My family

My family
My Family

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fallen off the horse

Well blog, you are seriously neglected.  Truth of the matter is that raising a family leaves little time for blogging.

Enjoy some updates on our family:


Austin just celebrated his 2nd birthday yesterday!  Yikes, we have officially entered into a rather unpleasant stage of his life that will include potty training (what a mess), tantrums, and discipline.  But he is just a bundle of energy that I cannot imagine my life without.  Austin had super fun birthday parties that I will dedicate an entire post to tomorrow (or the next day).  A few weeks ago Austin had ear tubes placed in attempts to keep his ongoing ear infections at bay and possibly help his speech development.  He is finally taking good naps!  This only took him 2 years to figure out but better late than never.  Last week we attempted a photo session with Santa. 

Aubrey is 4 months old and weighs in at 14 pounds.  She is our chunky baby.  Austin was always so skinny and low on the growth charts.  Aubrey is just the opposite.  She giggles and laughs a lot.  No big milestones yet - she is thisclose to rolling over.  But she has been for awhile, she is in no hurry to move anywhere.  In the last week, she has started sleeping a little better.  One good nap in her swing will work for me right now - we are still in survival mode.  Last week she took her 1st trip to our local dance supply store.  The owner and good friend had her 1st tutu waiting for her.  Now she only needs to get bigger so she can fit into her ballet shoes.

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arts & Crafts with a Toddler

A few days ago Aubrey was taking a nice nap - rarity at our house.  I embraced this alone time with our son with arts and crafts.  Austin thoroughly enjoys coloring and stamping.  It had been months since we experienced play-doh, so we popped open the lid of blue and started rolling, cutting, and smooshing.  After a few moments the phone rang, as I answered the call, Austin took a nice big bite of the blue clay.  --Mom mode kicked in and my finger instinctively became a fish hook in his mouth...it was gone.  Only remnants of blue bits on his lips. 

Flash back to my childhood.  My neighbor friend regularly ate play-doh.  She is now a remarkable young woman, finishing up her college degree...  So, obviously Austin would live to see another day after ingesting the non-toxic clay.

I promptly gave Austin a snack of rainbow colored goldfish and water to wash down the play-doh.  We placed the remaining play-doh into its' container and retrieved paint dobbers from the bin.  After a short while of splashing paint onto paper, Aubrey awoke.  While I tended to her needs, Austin decided his rainbow goldfish were just not quite colorful enough...Yes, he dobbed paint onto the goldfish and was shoveling them into his mouth.  Thankfully, the paints were also non-toxic.  And before my inquisitive toddler could ingest more "non-toxic" items, we packed up arts & crafts to find something a little less dangerous to play with.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 9th

Austin will be 2 years old in December, therefore he has experienced two October 9ths since his birth.  This date seems to carry unfortunate events for him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010 - Austin eats eggs and experiences anaphylaxis for the first time. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011 - Austin woke just before midnight with a high fever.  We gave him medicine and waited for it to take effect.  Several hours later, he was expressing he was in pain and his fever was still climbing.  We loaded up at 3am to head to the emergency room.  Four hours and $100 later we were home and back in bed with a diagnosis of double ear infection.

As I sat in the waiting room with Austin asleep on my lap, I realized these two medical events had occurred on the same day --October 9th.  All in all, I believe we have been blessed to only have had two "medical emergencies" in the two years of his life.  One event per year isn't all that bad.

**To clarify, I am not "that" good with dates.  My best friend's baby was born October 8th of last year.  I was receiving her phone call with her birth announcement when Austin began anaphylaxing.  Last Saturday, we attended his 1st birthday party, hours before Austin woke with a high fever.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ah Ha!

This week Adam made a connection and we both had an "ah ha" moment. 

History:  From the week Austin came home from the hospital he was an amazing sleeper - woke once to feed and then straight back to sleep until morning.  Around 4 months old a switch flipped and his sleep habits were a literal nightmare.  Austin would wake screaming every hour from 9pm to 6am.  Each hour Adam and I would spend 30 minutes soothing him back to sleep.  Many times utilizing high decibels (vacuum cleaner) to silence his screams.  Oh the memories...  (I have honestly forgotten exactly how miserable this time of my life was - lack of sleep does things to your mind).

Recent history:  Earlier this summer Austin had an allergic reaction to watermelon.  This prompted another blood allergy panel testing for fruits.  The results revealed a banana allergy.  Initially I thought it was interesting he was allergic to bananas because he has always expressed a dislike of bananas.  I had previously thought it was a texture issue for him.  But now with these results, I realized that the bananas must make him feel badly - a good reason to refuse to eat them.  Pretty smart that boy of mine!

Now for the real "ah ha" moment.  And, I must give full credit to my wonderful husband for making this connection.  We began mixing bananas into Austin's cereal around 4 months of age.  He was underweight and his doctor recommended adding bananas to his cereal to help him pack on some extra calories.  Now remember it was 4 months old when Austin began having sleep issues.  Could his sleep problems possibly have been caused because his parents were feeding him a food he is allergic to???  I cannot imagine the digestive cramping and other internal reactions his body experienced during that time.  There is no way to prove this but I do believe the bananas could have been the culprit to our sleepless nights.

Aubrey is 2 Months Old







Our baby girl is a whopping 10 pounds, 8 ounces!  That is a 4 pound gain since birth.  She does enjoy her meals!  She is in the 38th percentile for her weight, quite different than her brother who has never been higher on the curve than the 10th percentile.

Aubrey is 22.75 inches long - 63rd percentile in height.  Maybe she will be short like her momma...

She is full of smiles, bubbles and "coos" - we love them all.  Her daily goal is to wear her entire wardrobe in one day - today she scored an 8.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not a Baby Anymore

I find myself calling Austin a baby on a regular basis, however the exact opposite is true.  He is no longer a "baby" but a toddler - a full of energy, strong willed, temper throwing TODDLER.  So why is it that I find myself still calling him a baby?

Before Aubrey was born, I was warned that Austin would seem to age overnight.  And indeed he did.  He looks like such a big boy when playing around his sister.  He definitely feels like a big boy when carrying him compared to Aubrey.

Soon after Austin was born, I received advice from fellow mommas.  Many telling me that I would wish back the days of him being a newborn.  I vowed to myself that I would not spend Austin's life reminiscing of his younger years and wishing them back.  But, rather embrace and cherish every moment of his life, as to not miss anything.  I like to believe I am staying true to my vow.  I love the sound of his bare feet pounding the hardwood as he races through the house.  He is learning to talk and expressing his desires and independence.  In the past week, Austin has kicked his binkie habit to the curb...with no resistance, while getting two new teeth.  He is officially growing up.  Soon we will be embarking on the next stage of toddlerhood - potty training.

But yet, Austin is still my baby.  Yesterday I took him for a hearing test.  The final component of his speech evaluation, to rule out hearing loss.  Unfortunately the audiologist had little to no experience with one year olds.  The entire experience was terrifying for Austin and momma too.  As he shook with fear, burying his head into my neck and clinching my body with arms and legs, I realized - he is still and always will be my baby.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Updates

Life with a toddler and newborn is quite busy leaving little time for me to blog.  I actually have a minute (maybe less) so I wanted to update my readers on our family.

Austin was tested for a speech delay the beginning of August.  He was found to have a mild speech delay of 7 months.  Next Monday his speech therapist starts coming for weekly visits to work with him.  We have been continuing to work on sign language with him to help him communicate with us his wants and needs.  He knows about 4 signs and is excited to use them.

Aubrey is now 5 weeks old and starting to be more awake during the day.  She gives us an occasional smile that truly melts our hearts.  She is extremely lucky to have a big brother who repeatedly replaces her pacifier when she spits it out.  I normally only replace a few times before I give up, but Austin will do this all day.  Tuesday she went to the doctor for a check up and weighs 8lbs 5oz and is 21.5 inches long.  We also found out her newborn PKU screening results were positive for an amino acid disorder.  Wednesday she had a repeat PKU screening.  We will find out the results in another week or so.  After much research we have found that it is not uncommon for this screening test to come back with a false positive.  We are prayerful this is the case for Aubrey.

Today Adam took a day off work to stay home with us.  We are headed out this afternoon to get some much needed shopping done.  Adam and Austin are taking on the grocery store while Aubrey and I are tackling target.  We are having family photos taken this evening - - any suggestions on how to keep Austin in good spirits are appreciated.

