Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"C" is for Connecting

The Blogivers

I'm connecting up today with Allison for "Way Back When-sday."  Her post testing out baby gear with her pup, Rocky, inspired this one.  Apparently we weren't alone when we tried to put our dog, Zach, in the stroller when I was pregnant with Tully.  Zach's game for just about anything and totally trusts us, but he thought getting in the stroller was just plain silly.  I'm not sure what the stroller weight limit is, but I can attest that it will hold up to 55 lbs.

Get me outta here, Dad!

And since I've really only been posting pics of Tully for the past seven months, I'll leave you with a few more shots of our favorite fur baby.
John and Zach hiking in TX - Jan 2011

Snowpocalypse - Feb 2011
Relaxing with Daddy and Tully - April 2011

Lounging at my parents' house - July 2011
July 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

"C" is for Cooking - October Edition

A few months ago Nanna came into our lives to care for Tully.  In addition to being a fabulous nanny, Nanna cooks.  She makes dinner the days she is here (M-Th), and we usually have plenty for leftovers for lunches and over the weekend.  We are so, so, so spoiled with Nanna.  She makes everything delicious.

To make Nanna's job easier, we implemented monthly menus starting in October.  John and I sit down at the end of the month and plan the next month's meals.  One of us goes shopping on Sunday night each week.  John usually does this while I nurse Tully to sleep.  Every week I print my calendar that includes appointments for Tully, meetings for me, and the menu, so Nanna knows the plan.  We've been doing this for two months, and it's working out great so far.  Nanna can prep food during Tully's naps and have dinner ready when she leaves at 6.  We haven't eaten the same meal in over a month!  I really love that we are eating new foods each night, and I get to try recipes that I wouldn't normally attempt myself.

My goal is to post a list of our menu each month to give other people ideas on what to make.  The recipes come from various places, so I can't promise there will be a source for each one.  Google should be able to help you out there.  The concept started from Real Simple magazine's October edition with recipes for a month's worth of meals.  We try to have a beef, a chicken, a pork, and a seafood meal each each week to keep it interesting.

I will say that although we plan a meal for every night Monday through Thursday, there are rare occasions when we decide to eat out or have other plans that evening.  Also, I can remember one day when Tully needed extra snuggles, and Nanna just didn't have time for the kitchen.  Life happens, right?  But for the most part, we have a steaming hot delicious meal waiting for us after work.

Here was October's menu.

Week 1:

Week 2:
Pork Loin with Rosemary Potatoes (pre-seasoned, packaged pork)
Steak with Sherry & Salad (Real Simple)
Nanna's Spaghetti & Salad (Nanna's secret)

Week 3:
Chicken, Veggie, & Quinoa Salad (Real Simple)
Beef Tacos & Corn Salad (my made-up versions)

Week 4:
Pasta alla Vodka (Pioneer Woman, We add Italian meatballs)

Happy menu planning!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"C" is for Carrier

The Ergo Sport baby carrier is SO much more comfortable than the Baby Bjorn Synergy one.   Why didn't someone tell me this sooner?!

I've been wrecking my back muscles toting around Tully for 6 months in the Bjorn, even going so far as to visit the chiropractor for the pain.  Shoot me now.  The Bjorn is great as far as being hands-free goes, but I could only last about 30 minutes in it.  Obviously it was easier to use the Bjorn carrier than to carry him with my arms, but my back and shoulders seriously paid the price.

Tully in Baby Bjorn - 4 months
Enter the Ergo.  Last week a few moms were over for a kiddie play date, and I got to try out the Ergo Sport.  One word: heaven.  The weight that was previously on my back and shoulders in the Bjorn was now being distributed across my hips in the Ergo.  The difference was night and day.  I could tote Tully around for hours in the Ergo.  I had read reviews before but was afraid that Tully wouldn't like the Ergo because he couldn't face outwards like he can in the Bjorn.  The neat thing about the Ergo is that in addition to the inward-facing front carry, the baby can be carried backpack-style or on the hip, so Tully can see everything he's used to seeing from my hip.

