Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power Of Play

Today was a super busy day! Here was what our little sweetie was up to this morning:


Sometimes he reminds us of the T-Rex from Meet The Robinsons, "I have a big head and little arms!"

Haha, he's always bumping his head on things while he tries to reach for items that are just out of reach under the kitchen counter, a table, the bed, dresser, etc.  It rarely actually hurts him, which is a good thing, but he'll let it happen over and over with how persistent he is. Silly boy, I wonder when he'll make that connection...

Here is a comparison picture of his rash progress:

Wednesday on the left, today on the right

Looking good, no?

We had our second house showing scheduled from 2-3pm so my plan was to spend from when we woke up until the showing: getting ready, packing for us, packing up the pets, putting everything in its place and making sure Ayden got in his morning nap. Guess who left the house at 1:50? I couldn't believe that I actually pulled it off! I have struggled with punctuality my whole life and contrary to what some people in my life may think, I really do prefer and strive to be on time. Today I challenged myself to list everything that I needed to get accomplished, think REALISTICALLY about how long each task would take and then add in time for the unexpected Ayden events (ie. fussiness, extra feedings, book reading breaks, etc. all of which happened...). I am proud to report that I did it :).

During the showing timeframe (we have to be out of the house), I went to Little Miss' family's pet store for some cat food, took Mav to the kennel, Polly to my parents' house, donated a broken vacuum to a vacuum shop for parts, made a quick stop at Whole Foods and was home by 4:00. Ayden slept almost the whole time and I actually had to pause the events above for a nursing break in the Whole Foods parking lot when he woke up. The plan once I got home was to get all of our food prepped and packed and David got home at 4:30 to help. Luckily, Ayden was in an awesome mood after his long car nap so he played while we worked. I LOVE watching him play! Some parents feel like the only way their child will learn is through direct instruction and constant interaction but this is not the case. It is very important to talk to a child about the world and happenings all around them but it is EQUALLY important that they get the chance to explore the world on their own. This time allows them to use their little brains, peaks their curiosity and lets them make their own predictions and, through cause and effect, come up with their own conclusions.

Mr. Rogers totally got it!
 An added bonus in all this? Parents can take a [limited] break while their child is playing. Obviously you need to keep an eye/ear out for safety but if you are in a baby proofed room, or if Baby is playing contentedly in a play pen, get settled nearby and answer a few emails or check your Facebook newsfeed. It's hard not to feel a little guilty, and obviously don't take too long, but remind yourself that stepping back and giving your baby a little room to be their own little person is good too. Here are a few clips of our busy little bee during his play while I cooked:


My favorite parts were 1) how he is putting so many raspberry sounds into his babbling that he sounds like he is becoming fluent in Tasmanian Devil and 2) he is pulling up on everything all the time. So cute! He made it over to the dishwasher too. I think the kitchen is his favorite room in our house to explore. He loves the open dishwasher, fridge and pantry for so many reasons! They all have something he can practice his standing on as well as all kinds of stuff to get his hands (and mouth) on.

At about 5:45 when he declared he was finished with playing independently and ready to have some interaction he let us know by starting to fuss. Luckily we were almost done and were able to hold him off long enough to finish everything up by singing songs and acting silly. Actually, David sang all the songs and did the silly acting while I cleaned up the kitchen. The benefit of having to KEEP our house in showing order is that we'll come home to a super clean house which is always nice.

We are in the car headed to Nashville as I write this. Even though I fed Ayden before we left, I grabbed the 3 ounces I had in the fridge from a recent pumping session just in case. Apparently Ayden is well aware of what bottles are now because he saw it and there was no turning back. Besides the dream feeds that I used to do (which took place in his sleep so he probably doesn't remember them) the only bottles he's gotten are a couple while David had him without me and an ounce here and there for his probiotics. Anyway, he saw it and wanted it right then. He sucked it down and wanted more but we were already on the road and had left later than we had wanted so I leaned over his carseat and nursed him to sleep. It wasn't comfortable but it got the job done. Oh man, the things moms do...  Here's a funny video I saw on YouTube recently that was inspired by this type of situation:


So funny and so true, ha! Ayden's been asleep for over an hour now and we're hoping he'll sleep the whole way since he's not a huge fan of long car rides when he's awake. Now I shall sign off and read some Mocking Jay to my love.

What is the craziest thing you've done in your car for your child?

~Sarah

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Errand Day

 Last night was great for Ayden but rough for me.  My fever kept escalating all night and I was in a hot/cold cycle that kept waking me up.  My fever peaked around 101.4*F or so and when David left it was around 99*.  When Ayden and I woke up for the day at 8:30am, it was back to normal.  I still had a little headache and was overly hungry since I didn't have much of an appetite last night.  Once I was fed and ready for the day I was feeling myself again.  One part of motherhood that isn't always the best is that you don't get sick days.  Gone are the days of lounging around all day just because you don't feel well.  You have to put on your happy face, find energy from the depths within and get on with your day.

In a post last week I showed my awesome new reminder station:


 and I am happy to report that I've done very well with it this week! Yesterday was "anti-procrastination day" (a FlyLady daily focus) which is when you make all of your phone calls, write emails, mail stuff, or do any other little things that tend to get put off time and time again. I had several calls and emails and a small list of little tasks (ie: hot gluing a clip back on my menu board) and I did them all. Today was errand day. First, we went to story time like we do most Thursdays.


Then we went to Whole Foods for some groceries for the weekend. We are going out of town and with our current diet it takes planning and prep to make sure we have plenty of David healing diet/paleo approved eats. The next stop was home to unload the groceries and put dinner in the crockpot. Ayden fell asleep on the way home and easily transferred from his car seat for a nice, long nap.  While he slept I got to work on the crock pot and cleaned up the kitchen.  

Around 2:30 we headed back out for the rest of errand day.  I left my car at a tire repair shop (we found a nail in one of the tires and needed to get that taken care of before our little road trip this weekend) and went to Kroger to pick up a couple of things Whole Foods doesn't carry as well as visit our bank branch there while we waited on the car (Kroger and the repair shop are in the same shopping center so I usually multi-task like this while waiting on car repairs).  Once the car was done we stopped by Lowe's to get a copy of our house key because:

Our house is officially on the market!  So weird to see that sign out front.  We needed a key to put in the lock box on the front door. We already had a showing tonight and have another scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  Crazy!  After Lowe's we went to an office supply store to have a couple of things laminated and then made it home right before David. 

