Tuesday, October 30, 2012

4 Months

Another forgotten post! It's been fun reading these. I'm glad the only thing that kept me from posting was pictures! She would have been 4 months on October 30, so this is exactly 1 year late. Now she is 16 months!! :(

4 Months!! Oh my! The adventure has continued in a hectic month. You are becoming such a fun little person! I remember from when your cousin James was a baby how I always said that it just keeps getting better. It's so true! I love the surprises that come everyday.

You had a bit of a growth spurt this month and at your 4 month appointment you weighed 14 pounds 11 ounces and were 24.5 inches tall! That's the 79% for weight and 66% for height. My little chunky monkey! Your cheeks crack me up and so do your little thighs. I love watching you during bath time.

Speaking of bath time, this is still probably your favorite time of day! You love to splash in the water and try to grab the wash cloth or your toes. You smile and talk the whole time and your little rolls are so cute! You don't cry too much during lotion time anymore which I'm grateful for.

You aren't rolling over yet. I've decided that you just don't care too much. You are content to just hang out and play with your toys on your back. You don't like your tummy too much, but you're getting better at it. You still haven't rolled from tummy to back since your 2 month photos.

You're rocking the faux hawk still. And your "peacock feathers," as we like to call them (the hairs on the top/back of your head that stick straight up) are still in full bloom! We have to be careful because if we don't make sure your hair is laying down after we wash it, it will stick straight up and you end up with a real mohawk!

You still sleep like a champ! You even went 14 hours with only one wake-up one night. Nap times are getting a little more consistent, but are still pretty short. If you don't get your naps though you are pretty cranky!

You still love to babble and talk. You will lay down playing and just coo and sometimes scream and laugh. It's so cute! You were even saying "boo" one day, but I wasn't able catch it on video like I wanted.

Your favorite thing to do is blow raspberries! You are so good at it and it's so funny!

Monday, October 29, 2012

#2: 21 Weeks

We're officially counting down from half-way! So excited and so nervous all at the same time.

(Sorry about the mirror. It's REALLY old and there's not much I can do about it!)

Look at me! 2 belly pics in a row! 

How far along: 21 Weeks

How big is baby: A pomegranate. Baby's digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion, and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, if baby is a girl, her womb is now stocked up with her lifetime supply of six million eggs (the number will drop to around one million by birth). 

Weight gain/loss: I'll let you know at my next dr. appointment. I don't typically weigh myself that often...

Stretch marks: None yet. But, I'm sure they'll come.

Sleep: Pretty good! Evelyn went to the dentist this week and lo and behold, she has two of her molars. That would explain some night-time wake ups. We've all been sleeping pretty well this week though.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: No partiality to sweet or salty. I do love my Oreos and milk. Just milk in general is tasting pretty good. Chocolate milk, hot chocolate from Starbucks, ice cold white millk. Mmmm...

Movement: Yep! It's getting increasingly more consistent and obvious. I can often feel kicks on the outside and even see them. Rob felt a kick this week!

What I'm worrying about: L&D. This pregnancy is going by so fast and with Evelyn to chase and life going on, I don't feel like I have as much time to mentally prepare myself for what's to come. I'm still contemplating hiring a doula again. Any second timers want to share advice? I'll talk about my birth plan more in depth later. I know I can do it, I've done it before, but I think knowing what's coming is freaking me out a bit.

What I'm loving: The movement. I'm finally getting those daily reminders that there is a little miracle in there. So often I would forget I was pregnant and I almost felt guilty; like I wasn't enjoying it like I should be. Now, I find myself with my hand on my belly and a grin on my face often throughout the day.

Symptoms: Still heartburn. Round ligament pain. Braxton Hicks - early, I think, but not unheard of. I just need to make sure I'm drinking plenty of water. 

What I'm looking forward to: I'm anxious to know what this one is! We didn't find out again, but I'm a little more antsy about it this time. I'm really interested to see what kind of sibling relationship will be occurring in my house. Brother/sister? Sister/sister? Any bets?

Best moment of the week: Rob feeling the baby kick. There's just nothing like it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

3 Months

I have a couple of these that I never published because I had to add pictures to them... oy. Here's Evelyn's (very late) 3 month post!

