Friday, June 29, 2012

Pinterest Projects Week 1

Week 1

1.  Baby Sandals

They look cute, but she tries to eat them. I think they'd be better for a baby that hasn't found their toes yet!

 2.  Dog Gate

After I put it up, I decided to test it out while I took a walk. That little rat dog got through somehow!  It hasn't happened since and it looks MUCH better than two baby gates that collapse on each other.  Much cheaper too!

3.  Patriotic Wreath

This bugger even held up in that 'tornado-like, hurricane-like' storm we apparently had Friday that I slept through.  Fabric glue is no joke. Just ask my carpet..but don't tell my husband!

4.  And more tutus!

Black with bows and candy corn with layered length colors!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let the Pinned Projects Begin!

Last July (it was actually last spring, but it took me until July to join) my sister kept raving to me about this site called Pinterest.  Mostly to stop hearing the question, "Did you check out Pinterest yet?" I finally gave in and joined.  Since then, I've fallen in love with this new way to waste the day and I've been contently pinning away.  (Sorry Alysia! You were right!)

Now, I'm not going to say that I haven't tried anything that I've pinned, but I don't think I have done enough to warrant using any more precious time pinning what is essentially a wish list of cute/useful things.  Therefore, I've decided that I'm going to use this blog to keep myself honest.  I've set a goal of three Pinned crafts per week.  I'll post them on here along with other projects I've done throughout the year.  Hopefully I'll find that I've done more than I think!

As a bonus to you, if you see that I've successfully (or mostly successfully) completed a project, you can be pretty sure you can do it too. This is especially true for anything involving the kitchen-which is my nemesis.

Also, when Mark asks me what I've done all day, I can kindly refer him to this post-and then give him one of the common responses in our house these days:  'Your daughter is alive and well, isn't she?' or 'I was raising your child.'

This 'project' should be fun considering our house need to be clean for showings and I've already covered the place in fabric, paint, tulle, cement, yarn, and thread.

And, Kristyn, I think I'll save the dairy dishes for November...

Ready? Go!

Week 1

Baby 'sandals'

Next up: Dog gate.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off to the Beach

So recently, we were invited to a friend's house to hang out by the pool and to swim.  Looking back at our (my) preparation for this big event, (Kinley's first real time in a pool!) I am realizing how much life really has changed.  Last summer-although whale-like in shape-my big heading-to-the-beach concerns were:

1.  Did I have enough water?
2.  Was my bag packed? (Sunscreen, book, towel, bug spray, crackers.)
3.  Were my legs shaved?
4.  I hope no creeper is hanging out at the beach today.
5.  Were all my parts tucked in or covered appropriately for the beach-viewing audience?

The general prep time was about 10 minutes.

This year, it appears that the scenario will go more like this:

 1.  Do I have the sippy cup?
 2.  Do I have the cooler filled with extra water?
 3.  Do I have the beach tent?  Where are all the pieces to that thing? How in the world am I going to
      get this assembled alone with her?
 4.  How many towels are in that bag?
 5.  Make sure her blankie comes with us!
 6.  How many toys did I pack?
 7.  Grab the teether.  And the pacifier. Maybe two...
 8.  How many diapers did I pack?  Do I have the swim diapers?  Don't forget the wipes.
 9.  Do I have her hat?  Did I grab an extra-you know-just in case?
10. What will I do if I can't get a close parking spot and I notice some childless, twenty-something  
      woman parked in my much needed beachside space?  Would it be rude of me to glare at her and
      stare her down until she leaves? Is that appropriate behavior for a mother?
11.  Did I coat every little inch of that with SPF 70?  What if I missed a spot?!

The vision of my once of my bikini-clad, barefoot self cruising out onto the sand with little bag in hand has morphed into an overly-covered-infant-toting bag lady with a five-o'clock shadow stumbling towards the water.

And I'm ok with that.