That next hour was a whirlwind of putting the house back together, eating dinner and leaving in time for the house showing.  It's weird to leave knowing that strangers are going to be walking through your house, opening closet and cabinet doors, looking critically at your home and judging your decor.  David went to his Crossfit workout and Ayden and I went to hang at the park. First stop were the swings:


This was his second time on the swings and he loves them!  Now that autumn is approaching, we'll be heading to the park more and more.  I love watching him have fun.  Something about that completes me :).  After the swings we took a walk on the walking path that goes around the park while we waited for the all clear to come back home:

  
Chillin'
The rest of the night was spent hanging out and playing until bed time.  Ayden was in an amazing mood all day!  Usually during errand days he eventually protests getting back in his car seat because there is so much out/in going on but today he just went with the flow.  He would babble at random people during all of our stops and, of course, stole all of their hearts.

How could he not?
As for his rash, when he woke up it was looking much better!  After it erupted like it did after his fever we were considering taking him to the doctor just to confirm that we were hollistically treating him for the right thing but it's improvement overnight confirmed that we are doing something right.  I kept meaning to snap a comparison pic because I was kind of amazed at the progress but never had my phone handy during a diaper change today.  Perhaps I will remember tomorrow...

I also have a couple of new developments to report.  Diaper changes used to be Ayden's most favorite thing!  He loved the nakey time, the way having his bum cleaned felt and the interactions we'd have during that time.  Now he just wants to roll over and crawl away.  This is a normal speed bump at this stage and the key is to stay consistent with our expectations.  He can't learn that diaper changes can be over before they are actually over, so I gently roll him back each time and talk to him about what's going on and attempt to distract him with a silly song or a toy.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but he'll get the idea eventually if we stay consistent enough for him to learn the expectations and boundaries. He has also started looking for things that he knows "exist" but can't see at the moment.  The official term for this is "object permanence."  He was playing with a little silver baby spoon that was irritating his gums and making him get "the screams" so I handed him something that I thought was equally as awesome.  In the split second he took to examine the new toy I took the spoon and when he decided that the new toy was not as fun he started looking all around him for the "missing" spoon.  Another area that he is displaying this new skill is when I start reciting the words to Brown Bear Brown Bear to him without actually having the book.  He'll look in my hands, then around us on the floor and even at his book shelf.  He has always loved that book but this past week or two he has become a bit obsessed and it is adorable.  He will pull it off of his book shelf, sit back, kick at it and whine which is his way of letting us know he'd like to read the book.  While we read it he just sits there with his hands on his lap while he listens.  He'll help us turn the pages or pat at the pictures sometimes with a pleasant look on his face.  When we are done we always say, "The End" and shut the book and he usually starts crying his "you just took the most awesome thing away from me" cry.  We show him the sign for more, which usually makes him stop crying, and read it again.  He can even be crying or fussing and I'll just say "brown bear brown bear" and he immediately gets quiet and starts listening to the story.  So. Cute!  I have read to him almost every single day since he was born and am so excited that reading is already becoming one of his favorite things.

Tomorrow's plans consist of packing and prepping for our weekend trip all while keeping our baby happy and our house in showing order.  Wish me luck!

~Sarah

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We Share Everything!

Last night was ROUGH!  We couldn't decide if it was teething, gas, or what but Ayden woke up screaming, crying or whimpering in some sort of fashion every one to two hours.  And usually, I'll go to nurse him and he'll snuggle in and settle down, unless he needs to burp or spit up (DARN SPIT UP!!) pretty quickly.  Yeah, instead of sweetly snuggling in, he BIT me.  He had only done it once before and it was over so quickly I barely had time to react.  Last night he bit me a good 6 or 7 times, one of which he bit and pulled like he does when he's eating steak at dinner.  That time I cried out,  woke David up and scared poor Ayden half to death.  He proceeded to wail like someone was killing him and by this point it was only midnight.  Needless to say.  Long.  Night.  He slept in until 9am, though!

David snapped this picture before he left and I shall cherish it always <3 br="br">
 In hindsight, we know it was teething because biting at the breast is a sign of that and today he was a bit clingy/fussy and I can see white from the pressure of the teeth against his gums.  Our poor little man (and mommy too) is being put through the ringer this week!

And guess who's sick now??

This mommy...

My temperature is currently 99.8*F and rising.  That one degree makes all the difference because I feel CRUMBY!  Ayden, on the other hand, has made a full recovery and has plenty of smiles and energy to go around. This is Ayden as I write this.



Such a cutie! So glad that he's plenty amused practicing his standing while I lounge about :).

You may have noticed that he happens to be nakey. Back at his 6 month appointment, we showed his pediatrician a quarter sized, raised, red spot in his diaper area that had been hanging out for a while. I had been putting coconut oil on it since it is something we always have in the house and it is cloth diaper safe, anti-microbial and all natural/organic. In other words, it's a super food! We also treated his cradle cap with it twice a day and it cleared right up.

Okay, I digress... The coconut oil seemed to help for a while, then it would become more irritated, then improve and just kept cycling like that. Ever since Ayden discovered his "boy bits," in an effort to explore a couple of fingers would always scratch that very spot. Once we noticed the patch, we assumed that is what caused it and kept him from scratching it the best we could while we attempted to heal it up. Upon seeing it, his doctor wasn't exactly sure what it was. Based on the defined border, he said it looked like a little fungal infection but was very surprised that it was contained the way it was as a fungus usually spreads. He prescribed Nystatin, which is an anti-fungal cream, and didn't seem the least bit concerned.

After a little research, we found that the cream is relitively harmless, got out our diaper liners and started using it. It seemed to improve but got back into the cycle of progression, regression and never cleared up in the 2 weeks since that appointment.

Then, yesterday morning, I changed his diaper and man oh man was that spot angry!

Yikes!
Not only was it a fiery red and had little blister-type bumps but there were a couple of new spots. I suppose this was the spreading the doctor was looking for. Well, being the over-researcher that I am, I've learned a few things about "fungal infections" and shall share them now.

