Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter =)

Turns out my child looks absolutely adorable with a pair of bunny ears on his head.

Ok, so he's pretty darn adorable without them, too.  And, lately, he's been just plain adorable, a lot of the time.  I'm almost afraid of jinxing it by saying anything, but the past week Q's been so much more calm, mellow, happy.  A very welcome change.  I'll suddenly realize that he's been playing happily on his playmat long enough for D and I to actually get to play a game together, and think to myself, "Well this is new..."  Here's hoping we've finally, at 4.5months, turned a new leaf and he's showing us what a happy-go-lucky baby he can be. *crossing fingers*

Andrew and Jakki came in for the weekend.  They also remarked on how much happier Q seemed, as last time they visited (a month ago, perhaps?) he spent almost the whole weekend crying.  This morning we all went to Tower for breakfast, having heard about their legendary french toast.  I love french toast but I never order it for breakfast since it feels like such an unsubstantial meal, so I usually go for an omelet or something else with eggs, bacon, and lots of avocado if possible.  I went for it this time, and I must say this stuff was ridiculously delicious.  We sat out on the patio which was really lovely, and D had a great time running around and looking at all the different water fountains (we grown-ups took turns following him around).  It was nice to get out for a meal, as these days we only brave it if we've got some back-up.

Andrew & Jakki headed back to SF early this afternoon, and then after D's nap we went to a friend's house for a BBQ.  Fun times, especially with a backyard play structure and lots of other kids to play with.  Q drew lots of attention, gave lots of smiles, and hung out mostly in my ring sling which I think I've finally figured out (took a while to get the right shoulder placement and fabric tightening to be really comfortable) and is quickly becoming one of my favorite carriers.  So, yay. =)

As a random side note, I've had this song and this song alternately stuck in my head. So, click at your own risk.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Tale of Two Sophies

When we were in Switzerland we were introduced to Sophie la Girafe, a 40 year old favorite toy for babies.  What makes her so appealing is that her long neck and limbs are easy to grasp and chew on, and the rubber feels great on little gums. And, she has a cute squeak.  So, of course, we bought one for Donovan.  And he loved her.  In fact, she was so well-loved that her body grew a few shades darker over time, and the color on her cheeks was eventually rubbed away.

Though I don't think I noticed just how much time changed her till we pulled out a brand-new Sophie for Quinn.
A tale of two sophies...
All Sophies vary slightly in their patterns and exact colors, but, um, yeah.

Monday, April 18, 2011

big weekend

We discovered that the cats have fleas.  Which, since Nev's become an indoor/outdoor cat I figured we'd have to deal with sooner or later, but have kinda been in denial about it.  But then we actually spotted 2 fleas crawling on Sierra's head (ew ew ew ew) and so yeah.  By the way, the best part about this revelation is, guess where Nev's been sleeping part of the evenings lately?

Yep.  I guess those bug bites weren't mosquitoes after all....

So after debating what to do (Go for the obviously toxic products like Advantage or Revolution that should work immediately but do who-knows-what to our cats, let alone our kids?  Or try more "natural" alternatives like diatamaceous earth which may or may not be toxic to breathe in?) we went ahead and gave the cats one dose each of Advantage and isolated them in the bathroom so hopefully the stuff doesn't rub off too badly on our stuff.  This will hopefully kill off all the existing fleas, and then the plan is to use this garlic and brewer's yeast diet supplement to hopefully keep the fleas from coming back (makes their flesh taste bad to fleas or something).  Meanwhile we'll be going through and washing every textile surface in the house that can be thrown into the washer.  I joked with Zach that this is practice for when one of the kids comes home with lice...

In much happier news, on Sunday we got to see 2 friends that we met in Switzerland and now live in Canada, and who are expecting TWINS!  Quinn and I attended a lovely baby shower hosted by my friend's mom, and then Zach and Donovan joined us after to just hang out at their house and join them for dinner.  Many of the other women at the shower were new grandmothers who cooed over Quinn, who in turn was in pretty good spirits most of the time.  I brought a ring sling with me, which came in really handy for nursing in (and also a few times letting him sleep in it after).  And, thankfully, no one seemed bothered or even phased at all by me breastfeeding.  It's funny how I have no qualms about nursing in a really public place, but at a more intimate event like a baby shower I feel a little more nervous about it (and if I'd felt the need to "hide" to nurse, I would've missed about half the party).

It was a great time and I was very relieved that Q did so well.  Though even so, holding all 18lbs of him for 5-6hrs meant by that evening I was exhausted.  We have a wedding to go to next month, so I'm curious to see how that goes...

And now for a few cute pictures of Quinn. ; )

My chunky monkey.  I love the folds in his arms that make him look like he has biceps.  They seriously crack me up. =P

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the s-word and parenting while sleep deprived

Sleep is such a huge focus when you have a baby. You're either getting it, in which case life can feel pretty darn good, or you're not which can make everything look pretty gloomy.  Q's frequent night wakings have continued, so I've gone from hoping it was a growth spurt to assuming this is our new "normal."  More annoying than the wakings themselves, is that many times it takes a while for him to get back to sleep-- falling back asleep for a few minutes before stirring and crying again, the process repeating a few times before he's finally "down."

