Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Cut Baby's Nails

I am still a novice mom learning to be better everyday, but cutting nails is one of things that I am good, nay GREAT, at. Fortunately, with a little bit of practice, a cooperative (read: SLEEPING) baby, and a great pair of clippers, you too can be a confident in your baby manicuring skills.

First things first.  Arm yourself with a great pair of clippers.  I think The First Years American Red Cross Deluxe Clippers are the cat's meow.  The magnifying glass is a throw away, but the clippers themselves are incredibly sharp, which is a good thing.  Think of it like shaving; you are far more likely to injure yourself when using a dull blade.  The same holds true for clipping!  Have faith, you can do this.

Once you get proper clippers and are ready to cut:

1.  Wait until baby is passed out.

2.  Put baby on tummy in his crib.

3.  Position yourself comfortably and gently pull pad of finger away from nail.

4.  Slip the bottom half of the clippers behind the nail but on top of the finger pad.

5.  If you are clipping fingernails, cut at least 3x per nail creating a rounded edge: once on the right side, the next on the left side (creating a point for the tip and avoiding sharp corners when the nail grows out a little.), then the last clip should be cutting off the point.
5a.  If you are clipping toenails, clip flat across the nail so you avoid ingrowns.  It can happen, take my word on that!

Here is a crappy youtube tutorial I made:

If you DO nick baby:
-Stay calm.
-Run the finger under cool water.
-Apply pressure with a tissue or cloth until it clots.
-Do not put on a bandaid!
-Remind yourself that this is much harder on you than it is on baby.
-Give baby lots of cuddles until you feel better.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gear Changes for 2013...

Cori and Everett (8m)

1.  Baby Swing - Baby holding receptacles were once a hot commodity in our household, but now that E is fairly mobile and much more independent, they are much less in demand.  The swing was a space-saver, portable version that I could put on the kitchen island as I cooked, or in the living room while I pumped.  I would never have done without and he did enjoy his time in it.  Now, onwards and upwards!

2.  Bottle Warmer - As soon as I got home from the hospital and realized that at least some amount of pumping was a necessity for us, we invested in a decent bottle warmer.  However, once Everett was around 4 months, we started taking the breast milk straight from the fridge and little dude never seemed to mind.  We are lazy.  Now, we have officially retired the bottle warmer and my kitchen counter is inflicted with one less eyesore.

3.  Infant Seat -  E never did love the infant seat.  Now that he is 20+ lbs, lugging around this bucket seat is hard on my back, plus he's pushing the height maximum.  We are very happy to have moved on to using our Stokke stroller seat and Diono carseat in place of our infant seat.

4.  The Bumbo - It's easy to retire something that you never really used.  We found the bumbo to be uncomfortable and ill fitting.  We attempted to do some meals in it, but it never really worked for us.  SAYONARA! 

5.  Mobile - This is the hardest one for me.  The mobile represents newborn-dom, and while I'm happy to move on from this stage and love to watch him grow every day, it's just such a sweet reminder of little, helpless newborn Everett.  He has already tried to take this down, so it was definitely time to retire it, but it will forever be a keepsake of a time that was so sweet and so special.

Natty & Georgia (7 months)

1. The bouncy seat.

It made it possible for me to work while Georgia was awake in the early days and served us well for about four months but after that, her limbs dripped over the edges of the thing and she could headbutt the toy bar, so it went into storage.

2. The boppy.

Look at my itty bitty! I never used the boppy for breastfeeding. Pillows around my middle never made any sense to me. The boppy is a fantastic baby-holder though. Even that had a time limit, however, and Georgia was done with the boppy at around 5 months. I know some kids like it in the early days of sitting but she never has.

3. The swing.

I've been reluctant to take the swing apart, even though Georgia hasn't been in about two months, because when you need it YOU NEED IT. The only way I was able to eat dinner with both hands from months 2 through 4 was because of the swing.

4. The snap-and-go.

I loved this stroller in the days before Georgia could ride in a shopping cart or sit in an umbrella stroller but now I hate how much room it takes up in the back of our car and how hard it is to get things in and out of the basket underneath. She's still comfy in her bucket car seat but it's time to move on from this stroller. See you in hell, snap and go! Or at least until we have another little baby.