Happy 3 month birthday, Sweet Pea! It's funny, 3 months feels like some sort of milestone. Like, being 6 weeks pregnant felt like a milestone. Every day brings something new and exciting.

You babble all the time! You love to lay on the floor and talk to us. You enjoy your bouncy seat, especially when daddy and I are making dinner. You still LOVE bath time, until it's time to get out! Then daddy and I have our "entertainment marathon" where we try and keep you from crying while we do lotion and pj's!

You haven't rolled over since your two months pictures but I wonder if it will be soon.

You give us smiles all the time. You are such a happy baby!

You had your first shots and cried... I hated it!  But, after a little comforting (and some Tylenol) you were fine! You were definitely a little cranky that week, but soon enough our happy baby was back!

Mommy went back to work this month and you had a bit of a time transitioning. It was definitely worse for me than it was for you, but daddy loves his time alone with you.

You still sleep really well, sometimes up to 12 hours at night. But, on the flipside, you don't really nap much. I'm lucky if you sleep 45 minutes during the day.

You are growing so much! Your baby mullet is turning into a bit of a "faux hawk" with your hair growing down the middle but not on the sides.

You still eat about every two hours and I'm hoping you might start to stretch that out a bit but I love my snuggle time with you while you're nursing. This is definitely my favorite time.

Here's to another month!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Mom Thinks I'm a Hippie (And So Do I): Green Cleaning Ingredients

Becoming a mom makes one a little neurotic about things (please tell me I'm not the only one who became neurotic?). Before I was married and contemplated (seriously, at least) bringing another life into the world, I had it all figured out. We all had it all figured out as teenagers, right? I was going to be getting an epidural, followed by bottle-feeding, and not batting an eye at crying it out. Oh boy, I've officially hit three of the biggest mom controversies ever. Well, this post isn't about those topics and please don't get all defensive. I'm just being honest here. Things didn't go as I had planned. I ended up with a lot more time to think about how I would raise my family than I had expected. Thus began my journey into the world of being a (somewhat) crunchy mom.

The beauty of living now is that we have choices. My choices aren't the right choices for everyone, but they are the right choices for me. In the end, my journey through parenthood has been the exact opposite of my childhood daydreams. I've become a natural-birthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering hippie. My mom thinks I've gone off the deep end. It didn't stop there. Enter household cleaners. Finally, we've reached the point of this whole post. I've already stuck my toe on the other side of "crunchiness," why not just jump right in?

I'll be breaking this topic up. Today, we'll be talking about "Green Cleaning." In this post, I'll discuss the basic ingredients needed to make your own cleaners and then I'll do some subsequent posts about the recipes I've tried and what has/hasn't worked. This has been a trial and error topic for me. So, I'll be updating as I learn new tricks.

I think it goes without saying that our cleaning products can be, um, harsh? The chemicals that are present in the products we use are really downright frightening when you look at it. We're talking chemicals that are labeled as carcinogens, are known to cause cancer, respiratory issues, reproductive issues, etc. And we spend ridiculous amounts of money on them! Funny thing is, you can literally (can anyone else hear that word and not think of Parks & Rec, or is it just me?) clean your entire house for so much less with just a few magic ingredients.

