Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bottle Strike

Ok Moms, I need your help.

I'll even beg.

Please, please, please someone have a great idea for me.

M is currently in the middle of a bottle strike. She's taken a bottle before, for me and a friend who was babysitting her, but only about 10 times in her 15 weeks. This is our first child and yes, I am breast feeding. I just read in my "What to expect the first year" book, month three, that it is recommended that all breast feeding mothers give their baby one bottle a day from week 6 on. WTF? Why are they just now telling me this in month THREE??? Why didnt someone tell me this earlier? My siblings and I were not breastfed, so my mom didnt have any breast feeding advice to give me when we started this whole thing and unfortunately, none of my breastfeeding friends told me this either.

So now what? What do we do?

She SCREAMS like we are trying to torture her when we try to give her a bottle. We've tried Doctor Brown's, Medela, Avent and Ventaire bottles. Wide nipples, narrow nipples. Inserts, no inserts. All to no avail.

So, does anyone have any advice for us? Id really like to be able to leave her with someone for longer than 2.5 hours. (She eats every 3 right now). I feel so tied down and I really dont know what else to try.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!

Oh, and Happy New Year! =)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Baby Gear Must-haves

Now that M is 3 months old, I wanted to list our favorite baby gear items thus far.

*I wasnt compensated for any of this and these companies have no idea who I am. These are my own opinions.

Carter's pack and play
We use this as a changing station/cloth diaper holder for downstairs.
So convenient, sturdy, cute. Maybe she'll nap in it one day. 

Carter's Bouncer seat
This isnt the exact one that we have, but it's close enough. 
We keep it upstairs and move it from room to room, wherever we are. 
We mostly use it in the bathroom to put her in during our showers and while we prepare her bath.

Disney Baby Einstein Play Mat 
M loves the toys that come with this. 
She stares at and plays with "Oscar" the octopus the most. 
She also likes the flashing lights.
We keep it downstairs in the living room. 
She plays while I get household chores done.
This is also where we do tummy time. 

Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow
I only use this for nighttime feedings, but I love it. 
I have a few covers for it too. 
Once M can sit up a little more steadily on her own, 
Ill put it behind her to help hold her up.

Boppy newborn lounger
This is great for naps and playtime.
M usually takes her morning nap here. 

Arm's Reach Co-sleeper
This allows the baby to be within reach, but not in the bed with you. 
It connects to your bed. It's great and convenient if you're breast feeding. 
The AAP recommends sleeping in the same room as your baby until they are 6 months old, 
so this is what we are using. 
Nuk Pacifiers
This is the only brand of pacifier that M will take.
We've tried multiple brands and this is her fav.

Fisher Price Zen swing
M wasnt too keen on this early on, but around week 8 she really took to it.
She will sit in it for 10-20 minutes a few times a day. It is big and takes up a lot of room, but 
she likes the mobile and loves the side to side swinging motion. 
The seat is removable and doubles as an infant seat. 

Moby Wrap
This was intimidating at first, but after I figured out how to use it the first time, 
I could get her in and out of it quickly and easily. 
It's perfect for commissary runs. It distributes her weight evenly. 
M falls asleep in it every time.

Bum genius and Fuzzibuns Cloth Diapers
We love these! Im so happy we decided to cloth diaper.
We use the pocket one size versions of both of these and are very happy with them. 
We do occasionally have a poop leak from the leg holes due to M's skinny legs, 
but that doesnt happen often.
Medela On The Go Breast Pump
Great for traveling. Works really well. Easy to use and easy to clean. 
We're not big fans of the bottles that are included, but the pump is great.

Baby Trend Travel System
LOVE this! The handle on the car seat makes it so much easier to hold and carry.
The stroller is easy to fold up and maneuver. I love that it's a jogging stroller and 
has a swivel front wheel. It has two cup holders and speakers with an MP3 hookup. 
It is a bit heavy, but I am able to lift it into and out of the trunk. Travel systems are 
definitely the way to go. 

Bundle Me
This is so great. We live in cold, dreary Germany and this keeps
our little one warm and cozy. She likes her car seat more now that we've added this. 

We have the one shown above, with legs. We love it! M got to the point where she was
constantly breaking out of her swaddle blankets at night and waking up. This solves that problem.
It also keeps her warm and cozy. The 3-6 month size is too long. but still fits her. It gives her just enough play and movement of her arms to keep her happy. She hates the Swaddle Me's. She will struggle
against them until I take it off. The Woombie, she likes. 
 Cloud b Twilight Constellation Nightlite
This is so great. I keep it in our room and use it when I want to see the baby and when Im feeding her during the night. It is so soft, it doesnt wake M or J up when I turn it on, but it provides enough light for
me to be able to see her clearly. Another awesome feature? It turns itself off after 45 minutes!

What are your favorite baby gear items? Please share!

*All images from

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program

Not my image

This book has changed my life. 

True story. 

(I seriously hope Im not jinxing myself by writing about this...)

From the very beginning, Baby M has been a very spirited, fiery baby. That will translate to full of personality, charismatic and passionate when she's older. Many of our early days were spent walking the floors, bouncing and yes, sometimes crying. The word that we used most often to describe her during weeks 2-10 was "fussy." I hated this. It broke my heart, not knowing what was wrong or how I could help. When I would talk to friends and family about it, they just said that babies cry and at that age, fussiness is normal and expected. I understood this, but I felt like there was more to it.