5. Bye-bye, play mat. This is where Georgia happily spent part of every day for the first six months of her life. I knew it was time to take it down when Georgia started to pull herself up on the soft, not-for-pulling-up soft bars.

Putting this one away made me cry.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mid Boot Camp Update

Today, I come to you today a little less flabby and a little bit stronger.

In sticking with my resolutions, I started a fitness bootcamp class 3 weeks ago.  This is such a silly name because it's not much more than an interval fitness class on a fixed (MWF) schedule for an hour each day.  We meet in a park very early in the morning and get done about the time most people have just had their first cup of coffee.

A typical workout looks something like this:
 3 sets of 25 - jumping jacks, push ups, burpees (10 min)
 stretching (5 min)
 3 sets of hill sprints/jogs/walks, side steps (10 min)
 3 sets of different ab work (10 min)
 high kicks, frog hops, lunges for the length of the field (10 min)
 3 sets of arm work with bands plus curb kicks (10 min)
stretching (5 min)
What I like:
 It gets me out at least 3x a week.
 It caters to any fitness level and changes as you change.
 I am home before Bran needs to leave for work.
 We never have two identical workouts.
 Instructor makes sure form is good so I don't get hurt.
 Working out in a group keeps me honest and motivated.

Boot camps like these are now found all over the country.  In fact, in my 'burb in LA, there are at least two competing companies who offer great groupon deals at least bi yearly.  If you are considering joining one, I really encourage you to go for it.  Make sure you do a little research before you join; there are many different "flavors" and if you live in a larger city, you can almost certainly find one that suits your needs (higher intensity, later in the day, etc).

Now what sort of progress have I made?  I can now run a hilly mile without getting out of breath, I can feel my abs are starting to bounce back (if this is post pregnancy, you want to be careful here) and I generally feel stronger than I have in quite a while.  The scale hasn't really budged much, but my pants are fitting better and overall, I just feel better than I did just 3 weeks ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Ikea Highchair - Best $25 I've Spent So Far

If you're anywhere near an Ikea, I really think you owe it to yourself to check out the ANTILOP highchair. You should also having some meatballs while you're there. If you aren't anywhere near an Ikea, you can buy it online. I would not recommend having the meatballs shipped. All in all, I am super pleased with this highchair and since Ikea doesn't allow shoppers to review products online, I wanted to go into more detail for anyone wondering about it:

Things I love:
  • This chair is small and simple. It seems like the right size for my little gal but I can see it will grow with her too. 
  • No upholstery, which means nothing to stain and no plush crevices for food to hide in. The entire thing can be taken out on the back porch and hosed down when it needs to be cleaned. One day, it was freezing out, so I popped the whole thing in our shower and cleaned it off that way.
  • Pop the tray off and the highchair can be pushed up to a standard-height table. We can push her chair right up to the dining room table when we're having a meal in the dining room. This will be particularly nice when she starts to color or do crafts.
  • This chair is super light and I can carry it easily from one room to another with one hand.
  • The tray is small enough to be easily washed off in a standard kitchen sink, yet large enough to serve a nice meal on or to use for playing or coloring.
  • $25. The whole thing is $25. It was so affordable, I didn't bat an eye when I bought a pricier travel seat to use in restaurants. For under $100, I had two awesome seats!
  • The assembly was super easy. The legs pop into the seat with a quick twist, like a beach umbrella pops into the anchor pole.
Things that may be less lovable:
  • The ascetics may not be your cup of tea. I think it's cute but my house is full of hand-me-down furniture and crud from Ikea. I'm not winning any design awards here, people.
  • This is not the type of highchair that allows a kid to independently climb in or out of the chair. To me, this is a big plus, but some might find this annoying.
  • It's lower than other highchairs. Again, this is a big plus for me but I imagine a taller parent might find this to be a pain in the back.
  • This chair doesn't fold up. This could be an issue in a very small house.
  • The tray can be difficult to pop off. Many highchairs have trays with buttons that let you slide the tray in and out but this tray "clicks" into place and needs to be kind of pried up to take it off. It took about a week for me to really get the hang of it. I'd say this is the biggest downside but it no longer is an issue for me.
  • There is no real adjustability in the seat. Your kid needs to be sitting independently very well to use this seat and if baby passes out in this one, it's going to be a face-first slide.
Let me know if you have any questions about this highchair. I'm a big fan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We're on Facebook and Twitter!

