Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm A Baby Snuggler

So my gorgeous friend Megan is writing a series of babywearing articles at Blissfully Domestic. Go on, go check it out, my blog isn't going anywhere!

Ok, so now that you have read the goodness that is Megan, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my babywearing experience. My carrier stash consists of a knock off Bjorn purchased at Target (I've linked to an Amazon listing for visual purposes, not to be confused with a recommendation *wink*). Also included in my carrier stash is a CassieBeanie ring sling, a Lucky baby pouch, and a Hotsling. These carriers were all made beautifully, work just fine, and are pleasant to look at.

But they all pale in comparison to the Best. Baby. Carrier. Ever. It's so versatile, totally comfortable, good for moms with bad backs or shoulders, and lightweight. Yes, I'm talking about the Mei Tai. Not to be confused with the sippable Mai Tai.


No, the Mei Tai is an asian inspired baby carrier, it has a long body, and a set of straps attached to the top and bottom. Essentially, you tie your baby to you. My friends at Hideabug Sky Tai have some great instructions on how to put on your Mei Tai. Once you have your baby securely attached to you, you can very easily take walks, go shopping, pace around the house with a colicky baby, or do housework.

The reasons I love the Mei Tai are as follows:

-Totally versatile. You can wear your baby in the hip, back or front carry, facing towards you or away from you, as a wee baby, or as a tot.

-The wide straps cross over your shoulders and back so that your baby's weight is evenly distributed. As a mom with a bad back and shoulders, this is the most helpful of all. Hours of comfort and achy-free baby wearing!

-Compact (it folds down really small), can also be purchased with a cover, for protecting baby from the elements, and for discreet nursing.

-Stranger protection! Other people just have this insane urge to touch little babies. Intentions may be good, but you don't know if they've just been to the bathroom, or put out their cigarette or just kicked the flu. With your baby sandwiched in between you and the carrier, strangers are much less likely to reach their grimy hands in and pet your kid.

Ok, so now that I have raved long enough, let's talk about which Mai Tei is the best. Well, ready for a linkage overload? Check out some great ones here and here. Oh, yep, and here and here too. Wait, and here.

Of course, one wouldn't be let down by the amount of results when Googling "Mai Tei". On average, most MT's will cost you about 60-100 dollars. You may also find a clearance gem, or find instructions for making your own carrier. But these babies are worth every single penny!

Here is a picture taken last year of me wearing my 4 month old baby at the zoo.

This is the first picture I have shared of myself on this blog and it happens to be one where I am carrying extra baby weight, I have an odd expression on my face, I'm standing next to a drinking fountain, and my unwashed hair is hanging flatly. Pretty.

But really, even if you buy a Mei Tai and find it doesn't make you giddy with happiness, the good news is that they often hold quite a bit of value and you can swap or sell it.

So do it, try one, your baby will thank you!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Motherhood. The word simply means the state of being a mother.

I entered motherhood in January of 2005, and again in January of 2007. I definitely was in a state. A state of total shock, awe, terror, amazement, and joy. And still, 3 and a 1/2 years later, the feelings haven't faded away. As I smother shower my two little red headed joys with kisses, I can't help but feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

No matter how many pressing things are on my mind (the bills, the laundry, the errands) nothing can take away my worries like a whispered "I love you" and a tight squeeze from a small child.

Nothing can take away my fear like laughing as my toddler licks her sister's face and proclaims that she tastes "like a baby".

Absolutely nothing in this world can bring me more joy than watching my children play together, even if they are making a mess.

Because I'm not a mother, or even a mom. I'm a Mommy, and two little girls hold my heart in their grubby little hands.

This picture was taken one year ago, when my daughter was 6 months old. The photo was spontaneous, I was kissing her to make her smile for the camera. When I look at this picture, I see a few flaws (read: baby weight) but I also see sunshine, happiness, love, and total and complete peace. That is motherhood.

(This is an entry for the Mother's Day Photo Contest from 5 Minutes for Mom, courtesy of Egg Beaters.)

(Special thanks to Nora K. who helped make this picture beautiful. Thanks Nora!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

I did it.

I just finished re-enrolling in college. I have two semesters to go until I graduate. Since I have the reputation as The Person Who Can't Finish Anything, I am really excited to be able to have a little piece of paper that says I saw a task through to the end.

So this summer I will be taking a Biology class and lab (scared) a Physical Geology class and lab (terrified) an independent study Cultural Geography course (holy crap) and a secondary education seminar (worried). I am a bit nervous about taking two lab classes at once. I had to have the Academic Dean sign a course overload waiver since it is a short semester with a lot of info crammed into it.

I found the course overload waiver very interesting. I'm a little upset that my nurse didn't offer to sign a Chaos Overload waiver when my second daughter was born! I should totally sue for mental health damages.