M rarely slept during the day. Rarely. Naps were like a golden gift when they did occur. My mom told me I never slept as a baby, so I thought M was just coming by it honestly. But I kept thinking, "Arent babies supposed to sleep?" All of the books said babies her age sleep 15-20 hrs a day. Ha! We were lucky if M slept 10 hours a day. She would fuss and fuss until she eventually wore herself out.

Being a first time mother is exhausting and very, very hard. I called my mom in tears more than once, lamenting that I must be a bad mother or doing something wrong. Why else would M be so fussy and seemingly unhappy? Dont get me wrong- she wasnt always fussy or always crying, but I remember once saying that she was probably fussy 50% of the time.

And then, the day after Thanksgiving, my husband gave me a gift. An early Christmas present. We were having an especially difficult day. A very "Black Friday" indeed. The gift was this book. I had put it on my Amazon wishlist after reading about it in an email from I read the book that day and decided to try the suggestions the following day.

That Saturday, our world began to change. We implemented the plan in the book and our days became so much better, our baby so much happier. Our days are now structured on a flexible schedule. I am so much happier, better able to deal with any fussiness and less stressed. I can actually get things done around the house and I feel comfortable running errands. Most importantly, M has flourished! She wakes up in the morning smiling and laughs and "talks" all day long. She's a little ham, making J and I laugh all the time. No longer is she a "fussy" baby, but a happy baby. And as her momma, I couldnt be happier about that!

Now, Im not saying we dont have bad days or that M is never fussy. What I am saying is that those happen infrequently. Out of a 7 day week, we probably have 1.5 bad days now. Before, it was more like 3-4 bad days a week.

The main points of the book include:
*Start the timer from the moment the baby wakes up.
*~90 minutes later, the baby will be ready for a nap.
*The point that was most key for us--- because she is so young, the baby will need help falling asleep.
*When the baby wakes from her nap, start the timer again.

M wakes, eats (every 3-5 hours), plays for an hour-hour and fifteen minutes and then goes down for a nap ~90 minutes after waking. This is our schedule all day long. The times vary depending on what time she wakes up every day, but the routine doesnt. I didnt realize that she just needed help falling asleep. It was a "lightbulb" moment, when I read that. So now, when she starts displaying her sleepy signals, I swaddle her arms, place her in the side lying position in my arms, give her her paci and either walk with a bounce or sit and pat her bottom until she falls asleep. She naps for 45 mins-2.5 hours at each nap. All along, she just needed more sleep and a little help getting there.

This book may not work for everyone, but it worked for us. Now, if she would just sleep through the night...

*I was not compensated in any way for this review. This is my own, personal opinion.  

Monday, December 19, 2011


Dont you just love it when:

*You're finished Christmas shopping!
*Your baby wakes up smiling and happy. Totally makes my morning.
*You're back to pre-pregnancy weight 12 weeks after delivery. Woohoo!
*Your baby is good in public, especially during a dinner out.
*You can fit into a dress you wore in high school.
*Your baby sleeps longer than a 3 hour stretch at night.
*Your husband is on vacation. Two weeks off coming up and I cant wait!
*Your baby doesnt get sick even though you and your husband both had the same virus.
*You get caught up on laundry. Yes!
*Your family and friends shower you and your family with love.
*You get into a flexible daily routine that makes both momma and baby happy.
*Your parents send 14 boxes of things for the baby and Christmas presents. Cant wait till Christmas morning.
*You see your child discover new things and develop new skills.
*Your mom comes to visit. T minus two weeks and counting!
*You get a child free date night with your hubby.
*The sun shines in the winter.
*The holiday season is in full swing. I love this time of the year.

and on the reverse side of things....

Dont you just hate it when:

*The military throws you a curveball and you have to change your plans.
*Your baby goes through a growth spurt. Every two hour feedings during the night are no fun.
*It's pouring down rain and you have to go to the commissary. Worse, with a baby.
*You run out of pumpkin spice coffee and cant buy more around here. =(
*There's nothing good on AFN. Wait, there's rarely ever anything good on AFN. I miss real TV.
*You've worked so hard to get your baby to sleep and the moment you put her down, her eyes pop open and she's wide awake again. Sigh.
*You dont see the sun for days and days. Boo to the never ending grey skies and rain.
*You get sick and your husband is TDY. And you still have to take care of a baby.
*You have obligations to attend to, but all you want to do is stay in your PJs and snuggle with the cutest little girl in the world.
*It's the middle of December and you havent received any Christmas cards.
*You have to go on base and stand in line to get your mail. I miss mail being delivered right to your home. Id love to be able to just walk to the mailbox.
*You cant find a parking spot.
*You live in a country that doesnt know what good Mexican food is. We tried a new Mexican restaurant last night and as per all the Mexican restaurants in Germany, it sucked. Bad food and too strong, watered down drinks. I really miss good Mexican food.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Blog Swap

Riding the Roller Coaster

If you havent heard, Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster is hosting a MilSpouse Holiday Blog Swap. This is my very first blog swap and Im really excited about it. There are some great bloggers participating, so be sure to check them all out. Just stop by the Wife's blog to see them all. I cant wait to read everyone's posts, which are all about Christmas.
You can find my post on how the military has affected our holiday seasons over the years on Nicole's blog at Flip Flops and Combat Boots. 

