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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Infant Seat vs. Convertible

I was not intending to have both an infant and convertible car seat because I didn't even know what a convertible car seat was before Isaiah. I knew that my brothers were a year old when they went into big forward facing seats, but I didn't know that you could get a seat like that to use rear facing. My plan was to start with an infant car seat and an extra base for our other vehicle, but we were gifted the convertible so I thought I would share the pros and cons of an infant car seat vs. a convertible car seat.

Graco FastAction Fold Travel System Stroller with SnugRide
Infant Seat and Travel System Pros - This seat has lots of pros for this newborn stage. It is easier to keep Isaiah warm and covered, especially being born in February. He is comfortable enough to fall asleep in it in the car, so we can take him places and he can continue to sleep. My mom likes to take Isaiah places when she's watching him, so she got an extra base for her vehicle, which makes it much more convenient than switching a convertible seat each time. The seat can also snap into the stroller, and provides a barrier between Isaiah and the random strangers who want to touch him. He seems a little less approachable when he's in it. The rounded bottom also helps it to double as a rocker when we're not in the car.

Infant Seat and Travel System Cons - I'm sure it would do fine outdoors, but the wheels on this stroller don't seem very durable to me, so I use it as a mostly shopping stroller, but the seat alone is difficult to shop with. I was recently alerted that it is unsafe to put an infant car seat on top of a shopping cart, so now that it sits in the basket, I don't have much room for groceries. The best solution for this is babywearing, but then I'd have to get him out of his seat and into the carrier outside in the cold. Clearly this will not be an issue once it warms up. And as Isaiah gets heavier, so does the seat. It was all fine when he was 7lbs, but he isn't anymore.

Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
Convertible Seat Pros - This is fairly easy to get Isaiah in and out. I've noticed that he sleeps better in this seat. I think it's a more upright seat, which probably makes him feel better since he's less likely to spit up in that position. When it is warm out, this seat is really easy to get him out of to put him in a carrier for shopping or walking around. Also, he can use this seat from birth up to 100lbs (will he really need it that long???).

Convertible Seat Cons - If we're going into a restaurant or somewhere that I don't have the carrier, we have to hold him as he cannot support himself yet. This seat will be very beneficial in the future, and I know we'll get a second one for our other vehicle once he outgrows the infant seat, but it isn't ideal for this newborn stage. When it's cold, we have to warm the car up for an extra long time so that the seat is warm too. I don't like the thought of carrying him outside just in a blanket in February to put him in the convertible seat.

As of right now I prefer the infant seat over the convertible, but in the next few months my opinion will probably flip flop. Which seat do you prefer for an infant?

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Baby Sleeps Too Much

I've been asking around, and the general consensus is that a baby cannot sleep too much. So when I say he sleeps too much, I mean for me.

Since becoming a mom, I've hesitated when I begin to tell another mom about my sibling that died in 1992. I hesitate because now I think about how terrifying the story must be for other mothers.

What I can tell you that will hopefully relieve some of the worry in this story is that the condition my sister was born with has been studied much more since she died, and is now included in many mandatory newborn screens. I was very relieved to see it listed in the pamphlet the hospital gave us that outlined everything they were testing for.

I'm not a doctor, but the best I can explain is that my sister received her four month vaccinations and had a reaction to them because of her metabolic condition. I cannot explain the medical details because I don't clearly understand them. Because of the nature of her death, it was considered SIDS.

The grief of a five year old is something that is difficult for me to explain, and I know it is difficult for others to understand. The main emotion that a child (in my personal experience) feels is confusion. I remember vividly that I felt like I needed to act more sad because everyone around me was sad. I remember not crying, but feeling like I should. I remember having fun playing in the funeral home lounge.

What I don't remember is much afterward. My mom has told me some of the questions that I asked, and to be honest they were pretty morbid. I know that my little mind was just trying to make sense of what had happened, but even now it breaks my heart to think of what my parents went through trying to explain it to me. And just in general, it breaks my heart to think of what my parents went through.

Without consciously being aware of it, my mind coped in many different ways. Until I was a teen, there were only two friends that I felt comfortable with staying the night. I hated being away from my parents because when I was, I would worry that they were going to die too.

My parents never had another child, and didn't adopt until I was an adult. This left me terrified of babies for most of my life. As a teen I didn't think I would ever want to be a mom. It didn't occur to me at the time, but I didn't like babies because I was afraid of them. Even babysitting older children, I would have to check on them obsessively to make sure they were still breathing.

