Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First Noms

Since doc said we could start solids, I bought rice cereal and dusted off the Baby Bullet box! I was so excited to start making baby food!  Well, kind of. I didn't need the baby bullet at all for the rice cereal, but I used one of the little cups because I they're cute and I wanted to feel like I made something.

The box said 1 tbsp to every 4 tbsp of formula; it was very watery (or formula-y?). I gave her a few spoonfuls that likely equated to one spoonful when you subtract what dribbled from her chin and onto her bib. I figured she gave it the old college try and I put the rest into her bottle so she could drink it (it was that watery). I had great fun and Joanna was pretty freaked out by the whole experience.

Here's a brief storyboard:


 Ready for breakfast           "Bring it on, Mama!"



    Wait, why do I need a bib?     WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS?!?!

I'm going to do a 1 : 2 tbsp ratio tonight.

To be continued..

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

4 months

My squishy is 4 months old today!



Joanna refuses to slow in her growth - she remains in the 98th percentile. 17lb 7oz, 24 3/4 inches, and 17in head circumference. I created a monster. of cuteness.


3 months       |       4 months

If Joanna didn't have arms, she would roll like a champ. The doc recommended that I tuck her arm under and roll her over and make it into a game until she gets the hang of it. Her upper body strength is great and her neck will soon fully catch up to her giant 98th percentile head.


This picture cracks me up
I asked the doctor if I should be concerned about her weight to heigh ratio and he said that we have nothing to worry about. If doc says its okay, I'm going to keep feeding my baby.  Speaking of feeding, he said we can start solids! First is rice cereal with 2oz of formula for breakfast and dinner. He said we should introduce something by itself for 5 days then introduce the next item. By spacing them out, we'll be able to tell if she has an allergy. With no kitchen table or high chair, it should be a fun experience. Thank God for her Bumbo tray. Stay tuned for the messy details to come!

I told the doctor that every once in a while, she'll shriek like she's in pain while she's sleeping. When I go in and comfort her, it's like she's still asleep while screaming.  I would wake her up enough to help her stop screaming then she'd be fine and go back to sleep. I thought she may be teething since she's also very spitty and orally fixated. Doc thinks that they may be night terrors. (My brother had them as a toddler.) He said that we shouldn't wake her if she seems to still be asleep. Night terrors can sometimes be a precursor to sleep walking. Fun, huh?

Much to her dissatisfaction, she had her first experience with a rectal thermometer. She also received her second round of shots. Her pain turned into anger as I put her pants back on and put her in the carrier. R2D2 came to the rescue as she whimpered herself to sleep.

All in all, my 98th percentile baby is happy, healthy, and ready for more!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why I heart Facebook

I've been a member of Facebook since January of 2004. Back in the "old days", it was only used by college students. Since that time, Facebook has helped me get a boyfriend, get job interviews, get advice, and even get some extra cash. When used wisely, it can be a wonderful asset as a networking tool.

Although that relationship that began via a Facebook poke is now a horrible memory I wish I could erase, I don't blame Facebook. It wasn't Facebook's fault. Facebook was just being itself. It truly was a "it wasn't you (Facebook), it was me" situation.

Thanks to my videos, a potential employer saw my impressions of Sarah Palin and called me in for a interview to work at a radio station. Although I received an offer, my job at the time wouldn't allow the transfer, but it's still a cool connection that was formed - through Facebook.

The junk that collected dust in our back closet is now in the homes of people who appreciate them. Plus, we now have cash in our pockets - thanks to Facebook.

When I was trying to get pregnant, when I was pregnant, and now that I'm raising a child and trying to not look like I was pregnant, Facebook is here. I'm a better mother to my child because of the people I connect with. On Facebook.


What's next for my Facebook and me? A page for my blog of course! I want to connect with more people and help others connect with each other. Plus, I can post random anecdotes there and not clutter up the joint here.

