May 18th, 2014

Effie - Month Seven

This month has flown by even more than the others. Forgive the few-days-late post, our new internet is a piece of crap so it’s harder to do anything that’s not on my work computer (the only one not on wifi.)

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It’s been filled with fun (and some stress) – overall it’s been quite the whirlwind!

Month Seven

Milestones: Effie wasted no time. We moved on the 22nd and soon after she was officially crawling. I think it was a combo of the carpeted bedrooms (her first crawl was on carpet) and more floor time in general (due to less tile- more laminate and carpet.) She was just about 6.5 months when she crawled first. No army crawling or inchworm crawling- she went straight to “real” crawling and MASTERED it. About a day or two later, she had moved on to pulling up to stand. I was like, geez, take a break or something, kid! If she can pull up on it, she does. By her 7 month “birthday” she was a pro at both, and working on trying to stand unassisted. Effie also had her first trips to the grocery store sitting (safely) in the cart this month! She loved looking at everyone and people LOVED to admire her! She’s also talking more, and on very rare occasion she will make a real “word” sound (like NA) instead of just the sing-song screams she usually does.

Sleep: This area has shown AMAZING improvement but also some frustration. Starting April 22, Effie and I no longer shared a room. It was probably good that I was sick and exhausted from moving, because I didn’t fret too much about her being far away. I think she enjoys having her own room, too. She’s still solidly on a once-a-night wakeup – that is, IF she wakes up. About seven or eight times this month, she slept through the night, twelve and a half hours!!!!!! Unfortunately, a bunch of the nights she also had extremely jarring, screaming wakeups. I don’t know if she has teeth coming in, an ear infection (no fever though) or night terrors- but it’s sad and scary to see her screaming. Luckily, a small bottle and she’s right back to sleep – that seems to be the only thing though, no amount of rocking or consoling will help. I am also no longer changing her diaper in the night, which I think she’s now used to. Oh and naps are still a total crapshoot. You never know what you’re going to get. It doesn’t help that she can stand up (we had to immediately move her crib down when she displayed that skill) because when she doesn’t want to nap (even though she’s CLEARLY tired) she’ll stand up and scream to protest. Woof.

Eating: Doing pretty good in this area. 4 to 8 ounces of solids (purees) a day. I’ve worked on her bottle schedule this month and it seems like we have a fairly good system down. We typically tried to push it from her midday bottle to bedtime bottle, which I think is part of the reason she had such an early bedtime (and why bedtime sucked so much.) Now she gets a small 4pm bottle, and bedtime is pushed back to 6pm, and is almost a breeze. I’m working on lessening the noon bottle to be 4oz as well, since she is eating more food during the day. Effie has tried some non purees recently too- she has had frozen mango and apple chunks in a mesh feeder (she just sucks on them) and she accidentally got some lime popsicle… she grabbed it from my mom and went to town like she owned it! She also has tried puffs and melts, but didn’t quite figure them out. She’s still working on that pincer grasp!

Health: We are actually off the reflux meds- for now! I *think* all is good there. My stupid insurance makes you fill it through their mail-order system after two times, and since they changed the dose and wrote me a new script for the 2nd fill I thought that meant I had another. Nope, two times per MED, not per script. She had missed a few doses and been fine (due to sleeping through the night) so I figured we might try just going off of it, since she’d be off of it anyway if we had to wait for it to come. Turns out she seems fine! (It hasn’t correlated with any of her nighttime issues- they’ve happened both before and after.) I am going to try to get her seen this week though to discuss that and also the nighttime screaming- just in case it is an ear infection, as I hear those can come without the ear pulling or temperature occasionally. It’s worth the copay just to make sure she’s good. She started out this month congested and under the weather, but luckily she hit 7 months healthy and happy!

Worst Moment: The nighttime screaming. It sucked so bad the first few times (it’s probably happened five or six times really badly) hearing her scream bloody murder and looking strange. (She looked glazed, almost like she was still asleep- which is why I think they may be night terrors.) Also it’s hard seeing her take some spills when she’s trying to stand. Luckily she recovers easily but I wish I could catch her every time!

