Monday, September 29, 2014

CRAWLING


That is right, P is CRAWLING!

I never thought that she would crawl--well, because I never did. She seemed to be taking after the lazy momma. So, I just assumed that my little stationary girl would remain so.

She gave me a big F you this weekend and crawled across the room. Of course, I wasn't there. I was doing make up in the city and was so depressed that I missed it. When I got back to her and saw her crawl myself for the first time--my eyes welled up with tears.

You see, I have been very worried about P's development. I have been measuring her up against the other babies born around her in my mommy group. The ones that are slightly older and have been crawling for awhile now.

Even though, everyone assured me that she would crawl when she was ready, that some babies never crawl, etc. I still worried deep down inside. And...of course I worried loudly to my husband. I made him worry about it too. What a relief!

Now it is on to baby proofing the house and getting ready for my mobile baby girl. I am sure that I will soon miss these pre-crawling days.

P is no longer a baby baby. She is a big baby. She is on her way to being a toddler. OH. MY. HEART.

Do any of you have a bitter sweet relationship with these baby firsts? Is it just me?


Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Birthday Chalkboard Print


I find it pretty hilarious that my first DIY post is not about make up. I should really do some make up tips and tricks for you guys, but I need a better camera before I delve into that world. Anywho--recently I have started planning for P's FIRST birthday party.

What? Yes, P is only 8 1/2 months old. And yes, I am crazy. There is just so much going on around P's Birthday. Christmas, New Years, and My BIL's wedding. I just know that all of these things are going to creep up on me, and I am too obsessed with the picture perfect first birthday party to let that happen to sweet little me--err, I mean, P.

Ok, so maybe I am throwing a big party partially for me, but damn it, it's a huge day for me. It's the anniversary of the day that I birthed a human. So sue me if I want to throw a party that will symbolize how much that anniversary truly means to me.

Did I mention we are on a budget. As much as I would love to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a party that my daughter will not remember, there are just more important things financially for us right now. So, I am getting creative--and learning a lot about my computer skills at the same time.

The newest trend on pinterest for children's birthday parties is the chalkboard with all of your child's stats listed. Naturally, since I am fashionable, hip, and what not--I HAVE to have one for P's first birthday. So I hop on over to Etsy (which I love) and find that most vendors are charging anywhere from 15-30 dollars for their printable posters.

Then my curiosity got the best of me--How does one make one of these printable boards? I consider myself to be fairly good with the computer. I also think that I am a very quick learner. so I did some research and decided that I could make one of these on my own. Saving the budget $15 at a time!

So here is how I did it in case my mommy friends out there want to do the same.

download a chalkboard background like this one.

Download some pretty fonts that you think will look good in the chalkboard. I love this site for fonts.

Use some editing software. I don't have Photoshop so I used an online editor that I love called Picmonkey. You can check it out here. PicMonket also has a lot of cool fonts that I used! The cool thing about the site is that it lets you use both fonts from your computer and their own pre-loaded fonts.

Upload your chalkboard background to PicMonkey and use your fonts to fill in all your little one's stats.

Then add any embellishments that you find to work with your party plans. Pic Monkey has the cute owls, banners, and dotted line that I added.

Save to a flash drive

Take to Office Depot and have them print it large enough to display at the party!

Note: I filled in the poster with projected weight, height, and number of teeth. I will edit once we get closer to P's Birthday.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Favorite Fall Fashion Items


Fall is officially here, ya’ll. I am so excited for fall clothes. This is by far my favorite fashion season. A lot of women love the skimpy summer clothes, but not me. I think I look way better in long sleeved tops and ultra skinny jeans with riding boots that hit just under the knees. I can’t wait for this sweltering Georgia weather to disappear to the amazingly mild fall mornings and afternoons.

This means that P and I will be having a lot more mid-morning walks around the neighborhood. I might even strap her into the baby carrier so that the dog can enjoy the walk as well!

J and I are saving up for our forever home. And by forever, I mean, the next 17 years or so. Because we have this end we are journeying towards—we are currently in hard core budget mode. This means that I will not be buying all of the ridiculously cute fall clothes that I want this season. Plus… I work from home so it is not like I need a TON of things to wear. However—I wanted to share with you guys what I have had my eye on for this season.