So go here: http://www.facebook.com/HousebrokenMom

and click "like" so I feel liked.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bumbo and Chew Toys

My little wiggle worm doesn't
like sitting still when she smiles..
The Bumbo may be one of the greatest inventions ever. (next to the Fisher Price Rocker and vibrating bouncy seats.) Our JoJo Bean is [sort of] able to sit up thanks to this neat little seat.  It's also fun to try and squeeze her giant cloth diapered bum into this plastic contraption. When she's double stuffed and in her PJs, its a snug fit. Most babies won't have that problem as a 4 month old. Our miracle grow baby is exceptional, what can I say?  I bought it from a kids re-sale shop for $12 with a detachable tray. We plan to also use it as her "high chair" when she begins solids because our tiny house doesn't justify having a high chair. We don't even have a kitchen table. 

Miracle Grow JoJo is also close to teething, based on her stringy drool and constant need to put things into her mouth. We gave her a "chew toy" and she immediately grasped it and shoved it into her face. She eventually got some of it into her mouth as the drool poured down her shirt. Man she's cute. That red thingy in the photo is a Discovery Toy from Grandma Mills. It's supposed to be an indestructible chew toy with multiple textures and grippy things (I speak so good).

Joanna is the thankful recipient of many nifty Discovery Toys - thanks Gma! We tried a few on her tonight but she is still far more entertained by people than inanimate objects. Unless it's edible. Or at least chewable. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Snow for JoJo


Yay! It still fits! (barely)

Our backyard


Showing off her hand-knit sweater from Grandma



Big thanks to Daddy for taking the snow photos!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Week Fourteen

Updated stash: 27 diapers!
It's official - Joanna is now on the tallest adjustment of her bumGenius. Because I really didn't want to wrap her in a plastic bag until she was old enough to poo on the throne, I journeyed to Abby's Lane for advice.

The solution? Happy Heinys! We are now proud owners of 4 new Happy Heinys and 1 Tiny Tush diaper. These brands have more adjustment options for larger babies. Thank you, God. We have at least a few more months left in the bumGenius before she completely outgrows them. She could plateau in her growth soon - how awesome would that be?

Abby's Lane was having a clearance of the old Happy Heinys patterns so we stocked up on solid colors for $15 each. Grandma was awesome and bought 3 of them (thanks Grandma!). The 3 solids in the photo are Happy Heinys and the adorable robot pattern is Tiny Tush. Not pictured is a pretty periwinkle color that our poop machine is currently "utilizing".

bumGenius AIO Pocket
A happy heiny in Happy Heinys

By the way, I'm still a huge fan of bumGenius. I don't want to discourage people from the brand just because my infant is the size of a toddler. We've been very pleased with the absorbency and overall quality of BG. I was sad to have to switch to another brand but I'm glad that we can potentially pass on some BG love to other new moms that are CDing their offspring.

Even though we had to buy more diapers, we are still adding $6 to our savings from not using disposables:
$18 x 2 weeks = $36 saved - $30 on new diapers = $6


So...
Total Personal Investment: $190
Savings To Date: $234
Return On Investment: + $44


If you want a great visual on the savings from cloth diapers (financial, environmental, etc), check this out:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seven Slings Product Review

You know that "FREE BABY SLING!" promo you receive in your mailbox? or hospital samples pack? or email? I tried it and I wasn't disappointed.

First of all, the "free" sling isn't free. Because of this I recommend getting a gift set instead of just the sling because the discount code marks down the entire purchase. My "Autumn Blaze" size 5 gift set is listed as $72.00 and marked down to $44.00. The code "SEVEN" takes off the $44.00. A mysterious $5.00 charge sticks around plus $11.95 shipping. So my "free" $72.00 sling gift set was actually $17.00, which still isn't bad considering most baby wearing options are in the $50 range. 

A week after ordering I saw a shipping bag shoved into my mailbox. It certainly wasn't $12 worth of envelope, but it kept the goods intact. I opened it and didn't experience the chemical smell that some have complained about. It did smell like plastic but it didn't smell like China. I love the leg warmers and the bracelet is really cute.