Besides, with all of that time spent on my 'new concerns', it is fortunate for me that Mark has decided that, this year,  I should worry less about tucking in my new parts.  ;P

Goodbye lazy beach days!  Hello family beach trips!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turning Into Dads

As much fun as it's been to watch myself 'turn into a mom', there's one thing that's been way more fun.  Watching Mark turn into a dad.

I knew that he was incredibly eager for me to release her into the world, but I wasn't exactly expecting the possessive side of him to take over from minute one of her life!

As the doctors were below the curtain doing their thing and bringing our baby into the world, the only view that my anxious, practically-shackled-to-the-table-self (more on that later) had was of the blue curtain at my chest and the face of the very confused man standing above me (Mark).

He wasn't saying much and I wasn't feeling much.  (That spinal block is a scary, magical thing.)  Curious as I was, I was talking a mile a minute.  (For those of you who know me-this is the usual. Why would childbirth change this?)   "What are they doing down there?", "Why can't I feel her?",  "Did they cut yet?",  "What is that tugging?", "Dear god!  What is that pain in my shoulder?",  "Hey!  Am I covered down there?  She's not coming out down below."  "Is she ok?",  "Is she a girl?",  "Is she nine pounds?"  Much to my avail, I don't recall receiving one response.  What I do remember are the first words that came out of his mouth when she entered the world.  "She's me!"  accompanied by a look of sheer amazement.  And it was at that moment that he was gone.  Smitten. Enamored.  Captivated. Charmed.  One might call it wrapped.  I like to call it 'In Love'.  He was no longer Mark Johnson-husband to Amanda, son of Robin and Randy, brother to Jason and uncle to Ocean.  He was Kinley's daddy.

Pictures during their special time.
Daddy's first time holding her.

And since 11:32 on 11.11.11, that's the way it has been.  To be honest, I think she managed to curl that teeny finger around him in the months preceding this date, but I have no real proof.  Nonetheless, with her here, I've been able to watch my husband turn into her father.  Her playmate.  Her caretaker.  Her advocate.  Her best friend.  Her protector. Her biggest fan.

It's funny to me to see the man who would fill his evenings with tinkering with his irons or bow, and his weekends on the course or sitting quietly up in a tree, scrap that time just to be home to watch his daughter wake up because, "She has the best smile when she wakes up."

I get more joy watching him watch her than anything else.  (OK-I'm pretty happy playing with her myself too!)  In the beginning, he wanted to take her anywhere and everywhere.  He was so proud that he wanted any excuse for the world to see his baby.  "Do you need anything from the grocery store?  I can take Kinley."  "Oh, you've had your stomach sliced open within this past week?  Let's walk over and have dinner at Miltonia." (haha.  It's ok. It was good for me to get moving.)  Now, it's little things like turning her seat around in the stroller so that he can watch her, or immediately sending pictures we've taken to Walgreens one-hour photo.  It's amazing how easy it's been to get him to take a walk with me (Is that all I had to do?  Have a baby?  Well that was easy...) Forget it if I tell him she has a fever-he's out of work to grab her faster than he can shut down his computer.

And then there's the not-so-little-things like Daddy scheduling her doctor's appointments for 2 pm so that he can get her from daycare and see her midday (and Mommy has to be at work  :'( ); and insisting I go get her at 2 am because she's decided she's a belly sleeper, and the risk of suffocation outweighs that of the possibility of sleep (for either of us apparently) while she's in her room laying like that.  (I'm not gonna lie-I prefer her with us, too.  I just wish her position of choice did not include her head nuzzled near Daddy and her feet all up in my ribs and face.)

I love seeing the triumphant look on his face when he gets her to sleep or to stop fussing.  Even more than that, I love seeing how much fun they have at bath time, and the smug look on his face when she says 'Dada' (especially when I've been pleading for her to say Mama again)  I love seeing how happy he is when she sees him coming and has a whole-body-shrieking-freak out, and how excited he is when I seemingly-succomb to his letsdressourdaughterincamo infatuation.  ("Do you think if I take her into the woods now, she'll eventually just like hunting?" haha)

It cracks me up when he asks what we're doing and I tell him we're watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and he responds with 'Ahoy!' I guess the months of watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in preparation (Yes, I saw you!) have paid off.