Monday, August 22, 2011

1 Month Old


Miss Aubrey is 1 month old (and 2 days, Mom is a little behind on blogging)

Stats:  Weight - She was 8lbs 1oz last Monday, tomorrow she has another doctor appointment, so my guess is about 8lbs 7oz (2lbs larger than birth)
Length - Will update tomorrow after her appt.  Guess is 22 inches (1 inch longer than birth)
Sleep - She wakes 2-3 times each night
Austin enjoys giving her a pacifier (to make her stop crying).  He has given her the occasional kiss on the head.  Every day he is getting more brave with her.
Sizes - As of this past week, she does not fit into newborn size sleepers.  0-3 month sleepers are a little big still.  She is still wearing newborn size diapers. 
Medical milestones - Aubrey had an umbilical granuloma that we discovered once her umbilical cord fell off.  Last Monday she had a treatment of silver nitrate to take care of the granuloma.  Her belly button still looks funny, but who cares...I do not foresee a bikini in her near future.
Developmental milestones - She can hold her head up - a much needed skill for life.  (Austin had rolled over by 1 month old, so maybe, just maybe she will be less busy and on the go than him)


She was less than impressed with my desire to take her picture capturing her size at 1 month old.


Attempt at a close up, again she was not happy with me.

And some 1 month photos of Austin for comparison.  If she wasn't crying in the above pictures they actually do look pretty similar.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mama Loves

I am joining in my fellow momma blogging friend Julia in her Saturday "Mama Loves".  I have a few I want to share with readers today.


1.  Austin's favorite book is a family photo album.  I have filled the pages full of pictures of Austin with us.  One of his favorite activities is to flip through his book and point at us in the pictures.  I made this album for him shortly after we became aware of his speech delay.  My hope was he would begin saying "mom" or some form of my name by seeing my picture.  So far no luck...but he does love pointing at me.

2.  My second item I want to share is the Chicco hook on high chair.
Last summer I discovered this nifty chair.  I absolutely hated going into restaurants and using their germ infested high chairs.  I always took along a high chair cover, but unfortunately a simple piece of material cannot protect you from everything.  I quickly learned that while the staff "might" wipe down the high chairs in between uses, the straps probably go neglected for the entire life of the high chair.  Another great reason for this chair is that every place you go with your baby might not have high chairs available for your use.  This happened to us at a wedding reception.   I found our Chicco hook on chair at a local children's retail shop for $16 - one of the best purchases I have made in the baby item department.  Adam was not convinced that this item was a "need" simply a want.  He quickly changed his mind after the 1st use.  I love that I can wash the seat after each use and not use the community high chairs when we are out.  I am sad that Austin has outgrown this chair, but I am looking into portable booster seats.  I will keep you updated on what we get.

3.  My 3rd "Mama Love" I do not have yet.  But I am positive it will make my life easier.  Currently I carry a Vera Bradley diaper bag.  This bag simply hangs over my shoulder.  I love this bag!  It is huge and fits everything I need.  When I was pregnant with Aubrey I thought that it might be easier to have a diaper bag that I could wear on my back with backpack straps.  Being hands free was a feature that I thought would be helpful with two children to keep hands on.  I have looked at backpack diaper bags and just haven't been able to commit.  It seems silly to buy a new diaper bag when I currently have one that will do the same job.
WRONG
Twice this week I took both children out - alone.  This "want" of a backpack diaper bag is definitely a "need".  Poor Austin got knocked out by my massive shoulder bag numerous times.  I barely fit through doors with Austin holding my one hand, diaper bag on shoulder, Aubrey in car seat on other arm - but wait how did I even open the door in the first place.
So I am in the market for a new diaper bag to wear on my back.  I am looking for recommendations, please let me know if you have one.

Also head on over to Julia's blog to check out other contributions to her Mama Loves.


Friday, August 5, 2011

The silence is coming to an end

Austin is almost 20 months old.  At his 18 month check up, we discussed our concern with Austin's lack of communication skills.  His pediatrician felt that he was showing signs of a speech delay and referred him for further evaluation.

Today a speech therapist, developmental therapist, and a parent service coordinator came to our house to perform his evaluation.  I was nervous for Austin.  He had no idea that strange people were coming over to meet him and check out his "skills".  Thankfully the therapists have tons of neat "new" toys to play with.  Austin immediately made two new best friends.  The evaluation consisted of plenty of questions for Adam and I to answer regarding Austin's behaviors and daily life.  The therapists pulled "tests" out of their Mary Poppins bags and observed Austin. 

After an hour of evaluating, the therapists gave us their findings.  According to the developmental therapist Austin is way ahead of where he should be.  He averaged between 24 and 36 months on all of his gross and fine motor skills tests.  According the the speech therapist, Austin is exhibiting an expressive speech delay of 32%.  Which means he is speaking and communicating as a 13 month old would, rather than a 20 month old. 

In a couple weeks, Austin will start meeting with his speech therapist to work on his communication delay.  She is certain he will grasp the concepts and skills of communicating quickly.  I can't wait to hear him express himself using words rather than screams and grunts.  We have noticed over the past few months Austin has grown extremely frustrated.  I am sure once he figures out how to communicate his needs and wants, he will not be so frustrated with us anymore. 

I am sure once he discovers the words no, mine, and why, I will wonder why I wanted him to talk.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not My Proudest Mommy Moment





This mommy is tired.  I forgot to defrost the meatloaf (that I prepared before Aubrey was born and froze to make meals easier on myself now that I have two kiddo's to fill my day).  So...

McDonalds it is!

Austin somewhat enjoyed his 1st happy meal.  He didn't eat too much but did like the fries.  At least he ate something - today his menu has consisted of cheerios, pears, a blueberry muffin, and an animal cracker or two.  Not the most nutritional day for my boy.  In my defense, I did offer several healthy choices and even unhealthy alternatives.  He just chooses not to eat some days.  And, I am too exhausted to struggle with him to eat.  I am sure he will eat when he is hungry....just not sure when that time will be.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Moma Loves

I am joining in my fellow momma blogging friend Julia in her Saturday "Moma Loves".  I agree with Julia and have learned a great deal from reading other Mommy blogs.  I am excited to read the responses she gets from other bloggers about their most loved gadgets.

My "Moma Loves" product is Milkies Milk Saver .  I wish I knew about this product when I had Austin and we struggled with our breastfeeding issues.  I discovered the milk saver several months ago.  I read reviews and was intrigued.  I ordered two milk savers just a week before Aubrey's scheduled arrival.  When I received my package in the mail, I eagerly opened them.

1st impression - WOW, these are HUGE.  Definitely not discreet as the packaging describes.  I was a bit skeptical at this point.  But I was willing to give them a try since it was too much effort to return ship them.

I packed one milk saver in my hospital bag, just in case the opportunity presented itself to try out this new gadget.  Since Aubrey is a wonderful nurser, I never even took it out of my bag until we came home and I unpacked.

On Sunday (4 days post delivery) I first used the milk saver.  When I nursed Aubrey, I slipped the milk saver in my nursing tank on the opposite side that I would be nursing.  After my first usage of the milk saver - I was sold.  I collected 1ounce of "leaked" milk from each side - no pumping required. 

As of now (10 days post delivery) I collect on average 10 ounces per day from the milk saver alone.  I have a freezer stash of 70 ounces and counting.  *Not all of my stash is from using the milk saver alone, I have pumped several times in the past 10 days to relieve the pressure of engorgement.  I only use the milk saver during feedings.  For me, it does not seem practical to slip the contraption in my nursing bra/tank to collect any leaked milk throughout the day, as the packaging suggests.

As a mom who experienced a "low supply" with Austin, I feel this amount of a breastmilk stash at only 10 days is AMAZING.  I do not feel the pressure to save every last drop of breastmilk.  Nor panic when Aubrey spits up my "liquid gold".

I have three goals for breastfeeding right now.
1.  Produce enough milk for Aubrey to exclusively breastfeed until 1 year.
2.  Produce enough milk for Austin to be able have a cup of breastmilk each day.  This will give him the antibodies present in breastmilk to help him fight his food allergies.
3.  Donate milk to a bank to nourish babies born prematurely who greatly benefit from receiving breastmilk.

The milk saver has made these goals actual possibilities.  I realize that as my milk supply regulates to meet the demands that Aubrey has placed upon my body, I might not leak near the amount of milk that I currently leak.  But for now I am collecting the milk that otherwise would be thrown out in a nursing pad.