And then my brothers were born. I was forced to share my personal space with a newborn, and then a year later, another newborn. My brothers' presence made me get over my fear of babies. Once I fell in love with them, I was terrified to lose them. I would often go into their room to check on them, but only if they were quiet. Because if they were crying, I knew they were alive.

That is why it bothers me so much that Isaiah sleeps so often. If he's awake and looking at me, I know he's alive.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Knowing When To Accept Help

I wrote this post a last week for Hellobee, but it was just published. I couldn't wait to tell you all about our decision to quit my job, so I wrote my last post in the mean time. That says a lot that this post does, but I still wanted to share it because it has a different story added in. I'm not one to hesitate to tell you how I'm a crazy person, so enjoy.

I was raised an only child. I don't work well in groups. When something needs to be done, I do it. Alone.

I have a system for almost everything. Cleaning, taking care of the baby, cooking. You name it. Every single activity I do, is set up for me. I approach cleaning the house as a one person job. Taking care of the baby as a one person job. Cooking...well...stay out of my kitchen.

You may wonder how I can have a successful marriage with this very individual frame of mind. My husband is also an only child. We are fine sitting in different rooms doing our own things. We love being together, but we can also function separately.

Recently, I quit my job. With very mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, I knew it was what I wanted to do. But I didn't know that doing what I ultimately wanted could make me such an emotional wreck. I'm happy that I can be home with Isaiah. I'm relieved that we don't have to find and pay for childcare. I'm excited to teach him things and be present for his firsts. The sadness comes from ending a very important part of my life because I feel like my job is the last part of "pre-Isaiah" me that was left. I've had a job for 13 years, with the exception of a 3 week stint of unemployment directly before I started this last position. I used to love leaving jobs and starting new ones, but I never left a job that I loved. With my last job, I didn't love my actual job, but I loved my coworkers and I've never had that in a job before.

My New Employer

Now, I'm always working. When I can't finish the dishes or the laundry, I feel like I've failed because I'm home all the time. That is my job now. But my last job; I was good at it. It wasn't hard, but I really excelled at what I did. Now, everything is new. I'm still learning to be a mom. I'm trying to balance being a mom with keeping our house in order, and it's hard.

To make a long story even longer, I need to give you some details from the past week or so. First, my mother-in-law got married. Not only did she get married, she pulled off a very nice backyard wedding on fairly short notice, which required the help of all family members. This required my husband to be at her house most of the week working on things there. Second, my husband is a big comic fan. There was a local comic-con he went to and stayed most of the day because he knew people involved. The next day was a dog show out of town. We have lots of dogs that compete in these shows. While he's been doing all of these things, I've been staying home with the baby. I've been trying to put on my brave I-can-do-it-all face. So when he left town for the dog show, I was left at home with Isaiah to clean the house and get ready for the 15ish people we were having over for dinner that night.

I promptly had a meltdown. A crying and yelling on the phone, once or twice in a lifetime, meltdown.

A few hours later, when Isaiah and I were watching TV feeling sorry for ourselves, there was a knock at the door. Josh's two aunts and his cousin came in and asked what I wanted them to do. This question has no answer when it is asked of a person who does everything for herself. I never think in the frame of mind that the cleaning would be so much easier if I could split it with someone. So they narrowed it down for me. One person took Isaiah, one person took the bathroom, the other took the living room and I did laundry. They saved me hours of cleaning.

For the first time in my life, I realized that maybe this independent attitude isn't always the best thing for me. I need to know how to ask for help, and when to accept it. It's nice when it's forced on me, but I can't count on that to happen.

How do you find that balance? More importantly: How do you keep the house, cook, and care for the baby? I need tips.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Another Big Change

Don't get excited, it isn't that big of a change. At least not to you, but it is to me.

First of all, I got this back. I left my calendar at work on my desk and just got it back yesterday when I went back to clean out my desk.

You read that right. I had the courage to quit my job. I thought it was funny that was on today's date because tomorrow is my official last day, even though I'm really already done.

With very mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, I knew it was what I wanted to do. But I didn't know that doing what I ultimately wanted could make me such an emotional wreck. I'm happy that I can be home with Isaiah. I'm relieved that we don't have to find and pay for childcare. I'm excited to teach him things and be present for his firsts. The sadness comes from ending a very important part of my life because I feel like my job is the last part of "pre-Isaiah" me that was left. I've had a job for 13 years, with the exception of a 3 week stint of unemployment directly before I started this last position. I used to love leaving jobs and starting new ones, but I never left a job that I loved. With my last job, I didn't love my actual job, but I loved my coworkers and I've never had that in a job before. Also, I was good at what I did. This being a mom thing is still all new, and it's hard.  And if you say "but you doooo have a job!" I might hit you. I know that being a mom is work, but you also know what I mean.

