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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blogger Day of Silence

Thursday I will be participating in a blogging day of silence in order to honor the memory of Cohen Marshall, the precious angel who passed away of CHD recently. Taken from the Send Love to Cohen blog:

What: Moment of Silence for Cohen

When: Thursday July 1st from midnight to 11:59 pm.

How: Bloggers participating will post the Cohen banner (below) or simply post Cohen’s name in large letters on their blog.

Why: July 1st Megan and Brent will be holding Cohen’s memorial service. The moment of silence is an opportunity for Megan’s blog community to stand behind her and support her on this difficult day. Linking up will give Megan a chance to see the support at a glance.

Please consider participating. All you need to do is post the above picture on your blog on Thursday. Then go to the Send Love to Cohen page to link up. Megan and Brent will be able to visit and see how many people love Cohen and support their family.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Father’s Day recap

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We love submarine apparel around here! Cooper’s daddy is a submariner and I like for him to show his Navy pride. If you see any submarine clothing, please give me a head’s up so I can snatch it up!

We spent Father’s Day at my parent’s house. They live about 3 hours away so going “home” is always a little bit of an ordeal. I’ve always been an overpacker, but nothing compares to all the gear you need when you have a baby! When you throw in the dogs, sometimes I feel like we need a RV to travel out of town.

My cousin, Megan, got married the same weekend so we were able to spend time with the whole family. On Friday my mom and I headed to the bridesmaid luncheon while Cooper spent some time with his great-grandparents.

IMG_0961 I was so excited about my cute new dress but yikes – I need a tan!

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My adorable cousin, Megan, is modeling my gift to her. I got the beverage tub at Target for $14. The tray is also from Target ($12). I purchased the vinyl monograms from Etsy and made a super cute monogrammed gift. Easy peasy!

**If you see those beverage tubs at Target on clearance, please let me know so I can drive there ASAP. If I can find them on sale, I’m going to stock up and have them on hand to give as gifts. 

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My parents took Cooper to the rehearsal dinner on Friday so Jason and I could have some time alone. Is he not the cutest thing ever? I think so. 

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Cooper is modeling the adorable romper he got from my friend Laura of iGrizas.  This is the cutest outfit ever, and the hat I purchased from Gymboree matches it perfectly!

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Saturday morning we got in some pool time before the wedding. Cooper loved the water!

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I guess Cooper was quite the sensation at the rehearsal dinner because during the wedding people kept referring to us as “Cooper’s mom and dad.” Ha! You can’t tell in the bottom picture, but I’m wearing black flip flops. The heels I was wearing were Satan’s tools so off they went the minute the wedding was over. 

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I love this little Chabre outfit. Too bad the instant I put him in it he spit up. I swear, the kid knows when he’s wearing something nice because boom – spit up city. Oh well! It can always be washed, right?

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On Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day with my mom’s side of the family. My dad decided not to join in on the festivities, so that was a bummer. This was his first Father’s Day since my grandfather died so we all just tried to be as understanding as possible. He spent the morning with my grandmother, and we headed to my aunt’s house for lunch.

The only bad thing about visiting family out of town for holidays is that you don’t really get to celebrate yourself. We spent much of the day traveling, so Jason kind of got shafted. I really need to make it up to him. I did get him an iPod Nano, and Cooper made him a t-shirt and a picture collage.

Picture 154 Coops, loving up on my cousin’s little girl. SO sweet!

And onto a rambling, ranting change of topic…..

You know, sometimes I feel guilty for putting up personal posts on my blog. Isn’t that the weirdest thing? I feel like I have to entertain y’all, and if I put up a “what’s going on” type post I feel like I’m boring you. I hope y’all don’t truly feel that way and that this is just me and my own paranoia. I don’t want this blog to be only a family blog, but I don’t want to look back and realize I didn’t document all the important events and happenings in our lives, either. And at the end of the day, if me sharing about my son bores you… well, maybe this isn’t the blog you should be reading. I hope that isn’t offensive but I realized this weekend that a lot of times, my lack of posting is because I feel like I don’t have a good subject to blog about… no project planned or recipe to share. But I do have something to blog about – our lives – and I need to feel free to share more about myself. It is my blog, after all.

Do you ever feel pressured as a blogger to be “on” all the time? What is your focus as a blogger – entertaining, educating, or documenting your life?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

About Me

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Hello, and welcome to My Chihuahua Bites! I’m Andrea, a 30-something Southern girl who believes that sassy and fabulous is a state of mind. I’m a native South Carolinian, and even though I’ve been uprooted from my home state and bounced around the country more times than I’d like, South Carolina will always be in my blood.

I’m a working girl. My degree is in social work, although I haven’t always worked in the field. Right now I’m working as a case worker for individuals with disabilities. Previously I’ve done school social work and mediation training. I have a half-finished Masters degree in Education and no clue what I want to do in the future.