Here's something new to add to your feeds! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. We'll do our level best to keep you entertained.

If Pinterest is more your bag, follow Cori and Natty (ie us).

Friday, January 18, 2013

Little Baby, Big Chunks of Food

Months ago, I was being weird about introducing solids to little G. My, how things have changed!

Georgia has never been one of those babies who showed a lot of early interest in food. She never stole a fork or grabbed at a piece of toast. She never imitated chewing or looked hungrily at us as we ate dinner. She is also a breastmilk junky, nursing before and after every nap with snacks in between (I dream of life after breastfeeding, just like Cori but try not to anticipate when it will end because I'm leaving it up to her for now.) The time is right for food though and she was showing other signs of readiness, so we started introducing foods in earnest right around Christmas.

The term baby-led weaning is stupid… if you’re American. The term originated in the UK, where weaning just means introducing food, as opposed to the in US where it means the tittie bar is closed stopping breastfeeding. Some people are starting to call it baby-led eating, which makes more sense, but really, we’re just skipping purees and spoon feeding.

We started with mashed up roasted sweet potato. I just peeled and cut a bunch of sweet potato into cubes, tossed them with a little olive oil, and roasted them at 425 for about 20 minutes. I then put everything in my mixer with the whisk attachment and it took about 3 minutes for the machine to mash everything while still leaving it decently chunky. Then we put her in the high chair with a little pile of sweet potato mash in front of her and just let her do whatever she was going to do.

Like all the crap in our kitchen?

For the first week, she just squished and squashed and moved the mush around with very little making it to her mouth. At that point, we added in avocado and that’s when she moved from just playing to playing and eating a little. I offered her dice that was fine enough if she put a whole chunk in her mouth, it wouldn't choke her. In retrospect, I should have just offered her a BIG chunk, they work so much better for her! Avocado was the first food she really started to go for once she could hold a big piece of it and gum it like crazy.

Choking is less of an issue than you might think. Eating this way, the baby gags a LOT and if you don't know what you're seeing, it can scare you. A baby's gag reflex is MUCH more forward than an adults, so they will gag when something isn't anywhere near the back of their mouth. Of course, you want to know about how to respond to a choking baby (youtube videos helps me refresh from my old infant CPR certification) and there are theories that babies who self feed are safer eaters in the future because they have more experience with chunks. Here's some good info on gagging versus choking.

Meal times take a LONG time and it can take her a LONG (10+ minutes) to get something to her mouth. I look at time in her high chair as more sensory play time than meal time and I just don't let myself stress about how much food actually gets into her belly. If I only gave her 5 minutes in her high chair, she would not learn how to self-feed. She probably spends 30 minutes in her high chair at a feeding but she is working the whole time. Yes, a lot of it ends up on the floor.  Yes, the dog is getting fatter.

It is really important to be thoughtful about what kinds of foods you offer. First, it’s important not to offer things that are too slimy or soft (cantaloupe is a notorious choker.) Then, as you select foods, you have to ride the line between soft enough to gum but firm enough to hold.

Avocados are great because there is a natural "handle" where the pit was. Other foods I cut into shapes that are easy to grab—a bow-tie shape works really well. I also offer her foods cut into finer dices and she seems to really respond well to the variety.

We also will load a baby spoon with some food and put it on her tray. She loves to feed herself with the spoon! Very neat. We also offer her water in a little cup a few times during her meal. This encourages her to swallow if she's shoving and gumming a lot without actually swallowing.

I love this style of feeding because she can eat meals with us without DH or I having to spoon feed her and we can just eat as a family. She's eating more every day and her fine motor skills are getting to be really awesome. Yesterday, she picked up peas with her fingertips! When you’ve got a baby to watch, who needs television?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Smoking Crack Whilst Jumping on a Trampoline: Things I'm Looking Forward to Post Nursing

Pregnancy can read as a list of things you are not supposed to do.  As soon as I got pregnant, I put away the good face creams, the Tylenol, the booze.  Everything was googled before it was applied or ingested.  Little did I realize, I wasn't in for a mere 9 months of this.  The life modifications would last the entire duration of the pregnancy PLUS whatever time I spent nursing my little one.

