Tuesday, December 14, 2010

8 thoughts on Christmas cards and a tip

Just some giggles as I address, stamp and stuff...

1) My thumb has been asleep now for 2 days
2) I don't know why it makes me giggle to send something to the Raymonts from the Raymonts, but it does
3) It occurs to me I never get as many as I send, but that's ok. I love sending them (even though I can't feel my thumb--it's all about the sacrifice. er whatever)
4) I wish I had the time and the money to send a better card, one with a personalized message or at least an update on what's new with us.  This year it's just a quote from Dr. Seuss.  That's all ya get peeps.
5) It feels really funny to type when you can't feel your thumb
6) I'm thrilled I made it through without addressing any upside-down.  at least I don't think.
7) I love our picture for the card more than words can express.  Thank you MLP!
8) Addressing, stamping and stuffing is way more fun with wine. I really missed it this year.

Quick tip: instead of licking all those envelopes, use a damp sponge.  keep a small bowl of water nearby to re-moisten as needed.  so much faster! (and less icky)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

PSA: Watch Your Mouth

What a lovely weekend it has been!  Got to go out with my husband last night to a fun Christmas party while my mom watched Staci.  This morning we had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then I got to go to Costco with my mom toddler-free!  I forgot how fun and easy shopping is when you're not wrangling a VERY busy toddler.  *sigh* 

The trip to Costco was enjoyable, we walked up and down almost every aisle just browsing and checked out all the toys and books for kids.  And then one of the demo ladies (who was not very slim herself to say the least) handing out pita chips and hummus should really have just kept her mouth shut.  Our conversation went something like this:

Her: OH, when are you due?
Me: March 7th
Her: OOOH, you still have a WHILE then (looking quite surprised, then looks down at my stomach again) it's a boy then?
Me: no, it's a girl
Her: Oh, you're carrying SO low! Is the baby measuring big? You are SO big already!
Me: No, baby is measuring right on track.
Her: Oh, your uterus must just be all out front like a basketball then (eyes wide in disbelief)
Me: yeah, my midwife did say my uterus is right out front... (walking away, wondering wtf just happened)

Which brings me to my PSA for you all.  In case you haven't noticed, pregnant women do not need to hear how big we're getting.  We already know.  Intimately.  I also do not want to have conversations with people I've never met about the placement of my uterus on my body.  The only things that are appropriate to say to ANY pregnant woman, no matter HOW big she is, is something along the lines of, "Wow, you are glowing. You look absolutely beautiful and your belly is so cute!"  Anything that strays even slightly from this statement is really not ok.  Also, if I have never met you, it isn't cool to ask me where or how I plan to deliver, whether or not I plan to breastfeed, or to say things like, "oh it's your second? and your first is HOW old?  WOW, (widening eyes) YOU are going to be BUSY".  So please, watch your mouth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

26 week belly comparison and a name

26 weeks pregnant with Staci
26 weeks pregnant with Olivia


It's kind of hard to tell, but I am pretty sure my belly is rounder this time around, and sticking out a bit further. I wonder if this baby is going to be much bigger than Staci was.  I expect her to be bigger, but the question is how MUCH? :) Anyone want to take a guess on her weight at birth? I'm guessing 7lbs8oz.  Staci was 6lbs2oz if that gives you any idea. What do you think?

Also, we have chosen a name.  Max says we can still change our minds, but I'm pretty set on it ;) Olivia Charlotte. <3

Monday, November 15, 2010

Healthy and Picky Eater Friendly Spaghetti and Meatballs

I did some experimenting in the kitchen and had some success tonight.  I thought you may want to have success in the kitchen, too. So, I'm going to share!  I combined two different recipes for a 'best of both worlds' effect and it turned out great--both my picky husband and 19 month old gobbled it up!  I took the Pioneer Woman's recipe for spaghetti and meatballs and combined it with a recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious  and came up with a healthier alternative to your average spaghetti and meatballs.  I will say, the meatballs come out a bit different in texture than your average meatball, but as long as you work in ALL the breadcrumbs I recommend it comes pretty close.  This recipe made enough for dinner for all three of us tonight, lunch for me and Staci tomorrow, and 2 other dinners to freeze.  In other words, it makes a LOT of meatballs!

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
Nonstick cooking spray
Olive Oil (1-2 Tbs depending on your pan)
20oz package Jennie-O lean ground turkey
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup butternut squash puree
fresh ground pepper

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped.  white or yellow.  I used yellow.  you choose. you're the boss.
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in blender or food processor
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2-3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tbs sugar,
salt and pepper to taste

whatever pasta you choose!

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs (excluding the cooking spray and olive oil) together in a large mixing bowl.  You can start with a spoon, but you're going to need to use your hands for this one.  Just keep mixing, eventually the breadcrumbs will get absorbed by the moisture in the turkey and butternut squash and it will become less grainy.  I usually just keep folding the mixture in on itself kind of like kneading bread.  You will think when you begin you don't need that many breadcrumbs.  But you do. Trust me. I know these things. I have tried it with less and ended up with soggy mushballs.  And you don't want that, do you?  Once your mixture is well combined, put a large skillet over medium to medium high heat (I put mine on '6' but every stove is different) and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Let it heat up while you form 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet or wax paper.  To do this, I used a cookie scoop and then went back and formed the scoops into rounder balls.  This method seems to be the quickest I have found and also helps keep the meatballs uniform in size. 

Add about a tsp of olive oil to your now-hot-pot, and swirl it around so the skillet is coated nicely.  Add meatballs in managable batches (probably 3-4) to the skillet, browning on all sides.  Set each batch on a paper towel lined plate before adding the next batch to the skillet.  You will probably need to add about a tsp of olive oil before each new batch to keep them from sticking to the skillet. 

Once all meatballs have been browned (but not cooked all the way through), add about 2 tsps olive oil to the skillet.  Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Then add the wine.  Cook and stir and scrape all the brown on the bottom of the pan leftover from browning the meatballs.  When the wine has cooked a few minutes and turned a lovely burgundy color, add the canned tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, garlic powder, and carrot puree.  Add a little salt and pepper here, but you can wait until the end to add the finishing touch of this as well. 

Carefully drop in the meatballs and bring the sauce to a simmer.  Turn down the stove to keep it just at a simmer, and let it sit.

Now, put a pot of water on to boil and add your favorite pasta, cooking for the recommended 'al dente' time.  By the time your pasta is done, so is your sauce! If you're feeling extra ambitious, grab some garlic toast from the freezer and pop it in the oven when you put your pasta in the water.  It will be done when your pasta is.  Perfect!

I used 'Barilla Plus' pasta for the extra protien.

