Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Work it Wednesdays

Dear Readers,
I have become a little bit obsessed (ok, a lot obsessed) with finding cute clothes for Elliot. So much of what's out there for boys is, well, crap. So when I find something really adorable, I get really excited. I know there are far more important things than what a baby wears, and obviously he couldn't care less about it. But whatever, its so much fun dressing him up!

In case there are other mamas of little boys out there who share my desire to find clothes that are cool and fun and not covered in cars and puppies and stupid sayings, I thought I would start sharing some of my favorite finds on Wednesdays from now on. I'm doing this partly to help other moms, but mainly because I need an excuse to dress up my boy and show him off somewhere! :)

So without further ado, here is what El rocked today.

For hanging out around the house, running errands, and going to our play groups, Elliot usually wears some variation of this outfit.

The leg warmers are made by Baby Legs (these are the organic version and run $12/pair retail, but they are often on sale at I seriously can't rave about these enough. I love, love, love them. Super cute, and super convenient--no pants to take on and off during our 8,000 diaper changes every day! We have 8-10 pairs in different colors and patterns (I'm sure the rest will show up in other posts like this!), and they look adorable even if they don't really match the onesie they're paired with.

The lemur (at least that's what I think that creature is called!) onesie is actually from Whole Foods. Did you know Whole Foods sold baby clothes? I'm not sure why, but they do! This is the first thing I bought for E when we found out he was a boy. I love animals on clothes, but not the standard cartoony  kind that cover most of what's out there, so this is just perfect!

The hoodie is from good old Target (Circo, $5). I've actually been pretty disappointed with Target's boy selection lately, but we wear this basic hoodie all the time. I take it in my diaper bag whenever we go out in case it gets chilly (sometimes in the summer, stores have the AC just blasting!).

The pacifier clip is a Bink Link ($14). I love how it adds some fun color to everything he wears. Plus, without it, I'd go completely crazy searching for his paci throughout the day!

So, after he spit up all over outfit #1, we put on this little ensemble:

I just love this lightweight summer cardigan from H&M ($10 I think). Actually, I love pretty much everything from that store. Tons of 'little man' style clothes for excellent prices. 

The 'this is the life' T-shirt is from Target (on clearance right now for $3). 

Jean shorts were also from the Target clearance rack (Oshkosh, $4). Check out Target right now--they have a lot of summer stuff for super cheap!

Okay, that's all for now. Join me next week for more fashion fun, and let me know if you have any great tips/finds of your own to share! :)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Making my life

Dear Elliot,
Yesterday you were giving Grandma smiles and I said, "his smiles can really make your day, huh?"

"They can really make your life!" she replied.

All I have to say is she is so, so right.

Oh how I love you, sweet little boy.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

2 months!

Dear Elliot,
You turned two months old yesterday. Where has the time gone??

We had your two-month Dr's appointment today and it went really well. I have come to actually really enjoy taking you to your well-child visits because I love hearing how well you are doing.  

I've been thinking you had to be getting up there in weight because a) my arms are getting more and more sore lugging you around in your carseat and carriers and b) you are wearing 6 month clothing and have been for a couple weeks now. So I wasn't too surprised when you weighed in at 14.2 pounds today (98th percentile). Who says exclusively breastfed babies don't gain weight as well? ;) I suppose having a dad who is 6'10, 300 pounds probably helps a bit too! 

Our doctor was really happy with your weight gain, and also super impressed with how good you are at holding your head up. She had you in the sitting position and you were able to hold you head up so well for so long. She said, "this is not typical for a two month old!" I love the face you make when you're concentrating on keeping it stable too. So cute.

I got to brag about what a great baby you are, how chill and content you are most of the time. You were also having fun showing off your smiles for the doctor. You were so happy, I felt guilty knowing what was coming next...

...the dreaded shots. I was so nervous about them, but you really did alright. I think they were harder for me than for you! About one second after the first needle went in your leg, you gave me the saddest, most helpless little face. Then began to scream. The awful kind of scream that starts out silent, with your fists in the air, your face all red. And real tears. I absolutely hate the cries that come with real tears. 

But as soon as took you in my arms and started to nurse you, you calmed right down. You fell fast asleep once we got back in the car, and have been extra cuddly and sleepy ever since. I went and bought some baby Tylenol just in case you are uncomfortable later tonight/tomorrow, but I'm hoping we won't have to use it. 

You have grown so much, especially developmentally, in the last couple weeks. It's so much fun to watch. 

