Friday, June 28, 2013

Ebble's Favorite Things: June Edition

1. Tell the Wolves I'm Home was my favorite book this month, and maybe even this year. It is a coming-of-age novel that sweetly captures the moment when a child becomes an adult. Taking place in the 1980's when AIDS was first discovered, I found the setting to be a breath of fresh air (if I ever have to read another World War II novel again...). The story is about relationships - between angsty teenagers and their parents, between siblings, between popular kids and the D&D types, between strangers and friends - and it is about love and loss. The author did an amazing job capturing the thoughts and feelings of the typical teenage girl, and she truly spoke to my soul. If you are looking for an action-packed book, this isn't the right read for you. The story is told through art, love, imagination, and relationships, so only read it if you love these things.
2. Angel Dear Blankie. You know how sometimes you receive baby presents and you wonder if you really need them? Well, this snuggie was one of those items. I was just about ready to dismiss it all together when Everett formed a cute little attachment to his elephant Angel Dear Blankie. I am not sure why, but he started falling asleep easier when it was in his crib. The material is incredibly soft, and he kneads the fabric and rubs his eyes with it when he is falling asleep. AAAAND then we lost it. Luckily a little creative Google searching and came to the rescue. We ordered 2 more (one for backup). They come in a variety of colors and prints, so there is a special little character for every baby.
3. I always get excited when there is a pop music writer who truly understands music. The A-A-B-A format of popular music doesn't do it for me, and just because you have a pretty face, doesn't mean you know how to sing. This is why James Blake is a breath of fresh air. He's a talented singer, who also has a gift for electronic composition; each song is original and created by him alone. But what I like most about Blake is how easy the music is on the ears. These days my life is crazy, and having crazy music playing makes me want to jump off a bridge. Blake is JUST the right amount of creative. While he recently released his new album Overgrown, I prefer his last album simply titled James Blake. The new one seems appropriately titled, as many artists become overgrown after their talent makes them famous; their music is more produced, less organic, and creativity is limited in the fame game. That being said, Overgrown still far exceeds my expectations for pop music , and it is the perfect road trip album.
4. Gimme the Kidco Peapod! Destination wedding in Mexico next week! My brother is getting married, and Everett is coming with us. The week is PACKED with wedding activities, and "someone" is a jerk if he doesn't get his naps. "Someone" also likes having a designated nap area, and something like the Peapod is perfect. It packs up small for the suitcase, and assembles in a few short seconds. The size is big enough for a toddler, so Bebe has a fun place to sleep for years. Now that Everett is mobile, we can no longer stick him under desks to nap (power cords), and hauling the Pack N Play to Mexico is not ideal. Hello, solutions!
5. carries my favorite casual jewelry. If you shop their charms, you are sure to find something appropriate for everyone you know. I bought the sand dollar stud earrings to remember our trip to Cannon Beach. I have incredibly sensitive ears when it comes to earrings. Seriously, once I had such a bad infection from an earring that I thought my earlobe was going to fall off. Strangers would look at me like I was a freak. However, I can leave these puppies in overnight without any allergic episodes.
6. I bought a new diaper bag! The Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Diaper Bag is a dream come true. Ample storage pockets and a convenient outer changing pad make mothering-on-the-go much less chaotic. There is a place for everything. It can be worn across the shoulder, as a handbag, or backpack. I have already received a TON of compliments on it. Fashion + function  = Happy Ebble. Check out the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (cardholders start shopping on July 10th) to see if you can score one for a fraction of the price.
7. Traveling to the pool this summer? Don't forget sunscreen for Bebe. Try the natural and organic Episencial Sunny Sunscreen. No harsh chemicals for my baby! And we use the Bummis Swimmi Diaper for the pool.
8. On that note, don't forget water safety. Everett has been taking swim lessons through Infant Swim Resource for the last 2 weeks. Lessons are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. After 5 sessions, he was already floating in open water, and his strength outside the water increased by 100% (suddenly he was crawling/worming). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people drown each day. Our goal with swim lessons is for Everett to be able to save himself should he fall into water. So far, it is some of the best money we have spent.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Solid (as a rock)

Have ya'll seen the new Arrested Development yet? Here are my favorite parts so far:

  • When Argyle kicked his leg toward the heavens with the "Mr. F" motif in the background.
  • Every time Tobias refers to himself as a S.O.
  • Lucille's audition for the musical. 
  • All ANUSTART references.
  • GOB's ringtone.