Friday, July 29, 2011

# 4 is Here

It has been a while since I have last blogged.  I have been a busy momma and am proud to introduce to my blog readers.

AUBREY GABRIELLE


Wednesday, July 20 I woke at 3am to shower and get ready to HAVE A BABY.  By 4:30am Adam and I were headed to the hospital to meet our daughter.  We arrived promptly at 5:30am at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, 3rd floor - labor and delivery.  We were escorted to a c-section prep and recovery room.  My two nurses immediately began sticking me with needles and hooking me up to all sorts of medical monitoring machines.  At 6:00am, my nurse instructed Adam to head down to the cafeteria to eat some breakfast.  At that time, I was pretty tired from the events that had already occurred, so I closed my eyes and took a little nap.

When Adam returned it was close to 6:30am and it was time to start meeting with the anesthesiologist, assisting surgeon, and meet my actual nurse that would be staying with me in the operating room.  Dr. Weinstein, my OB came in around 7:00am to say "HI".  The last hour before surgery was very busy which made the time go by very fast.  So fast that I asked to use the restroom, thinking I would be climbing back into the hospital bed afterwards.  When I opened the ladies room door, everyone was standing waiting for me to head in to the OR. 

Without a moment to collect my thoughts, we were on our way.  Leaving behind a family of 3 to come out those doors as a family of 4.  Adam sat in a reserved area while I was further prepped for surgery.  The room was very cold - I immediately began shivering.  I begged the anesthesiologist to wait to insert my spinal until I adjusted to the temperature and was no longer shaking.  My nurse covered me with warm blankets and the anesthesiologist got to work.  Within seconds, I was assisted to lay down.  Dr. Weinstein came in and soon a big blue curtain came between my face and body.  Adam was brought in and we waited. 

I entered the operating room at 7:26 and at 7:50 Aubrey Gabrielle Walden was born.  She cried instantly - the greatest sound a mom can hear while laying helpless on an operating table.  She weighed 6 pounds and 7 ounces.  She was 21 inches long.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What do you think?

Tomorrow is the day!  We have been waiting 39 weeks to meet our little girl.

It is hard to believe that when I was pregnant with Austin, I continued to be pregnant until 40 weeks, 3 days.  I feel at this moment my body is physically done sharing space.  I weigh approximately 30 pounds more today than I did before I got pregnant.  I have gained exactly half as much weight with our girl than I did with our boy.  My wedding ring is no longer fitting (as of 3 weeks ago) - with Austin it grew too small 4 months before his arrival.  I have experienced virtually no swelling this entire pregnancy.  I am still trying to forget the ridiculous amount of swelling I had with Austin.  So in a nutshell, both pregnancies have been completely different.

Prior to Austin's delivery the big question was "What is it?  A Boy?  Or a Girl?"  Everyone had their guess and reasons why they had formulated that opinion.  Since we opted to find out the gender of our 2nd child, the big question is "How big is she?"

So what do you think?


Information to help you arrive at your guess
Austin was born at 40 weeks, 3 days.
Baby girl will be born at 39 weeks, 1 day
Austin weighed 6lbs, 15oz
Austin was 22 inches long
Adam and I were both smaller than Austin when we were born.

And here is the most recent picture of my belly - taken on Sunday at 38 weeks, 5 days.


After she is born and we settle in, I will post a picture of this little girl I have been blogging about for months.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Could today be the day?

One topic that every woman hears about when she is pregnant are "Old Wives Tales".  These age old statements can "tell" you the sex of your baby and how to induce labor.  One fact that is not quite an "Old Wives Tale" but rather just statistics is there is an influx in deliveries during a full moon.  Many hospitals report that you can tell when there is a full moon simply by the number of women delivering.  Apparently the full moon creates some type of gravitational force that just "pulls those babies out".

So today July 15, 2011 is a full moon - as of 8am, I am going to say I will not be joining the hundreds of women who will be having a baby today due to the full moon.

Reasons why today would not make a good day to have a baby:
1) Adam has been awake since 4am and working outside in this heat since 5am
2) I have been awake since 5:30am
3) Austin has been awake since 5:45am

Our family will be too tired to have a baby today.

...maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear Daughter

In just 1 week you will be able to stretch out, I promise.  I know you are ready to stretch your legs now, but unfortunately in life you can't always get what you want "right now".  I am sorry that you got stuck in a position where your feet have been in front of your face for months.  Only 7 more days and you will not have to smell your feet anymore.

Can't wait to meet you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Random Fact

I just discovered a random fact about myself and thought I would share. 

I have been pregnant or nursing since March 2009.  Currently that adds up to 28 months. 

I plan to nurse our daughter for at least 12 months.  Which would add up to 40 months of pregnancy/nursing/pregnancy/nursing.

I realize this is by no means the longest straight stretch of pregnancy/nursing that exists.  But I did find it interesting.

I quickly "googled" to see what the longest stretch a woman breastfed one child - according to ChaCha.com, there is a document case of 7 years, 4 months.  I did not further research, but my best guess is this would be a mother and child in a tribe.  I have read many great breastfeeding stories about mothers in tribes - I feel those women are amazing milk producers.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And the Adventure continues...

It was inevitable, I knew it would happen eventually.  This happens to all parents at some point in their journey of parenting.

Tonight I was in the kitchen, Adam was outside, and Austin was playing in the living room.  When I finished loading our dishes into the dishwasher, I joined Austin to play before bedtime.  As I rounded the corner, I notice my son sitting on the chair - good boy (he has only been told thousands of times to sit on the furniture, rather than stand).  As I continued walking towards him, I discover he has removed his diaper and it is laying in the middle of the room - full of POOP!  WOW!  I have no words, I stood in shock of the image appearing in my eyes.  I began yelling for Adam to come assist.  This would not be a job that one parent can tackle alone.  As Adam is rushing to see the commotion, I lift Austin off the chair.  I then notice pee all over the chair and even a puddle on the floor - can this situation get any better...Yes, unfortunately since the diaper contained a BM, the chair was used as a "wipe" - awesome.

Dad rushed Austin off to the bathtub and I drew the straw of cleaning up the mess.  I laughed as I cleaned my son's bodily fluids and restored our furniture to sanitary condition.  In these types of situations, your only rational reaction is to laugh and record the event in the baby book. 

On a lighter note, I am pleased to report that no artwork was found.  Although I am fearful that one day I will find a beautiful scene drawn with a wonderful shade of brown.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Waiting Game

At 37 weeks pregnant I am vulnerable to the events of labor - which could occur at anytime now.  I am anxious to have our baby girl, just so I don't feel so consumed with the fear that my water will break.  What exactly would I do if I was out and about with Austin and she decided to bust free?  I would panic!  How embarrassing would it be to be stranded with a toddler in a pool of amniotic fluid.  My blood pressure rises just to think of these events happening.

I did have an ultrasound this past Thursday and baby girl - yes, she is definitely still a girl, is doing perfect.  She has a good amount of amniotic fluid in there with her.  So, hopefully she will not have a NICU stay like her brother.  The ultrasound was wonderful.  It has been hard since seeing her on the screen, knowing that I am just waiting to have her in my arms.  She looks like she might have chubby cheeks - YES!!  I can't wait to kiss them.  She was "breathing" throughout the sonogram - which signifies good lung development.  At one point, she stuck her tongue out - adorable.  I am extremely excited about this because Austin was tongue tied and could not stick his tongue out.  So again, hopefully she is not like her brother and her tongue is free - which will make breastfeeding a lot easier.

We are all ready to have her here.  Just waiting for her to decide my belly is no longer a nice place to stay.  So, hurry up baby girl, momma is getting impatient.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Final weeks

July is here!  I am full of emotions realizing that sometime this month I will be having another baby. 

I remember the day I found out we were expecting.  It was a Wednesday, Adam had already left for work and this news would have to wait until him and I were together.  I ran out and purchased Austin a "Big Brother" shirt and a few other winter clothing items.  When I arrived home that night (late - 9pm, I had known for 13 hours) from teaching dance, I showed Adam my purchases.  When he saw the "big brother" shirt, he remarked "oh, that's cute, for like the future?"  I responded with yes, near future - how about July.

