Wednesday, August 22, 2012

6 Months!

Our little boy is already 6 months old. He has changed so much and is learning new things every single day. In the past few months he has learned to roll over, to sit up on his own, and has started to figure out the basic mechanics of crawling. He's not quite there yet with crawling, but practices every day. He has been able to "army crawl" a little bit both forward and backward and will sometimes be in a different place than the one we left him in when we come back into the room. He has been getting up on his hands and knees more and more lately, and I think it's only a matter of time before he figures out how to coordinate his movements into true crawling. He has learned how to make the "M" sound and just yesterday learned the "B" sound. While he plays he will sit and say "bzzz..." over and over, which eventually turns into him blowing raspberries and spitting all over the place...and us! He is getting his first tooth as well. Yesterday I noticed a little slit in his gum, then the white part of a tooth by the end of the day. This morning I felt the jagged edge of a tooth making its way up. So many firsts already. And so many firsts still yet to come!

We love this little boy more than anything and we are so excited to watch him continue to grow!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I was a handful as a child. I know, it's hard to imagine, right? My mom told me I was going to get paid back one day. That day has arrived.

My child is kind of a handful. But I love him!

This face looks so sweet and innocent, right??

Let's talk about some of his antics lately.

#1 - Eli isn't crawling quite yet, but he is well on his way. He can at least scoot himself to where he wants to be, which is usually to a place where he can get into things. Those things then usually end up in his mouth, like pages I have ripped out of magazines for future use. He is SO close to staying on his hands and knees so I know it will just be a matter of time before I am chasing him all over the place. Today I walked out of the kitchen and found him reaching for the remote I accidentally left on the floor. Apparently there weren't enough options within the plethora of toys surrounding him.

#2 - I usually put Eli in his bouncer seat in the bathroom while I shower. I periodically peek out to make sure all is well. Today, I peek out and Eli is trying to crawl out of his seat! He was leaning completely out of the seat - his hands were on the floor, his butt was in the air, and his legs had worked their way out of the straps. I honestly don't even know how he got himself into that position. I only wish I had a camera right beside me to snap a quick picture, but I was trying to quickly towel off so I could grab him before he face-planted into the floor. So it looks like the bouncer will need to be retired!

I can only imagine what other stories I will have to share as he continues to grow and develop!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why I might be considered a "crunchy" mama.

There has been a lot of talk about attachment parenting and parents being "crunchy." I guess I might fall into those categories a little bit, and I'm totally fine with that. I want to preface this post by stating that these are our family's preferences and I know every family differs. If someone chooses to do things differently from us, I am not going to judge them. These are all things that work for OUR family.

I cloth diaper. We decided before Eli was born that we wanted to cloth diaper to a) save money on buying disposables and b) send less diapers to a landfill where they will stay for 500 years. Plus, cloth diapers are just too cute! I love putting Eli into cloth diapers because I know they are soft against his skin and don't contain any of the chemicals that are used to make disposable diapers.

I breastfeed. Again, before Eli was born we decided that we wanted our child to be breastfed for many reasons. Breast milk has the best combination of nutrients and antibodies for my baby. It is easier for my baby to digest and it helps protect against disease. Breast milk is free. Yes, I did have to buy a few nursing bras and a manual pump (which was actually a gift), but in the long run it is cheaper than buying formula. Breastfeeding is convenient. I can feed my baby whenever he gets hungry and not have to mess around with a bottle. This is especially convenient in the middle of the night! Also, I am comfortable nursing him in public with a cover so it doesn't bother me when we are out and about and he gets hungry. Plus, breastfeeding is good for my health too because it helps protect against certain cancers and diabetes.

I babywear. I love putting Eli into one of the carriers I own when we are out somewhere or just around the house. It is so much easier to put him into a carrier than mess around with our stroller. I like our stroller and am glad we have it because we do use it when we take family walks to the park and I intend to jog with it when Eli gets a little older, but it can be bulky in certain places. For example, I go to our local farmer's market on Saturdays and I see how hard it is to push a stroller on the busy sidewalks. It's also easier to just put him into a carrier when I run errands rather than carting his car seat in and out. Eli also likes being close to me, even when I am doing everyday things around the house. He is usually in my ring sling while I cook dinner. He also is in a stage where he loves to look around and take everything in. With him strapped to me he is in the center of what is going on!