We've tried the Ergo for a week now, and it's been hit or miss with Tully.  I think most of the "miss" was because he hasn't been feeling well and/or didn't like shopping at Target.  He was pretty fussy at Target when I used the hip carry.  If shopping was the issue, we've got a problem.  Who doesn't like shopping at Target?  Ugh.  Boys.  I did take him on a walk to the park backpack-style, and he really enjoyed it (read: we made it two laps AND around the neighborhood w/o a peep).  As a benchmark, if he's in the stroller, we're lucky to get one lap at the park.  Apparently there isn't enough to see at stroller-level.

Fabric-wise I like the Ergo better too.  It is cotton instead of mesh.  Ergo does make a Performance carrier that uses mesh, but it was more expensive and had more material overall.  I liked that the Sport was cotton, had a big breathing slit, and was less material.  Also, the Sport hood was removable, which made room for other items (e.g. keys, cell phone) in the pouch.

Another plus for the Ergo is that Tully's weight sits on his bottom instead of on his groin area.  When I would take him out of the Bjorn, his inner thighs and diaper area would all be red.  I don't think it was painful for him, but it might have become uncomfortable after a long period of time.  I don't see this being a problem in the Ergo.

There are only two downsides I can see for the Ergo.

1) It is probably best for a baby 5-6 months or older.  They need to be able to straddle your torso.  Ergo makes an infant insert, but I'm not sure this solves the straddling problem.  Maybe a newborn could tuck their legs up inside the carrier and not have them out at all?  I dunno.  I'd have to try it.

2) The Ergo is more difficult to put on with the baby.  The back carry was the hardest to put on, followed by the hip and then the front carry.  The hip and front carries aren't especially difficult to do, but the straps have to be moved into different configurations for each.  Also, I'm still getting used to the Ergo, so maybe putting it on will be easier in the future.  For the back carry, I really needed a second person to slip the baby down into the carrier after I got it partially on.

I ordered my Ergo Sport from Amazon on a Friday, and it showed up on Monday.  Looking now it was the same price direct from the Ergo website, but you'd have to pay shipping.  I'm a huge Amazon fan, and I like the one click shopping.  Precious seconds added to my day.  Free shipping with Amazon Mom is nice too.

John stole the carrier for a few minutes over the weekend, and I snapped this pic before he realized what I was doing and bolted out the door.  I will surely get a phone call as soon as this post hits his email inbox.  The Ergo did get daddy's stamp of approval over the Bjorn though.

Tully in Ergo Sport carrier - 7 months

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"C" is for Cords

I've recently discovered that there are many other bloggers with self-diagnosed OCD who post about their little projects, so I thought I would share this one that I've been using for a while.  You know all of those miscellaneous cords that get crammed into the it-doesn't-have-a-home kitchen drawer?  Well I found a nice home for mine.

All of our cell phone, computer, and various other electronic cords get neatly wound up and placed in plastic baggies.  I label the plastic baggies, so I actually know what cords go with which electronic item.  Then I put all of the baggies into the zippered bag from our king-sized sheets.  It's not very pretty, but it does the job.  Most importantly, I can find what I need and none of the cords get tangled.  Am I the only one that organizes silly stuff like this?  I hope not.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"C" is for Coat Tree

A coat tree in the bathroom?  Why yes.  Doesn't everyone put their coats in the bathroom?

Tully is on the move army crawling, and it never fails that he heads straight for this coat rack in the corner of our entry hall.  I was putting away groceries today, and he made it from the middle of our living room to the coats in about three seconds flat.  I always know when he's about to get into something he shouldn't because he stops banging whatever it is that's OK to play with or stops babbling.  Instead of worrying about him pulling the coat rack on his head, I decided to move it to a room where I can close the door.  So, if you come to visit, you'll have a place to put your coat when while you use the restroom.   Genius.

P.S.  Check out John's furry weird hat on the top right of the rack.  This hat, complete with ear flaps, totally cracks me up but is super functional in the winter.  I'll have to remember to sneak a pic next time he wears it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"C" is for Consumer Safety

Tully (June 2011)
I received a notification recently about the BOB stroller "recall", which turns out not to be much of a recall at all.  I'm amazed that BOB has to put out notifications like this to prevent litigation.  I had to register my email address and all sorts of other personal information to get the full details on said "recall," but I eventually found out you need to take a pair of tweezers and pull the paper-like backing off the inside of the canopy embroidery (see photo above), so your kid doesn't tear it off and choke.  Two seconds and some tweezers.  Problem solved.  Now you know.