I'm really at odds with my feelings right now. I've wanted to stay at home forever, but now I realize that I really thrive on a 9-5 schedule. I need structure, and these past 11 weeks have been very structure-less. My biggest problem is adjusting to my own expectations. I feel like I'm supposed to do absolutely everything. I mean, I'm home all the time, why not? I feel a little like I need to overcompensate with doing everything because I'm not bringing home a paycheck anymore. It also makes it hard that my family isn't supportive of our decision. Everyone has their own opinion though.

I guess, what I'm getting at, is that I need tips, suggestions, or help knowing how I'm supposed to do this.  How did you adjust to being at home?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Survival Guide: 0-2 Months

We, like many other parents, got a crash course in gear once Isaiah came home. I'm not kidding you -- I had no idea what most of this stuff was for, and even had to take pictures of some of it to ask others what I was supposed to do with it.


1. Bibs - As a spit upper, the bibs have helped me cut down on wardrobe changes.

2. Formula Divider - This has been a lifesaver when we're on the go. I can pre-measure before we leave the house, and if Isaiah needs to eat while we're out, I can just dump one of the compartments into a bottle of water and he's ready to eat.

3. Gerber Cloth Diaper Burp Cloths - I wish I had known this sooner. These are much better and more absorbent than the terry cloth with cute prints on it sold as a burp cloth. I'm a true believer.

4. Playtex Vent Aire Bottles and Dr. Brown's Bottles - We started out with the Playtex bottles at the recommendation of a friend. We didn't really have any problems with them, but Isaiah tends to spit up when he is on formula, so I wanted to try the Dr. Brown's Bottles to see if they helped now that we're off of the donated breast milk. I've noticed a slight improvement, but will most likely keep using both types of bottles.

5. Munchkin Bottle and Nipple Brush - I didn't know what the nipple brush was when I first saw it. It came as part of a diaper cake, so there was no packaging to be read, and I couldn't figure out how something that bristly wouldn't ruin something. It has turned out to be a life saver. Our dishwasher is great, but it seemed like the breast milk would never get completely out of the nipples, so I used the brush for that. The bottle brush is great for those times when there aren't enough dirty dishes for a full load, so I'll wash by hand.


1. Bright Starts Ingenuity Automatic Bouncer and Fisher Price Rock N Play - The bouncer is our favorite for daytime sleeping, and the Rock N Play is our bassinet alternative. I didn't get a bassinet because I was certain that Isaiah would sleep in his crib from day one, so I'm grateful that I had the Rock N Play because that first night we came home, I knew I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He's still sleeping beside our bed in the Rock N Play and he loves it. Double bonus for both -- they're at an incline which helps with spitting up. If I lay him flat, I'm asking for trouble.

2. CD Player - Isaiah loves music. Especially B.B. King. I have noise apps on my phone, but those just don't cut it. A friend gave Isaiah a CD Player and his very first CD. It also plays radio, so we've had a few jam sessions in his bedroom.

3. Halo Sleep sack, Woombie, and stretchy blankets - We got a microfleece sleep sack at the hospital, and we've continued to use it because he sleeps so well in it. It's starting to get warmer now though, so I've taken to putting him in the sleep sack with only his diaper on, or wrapping him in a lightweight blanket with his clothes on. We also use the Woombie at the recommendation of a friend, and it works well. I like the lightweightness of it.


1. Graco Snugride Travel System and Jeep Stroller - The infant car seat has ultimately been a great thing to have. It was less than 30 degrees when we came home from the hospital, and carrying Isaiah to the car to put him in a convertible car seat was out of the question for me. That being said, we do have a convertible seat, which has its own perks, but for the colder weather, I prefer the infant seat. On our first trip to the mall we used the accompanying stroller and it was fab. The cup holders are a dream and Isaiah slept the whole time snug as a bug. While it isn't necessary to have two strollers, it was a blessing on the day Josh took my car to work that had the stroller in it. I had to assemble the Jeep stroller so we could go on our walk. The weather was too nice to stay inside. We aren't going off road strollering, but the Jeep stroller is pretty amazing. It is a bit taller than the Graco stroller, so it makes it easier on the back. I like that this stroller will last long after the infant car seat goes away.