Im hosting Katie F. from The Life of an Army Wife. Katie is an Army wife from Wisconsin and new momma to a beautiful little five month old girl. Stop by her blog to find out more and to see some photos of her little cutie!

Here's her post:

Hello. My name is Katie F and I write over at The Life of an Army Wife. I love the holiday season. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love listening to Christmas music, driving around looking at decorations and the warm fuzzy feeling you get curled up in your living room with the ones you love enjoying the lights of your Christmas tree

My family is big on traditions. My parent's made Christmas so special and I knew that I wanted to do the same for my kids. Now that our daughter is here we went all out for Christmas this year. The last few years we have gone home to WI to be with our families for the holiday's. This year a 17 hour drive with a 5 month old was out of the question so it will be our first Christmas just the three of us. While it's sad knowing we won't be going home for Christmas I am excited to start our own family traditions along with incorporating some of our families traditions.

One major tradition my family did was giving us a new ornament each year. Every year in the beginning of December my parent's gave us a new ornament to put on the tree. They always had some sort of meaning or represented us in some way whether it be a ballerina ornament or a high heel, it was always special to see what my parents had picked for us. And now 27 years later I have 27 ornament's to hang on my own tree. The hubs and I decided to start this tradition with our daughter and a few weeks ago headed to Hallmark to pick out Baby's first Christmas ornament. It is hanging proudly on our tree and our family member's have even joined in our tradition and purchased some ornament's for her

Other traditions include going to church on Christmas Eve, cooking a big meal for us to enjoy. A traditional turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas eve and a traditional italian dinner on Christmas day. 

Traditions are meant to be passed down and shared with one another. That is what makes Christmas so special for us. Sharing them with our daughter along with starting our own new traditions. Traditions that will last a life time and that will hopefully be passed along to our grandchildren. So even though we will be far away from our families this year they will be close by in spirit. What sort of traditions do you all enjoy during the holiday's?

I know one tradition I plan on starting is The Elf on a shelf. When Gianna gets a little older I think it will be such a cute experience for her. I see so many people blogging about it that I can't wait to start it. 

The most important thing of all however is that we will be together this Christmas. Celebrating the holiday's when your loved one is deployed is always hard and it has taught me to never take time together for granted.

Thank you for your great post Katie!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Birth Story, Part 3

*Warning: Part 3 includes the delivery and some things that may be TMI for some of you. 

In case you missed the beginning...

Part 1
Part 2

So the epidural isnt working on the left side and I can feel everything. From the beginning, the contractions had been focused in my back. (My mom told me she also had "back labor.") Now that the epidural wasnt working, the back pain on my left side was excruciating.

At 7:00 the change of shift came on and my new nurse was Alexis and she told me that a midwife would be the one to deliver my baby. I was so happy it wouldn’t be the doctor from the night shift. At 8:10, she came in to check my progress. J had just left a few minutes before to run down and get some breakfast. The poor guy was starving. Id been on the Pitocin for a little less than two hours. The midwife lifted up the sheet and said, “Whoa! I can see the baby’s head. You’re dilated to 10 and the baby’s head is at 2+.” We were all so shocked! They hadn’t expected me to progress so quickly, even on the Pitocin. I called J and said, get up here now, I’m dilated to a 10! The midwife laughed and said there wasn’t any hurry; she was going to let me labor down for a while before I started pushing. I relayed the message to J, who was very relived. He did rush back upstairs. He said he thought I was joking at first, because I was so calm. He almost threw his food down in the cafeteria and ran. Thankfully he brought the food with him and didnt make a mess. 

So as I’m laboring down, the contractions are getting worse and worse and are coming less than two minutes apart. Things began to get hazy at that point. I remember the nurse saying that there was no reason for me to be in so much pain, especially with an epidural and she was going to get the anesthetist. At some point he came in a said he was going to give me a “half bolus” directly into the epidural. I was in the zone at that point and don’t remember much except Jason helping me focus on my breathing. Around 9:30 the nurse came back in and said it was time to start pushing. Thankfully by that time the bolus had just kicked in and I was feeling nothing but relief. She had me push a couple of times but then stopped me because the baby’s head was right there and she was afraid I would deliver without the midwife being there. At 9:40 the midwife arrived and I began pushing. J was on my right, mom was on my left and the midwife and nurse were at the end of the bed. I remember my mom saying, “She has so much hair!” over and over. 

I loved the midwife. She was very concerned with giving me the safest, quickest delivery and preventing a tear. She also wanted all of us to participate in the delivery. So she had Jason lift my right leg, which was extra numb from the bolus, and mom lift the left leg. She had me hold my thighs as well. This wasnt working for me because I was too numb. After a few minutes, she told me to lift my pelvis with each push like Michael Jackson thrusted his. We all cracked up at that, but it worked! She had me grab my ankles, with mom and Jason supporting my legs, and thrust upward. She said this would help prevent a tear. 

