Friday, May 30, 2014

Seven Quick Takes with spreadsheets, messy kitchens, and rifles

Last night he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed until about 9:45,
at which point he crashed like this.
Tad had his 6-month checkup on Tuesday. He weighed 16 pounds 3 ounces and was 26.25 inches long. I am irrationally annoyed that he didn't weigh an extra ounce, since that would have been exactly double his birthweight. They didn't harass us about his weight, though. Altogether it was a quick and pleasant appointment. The ped (despite being the one to suggest rice cereal at Tad's 3-month) didn't care that we hadn't started him on solids yet and was unfazed by his cloth diaper. He also didn't mention anything about sleep or iron supplements, which were the two things I was somewhat concerned about. (Besides weight, but I'm always concerned about weight.)

The other day I was having a moment of getting overwhelmed at the thought that I have to teach this baby EVERYTHING. (Well, Scott will help.) I have to attempt to convey the good eating habits I don't have and teach him how to talk and how to be a generally decent human being (neither of which I do much of, come to think of it) and and and...

I soothed my nerved by making a spreadsheet outlining how I'm going to introduce solids. There are multiple rankings of different foods according to their likelihood of causing an allergic reaction. I seriously need to have a second kid so I no longer have the energy to micromanage like this.

Speaking of good eating habits, I really need to start allocating maybe $10 of our monthly grocery budget toward dessert and making myself take the rest out of my allowance. Because it's just silly to go through a ton of cookies and ice cream and then find yourself at the end of the month with no money left for meat and vegetables. Also, I need to stop eating sugar like it's my job, because it's not. (My job is making spreadsheets tracking my baby's life. :) )

The other day, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to take some pictures of my kitchen and share them with my moms' Facebook group. I'll share them with you guys too:

My parents celebrated their 28th anniversary on Wednesday by going to a shooting range and firing my dad's new(-ish) rifle at paper targets. Apparently they had fun.

The last time Mom fired a gun, she was about 10 weeks pregnant with me.

Random story I might have told before: A few hours after we brought Tad home from the hospital, we were standing around talking to Eldest Younger Brother (who had come over to help set up the pack-n-play and such). Scott was holding the baby, who got the hiccups. After a few minutes, Scott sneezed loudly twice in a row. The baby stared at him in wide-eyed shock and his hiccups were cured. It was kind of hilarious.

(I was looking for a picture to use to illustrate this take and got lost in a sentimental rabbit trail. MY BABY WAS SO TINY!!!)

Speaking of nostalgia, I heard this song on the radio the other day and I remembered how it always seemed to come on when I was driving home from having my blood drawn for progesterone checks last spring/summer.


I used to offer up my progesterone injections for Dwija's little Nicholas, and now she is due with his little brother ANY DAY, so keep the Borobias in your prayers for sure.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Seven Quick Takes 5/23

Tad turned six months old on Tuesday! His pediatrician appointment isn't until next Tuesday, so no official stats yet.

He now knows how to drag himself forward on his elbows--it looks just like the "wounded soldier" segment in this video. (NB: Not my baby.) Mostly he does that when he wants to get to my computer cords. Meanwhile, his sitting skills remain unremarkable; I've tried doing sitting-up practice with him and even when I dangle a toy in front of him he sees something else he wants and lunges for it, which is kind of incompatible with sitting upright.

We've been doing some very mild No-Cry Sleep Solution style training around here. So far I'm 4/4 on the independent morning nap (yay for being able to do dishes in peace!) and 3/4 on independent late evening sleeping. (He goes to bed at 8 p.m.; I go to bed at 10-ish.) Last night he decided to remind me who's the real boss here by crying and thrashing about from 7 to 10.

Tad had to get his tongue tie re-lasered on Thursday. (And it took forever because there was a bunch of scar tissue that had to be lasered out.) I feel like the worst mother ever at the moment. Apparently his upper lip healed really well, though. So, prayers that his tongue will get with the program would be appreciated.

I must have angered the Budget Fates when I mentioned last week that we could miss a paycheck and not really notice, because Scott missed a day of work this week due to a sore throat of doom that may have actually been a sinus infection. (Plus a half-day attending Tad's appointment.) And now I have to revamp my budget again, YAY.