I remember creating a calendar for our parents to share our news.  July featured a photo of Austin wearing his big brother shirt proudly.  We planned to wait until Christmas to tell.  But, quickly realized that there would be no way for me to hold back my morning sickness during Austin's 1st birthday party.  It was exciting watching each family member flip through the calendar months, discovering July broadcasting my pregnancy.  Some people caught on right away and others...not so much.

And now, I am in the last few weeks/days of pregnancy - and I am ready to accept the challenge of mother of two.  The heat of today has completely exhausted me.  I'm uncomfortable and just ready to meet this baby girl that I feel moving inside my belly. 

Thursday 7/7 could be the day...or not.  I am a planner and the chance of going into labor or my water breaking terrifies me.  When I wake, I like to know what my day holds.  I have anxiety that my daughter might change my plans.  July 20 I am to arrive at the hospital no later than 5:30am.  I will have a c-section promptly at 7:30am.  And, by 8:30am I will have a daughter in my arms.  That is the plan on the calendar.  My doctor keeps reminding me that "just because we scheduled surgery, doesn't mean you won't have the baby early".  I know God knows my baby's birthday, it would just be nice for me to know in advance so I can be mentally prepared.  Regardless baby A will be here in 18 days or less.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is it just me??

For Austin's entire life he has never been the greatest nap taker.  The two of us have an ongoing daily battle of taking naps.  He has come a long way in this area - at least most days he does nap for at least an hour.  I always look at the 1 hour as a success, when secretly I long for 2-3 hours of naptime. 

Several of my mommy friends inform me that their children nap for these great stretches of time.  And, I hear of how much they accomplish (laundry, dishes, mopping the floors, etc.) during this peaceful time. 

In my struggles for 18 months to get Austin to take a long nap, I have come the realization that he just doesn't take good naps.  It is just part of how he is and what makes him unique.  I love him the same regardless the length of sleep he gets during the day.  Although, I will admit, he is soo much more fun after a 2 hour nap versus a 1 hour nap.

The past several months Austin has consistently taken a 1.5 hour nap.  Unless he is visiting his Nana or Aunt Stacy.  On those days he chooses to sleep for approximately 3 hours...some days more.  I don't understand this.  He wasn't even in his own bed during these amazing naps. 

Yesterday, Austin had a traumatizing day with a lab visit to have blood drawn.  He fell asleep in the car for 20 minutes in the morning and did not nap the rest of the day.  Today I am determined to help Austin achieve a better nap.  I hung black towels in his windows behind his curtains - this made his room look soo much darker.  I am doing NOTHING during his nap to keep the house quiet for him. 

So far we are 1 hour into his nap and he is still asleep.  I am curious to see if the darker room and quiet house provide a longer nap.  Although I will not be able to continue the quiet house for much longer, I doubt his sister will understand that she can't cry while her brother naps.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Latest update on Austin's allergies

This post is just a follow up for those who have been following Austin's food allergy battles.

Since the watermelon reaction, we have witnessed reactions to banana and blueberries.  The combination of all of these reactions seem to point towards ragweed pollen - according to my research.

Last Thursday, Austin had an 18 month well check with his pediatrician.  She ordered blood allergy testing to rule out allergy to these actual fruits, she also felt Austin is not truly allergic to the fruits.  Austin is also having blood testing done for celiac's disease.  He does not exhibit every symptom indicating celiac's but enough that it is worthy of testing.  Since all of these tests can be done with a single stick, I am okay with the testing.  We just want answers so we know what to feed and what not to feed our little boy.

Somewhere between 9 and 22

I am in the final stretch of pregnancy - just 1 day shy of 36 weeks right now.  Insomnia has officially set in and I am sleeping just hours each night.  In my opinion, God is just getting me used to little sleep now so I am not a zombie after she is born.

I have an ultrasound scheduled for July 7 to check amniotic fluid levels.  Since Austin was a "dry birth" we want to be on top of this and make sure the same scenario does not occur with his sister.  My doctor informed me last week to have my bag in the car "just in case".  If baby girl's fluid levels are low, I guess she will be born on 7/7/11.  Which would be completely crazy due to the double digit birthday's my family has going...Adam 4/4, Austin 12/12, and me 8/8.  So needless to say, I am in quite a panic that I could actually have a baby in 9 days. 

But, if all is well with her fluid levels, she will most likely be born on July 20.  That is unless she would decide another date sounds like a good birthday.  We are not really ready to have her here yet.  I don't think I will be ready at any point for her arrival...much different than with my first. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Watermelon - really??

Tonight's blog is dedicated to Austin's continuing saga of food allergies.

Sunday evening Austin was being an especially picky eater - refusing his entire dinner.  We took a walk and shortly after we arrived back at home, I offered him some fresh watermelon.  He thoroughly enjoyed it!  After he consumed a small bowl full, I cleaned him up - watermelon juices dripping down his chin, neck, and chest.  Immediately when washing his face, I notice a RASH. 

I quickly ran with Austin outside to show Adam my findings.  He confirmed that yes, indeed Austin was breaking out and we needed to give him a dose of benadryl.  While waiting for the drug to kick in and stop the reaction, Adam "googled" watermelon allergic reactions.  As he read the symptoms, Austin was exhibiting them - red rash on face and neck.  Itchy throat (he was scratching at his neck). 

At this time I decided to call the after hours nurse line for our pediatrician.  The nurse and I discussed his symptoms and she felt he needed to be seen at the ER.  By the time she reached this conclusion, an hour had passed and the benadryl had completely cleared up Austin's symptoms.  Adam and I decided that going to the ER with our now perfectly healthy toddler (at 8:30pm - way past bedtime) would only result in a completely crabby little boy and an expensive diagnosis of watermelon allergy.  So we put him to bed and observed him throughout the evening to make sure he was okay.

Monday morning I talked to his pediatrician who believed that yes, Austin did have an allergic reaction.  But, it could be to the watermelon itself or ragweed pollen (which is absorbed into slow growing fruits and berries).  She added this incident to his every expanding chart and thought it was best to inform his allergist to gather further information.

I contacted Austin's allergist and they decided they wanted him to come in to be seen - Tuesday.  So yesterday we loaded up in the downpour and headed to Children's for the appointment.  Austin already had a follow up appointment scheduled for July 5, so they were just going to combine that appointment so we wouldn't need to come back. 

In a nutshell, this appointment was POINTLESS.  The allergist dismissed the reaction to the watermelon as a "contact reaction" not an allergic response.  He then informed me to "not give it to him again".  WHAT?!?!  So, he isn't allergic but don't feed it to him anyways.  This is fruit we are talking about not candy.  He also informed me to "be careful when feeding him other melons".  WHAT!?!? 

I also discussed with the doctor Austin's 6 week battle with tummy problems.  He did not feel this was an allergy related issue either.  Although my reading has suggested that consistent GI problems are related to what you are eating and allergy or intolerance to certain foods.  We discussed that Austin is allergic to eggs and peanuts (old news - been dealing with these two since October).  He did not believe it was necessary to run any further blood allergy or skin panel tests to further examine Austin's allergies.  I scheduled Austin's 6 month follow up and out the door we went.

I left the appointment more frustrated than before.  I am confused at how the pediatrician believes he had an allergic reaction but the allergist does not.  And according to Dr. Google, Austin's symptoms fit the bill to a T.  I am also becoming more and more frustrated with his daily BM's.  Possibly because I am the lucky one who gets the pleasure of changing him 4 times in an hour - or 15 times a day.  Is it seriously normal for toddlers to poo 12 times per day?  I am at war with diaper rash that makes me cry when wiping his poor bottom.

I know I am 34 weeks pregnant and completely hormonal but this momma is ready for some answers.  It is a terrifying feeling to be scared to feed your child.  To constantly be sure an epi pen is nearby in the event you must stab your child's leg to save their life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crust

Continuing on the topic of picky eating, my topic for today's blog is CRUST.

Why is it that kids do not eat the crust of bread? 

Until just a few weeks ago I would boast that Austin would willingly eat the crust of bread without any hesitation.  In these last few weeks, something has happened.  He now refuses to eat the crust...strange.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Picky Eating

I have mentioned previously that I am reading What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman.  I was intrigued by the chapter on picky eating habits.  Dealing with Austin's food allergies has resulted in him having a limited diet.  Breakfast foods are the worst -- almost all breakfast foods contain eggs.  It is a challenge to feed him a well balanced diet of a variety of foods. On top of his allergies limiting his food choices, he is picky. 