I am very excited about going back to school though. I took two years off, so it is about time I got my big booty back in the game! And I am ecstatic about dropping a G on tattered used textbooks. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm tired.

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Nope, I'm not giving something away (this time anyway!), but I did spend the greater part of four hours entering several hundred giveaways! You enter by going to one of the 700+ blogs, and adding a comment to the post with your information. They randomly pick a number this weekend and send out your free giveaway! There are some really cool things to be won!

I know, FOUR HOURS. Luckily (?) my kids were sick and didn't want to do anything else but lay around with blankets and watch cartoons. Ali spent most of the time on my lap so I was reading and signing up for contests with one hand.

As I was going through the list, entering ones that sounded interesting, I noticed a few things.

1. I can't even count how many comments I saw that said "This sounds great! Count me in! -Anonymous" Haha, good luck there buddy, I hope you win big!

2. Every time I went to post an entry, I noticed a lady that would always post before me. She was on almost every single blog that I was, her comments just mere minutes before mine. I pictured the two of us racing through cyberspace, our fingers flying over the keyboard itching to enter as many as possible before the hubby walked through the door, or the dinner boiled over.

3. My favorite was a comment on a giveaway for a $5 Starbucks gift card. The comment said something like "Oh wow, this is wonderful. Things are so stressful financially, so this will help out a lot." Right, drinking an expensive calorie-laden frappucino ("Extra whipped cream please!") is really going to help you pay your bills. A more appropriate giveaway would be a box full of groceries, or a full gas can. Or even a box of condoms so that people like this nitwit stop spawning!

Last night I went to bed with a numb buttcheek, and fingers that were curled into the typing position. I looked like an eagle about ready to swoop down and grab up a cute little mouse. And even as I was sleeping, another eighty giveaways were added. I. Must. Resist.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The 5 S's

Back in February I wrote a post about colic. As I now read that post I am shocked by the mental image that comes to me.

A wild eyed mother with hair sticking in all directions, banging her blog posts out on the keyboard so hard her fingers are blistered, a little baby screaming in the background, a poor toddler stuck in front of the TV. A huge pile of unwashed clothes, take out containers strewn about the house, a sinkful of dishes starting to smell. Windows and blinds shut tightly so the neighbors don't think she is torturing a small herd of goats.

It's no wonder we were all so miserable. Poor diet, lack of sunshine, messy house, and nonstop screaming. But I strongly believe that when you have a child with colic you HAVE to do what you can to survive. If it means not cooking dinner so that you can rest while the baby sleeps, then by all means do it! And don't be afraid to ask your sister or even your mother in law (*gasp*) to help out.

Alivia's colic went away around 4 months. We still have not figured out the cause of her colic but it may be related to the fact that she hated my guts and loved to make me miserable.

For those 119 days, 23 hours, and 48 minutes of colic I found only one thing (well, five actually) that prevented me from wrapping Ali in a soft blanket and placing her on my neighbor's doorstep with a "Please take her!" note and a jar of strawberry preserves.

It's called The Five S's. You can find more info on the Five S's in Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block.

Swaddling - Swaddling is not that hard once you get the concept. You basically wrap the baby tightly in a blanket which provides comfort to the child. Unless you have a McGyver baby who used a Q tip and a toothbrush to undo her swaddle and then flail her arms and legs about whilst shreiking as loudly as possible. So out of the Five S's, this one was the least effective for us, but still works wonders for loads of exhausted parents!

Side/stomach position - This helps babies who have gas or reflux issues. I spent many many hours laying next to her patting her bum and rubbing her back. I'm not going to go into the Back To Sleep campaign, but be aware that Dr. Karp recommends using the side/stomach position to get your baby to fall asleep, then rolling them to their back.

Shushing Sounds - I actually owe what is left of my sanity to the shush sound. This can be created with any kind of appliance or object that makes steady white noise (dryer, vacuum, fan, etc). You can also try a white noise CD which helps create the rhythmic sounds of the womb. I can't tell you how many nights were spent in the bathroom, the fan going, me swinging the baby (see below) while trying to ignore the filthy ring in the bathtub and dried toothpaste on the counter.

Swinging - This was big for us. I even had to resort to putting her in the bucket car seat and gently swinging her back and forth (buckled in of course). She also enjoyed her baby swing, and being strapped into a sling or carrier while I walked to hell and back.

Sucking - A nipple (real ones or fake ones) pacifier, thumb, etc. Ali was nursing still, but we had a rough time, I think she got sick of my BO. The pacifier helped us immensely though.

Now that I have had a year to reflect on our colicky existence, I have a new list.

Shots....if all else fails, a few healthy swigs of tequila will do wonders for your nerves. Probably not recommended for nursing moms.