I was, however, somewhat reassured to realize that I'm kind of supposed to go overbudget this month. See, Scott gets paid weekly, which means that 8 months out of 12 are Four Paycheck Months and the others are Five Paycheck Months. My budget assumes that every month is a 4.33 Paycheck Month.

(If I were really awesome at penny-pinching, I'd make the budget according to four paychecks per month and stick the extra fifth paychecks right into savings, but I am not yet that awesome.)

The current budget includes $10 for Tad's "allowance." He doesn't spend it, obviously, but I got tired of spending my own $10 a month on stuff for him. (Selfish mommy wants books and computer games.) Anyway, this month's purchase was a couple of straw cups, because everybody says those are better for oral development than sippy cups. Who knows.

Next month I'm going to get one of those little dishwasher cages so I don't have to handwash all his tiny plastic things.

We all went to a babywearing meetup last Saturday, because I like feeling as if I have friends. We even managed to borrow an Ergo while we were there. I convinced Scott to wear it during the walk home (the meetup was only a mile from our apartment) and the baby actually FELL ASLEEP NOT TOUCHING ME. It was awesome. Since then our whole No Cry Sleep Without Touching Mommy Training thing has taken off, which is good, because Scott hasn't shown much spontaneous interest in the Ergo. I tried it once myself and couldn't stand it. Slings and wraps all the way.

Last night's dinner was a culinary experiment: The stroganoff recipe, but with 15 oz canned salmon and a half-cube of veggie bouillon. It was kind of awesome, and Scott even admitted to liking it after he had a little while to think about it.

I find it interesting the sort of things random people in the grocery store say about the baby. Examples:

a. Apparently light green is a very gender-neutral color, because whenever I take him out in it I get asked "Boy or girl?" much more often than when he's wearing other colors. (Admittedly, most of his other stuff is blue.)

b. When people ask how old he is, they almost always follow up with, "He's so big!" This is funny to me because he's pretty consistently around 50th percentile for height and 25th for weight. He's not wasting away or anything, but overall I'd call him a smallish baby. Maybe people are trying to be complimentary. He does have some awesome chub.

c. The other day I was checking out at Kroger with Tad in the sling on my hip and the lady behind us at the checkout admired the sling and then asked if I was an attachment parent. I told her that it isn't so much a matter of me being an attachment parent as it is him being an attachment baby.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top 11 Baby Items: The first 6 months

I was going to do a Top 10 list in honor of Tad's half-birthday, but then I thought of too many things. Obviously your mileage may vary and all that. So, in no particular order:

1. Short-sleeved white onesies + Oxyclean.

I use the plain white onesies for layering--useful if you have a baby in the dead of winter. I don't like the one long-sleeved one he has because it just gets bunched up under his sleeper sleeves. Side note: I always size up in these. So, for example, Tad is currently wearing 9m Carter's sleepers over 12m bodysuits.

The Oxyclean is an essential partner to the white onesies, because somehow they attract poop stains like no other article of clothing. A nice long soak in an Oxyclean bath gets them good as new.

2. Zip-up cotton sleepers.

Because let's be real, you're not going to have the time or energy to dress your baby in actual clothes for the first 2 or 3 months. I know there are people out there who swear by the snap-up sleepers, but I can't stand them. They take forever to snap up and the baby wiggles and cries and then they gape awkwardly. Zippers 4 lyfe.

Also cotton, even if your baby is born in the dead of winter, because babies are in and out of their clothes all the time so you are going to keep the heat cranked up and then the baby will get all sweaty in their microfleece sleepers.

3. A medium wet bag.

These are a cloth-diapering staple (remind me to write that post sometime...) but even if you wouldn't touch a cloth diaper with a 10-foot pole, you need one of these. Preferrably two. Because at some point your baby is going to poop all over his clothes while you're out in public, and you will appreciate being able to stuff everything in the wet bag and just dump it into the washing machine when you get home. You're welcome.

4. A snot sucker.

I think these are actually called bulb aspirators or something, but my family calls them snot suckers. You can get them for free in the hospital or for about $5 off Amazon. (Which is a lot cheaper than a hospital birth, so if you were going to reconsider homebirth due to free hospital loot, don't.) I hate snot more than poop and vomit combined, but I still use this thing all the time.