You discovered your fists and have been so enamored with them ever since. Seriously, its hilarious to watch you entertain yourself with them. You seem so proud, like "look Mom, I have these things called hands and they are so awesome!"

Like I said before, you are also so much stronger. They way you can hold you head up now makes you look so much older!

And my favorite new thing is all the smiles! You've been smiling for a few weeks now, but they have definitely gotten more frequent lately. You smile when I play the 'little piggies' game with your feet, when I'm changing your diaper, whenever I ask you 'are you going to sleep through the night tonight??' (ha!), and oftentimes for no reason at all. :) You're a really happy little guy and I love that.

You simply light up my life, little boy. I am so lucky you're mine and I can't wait to see what the next two months (and beyond) have in store!

All my love,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The cutest

Dear Elliot,
One of these days I'll get around to uploading all the pictures from my 'real' camera, but for now here's some from my phone from the last week or so. I have taken 196 photos of you on my phone since Friday. Seriously, I could take pictures of you all day long. You are always doing something new and cute and I just don't want to miss documenting any of it!

Dad was saying goodbye to you the other morning as he was leaving for work and said in all seriousness, "when he was first born, I thought he was probably the cutest baby, but now I know there is no way there has ever been one as cute as he is. It's just not possible." It's true, you just couldn't be any cuter (yet you somewhere seem to get cuter and cuter everyday!)

 Eating your fist to tell me you're getting hungry

 Almost too big for your 3-6 month PJs at 6 weeks old!

 Love this sweet little grin

 Stunning baby blues (can't wait to see if they stay blue like mine or turn brown like Dad's!)

 Happy little guy at 7 weeks old

 "Does this diaper make me look fat??"

 Even your butt is stylish ;)

 Early morning smiles

 "Seriously, Mom, do I really have to wear this dorky sun hat out here where all the neighbors can see??"

 Sporting some Mom-love on Mother's Day morning

 Finally growing some eyelashes (you had almost none when born!)

 Not the biggest fan of tummy time, but you look so cute doing it anyway ;)

 Bright eyes

 The most kissable cheeks

 Grilling out on Bjorn (who got you your Baby Bjorn)'s rooftop

 Super into our first New Mamas group/class yesterday afternoon :)

 My big, happy boy!

 Cuddling with Dad after his long day at work

So intrigued by that little owl toy this morning

I can't believe you'll be eight weeks old tomorrow. I love you more than you'll ever know!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Dear Elliot,
I almost went the entire day without getting a picture of the two of us on our first Mother's Day together yesterday! I made Dad pull over on the side of the road on the way home to snap a couple quick photos. You were cranky that we removed you from your comfy carseat, the dogs were going absolutely nuts that we left them in the car by themselves for a couple minutes, and I was freaking out and yelling, "hurry up! The sun is about to go down!" as Dad tried to get a decent shot before the sun set completely.

But I just didn't want to forget that day, ever.

It's kind of weird, because in my heart I've been a mother for the last two Mother's Days. My first Mother's Day was the day after Stevie died. Then last year Mother's Day landed on her first 'birthday.' Both incredibly hard, painful days, to say the least.

So to have a baby in my arms this Mother's Day felt truly amazing. This year, I was finally acknowledged by the rest of the world. Last year I would have had to wear a shirt that said 'I had a baby' for anyone to know I was a mom. But yesterday it was obvious to everyone by the adorable little boy I proudly carried in my arms. I no longer felt invisible.

We don't have a lot of money right now, so Dad had to get creative with his Mother's Day gift. He ended up finding a bunch of frames at thrift stores to match my wall of photos in the hallway, and filled them with fun pictures of you he took. This one of you in a robber mask (because you have 'stolen my heart') is my favorite:

I also had to get crafty for your Mother's Day gifts to your grandmas, but I think they turned out pretty cute:

I actually ended up printing each picture separately and putting them into their own frames :)

Last night as I was cuddling with you in the rocking chair before bed, I got all teary-eyed just thinking about how lucky I am to have you, to be your mom. You're just so sweet and funny and cute and amazing, and I am just in awe that you're really mine. I am so blessed.

I love you from the bottom of my heart, baby boy. Thank you for making this Mother's Day so special, just by being here.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

These days

Dear Elliot,
These days, you wake up to eat at about 4:00am. You start making cute little noises starting about a half an hour to an hour before that. I call it your 'fake-out' time. You start grunting, I wake up, sit up, get ready to pick you up, and as soon as I am standing over your bassinet, you are sound asleep and snoring again. We repeat the process about 10 times before you're actually awake and ready to be fed.