1) A rash lasting longer than three days usually contains some strain of yeast.

2) A "fungal" rash is also known as a yeast rash... I know that yeast is a fungus but for some reason I did no put two and two together. Being a cloth diapering mama, yeast rash has a WHOLE LOTTA meaning. If the doc had just changed his sentence by ONE word we probably wouldn't be in our current predicament... Yeast can colonize in cloth diapers resulting in a fun sharing game called "Pass The Yeast" and it is not as fun as it sounds (if I actually pulled off the making it sound fun part). Perhaps I will write a post completely dedicated to de-yeasting (is that even a word??) our diapers once I wrap my head around the best way to do so. I know that high heat, tea tree oil, grape seed extract, vinegar and sunlight are a few successful cloth diaper safe options, so whatever I come up with will be some variation of those things. Lessons learned are a very valuable price to pay, but at least we'll know next time.

3) Yeast like warm, moist environments and enjoy sweet, starchy things to eat, and this I did know.  But I didn't realize why it all of the sudden took such a turn for the worse.  According to my midwife, apparently Ayden's fever acted as a mega incubator.  They were super happy for that 24 hours and multiplied their little hearts out (or the heart equivalent for yeast?).

4) Nystatin is not as effective as doctors claim because, like anti-biotics, it is over prescribed and yeast are resilient. They can mutate and repair themselves like radio active lab rats. 

5) Do not use anti-bacterial soap on your child's bottom area.  Though it will help kill off 99.9% of bad bacteria (ummm... what about that strongest .01%?), it will also kill off any good bacteria that may be residing there to combat the bad guys.

6) Natural remedies and working from the inside out is actually the best way to nip yeast in the bud.  I started giving Ayden a full dose of his pro biotic yesterday and will continue to do so until he is rash clear for a while.  Apparently, this can be a good idea to do anyway when introducing solids because said solids can mess with the flora of the digestive tract and weaken it.

7) (Sorry, this one is a long one): It is usually advised that you put cloth diapering on hold until a yeast rash is cleared up so you can avoid prolonging the rash with that fun sharing game I mentioned earlier.  While your child is taking a break, you can attack that yeast!  Disposables, or any waterproof material for that matter, do not breath so unless you get the kind that changes colors right when you baby pees, chances are you'll still let the yeast hang out in their favorite environment for a little longer than you should.  So here is my plan.  I have 2 dozen 100% cotton pre-folds which is enough for two days.  There are actually a lot of great things about using pre-folds, but two features are going to come in handy for my plan.  When worn without a cover, they are breathable and you can feel immediately when your child messes in their diaper.  The other reason is that it is really difficult to mess them up.  Other fancier styles of diapers are cuter and "easier" but you have to be careful about exposing them to too much heat because it can ruin the snaps, elastic, and waterproof material; what/how much soap you use to avoid stink and absorbancy issues; etc.  Pre-folds are just straight up cotton...  You still have to be careful about absorbancy when it comes to choosing diaper creams or dryer sheets but they can be thrown in a pot of boiling water to fix any mistakes.  To kill yeast you need high heat and last time I checked, boiling water is pretty hot!  So the idea is that, on laundry day, I'll wash them as usual and then boil them for a bit, sun them and run them through our hottest dryer setting; so that we'll be able to put yeast free diapers on Ayden every time.  Is that time consuming?  Yes, but as you'll read in this post, having time is one of the many reasons that I chose to be a stay at home mom!  Am I always able to find the time that I need?  No, but I sure have more than I would if I were working.  I also am glad that I will have disposables to fall back on if my plan is harder than I think it will be.  One last reason why I chose this particular route in "The Battle Of The Yeast" is because some brands of disposables have ingredients that actually feed the yeast.  

8) The last thing that I want to mention is that yeast is not contageous.  It may spread around your child's diaper area but it will not spread around his/her body or to someone else.  That is, if you are making efforts to keep them at bay. 

Shew!  I hope I have helped someone out there!  For something that isn't super serious, I know my facts may have overwhelmed some folks, but knowledge is power!  As with any area of your life, if you educate yourself about things you are going through you can take on the world and maybe even help someone else along the way!

Ayden snuggled in and nursed right to sleep tonight so I am hoping to not get any bites tonight.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

~Sarah

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Doting Nurse

Ayden was still feeling under the weather today.

Droopy eyes and runny nose (from crying).  Poor little guy!
 His fever fluctuated all night and none of us got a whole lot of sleep. It never got above 102*F, though, and was hovering between low 99* and high 98* by the time we woke up. It didn't get back down to his usual high 97* until after dinner, now here it is almost 9:00 and he's still going strong.  He must be making up for lost time...

Most of the day he's just wanted to be held so I've spent my day holding him, nursing him, wearing him, reading to him, etc.

You can always tell how a baby is feeling just by looking at their eyes...
He took 3 naps today which is great since his little body needs rest! Around 3:30 he started to perk up and played around in the kitchen like he usually does but his stamina is down. After a while this is what I saw:


 My heart broke in a million pieces and that's when we headed for his last nap of the day.

Being sick is no fun! This very situation is one of the many reasons why I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. When I was little, all I wanted when I was sick was my mother. I am so glad that we don't have to endure the added stress of deciding which parent would take off work, calling in a sub (since I used to be a teacher) and feeling guilty about staying home. Or, even worse, leaving my sick baby with someone else while I went to work and worried about him all day. For Ayden's first sick day he had his mommy to hold him and nurse him and love on him as much as he wanted. My mom was always so good at making us feel as comfortable as possible when we were sick. She doted on us so much that we actually wanted to be sick once we caught on to what a good nurse she was. I remember willing the numbers to keep rising on the thermometer so that my mom would make me a bed on the couch, tuck me in, serve me flat sprite and chicken noodle soup and love on me all day long. As the youngest of three of a very busy small business owner mother, it was awesome and worth feeling yucky!

It is so funny that I have fond memories of being sick as a child. I hope I can make something so crumby turn into something so nice for Ayden to look back on and I think we are off to a good start.

