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.
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