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I love the ocean. I love the smell of salt water, the feel of the sand between my toes, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. It’s where I feel 100% at peace. My idea of heaven is sitting on a beach (Edisto is my beach of choice), laughing with my family, drinking a PBR, and listening to Zac Brown Band. Bliss.

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I love obnoxiously big sunglasses, chunky necklaces, hair bows and headbands, big purses, flip flops, pedicures, and all things makeup. I love the look of heels but feel like they are inventions of the devil, meant to kill our pinkie toes. I like to watch reality television, read gossip magazines, and Twitter the day away. I love to cook Southern food – the more butter, the better! I am constantly finding new ways to redecorate my home. I love crafty projects, and my glue gun is my best friend.

This blog is a mish-mash of all the bits and pieces of my life. You’ll find posts about my family, recipes, crafty projects, makeup tutorials, fashion finds… it’s a whole lot of random, but that’s me.

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My blog philosophy has always been “keepin’ it real.” My life is wonderful, but it isn’t perfect. I share the good and the bad. Life, marriage, and motherhood isn’t a fairy tale, and I hope you get a sense of that as you read my blog. It’s the hard times that help us grow, and I take joy and comfort in knowing that my struggles make me a better person.

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Before you ask – no, my chihuahuas don’t bite. (Well, they might, if provoked.) The name of my blog is based on a nail polish by OPI.

If you’re still reading and want to know more about me and what my blog is all about, check out the posts below. They are what I consider some of my best work. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come back often!

Why Romance Novels and The Notebook Have Ruined My Life

It’s Tough to be a Girl, Part 1 and Part 2

Andrea’s Guide to Pregnancy

I Never Imagined

Insecurity

Feeling Crafty

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Andrea’s Guide to Pregnancy, Part 2

It’s been awhile since I published the first edition of the Andrea’s Guide to Pregnancy: The Things the Books Don’t Tell You but Your Girlfriends Will, which was written when I was about 20 weeks along. Now that I’m almost at the end of my journey, I figure it’s about darn time that I updated with all the other juicy tidbits I’ve learned about pregnancy. Remember my policy of keepin’ it real? Well, read on at your own risk.

Disclaimer #1: I’m not an expert, and yes, this is my first pregnancy. This is meant to be a fun, tongue in cheek account of my journey through the unpleasant side of pregnancy. If you are trying to conceive or are expecting, these things may happen to you and they may not. My mama always said “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”… or something like that.

Disclaimer #2: I love my child. I can not like *some* aspects of pregnancy and still love my child. And yes, I know this will all be worth it in the end.

With that said, let’s get started!

Andrea’s Guide to Pregnancy: The Things the Books Don’t Tell You But Your Girlfriends Will, Part II

The Dark Brown Line

Some women get this line and some don’t. It is, as it sounds, a very dark brown line that runs down the length of your lower stomach. It’s relatively harmless and it will eventually fade and/or disappear entirely.

Some women (me) are complete and total freaks, and instead of getting a vertical line, they get a horizontal line. Seriously! My dark brown line circles my natural waistline. It’s awesome. Really.

Heartburn & Acid Reflux

I talked about this in the first edition, but it deserves a second mention because it only gets worse the further along you are in your pregnancy. It will keep you from sleeping, and when you do go to sleep, it will wake you up. You’ll be starving and won’t be able to eat because it will feel as if your food lodges in your throat.

There are triggers for every woman, and I advise you to pay attention and figure out what yours are. I’m still working on this, but I do know I can’t eat spicy foods and onions are now a no-no. I’ve found milk helps me, and I’ve been through more bottles of Tums that I care to admit. If it gets really bad, talk to you doctor about a prescription medication.

Super-Sized Panties and Urkel Waistlines: When Did I Become My Grandmother?

This is one area that I’m sure some of my fellow mommies and mommies-to-be will disagree with me. There are some women who can get away with wearing their regular underwear and pants for most, if not all, of their pregnancy. They wear their low-rise pants and panties with pride, happy to still be fashionable and excited about not spending on a pregnancy wardrobe.

To those women I say: you are crazy! Why? God blessed us women with maternity clothes and I say you should wear them with pride. Maternity pants are the best things ever… stretchy and non-binding, which as you get further along are super important. I, personally, love the full panel pants. Some women want the type that go under their belly but I wear my pants tucked up under my boobs with pride.

I wore hipster type underwear before my pregnancy, and while I can still wear them, I won’t. Granny panties might not be attractive but there is nothing worse than sitting down and having your big belly push your underwear down. Again, wear them with pride! I don’t know about you, but being sexy isn’t on this pregnant momma’s list of things to do. There’s time for that… maybe around the time I want to think about getting pregnant again.

While we’re on the subject, let me advise you to invest in some pads or panty liners around the 20 week mark. Another fascinating and lovely side effect of pregnancy is the (to put it politely) wetness down there.

