Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Life Lately #13

Reading: I've been on a little bit of a reading stall lately but I have two books started that I want to keep plugging away at ASAP...one is Eve in Exile which I've seen recommended by several friends/bloggers lately, and the other is The Devil in the White City. I'm excited to continue reading both!

Watching: Nothing much at the moment, but Isaiah and I just bought the final season (6) of Grimm and we're going to start it this weekend. Series finales are always bittersweet. I'm excited to see how it wraps up, but super bummed we won't have it to look forward to every fall anymore.

Listening to: Christmas music. I've become that person who listens to it before Thanksgiving. I wasn't going to, normally I try and wait until after Thanksgiving, but Isaiah was playing a Christmas album the other day and I got really into it and now it's been all Christmas music, all day. Anything new this year I should be aware of?

Wearing: My mom uniform: Jeans and a sweatshirt. 

Smelling: This pumpkin scented candle I bought from an Etsy shop. It's WONDERFUL. It's a little pricey, but so are Bath and Body Works candles if you don't buy them on sale, and they charge $20 to ship to Alaska anyway...basically the price of a full size candle to start with.

Eating: Angie's Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn. Only 70 calories per cup means I can eat like, five cups. For LUNCH, obviously.

Thinking: That it's safe to say Imogen has finally noticed the cat. She sat in her little activity center (Isaiah calls it her "command center," hahaha) STARING at him sitting on the kitchen table licking himself for a solid ten minutes. 



Loving: The cold but SUNNY weather we've been having the last week! I don't know how long it's supposed to last, but I'm refusing to look at the forecast so I don't get depressed when it tells me we're back to rain and/or snow soon. 

Annoyed with: My still-limited wardrobe. I'm trying not to buy too many new clothes while I work on getting back down to my pre-pregnancy weight but it's hard. I used to feel like I didn't have enough clothes. Now I look in my closet and I'm like, I HAVE SO MANY CLOTHES!!! And I can't wear 80% of them.

Creating: Does remodeling bathrooms count as creating something? I'm going with that. We wanted to do both bathrooms this past weekend, but ran into some snags with the half-bath downstairs (old house + people who didn't know what they were doing when they built the place = every project taking twice as long). It's done now, and hopefully next weekend we'll be able to knock out the full bathroom upstairs relatively quickly now that we know what we're up against and how to fix the problems we're sure to run across.

Nervous about: The fact that I just got summoned for grand jury from January through March. That means I have to report to court every single Thursday (possibly) for three entire months. I had to fill out a questionnaire online after I got my summons and in the comments, I requested to be excused on account of the fact that I will have a 6 month old baby for whom I am the primary caregiver and my husband is a police officer and cannot leave work last minute if I have to serve. I'm hoping they have mercy on me, otherwise I have no idea what I'm going to do.

Laughing at: This video. I have no idea how I even stumbled across it, but the line "it takes me ages before I decide what my dolls should wear" had me rolling. Is this a thing people actually do for a hobby!? ADULTS, I mean?? I had no idea, and I kind of wish I still had no idea.

Anticipating: CHRISTMAS IN SEATTLE...for the first time since 2008!! To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I love, love, LOVE our quiet Christmases at home, but Imogen will be almost 6 months old and I'm so excited to take her to look at Christmas lights and see her (hopefully) crawl around my mom's house.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I have thoughts #3

The last time I wrote an "I have thoughts" post, Imogen had just gotten her 2 month vaccines. As luck would have it, this time around she just had her 4 month vaccines. I was hoping she'd get through them unscathed, but good grief. It was so much worse this time around. Last time she had a low fever for about a day and a half and was really sleepy the day of the shots, and that was it. She was fine. This time, she started feeling feverish that same afternoon, and the entire next day and night. She was tired. She was fussy. She wanted to sleep. She wanted to be awake. She wanted to eat. She didn't want to eat. She has only had two dirty diapers since then (TMI, sorry, but it is Friday and her shots were on Monday and that's not comfortable for anyone) and both were really runny thanks to the Rotavirus vaccine. Yesterday she went on a feeding strike and it was all I could do to get her to eat the bare minimum for most of the day. Today she is refusing to nap longer than 30 minutes at a time. I don't know how much of this is vaccine related and how much of it is age-related, since she just turned four months, but good grief. I'm exhausted from this week.

