Sunday, November 28, 2010

my first year cooking thanksgiving dinner...

I have always taken thanksgiving preparation for granted. I would come home assuming there would be food for me to pig out on, and then spend the rest of the day lounging about on the couch talking to my sisters while the boys watched tv. So this year I decided to give my mom a break and give cooking a try. Chris wasnt nervous because my cooking skills have improved dramatically in the last 2 years of marriage but I was still nervous. It seemed to be such a daunting task. So I made a plan:

1. Go grocery shopping as SOON as I got there on tuesday.
2. Brine turkey over night so it is ready for the next day.
3. Make Becca in charge of the rolls. I feel like homemade rolls are a thanksgiving all by themselves and Beccas are to die for. Win-win.
4. Wake up thanksgiving morning and get to work. Chop all veggies in preparation. Make all sides ready for the oven. Cut potatoes and soak in water ready to boil for mash. Make deserts before hand so I dont have to worry about anything after dinner.
5. Set and decorate table. I used my nieces help for that. We made a turkey for each person by tracing her hand and decorating it like so:

All in all it was far less stressful than I imagined. And my siblings all pitched in to get the job done. David cut up the squash into cubes which is actually MUCH harder than I expected. Matt took out trash about 6 times haha. Emily helped me clean the turkey.... yikes... and Marie entertained Lolli.

I made a turkey, a ham, mash potato, (I made my mom make the gravy since hers is GOOD), cornbread and sausage stuffing, green been casserole, carmelized butternut squash, and pumpkin mousse. My mom had a TON of sweet potatoes but nobody wanted them the traditional way so I made sweet potato fries and chicken burgers the day before. I think that really got me in the mood to pig out. YUMM.

I think you really have to have 2 ovens to pull it off (my mom does and it still seemed like we needed another). I will keep that in mind for my future home. And I think that next year I will make cheesecake instead... I was craving it all weekend. What is a good pig out without cheesecake??

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Family pictures

My mom-in-law needed an updated famdambamily picture for her christmas newsletter. I dont think we will be sending out christmas cards this year (SO much going on) so here is my official Merry Christmas (just a few weeks early haha) and our 1950s pictures!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6 months!!

I can't believe she is 6 months old. My baby is QUICKLY growing out of her babiness. In the last month she has developed SO MUCH personality. She reacts to things she didnt before- seems so much more aware. Im loving hanging out with her! She is so sassy. She makes the most grown up noises and facial expressions. You always know whats on her mind. She laughs at everything- especially other people's laughs. She loves to read books. Her favorite thing to play with is currently her plush tree house with all of the stuffed animals inside. She is particularly fond of the stuffed grasshopper. She likes to be scared- jump out and yell boo and she will giggle like crazy. I love this little girl so much it hurts. She is my everything. Happy 1/2 birthday Lorelai!

Little lolli in her cloth diaper. As soon as I took the tutu off she started to get shy and cover her belly with her hands. Thats right L! Modest is hottest. Some other mile markers:
-She can roll all over the place and scoot a little. Using this method she can get from one side of the room to the other in 10 seconds. SCARY.
-She can feed herself. She does this with rice puffs and freeze dried yogurt bites.
-She loves all kinds of food- her favorite is still plain rice cereal. The only thing she has ever refused is formula. She will suck on a lemon but she wont let me mix one scoop of formula into her rice. And she will not take a bottle. Im really hoping she has gained weight at her 6 month check up because if she hasnt she may have to go to formula. That would make for an interesting few days. But she looks pretty chunky in the pics right? keepin my fingers crossed.
-She is a great sleeper/napper and can put herself to sleep. She still loves to be swaddled which I am grateful for since the nights are so cold!
-She has a goofy laugh. I need to post a video of me tickling her. She goes crazy.


Friday, November 5, 2010

can you guess it?

Last weekend we got to hang out with 2 of our favorite people- Betina and Dave- and we played my favorite game in all the world- cranium- making it a highly entertaining night. Can You guess what chris is trying to be? hint: its an event.

The answer is said by Tina at the end of the video in case you didnt catch it :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cloth diapers

First things first, I will let you know that the idea of this originally made me want to vomit. I could be quoted saying things like "That seems like a lot of work elbow deep in poop." or "Would you use a reusable tampon? NO. So why would I use reusable diapers?"

But alas, your budget can change your mind about just about anything. I love the saying that a penny saved is a penny earned. Right now I dont earn any actual money so I feel like the fact that I cook and we always eat in, I coupon clip, and now use cloth diapers= the way I earn money.