5. A Boppy.

Mine has a waterproof cover and a regular fuzzy cover. I ordered a second cover just yesterday. I've only needed to change the waterproof layer once, when the baby had a major poopsplosion while nursing, but the outermost layer gets dried milk and spaghetti sauce and stuff all over it on the regular.

6. A ring sling.*

This saves my sanity on a regular basis when the baby WILL NOT SLEEP. It's also handy for grocery shopping without having to take up 90% of your available cart space with the giant car seat.

I've been trying out a woven wrap (borrowed from a friend) the past couple of weeks, and I like that too, especially for longer walks with my now-heavy baby, but the ring sling is still the workhorse of my babywearing arsenal.

7. A bed rail.*

I spent weeks stressing over the purchase of a crib my baby used maybe half a dozen times. We borrowed a bedrail from my in-laws when he was about 3 weeks old and never looked back. Cosleeping 4 lyfe. (Given how attached he is to me, it might very well be 4 lyfe, but at least we sleep. YAY SLEEP.)

8. A swing or some other* electronic baby-soothing device.

Because sometimes you get tired of wearing the baby or have to handle raw meat or something. The swing I have is a tiny portable battery-operated one and it supposedly has a weight limit of 25 pounds, but it stopped being useful for us around 4 months/14 pounds, because Tad started trying to do sit-ups while riding in it. *sigh* I still miss the days of the baby sleeping without touching me.

9. A playmat, exersaucer, or other baby-entertainment device.

For when Baby outgrows the aforementioned swing. We have both a playmat and an exersaucer. Lately I've also been sticking him in his high chair with some blocks. He gets bored easily, so sometimes I just rotate him through all three at 15-minute intervals.

10. Netflix, Amazon Prime, or some other adult-entertainment device.

Because when your baby is tiny, you are going to spend a LOT of time sitting around in bed or on the couch. We use my parents' Netflix account, but if you don't have parents with Netflix and can't afford a membership, at least do the 30-day free trial.

11. La Leche League.

Seriously, I would breastfeed all over again just to get to be friends with my awesome group of ladies. (And I don't particularly enjoy breastfeeding, so that's saying a lot.) One of my biggest breastfeeding-related regrets is that I ignored the recommendation to attend meetings while pregnant because I thought I didn't need the support. You need the support. Go to meetings.

*(Please note that some of these links are meant to give an example of a general category and are not products I have actually used.)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Seven Quick Takes with Frozen, Dave Ramsey, and babywearing

Scott and I finally watched Frozen the other day. We really liked it. I had to hold his hand all through the climax, though--I just can't handle peril now that I'm a mom.

My parents have been taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and my mother loaned me her copy of Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money. In one place the book is talking about people living paycheck-to-paycheck and asks, "If you had a paycheck that was delayed by just one week, what would you do?"

It was weird because I definitely don't see us as being super financially secure, but if Scott had a paycheck that got delayed by a week it would barely even be a blip on our radar. If he missed a paycheck altogether--say, he got sick and couldn't work--that would be a bit of a hit, but we could take it. (If he got really sick and couldn't work for months on end, though, we'd be up a creek. Dave Ramsey says we ought to get disability insurance. That'd be nice if we had even an inch of wiggle room in our regular monthly budget to begin with...)

On Monday Tad and I arrived to pick Scott up from Schola before Scott was actually finished, so we went in and listened to the last couple of songs and then chatted with everybody. One of the teenage girls saw the baby and said, "Aww, so this is [The Only Sister]'s nephew!!"

I laughed, because I would never have described Tad that way, but yeah, that's who he is. (Also, I find it amusing that TOS apparently talks about him to all her friends, though not surprising since 14-year-old girls are usually pretty into babies.)

I'm starting to really like eBay. It's like a cross between Amazon and Goodwill, which are my current favorite places to shop. I might even get my own PayPal account so that I don't have to ask my mother to buy stuff and have it shipped to me.