I attempted to make homemade apple cider today, and it. is. DELICIOUS. I posted the recipe on my Instagram story but if you missed it, let me know and I'll send you the recipe. It's so stinking easy, I don't know why I've never tried it before. I used honeycrisp apples. I can't wait to heat some up later this evening.

I've been on a book-buying streak for the baby lately, which isn't weird or anything but I need your recommendations for board books. We don't have nearly enough (is that possible, though?) There are only two shops in town that sell board books and they're all overpriced; I can get them cheaper on Amazon. Problem is, then I can't look inside them to see if I like them. We like really good illustrations, and a cute story. Examples of books we have and love: The Quiet Book, Red Wagon, A Lullaby for Little One, anything Peter Rabbit-related, and so on and so forth. Send me your suggestions!

Speaking of Peter Rabbit, is it too early to start planning Imogen's first birthday party? Don't answer that.

I bought a chalkboard and chalk pens recently and I've been obsessed with changing it up almost every single day. More often than not, it displays either a Ron Swanson quote or a Michael Scott quote. Today I plan on surprising Isaiah with a hot apple toddy (hence the apple cider experiment) when he gets home from work, so here's today's board:


With my spiced apple toddy candle burning, of course.

Is anyone else already feeling the pressure of Christmas gifts? I think it's because my mom is already asking me for gift ideas, but I feel like it's much later in November than it actually is. Like, is it really only the 10th? Surely December is like, next week. Daylight saving hasn't helped. I know, it's "the thing" for everyone to complain about, but I really hate it. I hate that it gets dark at like 4pm now, I hate that I'm ready for bed by 6:30, and I really couldn't care less that it's light at 8am again. Yay, that'll last all of a few weeks before we're down to about 6 hours of daylight. Take your daylight "saving" and shove it, Benjamin Franklin.

We're going to remodel our bathrooms and laundry room this weekend. Lord, beer us strength. Both bathrooms and the laundry room are getting new flooring; the downstairs half-bath is getting a new vanity, faucet and toilet; the upstairs full bath is getting a new vanity, faucet, medicine cabinet, lighting, and toilet. I'm not too worried about the two bathrooms, but I'm d r e a d i n g moving the washer/dryer and the hot water heater so we can do the floor in the laundry room. We just replaced the hot water heater a couple months ago and it was a complete pain in the you know what, and I'm not excited to move the stupid thing yet again. At least it should be easier to drain this time...the old one hadn't been replaced since it was originally installed in the 1980s, and the bottom was so full of sediment that we had to rig a drainage system to one of the element holes using the hose from our ShopVac. It was an adventure, and not one I'm wanting to repeat any time soon. That said, once the bathrooms and laundry room are finished, our house is DONE in the remodeling department. Five years of projects...anything after this is just bonus points.

Last thing: Thank the Lord it's Friday. Isaiah has been working a crap ton of overtime lately, and I am looking forward to a few days of family time. I may even have a spiked apple cider tonight, myself.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Baby recommendations: 1-3 Months

So, I never thought I'd be the type of person to write a post like this, but then I discovered how much I actually really liked and appreciated recommendation posts when I was pregnant and figured I'd throw in my two cents. You don't even have to be pregnant to like posts like these - all of these would make great baby shower gifts as well!

I know there is a crap ton of gear and recommendations out there, and a lot you really don't actually NEED (though some things are nice to have) - but these truly are some of my favorite things from the first three months of having a baby. I hope it helps if you're either having a baby or trying to buy for someone having one!

Oh - and, as always, none of these links are sponsored because mama don't play like that.

Feeding

+ Boon Grass drying rack. I didn't originally intend to mostly bottle feed Imogen, but out of necessity, it happened. At first, I just had a towel laid out on the kitchen counter to air dry bottles, but it was an eye sore and didn't work that well. Enter the Boon drying rack. I know it's kind of quirky looking, but I like it, and it works well. It's dishwasher safe so I run it through every few days, and it holds a lot more than you'd think based on its size. Even if you aren't bottle feeding and just have pump parts, or other baby items you need to air dry occasionally, it's a nice item to have.

+ Dr. Browns Options bottles. Along the same bottle train, these are the bottles we have been using and I really like them. They're a little more of a pain to clean because of all the parts, but Imogen was an extremely gassy baby and these are the only bottles we tried (and we tried several) that seemed to really actually help her gas issues. It's possible she just happened to start growing out of that phase when we finally bought these, but we're still using them and I still really like them.