And just because I forgot to share this yesterday:

How could I forget to share such cuteness?!?
Hopefully Ayden will get tired sometime soon so we can all get to bed! He's currently practicing his standing and is busy hitting his soccer ball rattle on everything.  Yup... definitely making up for lost play time today. So glad he is finally feeling better!

~Sarah

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quite The Predicament

Just like with rolling over, sitting up and crawling, Ayden is practicing his standing all day long. Not only does he pull up on everything, he's getting brave and letting go. The longest he's stayed up has been maybe 3 seconds and when he falls he thinks it's funny and tries again. He is fearless, determined, and persistent. Sometimes his efforts get him into predicaments:


I had to turn off the camera and "rescue" him because he wouldn't let go and just sit down. He was determined to stay standing but was just stuck and wasn't happy about it. I was tempted to set myself up for one of those future moments where a teenage Ayden would watch the video and say, "wow, instead of helping me you just sat there and videoed it??"  But I thought better of it and decided to help him out of his predicament.  Silly boy! There hasn't been a single dull moment in the past 7 months, that's for sure...

Milk dribble caught in action :)
 I've said this before but so far this is my favorite age (I think that is always going to be the case). Ayden is starting to "love" us back and it feels so good! He shows us by laying his head on our shoulders, grabbing our cheeks and smooshing his face into ours, giggling while we give him Eskimo kisses, and just being super happy to see us and be with us. He is also starting to crawl to us if he is hurt or upset. It's like he has all of a sudden realized that we can help him feel better just by holding him or even being close by. It is awesome. The beginning of a parenthood journey is kind of one sided. Early on you are repaid by watching your child grow and meet milestones. Even first smiles make you feel warm and fuzzy but the older a child gets the more the relationship becomes two sided and it really is wonderful.


Ayden actually has his first real fever right now, poor baby. All day I've thought he felt warmer than usual and kept taking his temperature only for it to read normal. David even noticed it when he got home but again the thermometer read normal. Ayden and I went with David during his Crossfit workout. We played off to the side while David worked out. Ayden was smiling at and stealing the hearts of everyone who stopped to say hi and was in a super mood. After a while, though, he climbed into my lap and laid his head on my shoulder. This is not like him, he usually plays until he's over tired and gets fussy if we're not careful. I stood up to sway and hum to him and he fell right to sleep and it was only 7:00. When we got home I took his temp and there it was, 100.5*F. He's tucked away in bed and I am on fever watch. I called my midwife and she said that if he is resting to just let him be since that is what he needs the most. We want to avoid medicating him if possible so she advised that if he can't sleep or if the fever gets higher than 102*F to go ahead and give him a small dose. Fevers are no fun but nothing brings out a mama bear than when your baby isn't feeling well. All I want to do is help him feel better. Probably won't be getting much sleep tonight so that I can keep a close eye on my sweetie.

~Sarah

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mountain Bikes = Baby?

Today was awesome. Ayden slept so well in the tent last night, as always. He seems to sleep best outdoors and the few times we have slept in a tent have been his best nights of sleep to date in his little life. Maybe we should just sell our house and live in a teepee... It didn't work out quite as well with Maverick and we may have to rethink our plans to take him camping with us this fall. He's a crated dog at night, and actually loves it, so sleeping out under the stars stressed him out. He was panting and pacing, waiting for us to take him home. David ended up putting him into the back of the car with all the windows cracked. It was more crate like for him and he finally got some sleep too.


When we got home we made ourselves some brunch then hung out for a little while and when it was time for Ayden's morning nap we all took it together.

"Do I have anything in my teeth?" Avocado and green smoothie face :)
 When we woke up we saw that we had slept for 2 hours! We needed it and felt rested when we finally got up. Though Ayden slept well in the tent, David and I still woke up a lot so we were so happy that Ayden was up for taking such a long nap!

After lunch, we walked through every room of our house and made a to do list to knock out together.  We got to work and got all but two things marked off I think.  Our house is more put together right now than it's been in a long time.  With everything in its place and the carpets all cleaned we keep having to remind each other why we want to sell this house.  The only way we'll realistically move out is if we find a new house with ALL of the features that we wish this house had.  For me, that's adequate storage for seasonal decorations, my school teaching theme tubs (that I plan to use with Ayden) a laundry ROOM, and a place away from our living space to keep our pet crates (laundry room, basement with a window, etc.).  As for David, he would like a location close to either a park or down town, all brick or stone exterior, a garage and a basement/attic/workshop type area.  We weren't super realistic or picky when it came to purchasing a house with the features we would want in a home but it was our first house so I suppose we should cut ourselves a break.  We will be picky for our next home though!

At around 5pm, David's parents came over to watch Ayden while we went for a bike ride.  A local park has recently revamped their mountain bike trails and David has really been wanting to go ride them with me. 


We actually purchased our mountain bikes a month before we found out we were pregnant.  It took us a while to conceive, so in an effort to distract myself I dove into mountain biking full force.  I enjoyed learning wheelies and rabbit hops.  I'd watch YouTube videos on different tricks and extreme trial riding for ideas and motivation.  I also really enjoyed teaching my body new skills which is something I hadn't realized I missed from my dancing days.  As it turns out, all we needed to do to get pregnant was to spend a pretty penny on a couple of mountain bikes because we seriously found out we were pregnant like 3 or 4 weeks after we bought them.  Needless to say, no more fancy mountain biking for me while I was pregnant (for obvious safety reasons) or in the past 7 months (no time or energy) until now. 


 I have to admit, it is still very hard for me to leave Ayden.  I seriously love being with him so much! When we are away from him I am distracted, feel like I have forgotten something very important, and think about him almost the whole time. He was in very loving, capable hands so I wasn't worried about him, but I just feel incomplete without my little sidekick.  One misconception about attachment parenting is that the parents put their own comfort and lives aside for their baby; but that is not what it's really all about.  AP is about the family as a unit.  Decisions and routines need to be made in a way that benefits all members of the family.  A parent who gets a "break" and comes back refreshed and renewed is going to be more respectful and responsive than a parent who may need a break, but doesn't take one, leaving them feeling impatient and tired.  In this case, David really wanted to have a mountain biking date with his wifey and though I didn't want to leave Ayden, I knew we'd both benefit from some time to focus on one another.  After it was all said and done, we were only gone for about an hour and a half and we had a lot of fun.  Ayden and his grandparents got some bonding time and it was fun to see him happy to see me when we were reunited, which is not something I get to see very often since we are always together.