I don't know what happened in that first two hours of her life when I was in recovery and Kinley and her daddy had their special alone time, but I like to call it magic.  I never doubted that he would  love her or be proud of her,  but I never really expected what actually happened.  He's jumping to change every diaper (even though he'd never done it before) and putting his ear on her chest to listen to her little heartbeat, watching her sleep for hours, setting the tv to The Disney Channel for the morning, and dancing with her across the kitchen tile to sappy songs.  Forget the countless hours watching the Golf Channel and perusing Archery Talk boards, this is what Kinley's daddy can be found doing these days.

Sometimes it breaks my heart to see his face when she reaches for me when she's really upset/hungry/needs a teether.  I try to remind him that she still loves him, but for some situations, it'd be helpful if he were also lactating.  Sometimes a baby just needs her mommy.  I ask him to give me that...because soon enough she's going to be daddy's girl.  It's inevitable.  Little ladies need their daddies, and our daddy deserves that.

A Father's Day nap.

Giving Daddy her card.

Matching hairstyles for Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Deals I Love

Here are a few-hopefully helpful-sites that tend to frequent my history folder. 
(No, I am not getting paid for advertising these sites.  I just love them.)

This little diddy can be a little annoying to use-or to remember to use, but it's little perks for doing basically nothing can add up!  I've 'earned' over $100 in Amazon credit in the past year just for using the search bar.  (And you all know how much I love Amazon!) There are tons of different prizes and giftcards to look into.  You can go to the website and use it as a search engine, or you can download the swagbucks toolbar and search from there.  The search engine isn't the greatest, but if you don't get the results you're looking for, you can just retype into your google bar. 

2.  Mysurvey

Mysurvey is just that-a survey site.  If you have a little time between diaper changes and laundry, you can earn points that transfer into prizes (I make mine Amazon again. ;P) Some of the surveys can be a little tedious, but worthwhile for basically giving your opinion. I haven't had it happen in a while, but every four months or so, they'd send a survey in the mail with $30 cash to do it.  Unfortunately, there is sometimes a waiting list in membership. I guess it's gotten popular.

3. Totsy

If you're like me, you get a little tired of seeing other tots strolling around in the exact same gymboree outfit your little one is wearing.  That's where totsy (and zulilly) comes in.  You can get unique and adorable outfits for really sweet prices.  Bonus:  there's stuff for mom and dad on there too!

4.  Zulilly  (see above)

5.  Amazon

Clearly, I love Amazon!  They not only have competitive prices, but also offer free Amazon Prime (two day shipping!) through Amazon mom for up to a year.  Amazon mom isn't just for moms either.  Aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. can use it.  Diaper prices are awesome too-and if you sign up for Subscribe and Save, you get an additional percentage off. Diapers waiting at my doorstep when I get home? OK!

6. MamaCheaps

I use this through Facebook because this awesome lady constantly posts awesome deals that show up on my newsfeed. If it were up to me to remember to look every so often, I would fail.  I've purchased tons of awesome things and also received many free things from using her references.

7.  SampleStuff

Like mamacheaps, everyday freebies posts a lot of good deals.  Unlike mamacheaps, most of hers are freebies, so they tend to be repetitive and not as frequent as mamacheaps.  However, who can pass up a freebie?  I also use this through Facebook.

8.  Groupon

Unless you have been under a rock, you know what groupon is.  I don't buy too often, but a few times a year they have great Old Navy groupons. It's worth checking them out every so often.

9.  Diapers  runs some good sales and you can get a good deal on your first purchase from them.  The real reason I like is that you can mail them in your coupons to use for your purchase. I wish Amazon would learn from this.