Full details on removal instructions here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"C" is for Cycles and Crocheted Hats

My aunt and uncle drove in from Colorado last week, so they stopped by the house to meet Tully.  While they were visiting, we showed my aunt the new crocheted hats we got in for the little business venture my mom and I are doing to sell baby stuff.  I'm helping my mom out in my free time (ha!), so my dining room is serving as the inventory tagging space until we get everything set up.  Tully will probably kill me for this one day, but I think he makes a pretty cute girl.

Aunt B and Tully
We're also selling vintage pedal toys, so Tully gave the junior trike a test ride.  He is obsessed with watching the pedals.  Even when we take him off the trike, he finds it in the corner and inspects the pedals over and over again.  I can already hear him saying, "M-om (you know, the two syllable version), why did you put me on a PINK trike? And more importantly, why did you blast it all over the internet?!"  Sorry, baby, I loved watching your little legs kick with joy while you were riding it and just had to share.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"C" is for Child (cont.)

6 months

It's been a month already? Sheesh.  I've written a lot of posts in my head, but sadly none of them made it to print.  I can't miss Tully's monthly update though, so here goes.

6 month stats (WHO Charts)
Weight 17 lbs 6 oz (48%) (49% last month)
Height 27.5 in (85%) (73% last month)
Head 17.13 in (55%) (49% last month)

He's right on track, happy, and healthy, but for some reason our pediatrician is strongly encouraging weaning.  Um, hold up!  We are nowhere near ready to wean--we're just getting good at this!  So now we're on the hunt for a new pediatrician.  This reminds me of my decision to change from my Ob-Gyn to a midwife at 34 weeks pregnant.  Am I the only person that does this?  My whole life I've gone to regular doctors and never had a problem, but these issues seem to be deal-breakers.  So I called a pediatrician recommended to us by my Bradley childbirth class instructor.  Unfortunately Dr. Ross is only taking maternity/newborn cases.  Boo.  My next thought was to see if my lactation consultant had a good recommendation.  I didn't realize she was in the same building with Dr. Ross, but she's offered to see if he'd make an exception and take Tully as a patient.  Fingers crossed! (Update: Dr. Ross took Tully as a patient!  My lactation consultant is truly an angel.)

While I've been busy worrying about which doctor we'll see, Tully's been busy with the following:

  • Army crawling 
  • Teething
  • Laughing
  • Grabbing everything and putting it in his mouth
  • Babbling, especially when he first wakes up
  • Playing and laughing at himself in the mirror (this never gets old)
  • Continuing to wake up every 3 hrs or so at night
  • Enjoying watching cars/trucks/buses/people

Here is his army crawl in action.  Check out the old man hair in the back too.

He got his first tooth while we were in DC in September, and the second one came in a week later.  And based on the lack of sleep we're all getting, I'm guessing #3 is going to appear any day now.  For the most part, Tully is a trooper with this whole teething business, but sometimes I can tell they really hurt him.  Poor baby!

Look, Ma, two teeth! And yes, he is standing in his crib.  Time to lower...again.
Oh, and see his little birthmark on his middle finger?  It's a dark spot where a ring would be.

We get the best laughs out of Tully when we hold him out in front of us, facing the ground and chase Zach around in the front yard.  I need to get a video of this, but he thinks chasing Zach is the most hilarious thing in the whole world.  He also went crazy babbling and squealing when he would wait on me at the top of the metro escalator on a recent trip to DC.  He LOVED the buses, cars, trucks, horns, and people.  I've never seen him so excited.  He had a great week with Grammy while I got work done in the office.  He even came to the office to visit me one day.  The only downside was the RIDICULOUS amount of luggage required to travel with a baby.

This was the luggage for all three of us, but still...that red bag on top of the black suitcase was dedicated to only diapers.  I used to travel to DC for a week with only the green suitcase and a purse that was large enough to carry my laptop.  (L to R) We had a large suitcase, small duffel with diapers, a roller-board carry-on, cooler with milk, carry-on for under the seat, infant carrier, and stroller.  In addition to all of that, I carried the baby.  Thank goodness Grammy was traveling with us!  We never would have made it.