Best Moment: Seeing her achieve new things!!!!! We were so lucky that her first crawl was with both B and I present (she crawled towards one of the pugs, of course.) And seeing her stand up is so surreal. Where has my baby gone? It’s incredible what a night and day difference there is between just one month ago and now. It makes me sad (and oh my gosh is it more work to have a mobile baby… ugh) but there’s nothing better than seeing her achieve something. (Ok, except maybe snuggles. Which I never get anymore. SOB. She is just NOT a snuggle baby. She is all independent and basically a teenager.)

It has been absolutely nuts this month due to our move, but we had a blast and of course… so many things to take pictures of!

It started out with Easter… which we celebrated by going to Disney! B was working, and Pottery Barn Kids ruined Easter by allowing me to order an Easter basket three weeks in advance then canceling my order due to stock issues and not telling me. I had to do SOMETHING. Mom guilt! So a trip to the Magic Kingdom was in order since that was the only place with an Easter bunny available ON Easter. Luckily it was ADORABLE.

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(It would have been AWESOME if someone had told me that my shirt was pulled up but ya live ya learn I guess.)

A few days after Easter was the move! My mom came to visit a few days later to help us out. She brought Effie a hat from her trip to Armenia.

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While she was here we also got our first trip to the pool- one of the many perks of our new townhouse. Effie LOVED it!!! We got her a floaty and of course a rashguard, sunglasses, hat, swim diaper, mineral sunscreen, etc etc etc. Going to the pool with kids is no joke!

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Now every time we walk into the pool, she lets out the happiest little squeal, it warms my heart!

A week or so later, she was standing. This is what we get to look forward to at the end of nap time!

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And how could I forgot… it was Mother’s Day this month! We went to Target to celebrate since B was working.

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She looks thrilled, doesn’t she? Effie didn’t get me anything besides getting me up early (an hour earlier than normal, around 5:45) and a huge diaper blowout at Target! Yeah, it wasn’t her best showing. Oh well! Didn’t keep me from taking three million photos of her all day and feeling so blessed that she made me a mom!

It’s been such a hectic month but an exciting and blessed one, too. Can’t wait to see where we’re at for 8 months!

April 30th, 2014

Effie’s Six Month Pictures!

As usual, we had Effie’s quarterly photos taken! This time was her six month session.

You wouldn’t know it from these fabulous photos, but this was right around the time she started not feeling well. (And is STILL congested a week and a half later!) Ashley did a great job capturing her smiles between all the fussing.

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(I got a lot of inquiries about the #effiegram picture items- the onesie is from the Poofy Cheeks Shop and headband from Baby Beans and Me, both on etsy.)

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(The pictures were taken the day before Easter so we HAD to get some Easter shots in!)

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We keep being blow away by Still Shooting Photography and the amazing pictures that result from these sessions. “Like” her Facebook page for more photos of adorable babes!

I can’t believe how much she’s growing and changing! Her nine month photos this July will be out of control, I’m sure. It’s a lot of fun to take them outside now. Having her sit also changes the game- and she gets better at it day by day!

If you have any fun ideas for her nine month pictures, let us know!

April 15th, 2014

Effie – Month Six

Holy crap! My baby is closer to being one than newborn. How did this happen!?

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As always, it’s been an amazing month!

Month Six

Milestones: This month has been all about mastering last month’s challenges. Effie can flip herself around like a skilled little pancake. It’s hard putting her down to play, since we have tile and laminate floors and she will easily roll herself off her foam tile mat area! Her new challenge for this month is crawling! She’s been really focused on trying to crawl!! She can push up on her hands and sometimes gets on her knees. Only she can’t move forward yet so she just moves her butt up and down adorably! She sometimes wakes up at night just to practice. She’s also doing wonderfully at sitting up. She can sit unassisted for short periods of time. If she falls over, they’re also more controlled falls- you can tell she’s really increased her muscle tone. No more falling over like a bag of rocks!

Sleep: Still sleeping in her crib, still with me in her room. We are moving in a week, so her room won’t be across the house anymore, which means only one more week of sleeping in her room! It’s bittersweet. She’s been doing better at night usually. She was waking up pretty much 2 times a night, but sometimes only once. I would say she’s close to sleeping through the night sometimes (it’s been close sometimes with around a 4am very sleepy wakeup!) but since she naps poorly and goes to sleep so early, I’m pleased with one wakeup. Naps are still the pits. Sometimes we’ll get 45 minutes to a little more than an hour. Usually it’s more like 30-40 minutes. We’ll take what we can get! It’s so frustrating though… I have no idea how to help her nap longer.

