100th Post!!

Woot Woot!  I made it to 100 posts!  So exciting.  I started this blog about a year and a half ago and I never really thought I would keep up with it this long, but here I am! 

I thought I would “celebrate” by giving you ten pieces of information about me that you probably don’t know.  Here goes!

1.  I have no middle name.  My parents thought that my sisters and I had long enough first names and our last name was ridiculously long, so they just gave us first and last names.  My brother got the short end of the stick and has two middle names. 

2.  I was briefly in culinary school.  I love to cook and I was floundering in college so I started in a culinary program.  I worked for about 6 months as a butcher at my college and I loved it so much.  There is something crazy powerful about being a woman and being a butcher.  Probably the most fun job I have ever had.  I made it through the meat and dairy rotation of the culinary school before I decided I didn’t really want to cook for other people.  I just really like to cook for people I love.

3.  I have a degree in event management.  I am an event and wedding planner, so I may be one of the few people in the world who have actually gone into their intended field.  I did, however, change my major when I was a junior in college and I was already working as an event coordinator, so I kind of cheated.

4.  I am an athlete.  I played basketball and golf in high school, basketball in college (briefly) and after college I played basketball and softball in local leagues.  I love sports and I miss being able to play, but I just don’t have the time anymore.  Plus I am waaaay out of shape.

5.  M’s real name is Matt.  I’ll probably never type it again cause I like to protect his privacy whenever possible.  He’s the best…

6.  I am a middle child.  Technically I share the middle child spot with my sister, but I truly got the middle child treatment, whereas my sister did not.  If we end up having three children, you better believe I will make sure that the middle child gets lots of attention and love.

7.  I was married once before I married M.  It was a truly awful experience and someday I will write about it.  Shudder.

8.  I feel like a child most of the time.  I keep waiting for that moment where I will feel like a grown up and it just never comes.  I honestly can’t believe that I am 31.  I certainly don’t feel like I am 31.

9.  I live in Oregon.  I love it here and I will probably never live anywhere else.  It’s beautiful, I love the rain, and we have no sales tax.  Seriously, if you’ve never been to Oregon, you should.  It is amazing.

10.  I am painfully shy in real life.  I have a really hard time speaking to new people and I hate being in situations where I don’t know anybody.  It is almost to the point of petrifying fear.  I much prefer to stay home and be with M and Arlie. 

Well there you have it.  I’ll be back to my regular posts tomorrow. 🙂

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She’s OUR Baby

Holy Moly, I may or may not be working with a lack of sleep lately and this may or may not be affecting how I am dealing with people around me.  But let me tell you, people are really getting on my nerves!

I don’t know exactly how to make everyone around me and M understand that Arlie is our child and we are raising her.  Both of our parents slip in little comments here and there and because my tolerance level is so incredibly low right now, they are really getting on my nerves.  I am tired of any questioning of our methods and I am tired of the grandparents trying to claim their “ownership” of this little lady. 

I’m not young, I turned 31 in April.  I’ve seen a lot of things in my life and I feel strongly about the methods and decisions M and I have made in regards to Arlie’s upbringing.  All of our parents have children and they had the opportunity to raise them however they chose.  My childhood was not perfect.  I was not abused, but I craved attention and love because I did not receive them.  M’s childhood was also not perfect.  He was not abused, but he also had a lack of love.  I want to change the things that I can for Arlie.  I want to make her life filled with love and joy and happiness.

So far, our efforts seem to be doing well.  Arlie is an incredibly happy baby.  She’s growing well, shes learning new skills daily (sometimes hourly).  She’s just such a great baby in general.  And yet, we still get “helpful” comments from the gradparents.

I want to stand up and say “She’s OUR baby and we will raise her how WE choose.”  I want to tell my mom to stop saying “How’s my girl?” to Arlie every morning when I drop her off.  Arlie is MY girl, mine and M’s.  I want my dad to stop trying to undermine parenting decisions we have chosen for Arlie.  I want M’s step-mother to stop referring to Arlie as her grand-daughter on facebook.  Mostly I just want everyone to BACK THE FUCK OFF and let us raise our child.