2 things helped me to make the transition. The first was a simple conversation on facebook where a mom who uses them was raving about how awesome they are and how they have changed a ton since our moms were using them. The second was that I use organic cotton breast pads. I always found the disposable ones uncomfortable, expensive and I was constantly running out! I have saved 20 bucks a month (at least) using them and so far that= 100 (after subtracting the purchase price). And I will be using them for 6 more months (I plan to breastfeed until she is 1) and will prob get to use them on my next kid. So I thought... Maybe I will just do some research about these cloth diapers to make sure it is as gross as I think it is.

I was wrong. Sure- you will see poop. But only when you are wiping it off your kid's butt just like a disposable! These are not the crappy leaky stained diapers of years long ago. No more pins, no more nonsense. Since I have used them I havent had one leak. My little one has had diarrhea, has slept in one for 12 hours, you name it- these suckers can handle it. Oh and it got rid of her diaper rash!!

There are about 60 different brands and then there are like 60 different kinds within the brands. I researched for about 40 hours... I kid you not. And then ended up contacting that first mom who raved about them. I bought the bumgenius pocket one size diapers with hook and loops. Let me explain the lingo:

-Bumgenius is the brand. They are awesome, fairly priced, and come in way cute colors.
-Pocket means that you insert a pad into them that absorbs all the... mess. :) there are prefolds (more like the ones our mommas used) and all in ones. The all in ones are the most like disposables but I decided against them since they take a LONG time to dry (since its all one piece sewn together) and you have to use a new one each diaper change whereas with pockets if its just wet you can just change out the pad.
-One size means they fit from 7-35 lbs. Yes friends that means they will fit from birth to potty training saving you THOUSANDS of dollars. You can buy them sized but to me this is just a waste of money. The one size has ways to adjust it so it fits great.
-Hook and loops just basically means part of it is velcro. Originally I wanted to buy the ones with all snaps because I figured they would last longer but i soon realized that a squirming child will not wait for you to snap everything in the right place- velcro is just more functional. And the velcro is more heavy duty then you expect- I see it lasting a long time.

When you actually use them.....
Changing her diaper isnt really that different. I change it in the bathroom so I have easy access to everything i need. If its solid- plop it in the toilet, if its not-it can be washed out in the washing machine. No need to rinse and get your hands all mucked up. "if its not ploppable, its washable" haha. I use cotton wipes too so that I can just put the whole thing in the pail. Then when it comes time to wash I just dump all the diapers in the wash. You do a prewash in cold to get the .... stuff... out, then a full wash in hot. You can do an additional rinse in cold but I havent needed to. They dont stain and actually get bleached by the sun if you line dry them (which I currently dont since I dont have a backyard and I still havent had to worry about stains). You have to use the free and clear detergent but its about the same price as anything else if not cheaper (we were using dreft and her sensitive skin actually does better on this stuff). It makes sense- no chemicals,dyes,fragrances, etc. I literally havent found a con to it yet.

When we are on the go I just put them in a ziplock bag. There are the super cute bags called wetbags specifically made for it but come on- the point of this was to save money. There are also special bags to line the diaper pail with. Again... I feel its unnecessary. I have 12 which means I wash every day. She uses 8-10 a day so I have time to wash them before she runs out. If I didnt have a washing machine in my apartment, or if I wasn't a full time mommy I would get more for sure.

The sites I use:
I like this site because it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee- EVEN if you have used them and washed them!!
I like this site because they have a little more selection, and also because they sell the bumgenius 3.0. Bumgenius came out with a 4.0, which of course made the 3.0 dirt cheap. but they are super hard to find. That link takes you to the 3.0s but they only have them in white- dont worry- they really wont stain. The outside is made of polyester so it is waterproof and stain proof.

Ok one last thing... I wonder if anyone is even still reading. haha. I promise this will save you a lot of money. I bought my entire set (12 diapers, 24 pads, wipes and everything) for 180. That is about what i spent in 3 months of disposables. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them!!


oops one last thing. If you order over 100 bucks on cottonbabies right now, put a pair of the baby leg warmers in your cart and enter in the coupon code FREEBABYLEGS and they are free! :) I got a super cute polka dot pair. The end.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My baby tips

This is going to be sort of random but I have had a couple of people ask me recently for my baby must haves or the stuff that I had to learn the hard way so here it goes.