These days, as soon as pick up up and have you in my arms you start nuzzling your head into me and trying to suck on my shoulder. Then as I'm getting situated on the rocking chair, you begin to eat your fist. It's like your saying, "if you don't hurry up and feed me, Mom, I'm just going to have to eat my own hand!" Once you're latched on and eating, you look up at me with the cutest, sweetest expression ever, like you are just so happy to be doing your favorite activity (eating) with your favorite person (mom).

These days, you take about 15-20 minutes to eat (which is down from the 45 minutes to an hour it took in the beginning!). After you're done, I burp you, cuddle you a bit, then wake up your dad so he can change you and get you back to sleep. Then I go downstairs and pump (you only take one side your first feeding of the day, so my other boob feels like its about to explode!)

These days, you sleep again until about 6:30. I feed you again, then after a little bit of playtime and sending Dad off to work, its time for one of my favorite parts of the entire day--our morning nap. You lay on my chest and we cuddle on the couch together until about 9:00. There isn't a feeling in the world that beats the way you clutch my hair in your little fists as you sleep, your head nestled perfectly under my cheek.

These days, after your next feeding, we go upstairs and get ready for the day. I sing silly songs to you as I get you dressed in a fresh onesie and outfit. Then you sit on my bed, your head propped up on my pillow, and watch me while I get dressed and do my hair. Usually I put on your tunes (a playlist called 'E's Mix'), and you are super content to lay there and kick your legs along to Raffi, ELO ('Mr. Bluesky'), and the Jungle Book soundtrack ('the Bare Necessities' is your favorite!) After I'm done getting myself ready, I come and lay next to you on the bed for awhile. We talk and sing more silly songs and cuddle with the dogs.

These days, after we're both ready for the day, we take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. I put you in one of our carriers (Ergo, Baby Bjorn, or Moby) and get the girls leashed up and ready to go. You usually start out the walk super awake and alert. You love looking around and taking in your new surroundings. As we walk we've started playing the 'color game.' I don't know why I started doing this, but I pick a color and start telling you all the things we see as we walk. So I'll say, 'what can we find that's green? Oh, there's green trees...there's a green hose...a green garbage can...a green car..." and it goes on and on until we switch colors. I know you have no idea what I'm talking about yet, but you seem to enjoy it anyway :). Most of the time the 'color game' puts you to sleep eventually and you spend the rest of the walk snoring away in your carrier.

These days, you stay sleeping for another hour or so once we get home. Sometimes I just keep you in your carrier, sometimes I take you out and you sleep on my arm/shoulder as I spend some time on the computer (like right now!)

These days, you normally spend some time in your bouncy chair after you eat again. You watch me clean up the kitchen, tidy up the house, and attempt to eat something for lunch. I usually come and sit on the floor next to you and talk to you while I eat. Once you start fussing to be picked up, we dance around the living room. You LOVE being danced around to music. It's always something different--some of your favorites have been Lady Gaga, old Dixi Chicks, and Jack Johnson. It appears you have a pretty eclectic taste in music!

These days, its time for your afternoon nap after your next feeding. We cuddle on the couch again, only this time I'll usually put on a movie on Netflix to watch while you sleep. Some days, if its really nice outside, I'll put you down to sleep in your lounger/napper pillow right inside the door and sit outside on the deck and catch some sun while you sleep.

These days, Dad gets home from work after your next feeding, at around 5:00. He misses you all day, so he's always really excited to see you. He takes you and I usually go shower or switch out laundry, or just take a little break. He usually puts on a record and you guys hang out and listen to music for awhile.

These days, sometimes I entertain you (by reading books, playing on your activity mat, etc) while Dad cooks dinner, other times Dad puts you in a carrier and you cook dinner with him. Once dinner is ready, sometimes you'll let us put you down in your bouncy seat while we eat, other times you insist on being held and we take turns eating :).

These days, after your next feeding, its bath time! You used to hate baths, but now bathtime is one of your favorite times of the day. You love to stretch out and relax in your little tub. We sing songs ('row row row your boat' is a favorite), and you love to kick your legs and splash around in the water. After your bath, we give you a little massage with lotion, and put you in a fresh onesie and pair of PJs.

These days, after one more quick feeding, its time for bed (about 9:00). You do this thing at night, where you want to be nursing whenever I hold you (even when you're not hungry), so Dad is on bedtime duty. He wraps you up in your swaddle blanket (we use Miracle Blankets, best things ever!), gives you your paci, puts on your bedtime music ('Rockabye Baby'), and rocks you for 10-15 minutes. Once you're really tired (but not quite asleep), we put you down in your bassinet. You usually grunt for a few minutes and then fall sound asleep.