Those are the three main things I do as a mother that some would consider "crunchy." I'm not really sure why, but so be it. I also try to be eco-friendly at home too. I use cleaning products that don't contain chemicals (for the most part), use CFL lightbulbs in all of our lamps, use a low-flow showerhead, and use an energy-efficient washer and dryer. I also am trying to buy locally more often and purchase meat and produce at the local farmer's market. The one thing I really miss is recycling. Recycling was free in Ashland and they picked it up from our curb. We have to to pay for it now in Columbus if we want it picked up or take it to a recycling bin ourselves. I might try to start taking it myself again, but it became cumbersome after awhile.

So tell me...what do you do that is considered to be "crunchy?"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

For anyone who has ever asked a stay-at-home mom...

"So, what do you do all day?"

I'll tell you what I do all day. I work. Hard. Anyone who thinks that stay-at-home moms have it easy is either a) not a stay-at-home parent or b) has never had children. Yes, I understand that I do all of the same household chores as those that have full-time jobs, but I also have a baby at home all day with me. A baby who needs fed, entertained, changed, and loved. One might think I am online all day long, but a laptop is a glorious thing to have with a nursing baby who likes to eat...a lot. Or who sometimes does not like to nap unless he is on his mama.

I no longer have an entire Saturday to clean our apartment. It gets (somewhat) clean throughout the week during nap time. That is, if Eli is napping in his swing. Otherwise, I am browsing Pinterest. Hey, it happens. There are some tasks that get put off...sometimes indefinitely. I will probably regret this the next time someone decides to just drop on by. However, there are a few key chores that need to be accomplished on a daily to weekly basis. The ones I would like to address today are the dishes/cooking, the laundry, and cleaning off the dining room and coffee tables.

We still have to eat. And I'm not one to use paper plates. So, the dishes pile up every single day. A former task of unloading and re-loading the dishwasher that used to take 5 minutes can now take 15 minutes while I keep an eye on Eli while he's playing on his activity mat. Was that a cry or a happy squeal? I'm the one who has to check it out. Meals take much longer to prepare when wearing a baby who doesn't want to sit in his bouncer or who decides to get hungry half-way through chopping veggies for a stir-fry. Sometimes it's a miracle that I even get dinner finished at all.

The laundry, oh the laundry. Eli definitely gives our washer and dryer a work out. Babies create a lot of laundry for one tiny person. Between diaper leakages and spit up, he can easily go through a few outfits a day. Throw in the cloth diaper laundry and I am easily doing 3 loads of just his laundry per week. I've been known to wear my jeans probably a bit longer than intended since our laundry can get put on the back burner. Sacrifices, people.

No matter how hard I try, it is almost impossible to keep the dining and coffee tables completely cleared off. The dining table is where we put the car seat, diaper bag, mail, and all the other random items that go in and out of the apartment on a daily basis. I have tried to stop this. I have. But it's just too convenient when it's the closest thing to the door. The coffee table is usually stacked with board books and rattles that entertain Eli throughout the day, not to mention my ever-present glass of water, a plate with a half-eaten sandwich on it, and assignments for a class I am finishing to renew my teaching license. And oh yeah, my camera to capture all of the cuteness that happens around here on a daily basis.

Since this post has turned rather long, and I have yet to tell you the rest of how days are spent as a SAHM...there will be a part 2 sometime soon. You know, when I get a free minute.

Since this post has a lot of words in is a cute picture for you!

Someone has found his hands! 

Oh, and before anyone jumps all over me about having a full-time job plus having to do all of these things with children...I know. I am just writing this from where I am in life right now and my experience. I am by no means telling anyone that I have it much harder than anyone else! I am just answering the question about what I do all day. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On our first month together.