After a total of fourteen minutes of pushing, and 17.5 hrs of labor, M was born at 9:54 am. She was perfect! The cord was wrapped around her neck once, but the midwife was so calm and unwrapped it without us even knowing. It wasn’t until we were filling out our discharge paperwork that we found out she had a nuchal cord. She dried her off a little and placed her right up on my chest. She waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, letting M get all the stem cells. I loved that she did that. I had read about it during pregnancy, but didn’t think they would be willing to do it. Once it had stopped pulsating, J was allowed to cut the cord. I didnt even feel or realize when the placenta delivered, which was fine with me because I did not want to see it. They let M lay on me while they cleaned her up. I also breast fed her within the first 20 minutes after she was born, before they took her over to weigh and bathe her. After an hour they took her over to give her the Vitamin K shot, the eye ointment, weigh and measure her. She weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz. We all took a guess before they weighed her and the midwife guessed it correctly! She was 18 ¾ inches long. Afterward, they brought her back to me and let me breast feed her again. I was allowed to eat at that point. Finally! I was starving! We got in lots of snuggle time too. J and mom held M and lots of pictures were made. Then it was time for her first bath. While they bathed her, Alexis helped me to the bathroom so I could clean up and get a shower. Unfortunately, my right leg was extra dead from the bolus so I looked like a drunk person trying to walk to the bathroom. She and J practically carried me. The numbness didnt completely wear off of the right side for six hours. 

We spent two days in the hospital. Thankfully M was healthy and I didnt have any complications. My only complaint was intense back pain for a few days afterward from the contractions and epidural. My mom stayed with us for the next two weeks and J was off work, so we spent the time getting to know our little one.        

The last 12 weeks havent always been easy, but they have been wonderful. M is the best thing that has ever happened to us. She's our little miracle baby, our greatest blessing. All in all, my labor and delivery were pretty wonderful. Even with a defective epidural, I was very pleased with my experience and will happily do it again one day. The devastatingly brutal sleep deprivation that goes along with having a newborn...well, that's not something I look forward to. We have another year or two before we have to worry about that though.... =)

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Birth Story, Part 2

Check out Part 1 if you missed it!

So on to part two... 

So we're in room 3, the best room...
I changed into a gown and got into bed at 1245. Becky checked my cervix for progress. The hospital's policy is not to admit a patient unless their cervix is dilated to a 4. I was a 2 at my last appointment a week before, so I was hoping I was at least a 4 now. According to her, I was dilated to 3 and 80% effaced. I was a little disappointed and worried they would send me home. Becky asked me if I would like to go home for a while longer or stay and of course I said stay! I wasn’t giving up Room #3! =)

So we made ourselves comfortable and prepared for a long night. Although the contractions were painful, as long as I was walking, they were bearable. There was a moment when I felt like as long as they let me walk, I could handle them indefinitely. Ha! Although I was feeling mighty tough, I knew I really wanted an epidural and didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity for it. I informed my nurse of this so she agreed to come back and check me in a couple of hours. In the meantime I walked, breathed, facetimed with family and laughed with J and mom at the crazy German TV shows that air in the middle of the night.

When Becky came back in to check me at 2:40, I was 5 cm and 90% effaced. The pain was beginning to get pretty intense and I was terrified of missing out on the epidural (this had happened to my friend just two weeks before), so I told Becky I was ready for it. The CRNA arrived at 3:30. When he walked in was pacing the floor, laughing at something J had said. He looked around, said he must be in the wrong room and turned to go. We laughed and called him back in. He said his patients weren’t normally up walking around, laughing. Getting the epidural was an interesting experience. As a former operating room nurse and scrub tech, I had seen countless epidurals placed. One of my best friends is also a CRNA and I had talked to him about it. I knew it would be uncomfortable, and it was, but I underestimated how difficult it would be to have to sit still during the process. The contractions were bearable while I was walking, but so painful while sitting still. The sharp shooting pains down my legs wasn’t anticipated either. Afterward though, I was very thankful for the wonderful numb feeling.

At 4:15 the doctor came in for the first time since I’d arrived. She was about as friendly and animated as a rock. I sincerely hoped she wouldn’t be the one to deliver my baby. Luckily, she went off duty at 7:00 and /i knew I probably wouldnt deliver by then. She checked me at I was still at 5 cm. She said my water was bulging, so she decided to break it to speed things up a bit. Thankfully, due to the epidural, I didn’t feel a thing. Becky suggested we all try and get some rest while we could and she would be back in a couple of hours. I actually slept for an hour, but I was too excited to sleep more. I had fun trying to keep J awake by throwing ice at him. So far the worst part of labor? The hunger pains! I was starving. The popsicles and jello just werent cutting it.

At 6:15 Becky checked me again. I was only 6 cm. Unfortunately, the epidural had slowed my progress. They decided to begin a low dose of Pitocin to try and get my progress back on track, so at 6:25 they started the drip. After 20 minutes, Becky increased the dosage. At this point, I began to feel the contractions again. All I could think was, “Uh oh.” I knew this wasn’t good. I wasn’t supposed to be feeling anything. The contractions continued to get worse and as they did, I realized that I could only feel them on the left side. My right side was still numb, but I could feel everything on the left. Each and every contraction. I tried pushing my pain button, but that didn’t provide any relief. It sucked having to lie in bed during the contractions when all I wanted to do was walk.

Thankfully J was with me. He was awesome! He encouraged me, helped to keep me focused and kept me grounded. He is a funny, funny guy but never once cracked a joke. We’d made a deal beforehand that he wouldn’t make any jokes, complain or eat in front of me. Not that he would ever complain, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have a reason to hurt him. =)  I did let him eat eventually. I didn’t want him to pass out during the big moment!

Stay tuned for Part 3, the big event, coming next week.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Birth Story, Part 1

So I am finally getting around to writing up M's birth story. Im pretty longwinded so Ive broken it up into a couple of posts. 