2. Diaper Bag - We have a very large Eddie Bauer diaper bag that I picked out from Target. Within the first few days I realized that I didn't need something quite so big right away. I shelved it for a later date and switched to this Peg Perego diaper bag when I received it as a gift. I love it because I just throw my wallet and keys in the front pocket and leave my purse at home. Carrying one bag is the best when you're also carrying the carseat.

3. Car seat cover - I ordered our cover from Carseat Canopy . They have them advertised for around $50, but if you use the code CARSEAT you only have to pay $12.90 for shipping. I wanted to go this route instead of the cover that has elastic around the edges. Just a personal preference.


1. Enfamil Vitamin D Drops - When Isaiah was using the donated breast milk, our pediatrician told me to get these drops to supplement his Vitamin D. Now that we're using formula exclusively I haven't been using them, but they were a necessity the first seven weeks.

2. All Free & Clear - I used this on our clothes before Isaiah was born, because it is one of the least expensive detergents that won't ruin your clothes. We're still using it instead of buying the more expensive baby detergents. Isaiah isn't having any skin issues from it.

3. Nivea Cream - I fought my mom on this one. I have a cream that I pay quite a bit for from Target. It's an all natural baby cream that I've used as my face moisturizer for years. I just knew it would be the best thing to take care of Isaiah's dry skin. But I was wrong. Nivea cream is really the only thing that has helped his dry skin.

4. Vitamin A&D Ointment - I use the generic of this, mostly to make sure I'm getting the right thing. I almost bought the diaper rash cream when Isaiah was first born because A&D is a brand name as well as the name of the main ingredients. The hospital told us to use this, and we still do.


1. Diaper Champ - The first seven weeks this wasn't a necessity. Isaiah's diapers didn't really smell and he didn't poop all that much because of the breast milk. Now that we're off of it, and on formula, they're pretty gaggy. I chose the diaper champ because I don't have to buy refills for it, and the design is pretty uncomplicated, as well as being affordable. In the coming months it will be necessary, but the first seven it wasn't.

2. Boppy - This was the one baby item I knew I needed to have. And it turns out it's just a pillow. The only time I really use it is if I'm putting Isaiah on his back on his play mat to avoid spit up. It is nice to have, but not necessary for a non-breastfeeding mama.

3. Summer Infant Babytouch Color Video Monitor - In the future, this will be a necessity, but since we're not using the crib a whole lot yet, we haven't used this monitor too much either. When we have used it I've loved it.

What did I miss? What couldn't you live without?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Freezer Meals

I love to cook. Since the moment I stepped foot into my Nanny's kitchen as a teen to learn how to make Thanksgiving dinner, I've been hooked. Cooking is my creative outlet, and Josh approves.

Trust me; I'm no Julia Child. When I say I love to cook, I mean I love to come up with easy ways to make good food. Typically if I'm reading a recipe and decide it has too many ingredients, I don't make it. I don't necessarily buy into the thought that from scratch is the best and only way. I do like simple unprocessed food, but realistically I'm not going to sit and roll out my pasta on the dining room table.

My new love is my slow cooker. I really got into it when we first got married because I had never cooked with one before, but it was quickly banished to the basement with my other extra cooking items that didn't fit in the kitchen. The basement is where things go to be forgotten.

I've been on Pinterest long enough to have an entire board dedicated to freezer cooking. It was always intriguing, but I always had all the time in the world. I enjoyed cooking, so spending time in the kitchen after work wasn't a big deal.

And then the baby was born.

A week or so before Isaiah was born, the crock pot was resurrected from the basement, and returned to its rightful place on the counter top. I spent two and a half hours making five crock pot freezer meals. Just those five meals lasted us through the first threeish weeks of Isaiah's life. I make a lot of food because we don't have a problem eating leftovers. I'm not saying doing this will last you that long, but it helped that we had kind people bringing us dinners. Anyway, I didn't need to grocery shop for three weeks. It was phenomenal.

I got away from using the crock pot after that. It didn't go back to the basement, but I took a short break. The weather was getting warmer and we weren't really in the mood for winter food. I decided this week that I wanted to go big grocery shopping and make meals for the freezer. The first time I got away with using someone's plan and we ended up with only one meal we weren't huge fans of. We're picky. Picky in that we don't like beef and noodles, pot roast, or any of the other typical crock pot meals. Do you know how popular those recipes are?? Josh also doesn't consider it a meal unless it is based around meat (because I'm married to Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation), so the fun pasta recipes are out.