Eating: Six ounces per bottle! And going 4-5 hour stretches during the day. She’s also eating a lot more real food (purees.) She is eating pureed solids at least once a day, our goal is twice, and to go up to three times a day in a few weeks. She LOVES it! She’s had and enjoyed pears, apples, prunes, sweet potatoes (her favorite!), carrots, peas, and bananas. She wasn’t the biggest fan of peaches though. We love seeing her experience new tastes!

Health: E’s reflux is even MORE under control, since we’ve changed her dosage a little bit. She seems so much happier and healthier! Also, she FINALLY got those teeth we’ve been waiting for! About a week ago, one bottom front tooth popped through and the next day, the other one. Is it weird to feel proud of her getting her teeth? Because I am!

Worst Moment: It’s probably good that I am having a really hard time thinking of one. It has to be yesterday- while Effie’s 6 month pediatrician appointment was mostly great, it always stinks when she gets her shots.

Best Moment: SO many! In Effie’s 6th month, we celebrated B’s birthday, our anniversary (4 years), and my birthday. We also had some of our best friends visit Florida so we got to spend time with them, and took E to Epcot! These special moments mean so much more with her in them.

We are so blessed to have Effie in our lives! Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to.

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It was so exciting to see Effie meet her first Disney character! Alice was so sweet to us. I can’t wait to continue this tradition!

Lots of milestones too…

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This is the face of a girl who wants to CRAWL! Our days and nights are full of attempts.

Days are also full of this…

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Solids! This photo was carrots. Despite the look on her face- she LOVES them!

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We also love getting outside. We’ve been having outside playtime on the weekends and it makes me so happy. I love seeing Effie take in nature and move around. She loves to feel the breeze on her face.

This next month will be pure craziness due to the move, but I’m sure we’ll have many happy moments to come too!

April 12th, 2014

Baby Must Haves – Months 0-6

Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been doing this parenting thing for almost half a year! I’ve found some items to be really helpful and wanted to share. Obviously every baby/family/situation is different, but hopefully this post will help some of you moms-to-be!

Two generic “bests” that I think rock no matter which ones you get… a walker, and a jumper. I got our walker at Once Upon a Child and our jumper is this Baby Einstein one. E is very focused on standing/walking/jumping (and was early on especially because of her reflux- though now she’s also obsessed with trying to crawl) so these things were a huge hit for us.

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I didn’t end up using our bouncer a ton, and our swing, while a LIFESAVER early early on, became useless when she could start trying to sit up. Both of those are definitely things to potentially buy used, and register for big items that you’ll get a lot more use out of.

I also registered for a few various brands of swaddles, which I was really glad about. We could NOT figure out how to use a blanket to swaddle (but we use the A&A swaddles for other things- though I don’t think I need as many as I have) so she went from the Summer Infant SwaddleMe, to the SwaddlePod (fail), various Halo products, to finally the Miracle Blanket. Definitely the swaddle for E, but it depends on your baby! Register for a few!

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(She needed them at night but was not such a fan in the morning.)

No fun personal picture- since who takes pictures of their own diaper pail in use?- but I also am IN LOVE with our diaper pail. We have an Ubbi Diaper Pail and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We have a plastic one we use in a different part of the house, and while we don’t use that one as much, it seems to hold onto odors, and also looks HIDEOUS and cheap. The Ubbi diaper pails are great looking, easy to use, and even convert to trash cans down the line. Love.

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Seriously it comes in fun colors like this! We have a “neutral” grey but they offer a lot of color options to match your nursery. (Picture from their website colors page.)

Random small lifesaver item? Linking rings.

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You can see them hanging off her walker here. There’s actually a toy attached to the one on her left but you can’t see it. That’s what we do mostly- attach them to toys for her to grab and play with! I’ve used them for so many things and they’re a few bucks. WELL WORTH IT! Now that you know, you’ll start noticing them in all my pics. We have the Bright Starts Lots of Links.

Something I wished we had bought that I will buy for baby #2? A newborn head support insert for your carseat. Anything like this would be fine.

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(This is JJ Cole- image taken from the Buy Buy Baby website.)