I can’t be the only parent that feels like this.  I hope when I am a grand parent I am helpful to my children.  And that I can be helpful in a non-judging manner.  But in the meantime, I am seriously going to have to bite my tongue and continue doing what M and I decide to do.  Grrr!

Arlie- 6 Months

I figured I should give an update on how Arlie is doing.  She turned 6 months this week and it has been crazy!

Arlie is about 16.5 lbs now, which puts her in the 56 percentile.  She is also 27 3/4 inches long, which puts her in the 99 percentile.  Apparently she got her daddy’s genes in that regard.  Lucky girl.  She is growing like crazy and is a BUSY little girl.

She can sit up on her own unassisted and loves to go from sitting to standing with a little help.  She found her voice at about 4 months, but man she uses it a lot now.  I’m talking screeching and yelling at the top of her voice.  She is a crazy baby sometimes and really enjoys hearing her own voice.

She has started some solid foods.  So far she is a pretty big fan of bananas and pears.  Apples, peaches, avocado and sweet potatoes are pretty good.  Carrots are a no.  She seems to really enjoy eating.  She does this adorable thing with her mouth when she watches us eat.  Its like a fish mouth opening and closing.  Its hilarious.

She is on the verge of crawling.  She gets up on her hands and tries to get her knees under her so I don’t think we have much longer of a stationary baby.  I’m kind of terrified for this.

Shes a giggler and a smiley baby.  She’s almost always happy, which is amazing.  I seriously can’t believe it has been six months.  I am just so lucky.  I keep saying it because I really truly believe that  M and I are so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful baby.  She truly is the light of our worlds. 

Woot! 6 Months!

Holy moly, Arlie is 6 months old!  The time has literally flown by and I am in awe of her and all the amazing things she can do now.  And just as important: We’re still breastfeeding!  Yay!  I set a goal of 6 months for myself when I was pregnant and now that I am at 6 months, I’m thinking… Why not 12 months?  Or longer? 

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I was sincerely worried that my body would not cooperate, what with all the stupid crap it pulls all the time.  But I was wrong and apparently breastfeeding is the ONE thing that my body can excel at.

It hasn’t been easy and at times it wasn’t very fun.  I’d say at around three months, we really hit our groove and now I really enjoy the time with Arlie.  It is not all sunshine and rainbows however.  I still pump twice a day to get milk for the next day and I have around 120 ounces saved in my freezer for when I don’t produce enough.  In total honesty, pumping stresses me out a little and the stress I put on myself to make sure that Arlie doesn’t have to have formula is pretty intense.  I know it would not be the end of the world if she had to have formula, but I really don’t want to do that.  I do love being able to bond with her and being able to feed her wherever though.  I especially love when she nurses at night and is sleepy.  She’s just so sweet sometimes, it kills me.

As she gets older and bigger, nursing has become a little more interesting.  She is so enthralled by everything around her that she often pulls off the boob to take a look at what is around her.  This causes a milk fountain to spray everywhere and that’s pretty annoying, but I can usually get her to latch back on pretty quickly.  She also has two teeth on the bottom and is starting to cut two on the top and that has been rather interesting.  For the first week after she got the two bottom teeth, she bit me a few times a day and it was rough, but she stopped doing that and it’s been easy since then.

I am still wearing breast pads at night because I’m a leaking machine at night, but I’ve graduated to not having to wear them during the day, so that’s nice.  Overall, I’d say that so far my breast feeding experience has been very positive.

My tips for new mommies who want to breastfeed: 

1. Go to a lactation consultant before you give birth.  I met with two different ladies and although it was kind of weird, I also learned a lot and had some strategies in place prior to giving birth.  They both checked the shape and size of my nipples and helped me practice holds.  I felt semi-prepared when Arlie got here and even though I forgot most of what I learned for the first we were home and settled, I remembered some of the tips they suggested and it made it a lot easier.  Also, bring your husband if you can and if he is willing.  M was very helpful after birth in reminding me what we learned.