2nd Trimester Dizziness

This was a hard one for me. It always happened while I was in the shower. I had to be extremely careful not to get too hot, and steam really bothered me. I usually ended up showering in cool water with the curtain open halfway. In spite of those precautions, many times I had to go lie down after getting out of the shower because I felt like I was going to pass out. It’s normal, and it’s related to the massive amount of extra blood your body is producing and storing in your second trimester. My advice – take it easy and sit down immediately if you feel dizzy. Better safe than sorry!

Morning Sickness Isn’t Only A 1st Trimester Thing

I also mentioned morning sickness in the first edition, but it also bears a repeat. Don’t buy into the hype that morning sickness will only last for 12 weeks. It could be less, or it could be more. Mine lasted for 18 weeks. Friends of mine have reported that theirs lasted the entire pregnancy. I would die.

Here’s what helped me and what didn’t:

  • Some sort of caffeinated, sugary beverage first thing in the morning – Pepsi was my drug of choice.
  • Breakfast ASAP – I felt best when I ate protein and carbs together. I loved bagels with eggs.
  • Eat whatever you feel like eating. If you are truly suffering, now is not the time to worry about your diet. Often the things that appeal to us are the things our body needs or knows we can tolerate.
  • Ginger ale was worthless, and Preggo Pops did nothing for me. Peppermints did help.
  • If you feel sick, go with it. The best I would feel all day would be right after throwing up. Embrace it. It isn’t going away.
  • Keep grocery baggies in your car and purse. You never know when you’ll need them, and trust me, it’s better to be prepared than not. invest in some pads or panty liners around the 20 week mark. Another fascinating and lovely side effect of pregnancy is the (to put it politely) wetness down there.

The Myth of the 2nd Trimester Energy /Sex Drive Increase

I hope this happens for you. I really do, but it didn’t for me. I will say I was not as exhausted in my second trimester as I was in my first. The first trimester was brutal… I often felt boneless and weightless, I was so tired. In the second trimester, I was just plain tired, and that’s really never gone away.

And as far as my sex drive goes? Hahahaha. There are no words. I have not once, during my entire 35 weeks of pregnancy, felt the desire to initiate sex. I really don’t even think about it. For your husbands’ sakes, I hope you all feel differently. Then again, for your sake, maybe it’s for the best. Save that energy for important things, like trips up and down the stairs for snacks.

While we’re on the subject, there is something I’ve read about (Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs) called the Blue Twinkies. I can’t vouch for what she wrote, but apparently certain areas of your lady parts turn blue at some point during pregnancy due to increased blood flow in the area. Y’all with the increased sex drive -- report back to me on this, mmmkay?

Cankles

I think it’s safe to say every woman will experience swelling at some point during her pregnancy. Mine didn’t start until my 30th week of pregnancy, but my co-worker Dawn blew up like a holiday lawn decoration around her 16th week.

Of course the most popular area to swell seems to be the feet and ankles, leading to the ever attractive cankle. Your feet may get bigger and wider, and you may find you can’t wear your shoes anymore. You may have been a fashionista prior to your pregnancy, but once the cankles come to town all you’ll want to wear are slippers, flip flops, and the dreaded Crocs. Drink lots of water, and avoid foods high in salt. While I love olives, they make me puff up like a blow fish. Be sure to call your doctor if it gets out of control, because swelling can be a sign of other problems in pregnancy.

Another place you might experience swelling is your nose. You nose may swell and/or widen. Don’t freak out… it will probably return to normal after pregnancy. Probably.

The Pregnancy Mask

The actual term for this is melasma, and some women (myself) get it even when they aren’t pregnant. This refers to dark brown splotches on your skin that develop during pregnancy (and in my case, whenever I don’t use lots of sunscreen when I’m not pregnant). Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to prevent melasma, and it is extremely hard to get rid of. I have several patches on my skin, and a rather awesome crop of it on my upper lip that looks suspiciously like a moustache.

Since I’ve dealt with this pre-pregnancy, I will tell you that chemical and physical exfoliants help to lighten these areas. I recommend the Clarisonic skincare brush and mandelic acid (not while you are pregnant!). Laser skin treatments are pretty much the only way to get rid of this completely.

Oops, I Tinkled Again (and again, and again….)

Be prepared to go to the bathroom 5, 899 times a day. When you do go, you will tinkle the smallest amount possible, and five minutes later you’ll have to go again. This isn’t so terribly bad during the day, but it’s a pain in the patootie at night. Your child may decide to use your bladder for kickboxing practice as well, in which case you’ll probably pee your pants.

Dreams

Pregnancy dreams are both horrifying and awesome. I’ve had wonderfully detailed dreams about deceased family members visiting me and reassuring me about my future. I’ve had dreams about conversations with my husband that were so realistic that I act upon them next day. I’ve had hot, sexy dreams about random strangers. (Best dream EVER!) I’ve also had dreams about mutilated, alien babies. (Worst dream EVER!) If I have to put up with alien babies to get sexy gardener dreams, so be it.