With the perfect mix of fun, productivity and relaxation, this was a great weekend from start to finish! 

~Sarah

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fashion Statement

We slept in until 9am today! That's a record and we sure did enjoy it! For our movie night last night, we pulled out our couch bed in the living room and it added a fun little twist :). It was a little too comfy I suppose because David fell asleep and I ended up watching the movie by myself... I really enjoyed it since I don't just sit and watch a movie very much these days.

We had a pretty productive day. We borrowed a carpet cleaner from David's parents and our carpets are now spit up free, though I'm sure Ayden will change that soon enough. Now that it seems to be slowing down we'll be putting a little more effort into actually cleaning it up when it happens. Up until now it happened so much that we'd be spending the whole day cleaning the carpets so we just wiped what we could and would move on.

After lunch we headed to the grocery where I accidentally wore these beautys:


These are what I wear out in the yard and around the house sometimes. I know some people actually wear them out of the house but it's really not my style. Especially with them as bright as they are. I realized that I never changed out of them once we were half way to Whole Foods. We were in a bit of a hurry so there was no turning back. We got a good laugh and I owned them as well as one can own such beautiful crocks. I bet no one even noticed, right? We'll blame it on mommy brain though I did accidentally do it a couple of times before Ayden was born.

Ayden is still in a really great phase right now and is usually in a really good mood.

His newest facial expression.  So cute!
His morning nap was a little over an hour but he missed his afternoon nap altogether. We could tell he was getting tired and he did end up getting fussy but all things considered he really powered through for us.

We are camping out at my parent's farm tonight and have Maverick with us to see how he might do. We want to camp a lot this fall and don't want to pay for a kennel stay for Mav every time. We also think he might really enjoy it. We shall see how it goes!

My boys are already snoozing next to me. Now it's time to listen to the crickets as I fall asleep. Ah the sounds of my childhood are so soothing.

~ Sarah

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Bust

So this was my first full week using this awesome window command center that David hung up for me last week.

(The black boxes are over Little Miss' name for her privacy.)
 The idea is that I look at it every night before bed to remind me of my to do's for the next day. It is also in a convenient spot so I can refer back to it throughout the day to help keep me on track. I've written things that always need to get done in permanent marker (which can be removed with nail polish remover if/when needed) and then use a wet erase marker for smaller to do's that change weekly.

I suppose I can say that my first full week using it was kind of a bust.  Not a total bust because I definitely looked at it often and got to cross things off my list everyday, but I still didn't accomplish everything I planned to... We'll call it a work in progress.

Since I believe that self reflection is the best way to improve oneself, instead of being disapointed, I'll look at my efforts and where I fell short and try to determine why so that I can do better next time.  There are two main things that I could improve that would help me complete more of my to do's:
1) Staying focused - I often get side tracked, either with Ayden or by randomly remembering or stumbling across another thing I need to do, etc. The best thing to do in this scenario would be to put my current task on pause, tend to Ayden or just jot down the other to do and then return to my previous task and finish it.  What I actually do is leave the task partially completed, forget about it and move onto something else.  After doing that a few times, I end up with a bunch of partially completed tasks, half of which weren't even on my to do list to begin with, and no time to finish the other items on my list that I had actually planned to do.
2) Time management - If I don't set some sort of timer or have somewhere I need to be that limits my time, I tend to "piddle" as my mom accused me of doing time and time again as a child.  I just mosey along at a snail's pace.  It makes things a little more therapeutic when I take my time but it is far from efficient!  When I set a timer or am pressed for time I get so much more done and though the fast pace isn't always enjoyable at the time, I always feel more accomplished at the end of an efficient day.

So those are my goals for next week.  Stay focused and manage my time wisely!  Hopefully I can cross every single item off of my board next week!  I will break the board down in tomorrow's post but to sum it up, it is FlyLady inspired.  I am far from "flying" as she would say, but I do have morning and evening routines in place which keep our house from being completely out of control.  It just isn't feasable for me to do all of the deep cleaning and whatnot that the FlyLady has you do with a young baby but someday I hope to use the FlyLady program to it's fullest potential.  Once I obtain June Clever status, ha!

Ayden had a wonderful day today!  I can actually blame him a bit for my not getting everything done on my to do list.  When he fell asleep nursing for his morning nap, I just couldn't put him down.  I was blissfully caught up in the moment and soaked up every minute of his nap, watching him sleep.  It wasn't a super long nap, about 40 minutes, even though he was napping on me which usually helps him sleep longer.  While he slept I did get a few things done that David had added to my to do list this morning from my phone so at least I was a little productive...

So much better than any to do list!
 Maverick has been one of Ayden's favorite things for a while now but I think Maverick might finally be starting to like Ayden back.  Mav's always been pretty indifferent when it comes to Ayden but we've been having Ayden give Mav his treats lately and Ayden is always crawling over to Mav to touch his feet or just sit and look at him with wonder.  I had to hang the diapers in the sun this morning after our walk and brought Ayden and Maverick outside with me.  I sat Ayden in the only shade that we have in our backyard from our tiny maple tree and started hanging the diapers.  I was keeping an eye on Maverick because he tends to get in to mischief in the yard, and of course kept an eye on Ayden.  Ayden doesn't really like to crawl in grass so the yard is one place he'll actually stay put these days.  Maverick found the trail of the rabbit that lives under our deck and spent the whole time enthusiastically following it all around the yard.  I hung a few more diapers then turned to check on Ayden only to find Maverick had plopped down right next to him in the shade.  Ayden just looked over and touched one of his paws with a cute little smile on his face as if to say, "Hello, friend, you are just so cool!"  I love it!  I'm so glad that Ayden gets to experience the love for a dog during his childhood.  Dogs are a lot of work for adults but to children, they are magical companions.  I always loved having dogs, or any pets for that matter, and always wanted my children to have those relationships in their lives.  Maverick will be the dog Ayden talks about to his friends at school and will be his primary playmate for the next few years.  I just love seeing our little boy with his best friend :).