Austin's diet is typically:
Breakfast - toast, fruit, yogurt, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal
Lunch/Dinner - chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese, fish, steak, vegetables, fries

Over the past few months his picky eating has progressed to the point of always requiring a separate meal prepared just for him.  After reading about picky eaters and how to reverse their habits we have embarked on a mission to undo Austin's picky diet.

The book instructs the parents to STAY CALM when introducing foods that have been previously rejected or are currently being thrown off the high chair.  This is easier said than done.  The author also tells parents that their child will not starve.  If the child refuses to eat the food presented, then do not force them to try it.  Doing so will only upset the child, therefore only making it more impossible for them to willingly eat.  (This point is one that I struggle with.  Perhaps we have gotten in the habit of preparing Austin something different when he expressed he did not "like" the 1st food presented.)

Last Friday night we had spaghetti for dinner.  At one point in Austin's life, he loved spaghetti - now not so much.  Adam and I stayed calm and placed a plate of spaghetti in front of Austin.  He began his usual whine that would have previously resulted in chicken nuggets appearing on his tray.  But not tonight - Adam and I enjoyed our dinner, ignoring the constant chatter of our unhappy son next to us.  After 20 minutes of waiting, Austin indeed took a bite --and LOVED IT!!! 

Sunday night:  Adam grilled steaks and potatoes.  Austin immediately consumed every bite of steak placed in front of him.  But, would not touch the potatoes.  Again, we stayed calm and waited.  I caved and sprinkled a little shredded cheese on top of his potatoes.  Slowly Austin began picking up the tiny shreds of cheese, being careful to not consume any potatoes along with the cheese.  As Adam and I were cleaning up from dinner, Austin began yelling "yum, yum".  Oh my, he is eating the potatoes - any loving them!

Two nights of winning the battle against the picky eater - we are in the home stretch...right...WRONG

Tonight we failed - majorly.  Adam and I both fell victim to Austin's wrath.  He wouldn't even allow his plate to be on his tray, wouldn't even look at what we were serving him.  We did not "stay calm".  We eventually (an hour later) prepared Austin another meal (after all, I didn't want him waking hungry in the middle of the night).

I am still eager to beat this picky eating phase of Austin's life.  I feel we made slight progress and perhaps just took a step backwards.  I realize that Austin knows how to manipulate me to get "his way".  I just have to regain my power as mommy and prove to Austin that I know what is best for him so it is better to do things "my way".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vitamins

Do you take them??

I will confess that I do not regularly take a multi-vitamin.  During the time period in which I have been trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing I have been fairly good about remembering to take my daily prenatal.  But it is difficult to remember.

I am currently reading the book

What's Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Your Child's Well-Being 

 I will give a full summary of the book when I finish, but so far I am learning quite a bit about nutrition.  Specifically I am convicted because I do not regularly give Austin a daily vitamin.  I know his pediatrician recommends Poly Vi Sol but I just never remember to give it to him.  

 This morning I took Austin to the doctor because he has been having tummy problems for almost a month.  At the appointment, we discovered that he has not gained any weight in the last 3 months - yikes.  He has been on and off the BRAT diet for 3 weeks and I am honestly concerned about his nutrition.  So, I am curious how many of my mommy readers are falling short in the vitamin department with me.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week of Discovery

Apparently 18 months old is the age of discovery.  While I am extremely excited to discover the world with Austin - his latest two discoveries have me concerned.

Yesterday morning as we were headed out I spotted a worm on the path.  I promptly stopped and pointed to show Austin the worm - his first real life experience with one of these creatures.  He of course began pointing copying my actions.  He squatted down inches away from the worm pointing and saying I am sure "worm" in his little language.  In an instant he stood straight up, lifted his left foot, and squashed the worm with one big stomp.  This action was then followed with his eyes looking up at me in wonder as to where the worm had gone. 

This morning after he woke at 6am sharp.  (I woke at 4:30am but that is besides the point)  We sat on the couch reading some books - a favorite activity in our house.  I was reading him his favorite book "Colors" which consists of 5 simple pages containing merely 30 words....for the seventh time in a row.  Suddenly I notice he is playing with something in his fingers - something small.  As any mother does when their toddler has a small object, I immediately sprung into action - what is that, give it to mommy (before you swallow it).  To my horror it was a HUGE  bugger - GROSS!  (Austin has been slightly affected with outdoor allergies the last few days)  After I dispose of the bugger and disinfect Austin and myself - we begin reading again.  I quickly notice he is picking his nose - yes digging for more of those oh soo fun buggers.

Boys are just sooo much fun.  I do fear what his next discovery will be....

Special Thanks

I want thank Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom for awarding me the Stylist Blogger Award
Julia, I feel so special that you chose me for this award - Thank you.  I am thankful for our friendship and to have someone who is going through similar experiences as me in this journey of raising babies.  I enjoy reading about Brynne and Hadley's adventures and can't wait to have play dates in the future when all of our nap times coincide.

Julia and her friend Melissa are currently blogging a series of conversations about True Beauty.  These posts are wonderfully inspirational that women everywhere should read.

As part of the award, I am supposed to list seven things about myself.  I am choosing to share just random facts about me.
1.  I enjoy having a unique name - although, I get frustrated when it is spelled incorrectly.
2.  I own 2 dance studios in Southern Illinois and have since I was 18 years old.
3.  I have been involved in 6 car accidents in my life...possibly more that I have forgotten - none of which were my fault.
4.  My freshman year of high school I was involved in a horrible car accident that took the life of one of my sister's dear friends and left me with a broken collar bone.
5.  My older sister Amanda and I were married 1 month apart and then 3 years later had babies 1 week apart.
6.  One month before my wedding I learned that I had a small tumor on my pituitary gland that "could" hinder my abilities to conceive a child.
7.  After 4 years of marriage, I am still completely, ridiculously in love with my husband - I still feel we are newlyweds and am blessed to spend each day with him.

And I would like to pass on this award to:

Katie at Jake and Katies Story.  I have known Katie for several years.  She is enjoying newlywed life and reminds me of my younger days.

Gina at Losing it.  Gina is on a weight loss journey and is looking fantastic!  She is an encouragement to anyone who also is wanting to change their life to be healthier for their kids.

My sister Amanda at For Every Girl Like Me.  I love reading about my neice Brynleigh's daily life.

Thank you again Julia for this award.  I do apologize for me taking several weeks to respond.  I never realized that finding time to blog is half the battle.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cloth Wipes

I finally did it.  I have been wanting to try out cloth wipes for months now and I finally took the plunge.  And...I LOVE them!

The last couple weeks, Austin has been battling "unexplained toddler tummy issues".  These issues left my poor toddler's bum a tearful mess.  Diaper changes became a dreaded event - for momma and Austin.  So I loaded him up and off we went to purchase cloth wipes.

I am happy to report that cloth wipes are incredibly soft on Austin's delicate skin.  His diaper rash cleared remarkably fast once we stopped the use of commercial wipes.  We still have not remedied the "unexplained toddler tummy problems" - but we are working on that issue.

Since I ran out in desperation, I did not purchase all the necessary supplies to adequately use cloth wipes.  I simply bought 2 packages of cloth wipes.  For now I am mixing a solution of water with a few drops of baby wash.  I submerged the wipe in the solution, squeeze the majority of the water out of the wipe, fold, and place in an old wipe container.  Ideally, I will have a wipe warmer to store the prepared wipes in until ready for use.  I only prepare enough wipes for one day, so I do not have to worry about any mildew or mold development.  Once I have used a wipe, I just toss it in the laundry bag along with the cloth diaper for washing.  Everything gets washed all together - easy.


I am estimating that by switching to cloth wipes, we will save approximately $5-10 per week.  Yes, we would go through almost an entire 216 count refill pack weekly.  We are also doing our part to help the environment by keeping (our 200+ weekly) wipes out of the landfill.  I am not increasing our laundry water/detergent usage since the wipes get washed in the same load as the cloth diapers.  Most importantly diaper changes are no longer a screaming, tear-filled event at our house.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Comparison

When I was pregnant with Austin, I received many unwelcome comments regarding my size.  As if I was not aware that I was HUGE.  Yes, I admit I gained 48lbs during my 40 week journey of gestating my baby boy.  This is far more than the recommended...average 25-30lbs that I had read in pregnancy books.  But, as long as the baby and I were healthy, nothing else mattered.

This pregnancy I am again receiving comments about my belly.  However, this time they are kinder words..."Wow, you are so small for being due in July".  I appreciate the compliments, I really do.  But when they are immediately followed with..."You were soooo much bigger with Austin".  Gee thanks.