I can't believe our little baby boy is already a month old. Time really does go by fast once you have a child. Oh heck, time has gone by really fast ever since I graduated from high school. Was that really 12 years ago? Yikes. Anyways, I digress.

Elijah has been the sweetest baby, and I am so glad that he is ours. It seems like he has always been a part of this family, even though he's only been with us for a month. What can I say? We are pretty much in love with our little guy!

Notable first month things about Eli: (this is a long list that I'm sure only we and grandparents will like, but I want all of this written down so I won't be offended if you don't make it all the way through!)

  • He smiles a lot, and I love when he does it while looking directly at me or Jon.
  • He is one of the noisiest babies I have ever known. He grunts, makes laughing sounds, moans, sighs, hiccups, sneezes and makes other random sounds that just make me laugh. He often does this when he is sleeping a foot away from me in his pack and play. Of course, that makes for restless nights for his parents! 
  • Speaking of restless nights...Eli has not been sleeping well during the night. He will often wake up every hour to 2 hours to eat and seems to have his days and nights confused. However, I bought a miracle blanket to swaddle him since he houdinied out of all his other swaddles and last night he slept in 3-hour increments for the first time! I hope that this is a new trend and not just a fluke. This mama likes her sleep!  
  • He now really enjoys bath time and basically slept through his bath the other night. I think it definitely has a calming effect on him! 
  • He loves looking at lights and will crane his neck in whatever direction it's coming from. He has taken to looking at the TV and I know he can't see what's on it, but it makes me laugh to think that he is actually sitting there watching Jon play video games or watching TV with us.
  • He follow objects with his eyes, especially if they light up! 
  • He loves to grasp things, and will even pull my hair or pull on my shirt when I'm holding him. I better get used to lots of ponytails. 
  • He is SO good at tummy time. He will lift his head and hold it up for a few seconds while on his stomach, and will often lift his head if he is laying on our chests as well. He is gaining excellent neck control! 
  • Eli is awake a lot more often during the day so I take that time to sing and read to him and will hold up different objects for him to look at. His favorites are a plastic set of keys and a little stuffed soccer ball. In fact, sometimes he will hold onto the loop on the soccer ball. Or he is perfectly content just staring at me and I'm totally fine with that!
  • The kid farts...a lot. Sometimes he will fart and then make a little laughing sound and it cracks me up. I think it's the only time I have used the word "cute" in conjunction with a fart.
  • He has really long fingernails and has scratched his face a few times. He always makes me sad to see new scratches so we are going to work on keeping his fingernails trimmed. 
  • He likes to go on walks and we have gone to the local park a few times. It's nice to get out and get some fresh air throughout the week.
  • He also likes to Skype with all of his grandparents (and uncle Jonathan!), which we have done a few times. He entertains them pretty well so I don't have to do too much talking. :)
  • He spits up and pees...often on me. It's a good thing he's so darn cute! 
  • He makes the cutest faces, which we always try to capture on camera. One of the ones we like the best looks like the kids at the end of the Charlie Brown Christmas episode when they are singing. Eli already has a large collection of photos of himself! 
  • He doesn't really use a pacifier (he just spits it out), but has found his thumb a few times already.
  • His favorite way to sleep is curled up on our chests. I will be so sad when he is too big to be able to do this!

These are all of the things that I can think of for right now and will be sure to add more if I think of some!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Elijah Andrew's Birth Story (Stef's side of things)

Our little guy is here! Elijah (Eli) was born Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:03am weighing 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches. Following is his birth story. Warning - if you don't like to hear words like dilated and contractions, then you should probably skip over this post. :) I promise there is nothing gross involved though!