Crotch Pain

I shared a little about this gem in one of my previous posts. This is brutal and for me was totally unexpected.

This happens for a couple of reasons. In your third trimester, your begins to descend and his/her weight begins to press against your pelvic area. Your ligaments are also stretching. You may experience a sharp, stabbing pain at times during pregnancy, maybe when you cough or sneeze. This is round ligament pain and (as long as it goes away) is totally normal.

If your crotch pain is brutal like mine, ask your doctor to write you a prescription for a pregnancy belt. This and staying off my feet as much as possible for a few days helped tremendously.

Fat or Pregnant? Fat AND Pregnant?

If you are a plus-size mom-to-be, you may experience pregnancy in a totally different way than our smaller moms-to-be. It’s ok! Don’t let this get you down.

Try not to get upset if you don’t develop a perfectly round basketball belly. I didn’t start showing until I was 22 weeks, and even then I looked more fat than pregnant. I wasn’t noticeably pregnant until I was about 26-28 weeks along. Even now, at 35 weeks, people still assume I am only 6 months pregnant.

I had a lower belly pooch before pregnancy, and for the longest, I had two separate bellies – upper and lower. It was super sexy and attractive, trust me! I’m just now starting to round out and merge into one belly, and I have that awesome horizontal dark line around my waist. Let’s just say this girl didn’t take any belly shots, that’s for sure.

Sleepless Nights

Between 20 bathroom trips a night, back pain, and the inability to stay in one position longer than an hour, I don’t get much sleep at night anymore. There isn’t a lot you can do about this, unfortunately. There comes a point in your pregnancy when you’re just plain uncomfortable.

I love my pregnancy wedge pillow , which I got at Babies R Us. I lodge it up under my belly and it relieves the pressure of the baby on my back and spine. I also sleep with a body pillow and a pillow between my legs. When the heartburn is bad, I sleep on my back, propped up by pillows. Try sleeping in a recliner – I wish I had one!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Experienced moms and moms-to-be, do you have anything to add? Moms-to-be or those thinking about moms, is there anything you want to ask me? You all know I’m an open book, so ask away, and if I don’t know, I’ll find out for you.

Stay tuned for my next installment, hopefully coming soon:

Andrea’s Guide to Labor and Delivery: What Childbirth Classes Don’t Prepare You For and Your Girlfriends Won’t Tell You Because They Want You To Have Babies, Too

Flip Flop Love!

I recently participated in The Texas Darlings Second Annual Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange for kids and adults. Becca is such a sweet, dear friend and I was so excited to get to know my partner, Ali, from Twin Mommas better.

Ali sent me a fantastic package with some super cute flip flops. I wore them out to dinner tonight and they are so cute and comfortable!

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Ali sent goodies for the whole family! We got a Butch Walker CD (which has already had a few plays in the car), some doggie treats for George and JC (I caught George trying to climb up on the chair to get more), and a precious onesie for Cooper. Ali’s town, Cartersville GA, is home of the first painted wall sign advertising Coca Cola. She sent me a flyer and a Coca Cola post card. Too cool! Thank you, Ali!

Cooper wasn’t let out of the fun. Cooper was paired with Bubba, Becca’s (The Texas Darlings) one year old son.

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Bubba really outdid himself! First off, the flip flops have submarines on them! We love anything submarine related because Cooper’s dad is a submariner in the US Navy. His chubby little feet look so adorable in these flip flops! Bubba also sent some socks, a Texas bib (Texans have more state pride than South Carolinians, I think), and an adorable outfit. We love it all! Thank you, Bubba and Becca!

Side note: I recently won a blog makeover from The Design Girl and I am super duper excited about freshening up the blog. Danielle did my current design, which I absolutely love and adore. However, my life has changed and the blog doesn’t really reflect those changes, so I guess it is time for a makeover. I’m a little sad to let go of the girl with the dogs but I’m excited to see what Danielle can come up with!

With that said, you’ll be seeing some posts that will be eventually linked to a handy dandy navigation bar (about me, links, etc). I just wanted to give you a head’s up in case you’re wondering why in the world I’m posting such random stuff all of a sudden.

Hope you are having a GREAT weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesdays at the Table

Today I’m participating in Tuesdays at the Table, hosted by Cole of All the Small Stuff.

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I have some super yummy recipes to share this week! Both are from the Paula Deen magazine, and I will definitely be making these again.

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Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken 

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Grill chicken for 4-5 minutes per side.

This was delicious! I think I used slightly too much oil, so I would cut the EVOO down to 1/4 cup when I make it again. This could easy be make low fat by using light mayonnaise.

Green Pea Salad

  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients. It is best to fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula to keep from mashing the peas.

I got the steam fresh bag of peas and heated it for 5 minutes in the microwave. I also used Vidalia onion instead of shallots because that is what I had on hand. This is so yummy, and you could easily substitute turkey bacon and light mayonnaise.