I was curious how I was comparing so I uploaded photos and explored picnik - I have only experimented a couple of times there.  Here are the results.


What do you think?
My opinion is yes, clearly I was larger with Austin than I am now.  But, I do believe I am actually carrying higher??  Or lower??  I have never been able to tell the difference with that one.

At one of my showers with Austin, the dreaded "guess how big momma is" game was played.  My Granny perfectly snipped her piece of yarn to my exact dimensions.  I was then 34 weeks along.  In 3 more weeks, I will pull that piece of yarn out and see where I am sizing up.  

Fun and interesting to see how differently my body is changing to care for this baby versus Austin.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hard days

Some days my job of being a mother is just HARD.  Today is one of these days.

We start our day with errands to run - Austin was a good boy during these errands, so I was a happy Momma.  Unfortunately, we didn't arrive home fast enough and Austin fell asleep in the car.  I attempted to carry him while in dreamland from the car to his bed - FAIL.  He woke just as I was creeping out of his bedroom.  So, we rock...and rock...He is AWAKE!

Okay, fine lets have lunch.  But first I must retrieve the groceries from the car before our milk gets warm.  Fast forward 30 minutes, lunch was yummy and Austin has sleepy eyes.  Off we go to begin our nap time routine...FAIL AGAIN

Okay, Austin will just play for another hour or so and then we will have a late afternoon nap.  (I say we because at this point, I am feeling that I might also need a nap). 

It has only been 2 hours since the entire nap time ordeal began and I have resorted to trapping Austin in his pack-n-play to force a nap upon him.  As I type, I hear that he is obviously not sleeping but nonetheless resting quietly in his room.  I am exhausted - naps really should not be this difficult.  I really should rest, according to the news, it might be a long night of storms. 

I will remember Austin's fight to nap when he is a teenager and only wants to sleep.  I know this stage is temporary...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

30 Weeks

I am now 30 weeks pregnant with our little girl.  I am amazed at how quickly this pregnancy has progressed.  By this point with Austin, the nursery was completely set up and I was just waiting patiently for our baby's arrival.  This time around is totally different.  I am starting to get things together for our new addition.

Today and tomorrow I will paint the bedroom.  Austin and his sister will be sharing a room.  This may be a great thing or it may be a horrible mess.  Time will only tell.  The baby will sleep in our bedroom for a while, breastfeeding will be convenient with her there.  And, we won't bother Austin during night time feeds.  I hope they enjoy sharing a room.  I have read that having the new baby share a room with your toddler can actually help your toddler sleep better - could I only be so lucky.  The theory is that the toddler "likes" having a buddy in their room and therefore can sleep more soundly.  Regardless, I desire for my children to be close and pray that them sharing a room will foster the sibling love I have envisioned.

I have been getting questioned lately on my belly stats, so for the inquiring minds...
Total weight gain as of today - 15lbs
Swelling is non-existent!  (I blew up like a balloon when I was pregnant with Austin, so this will most likely change as the heat of summer approaches)
Amniotic fluid level is normal!  (Hopefully this stays normal, since Austin had no fluid by birth, this is a concern)
C-section is scheduled for 7:30 am on Wednesday, July 20.

I am going to try to remember to take a picture of myself this week to compare with a picture of Austin at 30 weeks.  I have pictures of my belly almost weekly with Austin's pregnancy, this time I haven't been as dedicated.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last time...

Earlier today I changed Austin's sheet on his crib mattress for his toddler bed for the LAST time.  I am normally not the type of person to savor last moments.  I didn't cry during our last nursing session.  I am positive I will not shed a tear when I change his diaper for the last time.  But it did occur to me as I was wrestling the tight sheet to the mattress, that next time I put a sheet on this mattress it will be a PINK sheet.  As I type I can see Austin's new big boy bed across the room - still in the plastic. 

These changes in our house only mean one thing...nine more weeks until we are a family of four.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Discipline

There are days when I feel fairly confident in my mothering abilities.  Likewise there are many more days when I feel completely clueless on how to raise my son.  Austin is one day shy of 17 months old.  He is learning how to display his independence by following simple directions and completely ignoring others.  He has learned to shake his head "NO" and grunt in such a way to "say" - no.  After all my years of working with children through the dance studio and school system, I have formed the opinion that a child telling their parent NO is one of the most disrespectful actions the child can do.

So in the last few days I have found myself to be this parent that is being told NO by their own toddler.  But how do I fix this.  How do I discipline Austin in a way he will understand to stop this behavior.  Currently I am attempting the route of when he tells me NO I simple tell him again what we are going to do and then forcefully make him obey.  For example, I say, Austin let's go change your diaper.  Response, shaking head "no" and grunts.  I tell him, "Yes, mommy said we need to change your diaper" and pick him up (kicking and screaming) and go change his diaper.

Seconds after the incident has passed Austin seems to have forgotten the entire ordeal.  I however am left pondering this "no" problem and how to correct it.  Since I am completely lost in the area of how to discipline my child, I have looked for recommendations from fellow parents on this journey of raising children.  I have received several book recommendations, which will take me some time to get through, but I will post my findings here for others information.  This morning I stumbled upon this article on parenting from a friend on Facebook - Parenting 001.  I found the article very encouraging and enjoyed the comparison of parenting today versus 20 years ago.

If any readers have advice on how to teach my son to respect me by not telling me "no", I am all ears.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What I have learned last week

I am constantly learning new things that I can do.  As I grow as a Mother I am also learning new things about myself.

Last Thursday, Austin and I met my sister and niece and took a day trip to the zoo.  I learned that pushing a stroller with a 25lb toddler while 7 months pregnant is hard on my body - but I did it.

Friday evening, I hosted a spa party for some of the dance studio girls and their friends.  As the party progressed, I found myself painting fingernails.  I learned that while I can easily paint my own nails - doing so for a little girl is quite difficult.  I now fear the day our little girl wants me to paint her nails.

Saturday Austin spent the day at home with his dad while I was busy at the dance studio.  Austin took a 2.5 hour nap - wow.  (My son just doesn't nap well - he never has, it used to bother me, but I have accepted his anti-nap schedule)  Last Wednesday, Austin napped for 2.5 hours for his babysitter.  Adam informed me that because I do things while Austin naps, the extra noise keeps him from taking a super long nap.  So, today I will give this a try.  While Austin naps today, I will sit and read a book or maybe I will take a little nap too.  My theory is that I am just so much fun, Austin doesn't want to miss out on our playtime.

Sunday I learned that simply playing in a sandbox can provide hours of entertainment for a 1 year old.  I believe that Austin learned that sand does not taste very good. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cloth Diapering...My System

When using cloth, everyone has their own method which they prefer.  There is a wide array of different cloth diaper systems to choose from.  What works well for one baby just doesn't for others.  We do not exclusively cloth diaper Austin, just about 75% of the time he is in cloth.  Here is our system for cloth diaper use. 

I prefer to use all in ones.  These diapers are very simple.  You do not need to stuff an insert into the diaper to use.  Although you can add an extra insert for added absorbency.  These seem to fit Austin's skinny legs and waist well.

When Austin was exclusively breastfed, he would wear cloth diapers throughout the day.  It was not necessary to rinse the poop off prior to washing.  Once he began eating regular food and became regular with his bowel movements, I opted to use a disposable diaper to contain poop messes.  Then switching to cloth after his daily BM.  I have always used disposable diapers for Austin at night.  He is a heavy night wetter.  I also did not want him to wake during the night due to "feeling" wet and needing a change.  (He was already waking enough as it was).  I also do not normally go in public for extended periods of time with Austin wearing a cloth.  It is just more convenient for me to use a disposable if I know we will be out long enough for him to need a change.

I only have 12 cloth diapers for his use.  It is recommended to have 24 but I opted to wash more often than what was suggested, so 12 has worked fine.  I wash every other day (sometimes daily).  I have a front loading machine and use Charlie's Soap.  After I change a dirty diaper, I throw it in a laundry bag inside a trash can with a lid.  To wash I shake the diapers out of the laundry bag, throw the laundry bag in the machine as well, and use 1 scoop of detergent.  I wash on "heavy duty" with a pre-wash and 2nd rinse.  When the diapers are washed I turn them inside out to speed drying time and toss them in the dryer for 45 minutes.  I then flip them back right side out and fold them to put away in the drawer to be used again.