1. J Crew vests—I happen to own a hot pink one of these that I wore almost every time I left the house last fall. They are versatile and can be worn with a flannel button down or just a long sleeved t shit. I LOVE them. I have my eye on a cream one. It is on my Christmas list this year for sure.  

2. I love this flannel button down to wear with it.

3. TOMS Wedge Booties and I am in love with their wedge booties since I saw them on my friend’s blog a few days ago.

4. TOMS Ballet Flats—Have had my eyes on the TOMS ballet flats for awhile now, and they are on my short list of things that I want for this fall.  I am having a hard time deciding between the two. I am sure I would be happy with either one.

5. Riding Boots—I wear boots out in the winter and fall months. Therefore, I need a new pair every year. They end up looking pretty ratty by the end of the season. I like these in the picture above from Overstock.com

6. Michael Kors Watch—While I don’t usually wear watches, I have been salivating over this one for months. I think that it would look great with my fall wardrobe. Sadly, it is a little out of my current budget. Maybe a Christmas elf will get it for me.

What are your favorite items for fall?



Monday, September 22, 2014

This Weekend


This weekend was a big weekend for our family. Piper’s Uncle M got engaged to his long time girlfriend, B. We are so excited for them to start their adventure together as husband and wife in December! I can’t wait to hear J’s Best Man speech, I am sure it will be hilarious! P is excited for her Aunt B to officially be Aunt B. I had such a special bond with my aunts growing up, and I think it is an important relationship to have in your life. I remember going to Backstreet Boys concerts, and going on trips to Tennessee and Hilton Head with my Aunts. I totally understand the value of having adult role models for your children outside of their own immediate family. So excited we are adding one to the list soon. We love you guys!

P and I also spent some time with her Glammy and GDaddy at their house. She didn’t particularly sleep well while there. She did not quite feel comfy in the Pack N Play. That is ok, though. She has since returned to her regular home sleep patterns.

I can’t totally blame her for being a little grumpy while at my parents house. She FINALLY cut those two bottom teeth. Thank god! We have been waiting on those suckers for what feels like forever. I am glad to have them out of the way. Maybe my girl will get some relief for a few weeks until the top ones make their entrance as well.


THEN, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend…last night P sat up all by herself. She was lying on her stomach and she pulled her knees in and walked her arms back until she was sitting up all by herself. To firmly cement her new skills she did it a few more times last night and a few more this morning. What a big girl! I was so proud of her! I just know that she will be crawling soon and I can’t wait for the extra exercise that will get me. I gotta fit in a nice dress for that December wedding!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Piper Manual (month 8)


You will remember that I am a fan of strong lesson plans when it comes to someone keeping P for a long period of time. Since my mom will be watching P during the day I wanted to make sure she had a close guideline for how to get my girl to be the happiest baby in the world! Just sharing with all of you!

The Piper Manual
Thank you for keeping our sweet Piper. Here are just a few resources to help you get an idea of what works best for us with her. Please use it as a guide to help you through your day.

Piper’s Schedule
7:00 Wake and eat
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Nap
11:00 Wake and eat
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Nap
3:00 Wake and eat
5:00 catnap
5:45 Wake
6:00 Dinner
7:15 Bath
8:00 bottle and bed

Menu
Breakfast
1 container Peaches or other fruit
2 ½ tablespoons of oatmeal mixed with 1 ½ ounces of breastmilk
Lunch
1 container Chicken and Apples
1 container Pear Zucchini Corn
2 Tablespoons of oatmeal mixed with 1 ounce breastmilk
Dinner
1 container bananas
2 ½ tablespoons oatmeal with 1 ½ ounces of breastmilk

Notes about Solid Feeding
It is very important that we try to get all of the above food in Piper. Since she does not take milk well, we need to ensure she gets the nutrients through the solid food.

She will often swat at the spoon and spit the food at you. This is not because she does not want it, but because she thinks it is funny. Ignore it and try not to draw too much attention to the behavior. I have been told that any attention, whether positive or negative, can encourage the behavior.