OK, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 8, 2010

family photos

Thanks to my awesome photographer friend Mandy we have some absolutely beautiful fall family photos this year!!  I didn't think we'd get that many because Staci refused to stay in one place for more than a millisecond, but somehow Mandy still managed to get many amazing shots! if you want to see the gallery, it is up on her website.  The access code is our last name.  LOVE them!  One (or a few!) will be our holiday card shot!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We're Thinking Pink!

 I am so excited to share with you all that baby  #2 is a GIRL! At least we think.  We aren't 100% certain, but I won't be buying any boy clothes unless we find out any new information when we get to meet our sweet new addition for real.  I got to have an ultrasound yesterday to check on the baby and make sure she was growing well and that everything looked normal.  So far, we are measuring about a week ahead and all measurements were consistant.  I did find out that I have a low lying placenta--and luckily, it has already begun to move up as my uterus has grown to accomodate the growing baby.  The ultrasound tech was able to show me that the placenta was not in fact covering the cervix, but did mention the midwife might want me to have another ultrasound later in the pregnancy to confirm.  Obviously, if the placenta is in the way, I will not be able to have the natural and normal vaginal birth we are all hoping for.  Please keep your finger's crossed for us that the midwife agrees all looks normal and that we can proceed with our natural labor and birth as planned.  Had to take a belly pic so we could have an outside/inside view! 


18weeks4days

baby facing down, profile, spine

It's a GIRL! Probably!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

18 weeks, 22 more to go!


17 weeks 3 days

Finally, a month into the second trimester, I am over the nausea.  I have a small hint of it every now and again, but by and large I am feeling better.  This baby is strong--I started feeling him or her at 13 weeks and I swear I felt quivers even before that.  Max was even able to feel the baby at 17 weeks, 3 days.  I am starting to notice braxton hicks contractions, but they are very mild and I know they are nothing to worry about.  They started around this time when I was pregnant with Staci, too.  So far, I've gained 10lbs which isn't too bad. 

 Hello baby number TWO! I am in awe of your existance, to be quite honest. I was shocked, to say the least, when I found out you had set up shop in my belly and planned on staying for quite some time. I am thrilled to have you on board. I often catch myself wondering what you're going to be like; if you'll be a good sleeper much unlike your big sister, if you'll have the same dimples she got, or the infectious giggle. I wonder who you'll look more like, your father or me. Will you love to dance like your mom and sister?


Your mommy wants you to know how much she already loves you, and how much she's looking forward to introducing you to your totally awesome super cool Daddy and rambunctious big sister. I know they are going to have the same kind of awe and love for you I already have. Stay well in there little one, I'll meet you in 22 weeks!

18 months old

Dear Staci,


Staci and her friend Dylan.  photo credit: Elaine Lentz

You are 18 months old, growing like a weed and sharing new vocabulary with us every day.  You will frequently say words that end in 'k', but replace the 'k' at the end with a 'p'.  So, for example, the word 'book' is now lovingly called 'boop' in our house.  You love to go on 'waps' with us and our dog, Shania.  That is, until yesterday, when you said 'wal-KEH' and grinned.  Daddy and I asked you to repeat it a few times just so we could marvel in your awesome pronunciation.

Your mommy is told quite frequently that you are one of the most adorable little girls anyone has ever seen.  I have to agree with them! Your olive skin, deep brown eyes, gorgeous lashes and dimples have got me hooked.

You have a best friend, her name is Bella.  You call her 'Dede' and get so excited when she comes over you can hardly contain yourself.  The last time she walked in our door, you squealed, danced, spun in circles and then fell down.  I am pretty sure it's a mutual feeling, as I'm told Bella frequently asks to come and see Staci.

I'm often surprised by your perceptiveness and intelligence.  You make new leaps and bounds every day, while to me I think you will always be my baby girl.  I'm trying my best to keep up!  The other day you brought me a hat and I said, "this is a hat," and put it on my head.  I gave it to you, and you repeated, "hat" and put it on your head.  I was shocked at how quickly you learned what a hat was and that hats go on heads. 

One of your favorite games to play is 'hide and seek and chase'.  You and your daddy made this one up.  Daddy runs and hides, you come and find him, then turn around and try to run to 'base' (Shania's dog bed) before he can catch you--giggling as Daddy exclaims "I'm gonna get you!"  This game could go on forever as far as you are concerned!  Mommy loves watching and participating as well. 

You still love to jump, and one of your favorite things to do is jump up and sweep your feet forward so that when you land, you land in a sitting position.  Lots of 'WOOAAH's" and giggles follow.

--You are still wearing your 18 month clothing.  It depends on the brand, as some fit you just right and others are beginning to get too short.  It will be time to get out 18-24 month clothes in a month or so I'm betting.

--I keep trying to tell you there is a baby in my belly.  I ask you where the baby is and you say, "Dadi!" but I don't think you understand you're going to be a big sister yet.  That's ok, we have plenty of time to discuss it over the next 5 months

--You are still nursing.  Some days, like yesterday, you will only nurse one time.  Others, you nurse more frequently.  Today you have already nursed 3 times.  I am glad you are still nursing, because I know it is so good for you. and I swear some days the only solid food I can get you to eat is cheerios ("Cheecho's!!") and yogurt ("ya-ya!!")

--You know most body parts and attempt to say many of them

--You love shoes, and especially love to try to wear Mommy and Daddy's shoes.  I see a little girl who loves to play dress up in my future.

--Your mommy is very excited for Halloween this year.  I think we will take you trick or treating but probably not let you eat much of the candy.  Your little body just doesn't need all that sugar QUITE yet.  Maybe next year. Maybe.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

kick, kick, kick

Today I am 15 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The whole first trimester flew by, even with the crazy hard core nausea and fatigue.  I am feeling much better these days--especially now that I'm feeling some kicks! I even felt a couple from the outside for the first time tonight.  I called Max downstairs and of course the baby got shy.  It is still early, but it sure would be fun to 'share' the kicks with Max!

I haven't gotten around to taking any belly shots yet, but that needs to happen soon as the bump is beginning to grow beyond leftover Staci and into New Baby territory.  I've been in maternity clothes for a month already.  CrazyTown.

kick, kick, kick... kick kick kick... ;)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I haven't shared this pic yet, so here is the perfect opportunity as I'm still having a bit of trouble believing it myself.  These are the 3 positive tests I got the day I found out I was pregnant.  I sorta thought the first one was a fluke!  Now that the nausea is mostly gone (Thank GOD!), I'm starting to feel less tired, and at 13 weeks I'm not feeling much movement... it is still hard for me to believe! I mean, I know I'm pregnant, but I think it is still sinking in!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Staci-isms

--A few weeks ago, Max taught Staci how to say the word 'outfit'.  It doesn't sound like outfit to the untrained ear, but she certainly knows what an 'outfit' is, and when she says it she will grab her shirt and smile.  Today, she was being super adorable (when is she not?) and I told her, "You are SO cute!".  She grabbed her shirt just like she does when she says 'outfit' and said 'cute!'  Why yes you are :)

--She won't SAY hooray, but she will throw her arms up in the air with you when you say it! (if you're happy and you know it shout hooray!)