Cloth diapering has been easier than I ever expected.  We do have the occasional accidental poop in a cloth, which does require some extra care prior to tossing in the laundry bag.  I like that Austin has a soft cloth diaper on his sensitive bottom.  Disposable always feel so papery and hard to me.  He is now almost 17 months old and has only once had a diaper rash (due to antibiotics).  I feel that we have saved a considerable amount of money using cloth.  We are helping the environment slightly, since we still use disposable we aren't doing the best that we can for the environment but at least we are keeping several hundred diapers out of landfills. And the stink and gross factor aren't near as bad as I originally imagined.

Boys will be boys

When I delivered Austin and Adam announced "IT'S A BOY", I had no idea what I was in for.  I have 3 sisters and relatively no experience with boys except for my dad and husband. 

I am about to pull my hair out dealing with toddler boy exploration.  I realize that it is completely normal for children.  However, I am beginning to wonder/realize that my son might be crossing the line.  This past weekend, we had some friends over.  Austin on more than one occasion was discovered with his hands in his pants.  Also, diaper changes are becoming increasingly more difficult because of his wandering hands - eww.

I have talked to our pediatrician, she assures me this is completely normal and he will "grow" out of this phase.  But I am still disgusted by the behavior and would prefer it not happen.  And I actually do not believe he will "outgrow" this.  Grown men still "adjust" themselves daily.

Only 79 days until I will no longer be the only female in our family!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cloth Diapering

Approximately two years ago I was a couple months pregnant with Austin.  I was very anxious to prepare my "nest".  I would spend hours researching topics pertaining to mothering, feeding, and diapering.  Prior to pregnancy I assumed my children would use disposable diapers.  However, when I came across information regarding cloth diapers - I was intrigued.  From my research I developed a pro/con list comparing disposable diapers to cloth.

Pro's
Better for the environment
Gentler on baby's bottom - less likely to develop diaper rash
Possible early potty training
Saves money (long term)
Fashionable (even little boys look cute in their blue fluffy diapers)

Con's
Expensive start up costs (at least $10 per diaper) would need at least 12
Added laundry - would need washed every other day (sometimes daily)
Slightly gross and stinky (but this would be the case with disposable diapers too)

After much reading I was convinced that cloth diapering was something I was interested in and wanted to give a try.  Two tasks remained at hand 1)convince Adam we should be a cloth diapering family 2)decide which kind of cloth diaper system we would use

Adam is an engineer so he is very logical in his thinking.  So I knew if I could introduce the topic of cloth diapers to him in a way that seemed more logical than using regular old disposable, he would be on board.  I found a website similar to this one breaking down the cost of using cloth diapers vs disposable.  He also ran some numbers and decided that in his opinion it costs about the same to cloth diaper 1 child vs disposable.  However, once a 2nd child was then using the same cloth diapers, the numbers would greatly change and it is a great savings to use cloth.

When Austin was a couple months old, I decided we were ready to jump into this world of cloth diapering.  I had purchased some gently used Bum Genius All in ones (meaning no stuffing an insert would be required) and a couple Bum Genius pockets (you must stuff an insert into the back pocket to use the diaper).  After just the 1st day using cloth I was thrilled and eager to continue.  I was excited to build a big stash of cloth diapers for Austin to use.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strange baby products

While I was pregnant with Austin I came across this article of bazaar baby products.  I laughed at most of them and forgot the products existed.  Yesterday I ran across this article 20 of the Weirdest Baby Products.  My memory recalled reading about these products but I re-read just for an enjoyable read.  I quickly realized that now as a parent some of these products aren't near as bad as I originally (pre-baby) thought.

1.  Pee-pee teepee - With a boy you MUST keep this body part covered during changes.  In the early months, they cannot control themselves when cold air hits their bottom.
 
2.  Helmet - While it does look ridiculous, I am a fan.  Austin has hit his head too many times to count and this product would protect his delicate skin from injury.

3.  Nasal Aspirator  - I have actually read claims that this product really works.  I will just stick with the regular ol blue bulb syringe.  To me the baby will hate any aspirator being stuck up their nose regardless if their mom is sucking the boogies out.  And, the girl in the photo looks a little old to need to be aspirated.
 
4.  Potty Mitts - I think this product is genius and will be purchasing them when Austin reaches the potty training stage of his development.

5.  Baby knee pads - Poor Austin learned to crawl when he was 6 months old - it was summer.  He wore shorts and his knees were constantly red and bruised.  I was very tempted to buy him a pair of Babylegs. But for fear that his dad would announce they were "girly" I resisted.  But these knee pads are much more "boyish" if they came in maybe blue and green.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thankful Tuesdays

I think that sometimes I dwell on the negative in my life not realizing the blessings I have.  Following the inspiration of fellow bloggers, I want to take Tuesdays to write a list of things I am thankful for.  I will then be able to recall the list when I catch myself in negative thoughts.

1.  My faith in God

2.  My husband Adam, who works very hard to support our family so I can stay home with Austin.

3.  Listening to Austin sing along to "Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog"

4.  1st Easter Egg hunt - Austin loving finding his healthy snacks inside the eggs

5.  2nd Easter Egg hunt - Austin throwing money (hidden inside the eggs) like it was worthless

6.  Sleeping through the night

7.  Adam's successful knee surgery

8.  Daddy putting son to bed so Mom can have a few moments of quiet

9.  Kicks, punches, and other random movements from my belly

10.  Walks outside before the rain with Austin and Astro

11.  Learning how to post photos in my blog

Thursday, April 21, 2011

32 Things 'Worse' Than Seeing a Baby Breastfed in Public

I ran across this article tonight while browsing the internet.  I have endured the "stare" while feeding Austin in random locations during his 13 month nursing period.  I enjoyed the list and wanted to share.

32 Things 'Worse" Than Seeing a Baby Breastfed in Public


  1. Not covering a sneeze or cough.
  2. Leaving your grocery cart in the parking lot so it can damage people's cars.
  3. Talking loudly on a cellphone in public.
  4. Smoking on a sidewalk where others are trying to walk.
  5. Cussing in public, including blaring R-rated music from your car.
  6. Not picking up dog poop.
  7. Honking at people who don't go the second the light turns green.
  8. Littering.
  9. Texting while walking is funny when we see you crash, but not when it's into us or our children.
  10. Not washing your hands after using the bathroom.
  11. Jaywalking so cars have to slam on their brakes to avoid killing you.
  12. Not cleaning up after yourself in public bathrooms so other people have to see and deal with your bloody tampons or pee drippings.
  13. Texting while driving and risking the lives of everyone on the road with you.
  14. Leaving your grocery cart in the middle of the aisle so no one can get by.
  15. Letting your children run around and almost trip or run into strangers or waiters at restaurants.
  16. Bumping into or spilling water on others from your umbrella.
  17. Not making at least an effort to wipe your feet off before entering a building or someone's home.
  18. Spitting gum where other people step in it.
  19. Being rude to waiters so they're in a bad mood for their other tables.
  20. Leaving cold/frozen items you changed your mind about in the store on a random warm shelf so they have to be thrown away.
  21. Being loud in a movie theater.
  22. Getting drunk in public.
  23. Texting while in the middle of a conversation.
  24. Tying your dog right outside the door to a store.
  25. Driving fast through parking lots.
  26. Parking in the 'Expectant and New Moms' parking spaces when you are neither.
  27. Wearing very strong perfume or cologne so people around you gag and hold their breath.
  28. Changing a baby's diaper in the same area people are eating at a restaurant.
  29. Not wiping down exercise equipment after you sweat all over it.
  30. Yelling at a mother to "make her child shut up" -- if she could stop it, she would.
  31. Leaving dirty diapers in the parking lot or on a public changing table.
  32. Telling someone else how to care for their child in public.
ALL of these things actually affect you whether you want to avoid it or not ... yet a nursing mom only affects those who are against it if you stare. And heck, kids running around or a crying baby are on many lists of annoying things in public, but one that's being breastfed is quiet and still. Consider that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random thought about Poop

Lately I have been doing some light research in the area of potty training.  Austin is not even close to beginning this stage of life, but I want to be prepared for when he shows signs.  After all, according to my mother-in-law, Adam was completely potty trained by his 2nd birthday.  That only gives us 8 months to keep up with his dad's amazing record.