What have you been making for dinner lately? Are you shopping your local farmers market?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Show Us Your Life – Engagement Stories

Today I’m participating (late) in Show Us Your Life, hosted by Kelly’s Korner. This week’s topic is engagement stories.

The Angel Oak is a Charleston landmark. At 1,500 years old, it is one of the oldest living things in the East. It stands 65 feet high, has a diameter of 160 feet, a circumference of 25 feet, and it covers 17,100 square feet of ground.

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Jason proposed on March 26, 2003. It was a Sunday, and we spent the morning together. I had a work meeting that afternoon, and Jason left to go run errands. That night we were supposed to go and have dinner with his friends, Rob and Jeri, whom I had never met.

Dinner rolled around, and we had a great time. Unfortunately, during dinner I got a terrible headache. When it was time to leave, Jason wanted to go to see the Angel Oak. I didn't want to go - I had a headache, it was dark, and the park would be closed. Jason suggested driving back to my apartment to get some Tylenol in hopes I would feel better.

We arrived at my apartment, and I went into the bathroom to get some medicine. When I walked out, Jason had a present in his hands. I remember thinking to myself "Crap, now I have to go!" It was a mp3 player. So, grudgingly I piled into the car and we headed out.

This is the point where I should tell you that I acted like a brat the whole way out to the Angel Oak. I whined about how dark it was. I whined about my headache. I whined about how long it would take us to get there. It is a miracle he didn't just call it off.

We arrived at the Angel Oak, and as I predicted, the park was closed and it was pitch black outside. We parked the car right outside the gates and left the lights on so we could see the tree. I was content to sit in the car while Jason admired nature, but that just wouldn't do. I didn't want to get out of the car, but Jason looked like he was about to murder me, so I did. I stood by his side, not really listening to him talk about how old and enduring the tree was, how beautiful, what an amazing example of nature, blah blah blah. Y'all, I just wanted to go home.

After a suitable period of tree admiration, he dropped to his knee. I honestly thought he needed to tie his shoe! I was spaced out, eyes darting here and yonder to catch a glimpse of the serial killer I was sure was about to spring out and kill us. I wasn't focused on my future husband, other than to wish he'd just hurry up so we could get the heck out of dodge.

I wish I could tell you what he said, word for word. But you know me - I caught a glimpse of the bling and my attention was focused on the sparkles, not the conversation. I do know he made a lovely speech about how he wanted our marriage to be like the Angel Oak, old and enduring, and for us to one day be surrounded by our family and children, like the tree is surrounded by its limbs. What a lovely sentiment! He had me at the bling.

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How about you? I’d love to hear your engagement stories. If you’re single, how would you like to be proposed to?

Do you remember me asking you to pray for baby Cohen? He fought a brave and valiant fight, but has now gone to be with Jesus. Please pray for his parents, Megan and Brent, as they grieve for their son.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cooper updates

Cooper is growing like a weed and has been reaching some major milestones lately. I started Cooper on solids after the pediatrician gave her ok at his 4 month appointment. So far he’s tried avocado, organic brown rice cereal, peas, unsweetened applesauce, sweet potatoes, prunes, and banana. He had a reaction to something (prunes, I think) so I’ve backed off of solids for awhile. I’ll probably pick it back up at 5 months, but we’re not in any hurry right now. I plan on making as much of Cooper's food as possible, but for daycare he’ll get jarred organic food. I’m not really a “green” momma but I do want him to have a healthier start to foods than my husband and I ever did. Check out his first taste of bananas and rice cereal in the video below!



Cooper has also learned how to roll over. He did this once at 3 months and never did it again. Around 4 months, he started rolling onto his stomach like a pro. However, he doesn’t know how to roll back over (from stomach to back) so he gets mad and pitches a hissy fit whenever he’s on his tummy. Moms, when did your baby master tummy to back rolling over?


Coops has laughed for quite awhile, but around 4 months he started doing this deep, infectious baby laugh. It’s the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard! Check it out below. (Although I’ll warn you that you’ll hear my evil villain laugh – Cooper thinks that is hilarious.)



I posted my recommendations regarding swaddling recently – and I’m really sad to report that he seems to be over the swaddle. Cooper fusses when I try to swaddle him up now and he desperately tries to get his hands free as soon as I wrap him. I tried to stop cold turkey, but he will roll over in the middle of the night and get scared when he realizes he’s on his belly. So… I’m sort of stuck on what to do from here. I could transition him to a different kind of swaddle, like the
Woombie, swaddle just his lower body, or just let the swaddle go entirely. What do you think?

My boy is such a little talker! I assumed all babies "talked" as much as he does, but my mom says he's a super baby (go figure!). I swear he said "Mama" the other day, but Jason says I am crazy. Today we were at the hospital and the nurse swore she heard him say "No!". I believe that - she was trying to hold him still for x-rays.