Now Ayden is in bed and David and I are getting ready for movie night!  I believe we are going to watch Hugo.  This is our kind of date night these days <3 .=".">

~Sarah


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rimeniscing

Up until very recently, perhaps around the 6 month mark, I would see a newborn baby and my first thought would be, "So glad it isn't us..."  To be honest, the first month of Ayden's life was pretty brutal, and most parent's I have spoken will attest to that being the usual case.  Don't get me wrong, there are moments that we had in those first weeks that I will hold close to my heart forever and wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  At the same time, though, you and your baby are just getting to know one another, your hormones are going haywire, you are dealing with a level of exhaustion you never knew existed, you have an acute awareness that the world around you hasn't stopped and have an uncontrollable desire to pick up your life right where you left off before your new baby's arrival.  All of these things combined, plus some tummy troubles for your newborn (in our case) leave you with something I can only describe as a mixture of wonderful and downright brutal.


Fast forward to today.  Here I sit, typing this post in the middle of the day (which NEVER would have happened during the first month), while my 7 month old is jabbering away, playing with an overturned trashcan next to me (Don't judge! It's only paper...)


I actually sat down to my computer to find some photos of family to print out so I can make a little photo album for Ayden.  He's started noticing all of the pictures around our house so I thought he might enjoy seeing some familiar faces in a book on his book shelf.  I plugged in our rapidly filling external hard drive, opened iPhoto and started skimming through the photographs of his birth to see if I could find all of the pictures that I needed all in one place.  I actually didn't find any that I could use, pictures of grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins all looking at the camera and smiling, but I did get completely lost in the photos. 

Getting to know one another...
 We are so lucky to even have any photos.  If you have read our birth story, you know that we attempted a home birth and had an unexpected transport to the hospital after 33 hours at home.  The fact that David grabbed both cameras on our way out was a miracle in and of itself.


 I suppose it helped that our transport wasn't an emergency, but cameras still could have been the last thing on any of our minds (well... I suppose I should keep it real, pictures and documentation are always on my mind.  Hence this blog!).  We have the entire birth on video as well as some amazing photos.  Every time I've looked through the photos, I've been in a different "place" and they have triggered different thoughts, memories and emotions.  Today, they brought tears to my eyes and I am realizing that slowly but surely the brutality of that first month is fading out and leaving only the warm fuzzies behind. 


 This is why people go on to have more children.  To be honest, there were moments in those early days where we thought that our Ayden would be an only child.  As time passes, like with anything else in life, you don't remember the stress, exhaustion, frustration, etc. quite as clearly.  After a  while, all that really remains is the magical beauty that comes with bringing a baby into your family. The magical beauty that everyone always talks about.


Does this give me baby fever?  Not quite, we want Ayden to be our only baby for at least a few years.  But as our sweet baby turns into a little boy I am finding myself reminiscing about the warm, cuddly newborn he once was.  Sometimes it still feels surreal.  We wanted to be parents for so long and now it is here!  As time passes that we'll never get back I think it is important to ask ourselves, Is it happening the way we want it to? Are we present enough? Are we being sensitive enough? Responsive enough? Respectful enough? This is Ayden's life and it is in our hands.  Whether he grows up to feel loved and respected or alone and unimportant is up to us and how we react to his actions throughout the years.  We won't always do the right thing but I hope that whenever we do go wrong, we'll go back and make it right.  I do know that Ayden will always know how much we love him and how proud of him we are.  He'll also always know how much we love each other and how important our little family is to us. 

I love having videos and photographs to look back on to help me remember memories that become more and more foggy over time.  It is also important to live in the moment and cherish those memories being made as we make them.  It's all about living life and making your own happiness.  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful little family and we never want to take a second of it for granted.

~Sarah

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Next Step


Ayden was a busy boy today! He was hard at work practicing his standing all day. He does limit himself to pulling up on objects that are shorter than him. The dishwasher door, the little shelf under the table in his nursery, his wipe container, my lap, you name it! If it is shorter than him, he's going to use it to practice standing up. He even "steadied" himself on the Boppy pillow that was leaning up against the table in his nursery.


 It wasn't very sturdy and he almost took a little spill but recovered nicely and got right back up. I can't believe he's already moving onto walking! Standing is the first step, so to speak... He did this same thing with crawling. He just worked and worked all day long for days until he mastered it. He never really showed a lot of pride with crawling like he did with rolling over and now standing. He's also a thrill seeker! He was playing a game with David this afternoon where he'd pull up on his Zaney Zoo and then let go, throw his head back and fall so David could catch him from behind. It is amazing how he's starting to make up his own games. Here is a video of their fun.  It is a little long but I knew David and I would want every second of it while looking back on all of this someday:


He's also developed a new fascination with rugs. He likes to pull their corners back and then let them fall back into place. He's gets especially interested if said corner has a tag underneath.



We think that his top teeth are starting to bother him. We can't see or feel anything yet but he's drooling a little more, gnawing on his fingers a lot, getting "the screams" when he chews on certain toys/while he eats and had two meltdowns this morning. The same signs he showed about a week before his bottom two popped through. Poor little guy! The rest of the day was great, but only because I put my to do's on hold so I could focus on him. Anytime I tried to do a chore he'd follow me around half whining, half crying. In other words, he had a clingy day. For instance, I needed to mop the kitchen floor. Not only have Ayden's knees, the tops of his feet and the bottoms on his clothes been getting super dirty lately, David also dropped our jar of Paleo Crunch cereal this morning and shattered it all over the kitchen floor.  WOOPS!  He swept up the mess with the broom but we didn't want Ayden crawling through any tiny pieces of glass so I planned to vacuum and mop as well, just to be sure. Right after Ayden woke from his afternoon nap, I knew I had a window of content time which I used to get the whole down stairs vacuumed (again... Maverick is starting blow his undercoat which actually makes these efforts futile). Ayden actually loves the vacuum and follows me around all the while trying to touch it. When I was ready to mop I needed him to stay put so I tried putting him in his excer-saucer but he gets bored pretty quickly with it these days. Next I decided to put him in the sink but that only lasted about 5 minutes.