10. Pampers

If you use pampers and haven't noticed the little stickers on your bag with a bagillion numbers on them, you're missing out!  Pampers Gifts to Grow program allows you to register your codes online.  These codes translate into points, and points cash out for-you guessed it-prizes!  You can 'purchase' toys, gift cards, coupons, etc.  Do it!  (Or send me your codes... ;P)

11.  Ebates

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check for your website before purchasing anything online. It's free money-allbeit not generally a lot-but if you shop online like we do, it adds up.  If you enter into the swagbucks search engine, you sometimes get a double whammy of $$.


Target sends out their own store coupons every so often.  (I have a Target card from way back and I hear that frequent use helps get you the coupons.)  Target will accept both a manufactures coupon and a store coupon for any item. This adds up!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lessons Learned 3

21.  Shut them down. The visitors that is... You are in no condition to entertain and shouldn't feel obligated.    But when you do let them come (which you will), have them all come at the same time.  Don't let them wait for someone else to leave.  You'll never have time to nurse and your boobs will pay.  And if you're not nursing-you'll never get that nap.

22.  Get maternity and newborn pictures done.  You will never regret having them, but you'll probably regret not having them...and no one has to see them if you don't want them to.

23. Jeans? Hah!  Just leave them in the closet for a little while longer.

24.  Prepare for a c-section-just in case.  I was NOT having one...but apparently she was.

25.  On that note-you are no longer in charge.

26.  You will cry when they get their ears pierced, their first hair cut, start solids, get a bug bite, bump their head, reach for someone else, etc... There's nothing I can tell you that will prevent this.  Instead, keep a journal to your child.  Let them know what they did to you.  ;P

27.  Be mindful that, although you've gotten used to eating like a vulture, other people haven't.  Awareness when you eat out with friends should begin before the meal-not after your full rack of ribs and side of fries is gone and your friends have barely grazed their sandwiches.

28.  Before that little being makes their appearance, make food and freeze it.  Or, if you're like my friends the Croce's/Sockriters, invite a certain doting grandmother over to fill your house with wonderful aromas.

29.  If you are nursing, be prepared to limit your diet after the baby is born.  There is a good chance you will have to eliminate certain foods for a while-but it's a much better option than what you will deal with if you don't.

30. It's ok if her first word is Dada.  At least it's not some other four letter word. (I'm still working on 'OREO'.

Must Have Items

When we took our first trip to NJ, I was sifting through Kinley's things and managed to get a reasonable sized bag together for her.  This got me thinking-if I'm leaving for the weekend and don't feel most of this stuff is necessary, then why do I have it? Well, duh! It was either cute, looked cool, was given to me, or someone said I 'had to have it.' And so, I've decided to compile an ongoing list of items I find to be key in raising a baby-and also keeping one content. (Please note, I'd be a hypocrite if I said not to buy those cute and cool things because my house is busting at the seams with them and I have no intention on stopping any time soon.)

1. Button up t-shirts with scratch mittens.

Forget the cute little mitten sets-unless you want to start a fashion statement and dress your child with mismatching paw covers.  You will lose them.  Well probably just one.  We lost our first one in the hospital. They scooped up my sheets and took the mitten along with them.  Of course when I realized this, I begged for the nurses to call up housekeeping to look for the 'tiny white mitten with yellow and green animals and patterns all over it'.  No dice.  Apparently that's not a priority of a maternity ward nurse. Go figure.  So my dreams of being that "together mommy" who had baby sock radar and placed each one of those tiny socks into the little lingerie bag each night in ended abruptly.  When she was two days old to be exact.