Cooper is back to sleeping through the night, thank goodness! Right around the time I went back to work, he started sleeping 7:00 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. A few weeks later he got sick and started getting up once during the night to eat. Now he goes down around 8:00 p.m. and sleeps until 7:00 a.m. On the weekends (if we put him in the bed with us) he'll go back to sleep after he eats and sleep until 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. My boy loves to sleep! He doesn't do so well with naps at daycare, but at home he takes a 1.5 hour morning nap and a 3-4 hour afternoon nap. He takes after his Mommy!


I've been having quite the battle with his pediatrician. She's been telling me for months that Cooper has reflux and I don't believe that he does. I think he either has environmental allergies or is lactose intolerant. My brother and I both have severe allergies and asthma, and the doctor is blowing off my concerns as reflux/starting daycare. He's had a constant cold, runny nose, congestion, cough, eczema on his cheeks and forehead.... I switched him to soy in an attempt to rule out a milk allergy, and he got extremely constipated. After a few days, he refused to take the soy formula at all. I switched him back to milk-based formula and now am stumped with what to do. His pediatrician sent us for a barium swallow study today, and the doctor told me there are no signs he has reflux. I really don't know what to do from here. I suppose I'll battle it out with the pediatrician at his 6 month appointment, but if any of you have advice or recommendations I would love to hear them!


My parents came up to visit two weekends ago, and Jason and I got our first real night out since Cooper was born. We went out for a nice dinner and saw Sex & the City 2. It was a little unreal - I put on makeup! I wore nice clothes! I wore heels, for goodness sakes! Still, I missed my little man a lot more than I thought I would. I was glad to come home to him at the end of the night.

Jason has been having some health concerns of his own. A few weeks ago, he announced to me as we were driving in the car that his heart was racing like he'd been running. He was very nonchalant about it, and as I questioned him, I discovered it had been happening constantly for two days. He'd been having hundred up these brief episodes a day. The next day he had an EKG and he received the preliminary diagnosis of tachycardia. We were referred out to a cardiologist, who ordered another EKG, an echo-cardiogram, and blood work. We go next week to find out the results. Besides my primary concern for Jason's health, we also have to worry about what impact this might have on his future in the Navy. Submariners, especially those in the nuclear field, cannot have certain medical diagnoses, and they also can't be prescribed certain medications. So while we worry about what this means for his overall health, we also have to worry about his career in the Navy. I'm trying to just trust in God right now. We'd appreciate your prayers!

What's new with you?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baby Gear: What I Loved UPDATE

It has been forever and a day (almost 3 months, to be exact!) since I wrote part 1 of my Baby Gear: What I Loved & What You Need post. I said part 2 was forthcoming…. and I’m working on it right now. The good news is that you new moms and moms-to-be get the benefit of three additional months of purchases! My procrastination is your gain.

Before I post part 2, I need to post some updates to my original post. I’ve had a few months to use these items, and some things I initially loved didn’t work after a few weeks of use.

Blankets

I still recommend thermal blankets for newborns. However, invest in some swaddling blankets if you plan to swaddle your baby. I highly recommend swaddling! My favorite swaddling blankets are aden + anais and Swaddle Designs. I have not tried this product, but the Halo SleepSack Swaddle looks very appealing. I have tried the Halo SleepSacks and love them, so I think I would love the SleepSack Swaddle as well.

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Speaking of sleeping wear, the Halo SleepSacks are amazing! They are basically wearable blankets. They are meant to be worn on top of PJs or onesies, and they zip for easy handling. SleepSacks are recommended over blankets to reduce the possible risk of SIDS. The Halo SleepSacks come in fleece and cotton.

Diapers

I initially recommended Pampers Swaddlers as my diaper of choice. However, Pampers made some changes to their diapers, and the Swaddlers they sell now are not the ones I used with Cooper. Swaddlers are now made with Dry Max technology, which is rumored to cause third degree chemical burns in some children. Also, they have removed the yellow strip on everything but the sensitive Swaddlers. I have not personally tried the Pampers with Dry Max yet so I can’t comment on how I like them. I’ll do a separate post on diapers in more detail, but out of all the diapers I’ve tried (and I’ve tried almost every brand!) I like Huggies or Target Up & Up the best.

Sheet Savers

I raved about the Koala Sheet Savers and while I still think they are the bees knees, I must recommend that you remove them once your baby can roll over.

Bath Gear

This area is one where I have to recant almost everything I said. When Cooper was a newborn, my husband and I would simply put him in the bath with us. Try this at your own risk. Babies are wriggly creatures. Add soap and water to the mix and you are asking for disaster. Getting into the shower with Cooper must be done with five hands and a prayer. I also no longer love the bath sling. It never fully dried out and I didn’t find it super supportive. We’ve moved on to the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders bath tub and I love it. It has a sling for newborns and a supported, reclined seat for older babies. We’ll probably move into a blow up tub once he’s sitting up on his own.