Here's the list of ingredients I started with:
  • White Distilled Vinegar - the single greatest and most versatile cleaning aid. And, it's SO CHEAP! A lot of people complain about the smell, but I answer that with two things: 1) It doesn't stick around. Once vinegar dries/evaporates/whatever, the smell is gone and 2) Get over it. Eventually you'll learn to like it. It's amazing how much other cleaners burn my nose now. I feel a little comforted by the smell of vinegar these days. Though not as effective as products like bleach, studies have proven that vinegar can reduce e.coli, salmonella, and other yucky things living in your house. We'll discuss how it can be made more effective later. So, you can get nearly the same disinfecting power without the use of something as harsh as bleach.
  • Castile Soap - This stuff really is magic. It can be used for so many things and comes in so many great scents. I've used it in my hair, as baby wash, as a wipe solution for cloth diapers, as dish soap. Plus, it's all natural and made from a vegetable base instead of petroleum (you know, that stuff your car runs on?) so it already sounds better. If you want some interesting watching, there is a documentary on Dr. Bronner. He was, er... eccentric?
  • Washing Soda - Not to be confused with baking soda, though they come in pretty much identical boxes.
  • Essential Oils - These are not necessary, but do make for some great smelling cleaners with a little more oomph. In addition to scent, they have natural cleaning properties. I was able to find all of these at my local vitamin store. Some of my favs are:
    • Tea Tree - A powerful anti-fungal, anti-septic, and anti-viral. It may not smell the best, but it's got some really awesome cleaning abilities!
    • Lemon - Another disinfectant. And, it smells lemony-fresh!
    • Sweet Orange - It doesn't have a lot of cleaning properties, but I like to add it for scent purposes.
    • Other good ones are peppermint and eucalyptus
  • Baking Soda - This works as a natural deodorizer and creates your mildly abrasive cleaners
  • Salt - I'm still experimenting with different types of salt (sea salt vs. kosher salt vs. pickling salt) but this also adds an abrasive characteristic to your cleaners.
There are a few more ingredients that I'll talk about later in specific recipes, but one I want to discuss a little more in depth is Borax. Borax is a common ingredient in homemade cleaning products. I used it in my first batch of cleaners without question, but in my next round I wanted to check the ingredients I was using and make sure they were as harmless as I thought. Everything passed with flying colors except Borax. Which got a big, fat "F" from the Environmental Working Group's database on cleaners. I didn't want this to be my only source and so I went digging. Borax is a controversial ingredient. Some are saying that it's just fine, while others argue that something that works so well at killing roaches couldn't possibly be safe to use as an everyday household cleaner. While the conclusion the author reached in this post is not the conclusion I've reached, she outlines the facts about Borax quite well. At this point in time, I plan on trying to leave borax out of my homemade cleaners. I mean, if I can make things that work just as well without it, why not? Then I don't even have to worry about it. However, if I find that things work better with it, I'll revisit the subject later. 

In the mean time, if you want to test a new batch of recipes you can follow me in the coming posts. I'm anxiously awaiting my BPA-free spray bottles (which unfortunately don't have the best reviews, but I got them for a killer deal and am going to try them anyway) and my microfiber cleaning cloths to come in the mail. Then, I'll be getting started on a new batch of All-Purpose Spray and trying a new version of dishwasher detergent (since the last batch didn't go over quite so well). 

And, I need to figure out how to get more pictures in these posts. Wall-o-text isn't very inviting, is it? Give yourself a pat on the back if you made it this far!

So, just because she's cute! Evelyn wanted to give daddy a hug:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Surprise!!! (Sort of)

I figured I had better start with (one of) the more exciting topics on my list. Our mid-summer surprise!!

We are so. unbelievably. excited.

Unfortunately for this blog, I'm already 20 weeks. Yes, you read that correctly, 20 weeks. How on earth did my getting pregnant, especially after the lamenting posts on infertility treatments 2 years ago, not warrant my return to blogging? I'm not sure, but I figured I pick up where I'm at!

A little background:

It took us a year to get pregnant with Evelyn. This was including 9-10 months of various infertility treatments. She was our little miracle. She was, and is, so wanted and SO loved. When she arrived (in perfect fashion), we, of course, had to discuss postpartum birth control options. We eventually decided that since I planned on exclusively breastfeeding and the trouble we had to begin with, we'd just see what God decided to bring us. Nine months after Evelyn came, my cycle returned. We didn't try, but didn't avoid and around her first birthday I went back to my OB to discuss getting pregnant again (and how treatments may be involved with my continued breastfeeding) since my cycles were getting progressively longer. Little did I know that while I was at that appointment, this little one was already with us! One week later, I got a positive pregnancy test!!

So, yes we were planning on this one, just not so easily! We are so grateful though.

To catch you up to 20 weeks, I'll cover a few of the basics. I got a positive test at around 5 weeks. I then patiently awaited morning sickness... which never came! I've had a few waves of nausea, but other than that I felt great. Except for the exhaustion. I never really felt tired with Evelyn. This time, whoa. I felt like a the walking dead. I was so, so tired. Thankfully, the 2nd trimester energy has returned. We have had 2 ultrasounds - one at 7 weeks which showed a precious little heartbeat and a perfect little bean and our second at 20 weeks which revealed that Evelyn will be a big... SISTER!! ;) I know, I'm terrible. We're old-fashioned. We like our surprise at the end. Also, another healthy baby.