Of all the stories I can think of from DC, the one that stands out the most was when "momma bear" came out on the plane ride home.  Tully and I were intentionally the last ones to board the plane, so Grammy had all the bags put away, and as soon as we sat down the plane took off.  As planned, Tully immediately nursed to sleep and was resting quietly in my arms.  Next thing I know he's jumping out of his skin because the lady in our row is opening her heavy duty double velcro bag.  Repeatedly.  Like 10 times repeatedly.   She would get out a pen and then put it back.  Get out chapstick, put it back.  Same for her ginger chews (two of them), magazines, kindle, cell phone, notepad, pen (again), and finally another ginger chew.  Tully woke up each time but luckily settled back to sleep for the most part.  My mom and I looked at each other like, "You've GOT to be kidding me."  I said to my mom, "If she does it one more time, I will say something."  Sure enough...RIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPP!  I politely leaned forward and told the lady my baby was being so good and quiet, and asked her if she knew that each time she opened her bag, it was startling him.  Maybe she didn't know, right?  She looked at me with the most pathetic, snotty look I've ever seen and said in a high-pitched voice, "Well, I don't know what to do!"  I informed her that she could get everything out she needed the first time or not get it out at all.  (Hear my momma bear roar?)  She quietly put her bag down, left it open, and didn't make much noise the rest of the flight.  I don't expect complete silence on an airplane.  I mean, c'mon, you've heard the flight attendant announcements, right?  Tully is a champ at sleeping through most of those, but the velcro was just too much.

Read about Tully's other DC adventures with Grammy here:

Day 1 - New tooth, hotel room, and stroller rides
Day 2 - Bethesda Row adventure (Mmmm....cookies!)
Day 3 - Laundry day and tour of Bethesda in pajamas
Day 4 - Tully visits NRC, rides the metro and meets Ms. Virginia
Day 5 - Strolling in the rain
Last Day  - Grammy's version of the snooty velcro lady

Once we made it back home, we got into our regular routine again, and we introduced Tully to apples.  We're doing a "Baby Led Weaning" approach to introducing solids.  This was the first time he showed real interest in solid food, and it was pretty funny when he was smelling the apples.  Near the end of this clip, he actually gets some juice in his nose, and you can see his sour face.  This continued for about 20 minutes, which is an eternity on Tully Time. 

We've also tried bananas, which have been hit or miss.  The little net nubby thing keeps the mess to a minimum, but sometimes we just let him go at it and paint his high chair tray with food.  He also grabbed a baby carrot from my plate this week and enjoyed chewing on it.  Carrots aren't exactly on the top 5 list of first foods to introduce, but they're still a "whole food" so I figure I'll let him eat them.  Avocados aren't in season right now anyway, and we never have pears because I don't like them.  Here is a good website I've used for Baby Led Weaning: Momtastic.  The site lists readiness signs and gives good ideas for introducing solids, which are mainly fruits and veggies.  If you're interested in skipping pur√©ed food and spoon-feeding, check it out!

Tully has also really gotten into jumping in his jumperoo.  He's always liked this thing, but he's recently taken it to a whole new level.

For comparison, this was Tully in the same jumperoo a couple months ago.

Time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"C" is for Child (cont.)

September 11, 2011

Tully's visit to the doctor isn't until next month, so the only stat I have for September is his weight: 16 lb 9 oz (57%).  I would note that the charts used in the US are set by the CDC, and they differ significantly from those of the World Health Organization (WHO), which are used internationally and specifically for breastfed babies.  The CDC charts show his weight to be declining (62% --> 57%) since our last weight check, but the WHO charts show him to be consistently on track (49% --> 49%).  In any case, he's happy and healthy, so I don't really care what the charts say.  It's interesting to me that there's a difference nonetheless. 