From my reading it seems some children are afraid to poop.  I remember from a babysitting experience I had, the little boy 2-3 years old, would run and hide in a corner or behind furniture when he needed to poop.  At the time I thought it was cute that he wanted to be alone to take care of business.  I now realize that perhaps toddlers run away to poop because it scares them to do it.

So why does this oh so natural bodily function terrify children?  My latest thought is because we as adults give them the idea that it is a bad thing.

For Austin's entire life, I have caught myself screaming in a silly manner when he poops.  I tell him it is "yucky and stinky".  I also immediately run through the house with him to change his diaper.  We talk about his nasty poop the entire trip to the changing table.  "That must feel squishy on your bottom, can you wait till mommy cleans you up?"

So it is obvious why toddlers are scared to poop --they are scared of their momma's reaction and they learn that its a "bad" thing because we tell them it is.

My challenge for myself from this day forward is to congratulate Austin for his poops as to not instill a fear of pooping in him.  Whether this will aid in our potty training experience I do not know, but hopefully he will not be scared to poop.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inherited Traits

During my pregnancy with Austin, I often would think about the baby would be like.  But, my thoughts were simple --is it a boy or a girl??  Since we opted to be "weird" and wait until the baby's birth to find out the sex, this was a question that ran through my head daily for 40 weeks and 3 days (not that I was counting).

This pregnancy we decided to see what it is like to find out the gender of the baby during the anatomy scan at 19 weeks.  Upon discovering that I was carrying a baby girl my mind began to fill with thoughts.  She will have hair that I will need to learn how to fix (braid, pony tail, pig tails, half up/half down, curly, straight, clips, bows, headbands, etc.). 

In recent days I have been wondering how similar she will look to Austin.  They do have the same genetic make up, but how will different genders display the results.  I was told from the day Austin was born that he looked just like his dad.  It took me a while to make this association too.  But, they do indeed look a lot alike.  (If I knew how to add a photo mid blog, I would do a comparison photo of the two here, but since I am still learning, no picture, sorry).

Austin has inherited a majority of traits from Adam - the good ones, blonde hair, adorable eyes...and the bad ones, itchy skin, the Walden legs.  Now that Austin is a toddler and his personality is really beginning to shine, I am eager to announce, YES - I did contribute my traits to him as well!  Austin is beginning to show he is quite shy in large groups - just like his Momma.  Last night this trait was brought to my attention.  We hosted a Bible study at our house with just two other families present (6 adults, 2 children, 3 toddlers).  As the evening wore on, Austin began his signs for tiredness.  So I excused myself and set off to begin our bedtime routine.  Usually, Austin will fall asleep in his bed after we do our routine.  Last night was a little different.  He simply laid in his bed, quietly playing until our house was empty of guests (about an hour later).  I think he just wanted to be alone and knew that in his room he could be alone.

I am curious how Austin's personality will continue to develop into the little person he is.  I am anxious to see what his sister looks like.  It would be nice for her to look slightly like me since I am the one who shares my body for 9 months. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In sickness...

For the past month I have watched my better half suffer from intense knee pain.  As a wife, it pains me to witness my husband hurting. 

What did Adam do to hurt his knee?   Three words...we don't know.  Last November or December Adam fell on the ice while carrying our niece.  He landed on his knee, had normal pain and bruising that lasted a week.  In February, Adam embarked on a complete kitchen renovation.  During the final weeks of cabinet install, he began having pain in his knee. 

This pain progressively became intolerable.  Mid-March Adam made an appointment to see a local orthopedic surgeon to determine what was causing all of his pain.  The doctor ordered x-rays and an MRI but believed he had a torn meniscus.  He also instructed Adam to stay off his knee and use crutches at all times.

At this time, Adam's knee pain went from bad to worst.  He could no longer straighten it fully.  Adam was taking pain killers around the clock - even waking at night to horrific pain.

Adam went to see the orthopedic two weeks following his original appointment.  At this time, this doctor informed Adam that although the MRI said the meniscus was not torn, he believed it was and wanted to schedule surgery for the repair.  This local doctor was very arrogant and offended that Adam wanted a second opinion.  **Note:  we had several negative reviews of this surgeon, so knew that if surgery was needed, we would be going with another doctor in STL that we had recommendations for.

That day I drove a copy of Adam's x-rays and MRI over to STL for the second opinion surgeon to review.  Two days later, they called to give us their thoughts - Yes, Adam did need surgery.  It was scheduled for May 9 - more than a month away.  At this time Adam had been on crutches and out of commission for almost 3 weeks.  I was quickly becoming too overwhelmed being a "single mom", wife, and pregnant.  During the next week Adam saw his primary doctor for a refill of pain killers and ask about possible injections to allow him to function until surgery in May.

Adam also called Dr. Lehman's office to ask to be put on a waiting list in the event they had a cancellation.  He explained our situation (pregnant wife, 1 year old) and his pain level.  Amazingly they were able to move his surgery up to April 15! 

April 14, Adam and I met with Dr. Lehman in his office for his pre-operative exam.  At this appointment, we learned the severity of his knee injury - much worst than a simple meniscus tear - a bone chip.  We also were informed that Adam's lack of mobility in his knee was extremely serious.  Dr. Lehman prescribed a long road of physical therapy and home equipment use to regain use of the knee.

April 15 - Surgery day!  We arrived at Des Peres hospital in STL at 1:00 for his surgery (scheduled for 3:30).  I was able to stay with Adam during his prep and at 3:00 he was wheeled away as I was directed to the waiting area.  In this waiting room there was a board with patients initials stating their progress (holding, surgery, recovery, outpatient recovery).  The room was very busy with families.  I quickly discovered that surgeries were running about 3 hours behind due to an overloaded schedule (42 scheduled, double the normal number).

I waited and waited while I watched the board anxious for Adam's name to move from "holding" to "surgery".  At 5:00 the waiting room phone rang, it was Adam's nurse, she wanted to let me know he was bored and he would still be at least another 2-3 hours before he would be in and out of surgery, so I should go eat something.  While I was gone Adam was taken into surgery, approximately 5:30.  At this hour, most of the families had left the waiting room.  I bonded with the remaining three families waiting with me, to pass the time and keep my mind from creating images of Adam laying in surgery.  Finally at 7:15 Dr. Lehman came to let me know how his surgery went.  He informed me that Adam had several large chunks of bone chipped off in his knee, a small tear in his meniscus, lots of fluid and scar tissue.  Everything was repaired and Adam would start physical therapy on Monday.

Around 9:00 I was finally able to go see Adam.  He looked pale - very difficult to see him like this, but he was in good spirits.  We finally arrived at home close to midnight after a very emotional, long day.

So far, his pain has not been as bad as originally expected.  He begins PT on Monday, so I am sure that will be difficult.  Dr. Lehman believes that the entire recovery will take about 2 months.  Thankfully, baby A isn't due until mid-July, so he should be back to normal before his baby girl is born.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coupons

A couple years ago I decided that I would start clipping coupons from the newspaper inserts and use them to help knock a few cents off our grocery bill.  Since I would be the homemaker and Adam the bread winner, it made sense for me to look for ways to save pennies.  I am not a coupon extremist.  The most I have ever saved using coupons was simply a few dollars. 

In the past month I have watched two episodes of the new show on TLC Extreme Couponing.  The show documents individuals who save outrageous amounts of money by using coupons.

I have mixed thoughts about these individuals and their "hobby".

1.  WOW - I am jealous that you are able to buy groceries for your family that normally would cost several hundred dollars by paying only a few dollars.  Who wouldn't want to get the same amount of food for less money?  Especially with the rising gas prices.

2.  I feel that buying ridiculous quantities of items, just because they only cost pennies or are free is irresponsible.  Okay maybe irresponsible is not the word I am wanting to use.  I am bothered by the fact that many families in our country are struggling to put food on the table.  But yet, a few families have enough cereal to last for years

My question to these extreme couponers featured on the show is why do you not share your blessings.  To me it seems obvious.  If I had a coupon that would allow me to purchase a product for free, then I would get as many as I could and race to the nearest food pantry to drop off the donation.  It makes me feel ill when the cameras would show off the stockpile of food that has been hoarded away.  Sure it was very organized, but is it necessary to store years worth of food and supplies for your family.

So I am motivated to continue clipping coupons to save our family a few dollars.  I wish I had the talent/time/mental capacity to be extreme with couponing to be able to purchase items for pennies or free.  I would be eager to make that donation to my local food pantry.