Now that I am going to be done lactating in the foreseeable future (which I am still having mixed feelings about), I am very much looking forward to all the things I'll be able to do again.  When we first got pregnant at practically the same time, Natty and I were talking about the ways our life had immediately changed.  She lamented that there would be no more smoking crack while jumping on a trampoline in our immediate future, but now I might JUST BECAUSE I CAN! 

Bye-Bye Breastpads  - Not only will I be saying goodbye to breastpads, I will be saying hello to my normal, cuter bras.  What a joy it will be to have more than 3 options and to not have to worry about where we are in the laundry cycle to make sure I have a clean one ready.  Also, I don't know if it's just me, but while nursing I have not felt comfortable enough to go braless, even in my sleep, so that is another major plus!

Overindulging - I would be lying if I said there haven't been times that I have had one too many during the duration that I have been nursing, in which case I have pumped and dumped.  However, now I will be able to come home from a date night or evening out without paying my 30 minute toll to the milk gods before I can go to bed.

Teeth Whitening Strips - There are differing opinions on whether or not teeth bleaching agents are safe during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, but I decided to play it safe.  Because of this, my pearly whites are now pearly yellows (thanks a lot, black tea and light skin).  I have had great success with Crest White Strips in the past and am now happy to have the green light to use them again.

Cori, Untethered - There will be no more scheduling around the pump, no more midday pit stops, no more toting around a bowling ball bag full of milking equipment.  I can sleep in without feeling like I have two water balloons on my chest, filled to the brink, ready to burst at any moment.  It will be glorious.

Retin-A -  It seems like every older woman with great skin has this same secret weapon in her arsenal.  Retin-A helps with both fine lines and wrinkles.  I happen to have worse skin on both fronts since childbirth, so I'm very excited about slathering this cream on to help.

Perhaps I'm using this post as a way to make myself feel better about being nearly done with nursing (definitely within several months)?  It's good and bad and happy and sad, but I can feel it deep down inside of me that Everett and I are about to move on together.   But it's good in more ways than one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How We're Living: January


January is tough in ways I didn't expect. December was very busy but there was lots of time with Patrick off of work and lots of time with family anxious to see us and snuggle the baby. January feels like living in that record-screeching sound effect. You know the one:

Patrick is back at work as usual, my work has picked back up, everyone is dieting and hiding from the flu... it's a pretty stark contrast from last month's merriment and I feel just a bit off-kilter right now. Soon we'll be back to rights, but for now, the days can feel fairly long.

7 a.m. - Everybody up for the day! Georgia nurses, then we laze around in bed, Patrick and I enjoying a few cups of coffee before the day kicks off.

9 a.m. - Patrick has left and Georgia's ready for her first nap. This nap used to reliably run until 11 but now it's more usual for her to sleep only until 10, maybe 10:30. It's tough because I used to be able to have breakfast, get a good chunk of my work done during that nap and then take a shower and get dressed. Now I have to choose between work or a shower. I won't tell you which one usually wins.

10 noon - Georgia nurses, then she has some time in her high chair with chunks of avocado or sweet potato or smashed peas. At last check, I was being weird about solids but now that she's six months old, I'm happy to offer her all kinds of fruits and vegetables. More on that later this week. Snack time is often followed by a very necessary bath.

Noon (ish) to 2:30 p.m. - Time for a nurse and a nap. This tends to be her big nap of the day, lasting two to two and a half hours. I grab some lunch and eat while working. I love it when I can squeeze in 30 minutes of working out too, but that's not always in the cards.

2:30 to 4:30 - This is our time for having a visit, taking a walk or running some errands because Georgia and I are sick of looking at each other. Sick of it! if it simply isn't possible for us to get out, I try and move our play to a room we usually don't hang out in during the day just for a change of scenery. Wild times, people, wild times.

4:30 (ish) p.m. to 5:30 (ish) p.m. - G nurses and goes down for her last nap. I keep thinking this one is going to fade out, but then I try and power through it, but I've learned that THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. - G gets up, nurses, and we putz around until Patrick comes home. Once he's home, he takes over while I make dinner. We three have dinner together, then have a little play time, then Patrick gets her ready for bed. I wish we could have her bath and a book then, but both of these activities get her so amped up, we have to do them at other times.

7:30 p.m. to whatfeelslikeeternity - I put little G to bed. Some nights, it's not that bad. We nurse, we rock, she gets sleepy, I put her down, she knocks out, and I get to be a Real Live Grownup for a few hours before bed.