In conclusion, watch it.

Our household is "solid" right now because we recently started Everett on solid foods.  Our pediatrician recommended we begin with something simple, such as rice cereal. I found this to be a great first food, as it gets mixed with breast milk - a familiar food - and you can change its texture from watery (mostly milk in the first couple feedings) to a bowl full of mush.

If you decide to use rice cereal as your first food of choice, do yourself a favor and modify the instructions on the package. Gerber recommends parents mix 1 TBS of cereal with 5-6 TBS of pumped breast milk. I can tell you from experience that 5-6 TBS of pumped milk is almost 3 ounces. Firstly, who has that much milk to spare? Secondly, who has the time to spoon-feed 3 ounces of milk to a baby? And since you are supposed to breastfeed before offering the cereal, chances are your baby will puke up 3 ounces of liquid gold afterwards (that is, if he is able to eat that much in the first place).

Observation number two: when you use the spoon to wipe baby's mouth and double dip into the container, the food dribbles and drool will make the already goopy mixture incredibly watery. To save yourself stress and money, if you are feeding baby pureed food and do not plan on using the whole container, make sure you put that meal's serving in a separate bowl for serving. The bacteria from baby's mouth taints the food, making it unacceptable to serve at a later meal. Also the slobber leaves a film at the top.

Wait four days between new foods to single out any food allergies.

Vegetables are the next step. We chose this food group because we want to get him used to things that are not sweet. Then we end with fruits and meats. If baby does not "like" a food the first time he tries it, do not give up. I got Everett to down a serving of avocado by alternating spoonfuls of squash (which he loves) and avocado. Interestingly, I read that formula-fed babies are more likely to enjoy the taste of avocado.

Overall, he is loving the experience of exploring new foods and textures. And his parents and sitters are now exploring the new textures coming out of him...

And what does all this solid food mean for us? Well, for one thing I immediately started pumping a little less during the day. In addition, my hair stopped falling out and I started getting acne again. And probably the most frustrating effect was the clogged milk duct.

When one has a clogged duct, the boob is, quite literally, solid as a rock. Everett was latched on Ole Righty for HOURS, with no changes whatsoever. I am not exaggerating, it was HOURS. A day later, I was gently rubbing the affected area, when suddenly milk squirted out in four different directions. It was so much milk that I had to change the sheets. And that little [uncomfortable] problem was solved.

They say that, eventually, breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding. Is this really true?

It is hard. No matter what I feed my child. It is an investment of my time and energy whether I am pumping, breastfeeding, holding a bottle in his mouth, spooning pureed veggies into his mouth, or cleaning the mess he makes while feeding himself. Does it really get easier, or do we just get used to it being hard? Every day I talk to parents who are STRESSED to the max. "Am I feeding my child too much or too little?" "Is my milk supply enough?" "Is my let-down too forceful, or not forceful enough?" "Is the milk I drink giving my baby gas?"

I have tried the method of "not worrying about it." Then I got a clogged duct, so clearly something is off.  But when it comes down to it, I go off what Everett communicates to me. If he still seems hungry after my boobs feel deflated, maybe he just needs a couple spoonfuls of carrots. Or maybe he's bored sucking down the same thing all day, and just wants some variety. The bottom line: although he is much smaller than other babies his age, he is happy and healthy.

As always, Google can be a parent's worst enemy, despite the comfort and entertainment it provides at 3am during the first few weeks of Baby's life. I have to tell myself every day that "this is normal," even though some weirdo who has to write all over has no problem pumping 10 ounces of milk 6 times a day. Angellove725, you make the rest of us feel like shit, and you're a freak of nature.

But here are my must-haves (and my 1 want) for starting Bebe on solids.