2. Use lanolin after every feed for the first couple of weeks.  I will bring mine to the hospital the next time I am giving birth and I will use it religiously.  I fully believe not using it this time was a huge mistake and could account for most of the pain I was feeling.

3. At your weight check a couple of days after birth, your baby will have lost some weight.  Do not freak out when the doctor tells you this!  Just keep nursing and trying.  If there is truly an issue with the latch or with your boobs, you will find out soon and you can address it.  But for most women, your milk hasn’t come in yet and it is totally normal for the baby to have lost the weight.  No one told me this and I literally lost my mind after that first weight check.

4. Get milkies, soothies, and a pump.  If you are not going back to work, ignore the pump unless you plan on being away from your baby.  The milkies are these rad little cups that you can put on the opposite boob you are nursing from.  It catches the leaking milk and you can use it later.  Soothies are these awesome pads that you can freeze or just put in the fridge for your boobs.  Lifesavers.  It was the best feeling ever to grab a soothie (or one of my boobie ice pack thingys) and slap it onto the boobs.  My pump and I have a love hate relationship.  I appreciate the fact that it makes it possible for me to feed Arlie while I am away from her but I truly hate pumping.  However, I have the Medela Pump-In-style Advanced and it is awesome.  My insurance provided it to me for free and I could not be more grateful.  It is easy to use, easy to clean, and it does a good job.

5. Don’t buy one kind of bottle if you plan to use them.  Try a few different ones.  We were lucky in that Arlie liked the one brand that we bought (Playtex drop in’s) but we only bought three of them to try out.  My sister gave us a few other ones to try and Arlie just happened to like the Playtex ones the best.  Honestly, these bottles are pretty sweet and I recommend them.  They are easy to use and clean, plus the drop in helps to prevent the baby gulping a bunch of air while they feed, which is awesome.

6. Almost everyone will tell you how to do it.  Ignore them and go with your instincts.  Don’t feel like a failure if you have to switch to formula.  It’s your baby and your body, so do what works best for you.

We have been on solids for about ten days now so I’ll have to do a post about that as well.  It’s been an interesting ride so far. 🙂

Semi Attachment Parenting

When I was pregnant, M and I spent a lot of time talking about how we were going to parent and what was important to us as parents.  My focus was very much on making sure Arlie felt loved and safe all the time.  I didn’t have that when I was growing up and I never want Arlie to feel that way.  M’s was similar, but he kind of let me steer how we would parent.  I think for him, as long as Arlie is safe and happy, he is on board.

My semi-attachment approach basically involves me baby-wearing when possible or practical, bed-sharing and lots and lots of cuddles and time with Arlie.  I work from home two half days a week and this has allowed me to spend quite a lot of extra time with Arlie.  I can usually get some work done while she is sleeping or otherwise occupied by one of her toys or activity centers, and when she needs me I am right there. 

The baby wearing has been ok.  She HATED the ergo for the first 2 months of her life.  We are slowly getting her into it and she has been doing pretty well when we are at a store or taking  a walk.  She is a sweaty little baby so we both have to be dressed appropriately, otherwise we both end up soaking wet.  Not ideal, I know…  Anyway, she seems to like it a lot now, especially in the grocery store.  I don’t think she was a huge fan of people getting close to her when she was riding in the cart, and the ergo is a great solution to that.  Plus I think we both like to be snuggled up against each other.

Bed-sharing was never my intention when I was pregnant and I had a small baby corral thingy that sat between my and M’s pillows at night, but Arlie seriously hated it.  I finally pulled her out of it when she was about 6 days old and laid her in the bed with me and she proceeded to stop crying and fussing and went straight to sleep.  We haven’t looked back since.  M and I have a king size bed so Arlie has a strip down the middle that is for her.  I generally fall asleep with her feet against or resting on my stomach.  She sleeps better when she is touching me, which means that I sleep better too.  Feeding her in the middle of the night is easier for me and I like having the contact with her, especially now that I am back at work and my time with her is limited.