But... it doesn't work out like that very often. It's usually nursing and rockin and putting her down, listening to her cry and cry, picking her up, repeat from the beginning. Many nights, we just get into bed together and I let her nurse until she falls asleep and I hang out, looking at crud on my phone until I pass out to. Patrick comes and gets the baby out of bed before he gets in and puts her in her crib. Once she's down, she wakes up once or twice (or not at all, which should be awesome but when she doesn't nurse at night, I've got crazy big ol' boobies that wake me up anyway.)

I know all this may sound like a lot of complaining, and I guess it is? But it's really okay. It's all a phase, it's whatever works, it's what I'll look back on with so much fondness when I'm an old lady. We just need to get back into a good grove.

Everett loves Mexican food
I'm with Natty, this month has been a little rough.  All the half days and 4 day work weeks got me used to having Bran around often.  Our routine was thrown out of whack last month, and that was OK because it wasn't just me and I didn't rely on routine quite as much. Now we're back to Everett and me home all day.  Alone.  I'm having a hard time finding that groove that I was in before the holiday craziness.  In good news, I'm only pumping 3x a day at this point, producing about 30 oz of milk a day, so I am only pumping solo once a day.  Also, E is a big boy and in love with food, eating 3x a day.  Big appetite, my boy.  This is what a typical MWF looks like. 

6am - wake up and pump, check email, drink a cup of tea

6:55 - leave for bootcamp

7:00 - Bran and Everett wake up and deal with the morning ritual (bottle, B's shower and work prep)

7:15-8:15 -EXERCISE

8:30 - Home from bootcamp and Bran takes off for the day

8:35 - Feed Everett brekkie - usually a whole banana, milk, cereal.  Then he gets bath and goes down for a nap.

9:00 - 1st nap and I hustle up a shower

9:45/10 - Everett is UP AND READY TO PLAY.  I like to get the eff out of the house now. 

12:00 - Everett takes his second nap and I make a sandwich and watch bad TV.  Or clean.  Probably clean and listen to NPR.

12:45/1 - Everett is up and wants to eat again!  He gets avocado or cheese (he loves feta!) or puffs or ...!!!   Or all of the above.  He loves to sit in his chair and hang with me while I clean the kitchen or do laundry.

1:30 - I pump for the second time of the day, so we both sit on the living room floor and hang out.  We like to leave the house after this pumping session as well.

3:30 - Everett's last nap of the day.

4:30 - He wakes up and we go for a walk.

5:40 - Final stretch of alone time and I feed Everett ground turkey with garlic, peas and avocado and he shrieks with joy! Everett will feed himself while I prep dinner and pour myself a glass of wine.

6:30 - DADDY HOME!  Daddy takes over.  Mommy off hard duty (diaper changes, cleanup, etc), except to snuggle and play.

7:30 - Daddy reads Everett some stories, sings to him, rocks him, gives baba, and puts Everett to bed by 7:45ish.

8:00 - Mommy Daddy hangout time.

9:00 - I pump and we watch TV.

9:30/10 - I go to bed!

This month really isn't too dissimilar to other prior months.  Everett's naps are, sadly, usually 45 minutes to an hour.  We are going to work this month on staying up a little later in the mornings and trying to nap from 10-11:30 or 12.  I find that Everett will wake up after 45 minutes, but I can get him to go back to sleep if I work at it (rock and bottle), but the author of the No Cry Sleep Solution tells me I should go in right before I think he's going to wake up and keep him from doing so, so I'll try that. I trust it will work itself out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

4 Baby-Related Realizations That Made Me Feel CLUELESS

You would think that most of these "duh!" realizations would be obvious enough such that they would not need to be realized at all...

Everett has fun on his mat (as does Henry)
1.  Bare Hardwoods Just Don't Cut It - I am allergic to just about everything under the sun, as well as an asthmatic and a pet owner, so hardwoods are a must for my home.  What I didn't realize was once kiddo wants to start doing anything that resembles being mobile, bare hardwoods are going to be really tough on his tummy (head and toosh, too).  I bought a rubber mat that currently resides in the living room (you can also spy it in the nursery tours), but that works only to a point.  I recently purchased a large plush rug to give E a nice big space to practice crawling in the living room (which will replace aforementioned rubber mat when delivered today!), added a rug to his room, and have the mat as a moveable play area.  It's not perfect, but it expands the area that he can comfortably roam, and that makes both of us happy.