Bedtime

+ Little Unicorn muslin crib sheets. I know, I know everyone raves about Little Unicorn products and they're basically the new Aden and Anais, but it's for a good reason. Their stuff is bomb, that's why. Aside from their muslin swaddle blankets and their diaper bags, I absolutely love their crib sheets. We have this hedgehog one and it's probably my favorite crib sheet we own. It's soft, it washes really well, it fits the crib mattress perfectly, it doesn't cost fifty dollars, and it's darn cute. I want ten more of them.

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine/night light. I won't go into excruciatingly long detail about all the features this sound machine/night light has, but we love it. You can connect it to your phone via Bluetooth, you can program favorite light color/sound/volume combos, and the metal ring on top is the on/off "switch" (there are buttons on the bottom, too) so in the middle of the night when you're feeding your infant for the 15th time all you have to do is tap the top to turn it on instead of fumble with finding the on/off switch. It's not fugly like so many other sound machines are, and it even has an "OK to wake" feature for older kids. You can buy patterned covers for it, too, but I like it just plain white.

Bathtime

+ Puj Flyte baby bathtub. There are a TON of options for baby bathtubs out there, but I really wanted one that would fit in our kitchen sink to make bath time really easy. This Puj bathtub has been perfect - it's great quality, rinses clean and folds flat so we can keep it in a closet when we aren't using it. Imogen is in the 90th percentile for height (not sure where she got that) and at 4 months, she is just now starting to look pretty cramped in there. We'll probably be able to use it for another month or two, and then we'll have to graduate to something that fits in the actual bathtub.

+ Shower caddy tote. When I started accumulating baby bath items, I wasn't sure where I was going to store them all. We have really tiny bathrooms and very few closets and I needed something I could cart back and forth to the kitchen from Imogen's bedroom. This shower caddy has been the perfect size to hold her baby shampoo, lotion, hairbrush, Nose Frida, nail clippers, a few washcloths...basically everything needed for baby spa time.

+ Bamboo baby washcloths. Don't get me wrong, you do NOT need to buy special washcloths for bathing your baby. Regular washcloths work just fine. But these are some of the softest washcloths I've ever felt, and for sensitive baby skin, they're wonderful. They wash well and stay just as soft, and they aren't expensive.

+ Tom's of Maine baby lotion. There are tons of baby lotions out there you can choose from, but this has been my favorite by far. You can get fragrance free if you desire, but I really love the lightly scented one. It isn't terribly greasy, it hasn't caused any kind of a reaction on her skin, and it's extremely moisturizing. After I put it on Imogen, I rub the rest into my hands and elbows.

Diapering

+ Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. Every baby needs a good diaper cream, right? I really like this one. It's cloth diaper safe if you're going that route, it has a really nice herbal smell, and it's all natural. We've not only used it on Imogen's booty, but on her cheeks when she gets a little bit of a breakout, on the inner creases of her elbows when they get a little bit red (from sweat? I have no idea) and underneath her chin/between her neck rolls when she got a tiny bit of a rash in there. It clears all of the above up within a day or two.

+ Munchkin waterproof changing pad liners. I know some people scoff at using a changing pad and sheet for diapering, but I really like using both. Our changing pad sits on top of the dresser, and I honestly like keeping it covered with a sheet just so it's not so ugly to look at. These waterproof changing pad liners make it so I rarely have to change the actual sheet. I will let you know that they need to be washed in COLD water and air dried, otherwise the plastic backing WILL melt. I found that out the hard way, but thankfully they're cheap to replace.

+ Be Bundles snap flip lids. Our favorite wipes are Water Wipes. Unfortunately, the packages don't come with an actual lid, they come with one of those sticky sheet things that after a few times opening and closing the wipes package, lose their stickiness and you end up with dried out wipes. These plastic flip lids have been awesome for getting rid of that problem. They're not too hard to "install" and they seal nice and tight so your wipes don't dry out. I don't know if other brands of wipes have the same type of sticky sheet instead of a lid, but for those that do, I highly recommend getting some of these snap lids.