Scott has a work shirt that has holes in it, hence the eBay-ing. It's apparently impossible to find men's size small in brick and mortar thrift stores. (Pro tip: eBay has a decent selection of men's small, but an even better selection of boy's XL.) I wanted to buy him some pants as well (he wears 30-30, which is convenient because then I don't have to remember which number is the waist and which the inseam) but then I realized that his ratty pants only look ratty because the hems drag on the ground. So as soon as possible I am going to hack off the bottom few inches and re-hem the pants. That should get him a good bit more use out of them and free up my clothing budget for adorable footie baby pajamas. (We discussed the dearth of footie hand-me-downs the other day.)

Tad and I had a WIC appointment the other day. He weighed 16 pounds and 2 ounces (no wonder my back hurts...), so he should have no trouble doubling his birthweight before his 6-month appointment at the pediatrician. (For those of you not playing along at home: He was 8 lbs 2 oz at birth, but then apparently his father's scrawny genes kicked in and he dropped a bunch of percentiles before finding his curve, leading to much pediatric hand-wringing.)

I weighed 197. Oops. I didn't get scolded for it, though, because the WIC people were too busy fretting about my low iron. (10.6.) Apparently persistent mild anemia is actually a really big deal.

Apparently borrowing a wrap was the push I needed to figure out how to increase the useful life of my sling. Tad and I have been practicing legs-out carries, since he's too big now to have his legs froggied inside. I revolutionized my babywearing life when I realized that when he's legs-out it's much easier to transition him into the cradle hold (for nursing) from the hip carry rather than the snuggle hold.

We're loving the hip carry in general, incidentally, for grocery shopping and stuff. Don't tell the babywearing police that I'm putting my freakishly strong 5-month-old in a carry intended for 6m+.

He loves the sling so much that he basically uses it as a lovey.

Speaking of freakishly strong, he started kinda-sorta creeping this week. He lifts his bottom in the air and wiggles it back and forth like a cat preparing to pounce, but he only manages to fling himself forward an inch or two at a time. It's hilarious and adorable. I'd post a video, but I must ask my internet security consultant (a.k.a. Scott) whether I'm allowed to post a video in which I use the baby's real name on the public internet.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tad's fall wardrobe

When I last went to my parents' house, my mom let me go through a bunch of Matthew's old clothes that she was going to yard sale if I didn't want them. So, here is Tad's fall wardrobe thus far:

First we have the church clothes. The two blue shirts were among my thrift store finds from late February and I am still madly in love with them. So pretty! The other shirt and one of the sets of pants were given to us by some college friends as a new-baby gift. 

Next we have a polo with a bulldozer paired with some navy pants; a shirt with a dinosaur on it paired with sweatpants; and a non-outfit consisting of a Lion King shirt and khaki shorts. I might send the khaki shorts along to my mother's yard sale after all and get some jeans.

Pictured here is a romper which I also might not keep; it's more summerweight and I don't really like rompers anyway. I don't know why, I just don't. Next to it we have a panda Halloween costume which is definitely a keeper. I must figure out where we can go for trick-or-treating.

Now we move on to pajamas, of which there are four sets: Airplanes, generic racecars, Lightning McQueen, and Buzz Lightyear. Only the airplanes have feet, which is very sad. My mother has this bizarre prejudice against footed pajamas.

Lastly, from left to right: A jacket, a coat, and an insert for said coat. So, we're covered for every weather condition from Mildly Chilly to Polar Vortex.
Below those are two pairs of shoes, one for play and one for church.

To-buy list: Jeans, maybe a t-shirt or two, footed pajamas. (He also needs socks to go with those shoes but I think Matthew has a lot of socks buried somewhere.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seven Quick Mother's Day Takes

1. Tad got me a present for Mother's Day. I had to drive him to the store and help him get it off the shelf, of course, but one must make allowances for babies.

2. You might notice that he's only wearing a diaper in those pictures. That's because he lost clothing privileges after two poopsplosions in as many days. A lot of baby toys got thrown in the bathtub.

(At one point I comforted myself with the thought that probably even the Blessed Mother had to deal with poopspolsions. And she didn't have running water.)

3. On Sunday evening, Scott and I mailed a very giant check for one of his student loans (8% interest rate--yikes yikes yikes). I expected to feel more triumphant about paying off our first student loan (of many), but not yet. Maybe I'll feel better when our emergency fund isn't quite so depleted.