After a good pre-wash in warm water and a hang dry, the fabric stayed the same size and the smell was gone. I slid my nearly 17 pound 15 week old into it and started making faces at her in the mirror - she started laughing! That was a great sign that she was comfortable. I love how easy it is to get her in and out of it. It also folds up very nicely into my diaper bag. It's not adjustable so I don't think I'll be able to fit my giant baby into the sling when she's 35lbs, but I'm going to enjoy it as long as I can.

My 17lb baby and me using a size 5 sling from Seven Sling
Wearing a 20lb 5 month old
The holds that the models use on the website are for skinny moms with small babies - they won't necessarily work if you're an average size woman (or man.) When I use it, I don't fold down the portion that fits over my shoulder and arm; folding it made it too tight to slip her into the sling. I recommend getting a size or two larger than the size chart because it doesn't account for chests or post-pardom bellies. I have a petite size 8 frame but a large chest, so my size 5 works very well. 

All in all, my $17.00 sling is pretty, convenient, and inexpensive; I'm pleased with this purchase. If you want to order one, go to www.sevenslings.com and use the code SEVEN at checkout. The same company also sells modesty covers (www.uddercovers.com) and they have the same "FREE" situation where you're really paying $17. If you need a nursing cover, get the gift set. I bought one for an upcoming baby shower and I was still impressed with what I received.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bath Time

Joanna is officially the cutest baby in the universe. I knew she held the title in this world, but it now spans multiple worlds. Officially.

Joanna and her entourage visited Grandma and Grandpa this past weekend. Among the many things we wanted to do, Grandma wanted to give Joanna a bath. They bought a bathtub and had all of the necessary supplies. We tested the water temperature, added the soap and a dash of oil for her dry skin, and rolled up our sleeves. The biggest difference between our tub and the one my parents had was that Joanna LOVED their tub so much more -  I've never heard JoJo laugh so much! She loved the water and loved having her chest and tummy scrubbed - who knew? In our tub, she usually just lays there stunned. She surprised me with her attentiveness and enthusiasm on this go 'round.

Of course we needed photographic evidence of the cuteness:






I love having a professional photographer in the family :) Thanks, ma!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Muppets

I love the Muppets.
More specifically, I love all things Jim Henson.
So here are some scattered thoughts about the Muppets and Jim:

Like many of my fellow 80s kids, Sesame Street was a staple of my childhood. I learned everything from how to count to 10 in Spanish to how to be a friend. Bert and Ernie were my favorites - little did I know that their friendship echoed the creative collaborations between masterminds Frank Oz and Jim Henson.


Once I hit pre-school, I would watch the Muppet Show on Nickelodeon in the afternoons. As Jason Segel recently said, "The Muppets are a gateway drug to things like SNL and Monty Python." How right he is! The Muppets led to my love of 50s, 60s, and 70s classic television. I would stay up late each night to watch Nick At Night for Dick Van Dyke, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and my favorite: I Love Lucy. The clean, cheesy, and clever humor in these shows echo the vaudevillian roots of the Muppets. The only thing that has come close to the creativity, humor, and heart of the Muppets is Pixar.

A Muppet Christmas Carol will always be my favorite movie - [nerd] so much of a favorite that I sang "When Love Is Gone" as a sophomore in High School nearly 10 years after the movie was released. [/nerd] The sheer joy of the Ghost of Christmas Present brings me to tears as he sings to that crotchety geeser. It was also the first movie after the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt.

Then there's Labywrinth. It's such a freaky movie for a child to watch yet I preferred it to the princesses of Disney. It was about the journey made by a real, angsty teenager in an unreal, fantastical world - the first time I saw a flawed character that really did "come of age" in a non-children's movie way.

Jim Henson understood the need for humans to imagine and create. I really wish I could have met him. I'm still hoping I can meet Frank Oz one day. And Dave Goelz. And Kevin Clash. And Steve Whitemire. I'd just like to meet every Muppeteer.