Things to Wear

+ Zutano fleece booties. These aren't the cheapest baby "shoes" on the market, but I would recommend them a thousand times over if you live somewhere cold. Here in Alaska, I really needed something I could put on Imogen's feet that she couldn't kick off, and so far these are the only things that actually stay on. We have the gray with the pink lining and Isaiah calls them her "elephant shoes." Word to the wise - the sizing is a little different. "3 months" means 0-3 months, not 3-6 months. Imogen is 4 months and I'm going to have to size up very shortly because I bought her the 3 month size a month ago thinking that meant 3-6 months and they'd fit at least until Christmas. Nope.

+ Carter's folded cuff socks. I have a crap ton of socks for Imogen. These are by far my favorite, because they're some of the only ones that (again) she can't kick off. I can un-cuff them and pull them up almost all the way to her knees, which helps them stay on. And, they're stretchy enough that they will likely still fit her when she starts learning to walk, and the little grippy things on the bottom will be nice in a house that is 95% laminate wood flooring.

Playtime

+ IKEA Leka cat rattles. These rattles were perfect when Imogen was first starting to show interest in toys but wasn't very coordinated and had a hard time actually grabbing them. They're small and soft and easy for an infant to grip, and she also loved sticking the tail/feet in her mouth to chew on them. The rattle isn't loud, either (bonus).

+ Skip Hop Activity Mirror. Imogen hated tummy time for the first few months. Like, literally HATED it. She would do well for about thirty seconds and then she would just smash her face into the ground and cry. We tried everything - laying on the ground in front of her, putting small toys in front of her to distract her, propping her up on a pillow or rolled up blanket...nothing worked. Finally, out of sheer desperation (and paranoia that my baby would be the only one in kindergarten unable to hold her head up) I ordered this mirror, knowing that she loved looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, and it worked. She still didn't last a very long time, but being able to look at herself was enough of a distraction to at least get several minutes of tummy time out of her instead of several seconds. Of course, the mirror is an unbreakable one so it's not super clear and everything looks really distorted, but it's not like she was trying to do her makeup in it.

Other Gear

+ Fisher Price Rock and Play. If there's one thing you splurge on, I would highly recommend this. I had more than one person tell me I needed one when I was pregnant, and did I ever. Imogen loved the cradle-like feeling vs. laying flat on her back, and she even slept in it next to our bed for the first three months of her life. I still use it, too - she lays in it and plays with toys in the doorway of the bathroom every day while I shower. We didn't spring for the auto-rocking version, but if you don't mind the cost, there's that option as well.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Confession Session

+ I really, really hate the acronym "AF." If you don't know what it means, it means "as f***" and it's stupid. It also doesn't even make sense. "Married AF." "Tired AF." "Hungry AF." That means nothing.

+ I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but why do people give so many hand me downs as baby gifts? Don't get me wrong, I've gotten some hand me downs that were extremely thoughtful and actually really useful. But we have had three separate sets of people now randomly go to either the thrift store or garage sales to buy us bags full of used baby clothes. And they look used. And they're not our style at ALL. Again, I don't want to sound like a total B and like I'm ungrateful for the things people get us, but we're set with plenty of clothes. We don't need grocery bags full of used baby clothes that we're just going to turn around and re-donate. I'd rather our family and friends say, "Hey, I would imagine Imogen is growing out of her newborn clothes at this point, is there anything you need?" The moral of the story is, if you know someone having a baby...JUST ASK. Don't waste your money. Ask.

+  Fall is not my favorite season. Summer is. Cue the collective gasps. It's just that it's cool/chilly here so much of the year that I basically live for any day over 60 degrees.

+ I don't like Halloween. We don't celebrate it and probably never will.

+ Imogen is 4 months old (tomorrow) and I'm still mostly wearing my maternity jeans. My non-maternity jeans kinda fit, but they're a little too snug around my hips, which have not yet gone back down to normal. "Muffin top" is only good when it's referring to food. My goal is to be out of maternity jeans full time by Thanksgiving.

+ I always thought that babies aren't supposed to start solid foods until they're six months old, but apparently you can start as early as four months? I never knew this until recently, and now when I look at Imogen and think we could start giving her purees/cereal any day now, I get really sad and think we might wait until six months just because I am not ready for her to be so grown up.

+ Usually I am instantly in the Christmas spirit once November 1st hits, but we're going to be traveling this year and I suddenly have no desire to decorate our house when we won't even be here. My husband vehemently disagrees with my opinion so we'll probably still decorate. I don't mind decorating. I just hate taking it all down again.