1. Separate bowl for serving. We use ramekins that were already in our cupboards. Anything that's microwave safe works just as well. Also, when microwaving food, a few seconds is PLENTY.
2. Rubber-tipped spoons. I got the ones that change color if the food is too hot (see notation under #1).
3. Baby Bullet. For a cost-effective and healthy way to serve baby foods, get one of these little guys. I call it "little guy" because he smiles at me.
4. Burp rags and bibs. A friend introduced me to these Aden and Anais gems, which serve as both.
5. If I had a million dollars, I would buy the Bloom high chair. We don't have a million dollars, so we are currently using Everett's bouncy chair. We really need a high chair...
6. Corgi. Dogs are great for cleaning up baby messes. They will even lick baby puke off the floor if you're too busy to clean it up.

Until next time!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cannon Beach 2013

I wanted to share a few photos from our most recent family vacation. Cannon Beach is tucked away on the Pacific Ocean in northern Oregon. The quaint town is quickly recovering from the economic recession, and there are now fantastic restaurants and coffee shops that serve local foods and support the growing community. If you are looking for a chain grocery store or Starbucks, you are out of luck! Instead, get a fantastic caffeinated beverage from the Sleepy Monk. And while you're at it, head over to Cheri's Cafe for some excellent grub. For a day trip, head down the coast to Manzanita and hit up the Farmer's Market.

Cold winds and harsh rainstorms batter the Oregon coastline for a majority of the year, so the town and its surroundings are all cool grays and muted tones. Therefore, when the sun shines, it is almost too beautiful to bear. We were lucky enough to be there for one of those rare, sunny weekends. My sunburn just started peeling.

Everett had fun on our beach walks. Srsly, save up and get a BOB stroller.

Not impressed with the temperature of the water. 

Jeff and Willow playing on the beach.

 I love watching her run around without the leash.

 Best friends.

 Hoarders. Obvi.

 Some of the most inspiring endings become our most glorious beginnings. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

6 Months and Time Is Flyin'

We have lots of 6-month-old tricks!

Everett can sit up for a few seconds on his own. 

He's learning to balance better in the standing position. 

So we made him stand in the cold Pacific Ocean.
We took him on his first trip to the Oregon Coast last week, and he had the opportunity to dip his feet in the ocean for the second time in his short life. He was not impressed. However, I think he had a good time despite the frigid waters.

His bottom two teeth are ready to pop, but there has only been one bad night so far (Tylenol fixed that little situation). He is tolerating tummy time better...

It's easy to be entertained when you have a doggie tail to pull.

...and rolls both directions like it ain't no thang. 

His favorite toy is my iPad. 

It's my favorite toy too.

 He "says" Dada, Hi, Yeah, and most recently Moo. I hope the latter will eventually turn into Ma.

And we started solids.

He's pretty proud of himself for all his accomplishments. 

He weighs 14 lbs 8 oz, which is exactly double his birth weight! Praise the Lord! Pediatricians say this is the goal at 6 months, and we made it. He is a tall one, about the same height as his 10-month-old friend.

On Monday he starts swim lessons, and I vacillate between being excited and nervous about this. However, in his brief time on earth, he's been near many bodies of water. I'd rather be safe than sorry. More to come!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Operation: Don't Look Like White Trash

Most normal homeowners have one specific goal in mind: don't trash the house. We are not trying to "Keep up with the Joneses" or anything like that. We just want to be a step of classy above the neighbor who has a pit bull tied to a chain in his front yard. Also, why create eye sores and property devaluation for ourselves and the kind people around us?

The people who lived in our house before us TRASHED the place. I mean, there was trash everywhere. And we found countless mouse nests to prove it. Let's just say it took a lot of bleach before I felt comfortable putting my possessions in any of the cabinets (it should also be noted that there were inappropriate symbols drawn in crayon in many of our cabinets).

One leftover piece of trash was the screen door which was installed by the previous owner. Not only is it unattractive...

But it is also broken...

I suspect the previous owners had a cat, and that said creature caused the rip in the first place. For a while, we enjoyed giving the animals the freedom to go in and out whenever they wanted. However, the cat was dragging a lot of random stuff inside, and she decided to make herself a little obstacle course. After watching her dash in and out six times in an hour, and after finding dozens of dead dragon flies in her litter box, I decided enough was enough.

So we went to Home Depot (Lowe's was sold out) to get a new and improved screen door. We also had to make sure our little devil didn't ruin the new investment. This meant getting the protector shown below.

Yay! Much less trashy.

Except the old door is still on our back porch, along with a bit of rubbish from the new door. So we are still trashy.