On September 14th, 2011, my due date, I spent the day running errands with my mom. On the way home from base I told her that I had a new “heavy” feeling. I wasnt having contractions, but I definitely felt different. Later that afternoon we sat at the dining room table, mom working on her charts, me working on a pregnancy photo book. At 4:30 my lower back began to hurt. This was nothing new as my back had been hurting for almost 10 months! At 4:54 though, I had a contraction. Just a tightening of my abdomen. It didn’t hurt, but it was noticeable. At 5:02, I had another. At 5:11, another. I told my mom that I was having contractions and sent Jason a text at work letting him know. I wasn’t sure if this was the real thing or not because I had been having Braxton Hicks for weeks, but I was really hoping so! I cooked dinner for us all and the contractions kept coming. They were 6 to 20 minutes apart. After dinner they stopped for about 20 minutes so Jason and I went on a walk. We wanted to keep them coming! We couldn’t believe that after 10 months of waiting, this might finally be the real thing. On our walk we saw a bright light- space material (a satellite, maybe?) shoot across the sky and break up into two pieces. It was a sign. By nine I was sure that this was real labor and that the big event would be soon. We attempted to go to bed around 9:30/10 because we knew we would not be getting much sleep soon, but as I lay there, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I was too excited! I decided to get up and shower. My contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart by this time. After my shower I went back into the bedroom and told Jason to get up and finish packing our bag. We would be going to the hospital soon, I was sure. He got up and we both got dressed and went downstairs to tell Mom.

The contractions were coming more regularly and were beginning to pick up in intensity. I had to breathe through them, but they werent too bad at this point. The best pain reliever was walking. As long as I was walking, the pain wasn’t bad. We called L&D at 11:00pm and told them that my contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart and increasing in intensity. They advised me to stay at home until they were 3-4 minutes apart and stronger. We were pretty disappointed because we were ready to go and get this show started, but we managed to stay at home for another hour. We called them again at midnight since my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and instead of asking if we could come in, we told them we were on our way. The pain was getting worse, but still very manageable and even mild if I could walk during the contraction.

When we arrived at the hospital and pulled up to the gate, the gate guard asked us to shut off the engine and step out of the car. They wanted to do a car search! A panicked look immediately crossed my face as I breathed through another contraction. Jason told the guard that I was in labor and that we couldn’t stop. The guard said, “Oh! Ok, go on then!” and told the other guards that I was in labor. As we drove by they yelled out  “Good Luck!” Jason dropped Mom and I off at the ER entrance while he went to park the car. 

We walked up to L & D and checked in. The nurse, Becky, led us to Room 3, aka, THE room. This was the room that we wanted. We were told it was the biggest and the best room during our tour of the unit several weeks earlier when we attended our childbirth class. Our friends had also just delivered their baby in that room exactly two weeks before and they confirmed its awesomeness. Turns out I was the only patient on the unit that night. 

I changed into a gown and got into bed at 1245. Becky checked my cervix for progress. They don’t normally admit a patient unless their cervix is dilated to a 4. I was a 2 at my last appointment a week before so I was hoping I was at least a 4 now. According to her, I was dilated to 3 and 80% effaced. I was a little disappointed and worried they would send me home. Becky asked me if I would like to go home for a while longer or stay and of course I said stay! I wasn’t giving up Room #3! =) 

Stay tuned for part two....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Been Awhile...



Remember me?

It's been awhile.

With an almost 10 week old who is very...spirited and fiery, blogging has definitely been pushed to the back burner. The way back burner. M is a doll baby most days, but requests a lot of attention and loves for her momma to hold and walk with her and of course entertain her. Add in the fact that she prefers to nap in my arms rather than anywhere else, well, that makes blogging, emailing or doing much of anything else for that matter, difficult to say the least. Thankfully, she is becoming more independent and interested in her surroundings, so I am slowly acquiring more "me" time during the day. I havent been very good at reading your blogs, much less commenting, but I am trying to catch up! Some very interesting, happy and/or challenging things have been happening to you, my bloggy loves, and I am eager to get caught up and back in touch with you!

A quick baby update:
M is smiling, cooing and laughing often throughout the day now. She hasnt mastered rolling over yet, but how could she, when she's always being held? So we're working on more tummy and playmat time. She learned how to spit and blow spit bubbles this past weekend. Not fun for mommy when Im trying to give her medication, but so adorable any other time. She's constantly chewing/sucking on something, be it her hand, my arm, daddy's fingers or her beloved Nuk paci. The drooling has also started. We have had a bout with thrush, a very mild case. She only had a couple of spots on her tongue, but thanks to my professional background, I knew exactly what it was and we caught it super early. We're both on meds for a week and Im very much hoping this kicks it. M was diagnosed with reflux when she was two weeks old. She's been on Zantac since, which has helped, but I have started a trial off of the Zantac to see if she really still needs it. Id like for her to only be taking medications if she truly needs them. So far, she's been doing great off of it.

She had her 2 month appt last week, complete with shots. No fun for mommy, but she handled them really well. I was able to breastfeed her during the injections and she only cried for about 30 seconds before going right back to eating. It was a great distraction and comfort measure for her and I highly recommend it to all of you breastfeeding mommas out there. She weighs almost 11 lbs and is just over 23 inches long. She's already grown out of so many of her clothing! Im so proud, but sad too. She's growing so quickly! We are cloth diapering and for the most part, love it! We have had a problem with a rash at night if she's wearing them. Im thinking it's either because she is going so long between changes at night or due to the detergent that we are using- Rocking Green, unscented. I spoke to a friend who recommended double stuffing the diapers at night since M soaks through one. Ill be trying that tonight.