My tips... what worked for me:
1. they give you like a TON of newborn diapers at the hospital as well as a nasal aspirator and some formula so we didnt buy any of that. Take everything in your room (just ask a nurse what is yours) because they charge you for it regardless of whether you take it or not. And bring your husbands sweatpants to wear home. I brought my biggest pair and thanks to swelling there was no way i was fitting into those.
2. The first night you bring baby home- you are actually supposed to sleep. I literally stayed awake that entire night listening to her breathing, afraid if I slept she would die. YOU CANT PREVENT SIDS. If your baby is sleeping on their back, dressed properly etc, go to sleep. Yes I know its crazy but you just have to say a prayer and trust they will be ok.
3. Ok- those who are sensitive move to number 4. Keep a bucket in your room. This may not be true for everyone- but I peed my pants like 3 times in the 10 days post baby. I would get up at like 3 am and be rocking her and pee my pants- no control. We finally learned our lesson and I would just stand in the bucket. Gross and true.
4.BUT dont be scared. It took about 10 days and all my swelling was gone, my episiotomy was barely noticable, I had lost all but a few lbs of the baby weight... I basically felt normal again apart from being really tired.
5. Get an IUD. haha I LOVE MINE. no periods. no remembering. and you can have one while nursing! I got the mirena that lasts 5 years but i will have it out before then for sure.
6. Find a system that works for you and your baby. I use the EASY method (eat, activity, sleep, your time) because I found that nursing lorelai to sleep only meant she couldnt fall asleep unless she nursed. But I couldnt handle the cry it out methods either... I have just put lorelai down awake but drowsy from day one and she learned how to go to sleep herself. Just research a few methods and decide what works for you.
7. Exchange clothes for bigger sizes. I got a LOT of newborn and 0-3 month clothes at my shower (thank you!!) but there was no way she was going to wear all of it before she grew out of it- a lot of stores will let you exchange the exact outfit for just a bigger size even with no reciept.
8. Breastfeeding is hard. I wish someone had told me that (they probably did and I didnt listen) before so that I wouldnt have felt like a failure. It is hard starting out. It is uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. It is hard to find church outfits that you can breast feed easily in, it is awkward under a hooter hider. It hurts and takes patience. BUT it is awesome and special and so much easier than bottles (just my opinion) once you get it all worked out.
9. Find someone to come stay with you who wont give you non stop advice- who will simply clean your house and do your laundry and grocery shop and cook for you. Thanks german mom. :)
10. sing hymns... all day long. This kept me focused on being calm and happy instead of sad or frustrated. You are doing better than you think It is crazy sometimes when I think about all the sleep I lost and all the times I was confused or downhearted and a prayer has picked me up and helped me go on with my day. I sing I need Thee Every Hour to lorelai almost every day and it has brought me to tears more than once... motherhood is hard. But most things in life that are rewarding are really hard right?

Baby must haves:
First of all- I didnt need as much as I thought I did. TRULY- the crazy amounts of accessories and things to "make life a little easier" could put you in debt for years.
1. I liked having a Boppi to use for breastfeeding and to sit her in... she still uses it as a back rest occasionally. And I would recommend getting a cover for it so you can just wash the cover when baby spits up instead of the whole pillow.
2. I used and still occasionally use breast shields. The lactation specialist gave me one in the hospital to help her latch on and it makes it way less painful.
3. I recommend getting at least 2 nursing bras... one sports bra type that is super comfy and stretchy for when your boobs are huge and uncomfortable and one with underwire and all that for when they normalize.
4. A swing. Lolli isnt a huge fan of it now but every once in a while when she is sick I put her in it and she goes to sleep... i would be up all night rocking her without it.
5. A Pack n play. If you are going to travel- get your kid used to sleeping in it every once in a while from the beginning or they will not sleep in it at all later... had to learn that the hard way.
6. Rubber bibs. Once baby starts eating, you will be using a cloth bib for every meal which means like 5 a day. And they stain. CRAZY. So we got 2 rubber bibs for like 7 bucks and just rinse them off after meals. you can even put them in the dishwasher.
7. an inexpensive hand pump. When lolli gets sick she tends to stop wanting to nurse. This leads to rock hard painful boobs. I pump and freeze the milk. I also used it at the beginning to try to increase my milk production.
8. Infant tylenol. The first time your baby cries for hours and you think she has an ear infection is not the time to go to the store. I am so glad I had this on hand.
9. Washable cotton breast pads. More comfortable, cheaper, and no midnight store runs. I bought 2 boxes of 6 and have been using them for 6 months and will prob even get to use them with my next kid.
10. And my last thing... cloth diapers. oh my. yes I said it. I will post a blog ALL about them later but if you are on a budget- they are the way to go FOR SURE.