These days, I usually fall asleep myself shortly after.

These days, they're exhausting.

These days, they go by so fast.

These days, they're the best days of my life.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adventures in cloth diapering

Dear Readers,
We officially made the switch over to fulltime cloth diapering last weekend and so far I am loving it! When I was doing research on cloth diapers while pregnant, I found it incredibly hard to make sense of all the information out there. There is an entire cloth diapering language that I was certainly not fluent in, and I felt completely lost and overwhelmed trying to figure out how it might work for us. Prefolds, fitteds, AIOs, AI2s, pockets, hybrids, snappies, woolies...I just wanted someone to show me how they did it in a way that made sense to a newbie like me.

So I figured I'd try to do just that. I am still not an expert by any means, but thought it might be helpful for others out there to read along as I attempt to become one! Plus, I'm pretty sure my mom thinks I'm nuts for wanting to do this, so seeing how not weird and easy it really is might help change her mind :)

We decided to use the Flips covers and inserts as our main diapering system. I believe the Flips would be considered an AI2, or 'all-in-2' diaper, but I'm not really sure. Either way, whatever they're called, they are really simple and easy. Basically, you have the one-size adjustable covers, and the one-size adjustable inserts that go inside and actually soak up the poop and pee. You can get either organic microfiber inserts, regular microfiber inserts, or disposable inserts (that you just flush or throw away like regular diapers). We  chose to go with the regular microfiber inserts. The inserts you change out every diaper change, where the covers you only have to change out when they get dirty (which is maybe every 3-4 changes?). So we decided we needed eight covers and 24 inserts. Elliot goes through about 10-12 diapers a day, so this means I have to do diaper laundry every other day. Here's what a Flip diaper looks like when its put together:

The cover is the beige part and the insert is the white part

My awesome friends from Stevie's August 2010 Babycenter Birth Club also got us a bunch of other cloth diapers (all handmade by different independent shops/WAHMs), in a variety of styles. Some are AIOs, or 'all-in-ones,' meaning there aren't separate inserts, you just change out the whole thing like a normal disposable diaper (except its washable of course!), which are also really nice and convenient.

Finally, I have two GroVia one-size diaper covers and two 50-packs of the GroVia disposable Biosoaker inserts. I haven't used those yet, but I think it will be nice to have a disposable option for things like road trips (where I don't want to deal with carrying around the dirty inserts in the car, or if I'm ever behind on laundry).

Here's our little stash so far (the GroVia disposable inserts aren't pictured):

I also started using cloth wipes. When someone first mentioned cloth wipes my reaction was 'um, no thank you.' But now I think its the greatest thing ever. We have about 40 of the super cheap white baby wash cloths from Babies R Us, plus some flannel cloth wipes from an independent online cloth diaper shop. I roll them up and put them in the Prince Lionheart cloth wipes warmer. Then I use a cloth wipes solution (this was also from my August2010 girls!), mix it with water, and pour over the wipes. They soak up the solution and the warmer keeps them nice and moist. They smell amazing and come out feeling just like those hot towels they give you at fancy Asian restaurants:

I don't know why I was so nervous to make the switch to cloth diapers/wipes because it's really easy. And this is coming from a girl who gets pretty grossed out by poop, and absolutely hates doing laundry. The diaper changing process is exactly the same as using disposables except that instead of putting on a new diaper and throwing the dirty one (and wipes) in the garbage, you put on a new diaper and throw the dirty one (and wipe) in a wetbag, which is just a fabric bag lined with waterproof material:

(this wetbag was also a gift from my awesome friends...and it just so happens to match the nursery perfectly!)

You can also get wetbag liners to go in a diaper pail, but since Elliot's poops don't really smell too bad yet, the hanging bag works great for right now. Once its full, I just bring it down to the laundry room and throw the whole thing in the wash--super easy!

I am so excited to be done buying disposable diapers all the time. Not only are they expensive, but of course we were always running out of them during the middle of the night when no stores are open, plus Elliot was constantly pooping and peeing right through them. Since making the switch to cloth, I'm thrilled to report we've had zero blowouts! I know we probably won't keep that record for long, but the cloth diapers really do keep everything contained really well.

And the best part of going cloth? They are so stinkin' cute! 

I'll let you know how things continue to go, and feel free to comment with any questions, or even better, tips and advice!


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