 consecutive hours of sleep. Crap. Thyroid disease is making me an insomniac. OMG, is that the alarm clock already? Must keep it together. Must keep it together. Must keep it together.

I've been a shadow of my former fashionable, put-together, confident self. The one who wore pink crocodile pumps and had time to curl her hair in the morning. I've missed that girl. But this week I caught a glimpse of her again. She's different now - much more likely to wear flats than pumps, her pencil skirts are collecting dust in the closet, and she'd rather shop for her kid than herself - but her confidence comes from the fact that she manages to do it all, and do a reasonably good job of it. Even if she does rock a ponytail 6 out of 7 days a week. But ponytail or not, I'm finally feeling like me again after so many months of sleepless nights and nursing and spit-up and tears (Sweets' and mine). And it must be showing. Upon seeing me in the hallway a couple of days ago, one of my students crowed "dang, Ms. G., you got the strut!"

Why thank you, Fredo. I do, don't I?        

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I've seen this cute Christmas survey going around lately, so I thought it would be fun to post!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, no question. Egg nog is gross.

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just put them under the tree? Well, I think if you want to get technical, the elves actually wrap the presents. But yes, under our tree, the presents are definitely wrapped!

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? White all the way. I adore the look of a tree full of twinkling white lights, I think it's so classic and beautiful. And white lights in the snow? The perfect Christmas decoration!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I do hang up what I think is called a kissing ball. It's made of tiny pine cones and berries and greenery and I do believe it's supposed to have the same effect.

5. When do you put your decorations up? I aim for the first weekend in December. Any earlier and it just feels wrong, any later and it feels like I just put them up before having to take them back down again. Although, this year I was guilty of putting the lights on my house before Thanksgiving, but that's only because it was 60 degrees outside and Sweets was taking a good nap!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? My mom's Christmas cookies! Every year she and I do our "Christmas Cookie Blitz" where we spend an entire day baking and frosting and decorating. I love looking at the pile of cookie tins and deciding which cookie I want for dessert for weeks afterwards (you have to store your cookies in the fridge, that's the key to keeping them fresh as long as possible).

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I loved decorating the tree together every year and pulling out all the ornaments to reminisce about when we got them.

8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I was maybe 6 or 7. Too young to be robbed of the joy of Santa. My childhood best friend and her big sister sat me down and told me that Santa wasn't real. My mom was upset that they told me, but I'm pretty sure I held onto to Santa for a few more years, until his handwriting started to look an awful lot like my dad's ;)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, we open our gifts from Hubs' family on Christmas Eve. And I think this year we'll start giving Sweets his Christmas pjs to open so he can wear them to bed that night.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With white lights and gold gossamer ribbon and our collection of super special ornaments. Pretty much every ornament we have is very  meaningful, whether it came off one of our parents' trees or was given to us. My grandma started the tradition of giving me an ornament every year and when she passed away, my parents carried it on. So I have all of those, plus our growing collection of family ornaments, like the ones from the years we got engaged, got married, bought our house, had Sweetie Pea, etc. I can't wait to start giving him his own ornaments! 

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I think there's something magical about the first snowfall. Then I hate it for the next 7 months of winter!

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, if you consider staying upright on a pair of skates "ice skating."

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I'd have to say my engagement ring, which Hubs gave me on 12/23/2006.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Appreciating how truly blessed we are. I know we should remember this all year round, but the holidays make me especially thankful. And the special time with our family and friends. Everyone is so full of joy during the holiday season, I love it!

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My mom's aforementioned Christmas cookies :)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I have a lot of favorites, but right now I'd say my most favorite is that we get to spend Christmas Eve with Hubs' family and Christmas Day with mine. I really love how that works out!

17. What tops your tree? A wooden star.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I love giving! Especially when I've found the perfect present, and especially now that I'm a mama. Is there anything better than buying presents for your child???

19. Candy canes: yuck or yum? YUCK.

20. Favorite Christmas show? Movie? Show: The Christmas Toy. It was on like 1 year, in the 1980s, but we used to have it on VHS (until my dad tracked it down on DVD!) so we would watch it every year. It's a Jim Henson Christmas special about all these toys who come to life after their children are in bed and what happens when some new toys join the mix on Christmas. It's a gem, you should Netflix it! Movie: White Christmas, hands down. We watch it every year. There's nothing like a little Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney to really make it feel like Christmas!

21. Most annoying Christmas song? Feliz Navidad. I can't change the channel fast enough when it comes on!

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night. It gives me goose bumps. I love it not only because it's beautiful, but because it totally embodies what Christmas is really about: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Sweetie Pea,

You are 16 months old now. So why are you suddenly sleeping like a newborn? There's no need to be up 5 times at night and wake Mommy for the day at 4:30 am. You've done this a bunch of nights in a row now, so don't go thinking this is our new normal. Mommy has to work. Mommy needs sleep. Please, please have mercy on Mommy. She's fried.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ode to Sheep

Oh fluffy sheep, with your wool so warm
and water repellent to weather the storm
of gallons of pee throughout the long night
if I could hug you and kiss you, I think I just might!