I find it helpful to have the TV on while feeing her but not directly in front of her. I usually have it on and to the right of her. While I feed her I will hold her right hand with my left hand and spoon food in with my right hand. I know it sounds weird, but she will open her mouth for it this way.

You may need to give her breaks while eating. Sometimes it takes a good 30 to 45 minutes to get it all in her. Have patience.

Notes about Bottle Feeding
Piper is an unusual eater period. What usually works for bottles is that I wake her from her nap and let her play until she gets fussy or until it is time for solids. I give her the bottle. She needs to take at least 2 ounces of milk before she has solids. Most of the time she will do this, but sometimes she wont.

Please keep track of the amount of milk she takes while with you. Add in the amount you put in cereal as well. It all counts.

The last two bottle feedings of the day she will take around 5 ½ ounces each and she will take it all right before she goes down for sleep. I usually feed it to her while she is laying in her crib or pack n play. She will gobble it all up in about 5 minutes.

Notes about Playtime
Try to vary her playtime activities. We are working on her crawling skills so we like to put her on her tummy every cycle. However, if she cries forcefully, then do whatever you need to do. Just don’t hold her all the time.

Notes about Naps and Bedtime
Make sure the sound machine is on, and on pretty loud.

Make sure she has her bunny and two pacifiers.

I usually give her a little hug and tell her it is night time and put her down in the pack n play. Then I give her the bunny and pacifier. I leave the room.

She never cries at home during nap or bedtime, but since she is in a new place, she may protest a bit. If she cries go back in after 5 minutes. Then 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Try more milk if you think she is hungry each time that you go in. Give her the pacifier again. Try not to pick her up if you can help it. After 10 minutes you go in every 10 minutes until she is asleep.

Thanks again!



What kind of plans do you leave for your childcare?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy 8 Months P!


This past month has been a blur with settling into the new school year, a lot of new makeup job opportunities, and P becoming much more mobile! I find myself being slightly surprised and sad at how fast 8 months have gone by. In the beginning, you have this tiny little baby and you are overwhelmed by the thought of taking care of them alone. The days seem to creep by. Now, I feel that the days, weeks, and months are flying by at break neck speed and I am struggling to keep up with the pace.

My sweet little (err—BIG) baby girl is growing and changing so much every day. It seems like she is doing something new each day, and life is a bundle of exciting moments strung together. In her 8th month of life P has become the master of sitting up. She can now lean all the way down while sitting to pick up an object—without falling over. She can reach back and to both sides to grab a toy that she wants without losing any stability. This seems like such a small thing—but it is really cool to us. We are not AS concerned about her falling and bonking her head as we were a month ago. She can also go from a sitting position to all fours and belly down, or what you might see as “crawling position.” She can only stay in this position for a little while before she falls on her belly.

Once on her belly she can go in every direction—except forward. Baby girl can spin herself around in circles. She can back herself under the Pack N Play and crib. She can also easily roll now from belly to back and then back to belly. This is a skill that took 8 full months to develop. P is hitting these developmental milestones at the top end of the average time frame. I guess homegirl is a perfectionist because by the time she does it—it is SEAMLESS. It’s almost as if she game plans for each new milestone. I think she may be a little stubborn or OCD. I am not surprised in the slightest as her parents have these qualities as well.

P loves the animals in our home, and they tolerate her. She loves to sit on the floor next to the cat and pet (pull) Finder's hair. Finder is the sweetest animal alive and I do not worry that she will claw P—despite the fact that P does everything in her power to make Finder want to. P loves to pull the cat’s tail to her mouth and tries to bite it. She loves to pet her furry back. She squeals with delight when Finder walks by her. Then there is our dog,  Callie. Callie dislikes Piper pretty strongly. She does not shy away from showing her lack of affection. If Callie is on the couch and we sit on that couch with P, then she will move to another couch or the floor. She only wants to have anything to do with P when she is eating solids and Callie can lick her pear covered fingers.

I am not sure that there has ever been a happier baby than mine. P is all smiles and giggles for 95% of her day. It is very rare for her to throw a tantrum or to act up at all. Yes, I am knocking on wood at the moment. In the last week she has learned how to clap her hands and she does it incessantly. Everything in the house these days is worthy of a round of applause coupled with a huge gummy grin. You cannot help but smile and break out into laughter when she does it. She is just so smart and I love her so much.