Interesting things in Tully's world this month included:
  • Rolling over and over and over to get from point A to point B (10 ft+)
  • Sitting up unassisted!
  • Sitting up and facing me to nurse instead of being in a cradle position (weird!)
  • Waking every 2-3 hours to eat at night (shoot me now)
  • Arching back and pulling arms out of car seat straps when we put him in it
  • Showing much more interest in our dog, ZachZach (Grammy's blog post on that here)
  • Sitting in the high chair for dinner (eats his toys for now)
  • Still loves bath time (I can hear him squeal with delight upstairs EVERY night)
  • Sits in the portable chair with us at restaurants (looks like pic below)

Tully had his first sickness this month.  I'm not sure what it was, but it lasted about three days, and of course those days fell on a weekend.  He was acting out of sorts on Friday, being fussy, not sleeping (not unusual), and not nursing.  Fussy I can handle.  Minor cough, OK.  Snotty nose, no big deal.  Not eating?!  I draw the line there.  Since he usually gets bottles of pumped milk during the day with Nanna, I thought he was trying to hold out for a bottle on Friday.  I can't imagine why I thought nipple confusion or a preference for the bottle would rear it's ugly head this late in the game, but I am always questioning my ability to sustain this little being.  Since I'm off work on Fridays, I usually don't give him any bottles on Fridays or the weekends.  Turns out his disinterest in food had nothing to do with the bottle.  He just didn't feel good.  Teething? Allergies? Cold? Virus?  I dunno.  I told myself I would take him to the doc, if he was still sick on Monday but by the time Monday rolled around he was back to better, so I saved myself a trip.  I did call my local LLL leader, and she was super helpful in reassuring me that he would come back to nursing and that I was doing the right things to take care of him.  We got a humidifier as a baby gift, which I thought we wouldn't need until winter when the air is dry, but we actually got it out and used it.  I think it really helped with his cough.  As any mom knows, having a sick baby is the pits.  And having a sick baby who can't tell you what's wrong is even worse.  Glad we have that behind us, and it didn't require a doctor or any meds.

Since Tully isn't sleeping through the night at all, it's been a rough month.  Getting up every two hours or so is exhausting and reminds me of how things were when he was a newborn.  The good news is that I think we're moving past this phase for a bit because he made it until 1 am a few nights ago, then 2, 3, and last night 4 am before waking up.  I'll take it!  Fingers crossed we continue on this path until teething or some other major milestone interrupts his sleep again.

We have our first major trip planned to DC this coming month, so that should be fun and interesting (read: I'm TOTALLY freaking out!).  I have to work at NRC's HQ office for a week, so Grammy and Tully are going on an East Coast vacation with me. 

We're also starting baby sign language with a couple other moms and babies.  They come over on Fridays, so the kids can have a play date, and eventually we'll all be learning sign language from videos.  We know the kids won't sign back to us for months, but Tully does listen and tries to mimic what we say, so I know he's at least aware that something is going on.  I'm really excited for him to be able to communicate with us.  And in true Mommy Brain fashion, I left our TV on the DVD home screen this past Friday because, well... I don't know why.  I just did, and it burned into the TV screen. John found it the next day.  Awesomesauce.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"C" is for Compulsive

It started in the garage and ended in the kitchen.  My OCD has completely taken over!  Before Tully was born we started reorganizing the garage.  We've been a little preoccupied since his birth, but this was still on my to-do list.  I asked my parents to watch Tully one Saturday while John and I got things in order.  It ended up that everyone in the family pitched in, and we traded shifts with one person inside with Tully.  The previous owners of our house installed these great shelves, so all we had to do was add the bins and put things in the right place.  The before pic below is really more like a half-way done pic, since we started this in March.  We were doing good to put things on the shelves, but the stuff on the floor had completely taken over, and John was having to park outside.   No bueno.  Also, take note of the pile of stuff on the black storage unit on the far left side.  Junk heaven.

The biggest disorganization pitfall in our entire garage was the black storage unit.  This is an old pic when it was cleaned off.  It looked nothing like this when we started clearing the garage.

This storage unit was left by the previous owners, though I wish they had taken it with them.  All we did was pile stuff on here.  There was about one foot of space for John to open his car door and walk to the house door.  So he would park as far away from possible from it, which meant he was halfway on my side of the garage.  I griped about this stupid black storage thing all the time.  So we decided we would give it away on Craigslist for free the weekend we tackled the garage.  We put it at the end of the driveway, and before I could even create the post, a kid rang my doorbell and asked if we were looking for someone to haul it off.  I told him he could take it.  Good riddance!