--She has a funny bone in her butt.  Literally.  When I apply lotion before bed, that is a dry spot for her and I make sure to get it good.  Giggling ensues.

--She has learned the word ouchie, and also that she gets them on her knees.  Even though her most recent ouchie has healed, she will still point to her knee and say, "ahchie!"

--We have a book entitled 'The Library Lion' that is really a bit too old for her.  There are too many words on each page to hold her attention for the whole story.  She has learned on exactly what pages the lion roars and will raaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwrrrrrrrrrrrrrr when she opens the book to that page.  Also, if I call her a liar (like when she says poopoo and points to her butt and there is no poopoo to be found), she roars at me.

--She has all her favorite books memorized by page.  Although she can't recite them with us yet, she does any and all motions we have made up to go with them at the right time (before I do them).  For example, in the book 'Kip the Kitten', there is a page where we count the cats that come in through the cat door.  She starts tapping the page and pointing to cats before I even get there. 

I. Love. That. Child. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Consignment Shopping

As many of you know, I LOVE congsignment sales!  There are a few baby and kid's sales that happen in my area twice a year.  You can find excellent deals on items that are in like new condition and help the environment by saving these items from going into landfills.  You may be able to find cheaper items at garage sales, but what I like most about these sales is the items are-most of the time--already inspected.  It isn't very often that you'll find a stained or ripped item at a consignment sale.  Oh, and the toys work!  It is possible to find items like this at garage sales, but in my experience there is a lot more time, effort, and DIGGING involved! My favorite is the Indy Kids Consignment sale.  It is going on in just a couple of weeks--September 16th-18th.  One of the blogs I follow, INGoodCents is hosting a giveaway for presale tickets to this event. I am very excited about the possibility of getting to shop the presale! If you are in the area and interested, go to her site and sign up!

The other two sales I like to check out are the Whale of a Sale and Just Between Friends.  The Whale of a Sale has probably what I would consider the most high-end items--and also the highest prices!  I still love it though.  The JBF sale tends to have items that are not inspected as closely, so just be sure to inspect them yourself and I'm sure you'll find a great deal!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

diaper sewing diva

I finally did it! I finally made the diaper I have been thinking about and talking about making for months.  It turned out pretty cute!  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, either.  Except for sewing the elastic into the seem allowance. that part was hard! Hopefully, after I wash it and dry it it will still look somewhat like this LOL! 

I think one of the things I am most excited about are the snaps and my new snap pliers.  I had read that snap pliers were not appropriate for plastic snaps, and that you really needed a snap press.  This is not entirely true.  KAM snaps makes an excellent product that is a fraction of the cost of a snap press (around $100, the pliers are $27!!) and they worked great.  I read the instructions, tried a snap out on a a scrap piece of fabric and voila! It was SO easy. I am very impressed.  If I can do it, trust me, anyone can!

I can't wait to try Staci's new diaper! I will have to report back and let you all know how it works!

moving? perhaps!

We, my husband and I, have been discussing it for a while.  It always seemed like a 'one day' type of discussion.  But after coming home from a day out with my mom who is buying a new house, he finally expressed the desire to move closer to his office--and the sooner the better.  Personally, I like the area we live in.  Our neighborhood is safe, our home is affordable (and still practically brand new), and we have enough space for family gatherings.  However, I don't like that he leaves the house before 7am every morning to beat the nasty traffic a la the I-465 parking lot.  Because he leaves so early, he is able to be home by 5.  I love that he is home by 5, but he has still spent an hour and a half in the car that day.  It really isn't a terrible commute.  But it could be better. A lot better!
 
So, we're thinking of putting the house on the market.  My mom is moving to the east side of Indianapolis in a cute little area close to where my brother and sister-in-law and their two boys live.  This area is 10-15 minutes from my husband's office.  AND, I've already found a house I LOVE!  Well, I love the outside.  I need to see the inside of course! It would be so nice to be walking distance from family.  I would love for Staci to spend more time with her cousins, and I would like to spend more time with family myself--especially with baby number two on the way!

There is a problem, unfortunately.  The builders are still in the neighborhood, and I personally can't see why anyone would buy a 'used' house when they could go down the street and build one and choose all the options themselves.  I know that houses here are selling, I see for sale signs and a few months later they are gone, and a moving truck comes.  So I know there is selling going on, but I don't know how much the sellers have had to come down on their price in order to get the job done. 

It is all kind of up in the air right now I guess! We are waiting to hear back from our realtor about a market analysis.  If things look like it's possible to sell the house for at least what we owe, I think we might try to do just that. Wish us luck!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nesting

After months of batting a big fat zero in the home cleanliness department, I am finally getting into the swing of cleaning again!  Once Staci started pulling herslef along, it became almost impossible for me to keep up with this house.  I just wasn't sure how to manage her and clean--especially because I do try to limit her television watching.  I don't think TV is bad necessarily, but I do think she will learn more and be more active if the TV is off.  This week, however, she has watched way more than I approve of.  That is because Mama has been BUSY!  Monday, I spent nearly the entire day decluttering, trimmed the bushes, shined the kitchen sink, hung the second curtain rod up in Staci's room (so we could have blackout curtans and her pretty curtains up at the same time) and cleaned up the toys in both play areas.  That doesn't sound like much, but it took me most of the day. 

Yesterday I didn't get much done around the house because Staci and I spent the entire day out and about with Grandma E checking out her soon-to-be new home and area of town!

Today, I vacuumed the entire house, steam-cleaned the living room carpet, had friends over and went for a nice long walk, did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned all 3 toilets, and steam-mopped the kitchen floor.  Wow, when I write it all out it sure doesn't sound like that much, but I only sat down during nap time!

I think the big motivator for me in finally starting to get our house in shape is that Max and I are considering getting our house on the market and looking for a new home closer to his work.  More on that in the next post!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Four Years!

This month, my wonderful husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary.  It's hard to believe it's already been four years!!  We celebrated with our favorite meal and a very special cake that evening, and had a wonderful evening out the following Friday evening.  Our dinner at home was more difficult to enjoy because we spent the entire time chasing our daughter (who refuses to stay in her high chair longer than 3.2 seconds) but the food was still picture perfect!