At least we're making some slight progress during the day.  Today we stumbled onto a routine where after 1-1.5hrs of being awake, I'd take Q to him room, shut the blinds, swaddle him, put on a white noise track on my ipod, and nurse him to sleep.  The combination of darkened room + swaddle + noise = much higher chance for a successful transfer onto the bed, where he then takes a 20 minute nap.  This is a vast improvement over the past several months where he either napped in my arms, or woke as soon as I tried to set him down, taking only an occasional out-of-arms catnap here and there.  This new routine worked all day today, so we'll see if it continues. Part of me is pretty excited to have figured out a routine of sorts, the other part of me feels tired just thinking about repeating that cycle over & over all day long.  Interestingly, D was about the same way with naps his whole first year (though his cycle was a bit longer- 1.5-2hrs of wakefulness + 45min nap).  Here's hoping Q lengthens it out a bit, too, over time.

There are so many things I've learned and discovered over the past few months that I never anticipated. One of them is realizing how much lack of sleep affects my mood and parenting, and how difficult it is to see D be affected by it.  I'm kind of a sucky parent when I'm sleep deprived.  I certainly lose my temper a lot more, and I hate that D has to see that.  Yes, there's value in him seeing his parents not be perfect and own up to our mistakes... but there's only so many times I can lose it and yell at him, and then apologize for it afterwards, before I start feeling like the abusive partner who swears she'll change "one day."  By the way, let me tell you there's no quicker way to feeling like The World's Suckiest Parent than having your 3 year old ask you to please not close the door so hard because the noise scared him.

I know this is temporary.  I know kids are malleable and forgiving, and I hope D won't remember much of this time period.  I know that most of the time I am a pretty good, loving, and patient parent.  But, egads, is this tough.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

From pouches to wraps: my babywearing collection

I've been wanting to write something about my growing collection of slings/wraps/carriers/baby-holding-contraptions, but kept putting it off.  Then Lily Alayne started a virtual "carrier fashion show" and then Quinn went to bed early and easily, and so here you go.  A peek into my newest obsession. ; )

I dipped my toes into the world of babywearing when Donovan was a baby.  I had a couple pouch slings that Zach and I both used constantly in those early months, along with a hand-me-down Snuggli that Zach liked a lot till D got too heavy to wear comfortably in it.  At four months I did order a Moby wrap, but D wasn't a big fan of it so it hardly got used.

Rockin' Baby pouch sling
New Native pouch sling (my favorite at the time, but got lost during a trip back home to Texas one year...)
mom's photos
A solarveil water sling that I bought for this one trip to Texas, then never used much after (mainly b/c it's kinda rough and scratchy)

While I had loved our pouch slings, I knew that for my next baby I'd want something with two-shoulder support.  The first new carrier I bought was a Catbird baby Mei Tai, which is today my go-to carrier while we're at home (I'd use it out and about, too, but I still don't like the idea of the straps dragging on the ground while tying...).  I'm amazed at how well this carrier distributes Quinn's now 17+lbs so that my back never feels very strained, even when I wear him several hours in a day.  I've also started being able to wear him on my back sometimes (though front is so far easier, faster, and a bit more comfortable).

I did get a bit more use out of the Moby this time around, especially the first 1-2 months.  It just felt cozier and more secure during that super-squishy newborn stage.

I then decided I wanted a soft structured carrier, and spent a while debating between the Beco Butterfly 2 and their newer Gemini.  Turns out I ended yup with both-- I bought the Gemini, then shortly after a friend offered me her used Butterfly which I was happy to accept.  The Gemini is my second favorite, I think, after my mei tai.  It's been really nice for keeping in the car and using while out and about, since it's so easy and quick to put on and take off (at least after you get used to the two-handed buckles...).  I love that the straps cross in the back, which I find more comfortable than when they buckle at your shoulder blades.  Zach really likes it because he can now put Quinn in it facing outwards (while still keeping baby in a bit more ergonomically-friendly position, supporting under the thighs rather than just the groin).  My one concern about the Gemini is that between the dark color and thick, padded body, it might be too hot to use much during the summer.  So, I guess we'll see.

The Butterfly took a bit of getting used to and I felt I had trouble getting everything adjusted properly. I'm not a huge fan of the Y-panel, but it does make for a more secure transfer for back-carries which is pretty nice.

I then became drawn to non-stretchy wraps. I shopped around a bit, and settled on a BabyEtte gauze wrap which I love because it's gorgeous.  It was also pretty affordable, so I felt ok trying it and not feeling too bad if I couldn't get the hang of it.  I've had some success getting Quinn into a back carry with it, which will usually last about 10-20 minutes before he starts fussing. But, that's enough time for me to get a few things accomplished that are much easier to do when he's not on my front.