The cuddles.  I can’t get enough of her cuddling and loving.  When I was a kid, hugs were rare and so were any kind of compliments.  It was tough on me because I really craved the personal time and affection from my parents but it just wasn’t there.  With Arlie, I want her to think that hugging and kisses (with mom and dad and immediate family members) is normal and fun.  I will NEVER get enough hugs from Arlie.  I will NEVER get tired of kisses from Arlie.  Most importantly, Arlie will know for her entire life how much M and I love her.

I’m calling this semi-attachment because I am not wearing her constantly and I think it is good for her to be by herself sometimes and learn how to play alone.  I also want to make sure that she doesn’t feel smothered by us.  I think it is a fine line between being overbearing and weird and being loving and making sure that Arlie is happy.  My ultimate goal as a parent is to make sure that Arlie’s life is good.  Not spoiled or overindulged, but happy and content.    

Why I Love My Cloth Diapers

Dipes

We made the decision well before Arlie was born to do cloth diapers. I had intentions starting from when M and I were just trying to get pregnant. As I have said before, M and I are not super Eco-conscious. We live in Oregon, so that is a driving force. And we recycle and compost, but we aren’t crazy about it or anything. Mostly it is just a way of life in Oregon so it’s what we know. Anywho, this had an impact on my decision to do cloth diapers. I just really couldn’t stand the thought of a million disposable diapers leaving my house and going to the landfill to sit forever. But even this was not my main driving force…

Cloth diapers are freaking adorable. Seriously. And there is the added bonus of them being waaay cheaper in the long run. I started when I was about 20 weeks buying about 5 per month from Alva Baby. I know a lot of people don’t like Alva’s, but they are extremely cheap and they have a TON of cute prints to choose from. Plus, I had nothing to compare them to and I didn’t really want to be spending $20.00 or more per diaper. I did a lot of research prior to buying any diapers and actually purchased a few from other sites first, none of which are still in my rotation.

With my consistent buying for the last few months of my pregnancy, plus a big buy around Christmas (yay extra Christmas money!), I ended up with about 40 diapers and about 60 inserts. We waited until Arlie was about 8 weeks old to try the first diaper. We probably could have started earlier, but I was scared (crazy hormones!!!!) and I didn’t think they would fit her yet. Looking back now, we probably could have started right from the hospital and I intend to do so with our second child.

Alva’s are cool because they are super adjustable. We started out with the diapers on the smallest possible size and that worked well for us until last week when we went up a size. They are easy to clean, easy to re-stuff and easy to get on and off of her. She has not had a single diaper rash since we started them. We are also using cloth wipes. Arlie has a sensitive tushy and disposable wipes were making her poor butt super rashy and red. She also has not had a single blow out in these diapers. The elastic in the back prevents anything from coming out the back and the legs, and the front is high enough that it stops any poo in it’s tracks.

For cleaning them, I literally just spray the ones that are super gross (M set up a sprayer that attaches to the toilet. You can make your own or buy one that is a kit.) pull the liners and throw them into the washing machine. The process that works best for me is: Cold rinse, Cold rinse, Hot full cycle with arm and hammer free and then one cycle in the dryer. That’s the other cool part about Alva’s… I can put them in the dryer.

We are still using disposables for overnight, but that is only because I am lazy and haven’t done enough to find a cloth diaper that will work overnight. Arlie isn’t a heavy wetter or anything, but she does pee about three times in a night and that equals me having to change the diaper at least once. The snapping noise wakes her up fully EVERY time and that is not ok. I’ve been reading about other brands, specifically ones for overnight and I am hoping to purchase one in the next few weeks to try them out. Ideally we would be completely disposable free soon.

I’m a big fan of the cloth diapers and I will use them for any additional children we have. I feel good about not using sposies and I love how adorable Arlie looks in a cloth diaper. My favorite thing about them is that it is like another clothing accessory for her. I may or may not have a small addiction to them now. M had to put a stop to my purchasing, but I have still been sneaking them here and there. I like that I can spend 20 bucks and end up with about 4-6 diapers. I highly highly recommend at least trying cloth diapers out. And I definitely recommend Alva’s. Can beat the price and the quality is good.