First Aid & Baby Grooming

I spoke briefly about nasal aspirators in my first post, but I have to say, this is one of my most-used baby items. I am absolutely phobic about boogies, so I am constantly after Cooper with the dreaded boogie sucker. The nasal aspirator you will receive at the hospital is hands-down the boogie sucker in the world. However, if you are like me and have neglected and hungry chihuahuas, they will decide to proceed to eat not one, not two, but every single nasal aspirator in the house. I (quite literally) purchased every single nasal aspirator at Wal-Mart, Target, and Babies R Us. The only one that comes close to working as well as the hospital nasal aspirator is the Sassy blue elephant nasal aspirator. I found it at Babies R Us, but it is also sold on Amazon. I also tried the electric nasal aspirator – it was the biggest waste of money ever.

To aid with boogie sucking, I use Simply Saline drops and Boogie Wipes.

Other Moms Recommend….

I also asked my mommy readers for advice and/or products they recommend.

Catina and Sarah pointed out that when you receive registry gifts from Target without a receipt, you can head to the store kiosk and print off your purchase history.

Jenn recommends covering your waterproof crib mattress with a sheet, then a waterproof pad, followed by another sheet. If you have a middle of the night accident, you can simply pull off the top sheet and pad without having to put new sheets on the bed. Genius! She also recommends temporal thermometers.

Bonnie recommends gripe water for hiccups (it gets rid of them instantly!) and sheet savers for the changing pad.

Amber recommends not buying a lot of bottles until you know what your baby will prefer. Good advice, Amber! We went through three sets of bottles until we found what we now use with Cooper.

Well, there you have it. I’m working on Part 2 and should have that posted in a few days. If you have any products you love, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email. If you’d like feedback on a specific product, please leave that in the comments as well.

Moms, I’d love to include your product recommendations so please tell me – what are your must-have baby products? What can you not live without?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Will You Pray?




Today Megan of In This Wonderful Life is scheduled to give birth to baby Cohen. I've been following Megan's blog for a few months now and I don't think I've ever been as profoundly touched by a blogger's story as I am touched by the story of baby Cohen.

Cohen has several heart defects and will require numerous surgeries throughout his life. He will require surgery immediately after birth. You can read more about Cohen here.

I truly believe in the power of prayer. Harper (of Kelly's Korner) is a living testament to the healing power of prayer. Baby Cohen needs your prayer - not just today, but in the days to come. Pray for his parents and family members, the doctors and nurses who will treat him, and for this sweet little boy who face many obstacles as he enters the world.

Please spread the word. Megan, Brent, and Cohen need your prayers today!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Show Us Your Life - RAOK

Today I am participating in Show Us Your Life, hosted by Kelly at Kelly's Korner. Today's topic is:

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness is a way of bettering someone's life through small gestures, kind words, or small favors. I really believe in the power of RAOK. Not only does it make the other person feel better, but it also makes me feel better about myself. It's a win/win situation!

You don't have to spend huge amount of money or time on someone to make their day. Here are some ideas for ways I try to commit RAOK in my everyday life:
  • Occasionally, when I'm going through the Starbucks drive-through, I'll pay for the person's drink behind me. I did this the other day, and the cashier gave me a free gift certificate for what she called my kindness. See - what goes around comes around!
  • When I am able, I go around the parking lot and gather up loose carts. You might not directly impact someone's day, but the person whose car didn't get dented or scratched that day has you to thank.
  • I try to always use coupons when I'm shopping. When I'm able, I print or clip extra coupons. At the store I look for people who don't have coupons and hand out my extras. Do you shop at Michael's? Print out an extra 40% off coupon and give it to the person behind you in line.
  • I always participate in the "You've been BOO-ed!" gift giving at Halloween. No one in my neighborhood reciprocates, but that's alright with me. It's the thought that counts!
  • Email several of your blog friends and find out their addresses and anniversaries. Send them a card to remember their special day.
  • Cut the address labels off your magazines and take them with you to your doctor's office or hospital next time you go. The patrons will thank you!
Here are some other ideas that I'm going to try and work on:
  • Call your local animal shelter and find out what food they feed the animals. Buy a bag and donate it next time you are at the grocery store.
  • The next time you are baking, make an extra batch of cookies and deliver it to your local fire station or police station.
  • If you have your blower or lawn mower out to spruce up your own yard, spend 15 extra minutes in your neighbor's yard.
  • Buy a potted plant at the store and deliver it to a nursing home or hospital. Tell the nurses you want it to go to the person who needs it most.
  • The next time your child is coloring, take the picture and mail it to an elderly person from your community and church with a short note.
The most profound RAOK I have ever experienced was from a young teenage boy. I had received some devastating news and I went out for a drive alone to cry and get my feelings out. After driving for about 30 minutes, I pulled into the Subway drive-through to get dinner to take home. The young boy who served me couldn't have been older than 17. He saw that I had been crying, and refused to take my money. "I don't know what's wrong, but you look like you could use some kindness. Let me pay for your dinner." I'm convinced God was working through that boy to offer me comfort.