I also have a couple of ring slings (the Solarveil water sling above, and a newer BabyEtte purchase).  I don't use them that often because I think they put too much strain on my shoulder (or maybe I haven't quite figured out the best placement yet), but they are nice for short periods of time, and I may use them a bit more once we graduate to hip-carries.  One very nice advantage of ring slings is they are, in my opinion, probably the easiest carrier to breastfeed in.

So, to sum up:
2 pouch slings (though 1 got lost somewhere between here and Texas)
1 Catbird Baby mei tai
1 Beco Gemini
1 Beco Butterfly 2
1 Moby wrap
1 BabyEtte woven wrap
2 ring slings

When I list them all out it seems ridiculous that I'm still thinking of buying more carriers.  Then again, I use at least one of these just about every single day, sometimes for several hours in a day, so they've definitely been worth it.  I used to make fun of Zach and how he had several different backpacks that he'd use for hiking, from super light ones that held just a sweater and some water, to a massive beheamoth for week-long backpacking trips.  Now I'm the one convincing him of the subtle but very important differences in form and function between different carriers...

Let me know if you have questions about any of these carriers, I'm happy to answer as best I can.  Also, check out some of the other ladies showing off their babywearing stashes (you should be able to see links to their posts below).  And, of course, always practice safe babywearing. ; )

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Baby toes & site announcement

First of all, cute baby toes. Because, you know, swooooon!

Second, I'm doing away with the custom domain name for the blog.  It was fun and cool for a bit, but then keeping up with it (and the million "Renew now! Your domain will expire soon! Except you already have it set to renew automatically! So why do we still send you 20 emails about this!" emails from GoDaddy) was getting annoying.  And then I finally transferred the domain hosting from GoDaddy (uber-sexist ads, elephant-killing) to NameCheap b/c of a special deal they had, but now my link is broken and I need to figure out how to update the DNS and CNAME settings or something, except no one has good instructions on this online and the support "person" from NameCheap was completely unhelpful, and did I mention I have 2 kids, one of them a 3 month old baby who doesn't give me free time to deal with this sort of crap?

So. Yeah. Long story short (too late, you say?) we're back to using the good ole URL for this here blog.  I know that means going back and updating the "Posts of Note" links.  I'll get to that... eventually. Someday.  Or something.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

looking forward

The rain has finally stopped, and we've had GORGEOUS weather here lately.  Much, much appreciated.  Even if we don't make it outside for the day, the sunshine streaming in through the windows makes me happy.  It also makes for much better photos, which also makes me happy. ; )

It feels like we're at an awkward stage with Quinn-- he's past the "newborn" stage where breastfeeding almost always made him happy, and he'd usually fall asleep easily in my arms (getting him out of them was another issue, but that's beside the point).  Now he's much more alert and aware, yet he's still not able to do a whole lot of anything, and I think also gets bored easily, so requires near-constant entertainment.  More and more often he'll nurse for a few minutes, then pull off, smile, and then after a few minutes start fussing at me.  He has happy periods that are AWESOME, he'll be so incredibly cute and happy, smiling and giggling, and while relatively short in duration they do help make up for it.  Zach and I have also been making a point to watch funny shows at night (The Office, Top Gear, Modern Family) as we can usually really use a good laugh by the end of the day.

This is as advanced as his "playing" skills are at the moment.  And this still requires a good bit of luck. 
"Sup? C'mon, how can you stay annoyed at this face?"
Several times in the past week people have cooed over Quinn, then commented to me how much they miss their babies being this young.  I know what they mean, but at the same time I want to remind them of the exhaustion, the lack of sleep, the sheer number of hours in the day spent trying to soothe a crying baby.  I'm sure I'll one day miss this, too... though I'm thinking it will be many, many years down the road.

I am looking forward to these two growing up together, though, and being able to play more:

A few other things I'm looking forward to in the near-ish future:
  • Our family trip to Tahoe in August. This year my older sister, brother-in-law, and my uber-adorable red-haired nephew will be joining us.  WOOT!
  • A trip to Texas to visit family in July.  I'm both really excited about this trip, and also a bit nervous about traveling with both kids for the first time.  Especially since there are no non-stop flights.  But, I'm sure it'll be fine, right?  Right?
  • MY IPHONE!  I'll be eligible for a phone upgrade in a month and a few days, and I will finally be joining the Modern Age and getting my own smartphone (my delayed "birth present" if you will).  I am counting down the days.  It's a bit ridiculous how excited I am.  Right now I'm semi-obsessively searching for The Best Case to keep my preciousss my future phone protected.  

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Bright Eyes

I can't get very close pictures of Donovan's eyes anymore as he 1) moves too fast and 2) has taken to trying to touch the lens when I take close-up pictures of him.  So, here's the next best thing-- his amazingly long & dark eyelashes while he took a nap today.


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