Basically, before E had neck/head control I hated that her head would flop a little in the car. This would have made me feel more secure- I avoided driving with her alone until she had better control! Otherwise I sat in the back with her and would adjust her head as needed, haha. An easy $20 spent for peace of mind.

Baby sunglasses. Did you know you might need those? I surely didn’t! I thought- “What a crazy baby item! Who would buy those?” We had bought a window shade, so I figured we’d have no use for sunglasses. Well when we’d go out in the sun to events, sun would get in her eyes- it was very limiting. And her carseat is mounted in the middle, in a car without tinted windows. How do we use the window shade!? (You can’t use it on the back window.) I went through a lot of different sunglasses – regular ones she would pull off. Finally I found some that stayed on pretty well- Baby Banz. They have the Banz Adventure for boys or girls, and the more girly Retro Banz. Lots of color options available! We got white Retro Banz for E.

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(This was probably the one cold day we had this year!)

They Velcro around baby’s head to help them stay on. I’ve also found a sun hat (made for the pool/beach) is helpful if she’s in a particularly anti-sunglasses mood, but these have been the least offensive and a lifesaver on really sunny days!

As I mentioned before, E is doing a lot of “walking/jumping.” Are you wearing socks? If so, look at them. At the bottom. Are they pristine white? Probably no. And you’ll learn if you haven’t already- baby socks that FIT AND STAY ON are harder to find than the holy grail. I was not about to ruin them (or the bottom of footed PJ’s) because she was “walking” everywhere. Everyone sees baby’s socks when they’re little- you don’t want to be the one with dirty baby socks. B’s coworker gifted us a pair of Robeez soft-sole shoes that his daughter had used, and they’ve been awesome!

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(The ones we were gifted have dancing bears- but I’m dying over some from the Spring collection, like these “sandals” or these “espadrilles!”)

They seem to give her some needed traction, and they keep her feet clean and better protected, too. They’re a little pricey to use before babies really start trying to walk, but if you can find them used, or get them as a gift/registry item, I think they’re well worth it for an active baby under 6 months! They don’t slow her down at all!

Random item I would never have thought of if it wasn’t given to us- a “Bath Luve.” Different brands call them different names, but feel free to throw one on your registry. This came to me from a friend who used it with her daughter, and it is great at keeping Effie calm and warm in the bath!

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Could you just use a washcloth? Sure. Basically all it is, is a specially shaped washcloth that you wet and put on baby in the bath. Just a small item that I appreciate having!

That’s it for the big items with pictures… here are the rest of my tips!

  • If you end up alone with baby a lot (like me) take down your shower curtain and just leave the clear shower liner. Then you can put baby in whatever thing makes them happy that week, and still see them while you’re showering.
  • Bibs. So many bibs. I was all “ha, I will never use these bibs!” I WAS WRONG. We are doing better now but for a while we went through multiple drool bibs (different than food bibs) a day. Register. Stock up. We needed them at I think around 3 months?
  • Bottles for babies aren’t like cups and mugs are for us. They’re not one size fits all. I went through multiple types of bottles and nipples before we found what worked for E. (Dr Brown’s bottles.) My point? Register for small packs (1 to 3) of a few different brands of bottles and nipples. If you plan to breastfeed, some are geared towards that. If you don’t? There are other options. Basically, be prepared to buy/exchange bottles and nipples. I’m sure it works out sometimes, but from my own experience I’d recommend to avoid registering for a huge set of one brand, because if you use one and it doesn’t work out for your baby, you may not be able to return the whole set.
  • This isn’t true for everyone, but we used newborn sized clothes for a while. Like 7 weeks, I think? Buy some used, or maybe buy some and don’t wash it. It’s easier to wash it than run out to the store. And you can always return it later if you don’t use it.
  • I wish I had spent more time picking out crib sheets. I was focused on the color we wanted with elastic all around (not just at corners.) I didn’t think softness was paramount because I was thinking babies sleep on their back. Well when they get older, some flip on their bellies. Effie is now one of those babies. As she learns to flip over and crawl, she rubs her face against them, and I feel guilty! We have plans to purchase new ones soon. Wish we had just registered for nicer, pricier ones!
  • The BabyConnect app is my life. I wish we had downloaded this pre-baby and familiarized ourselves. You may not think it’s necessary but TRUST ME IT IS. You will not remember when you last fed the baby. Trust me.
  • Snaps are the devil when it comes to PJ’s. (The ones on onesies are unavoidable and not bad at all.) People told me this and I scoffed in my head. WHY DID I SCOFF? Being a parent is so humbling. Anyway- up until 4 months or so, maybe 5, it wasn’t so bad. Easy, even. But now trying to get her into footed PJ’s at night with snaps? It’s an Olympic sport. And I’m not even medaling. She flips over and rolls and takes her arms and legs out moments after I put them in. And if you think that’s fun before bed, then try to do a nighttime diaper change. Ugh. The worst. Unless a sleeper for size maybe 3-6 months and up is something important to you or a meaningful gift, etc, just return it. Exchange it for one with a zipper. You will thank me. Don’t scoff. I scoffed and wish I hadn’t.