We are prepping for Thanksgiving today. Im making a Pumpkin chocolate chip cake, a recipe I found here. Ive never made it before, but it looks and smells so good! I love all things pumpkin, so Thanksgiving just wouldnt be complete without a pumpkin dessert (or two!). I used the organic pumpkin that Becca sent me in my awesome care package. Im also making a chicken and green bean casserole that I found here. I cant believe Im not making anything from Pinterest! I did make two dinners this week that I found there. There were stellar! We are spending the holiday at a friends house with a few other couples and kids. I am excited, though I do wish we could be home with family. This is the second Thanksgiving in a row that we've missed at home. In fact, Ive only been home for two Thanksgivings in the last seven years. This was the "major" holiday that I always chose to work at the hospital so I could have Christmas off. We will be skyping with family tomorrow evening, so that will help with the homesickness. I think having a child now makes holidays that much more special and that much more difficult when we cant be with family. At least J will be home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! Woohoo!

What are all of you doing for Turkey Day? I hope you have a wonderful, laughter filled day! I am super jealous, but also relieved that I will be missing out on Black Friday yet again this year. Im pretty much finished with my Christmas shopping, so I dont need anything anyway, but I may cyber stalk a few of my favorite stores... =)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little Mama Love

Happy Halloween!!!

I received the MOST AWESOME care package from my sweet bloggy friend Becca. If you arent reading her blog, you should be. She sent me a care package especially for me... one of the few non-baby things Ive received in the last nine or so months. She knows how much I LOVE pumpkin flavored things (have I mentioned that on here before?).

She sent:

*Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix with cinnamon icing. YUM! I cant wait to make these! Im a sucker for all things pumpkin, but also for cookies. They are definitely a weakness of mine.
*Organic chocolate roasted tea. Seriously? Chocolate flavored organic tea? Yes please!
*A fall themed foodie magazine. I <3 magazines. I only subscribe to one (Cooking Light) because I feel bad spending money on magazines for myself, but I love them. If I could, I would subscribe to Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, several cooking magazines and maybe even People for some mindless entertainment.
*A satin sleep mask for some help with daytime shut eye. Haha, yeah right. Like I get any shut eye ever, but one day I know my baby will sleep and when she does, Ill happily put on my new mask and snooze right along with her.
*Medela quick steam clean bags. I've been using these for a few weeks and love them! They are so convenient and easy to use.
*Organic lip balm. I cant tell you how much I needed this. Most lip balms give me a yeast infection in the corners of my mouth. Yes, seriously. It started with Bath & Body works lip gloss and now Blistex does it too. That's a whole other post though. Im super excited to try some organic balm because my poor lips need some moisture and the long cold Germany winter is looming.
*Two cans of organic pumpkin. I made pumpkin brownies this week. (Thank you Pinterest) They were so good, Im going to have to make them again and this time, Ill use the organic stuff. Love it, especially since we cant get specialty things like that here in Germany.


I cant tell you how excited I am about this. Ive just started drinking coffee again this week- only half a cup a day. It's been heavenly having coffee again. I decided that since Baby M is crazy and fussy no matter what I eat/drink, I might as well enjoy half a cup a day. My lactation consultant agreed. =)

Thank you Becca! You are so awesome and sweet and receiving this care package seriously made my week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Newborn Photos

When Baby M was 10 days old, we had her newborn photos taken. 

It was not a pleasant experience, to say the least. 

First off, I dont think our photographer (who came highly recommended) had very much experience with newborns. She didnt have a lot of ideas for poses or props. Thank goodness for Pinterest; I came prepared. 

Secondly, she suggested taking the baby's diaper off for some naked shots about 15 minutes into the two hour shoot. So I took off M's diaper. While Im waiting for the photographer to arrange the props, M pees ALL over me. 


Thank goodness I was wearing black, right? 

Sure, and so she peed on me again. All within the space of five minutes. 

Cue the incredible fussiness, the inconsolable crying. She was seriously hating having her picture taken. 

So I decided to try and feed her, which usually calms her. I take her into the bathroom, sit on the toilet (because the photographer did not offer a more comfortable option, rude), and proceed to feed her. 


She poops.... 

Of course. 

So she's screaming and Im getting all teary eyed because we havent taken our family photos yet and for f*ck's sake, we'd only been there for maybe 30 minutes and it was already a cluster. Thank God my mom and J were with me to help clean us up and calm me down. I was ready to cancel the whole thing.

After lamenting that my shirt was ruined and we wouldnt be able to have our family photos taken, the photographer offered one of her black shirts. It wasnt perfect, but it worked. 

M was fussy for the entire rest of the shoot and most of the photos with her eyes closed are in between screams. 

I now know better for future children and future photo shoots. 

*Schedule the shoot in the morning or late afternoon, not at noon, when the baby is most likely going to be fussy.
*Save the diaperless shots for last, for goodness sakes.
*Bring extra clothes. For everyone. 
*Bring extra wipes. We ran out. 
*Wait until the baby is 3 weeks old. They may be "less flexible", but will probably be better behaved. (M was much calmer at three weeks than 10 days.)