A Day In The Life of Arlie

I thought I’d give a quick run-down of what Arlie’s and my days are like.  M and I aren’t really schedule people, but she prefers to follow a bit of a schedule, so we try to accommodate that as best as we can.

5:45 am- Arlie wakes up, eats, then babbles or screeches for about ten to fifteen minutes.  (My alarm usually goes off about 6:15, so I try to snooze a little while she eats and plays.)

6:00 am- Arlie falls back asleep by Daddy

6:15 am- I get up (I usually get up, get dressed, make sure she has at least two bottles for the morning, get all my pump parts together, get her car seat prepped to put her in, put the dogs outside, grab a diaper and an outfit for her, and get all THREE bags I have to take every morning ready and in the car.

6:40 am- Out the door, headed to Grandma’s house.

7:00 am- Arrive at Grandma’s house.  I tend to stay with her for about 15 minutes cuddling her and saying goodbye.  I hate leaving her.

7:15 am to 11:40 am- Hang out with Grandma.  They usually play in an exersaucer, go outside for walks, play with the puppy and the big dog, nap, eat, etc.  I pump once during this time.

11:40 am- I come for lunch.  I come up to my parent’s house during my lunch break and nurse her.  We hang out for about 40 minutes and then I head back to work.

12:15 pm to somewhere between 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm- More time with Grandma.  Arlie likes to take big naps in the afternoon.  She MUST be cuddled and wrapped in a blanket to get her to fall asleep, but once you get her down, she usually sleeps for 45 minutes to an hour.  On a really good day she will sleep for an hour and a half, which is glorious.

1:30 pm to 4:00 pm- Daddy picks Arlie up.  This varies because M’s schedule is never the same day-to-day.  On very rare occasions, I have to go get her at 4:30 when I am done with work.  When M and Arlie get home they usually play a little, go outside and see the garden, play with the dogs, eat, nap, etc.  During this time while I am at work I try to pump at least once.

4:45 pm- I get home from work. 

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm- Play time, eat time, usually Arlie gets to eat a little frozen boob milk, takes a quick nap around 5:30ish.  If M is holding her, I sanitize all the pump parts, make dinner, feed the dogs, do the dishes and start some laundry.  If I am holding her, M takes care of a lot of the chores.

6:45 pm to 7:15 pm- Bath time, getting ready for bed.  Arlie takes a bath every other night (sometimes longer in between because she is either cranky or I am exhausted.  Also, if she is happy and not dirty and I am tired, bath times gets bumped to the next night).  Once bath is over, M gets her into pj’s and overnight diaper while I take a quick shower. 

7:30 pm- Bedtime nursing- Arlie usually eats around 7:30ish and then gets cuddled until she falls asleep.  She likes to fall asleep on my chest with her blankie over her.  Once she falls asleep, I put her down in the middle of the bed where she sleeps for the night.  During this time M is usually outside watering the garden and playing with the dogs a little.

7:45 pm- I usually take this time to eat something (my dinner is always eaten while holding onto Arlie so I don’t really get to eat much).  I also fold laundry and M and I watch our tv programs.  We take this time to hang out and be together.  Sometimes Arlie wakes up around 8:30 or 9 and wants to eat again. 

9:00 pm to 10:00 pm- I usually go to bed sometime in this hour.  M goes downstairs (he is a total night owl). 

11:50 pm- Arlie wakes up to nurse.

2:30-3:30 am- Arlie wakes up to nurse

5:45 am- It starts all over again.

 

I think we are in a pretty good groove right now.  Arlie is still waking 2-3 times per night and although it isn’t ideal, it’s the reality.  Plus I don’t really mind.  I’m getting enough sleep to survive, for now.  Sometimes the schedule shifts because we go to one of M’s softball games or we go somewhere for dinner, but for the most part we try to stick to the bedtime schedule as much as possible.  She really does prefer to go to bed at the same time every night and lets us know if she is displeased by the timing.  Overall, its seems pretty easy unless something different is thrown into the mix, but even that can be accommodated.  And most importantly, Arlie seems happy.