Shower...we spent so much time inside during the cold winter months, so a shower wasn't exactly necessary every day (although it was needed). But with a two year old and a screaming newborn, it was incredibly hard to find time to jump in the shower. Lay your baby down in a safe place and take a quick hot shower (not a long leisurely bubble bath while you drink tequila and read a mag). When you get out the baby may still be screaming, but you will feel at least a tiny bit refreshed.

Stereo...This is for two reasons. 1. You can hold your baby and dance around the house which will give you exercise and distract him briefly. 2. Nothing drowns out a crying baby like Madonna's "Like a Virgin" (Don't you wish you still were? Sigh.)

Sunshine...I know, the last thing you want to do is get outdoors, but it really, really will help. It will force you to brush your hair and change out of those dirty sweatpants, and your baby will enjoy the change of scenery (usually.)

Scream...I know, there is already a lot of that going on in your household. But in this case, again lay your baby in a safe place, retreat to the bedroom, turn off the light and shut the door. Then put a pillow over your face and scream as loudly as you can. Scream until your throat is raw if you'd like. There, better? Now your frustration is gone and you won't need to do the pillow scream for several more hours minutes.

It gets better though! I am happy to say that Alivia is now a perfectly happy well rounded snuggle-pie who does no wrong (HA!).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Freshly Roasted Baby

Today Alivia reached up on the counter and pulled on a piece of paper that was sitting there. The paper was a brightly colored advertisement for Pamper's diapers that I had placed there for no reason. Alivia caught a glimpse of the cute little boy baby wearing the Pamper's and thought she should pull it down to see if he was hotter close up.

The problem was that sitting on top of the Pamper's catalog was my new large carton of coffee grounds (not the tin kind, the plastic jug). As she pulled down the picture of the handsome baby the entire container of grounds fell on top of her. The plastic jug did not hit her but 26 oz of coffee sand rained down upon her. She had it in her hair, nose, down her shirt, sticking to her eyelashes, it was E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!!!!!

We were running late for a playdate, so I stripped her down and did a quick wipe down. She was in a fresh diaper so I didn't worry about checking that. While at our playgroup I noticed the scent of fresh coffee beans following her around, and found a few stray grinds in her ear.

She was a bit fussy at the store, and upon getting home and stripping her down to change her diaper I got the shock of my life. Her diaper was full of tiny little coffee grounds. I felt so bad that the poor girl had to carry around a diaper full of Folger's for several hours. :( But after washing her down she was happy as can be so I think the coffee incident is behind us.

"The best part of wakin' up...is Folger's in your butt"

P.S. This has also reminded me that I can't leave ANYTHING on the edge of counters. I can't believe her arms have gotten so long!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Day Two

The second day of spring torture cleaning is over! Last Saturday I began the daunting task of ridding my house of toys, dust, grime, clothing, junk, crap, and junk. Yesterday I spent some more time scrubbing.

My house was messy. Oh boy, it was messy. It looked a bit like my house had pushed all of the books and toys off of the shelves, pulled the clothes off of the hangars and out of the drawers, squirted ketchup and mustard all over everything, then stirred it around with a big stick. And then my house threw it all up. It was horrendous.

In my defense, I have two young children, and one much older male child. Both my husband and I missed that day in Kindergarten when the concept of clean up was taught. We both have the inability to pick up after ourselves, we're lazy housekeepers and we didn't own a mop for the first two years of our marriage. I am getting MUCH better about it, but my house is never company ready.

Every year in March and April I spend several weekends scouring the floor and walls, getting rid of stuff, and deep cleaning closets. Last year I had a three month old baby who NEVER SLEPT and so my spring cleaning agenda got shoved under the bed with the rest of the dust bunnies and old socks.

But this year I knew I really needed to spend some bonding time with some dust rags and a bottle of 409. So I wrote out my list of tasks and got ready to work. Last Satuday was spent mostly cleaning up the general chaos. It's hard to deep clean when you have dishes and toys and laundry and junk everywhere. So after spending several hours of straightening up I began on Chloe's room. I threw out several bags of broken toys, donated several bags of unused toys, and put a few boxes of toys in storage. Scrubbed down windows and doors and walls and shelves, got rid of unread books and unloved stuffed animals.

Yesterday I began the kitchen. I scrubbed down small appliances, cleaned out the fridge and sorted through cupboards. As I was getting down and dirty clean I was struck by the sheer filthiness of my walls!

The wall behind Alivia's high chair might just win some awards for being the Dirtiest Wall Ever. You see, she's a Flinger. When she is done with food she doesn't politely put down her fork and daintility wipe her mouth with a napkin. Oh no, she chucks everything on her high chair tray as far as she can. I think it is a game to her "Five points if I can hit the wall with this noodle!" "Ten points if this peach sticks to the fridge door!" "Twenty points if I can hit my sister with this sippy cup!" I usually clean up major spills right away, but the wall needed a good wipe down. I spent a good hour scrubbing off bits of stuck on food and dried juice.

Next Saturday I will continue to freshen up my grimy cave!