My closest brush with Muppet-dom was meeting the original cast of Avenue Q, including John Tartaglia, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, and Rick Lyon. All were puppeteers for Sesame Street and other Henson productions. Rick also designs puppets - AWESOME! They were so warm to me; Stephanie even took me backstage and showed me around. I mean really, who does that? It just solidified my dream to work for Sesame Street one day. I don't care what I do, as long as I can work for their program.

Another memory is with my husband. On our way back from our Honeymoon, we stopped by the Muppet Exhibit at the Smithsonian - I walked in and nearly ran over a kid in my excitement at seeing Kermit. Jonathan had to run to catch up to me and tell me of the child's near destruction. The exhibit allowed me to share all of my geekdom with him; The Muppets are my Star Wars. My Lord of the Rings. This was my childhood.

And now just in time for my daughter to join the world, the Muppets release their first major motion picture in over 10 years! Our first date sans baby was to see The Muppets. I'd say I've come full circle, but that implies that there won't be any more contributions from the Muppets. How sad would that be? Instead I'll say that is just another tier to a sweet, delicious cake.

-----------


The movie was AMAZING! Without giving anything away, it exceeded every expectation I had. We are huge Muppet fans AND Flight of the Conchord fans. James Bobin (director of FOTC) directed this movie, AND Bret McKenzie was the Music Director. The music was incredible: heartwarming and funny. I was in love within minutes of it starting. I also cried at least ten times - I stopped counting.  It was the best first post-baby date ever!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Week Twelve

Joanna still has a happy bum and we have a very happy bank account.  Thanks to the generosity of Joanna's diaper buddy Cullen, we have added 5 new diapers to our stash! Three home sewn, one Flipz, and one adorable animal print. We are proud owners of 22 cloth diapers and 2 covers. (most of them are shown here:)

In terms of smell, baking soda really did the trick. After stripping the diapers, I sprinkled baking soda into the load before the first wash.  We still love using Method Free and Clear.

And now by request, here is what I do: 

Step By Step Cloth Diaper Process
  1. Pre-wash all diapers.
  2. Put a clean diaper on your baby's bum. 
    1. Cloth diapers are meant to fit babies 8lbs and over. If you have a bigger baby like us, don't use cloth diapers in their first week - the meconium will stain the cloth. 
  3. When your baby finishes his/her business, take off the diaper.
    1. Be sure to have a clean one ready to go!
    2. As I stated in an earlier post, boys spray and girls "spill". If you have a girl, always have something below their bum. If you have a boy, have something to block their stream. 
  4. Separate the cover from the insert (some don't separate, it depends on the diaper).
  5. Place cover and insert into the diaper pail.
    1. If you have a bigger surprise than just a wet diaper, you can use a diaper sprayer to get rid of the excess stool or you can do what we do and wipe up the stool using a plastic grocery bag. 
    2. If the baby is nursing and not on solids yet, the consistency (and smell) are very manageable and you can just toss it into the pail. If you have a formula baby like us, it helps to wipe up excess stool so it doesn't stink up their room. 
  6. When you're running low on clean diapers, take the soiled diapers in their pail liner and dump (haha) them into the washing machine.  
    1. I wash diapers every 2 days with 22 diapers.
  7. Wash on cold.
  8. Wash on hot. (add baking soda if needed)
  9. Rinse again.
  10. Place the inserts and pail liner in the dryer and hang the covers to air dry.
  11. Put 'em back together and start over!
  12. At the end of the week, count the $12 - $18 you just saved by not using disposables.
Diaper Stripping:
  1. Hot wash without detergent with a double rinse. This helps remove any buildup of detergent.
  2. If a smell still lingers, try baking soda, vinegar (if you have hard water), Dawn dish soap, Bac-out, Oxyclean, etc.
  3. Visit http://www.zany-zebra.com/stripping-cloth-diapers.shtml for more info. 

And now for my favorite part:
Total Personal Investment: $160
Savings To Date: $198
Return On Investment: + $38