Speaking of smart, baby P said her first word in her eight month of life. That word is….Doggy. I know—sad, right? The dog hates her, but she loves the dog. She smiles, points, and says, “goggy.” We were shocked and thought that she was surely too young to have said her first real word—but no. She knows that that is the doggy. Of course, I cried.

For many of you that follow my blogs, you are aware that we have been struggling with night time sleep for the last two months. TWO. LONG. MONTHS. I am happy to say that things are a little better, and I feel like we are turning a corner in the sleep department. We seem to have finally reached a point where P will eat enough calories to sustain herself throughout the night. P has decided that bottles are just not her favorite anymore. She prefers to eat a lot of solid foods. Yes, I know that breastmilk is supposed to be her main source of nutrition until age 1.  What do you want me to say? She won’t take it. I have had too many days of crying over un-eaten milk—and decided that if she will eat the solids, then that will have to be good enough. Instead, I mix my breastmilk into just about everything that she eats. Yeah, I’m a ninja like that. Mommy –1, P—0. Cue my best evil laugh. She will also take milk out of a cup with a straw. That is something else she has learned this month. P is a true southern girl—preferring to drink out of a pink bendy straw. My little P will eat 9 servings a day of solids, and take anywhere from 15-20 ounces of milk. Usually a third of that milk is mixed into her food.  In the last 7 days she has slept through the night 5 times. I’m knocking on wood again.

Teething—we STILL don’t have any teeth over here. BUT we are very close. P is beside herself at bedtime with the pain, and is taking Tylenol to cope. She is sticking her entire fist in her mouth throughout the day. She loves to chew on everything and is drooling like crazy. Hopefully those two bottom teeth will be making their appearance soon so that she can get a little relief until the top ones make their way in.

Piper loves her Pack N Play. Seriously—she loves it. She loves to put her face and hands up against the mesh sides. She licks it over and over. It is quite funny! She still loves the bath. We try to stretch it out and let her splash for a while. Her favorite toy is still Sophie the Giraffe. She smiles whenever she squeaks. P has become quite the avid reader. She loves to try to chew the pages as I read to her.  She also loves to watch videos of herself on the iPad—she’s vain like that. I wonder where she gets it?

We have finally dropped the swaddle and Halo sleeper completely! YAY! 8 months is a little long by most standards. We had to take her out of the sleeper because she had ripped a tiny hole at the end and her toes were getting stuck in it—affecting her sleep. So we have moved to just footie pajamas at night and onesies during the day for naps. It is going GREAT so far. Fingers crossed it continues.

So here’s  to another month baby girl! I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to be your mommy, and that I get to be home with you to enjoy all your pretty smiles. I can’t imagine what I did all day before I had you to take care of. I enjoy every first day’s smile and every last kiss goodnight. You are what I always dreamed you would be and so much more. I can’t believe I am so lucky. I love you endlessly, forever and ever. As the line from our favorite bedtime story reads, “Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous, night you were born.” Happy Birthday sweet P!
Love,

Mommy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

P's Schedule Weeks 30-Now



P’s schedule has been holding pretty steady since 6 months of age. We really struggled in months 6 and 7 with night time sleep, but it looks like we are starting to inch our way out of that. She still wakes up most nights, but I think that we have found a schedule that is working better for her.

Note, that I share these schedules for two reasons—one, for my own memory in case there is ever another baby S and I need to see what we did around what times. Two, to help any other moms out there that are looking to see what other babies are doing at a certain age. I certainly do not think that I have it all figured out!

Also note that I followed Babywise pretty religiously until 6 months of age. Now, we find ourselves in a whatever the hell works—stage. P is still not taking milk well so I mix milk into just about everything she eats to add the nutrients and to keep her hydrated. This is just what I have found to give us the most success. Hope this helps some of you!

The below schedule is the one that we have been doing since 33 weeks, but I think that it would have worked at 30 weeks so that is why I have titled it this way. Sometimes we are slow to recognize that a change needs to be made! We are very fond of the new schedule change because it gives us a lot more time alone together at night, and we don't have to worry about a late evening catnap. The down side is that when we want to take her out for dinner--I am not quite sure how that is going to work. I would welcome suggestions on that front.