 It was no surprise since the sides were perfect for pulling up on... Lastly, I attempted to back carry him in the Ergo. He had fun practically ripping my hair out while I struggled with getting him in by myself (that's going to take more practice) and thought it was hilarious. Once I got him in he loved it at first but he started fussing as soon as I started mopping.

Notice the shirt change from this morning?  I tried to nurse him while Little Miss was playing and he pulled off to watch her just as my milk let down all over the red shirt.  Awesome... Distractability at it's best!

By that time David was going to be home soon so I gave up and waited for him to hang with Ayden while I finally got the job done. David decided to stay home from his workout tonight since he is still sore from Monday night.  We ended the evening with dinner and a family walk and got in bed early.

There really never is a dull moment in our lives these days.  We are constantly on the move and just trying to live the moments as they are happening so that they don't pass us by too quickly!


We love him so much!!

~Sarah

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

7 Months Old!

Man this past month flew by! It feels like we were just celebrating Ayden's half birthday in Nashville and now here we are at the end of August already and our sweetie is 7 months old.

6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month
 I suppose maybe Ayden's 7th month flew by because so much happened in that time frame! We figured our how to get rid of his micro naps, are feeling more rested because we made a final decision on our sleeping arrangements, he is not only crawling but pulling up on everything and it has been a blast! He even pulled to standing and let go three times this morning! He plopped down as soon as he let go but still, it seems like crawling and the beginnings of walking all happened at the same time. I tried to catch it on video but he didn't let go again.  I did catch an impressive attempt to reach down and pick up a spoon that he was playing with while standing.



We are so very proud of his determination, persistence and perseverance. When he falls we try to make light of it by clapping and cheering (if it wasn't serious, obviously). If it wasn't too bad of a spill this method usually makes him forget about what happened pretty quickly. If it was a bad fall, he'll cry and no amount of cheering will make him forget about it. That is when we swoop him up, snuggle him and kiss/rub wherever we think might hurt. These controlled responses to his spills have worked out great for us because he's surprised us lately. He'll fall and it'll look semi-bad then we'll get ready for the cry but he just kind of frowns and may whine a little and then he's back at it again. Such a tough little guy!  In my experience as a teacher, if you start to rush to them every time they fall or cry a little they start to exaggerate it or do it on purpose.  We are hoping this will help Ayden reserve the crying for when it really does hurt.  He's a little young to be "crying wolf" but the time is near so it's best to encourage our desired behavior before it's too late. So far, so good!

As I have done in the past here I shall insert a couple of screenshots of the milestone App that we use to track progress:


We only follow this for fun since we understand that all babies are unique and deserve to develop at their own rate. It is still interesting to see where he falls in comparison to the "norm."

In the Physical Development area, Ayden is doing everything listed above except for clapping.  He LOVES clapping, though, so I'd imagine he'll be doing it on his own soon enough.  He is also doing everything on the list in all other areas.  Peek-a-boo and come-and-get-me games are a new favorite!  He giggles and giggles!  Objecting to a toy being taken away is a new development just over the past week or so.  Lucky for us he is still easily re-directable and he'll calm down quickly once we replace the original object with something equally as awesome.  We have found that a good tool is to go ahead and have the equally as awesome item ready for a quick switcharoo.  His favorite items at the moment are powercords (or anything string-like) and plastic grocery bags.  Pretty much any suffocation or strangulation hazard so we are having to make swticharoos pretty often around here.

House work has gotten much easier because he is pretty content to just follow me around and either play with me while I work or play by himself.  He is super interested in the stairs now, though, so we've busted out our tension gates.  We actually had two given to us years ago and we always used them for Maverick upon occasion and always knew we'd save them for our baby and the time has finally come!





I'd also like to report that Ayden has been making regular "deposits" in his diapers for the past couple of days (3 yesterday to be exact!) and it's looking more and more like big kid poop though it still doesn't smell.  Turns out that when you start Baby Led Weaning at the 6 month mark, it takes about a month for their bellies to regulate and for the breastfed poop to phase out.  So long EBF poo, oh how I shall miss you... (Ha!)  It's so nice that he's gotten so good at raking items and getting them to his mouth.  I have started cutting his food into little pieces and he's doing great with it!


No longer just "exploration!"

Today we were actually home for his afternoon nap ( a first since we re-vamped his nap routine) and I wasn't sure how it would go.  As it turns out, he's been asleep in his crib for almost an hour now and I have been able to clean up the kitchen and write this post.  The fact that he now gets two solid naps, and sometimes a third cat nap, has taken so much stress out of my life! I feel so good knowing that he is getting the rest he needs and I also get some time for me.  Today was doubly wonderful because we napped together for an hour during his morning nap and I got some downtime during his afternoon nap.  I think I'm going to start trying to stay home on Tuesdays again like I used to so that I can enjoy both of his naps to their full potential! 

~Sarah

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Beginning Of The End?

Buddies
 We had a rotten nap day today :(. Little Miss days are always hit or miss when it comes to good naps. We woke up for the day around 7:30am so that made his nap time fall around 10:30. He ended up falling asleep in the Ergo on our morning walk around 10 am and then he woke prematurely at about 10:40 when I tried to transfer him from the Ergo to our bed. Since Little Miss also fell asleep on our walk I was hoping to get a little nap in myself but it was a big fail. Ayden ate and instead of nursing back to sleep as I'd hoped, it was just the pick-me-up he needed because once he finished, he was ready to party. At least he was in a good mood!

Mommy's little helper pulling up!
Somehow I was SUPER productive today... I'm not sure if it's the "get the house ready to sell" mentality, or maybe my new window command center that motivated me but as Little Miss slept, Ayden and I hung diapers out to bleach in the sun, did (and put away) 2 loads of laundry, finally put away Ayden's clean laundry that had been living in a basket for weeks, changed the sheets on our bed, emptied all of the trash cans, cleaned the kitchen, and a few other things I can't seem to recall at the moment.

Who needs toys?
 It also helps that Ayden is a great independent player at the moment. He just hangs out in whatever room I'm in and explores and plays. I take little breaks here and there to talk to him about what he's doing and to hug and kiss on him or make him giggle. He seemed extra interested in the stairs today so I spent some time showing him how he'll have to go down backwards. Obviously it will be a while before he actually catches on but we might as well show him the safe way from the start. For now he just thinks sliding down to the next step down on his belly is a fun game.