For our evening out, the hubs took me to The Melting Pot.  We had our own private booth and enjoyed our 4 course meal--it was fantastic! Cheese fondu, salads, traditional fondu and then of course chocolate fondu for dessert. YUM. Wish I had a picture of that...

update on Staci

And before I know it, another month has gone by without me updating the blog!  Our little girl is exploding in the vocabulary department.  She has a TON of words, though some of them she will only say the first half of the word--for waffles, she says, "waffffffffffffff" LOL. She has also added 'play' and 'cereal' to her sign language skills.  She will pucker up for kisses with the cutest little fish face, she gets excited to see her bff Bella when Mommy and Aunt Mandy work out, and she will bring me her lovey to hug, ya know, just in case I needed one.  And she will also spin in circles on command. probably my favorite trick so far!

She is finally starting to expand her eating a bit--I am THRILLED to announce she is now eating yogurt with NO side effects.  In the past, when I have given her any dairy product, it has been quickly followed by stuffiness and fussiness, and occasionally hives and swelling.  She has been eating yogurt almsot every day for a week.  I'm even more elated in the fact that she LIKES it! YAY! my baby likes YOGURT! something her father will not touch with a ten foot pole.  Thank goodness.  At least I won't be begging HER to eat something besides hot pockets and pop tarts!

And you know what? She ate some cottage cheese yesterday. with no problems.  I never thought I'd get her to eat anything like that.  I'm thrilled!  Still too nervous to try mac'n'cheese or grilled cheese sandwhiches--or cow's milk for that matter, BUT, it's a start! In the past, both cow and goat milk have ended in me cleaning up puke, so I think I'll stay away from those a little while longer.

Yogurty McYogurt Face


that is so just the tip of the iceburg...


OH yeah, it got messy.  but it was awfully cute!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anastasia 15 mo stats and pics

This post is a little late, but better late than never!  At Staci's 15 mo appt, she got 2 vaccinations and impressed Dr E with all her sign language skills.  She is still right at/around the fiftieth percentile for both height and weight--and twentieth for head size.  She got Mommy's head size which isn't altogether a bad thing! We still have plenty of brains, that is for sure. ;)

Height: 30.5 inches
Weight: 21lbs 13oz

Thanks to my awesome photographer friend Mandy at Mandy Leonards Photography, we have some adorable photos to share!
This last one is my absolute favorite! I love that squishy, devious smile <3

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big News

Everyone who frequents this blog already knows, and Max and I are looking for a fun way to tell long distance family. so, here it is!
No one was more shocked than me to see that line pop up on the pregnancy test! I tested because I was planning on drinking wine that evening, and since my cycles hadn't become regular yet (in fact, I only had one) I figured it was a good precautionery measure.  I was so surprised I walked out to tell Max, and couldn't utter a word.  I ended up just handing him the pregnancy test.  He jumped up and hugged me, and I just started giggling.  With everything we went through to get pregnant with Staci, I did not think there was any chance we would ever have a surprise pregnancy.  Obviously, I was wrong! 

I did have a little bit of spotting a few days after the positive test and went into the doctor for some bloodwork to see what my levels were doing.  the first level came back at 156, and the second was 397.  It more than doubled in 48 hours which is fantastic, and faster than the doubling time from when I was pregnant with Staci.  

We went for an ultrasound on Wednesday, 7/14 and I was measuring 6 weeks and 2 days pregnant, so exactly where I thought I was.  we got to see the heartbeat and even got to hear it for a little bit.  The heart was beating at 120 beats per minute, which is just about perfect for how far along I am.  I think the heart rate will go up over the next couple of weeks. If it stays low, I will be thinking boy!



In the ultrasound above, the baby is on the right and the yolk sac is on the left. 

So far, I have been feeling pretty nauseous for about a week.  I ordered some psi bands and got them today, they seem to be helping a little.  Basically, they put pressure on an accupressure point that is supposed to disrupt your nervous system's recognition of nausea.  I'm glad to be feeling some relief!  When I was pregnant with Staci I used the b-natal therapops and those worked well, despite the icky too sweet flavor of the cherry I had.  This time I got the green apple flavor but they are still too sweet and not all that effective with this pregnancy--which is unfortunate.

Other than nausea, I have been outrageously hungry and it seems if I am not shoving food in my mouth I'm nauseated.  So, I might be gaining a lot more weight with this baby--I'm hoping I don't! I am also exhausted.  Pregnant and breastfeeding my 15 month old is really wearing me out.  yawn.

Although there are some unpleasant symptoms, I am so thrilled to be expecting again!!  My babies will be about 23 months apart, which is how far apart my brother and I are. I think it will be perfect.  I can't wait to find out of this is a boy or a girl!

I won't be sharing this on facebook for a while, so please no comments there quite yet.  But most people that read this blog already know, and the ones that don't are family so we decided to go for it! ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How do you DO it?!

Since having a baby, our house has become increasingly neglected.  Increasingly more disorganized.  Increasingly more, well, just plain dirty. *hangs head in shame*  Seriously though, I can not find the motivation to keep our house 'company ready'.  And I have a sixth sense things are only going to get worse! I have talked about starting FLYLady on here before, and I did start it.  I never made it past the first week. 

I've been like that with a few things in my life. The diving team, my college major... but mostly when I decide to do something I jump in with both feet.  I guess that's why I'm struggling with this so much. I just can't seem to commit myself to a daily routine. 

Which brings me to the title of this post--how do you do it?  How do you keep the house clean while wrangling a toddler who instantly unfolds what you just folded, pulls out what you just put away, dumps things all over the floor, and then wants to read a story?  I am at a loss!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

15 Months Old

Dear Staci,

You are 15 months old!  Not a day goes by that you don't make your Dad and I laugh and leave us in a state of amazement.  You are so much fun at this age!  You are walking everywhere but still falling quite a bit.  You love to dance, and when we ask you to, you sway back and forth complete with your own song.  It goes kind of like this "eh eh eh eh mm mm mm".  You love to give hugs and say, "ahhhh" as you dole them out.  You give these hugs to Lovey, Shania, Rascal, your friends Bella and Veronica, and of course Mommy and Daddy. 

We went to the Zoo yesterday and had so much fun! You absolutely loved the dolphin show and practically jumped up and down the entire time.  You clapped and laughed and squealed as they performed for you.  You were your normal fearless self and made friends with everyone around us, making sure to tell everyone 'hi'.  It was very hot, but you didn't complain at all.  It was hard to get you to stay in the stroller and we had a few battles when Mommy got too tired to carry you any farther, but we made it through.  Eventually, you fell asleep and Mommy loved watching you sleep for a little while.