2.  It is MUY IMPORTANTE to Get Out of the House if You are Home Alone for a Long Stretches -  The shift to staying home has been much more difficult for me than the shift to being a mother.  The mothering comes naturally; the staying at home part was less so.  I admit that I still struggle to find ways to fill the days, but one important thing I have learned is that I have to get out of the house and it works best if it's every single day.  I had no idea how much it would help to get out and go to my parents, to yoga with bebe, to the grocery store, to grab a smoothie, to my sister's house, out to lunch with Bran or friends, or even just out for a walk in the park.  Everett enjoys getting out of the house, too! 

3.  Baby Items Get Used for a Very Short Amount of Time - It was hard for me to imagine how quickly time would go by once I had a baby.  Even during those days that are hard and/or sleep deprived, the time sifts through the hourglass at an alarming speed.  This means that all those adorable baby outfits, the very age specific toys, the baby holding receptacles... their lifespans are very short.  Did I mention these realizations make me feel clueless?  When I picked up a 0-3 month outfit while I was pregnant, I didn't really imagine that he seriously would be in it for AT MOST 3 MONTHS, or just slightly longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage.  When you are living it, 3 months is just such a tiny amount of time that it really makes sense to beg, borrow, or bargain shop the bulk of your clothes.  Err on the side of having too little - you can always pick up a few things after you bring baby home.  This way, you can weigh in on the great snaps vs. zipper debate and pick your child's wardrobe accordingly. 

4.  One Cannot Entertain a Baby for Endless Hours of the Day - A big change from going to a babysitter to a baby owner is that you go from being super entertaining auntie so-and-so when you are with a child for a short amount of time, to being a boring caretaker every hour of every day.  Especially when you have a newborn or very young baby, it's important to give yourself a rest (and good for baby, too) from feeling like you need to entertain them all day long.  I remember feeling, at first, like I ran out of material to entertain Everett by the time 10am rolled around.  It was extremely tiring (and annoying to him, I'm sure) as well.  It was so much better for the both of us when I started to relax and let things flow rather than forcing things to be CRAZY FUN **jazz hands** all the time.  We have lots of fun together but we also do our own thing in close proximity (he's playing with a toy on a mat as I type this) or just chill out and watch the grass grow together sometimes as well.

Monday, January 7, 2013

4 Baby-Related Realizations That Made Me Feel BRILLIANT

1. The best footed jammies have snaps, not zippers. There are so many things I wish I'd known about kids' clothes earlier and this is a big one. Zippered jammies may cost the same as their snappy counterparts, but they stink in comparison. If I put her foot in the wrong leg first , I've got to wrestle and fold her other leg to get in, then battle the fabric and her legs as I zip it up, being careful not to nip her skin as I go. Then at the top, I've got to get that little flappy snap snapped so the stupid slider doesn't stab her widdle chin. If a middle of the night diaper change is required, it's so much easier to just unsnap the lower half and get to business.

A zipper also means I can't rip the jammies off like stripper pants.

2. An empty baby tub makes an awesome baby holder in a pinch. This is especially helpful when I'm not willing to wait for nap time to fix my hair or put on makeup. Or, ya know, when nature calls.

Mom, why am I in a dry tub?
Why am I wearing zippered jammies?
Didn't you just rant about those?

Not pictured: Me, brushing my teeth! Me, hot rolling my hair! Me, putting on makeup! All of this before 9 a.m.! On a Wednesday.

(While we're on the subject, I hate that I didn't give more thought to which baby tub to buy. I felt silly for "upgrading" from a First Years tub to a (cheaper) Fisher Price whale tub but the other one had the baby slipping and sliding all over the place. Also, it was not a whale.)

.Sticky, messy baby clothes come down a lot easier than go up. When Georgia has made a spectacular mess of herself, be it with smashed avocado or something less palatable, I no longer try to ease her big coconut of her head out of her clothes while keeping as much nastiness off her face as possible. Baby heads are the biggest parts of their bodies, so clothes can be taken down from the shoulders to the toes instead of over the head. AMAZING

This mess goes down, not up.