 I quickly decided I needed to just come up with my own plan.

This batch of meals are based on these recipes:
They're all crock pot recipes, but I've changed them all a little and made them freezer meals too.

Hawaiian Chicken 5 drumsticks 1/2 c white sugar 1/2 c vinegar 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 T Soy Sauce 1 can pineapple tidbits with juice Mix all in a freezer bag. Cook on high 4-5 hours or 6-7 on low. I thaw them a little with running water in the sink. It's hard to close the lid with a solid square of food.

Beef Curry 3 pounds meat (I used beef. You can use any meat you want.) 1 tablespoon curry 1 head garlic, peeled and smashed (approx 10 cloves) 1 large onion, peeled and sliced 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat is best) 1 teaspoon of cornstarch Add all ingredients to freezer bag. Cook on high 4-6 hours or 8 on low.

Fiesta Chicken Casserole 1 1/2 cups raw brown rice, rinsed 1/2 cup broth or water (I used water). 1 cup prepared salsa 1 (15.25-ounce) can corn, with juice 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed 3 to 4 chicken breast halves, fresh or frozen 8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese Put everything except rice and mozzarella in the freezer bag. When you're ready to cook, spray your stone with nonstick spray, just in case. Put the rice on the bottom of the crock pot and then the bag ingredients on top. Put the mozzarella on top of everything. Cook on high 4 hours or 7 on low. I garnished with Doritos. That's how I roll.

Sausage & Lentil Stew
1 cup lentils
2 cups beef broth
1 package smoked sausage (precooked)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
9 ounces fresh spinach
Add all ingredients except the spinach to the bag. Cook on low 5 hours. Add the spinach at the very end and cook for 15 more minutes. It will look like a ton of spinach, but it's mostly water, so it will cook down.

The best thing about the whole thing is that this is the only mess I had to clean up. Not pictured is my Calphalon Chef knife that I clean immediately after each use and care about far too much.
Do you have any favorite crock pot or freezer meals?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two Months

As much as I tried to stop him, Isaiah turned two months anyway.
Stats from his one month appointment (28 days old):
Weight: 9lb 2.75oz - 50%
Height: 20.25in - 25%
Head: 14.75in - 75%

Two month appointment:
Weight: 11lb 15.25oz - 50%
Height: 22.25in - 25%
Head: 15.75in - 75%

Eating: We made the switch to Dr. Brown's bottles this month, and they actually seem to be working. We have/had a spit up issue, but the new bottles seem to be helping out a bit with that. I thought they were just overpriced gimmicky bottles, but it turns out they work for us.  

Sleep: Isaiah is still an amazing sleeper. He is still sleeping in the Rock N Play bassinet next to our bed, and seems extremely comfortable there. I've tried him in his crib a few times. He will sleep there for a short period of time, and I'm not forcing it, because I'm not entirely ready yet. Umbilical Hernia: It is still there. I don't see much of a change in it. It is still soft like the doctor said it should be, but it isn't going away quite yet. His doctor is still not concerned.  

New this month: Our baby started smiling like crazy this month. He's done the sleepy smiles since he was born, but we got our first awake smiles around 4 weeks. And they're not just for me smiles; he smiles for everyone. Isaiah started screaming (seemingly for fun, nothing was wrong), and it scared me to death. He also has this loud and long inhale noise that has startled me, my mom, and Josh. We've had a slobbery month too. He's drooling like crazy.
  Likes/Dislikes: Isaiah likes his floor mat with the piano. It has a mirror that he laughs at every time he lays down. He doesn't hate tummy time, but he would rather do his tummy time laying on someone's tummy. He likes to be swaddled, but also likes to fight the swaddle. He likes to listen to Michael Jackson, B.B. King, and whatever I'm singing to him. He got a CD player for his room, but we only have one CD, so we've been singing along with the radio a lot. He loves when my brothers sing the ABCs to him.  

As Parents: I personally think the second month was much easier than the first. I've sort of found my footing. Even though we're still having new things every day, I seem to take them better in stride. All of the smiling that Isaiah does helps so much to relieve stress and brighten our days. He's such a sweet baby, and we know he loves us. We do the dumbest things to make him happy too. I've never been afraid to look silly, but some of this stuff has me asking myself if I'm serious.


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