After adjusting the shelves (multiple times...don't even get me started) to fit everything we needed, the pic above was the final result.  The left side looks a little more chaotic than the right.  Everything on the shelves on the far left is for a future garage sale.  Since we don't need access to those items, I slid John's golf organizer in front of them to make more room along the wall to walk.  The golf stuff may need to eventually go back on the left wall though.  For now, I like the extra walking space.  We'll see.  We also managed to move all chemicals, hardware, and tools to middle/upper shelves, so anything Tully can access in his toddler years will be paper or plastic.  The most important thing is that we can fit both cars with PLENTY of room between them in the garage.  That is what the garage is for after all!

I may have gotten a little over ambitious with the label maker, but at least I'll know where everything is.

Also, I think I put this on a previous post, but I'm adding it here for good measure.  We have two bins (plastic tackle boxes) full of hardware, and I love how easy it is to find everything.  Here is a pic of one of the hardware bins.

Speaking of tackle boxes, I saw a battery storage idea on Pinterest, and knew I had to do this.  The box on Pinterest was deeper, but ours works even though most of the batteries have to lay down.

still label-making happy

Lastly, we move on to the kitchen.  I got this idea for pan organization on Pinterest as well.  Of course, John gets sucked into all of these projects with me.  He joined me on trips to Wal-Mart and Bed Bath and Beyond, so I could finish this one.  I don't have any before shots, but try to picture only the pots, pans and lids spread out (no nesting) throughout the entire cabinet.  After buying two types of pan storage organizers and a dish drying rack, I was able to add my baking tins.

ta da!
Here are better pics of the racks I used.

Top left (muffin tins): Bed Bath and Beyond Organizer Rack

Top Right and Bottom Left (baking tins, skillets): Rubbermaid #1H42 Pan Organizer
Neither of the above racks did a good job holding the lids for the pots and pans (the handles kept getting stuck), so we improvised and bought a dish drying rack at Bed Bath and Beyond.  They fit perfectly.  (You bet I'll be pinning THAT.)

I also moved things around in another cabinet and added a couple organizers.  This is how it turned out.

Pyrex baking dishes behind the mixer

If you notice in the top picture with the mixer, there's a colander folded up in the same rack with the cutting boards.  This is probably one of my most-used and favorite kitchen items.  It totally does the job of draining foods, fits in the sink on two legs, and folds up nice and tidy in my cabinet.  I did away with all of our bulky bowl-like colanders.  I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Thanks for tuning in for my OCD post, and if you want an invite to Pinterest, let me know!  You can see my pins here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"C" is for Chelonian Part II

Zach is definitely the little scavenger--he put a present on our porch this morning.

Boy was he proud of his turtle!
Zoomed in--right by his foot.

My mom posted about his turtle friend at her house last week (story here), but this week he found a turtle in our back yard.

It was just a little one, and I'm pretty sure half of his shell is missing on the bottom.  Aren't they supposed to close up around their feet and head?  When Nanna got here this morning, Zach tried to bring it inside to show her his new prize.  Ew!!  Not in my house.

In any case, since Zach could easily get to his skin, so we told him to "leave it."  He sat right there by Mr. Turtle without touching it the rest of the morning.  But every time he goes outside, he tries to sniff it out.  I've notice he's been sidetracked with the bunny that lives under our play set and the squirrels along the fence and trees though.  Poor Zach has been running around the yard all day frantically sniffing for all three critters at the same time!

Friday, August 19, 2011

"C" is for Child (cont.)

4 months

Happy (very) belated 4 month birthday, sweet Tully Bear!

He checked out A-OK with the doc this month.  Here are his stats:

Weight - 15 lb 5.5 oz (62%, up from 53%)
Height - 26.5 in (92%, up from 74%)
Head - 16.38 in (34%, up from 29%)

So in summary he is growing like a weed and still has a bean head.  I am so happy and relieved that all of our supply issues are behind us: he is nursing like a champ.  Here are some other exciting things in Tully's life:

  • Rolling over front to back and back to front
  • Not sleeping through night (more on this later)
  • Scooting backwards several feet while on his belly, inchworm style
  • Grabbing EVERYTHING and promptly putting it in his mouth
  • Showing frustration when he can't get his hands on something
  • Pulling ZachZach's fur and ears
  • Starting to sit up unassisted
  • Smiling all the time
  • Laughing lots, especially when we hold him in the air airplane style and move him up and down like we're doing an arm work out

Last month Ms. Jordan took care of Tully during the day because I went back to work.  Ms. Jordan was a LIFESAVER!  Tully loved playing with her, and we were sad to see her go.  She set the nanny bar really high.  She helped out until we could find a long-term nanny, and now that school has started, Ms. Jordan is back at her full-time teaching job. We plan to do a date night, so she can come back to visit soon.