P’s schedule weeks 30- present

7:00 wake and eat (sometimes)

7:15—I pump while P plays in baby jail (hmm, I mean the pack n play)

8:00 Breakfast (usually yogurt or oatmeal and sometimes both)

9:15-9:30 nap

11:15 to 11:30—wake and eat (sometimes)

12:00 lunch (usually fruit and veggie combo with some of my BM stirred in for extra fat. If she is extra hungry she might have two containers. I am thinking of trying to move her to taking the one fruit veggie combo and a protein such as chicken. We have just started working with the meats and she is still a little hesitant with them. It takes a lot of patience most days to get her to eat the whole container. Some days I have it, and some I don’t.

1:15- 1:30—Nap and then I pump

3:15- 3:30—wake and eat (sometimes)

4:00—snack (usually a fruit with BM stirred in for extra fat)

5:30—I pump while P plays with her daddy she might have a little milk snack around this time. It’s usually an ounce or two.

6:00—Dinner (usually bananas with BM stirred in to help with constipation and oatmeal)

6:30—6:45—Bath time and bed time routine (we try to stretch this time out because she loves the bath)

7:00—story time and in room playtime while getting ready for bed.

7:15-7:30—bottle and then bed.

9:30--Last pump of the day (WAHOO!!!)

11:30—dream feed (yes, we have added back the dream feed to keep her from getting up at night, and yes it is ridiculous that we are still doing this. I can’t talk about it or I will get angry.)


 What type of schedule is your 34 week old on?


Monday, September 8, 2014

My Saturday Night


On Saturday I got the much needed opportunity to hang out with two of the best girlfriends anyone could ask for! These two ladies are very special to me because they are two of my oldest and dearest friends.

K and I met when we were 5 years old (or maybe even younger, I can’t remember) at a dance studio in our home town. We went to the same elementary school, and then reconnected in high school. She is silly, crazy, and at times a little ditsy. This is what we love the most about her—along with her BIG heart!

S and I met at freshmen orientation for high school. Before the first few weeks of school were over, we were joined at the hip and remained so for the next 4 years. I will always have a very special place in my heart for her as she kind of became a second mother/older sister to me. She kept me grounded and pushed me to be my best—she never gave up on me. She didn’t put up with any crap from me either. She was never afraid to hurt my feelings—when she felt that I had done something wrong. Yet, she was always the first person to defend me.

These two are the kind of friends that you can pick right back up with after weeks or months of not being in touch. We know each other from the ground up—we understand where each other came from. Our pasts are entwined together, and that fact will always bind us together.

We had a blast. We shopped, ate, and reminisced about high school friends and experiences. It did my heart a lot of good to be around them. I have been a little bit of a hermit lately. I find myself not wanting to put forth the effort to get ready to go out. I often feel guilty for leaving my husband alone with P when I know he wants and needs to relax as well. It took a lot of reassuring to get me to go Saturday morning. I love my friends dearly, but I have been struggling with the baby blues on and off for the last two months. Saturday morning those feelings were very strong.

Every time we are able to get together I am surprised at how naturally it comes. Everything just flows. Of course things were a little different for me this time. I was checking in constantly with J about how P’s day was going. I yawned at least every other minute—I never get caught up on sleep. When we got back from shopping and were done with dinner—it was not long before I had to head home. While I would have loved to stay and play games all night, the thought of going 22 hours without seeing P’s smiling face is too tough to bear.

While I am sad about missing out on what I am sure was a really fun night, I know that it is just a side effect of being a mom. One day, we will all be calling it a night way earlier than we used to. We are growing and changing constantly as individuals. I am comforted by this simple fact: I know that while we grow separately—we will never grow apart.

I am immensely thankful for these two ladies and for all that they have meant to me. I know that they will shower P with lots of love and support throughout the coming years. I’m grateful that while P won’t have real Aunts—she will have these two adopted ones. I’m a huge believer that friends are the family that you choose for yourself. They are mine.

Till the next time ladies! Lots of love!

Caroline