Tell me some of your confessions. I know I'm not alone.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Life Lately #12

Reading: Still plugging away at Glory in the Ordinary. I had a few weeks where I wasn't really into reading very much, but now I'm back at it and almost finished with it. I'm still debating whether to officially review it or not. It's good, though, and even though I'm not quite done, I can already recommend it.

Watching: Well, now that we've finished the current season of The Blacklist (sob), we're re-watching Parks and Rec. April is still my spirit animal. 



Listening to: The sound of a crazy downpour outside. It's been raining so hard all night and all day today, and I'm not normally a paranoid person, but I'm a little afraid of landslides these days. Did I mention that two years ago there was a landslide here that killed 3 people? And a month or so ago there was another huge landslide that blocked the road to our house and we were without power or a road into town for an entire day? Both landslides due to excessive rainfall in a short period of time. Like today...

Wearing: A hoodie, because what else does a sane person wear when the baby's napping, it's pouring rain and there's a candle burning?

Smelling: These three candles on rotation. I highly recommend every single one if you're into fall/winter scents from Bath and Body Works. I do kinda wish the "But First! Coffee" one was a little classier looking and less cheesy, not to mention the weirdly placed exclamation point drives me a little bonkers, but whatever. The candle smells like a hot mocha, so I'm not too upset about it. 



Loving: This picture of my daughter making flirty eyes at a teenage boy at a restaurant we were at this weekend. She does this hilarious thing where if she wants someone to look at her, she gives them this look and either blows spit bubbles or makes this "hehhhhhh" sound, like a half-laugh. It's hilarious and adorable and I want to bottle the sounds she makes so I can listen to them forever. God bless iPhone cameras.

I'm also loving how auburn her hair looks in this photo. I can't wait to see what color it ends up actually being...sometimes it looks medium brown indoors, but outside and in bright light there's definitely a ton of auburn/blonde in there.



Not Loving: How it doesn't matter how girly we dress Imogen, there's always someone who tells us what a cute little boy we have. The other day she was wearing pink and the lady at the post office asked me how old "he" is. Granted, her blanket was very gender-neutral and she had a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal with her, but still. It reminded me of an episode of The Office (as does just about everything in life)...I couldn't find a gif for it but it's the one where a new employee named Hannah transfers to Scranton and brings her son to work and dresses him in pink and when Pam says "she" is adorable, Hannah informs her that pink is "his favorite color." Office fans will know which episode I'm talking about.

Annoyed with: Babies R Us. I wanted to order a two-pack of leggings and a mirror toy for Imogen the other day and they wanted to charge me THIRTY DOLLARS to ship those three things here. I'm so blessed to have a mother who lets me ship whatever I want to her house (usually for free, because lower 48ers don't know how good they have it) so she can re-mail it for like five bucks.

Creating: Not much lately, but I did a quick project for my friend Anna the other day using Photoshop, and it was fun to dig back into that program. It's been a while. She and a friend needed some quick business cards made up for a craft show they were doing. I think they turned out okay for only taking thirty minutes! On a related note, check out their Facebook page!

Wanting: For some reason lately I'm kiiiiiiiiiind of wanting a Letterfolk board. I kind of hate how ridiculously popular they are and I'd totally be jumping on a bandwagon, but then I think of all the Office and Parks and Rec quotes I could put up and I think I might ask for one for Christmas.

Laughing at: This is me to a T. I will not, repeat will not parallel park. I've managed to avoid it ever since I failed miserably at it during my driving test when I was sixteen. Why start now?




Feeling: Anxious. Imogen's aunt and uncle (Isaiah's brother and sister-in-law) are coming over to babysit Imogen for a couple of hours while we go to the shooting range this afternoon. What if she cries and wonders why mommy and daddy aren't coming to rescue her? There are so many things that I scoffed at pre-child and now that I have a baby, I totally get it. A year ago I would have laughed at someone being so nervous to leave their baby for two hours with family. Now, that someone is me. I'll take that humble pie a'la mode, thanks.

Anticipating: Christmas. Yes, Christmas, and I realize it's not even November yet. But Imogen will be almost 6 months old, and I'm so excited to give her a few presents to open. I assume by then she'll actually be interested in playing with toys and not just slobbering all over them? We're also planning to visit my mom for Christmas (my first Christmas "home" since I moved to Alaska in 2009!) and take a couple of days to drive down to Oregon to introduce Imogen to her great-grandfather on Isaiah's side.