Despite the shit storm that was this photo shoot, we still managed to get some absolutely adorable shots. Here are some of my favorites:

And my favorite:

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby M is Here!

She's here! Baby M arrived on September 15th at 0954 after 17.5 hours of labor. She weighed 6 lbs., 12 oz. and is 18 3/4 inches long. We think she's just perfect and are so in love with this little girl! Ive got lots of posts planned for the upcoming weeks... if I can just find the time to finish them!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brain Dump and Giveaway Winner

Just dropping in with a quick update.
I just love posts that are quick and to the point!

Ill be 40 weeks pregnant tomorrow!
I cant believe it's been 40 weeks already! 
No baby yet, but I have been having some contractions. 
Fingers crossed.
This little girl just might come on her due date. 

My birthday is on Monday, the 19th.
Im REALLY hoping she doesnt wait until then to come.
Also, I cant wait to eat birthday cake!
Yes, I love cake.

The winner of the cloth wipes giveaway from Turtles R Us is...
#7 Cat! 
Please send me your address and email so I can connect you with the owner
of Turtles R Us to claim your prize. 

I really wish I could get a pumpkin spice latte here. 
Ive been reading about all of you enjoying yours and Im totally jealous.
The cafe on base here has a Harvest Spice latte... Im going to try it asap, but 
Im sure it isnt going to be the same.

I read on another blog about these fantastic things called Pumpkin Delights from
Little Debbie.
Have any of you ever tried them? They sound delicious! 
Im pretty sure they dont sell those here. 

Im loving having my mom here! 
She's been such a great help and great company.

Yay for the return of NFL football!!! 
So sad my fav Peyton Manning is out.
I think Im gonna root for the Packers and Jets this year.
Anyone but the Chargers (my husbands favorite!). 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Too Hot to Handle!

*Dont forget to enter my giveaway! Cloth wipes that can be used for anything and would make a great gift! And they are super cute!

 So we all know what these little darlings are, yes? 

A few weeks ago I found a recipe on Pinterest for bacon, jalapeno and cream cheese poppers.
I made them for a party and they were a huge hit. 
So when our squadron's August social rolled around, I thought these would be perfect
to bring. Everyone always brings a dessert, so I really wanted to make an app. 

When I made these the first time, I used sliced jalapenos from a jar since that was all that
I had on hand. When I attempted to make them the second time, I bought fresh jalapenos
since that's what the recipe called for and they looked so good. 

I began by cutting up the jalapenos- ten of them- and then frying the bacon. As I was frying 
the bacon, a couple of the fingers on my left hand began to tingle. 
I thought it was weird, but maybe the grease was just popping up on me? 
After cooking the bacon, I started hand washing the dishes.
That's when my left hand began to burn.

And that's when I realized that it wasnt the bacon grease.
It was the jalapenos!

Ive been cooking with jalapenos for years people, and have never worn gloves while
handling them. While I realize that peppers can cause chemical burns on skin, it never even
occurred to me that they might burn me.
Because they never have.
Until now.

I have never felt a fire burning pain like that before. It felt as if I was constantly
holding my hand over an open flame or a hot stovetop.
My entire left hand, centered in the palm and
bases of my fingers, was covered in a horrible chemical burn from these jalapenos.
Im thinking that either my skin is super sensitive due to pregnancy,
or those were just some ridiculously hot peppers.

When the burning intensified shortly after I realized what was going on, I immediately
ran to my favorite medical source:

I could have easily looked in my own medical books, but my hand felt like it was ON FIRE
and thinking rationally wasnt high on my list.

Thankfully I found a website with extensive information and advice on the occurrence
of chemical burns from jalapenos with tons of first hand recommendations.

For the next FIVE hours, I tried every home remedy listed.
Multiple times.
I even called my OB doctor, my parents and my best friends asking for advice.

Let me tell you what didnt work:

Egg whites
Soap and water
Lemon juice
Baking soda and water
Baking soda and milk
Sugar scrub

Finally, after five hours of failed attempts, I found something that did work.

Palmolive and Germ-X.

I soaked my dry hand in Palmolive for several minutes, washed it off and dried it, used the Germ-X,
let it dry and then did the whole thing over again.

The pain instantly decreased and slowly faded away after a couple of hours.
My hand was sore for the rest of the night and for the next two days,
it peeled. It was an awful sight to see my entire palm and the skin on all of my
fingers peeling off, but at least it wasnt burning.

So, moral of the story?

Wear gloves when cooking with jalapenos.

Just do it.
The searing, burning pain just isnt worth chancing it.

Happy Labor Day! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Birth Month Celebration

If you've been reading my blog for at least a year, you know that September is my most favorite month of the year. Why? It's my birth month, NFL football begins, wine and beer festivals begin here in Germany, Pumpkin Spice Lattes (!) come back and it's the beginning of Fall, my favorite season, just to name a few reasons. This year it also means the birth of our first child, a very monumental event indeed.

To celebrate Ive got an awesome giveaway for you! 

About a month ago I entered a giveaway on another blog to win something from a super cute Etsy shop called TurtlesRUS. Unfortunately I didnt win the giveaway, but that didnt stop me from ordering something from her shop. 

Im going to veer off here to a story, but I promise, it's related!