You see Sweets used to wake with jammies so wet
his diapers were leaky (and not comfy, I'll bet!)
But then you gave us your wool and your lanolin
to make bulletproof diaper covers - win!

And now Sweetie wakes with a gleam in his eye
that says to me "Mommy, my jammies are dry!"

What no one told me about cloth diapering was how challenging overnight diapering can be. I had been using one of our pocket diapers stuffed with 2 microfiber inserts at night, and it worked for awhile, until it was no longer holding up to 11 hours of toddler pee and Sweets was waking up at 4 am with wet pajamas. I can't have that. So I hit up the cloth diaper boards and my local cloth diaper store and the suggestion everywhere was wool, wool, WOOL. Wool is apparently a super fiber and can hold something crazy like 60% of its weight in moisture before it feels wet to the touch. And it's naturally antimicrobial too, so it can go weeks between washes without retaining odors. Initially, I was fearful, thinking wool would require a ton of complicated care. But I did my research and talked to a bunch of wool-loving mamas and it's really pretty simple. The best advice I was given was "don't fear the wool!" and that mama was right. How can you be afraid of this?

Wool is used as a diaper cover, not a diaper itself, so it does require something underneath it. The wonderful owner of my local CD store recommended the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted diaper for overnight and I am totally in love with it, not only because it is soft, squishy and adorable (see below), but because it absorbs tons of wetness.

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diaper Size 2, Ocean Blue

Its unique channel design allows me to stuff it with an additional hemp insert for overnight. That's a fluffy booty!

I initially tried the Fab Fitted with a Thirsties Duo diaper cover and it still resulted in wet pjs! So I asked my incredibly talented friend Liz of Grey Poodle Designs if she would knit me a wool soaker and she graciously agreed. I sent her a picture of a wool cover pattern that I liked along with Sweetie Pea's measurements and she whipped this up in no time! 

Here is Sweets' new soaker over his fitted diaper. It's so soft and stretchy! And it is bullet.proof. No more wet jams! When he wakes up, the inside of the soaker is ever so slightly damp. I toss it over my shower curtain rod and it dries right up for me to use again that night. Liz did an amazing job! Oh, and please excuse my ridiculous outfit...I grab the first comfy pair of pants and fuzzy socks that my hands touch when I get home from work ;)

The rear view.

I love that it conforms to Sweets' body with no velcro or snaps to dig into him anywhere.

Thank you sheep, and thank you Liz. We love dry jams!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Day Recap

What a busy week it's been! Thankfully I didn't host Thanksgiving (and will gracefully be able to avoid that task for the duration of time that we live in this tiny house) but there always seems to be holiday prep, doesn't there? For me, it's mostly been starting my Christmas shopping and getting ready to decorate the house. Last year I was like a walking zombie at Christmas time. I had just gone back to work after maternity leave and my kid was sleeping like .007637 minutes a night. I managed to get up a few measley decorations, but we didn't put up a tree, and I was so unenthused about shopping. So my goal is to make up for it this year, now that Sweets is at a super fun age for Christmas (and we've got the sleep and working mom thing mostly figured out).

BUT, before all things Christmas come all things Turkey. Here's a little review of our Turkey Day with Hubs' family:

The day started with Tom the Blue Heron paying us a visit. He comes around periodically to hunt frogs in our creek, and he is so named because one day Sweets and I were watching him out the window and I asked him what the heron's name was and Sweets said "Tom!" I suspect this was because Thomas the Train was on TV at the time ;) Tom is awesome, we love it when he stops by!

Then we headed over to GiGi's house (Hubs' grandma) for the day. How grown-up does Sweetie Pea look in his baby argyle? I could squish him he looked so cute.

While the ladies worked in the kitchen, Sweets mingled with the menfolk and read some books with Uncle B.

And then...the moment I had been waiting for! Sweetie Pea's first Thanksgiving dinner! I had visions of him cramming his little mouth with turkey and mashed potatoes and maybe even cranberry sauce. And what do you think he ate? This?

Ha ha ha. No.

He ate this:

Yeah, turkey dinner FAIL. He wouldn't touch any of it. Oh well. Maybe next year.

And then we shook off our turkey comas to take this family picture in honor of Hubs' amazing cousin E, who was home for the holiday on leave from the United States Naval Academy. Go E!

Sweets was already in bed. He had a big day!

Onward to Christmas - I can't wait!