Now for the classic survey:

Sorry for the terrible picture. I'll try to get better ones for future posts!!

19.5 weeks and Evelyn (15 months) trying out my birthday present! A Dolcino woven wrap in Bali.

How far along: 20 Weeks (yesterday)

How big is baby: A banana, according to The Bump. Baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid every day, both for nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting. And, these days, those taste buds actually work! Studies show that after birth, babies respond best to tastes they've already had via amniotic fluid. Meaning, think about what you'd like your future child to eat as you prepare your own lunch.

Weight gain/loss: This one has hit me hard this time. I gained about 32 pounds with Evelyn. I was about 15-20 pounds higher than I would have liked before I got pregnant with her, but I thought my weight gain was fine. After having her I lost a LOT of weight. In fact, I had a hard time keeping weight on. So, I went from 140 before her, to 172 at the end, to my pre-pregnancy weight with this one of around 123. And now, I'm already back up to 138, or something. So, 15ish pounds. Ouch. Dr. says it's normal, and I'm trying not to be neurotic about it. Also, I like to blame a lot of it on my insane porn star boobies. They probably account for a solid 5 lbs of that weight. Seriously, I kid you not. They. Are. Ridiculous.

Stretch marks: Not yet. But they came with a vengeance last time. I can only expect their lovely return at some point.

Sleep: Meh. Depends on the day. And how many times I have to get up to pee.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: None to speak of.

Movement: Yep! Lots of little kicks and jabs! I'm starting to be able to feel them on the outside now!

What I'm worrying about: My weight gain.... Getting Evelyn transitioned into her big girl room (which means getting it done!) before the baby comes. What I'm going to do about working after the baby.

What I'm loving: Being pregnant! I LOVE being pregnant. Baby kicks are the best and my little bump is making its debut in a big way!

Symptoms: Heartburn. I used have pretty severe acid reflux which was miraculously cured after my pregnancy with Evelyn. And, it's back. Though, still not unmanageable.

What I'm looking forward to: Getting started on Evelyn's big girl room. Holding my baby. I keep thinking about having my little squish all wrapped up in my ring sling and it makes me very happy!

Best moment of the week: Feeling movement on the outside! I can't wait until Rob can catch them too!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Long Overdue Updates!

Oh, my. It's a bit of a vicious cycle when it comes to making a blogging comeback. It's like an old friend that you haven't talked to in a long time. You want to reconnect, but it just isn't top priority. You think, "We should go get lunch and catch up.... But, maybe next week. I need to {insert excuse here}." Then you start to get embarrassed because it's been so long and so you put it off longer. Well, here I am. Again. I know how much I used to enjoy blogging. I could list the excuses I've used for the past year, but none will make it easier to get back in the habit. Finally though, I realized what an opportunity I'm missing to document the fleeting moments in my life. My sweet baby is 1!! And, I've thought to myself many times in her first year that there is no way I could ever forget when she first smiled or how often she nursed. But my heart is breaking because I realized something. It's fading. Those sweet memories aren't as vivid as they once were. And I don't want to lose them.

So, this is my attempt at holding on to that thing that is so precious. This beautiful life that God has blessed me with. There is way too much to possibly put into one post, so I'm going to do what has somewhat worked in the past: make a list of what's to come. A little sneak peek. And, if any of you are still holding on out there (or, you are like me and never actually clean out the subscriptions in your Google reader) thanks. I hope you enjoy my return... :) I'll try to make it a little more permanent.

Until then, to hold you over, a little glimpse at what's to come:

  • A terrible picture, but I love it nonetheless: My Baby Turns 1! Remembering Evelyn June's 1st Year

  • Party Planning from a Lazy Mom

  • Nursing: How it Rocked My World
  • Cloth Diapering Through the First Year and Beyond
  • Adventures in Babywearing

  • My Mom Thinks I'm a Hippie (And So Do I)
    • Green Cleaning
    • Unjunking My Diet
  • I'm a Wannabe SAHM
  • Our First Big DIY House Project
  • Evelyn's Big Girl Room! (Still a Work in Progress)
  • Dudley's Story
  • Surprise!!

Wow, I've got my work cut out for me!