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like something was different and thought it could possibly be the day I go into labor. I was still 10 days away from my due date, but babies are born early all the time, even though I knew it was more uncommon for first time moms. I decided to go ahead and substitute teach anyway and the students made jokes all day that they hoped I would go into labor then. I, however, did not agree that going into labor at the school would be the most ideal situation! I did feel a little pain throughout the day, but nothing too intense. In fact, I called my mom after school and asked her if it was possible to have contractions without knowing it. She said that I would most definitely know and not to worry about missing them. After a few hours I felt small contractions that lasted every 15-20 minutes, but they were definitely bearable. Around 10pm that night my contractions became closer together and a little more intense, and after an hour they were 5 minutes apart and definitely starting to hurt! I'm really glad we don't have any downstairs neighbors right now because I'm pretty sure my groaning would have been loud and clear to them. I called my doctor and she told me that if they lasted for an hour at 5 minutes apart then I needed to go to the hospital. I told Jon that we would most likely need to head to the hospital that night and started packing my hospital bag while he finished up a game of Call of Duty. By the time we left for the hospital around 11:45 the contractions were 2 minutes apart and I prayed that they would not send us home once we arrived.

We arrived at the hospital and they told me that I was 3 cm. dilated, but they would like to see more dilation before admitting me officially. They made me walk around the corridor of the floor for an hour, which was probably one of the most painful things I have ever done. I had to stop every 30 feet or so to wait through a contraction and may have shed a few tears in the process. What can I say? I'm a bit of a wuss. After an hour I was finally 4 or 5 cm. dilated and they checked me into a birthing suite. I got my epidural (there was no way I was going through the pain of labor once I knew what contractions felt like!) and then they broke my water. At that point I was then 6 cm. dilated, which was roughly half an hour or so after they admitted me. We waited another hour before they checked me again and I was surprisingly another 2 cm. dilated so things were definitely progressing more quickly than anticipated. Another 45 minutes later I was dilated to 10 cm. and ready to start pushing. It was at this point that my parents arrived at the hospital so I got to say a quick hello for about 5 minutes and then had to kick them out. My doctor had been at the hospital a few hours earlier for a delivery, but went home not expecting me to progress so quickly. They called her back and had me wait to really push so she could be there to deliver. (sidenote: I was really fortunate to have my own doctor on call that evening!) Once my doctor arrived back at the hospital I pushed for about 20 minutes and Elijah was here!

More posts to follow on all the details after his arrival.

- S

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Clarification on Cravings

As a pregnant woman, I get asked a lot of questions. The three that pop up the most are:

1) Is it a boy or a girl? - Boy
2) Do you have a name picked out? - No, but we aren't revealing the name until he is born anyway.
3) What has been your biggest craving?

Let's talk about this last question for a little bit. Before I was pregnant, I got cravings all the time. I would go on kicks where I would eat the same food every single day just because that's what sounded good to me. Those foods have included, but are not limited to, pretzels dipped into chocolate icing, guacamole and tortilla chips, clementines, big salads with tons of chopped veggies, egg & cheese sandwiches on english muffins, and I could go on and on. Like I said, I would get on these kicks for a week or two, then be done with them. I would also make different types of baked goods just because I felt like it. Or I would see an ad for some new blizzard at Dairy Queen and immediately want one.

Then, I got pregnant. I honestly don't think things have changed very much in the eating category, but people's perceptions of my eating habits have. A lot of times when I post about a food I want or just randomly had the urge to make, many people usually respond along the lines of, "Ohhh, a pregnancy craving!" That's not how I look at it. It's just how I've always been. I just happen to be pregnant now.

But, I guess if you need to know what I have "craved" during my pregnancy then there are a couple of things that I've eaten that I normally wouldn't, or at least not as much. In my first trimester, I ate a lot of chips. I've never been a huge chip person, but for some reason I really craved a salty snack for a few weeks. Secondly, I made a few quick runs through the McDonald's drive-thru for a McDouble. Again, I typically don't eat McDonalds's, but those sounded good to me for about a week or so. Lastly, right now all I really want to eat is sugar and carbs. NOT healthy by any means, but they are my comfort foods. I can't say that it's because of pregnancy though. I usually really like sugar and carbs (especially in the winter), although I find that I don't cut myself off from it as much right now than I would have if I wasn't busy growing a baby.

So, there you have it. A complete post on why I believe I don't really have pregnancy cravings and just believe it is an extension of who I have always been when it comes to food. Now, excuse while I go find some pickles and ice cream... :)

- S

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 is starting with a lot of transition.