4. On Monday Tad and I were flying solo for about 14 hours because Scott had Schola practice. (The Schola is technically disbanded, but they got talked into singing for the homeschool graduation next month.) We actually did pretty well--that was NOT one of the days he poopsploded. I was particularly proud of myself when I realized that just a few months ago I was terrified of Scott actually going to work instead of telecommuting because I'd be alone with the baby for 8 hours. (I think he was 3 months old or so before that stopped terrifying me.)

5. On Wednesday Scott telecommuted and we drove an hour each way to have lunch with my family and my godmother's widower. (Did I mention that she died? She did and we're all very sad. You should pray for her.) It was too short but still nice, and R seemed to enjoy meeting Tad.

6. On Thursday Tad and I went to La Leche League. There was a little girl there who was 8 months old and could crawl and sit up. (Tad was very jealous.) I had brought a blanket and some toys with the thought that Tad could play on the floor, but that didn't work very well because he was fussy from not napping and the other baby kept crawling over and stealing his toys.

I wonder what the etiquette is for that. I really don't care if another baby wants to play with his toys (Me: "He's an only child; he has to learn to share somehow.") but the other baby's mother seemed to think it was a Big Deal, so I felt obliged to police the playtime and make sure her baby didn't take any of Tad's toys. It was distracting.

7. The LLL meeting eventually turned into a babywearing meeting. Tad and I elected to go to Kroger instead of sticking around and socializing. Afterwards, one of my friends from the meeting posted a video for another lady and I whined about how I want a wrap. She offered to loan me one. I asked if she was going to be home at lunchtime on Friday, since I'd be passing right by her house on the way back from the chiropractor. She didn't respond, but I decided to stop by anyway just in case she was home. I'm a very very bad introvert, but woven wraps are awesome, you guys. Must start saving my pennies.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seven Quick Takes with retail therapy, power outages, trips to the park, and BOOKS

Remember back in August when I bought materials for a baby blanket? No? That's okay; I barely remember it either.

I finally made that blanket over the course of the last week and a half or so. Behold!

I wanted some more cotton jammies for Tad (about half of the jammies that currently fit him are fleece, which doesn't work with the warmer weather we've been having lately), so we went to Carter's on Tuesday. I ended up spending $36 altogether, but I DID get a set of jammies. (And some pants, and some shoes, and some onesies...)

On Friday I made these brownies in honor of Tad's name day. (If you're up on your calendar of saints, you now know what his middle name is. Yes, we really did call him that.) Then we put ice cream on top. This might have to become a family tradition.

We had a bit of an adventure on Wednesday evening when our power went out. Fortunately Scott's parents still had power (I guess that's the advantage of living just over the county line), so we went over to their house and got free dinner and everything.

Tad had his worst night of sleep in a long time right after that. I went to sleep around 11 (foolish mama), he woke up at 1:00 and had to be walked to sleep, and then he woke up again at 3:00 and nothing would soothe him back down. He finally fell asleep again at 5:00 but at that point I was good and awake. We crashed for a nap around 11 a.m.

Fortunately he's slept well since then. Yesterday he took a 4-hour nap ending at 6:30 p.m. and he still slept fabulously last night. (I guess sleep does beget sleep.) Of course, I had insomnia and was up until about 2 a.m. Can't win around here.

I read Cruel Beauty between Wednesday and Friday. I really loved it, but the ending bothered me a bit--not the content, just the pacing. It was incredibly tightly paced up to the first climax and then suddenly we're dumped into what feels kind of like an epilogue, except then we get another climax. It left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Still, I highly recommend the book and am going to read it again as soon as I can because I think I missed some stuff gobbling it up the first time.

Yesterday I had to go to the library to pick up a book that was in on reserve and would be gone by the time my usual Wednesday library trip rolled around. (So annoying.) Normally I'd leave the baby home with Scott for such a short trip, but today I got the brilliant idea to pack everybody up and go to the park across the street from the library.

We had fun.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! And to buy her NEW BOOK, go here!!! (I haven't read it yet, but if I win an Amazon gift card as a result of mentioning it in my Quick Takes, I'll buy it. Very meta, huh?)