While I was home in the States in June, my mom and I decided to go to our local fabric store to look for a fabric I liked to make Baby M's nursery bedding. I had looked everywhere online and could not find anything that I liked, not to mention, the prices were more than what I wanted to spend. While we were at the fabric store, I found it! The. One. I had finally found a fabric that I loved. It had a white background, was very colorful (not just pink or purple) and had small butterflies and ladybugs of all different colors. It was exactly what Id been looking for. We immediately started choosing coordinating fabrics with which to make the curtains, pillows and bed skirt. I couldnt believe we'd struck gold on our first outing. I kept thinking, "Yes! This is perfect!" 

And then it wasnt. 

The catch? (Because there's always a catch right?) They only had a small piece of the fabric. In their entire warehouse of a store. Seriously. It was only enough to make a very small curtain. I was beyond bummed! My hopes had gotten so high, only to come crashing right down. Im sure some of you are thinking how melodramatic this sounds. Im mean, come on, it's just fabric right? Well, yes, but after searching for months, this was the only fabric that I even remotely liked, so it meant more to me than just a piece of fabric.

We went ahead and bought the small scrap to see if perhaps we could find it online and put all of the other coordinating fabrics back. My mom suggested that we head up to my aunt's to see if she had seen the fabric before or knew where we could get it, since she makes baby quilts. When we arrived at my aunt's and I showed her the fabric she was shocked. She immediately went out to her car and brought in a baby blanket made out of the exact same fabric!!! She had found the fabric at the same store two weeks prior! She bought it and made me a quilt out of it. I was ecstatic! We couldnt believe that out of the literally thousands of fabrics at that store, we'd chosen the very same one. It was definitely meant to be. Mom and I went back the next day and bought all of the coordinating fabrics, ribbons and accessories which she used to make the bed skirt, closet cover, curtain and pillows.

Fast forward back to the TurtlesRUs giveaway (I bet you thought Id never get back to my original story, huh?). When I was entering the giveaway, I went to the Etsy shop and looked around to see what I would chose if I won. Imagine my surprise and utter delight when I saw 2 dozen cloth wipes in the exact same pattern as my baby quilt and curtain! I couldnt wait to see if I won the contest or not, so I went ahead and ordered them.

Baby M's Nursery bedding! 

These cloth wipes are adorable, soft, eco-friendly and so, so affordable. The pattern matches my fabric perfectly. I cant wait to use them on Baby M! I received them so quickly too, especially for an APO address.

The matching cloth wipes!! 

When I wrote to Kayla at TurtlesRUs and told her how happy I was with the product, she graciously offered up one dozen cloth wipes to you, my readers! Even if you arent a mom or mom-to-be, these would make a great gift!

To Enter: 

"Like" TurtlesRUS on Facebook
"Like" TutlesRUs on Etsy OR your favorite item in her shop

Once you've completed those two you can earn extra entries by:

Following this blog (one entry)
Tweeting about the giveaway (one entry)
Blogging about the giveaway (one entry)

That's four chances to win! 
Just leave me a comment for each entry please. 
Super simple right?

Dont forget to leave me your email address in at least one of the comments.
This giveaway will close September 10th.
I will email the winner asap, depending on when Baby M decides to make her debut.

Good luck! 

Super cute wipes from TurtlesRUS! 

I love this fabric! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week 38

We're only 2 weeks away from that elusive due date. Im sincerely hoping this precious little girl makes her debut soon, or at least before the due date. Last week I finally reached that "point" that all mothers talk about- the one where you are just plain miserable and so ready to be done with pregnancy. We are just so anxious and excited to meet our little one!

***Be sure to check in tomorrow. It's the beginning of my favorite month, my birth month (and Baby M's too!) and I have a great giveaway planned!***

How Far Along:  38 weeks!

Size of baby:  Anywhere between 6-6.5 lbs, supposedly the length of a leek. 

Total Weight Gained:  22 lbs. I had gained three lbs in two weeks at my 36 week appt, but I didnt gain any over these last two weeks. I have read that the weight gain usually slows or stops in the last few weeks. I also cut back on my sweets consumption dramatically. I was eating more desserts than real food! My appetite has also decreased over the last week or so. 

Still no stretch marks and my belly button remains an innie. Woohoo! 

Maternity Clothes:  Yes, definitely, though my favorite shirts arent maternity at all. They are the small, long tanks from Target. So stretchy and soft and really inexpensive. 

Gender: It's a GIRL! A very spoiled and blessed little girl. 

Movement: Tons! She is crazy active all morning, some during the day, all evening and throughout the night. She's in the head down position and prepping for her debut! 

Sleep: I wake up 2-4 times a night to pee and then usually wake up for good around 7am. I have actually been sleeping really well for the past few weeks. 

What I miss: Being able to move around easily, being able to breathe without difficulty, fitting into my normal clothes, drinking an entire glass of wine. It's all worth it of course, but I am SO ready for her to be born! I cant wait to hold her in my arms!  

Cravings: Still with the cereal and fruit. Peanut butter and jelly on either bread or rice cakes. Nothing too crazy. Ive laid off the sweets in the past two weeks. 

Aversions: None, thankfully! 

Symptoms:  Horrid sciatic pain down my left butt cheek, left inner thigh and left leg. Braxton Hicks, and some other less lovely things that I wont talk about on here. (You're welcome!) 
The heartburn is WAY better. Only once a week or so now, for the past 3 weeks or so.  

Best Moment this week: 38 week doctor's appt. Spa day with the girls with an extended foot massage and pedicure. Heavenly. J taking me for gelato. Twice! 

Happy Wednesday!