--You are still nursing 3-4 times a day and once or twice at night
--You are finally falling asleep on your own.  On occasion you fuss a bit, and tonight you started crying :(  I got up to check on you, but you quieted down before I got to your door.  So, you must have been OK.
--You are wearing 12-18mo and 18mo sized clothing
--Your communications skills are excellent for your age.  You are speaking single words and combining signs left and right like 'milk, please' and saying 'up' but then signing 'please'. 
--Your signs include milk, please, thank you, mama, eat, and bath.  You have made up your own signs for 'fancy' and 'closed'.  I love that my 15 month old says 'fancy'!!
--You know where your belly button, mouth, nose, eyes, and hair are. 
--You have six teeth.
--It is difficult for Mommy to keep the house clean because you pull things out of cabinets, open them, and dump the contents out on the floor.  Or just take random things and leave them in random places!  I can't wait for you to talk so you can tell me where you put my mascara.
--You figured out how to undo the childproof cap ages ago. 

Mommy and Daddy love you, Anastasia.  Thank you for being a constant source of joy in our home.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...and we're back

Gosh it's been a long time since I've updated on here.  First of all, sleeping is going SO much better, and consistantly so.  This is the first time, ever, that sleep has been consistantly better.  I feel like she was finally ready, and because she was ready there was very little crying when we finally got to the point of laying her down awake and off to sleep.  Thank goodness! The past 2 weeks she has only woken up once or twice (mostly twice) but I will take it!
 
Secondly, we have a little walker on our hands!  She has just taken off in the walking department, going from just a few steps at a time to full on walking through the house--all in just a few weeks.  It's amazing how fast she learns!  She also can sign the words 'milk', 'please', 'eat', 'drink', 'all done', and 'more'.  She says 'up', 'mama', 'dada', 'hi', 'ki' (kitty), 'gee' (doggie) and has said lots of other words one time but those are her go-to words that I hear constantly.  She knows where her nose, eyes, hair, and belly button are and I'm hopeful to teach her some more body parts soon. 

Staci is going to be 15 months old tomorrow. She is officially a toddler.  I'm the mommy of a toddler.  WOAH.  MAMA.  but my gosh, I am loving every minute.  Being a mommy is so cool! ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

oh so frustrated

To say my daughter is a bad sleeper is like saying 9/11/01 was a bad day.  I mean really, it is awful.  Last night was the first night in almost a week where she DIDN'T wake up for 2+ hours in the middle of the night.  I'd consider it a victory if it hadn't taken 2 hours to get her to go to sleep, resulting in her finally going down at 10pm.  It's currently 8:59pm and we have been trying to get her to go to sleep for over an hour. In that hour I nursed her 2 times, she got crazy upset in her crib while Max stood outside just trying to get her to calm down.  After just a few minutes she vomited everywhere, so I went in to help clean her and the room up at which point she asks for milk again. so, that's 3 times nursing now in a little over an hour.  Did I mention she is 14 months old? She can be completely calm and near sleep and the second I even get near her crib she erupts into a fit of screams.  Like, she's not just a little upset.  It's all out WAR to her, and she's not losing.  Strong willed doesn't even BEGIN to describe it. 

GAH.  I just had to get that out!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Steps

Anastasia took her very first steps today!!!  I was making dinner while Daddy played with her, and I missed them.  Max SCREAMED, "MEEEGAAANN!!!" and I dropped everything and took the stairs 2 and 3 at a time. My heart was in my throat--I thought for sure she fell and hurt herself BAD or was choking or something terrible with the way he yelled my name. I got up there and he calmly stated, "Staci just took her first steps."  At which point I screamed, hugged her, and cried.

I cried for a few reasons.  1) I missed them.  I immediately felt like a horrible mother.  HOW on EARTH could I miss my daugher's VERY FIRST steps?! 2) Tears of joy.  I don't think I ever truly understood happy tears until giving birth.  What an amazing feeling. MY BABY IS WALKING!  and 3) a small part of my brain said, "HOLY SHIT! I REALLY HAVE TO BABYPROOF NOW!!"  and if you have ever tried to babyproof anything, you totally get that one.

Never fear, Staci did a repeat performance after dinner.  She can take 2-3 steps before she needs someone to catch her, but gosh--you gotta start somewhere, right? I am so happy I got to see it.  My baby girl is walking!  What a momentous occasion!

Dearest Staci,
  Congratulations sweetheart.  May those first steps be the start of some very happy feet for you.  Wherever they lead--be it to dance, to run, to jump, to spin in circles until you fall down, to far off places, may you always find yourself surrounded by love and laughter. My heart is so full right now. 

Love,

Mommy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Officially a grown-up

On Mother's Day, 2010, I officially became a grown-up.  That is, according to my mother.  The fact that I actually planted flowers and mulched all by myself were the actions that officially crossed me over from child to adult in her mind. 

I love my mother.  She is awesome.  And she knows it.  So awesome in fact, that she knows the only way to get something done well is to do it yourself.  So, as you may have guessed, there were many school projects growing up that got turned in that were much more her work than mine. The same goes for household chores and things like yard work.  I never had much of an interest, perhaps because I never had the opportunity to do anything other than pull weeds out of the rocks lining either side of our driveway.  I mean really, who wouldn't get excited about that?
In addition to planting flowers, I am also growing a few herbs in my window sill and have managed to keep two aloe plants alive.  I have never been able to keep plants alive! I just always forgot they were there.  What has changed?  Perhaps my mom is right.  Perhaps I truly am, finally at 27, the married mother of one--perhaps I truly have become a grown-up.  *shivers*

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kitchen Adventures

I recently had the opportunity to try Dream Dinners at a fraction of the price thanks to Groupon.  I had such a fun time going in and assembling our meals--I made 6 meals in just over an hour.  Usually, it takes me about an hour to make dinner once you include all the vegetable chopping, so to make SIX dinners in that time frame was awesome.  All of the chopping was done for me.  All I had to do was measure out ingredients and assemble them in freezer bags.  It was SO easy--and fun! They set out soft drinks, coffee and leftover goodies like chocolate chip cookies nad cupcakes.  so, I was in heaven.   

Over the next couple of weeks, we enjoyed our meals.  A typical meal needs to be defrosted in the refrigerator first.  Then, you cook the meat, add the pre-assembled sauce/glaze/vegetable medley and serve.  It took so much stress out of my evening.  I love to cook, but it's difficult with a toddler crawl-running everywhere and a husband who just came home from work and is tired.  I was falling into the spaghetti/chili/frozen pizza (eek!) rut and really needed some new ideas to spice things up. 