AND, I was feeling a surge of non-mono energy on Memorial Day, so I planted a few pots to go along the rail of the back deck.

Still trashy, but not quite as bad.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Three P's

Puke, Pee, and Poop.

I've been avoiding this post as long as possible. In fact, I wanted to avoid it all together. But I guess it is inevitable: when you have a baby, you will eventually end up telling everyone about his/her bodily functions. Before you dismiss this post as a typical mommy rant about how funny my child's fart was, keep in mind there is much to be learned in the end. However, if you are on your lunch break, or are the least bit squeamish, perhaps I can direct you to this page instead.

New moms can be found Googling endlessly in the middle of the night. If you are a parent-to-be, you better invest in an iPad soon because Google is going to be your best friend (I recommend the mini for ease of one-handed browsing...while nursing of course). As a new parent, I was often shocked that my seemingly obscure questions popped up as common phrases in the Google search box. So thank you Google for helping me with the following:

  • Nursing baby milk dripping out nose?
  • Consistency baby spit up after eating?
  • Green spot in baby poop breastfeeding normal?
  • How many dirty diapers?
  • Baby screams when...?
  • Baby won't sleep?

With all my expertise (attained from Google and countless parenting books I read while pregnant), I guess I assumed everyone has the most basic knowledge of what to expect when a baby commits one of the three P's. It turns out I was wrong.

A few days ago, Grandpa T took the reigns and graciously agreed to watch Everett for an afternoon. I think we can all relate to the fact that when G'pa says he'll babysit, G'ma is the one who ends up doing the dirty work. Well, G'ma wasn't home that day, so G'pa T was in charge.

A couple hours after Everett's arrival at G'pa T's house, I got a phone call.

"Hey Honey! Everett sure is a happy boy. We're having fun. Did you get my voicemail?"
"No, what's up?"
"Well, when I took Everett out of his car seat, I noticed his shirt was a little wet."
His diaper leaked. Oh well. There's a spare change of clothes.
"I figured it was just spilled milk, so we played for a little while. Then I noticed that the wetness started turning yellow."
Oh no...
"It didn't smell, so I figured he must have spilled baby food on himself."
Please tell me you cleaned him up.
"So we went to the neighbor's house and said hello, then we walked around a bit and played. I noticed the stain started traveling up his shirt and into his armpit."
Oh, please no...
"Then it started dripping down his leg. I thought, 'Boy, I better clean this up before it starts dripping into his diaper.'"
Please clean it up! 
"So I took off his diaper and started cleaning the food up. I turned around for a second and felt something warm on my arm."
Is this going to get any worse?
"When I turned back, there was a fountain of pee coming out of him and squirting on the couch."  

In conclusion, Everett pooped his pants and it was getting EVERYWHERE. Meanwhile, G'pa was parading him around the neighborhood. Then, Everett peed on my dad and his furniture. 

Here's where we learn something. Everyone knows what poop looks like. This right?

And it smells like death.

I should never have expected my dad to know any different when it came to watching Everett, as all 5 of his kids were formula fed. But people, breastmilk poop is different. It has a slight smell, which while it is not pleasant, does not have the offensive stench of someone who just shat in their pants. In addition, it is not brown. It is YELLOW. It is not solid, but runny. And it is seedy.

 Smells kinda sweet and kinda gross.
You know how when you eat a lot of veggies and they come out the other end without being fully digested? I know you know, so don't deny it. Or when you eat a lot of beets and your toilet paper turns red? I know you know, so don't you DARE deny it. Well, eating breastmilk is like eating veggies, while eating formula is like eating a Zips burger. Your shit is what you eat. 

And thank goodness there is a website that gives you pictures of all the possible scenarios you might find when closely examining a baby's diaper. Because as gross as it is, sometimes you just need to know what baby poop looks like. So if you're curious, Google it. (But here it is for those brave souls who are winging the whole parenting thing like us, and stumble upon this blog...via Google.)

Parents of the world, stand proud and tall with your poop and pee tracking charts! Delight in the normalcy of that time you took out the tape measure to quantify how far Bebe's projectile vomit went! Take out your iPads and your iPhones, and Google with the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere in this world, another someone is asking the same disgusting question as you (hopefully said someone is also a parent).
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