Oh, hey there. I've been absent from the blog, but now that we are only 8 weeks away (!) from my estimated due date I figure I should probably start posting more often.

I've been extremely fortunate to have an easy pregnancy thus far, so I was waiting for something to creep up that would make things a little more difficult. Enter the dreaded back pain. It started around Christmas and has yet to ease up so I think it will be here until baby boy makes his appearance. I find that if I sit up extremely straight and put a heating pad on my back then the pain seems to dissipate some, but even that is just a temporary fix. This should make the transition of moving really fun!

Speaking of... let's move onto one of our transitions this month - moving from our current house into a decent-sized apartment. We knew that this day would come since we have been living in a house that's been for sale for the past year and a half. We also knew that we would have to move even if it didn't sell because it takes a lot of work to keep it clean and orderly all the time (not to mention having to leave anytime there is a showing). However, we did not expect it to take this long for us to find a place to live. We will be moving next week when I have just 6 short weeks until my due date left (we wanted to be moved by we're only 3 months behind!). I feel slightly crazy and overwhelmed. In preparation, I have been purging, organizing and packing and still have a long way to go. I have a tendency to want to "just do things myself," but I have to remember that I can't lift very much and need to take it easy. That whole back pain thing? Yeah, it definitely flares up when I have been busy doing stuff. I just pray that everything goes smoothly and we get the help we need to make our move happen! I hate that I have to push a lot of this on Jon and others.

Another transition this month has been the fact that my long-term subbing job ended. Today was the first day back to "regular subbing" and I couldn't find a job. I have a feeling this is going to happen a lot in the next 2 months unless I get requested to fill in for a teacher. Additionally, it's super weird to go from being at the same school with the same kids and teachers every day to...not. I really do miss that community. I hope that I will be able to find a decent amount of work in the next couple of months since I won't be working for awhile once the baby is born.

Alright, I'm off to go relax this tired back of mine, but wanted to keep you updated on our lives currently!

- S

P.S. I will post a picture soon for those of you who like to see the "bump" grow!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Restarting My Life

Seriously? It's been over a month since we (Stef) have updated? My deepest apologies. I know you all hang on our (my) every word.

Thanksgiving was fantastic. Unfortunately, we were unable to see Stef's family for Thanksgiving. It was just too difficult to try to see two families on one day, a problem that will be compounded by introducing a new life to our family, no doubt. Like Thanksgiving, Christmas was also awesome. I was able to get some extra time off from work around Christmas, so it was great to be able to be able to see our friends and both of our families and spend time with those that we love. Also, we had an great baby shower thrown by our closest friends. It was good to experience that, even though we're heading into new territory in our life as a family, we have many people to lean on and learn from. Thank you to everyone who allowed us to experience your friendship and love through conversation, laughs, food, and gifts.

The past few months have been a growing time for me as I continue to think about what my life will look like with another addition to our family. There are many things that I spend time thinking about: how our finances will be affected, what kind of social changes this addition will bring, how my role in our family will shift from being a husband to being a husband and a father. However, I think the thing I've been thinking on the most has been how the birth of our child will bring about a completely new start at life. Obviously, giving birth to our son will bring new life to him, but also bringing him into the world will bring a new life for Stef and I.

Part of that transformation into a new life is how having a child will affect the things that Stef and I already engage in, with friends, family, or by ourselves. But the other part, and the more exciting part, is how having a child will open doors to new things. Sure, it will bring things that we never did before like changing diapers or rocking a baby to sleep. But it will also bring about new ways of thinking about the world, about our parents, about our family, about our friends, about the world and about each other.

I could be totally wrong, but I think having a child is a "fly by the seat of your pants" type of thing. You roll with the punches. But it's great to think about things that I want to do with my son, or things that I want to introduce him to, or how I want to teach him to be tolerant of other people and points of view or how to love others unconditionally. Having a child is becoming more of a reality to me and not so much as a concept of thought anymore. Being born brings a new life to our son, yes, but it also brings new life to Stef and I. For this, I am simultaneously excited and completely humbled.

That's it. Short and sweet.

- J