Going there and seeing how the whole make-ahead-meal world operates was eye opening and inspired me to do a little freezer cooking on my own.  Over the past few days, I doubled the recipe of a few of our favorites and froze the leftovers.  I have recently been cooking out of Deceptively Deliscious, and from there made and froze taco filling, bolognese sauce, and sloppy joe filling.  I also pre-assembled a new to us recipe I found through allrecipes.com for Chicken Teriyaki in orange ginger garlic sauce.  I can't wait to try it!

So, in case you are wondering what I mean by 'pre-assemble', I will break it down for you.  I did all of the prepwork for this recipe and froze it in a ready-to-cook state.  I bought some chicken breast tenderloins and threw a little over a pound in a freezer bag.  Then I took another gallon size bag and stuffed it down in a bread crumb container, folding the edges over the top.  This way, the bag doesn't fall over spilling my ingredients everywhere. I dumped all of the ingredients for the orange ginger garlic sauce in and then sealed the bag.  I even included a small freezer bag of brown rice (uncooked) just so that everything is together when I need it.  I can't wait to try it--it sounds so good, doesn't it?

Freezer cooking on my own definitely takes more time that going to Dream Dinners, but is also less expensive.  That said, Dream Dinners is still a great option for the busy family--most of their meals come in at under $4 a serving.  I just prefer to eat for much less!

Monday, April 26, 2010

She's a Big Stander

Staci is officially standing! Yesterday she did it for the first time on her own--let go of the couch to play with the card she was holding.  I don't think she even knew what she was doing, and when Max and I began clapping and cheering she had this look of bewilderment--and then a giant grin! She stood there for a good 30 seconds at least. 

Ever since last night, she has been working on her new skill.  She has already improved so much--and can stand and clap at the same time! Such a show-off :)

She has also started giving hugs on command.  It is by far my favorite new trick of hers! She has been so wiggley for months now and would never just cuddle.  I swear, one hug from her can make your heart and soul sing.

She is getting so big! She has outgrown her 12mo sleepers and is moving into the 18mo stuff now.  Which means a lot of laundry and organizing is in my future. 

Staci also has some words! Her first official word was 'Hi' and she is still saying it! Now every time we go through a door she will say hi to whoever is on the other side--even if it's no one.  She loves saying hi to the dog and kitty especially.  These are also words for her--'Duh' and 'kiyey'. Last but not least is 'UH OH!'.  she will throw things on the floor just to say, 'UH OH!'.  So. adorable. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

new pictures

Mandy took some amazing pictures of Staci for her one year pics, as well as a few headshots for me and my new website.  Go and see the sneak peak!  Head shots    Staci's one year pics

New Adventures

For a few months now I have been wanting to do a little something to bring some 'fun money' in, but have been reluctant to look for a job outside the home because Staci is still nursing. Also, it's important to me to get to be there for her and watch her grow up. I wish there was a job I could bring her with me to, but those just don't really exist outside of child care--and I'm just not very interested in watching other people's kids! 

Thankfully, I have this really great friend of mine who is an up-and-coming photographer.  You all know who I'm talking about--Mandy Leonards Photography.  She had the idea to have a boudoir marathon, and invited me to do the makeup for it.  It all sort of snowballed from there, and I have started my own business as a professional freelance makeup artist. 

I did a bunch of research (thank you, dear Google) and found what I believe are some of the best and most high-quality professional makeup products on the market and ordered some things to start my kit.  I'm very excited to get it all and play and practice with it!

please check out my website and let me know what you think!

Makeup By Megan Alexis

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh What Fun, YOU ARE ONE!

Dear Anastasia,
  I can't believe this day has already come and gone.  You are O-N-E! You are the light of my life, you make everything more fun.  My friends think I'm crazy for not doing much without you--I need more 'me' time they say.  But who would want 'me' time when I could have 'us' time?  You are hilarious, you are cute, you are smart, and I love you.
  Today was a gorgeous day.  This morning I dressed you in a pretty pink dress with tulle around the skirt at the bottom and a little slice of cake with a candle on it. It was a present from Aunt Windi!  It's your birthday after all.  Your FIRST birthday, and I just had to dress you up!  I sang happy birthday to you a few times and we danced.  You LOVE to dance.  After breakfast, Aunt Mandy and Bella came over and we went for a long walk.  You honked the 'horn' on the stroller and played music for us with the buttons.  You showed Mandy how well you walk behind your push toy; you giggled at Bella.  We ate lunch, you took your nap, and then we headed out to run a few errands.  I made you turkey meatloaf (potentially your favorite food) for dinner and then it was time for bed. 
  Tomorrow is Good Friday and Daddy has the day off so we are going to the zoo to celebrate your birthday as a family.  I can't wait, I know you will love it!

--You are in 12mo sized clothing
--You just learned to clap last week
--You giggle after I laugh--which makes me laugh, and then you laugh more--it goes on for a while like this
--You are still not sleeping so well but getting better and better. 
--You still love to nurse, especially at night
--You are pulling up and cruising and just today stood for a couple of seconds all on your own
--You have now learned how to open the cabinets.  So Mommy needs to babyproof those ASAP!
--You are finally crawling on all fours more and more.  That belly scoot is way too much work!

Mommy loves you.  You are moving into an '8' year which is a money year.  Hmmm perhaps you will start your uber-successful modeling career so Mommy and Daddy don't have to worry about your college fund.  I wouldn't be surprised, you're pretty darn cute.

Another Guest Post

My photographer friend Mandy asked me to write a guest post for her blog on makeup for photography.  Go check it out for tips and tricks you need to know!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Staci is Airborn

no, really.  When she jumps her feet leave the crib!  and then she claps for us.  she rocks!

my first DIY--cupcake stand!

For Staci's first birthday, we are doing a cupcake theme.  What better way to display homemade cupcakes than to put them on a pretty stand? I knew I wouldn't find one like this to buy, so I set out to make my own.

I found the instructions for this DIY from CakeJournal.  It was so easy!  I did change a few things and I have some more insight as to what worked for me and where to find what you will need, so read on!  Here is what you will need:
--Satin ribbon (I used 5/8" and it worked well)
--scissors
--small silver pins from a craft store
--scrapbook paper or nice, heavy wrapping paper (or cardstock)
--round cake boards in 8, 10, and 12in sizes
--2 cake dummies (more if you want to add more tiers) I used one 4x4 and one 4x6 round styrafoam. 
--Glue stick 

Note: I had a hard time finding what I needed.  I ended up ordering the cake dummies from Taylor Foam but I'm sure you could find them at any baking supply store.  The closest ones to me were about a 40 minute drive one way, and with an 11 mo old I'd rather pay $10 for shipping than make that trip.  So I did.  I ordered the cake boards from Ultimate Baker.  The shipping was outrageous for such inexpensive items, but so worth it for the end result!