Another totally awesome thing I'd like to report is that Ayden only spit up 4 or 5 times TOTAL today. I'm not sure how much I've mentioned our spit up situation but oh. my. goodness. We are so ready for that train to leave the station!! He's been a big time spitter upper from day one and to say we are over it is an under statement. Anyway, 4 or 5 times is a record! I think it ended up being just once after each feeding. Could this be the beginning of the end for spit up at our house?!? I probably just jinxed it but I had to celebrate the small victory and at least acknowledge the awesomeness of the lack of spit up today. Here is a sweet snap shot and a video clip from after a nursing session today.  Breastfeeding gives us moments that are so special I hope I can hold onto them forever.

EYELASHES!  Such a little sweetie.


 When Little Miss woke up we all had lunch and then headed out to drop her off at her family's store. Ayden's afternoon nap was crumby too because I had a couple of errands to run. I knew he'd probably wake up at some point so I got gas first because I knew he'd stay asleep for that one since I wouldn't be getting him out of the car. My next stop was Kroger to pick up a few things that Whole Foods doesn't carry and, of course, the super sweet elderly man who greeted me woke him up. I had to stop and listen to him tell me about how one minute his kids were small and before he knew it they were driving cars. He said he always thought it was too bad that he had to work so much to provide for them while they were little and felt like he almost missed seeing them grow up. That made me a little sad because I know that's how David feels. Maybe that can change sooner rather than later... I enjoy talking to the super sweet greeters at Kroger but at the same time I was super bummed that Ayden woke and his nap was cut short for the second time today. Luckily when he woke up he was pretty chill because typically he wants out of his carseat immediately. He just laid there, quietly starring at me most of the time.

Now I shall share my latest "mommy brain" moment:
One of the items on my list for Kroger was charcoal for our grill. Since I had Ayden's carseat in the basket, I put the big bag of charcoal underneath. I finished my shopping, checked out and got to my car only to find that I had totally stolen the bag of charcoal. I went straight back in to the self checkout lane, "finished" my purchase and headed home. Once David got home and we were talking about our days and I started telling him about Kroger, I realized that I had no memory of actually putting that dang charcoal in my car... Geeze. David double checked the car to find it sans charcoal, as I knew it would be. I called and they said a bagger found it while rounding up the carts and said that I could pick it up tomorrow if I'd like. People must do it all of the time because he reacted like it was completely normal. David asked how, after going all the way back in to pay for it, could I forget to put the charcoal in my car and the only thing I could come up with was "mommy brain." On the way out of the store, the sun was shining right in Ayden's eyes in the cart and I was just concerned about getting him into the car. As a mom, you just get so consumed with thinking, worrying, and caring about your baby that all other things (yourself included) seem to fall by the way side. Oh well, at least I get to go back for it and we'll just call it another story to tell...

So my day ended up being super productive from start to finish. We ate dinner promptly at 5:30 as David requested so he could get to his Crossfit work out on time and while he was gone I made kale chips, paleo crunch cereal and paleo pudding.

Tomato!
Ayden and I also took Maverick for a walk and got back right before David. Then it was bath and bedtime for Ayden which went very quickly because his lacking napping schedule was catching up to him and the poor little guy was TIRED. These days I write these posts as he nurses to sleep in our glider and I really enjoy letting him sleep on my lap for a while as I write about his day. Though it hasn't been easy to write a post a day during this crazy, wonderful journey so far, I know I will cherish every word someday!

It's funny how some days being productive makes me feel so good and other days it stresses me out. There are so many factors at play and I just have to go with the flow. It just so happens that right now, things are in place. I am feeling more rested because of our new sleeping arrangement, Ayden is between fussy stages, and Little Miss decided to take a monster nap. This time next week I could be talking about how exhausted I am and how it takes everything in me just to make it through the day. These past (almost) 7 months have been a roller coaster of emotion, energy levels, stress levels, decision making, and valuable lessons. We've learned to just take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride.

~Sarah

Sunday, August 19, 2012

House Hunting

Happy baby!
 Not too much to report today.  We all slept well last night and Ayden had another stellar day today.  I love that in between growth spurts, teething, developmental milestones etc. we seem to have "breaks" where he is pretty go with the flow and fun-loving.  We spent the morning doing some more projects around the house/cleaning.  Ayden had egg for the first time and as with everything else, totally loved it.  Egg whites are often a delayed food for babies but with Baby Led Weaning they are not discouraged if there isn't a history of an egg allergy in your family.  We made sure they were nice and scrambled, almost to the point of being dry and gave him a small portion. We are always on the lookout for any signs of allergic reactions and all was clear all day until right after dinner.  When I was cleaning him up I noticed some redness around his mouth and a little on his belly.  The crazy part is that dinner was leftovers from last night so we ate the exact foods that he had last night (pork chops, brussel sprouts and cinnamon applesauce) without any problems.  The only new food he had today was the egg but he ate that around 9:30am and this didn't happen until 6:30pm so we highly doubt that they caused it.  The good thing is that by the time we finished our after dinner walk, it was already clearing up and was completely gone by the time he went to bed at 8pm.  We'll see if it happens again on another egg or cinnamon day and perhaps we'll have our answer?  Or it could have just been a fluke.

He's our good little eater!
We spent the afternoon going to open houses and driving around looking for other houses that are for sale.  Our house isn't even on the market yet but we wanted to get an idea of how happy we'd be in a smaller house and plus, it's just fun to daydream about the next chapter in our lives.  I've always loved going inside all kinds of different houses and seeing different lay out possibilities.  I also spent my fair share of time watching House Hunters on TLC back when we had cable so needless to say, real life house hunting has always been fun for me.  We saw a few that we liked but none that we loved.  We weren't too picky when we purchased our current house and have regretted that a bit ever since.  We have our list of "must have" and "added bonus" features and if a house doesn't make the cut we will just move on until we find something that fits the bill.  Our town has so many homes, a lot of which are for sale, and obviously we aren't in a hurry so we'll just look and look until we find our fit!  In the meantime, we'll just enjoy touring other people's homes for the fun of it!

~Sarah