4. It's almost more important to pay attention to how long the baby has been awake than how long she's been asleep. Once Georgia has been awake for 1 1/2 hours, a nap is imminent. This little realization has been especially helpful when she takes an unusually long or short nap.

None of these realizations are probably that brilliant but they made me feel smart. Which brings me to another point-- ever since I had the baby, I find myself whistling/humming/singing "If I Only Had a Brain" at least once a day.

New Year's Resolutions - 2013


I like the ring of 2013.  I played fastpitch softball through my childhood and in college (still do recreationally), and my "number" was 13, or 31 when that was taken.  It's fairly silly, but I will be 31 years old through the majority of 2013, so I hope that bodes well for this coming year!
  • FINANCES: Find a way to generate some cash.  Doing it on one income since quitting my job, with the addition of the baby, has been a challenge.  It would be really helpful if I could somehow make a little dough, at least enough for a mani/pedi or dinner out, guilt free.  I think These vague goals don't end up doing much good unless I can figure out a way to apply it, so this resolution will need some fine tuning.
  • FITNESS:  Focus on getting strong and healthy.   My fitness during my pregnancy was good until 32 weeks, when I was put on strict bedrest until I delivered.  Then, recovering from a major abdominal surgery and getting situated with a newborn ... you know the story.  I feel out of shape, and as a former athlete and resident of plant Earth, I have a hard time with that.  I'm rededicating myself to getting in shape and feeling strong, and there is no better way to do it than via group fitness.  I am starting a fitness bootcamp 3x a week, really early in the morning on January 7, but am also likely going to invest in a fitbit to track my overall steps per day.  I want to get back to my pre-Everett weight before TTC #2.  Yoga, hiking, and softball are also in my immediate future.
  • FAMILY:  Go on a killer vacation for cheap.  Finding a way to take a baby on vacation is challenging, but doing it on the cheap while still keeping the luxuries that make it a relaxing vacation seems like a tall order.  With a lot of time and planning, I hope to be able to take a really nice vacation in June or July.  I will keep you posted.
  • SOCIETY:  Give back.  I don't do enough for my fellow man.  I got really caught up in my own life and made just enough room for my own family and friends to really look much outside that last year.  It used to be really important to me to make a difference in the world, and I feel like I have lost sight of that in just trying to get by, but that's not cool, man.  Again, another amorphous resolution, but I hope I can find small personal ways to make it happen.  I'm going to try.
  • PERSONAL:  Keep creating.  I love crafting and DIY.  It's a great energy outlet and a good way to get things done for less cash than they otherwise would cost.  I have a few plans for around the house and a few more for things for Everett.  Also, food is a huge creative outlet for me, and now that I'm the proud owner of Modernist Cuisine at Home, I have a wealth of new ideas.


Last year was just craziness. We had pregnancy to deal with (and I was not Super Cheerful Active Pregnant Lady), a major home renovation, then the huge transition to parenthood. It was wild and wonderful and exhausting. I'm looking forward to a year of new habits and my goals this year are to do things that will make life less stressful and more rewarding.

  • Patrick and I will both be slipping pedometers into our pockets. We're not in a place in our life to take on marathons or PX90. But walking, walking we can do. For now, we're just going to monitor our movements and then move more. 
  • Try more vegetable recipes. I've never met a cut of meat I didn't like but I'm in a sad rut with vegetables-- I either toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them at 425 until golden or saute them in a little butter and garlic. It's boring and we need to eat more vegetables! 
  • Save more so I can work less. After a few difficult months of adjustment, I am very, very glad that I've kept working but I know I am going to have to work less as Georgia moves more. I also get a kick out of thriftiness but it takes time and careful attention. I need to do things like shop around for auto insurance, renegotiate our rates for internet service, and automate both bill paying and savings as much as possible.
  • Plan thoughtful weekly menus. I love the nights when Patrick comes home from work, he takes the baby, and I head into the kitchen to cook. It's a time for me to do something useful that also puts me into a really great head space, but this doesn't happen when I am scrambling to put something together. Planning will help me have this pleasure more often.
  • Do my nails more often. I don't want to tell you how many bottles of nail polish I own. Before Georgia, my fingertips were freshly painted 2, 3, even 4 times a week. Since Georgia arrived, I've managed to give myself a manicure three times. Since we're past the phase of my fingers being her mouth frequently, I'm going to start manicuring my nails again. It's such a small thing but it makes me feel good.