Step 1) Wrap the satin ribbon around the cake dummies and secure with silver pin. 

Step 2) Trace the outline of the cake boards onto the back of the decorative paper.

Step 3) Cut the circles out of the paper

Step 4) Paste the paper circles onto the cake boards with the glue stick

Step 5) Wrap and glue ribbon around the edge of the cake boards to get a more unified and finished look

Step 6) Stack your cupcake stand.  You can glue it together, pin it together with the silver pins, or even use Royal icing to stick it together.  Since I want to be able to reuse the cake dummies for future cake stands, I will use the little silver pins to pin each piece together.  This isn't the sturdiest way but thankfully cupcakes don't weigh very much.

Before I put the ribbon around the boards, these are the trial run cupcakes for Staci's first birthday

But I felt it was missing something, so I added the ribbon

I'm going to have to run to Michaels and get more because I ran out, but doesn't it look so much more finished and professional?  The cupcakes need their own post.  Thank you Pioneer Woman, your Yellow Cupcake recipe is the bomb!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Trip to the Farm

Max and I have been discussing joining a CSA to get more healthy produce into our diets.  It is a strong belief of mine that eating organically when possible is the best option.  I don't like the idea of putting unnecessary chemicals in my body, not to mention eating strawberries from Mexico that were picked weeks ago when I could eat produce picked just days ago from a farm up the road.  Supporting local agriculture has many benefits, and to me, it just feels good.

We got up early today, on a Saturday (yawn!).  Around 9:15 Becky and Keith us up to head to Victory Acres, a certified naturally grown farm about an hour from here. We piled into their Mazda V and headed north.  Staci and Veronica (10 months) sat and happily played Peek-a-boo with me and Becky while the husbands sat up front and chatted. 

Upon arrival I have to admit I was a bit skeptical.  The first thing we saw were two double-wides and some rather disorganized looking greenhouse structures.  I don't know.  I guess I had envisioned a cute little farmhouse complete with garden gnomes and window box blooming flowers.  (yes, I know it's March.  and nothing is really blooming yet...)  We were greeted by Terry, the head dude at the farm and Charley, an extremely lovable golden retriever mix.  Charley sold me on this farm in about 3 seconds.  He was such a sweet pup!  I think you can tell a lot about a person by their animals. :)

Terry took us through the farm, methodically explaining which plants were going where in each of the rows of field.  I have to say I expected it to be bigger.  I am amazed they grow enough food for even the small business they do, but since I am a city girl what the heck do I know?  It was hard to envision since nothing is really growing yet.  When he took us through the greenhouses it was really neat to see the teeny tiny buds beginning to peek out of the dirt.  It's amazing that in just a few weeks those buds will be vegetables ready to eat! 

Charley ate some weeds and then chased the cat.  <3

Terry pointed out the henhouses, explaining that cage free is not the same as free range chicken--apparently cage free means the chickens could still be packed in very tightly and unable to rome free.  With the free range chickens at Victory Acres, they had ample space to rome about, creating a much healthier atmosphere and in turn, healthier eggs. 

After seeing the plants, we piled back into the car to visit the animals.  Charley raced the car up the road.  As soon as we walked into the barn, the animals all came up to greet us.  The cows even came in from pasture to wink and flick their ears and swish their tails for our benefit.  We met merino goats, sheep, and a brand new 2 week old ram.  Staci was none-too-sure about the sheep.  She got pretty upset when I tried to get her closer to the sheep and then the baby ram.  I am not sure why she is scared of sheep of all things, but she calmed down after a few minutes.  Poor kid!  For now the farm is not milking the cows or goats for sale, but maybe sometime in the future. 

All in all I am glad I did not make any judgements at first, because the farm turned out to be very cool and probably just what we are looking for.  Terry sent us home with 2 dozen eggs (one dozen for each family) and a big bag of spinach to split just for coming out to visit--how nice is that? I see a fabulous spinach salad in my near future :) I am open to checking out some other farms in the area, but this one is deifnitely in the running.  I felt very comfortable there and Terry was so easy to talk to. 

Once we have a plethora of fresh veggies and fruits I will need to make a real effort to eat what we have so I will be hitting up all my friends out in bloggyland for yummy recipes!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

oh the things I would change...

If I could change one thing about myself, I would be less outspoken.  I have stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I can count, and in the process have hurt the feelings of true friends.  I have alienated acquaintances.  And I have created an image of myself that isn't altogether true. 

I wish I could be one of those people that are seen as agreeable.  I would love to sit back and fade into the sidelines and just be Staci's Mom for a bit.  But whenever I try to keep it on the inside, this voice bubbles up and spills over and I end up lashing out in the form of a facebook link overreaction or a heated (and well researched) rant.  It's not that I TRY to be over the top.  I just am. 

For example, some time ago I read an article about a hospital in Colorado that has banned The Bradley Method.  I find this to be completely ridiculous for many reasons that I will save for a different post, but when I shared the link to the article I stated, "these doctors should lose their licenses".  Do I REALLY think they should lose their licenses? Of course not.  But I DO firmly believe that ANY doctor who has done their research would never ban the safest way of having babies for healthy pregnancies, mothers and babies.  I do think these doctors have not done their research and are doing women a disservice by disallowing them to trust in themselves and their bodies.  This comment got a heated debate going in which a childhood friend (who is a doctor) had much to say. 

The problem is that when I bubble over, I then care about what other people think.  I want to be opinionated. And I want everyone to agree with me.  I don't want there to be any hurt feelings.  So, I need a filter, but I'm not happy if I try to filter the things I feel strongly about. 

So, acknowledge our differences, and love me anyway?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I've been quiet lately

I guess I've had a bit of 'writer's block' and haven't had much to say.  Hope this is a good consolation prize!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy 11 months darling girl!

Dearest Staci,

How is it even possible you are almost 11 months old? 

As I write this, I find it hard to believe that exactly 11 months ago I was checking into the hospital where you were born.  The same hospital that had me sign a form stating the only people I wanted in the room during delivery were the nurse, the doctor, and your father, and then went ahead and invited the entire staff as you were crowning. I can't imagine why they made me sign all that paperwork when I was in labor.  In HARD labor.  I would have agreed that I was an elephant and should live at the Zoo if they told me it meant I'd be done signing forms! It's even more difficult to believe they took 7 tries to insert a simple HEP lock.  And then did it during a contraction.  Does anyone wonder why I'm strongly considering a home birth for the next kiddo?  I digress. 