If I think of anything else, I’ll add it as a footnote here! I hope some of you can find this list helpful- feel free to add more suggestions in the comments!

March 22nd, 2014

DIY Monogram Onesies

After I made my bump update shirt using this method, I decided I could employ the same method for some cute onesies.

You can use this method for monograms, or words, or shapes. And it’s not just for onesies- any clothing! This would be a great way to cover a small stain on a kid’s shirt as well.

Behold: some of Effie’s new onesies!

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You will need:

  • A onesie or other clothing item, washed and dried. I’ve only done this with cottony fabrics before.
  • Freezer paper (found in the grocery store near the tin foil)
  • Pencil
  • Detail knife (like this one)
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Fabric paint
  • Brush (I prefer foam spongey brushes)

This project can be free or nearly free after you do it once. Especially if you have the fabric paint collection of a sorority girl.

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First, print whatever image you want to stencil. Shapes are great. Words are great. Think simple, especially to start. I tried something a little more challenging for this example but I started with easy ones. I used this site to get the monograms- let me know if you have a hard time with it. I could only get the script and the chevron ones to work. I added the circle around it after the fact in word, since I was doing a negative imprint.

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Take the freezer paper and cut it to size. You’ll notice one side is waxy and one side is papery. You want the waxy side down.

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Trace the drawing with a pencil.

Once traced, cut out the design with your knife. Make sure you do this on top of cardboard or a thick stack of paper.

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Cut a piece of cardboard out that fits the width of the clothing item. Then place it inside the onesie or shirt. This prevents bleed through.

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Place your stencil. Use a ruler to measure the distance from the sides/top to center it.

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Once placed, iron it on. Remember to MAKE SURE the waxy side is down.

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Ta-da!

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Get your paint ready. I mixed black paint and a glitter paint.

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Paint inside your stencil. I find it best to dab (hard) and then smooth. Be careful- the more detailed the design, the more likely you could accidentally screw it up! Be patient and thorough. Shirts have stretch and fibers so they will absorb, and will have nooks and crannies. Make sure it’s covered. You may need two coats.

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Let it mostly dry with the stencil still in place.

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When dry or nearly dry, pull off the stencil carefully.

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You may need some help if you have lots of details. I prefer using tweezers, but you can use your detail knife as well to lift the edges enough to pull them.

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You’re done! Make sure you don’t remove the cardboard until it’s 100% dry. Also review your work. Anyone see the issue in the monogram below?

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(I forgot to cut out part of the monogram where the E meets the H on the bottom!) I made a quick little stencil from a post-it and dabbed it in.

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And just like that… you went from a simple clothing item to something personalized and one-of-a-kind!

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I haven’t had any issues laundering these (washed and dried at moderate temp) but refer to the clothing and fabric paint’s instructions for wash.

I’m sure I may have left out something – or you may have questions – so feel free to reach out! I’ll answer any comments as a reply so others can see.

Some tips, and ideas besides monograms:

  • Silhouettes and shapes (used alone, or to cover a stain.)
  • Try using colored or patterned clothing items. (I just happened to have a 5 pack of white ones.)
  • Item doesn’t have to be centered! Be creative!
  • You can blur colors together – step outside the box with the paint too.
  • Consider putting something on the “bum” of pants/onesies when baby starts crawling!
  • Use text from your favorite font and consider stenciling baby’s nickname or a funny saying.
  • Make a top for yourself to match your kiddo.
  • Great gift idea!

Happy crafting, everyone!