We miss you, Jordan!

My mom also helped out for a week until the full-time nanny (aka Nanna) could start work in August.  (Thanks, Grammy!)  So now Nanna is at work with us full-time, and I'm feeling pretty spoiled.  In addition to taking excellent care of Tully and playing with him all day, she sings to him, does our laundry, AND cooks!  Get out!!! Right?!  (I'm picking myself up off the floor now.)  We had this "wish list" when we interviewed nannies, and she has exceeded all of our expectations.  She's offered multiple times to do our grocery shopping and run errands, but John and I are continuing to take care of those things for now.  And even though I can hear her entertaining Tully upstairs, she still makes notes in our BabyConnect app, so I know what toys, books, and activities he likes or dislikes.  This is SUCH a relief.  We started the nanny hunt back in October, which was waaaay too soon, but I was freaking out this summer when the girl we selected quit/got fired (long story) three days before she was supposed to start.  I told myself over and over again that things would work themselves out, and thankfully they did.  We just had to wait for the right person!

Nanna even loves our fur baby, Zach.  We actually had one lady we interviewed tell us she wasn't interested in the job because "the dog was all over her and the baby."  Zach's worst offense is licking the baby, and he immediately looks at us with apologetic puppy-dog eyes every time he does it.  It's like he KNOWS he's not supposed to lick, but he just can't contain himself.  In any case, I would never allow Zach to be "all over" anyone.  Who do these people think they are accusing my dog of these heinous offenses?  If we're FB friends, you may recall the neighborhood self-appointed dog patrol lady accusing Zach of being a duck killer.  More recently, she yelled at another couple for letting their dogs chase the ducks.  One dog was named Taco and was about the size of my shoe.  Pretty sure he's not effecting (affecting? ugh I can never remember and do not feel like Googling this) the duck population.  But I digress...being a dog lover was on our nanny wish list, and not only does Nanna love dogs, she works with a nearby rescue.  Win-win, as Zach was a rescue too.

I mentioned Tully stopped sleeping through the night.  Oh sleep, how I miss thee.  At only a few weeks old we were able to easily get 5 and 6 hour stretches of sleep out of Tully.  We even got to a point where we knew he would stay down for the night and could relax.  Not so much any more.  Since the three month mark, sleep has been hit or miss.  Mostly miss.  Three month growth spurt? Traveling? Four month sleep regression? I'm almost to the point I don't know or care what the reason is.  All I know is I'm severely sleep deprived.  I know it comes with the territory, and sadly my body has adjusted to waking at odd hours of the night with Tully up shortly thereafter.  At least I know my baby, right?  I will appreciate when he starts sleeping better though, and I'm sure John will be happy when I'm not Ms. Crabby Pants due to complete. total. utter. exhaustion.

Other four month highlights include Tully's first airplane ride and the Houston Tour de Tully.  We traveled to Houston my work, stopping in Dallas for layovers, and then visited friends in the Houston-area over the weekend.  It was great to see everyone BTW, and congrats on the house, ZandA!  In addition to meeting friends, Tully also got to meet several of my co-workers.  They even made an official name tag for him at the meeting.