Staci, some of the sweetest memories I have are of you as a newborn.  Your little newborn sounds, snorts, and snores.  The way you slept on our chest all day long (and refused to sleep anywhere but there even at night).  I would relish in every new thing.  Your father and I would just watch you in amazement.  And then we would watch some TV while you nursed because you would nurse for hours. 

Now, you are so different.  It's all I can do to get you to nurse just a few minutes at a time during the day.  You are so busy!  You started pulling up just a couple of weeks ago and are so good at it now.  You can pull yourself up on pretty much anything.  Your daddy is even helping you do pull-ups using the dining room table.  He swears you're doing most of the work.  Little Baby Hulk! 

--You are now wearing 9-12mo and 12mo clothing, with a few 6-12mo sized items thrown in.
--You are finally in the biggest size of your one size diaper. 
--You are pulling up and cruising, and even after only a couple of weeks are able to move from one piece of furniture to the next.  You're a little daredevil and will reeeeaaach for things and then fall if they are too far away.
--You are working on learning to climb the stairs.  Mommy is not encouraging this behavior.
--You still have no teeth
--Even though you have no teeth, you can eat just about anything. 
--Speaking of eating, you have lots of food allergies that mommy is hoping you will outgrow.  So far, you have had not-so-nice reactions to dairy, eggs, and peanut butter. 
--You are still waking frequently at night to nurse.  Mostly, now, because you are too busy to nurse during the day

Thank you for deciding to enter this world and allowing me to be your mommy.  I love you so much and I promise to help you along your path, whichever way you choose to go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why I Love Wine

Dear grapes, thank you so much for letting yourself be squished, your juice fermented, so that I may drink it and feel fabulous. You have made bad days bearable and celebrations sparkle. You pair well with all sorts of lovely dishes. You look pretty on my table. You smell nice. I love it when my throat and belly get all warm after a few sips. You feel fancy, even when you’re cheap. One glass and I am the BOMB at Boggle. Two glasses I strat ot spel wrdso wrogn. Oh Wine, you make me happy.

My drinking days started out much like anyone else’s. Under age, fake ID, some Boone’s Farm and bad decisions. The usual. Since then, I like to think I’ve blossomed into a bit of a cheap wine connoisseur. What is your favorite cheap wine?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

GO VOTE!

All the entries are in and the polls are open for Mandy's photo contest!

GO AND VOTE!

Things I Love Thursday: Babywearing

TILT is a blog carnival originating from The Diaper Diaries
This topic was recently discussed on an online forum I post on on IVillage.  I have known many of these wonderful women for years, and last November had the privilege of meeting some of them in Las Vegas.  Babywearing is something I don't just love; I'm passionate about it.  I just learned that many of them don't agree with my views--and that's okay.  Part of the reason I love that board is I get to hear all different points of view and no one shuns anyone for being the best parent they know how to be.  It's wonderful.  I LOVE my IVillage girls!!  But since this is my blog, I feel compelled to share a little bit more here than I did there. 

When I was getting ready for Staci to arrive, I read 'The Baby Book' by the Sears' family and just fell in love with the attachment parenting style.  One of the best pieces of advice I got from that book was to wear your baby.  This is a well researched topic, and a great resource where you can read about the documented benefits of babywearing is here

The reasons I love babywearing:

1) It just FEELS good.  Since the day Staci decided to enter this world, I have felt compelled to hold her, soothe her, and be close with her.  Babywearing nurtures her AND me. 

2) Staci hardly ever cries.  Even as a newborn, hearing her cry was extremely rare.  I attribute this to two things--breastfeeding and babywearing.

3) It's easy to get things done around the house!  Need to vaccuum? Mop? do the dishes? cook? you can do all of these things with your baby in a sling.  Some of my favorite memories wearing Staci are at the Grocery store, walking up and down the aisles with her snoozing away, her head against my chest. 

4) It stimulates milk production.  Any breastfeeding mother can identify with the fear their baby might not be getting enough milk.  After all, you can't measure the amount of breastmilk they are taking from your breast unless you have a super duper sensitive scale.  Babywearing helps keep milk production up and has certainly eased some of those fears for me.

5) It's way better than using a stroller nine times out of ten.  It's easier to transport (especially if you have a small 4-door sedan like we do).  it takes up less space--not just in the car, but if you are in a crowded area as well.  You and your baby will always fit in the aisle and between racks of clothes--unlike most strollers.  Besides, what do people do when they go to the bathroom?  I have never figured this out.  Most strollers don't fit...and even if they did I wouldn't feel comfortable closing the bathroom door and leaving my baby in a public place where I can't see them.  Wear them and go on about your bathroom business.  It's so much less stressful!  It does take some maneuvering and getting used to, but it's so worth it. 

At ten months old, I still wear Staci frequently.  Now I put her in the grocery cart most times, but occasionally I decide to wear her because I want her close, and she wants to be close.  Babywearing has become part of my parenting style, and we both love it.

Photo contest!

Most of you know or have heard me talk about my good friend Mandy.  She is a new-to-the-biz photographer and in order to gain some traffic to her site is having a photo contest.  If you are in the Indy area,  you can enter by sending her your favorite photo of your child.  If you are not in the area, I encourage you to go to her site and vote!  Become a fan on facebook and you can vote there, too.  I did enter Staci so go and check out the pictures and vote for your favorite.  It doesn't have to be Staci--I won't throw cyber-rocks! I know she would very much appreciate the traffic!  Click here to get to her website, and then click 'enter blog'.  you will find her post about the contest there.  Voting begins this evening I believe!

pulling up, falling down, and family fun

This past week has been an explosion of development for Anastasia.  I think she heard me say she was a bit behind the curve in the movement category and said to herself, "what the WHAT? I am not behind, Mommy, I'll show you!"  Over the course of two days, Staci taught herself how to get into a sitting position on her own and to pull up to standing upright without having to rest her belly on anything.  She is now a sitting and standing machine!

Due to her quick development, we didn't get the crib lowered in time to prevent her from falling out of it.  She's fine.  I'm probably scarred for life, but she continues to try to crawl off of things so I guess she's not too affected.  I hope she has no more knievel Impressions planned!

On Saturday, we got together with Max's brother and sister in-law and their 3 boys.  It was so much fun to see them (they live out of town) and Staci had a wonderful time with her cousins!

Here is Staci with Trent--he was such a good older cousin and she had such fun playing with him!

Carter was adorable as always and stopped playtime to give her a hug! <3
Carter was VERY excited about his new Nerf gun!
and just cuz I couldn't resist.  GLEE on that face I tell ya!