You never know how your actions can impact others, and we all have the power to leave a positive or negative influence. What do you do to positively influence others? What are your ideas for Random Acts of Kindness?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I have been changed… for good

At this time last year, I received news that would change my life.

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I didn’t realize it then, but my life would never be the same.

My husband and I would no longer sleep until noon on the weekends. Naps, once a daily occurrence, would be few and far between. I would no longer spend an hour leisurely getting ready in the mornings. Instead, I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off, and most mornings would show up to work with wet hair and no makeup. I would begin to listen to Praise Baby and Veggie Tales instead of Lady GaGa and top 40 tunes. Poop and other bodily functions would become a daily topic of conversation around our household.

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On the other hand, my heart would fill to bursting every single time he looked at me and smiled. I would come to love singing Veggie Tales and Praise Baby because he loves to listen to it. I would be dead tired when he wakes up in the middle of the night, but he would smile and me and waking up wouldn’t seem quite so terrible. The very best moments of my day would be the times when he is just about to fall asleep, and he snuggles into my arms and touches my face.

Because he is in my life, I have been changed… for the better.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I heart swaddling

If someone was to ask me for a mom tip or trick, the #1 thing I would say to them would be to SWADDLE YOUR BABY! I seriously can’t say enough good things about swaddling. I credit it with Cooper’s great sleeping habits – habits that didn’t start until I started swaddling him regularly.

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If you’re a regular reader, you know that I was a walking zombie for the first 10 weeks of Cooper’s life. He woke every 2-3 hours during the night for the first 2.5 months of his life. He would nap during the day, but only in short bursts. In desperation, I asked friends for advice, and they directed me to The Happiest Baby on the Block. In my opinion, this is required reading/viewing for new moms and dads. Here’s a secret though: rent the DVD and skip the book. The DVD is 30 minutes long and covers everything in the book – and Netflix has it!

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In The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp talks about the 5 S’s: side/stomach position, shushing sounds, swinging, sucking, and swaddling. Used together, these methods will supposedly calm your baby. While I had results with all the S’s, nothing worked as well as swaddling. Cooper would calm immediately once swaddled. He went from taking 20 minutes naps to taking 2 hour naps. When I swaddle him and put him in the crib, he’s out within 10 minutes with no crying. We’re still using swaddling, and Cooper is 4 months old. I plan on using it until he gives me cues he’s ready to give it up.

Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe

Swaddle Designs

We’ve tried a lot of different swaddling blankets. We used Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe for awhile, but I prefer blankets. When he was itty bitty, I liked thermal receiving blankets, but he soon outgrew those. We also tried Swaddle Designs blankets, and I liked those, but they weren’t my favorite blankets.

aden + anais

I love, love, love the aden + anais swaddle blankets. LOVE. They are made of muslin and are very lightweight, which make them perfect for summer months and warmer climates. They also have a lot of give, unlike some blankets which are very stiff. They’re huge as well – 47’ X 47’, which make them perfect for larger babies. They are a little expensive ($40+ for four blankets) but I use them for everything: blanket, swaddle, burp cloth, cover, etc.

*I wasn’t paid or given free stuff to promote any of these products – I just like to recommend products I love and that work for me to others.

Dr. Karp goes into detail about how to swaddle your child in The Happiest Baby on the Block book/DVD. Also, Swaddle Designs and aden + anais give you detailed instructions in their packaging. However, I have my own method that works for me that I am going to share with you. The hospital showed me to swaddle this way, and I’ve just kept using it.

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Step 1: Start off with a halfway naked baby on a blanket.

I swear he has clothes.

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Step 2: Bring one side of the blanket up over the baby’s shoulder, holding his arm down. Tuck under his side. Bring the reminder of the right side of the blanket over.

Realize how impossible it is to swaddle and stop to take pictures. Wonder why you tried to do this, as it is not working out the way you intended.

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Step 3: Bring the left side of the blanket up over the baby’s shoulder. Tuck behind his right side, holding his arm down.

Realize you have man hands and need to vacuum your carpet.

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Step 4: Bring up the middle of the blanket. Tuck the right side underneath the baby’s body, bringing it back up around to his stomach.

Seriously, man hands.

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Step 5: Tuck the left side underneath the baby’s body, and bring up the reminder of the blanket to his right shoulder to make a tail. Tuck the tail into the blanket.

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Step 6: Enjoy your baby burrito!

I hope that made sense. It is very difficult to swaddle a wriggling baby, stopping to take pictures. Swaddling must be done quickly and with precision, or your little Houdini will bust up out of that swaddle in second.

Got questions? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

***The winner of the Judy Bag Company giveaway is Michelle from Wifey in Training! Michelle, please email me.***



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