Back to to the plane rides--Tully fussed a little before takeoffs but NEVER cried.  What a relief!  If you weren't in the row beside us, you probably wouldn't have even known there was a baby on the plane.  I nursed Tully during takeoffs and landings, and he didn't seem to have any problems with his ears.  We even made it through a 30+ minute delay on the runway with minimal noise.  I can't say the same for the kid (1 y.o.?) behind us who SCREAMED for the better part of the plane delay and ride.  The water bottle and straw the mom offered just wasn't cutting it for the upset kiddo, and both mom and baby ended up in tears.  So sad.  August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, so I've seen a few articles here and there about mothers who were "harassed" or made to feel embarrassed for breastfeeding in public and specifically in airports/on airplanes.  Now don't get me wrong, I do my best to be modest, but nursing a fussy (and sweaty?) baby under a cover isn't always an option.  I wore my best "nursing-friendly" clothes, so it wasn't like a strip show every time I tried to feed him.  Thankfully no one seemed offended when I nursed Tully throughout our plane rides, and hopefully they realized they could have had TWO screaming kids on the plane, had we not nursed the entire time.  I also made it through security without any hassling from TSA regarding my cooler full of milk.  I didn't know what to expect with this being my first work trip, so I wanted to make sure John had plenty of ammo in the fridge, but I was nervous that TSA would try to take it away.  It turned out I could run upstairs in the hotel to nurse on breaks, so we came home with a lot of milk too.  We accidentally left it in the car overnight, so I had to dump about 20 ounces of precious liquid gold down the drain.  Tear.   But I'm OK with it.  There's plenty more frozen should we need it.

So anyway, I'll step off of my breastfeeding soapbox and leave you with a sweet pic of John and Tully at bath time.  In addition to being an expert diaper changer, John is in charge of bath time each night.

Look at Tully's old man hair style!  I love it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"C" is for Chelonian

che·lo·ni·an [ki-loh-nee-uh n]
a turtle

My parents kept our dog, Zachry, while we were in Houston this past week.  They live in the country, so Zach's always out scavenging, and he loves to run and play on their acreage.  My mom posted a fun story on his adventures with a Mr. Turtle here.  Check it out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"C" is for Cosmetics

I mentioned that Katie wrote stories on the contents of her purse and and cosmetic drawer in my previous post.  I thought it was really interesting to see, so here's a sneak peek into my makeup bag.

I love my Mary Kay foundation: coverage when I need it but doesn't look like caked-on makeup.  Studio Gear isn't my favorite concealer or powder, but I'm trying to use it up before I go back to my Mary Kay staples.  I think the concealer makes my mascara run.  (If that's possible.)  I do like the Studio Gear brushes though.  A+ for those.  I despise my mascara.  Merle Norman changed the formula and brush this year, and I cannot figure out why I continue to use it.  It's smudgy and smeary after only a few hours of wear, and it doesn't lengthen or plump any more.  In any case, I need a new mascara recommendation.  Criteria: thickening, lengthening, prefer non-waterproof, NO flaking, NO smudging. 

What do you use to "put your face on" every day?

Monday, August 8, 2011

"C" is for Carryall

I've been lacking blog motivation lately, but my bloggy friend, Katie, did a couple posts this past week that totally cracked me up.  First she did Take a Look Inside My Bag.  Next was her makeup drawer.  I loved seeing what she had, so here's my purse! 

From top to bottom, left to right (sorta):
  • fuzzy bee book
  • diapers
  • sling
  • boudreaux's butt paste
  • hand sanitizer
  • my wallet
  • extra romper
  • sunglasses
  • pencil
  • peppermint wrapper
  • old grocery list
  • wipes
 Tully 6.  Ashley 6.  Pretty bad that the peppermint wrapper and old grocery list have to count to even things out.  Can you tell I'm a mom?!  At least I didn't have four pairs of glasses like Katie did.  I do love my aviators though.

So what's in your bag?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"C" is for Coupon

Shutterfly is doing a promotion through August where you get a $10 coupon when you share your project on your blog.  (Limit one coupon per person.)  Even though I already got my coupon for posting his photo book, I figured I would post the birth announcement I did a few months ago too.  We took this "special delivery" photo of Tully, and Shutterfly had the perfect postage-themed announcement.  It took about 10 minutes to put this together, proof, and order.  Quick and easy!  They even had the option to address and mail the announcements to my friends and family, but it was easier for me to print labels from my address book.  It took a little extra postage, but I loved these square announcements!
Special Delivery Blue Birth Announcement
Turn your favorite photo into a birth announcement.
View the entire collection of cards.

"C" is for Capture

I've been on a hiatus from blogging because I've been busy working on this photo book for Tully. Shutterfly sent me a coupon for a free 8x8 hardcover book, and I knew this would make a great gift for family. I ordered one for myself too. We've captured a lot of special memories over these past few months, and I can't wait for the book to arrive!

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