Another bonus of those shirts is that, since they don't snap at the crotch, they don't rub on the freshly cut umbilical cord.  That's not to say it won't fall off the day after she gets home from the hospital and you won't text and call everyone you know asking if you made your child susceptible to diseases or gave them an ugly belly button by allowing that thing to come off so fast...but that's a story for another post.  Also, Mark likes them a ton because, like many new dads, he has a fear of the baby's head and loves any product that does not require putting that dangerous thing through a tight hole and then shoving their arms through it while screaming.  (Did I mention that at seven months old, he will still pull her clothes DOWN her body, rather than over her head.  I keep trying to remind him that he's ruining her clothes and giving me good reason to shop, but the pros clearly outweigh our credit card statement.)  And speaking of clothes that do not go over a baby's head...

2.  Sleep Sacks

Zip up sleep sacks and Halo sleep sacks.  These, also, do not need to go over your baby's head.  If I leave the baby with Mark all day, there is no doubt in my mind that she would never wear anything else. (Unless it was camo.  All the better if it's a camo sleep sack.)  One time he tried to put her in her carseat wearing one.  (Don't do this.)  These sacks are easy and cute and serve as a blanket as well-thus decreasing the risk for SIDS.

3.  Tight Socks

Now I don't mean 'cutyourcurculationoff' tight socks.  However, a firm band is key.  Those thick comfy looking socks will end up in the pile of 'I'm missing my friend' socks.  Don't bother.

4.  Aden + Anais Swaddle blanket

I LOVE these blankets.  They are adorable and HUGE and the muslin material is light enough for summer, but thick enough for winter. The nurses at the hospital were also in love with them, and daycare started recommending them to the other parents after we started.  They are a little expensive, but I saw that Summer's Infant now makes their own version.  I've also recently noticed that they make little security blankets and bibs too.  (I shall add this to my list of things to buy when my husband is in a good mood.)

5. Moby wrap

For all of your baby wearing mommas-or the ones who are forced to go grocery shopping with the baby and a carseat that takes up the entire cart-get one. They aren't too expensive and can be contorted in so many different ways that your baby HAS to like one of the holds.  Kin still likes a version of the newborn hold facing in-which is weird for her age-but I love it!  I love my Moby and it has gotten me through many a day where the child MUST BE HELD or is teething or just wants to snuggle mommy-and mommy just wants to pee.

6.  Bouncer/Jumper

This is regarding a bouncy seat AND a jumperoo.  We didn't register for one because we had so many 'things' we figured it wasn't necessary.  A friend lent us one and I will surely be buying one of our own if we have more kids.  It's great to sit on the floor of the shower when you are able to get your weekly bathing in and when your baby has reflux, you can strap them in and place it right in their crib-which is what we did for a little with that dairy allergy misery.

Now that she's more mobile, that jumperoo is clutch.  The thing keeps her occupied and wears her out! An added bonus is the sheer joy on her face while smacks around every noise-making item on the swing (that's the no so fun part for mom and dad)

7. Sound Machine

We were given a sound machines portable white noise machine. It's cute and pink and portable-and a great distraction for a fussy baby.  Bonus, it soothes mommy right to sleep too!

8. Swing

Ohhh your baby doesn't want to sleep?  Put them in a swing.  Bliss.  We have the Fisher Price My Little Lamb cradle and swing.  That thing can eat up some batteries!  Luckily for you ladies who have not registered yet, this awesome swing now comes with a plug-in option!  Unfortunately for us, our grabby baby still loves her swing, but is able to reach the mobile and that terrible diga-diga-diga-diga noise that comes from the motor burning out from her trying to tear it down has gotten to be unbearable for me.

9. Rechargeable Batteries

Speaking of battery eaters-register for rechargeable batteries and a charger.  They are expensive initially, but totally pay off!

10. Cosleeper

We chose the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper because it can attach to the bed or stand alone and is also a mini version of a pack-and-play in it's portability. I read all sorts of reviews and sooooo many people commented on how great it was after their c-section because they didn't have to hit their incision leaning over a crib rail.  Pissshh!  That was a non-issue for me.  My hips were spread and that baby was coming out the way babies were meant to come out. Those were really big feet I felt in my ribs-not a baby noggin.  WRONG.  This was a wonderful little tool to have and those c-section mommas were right on!

11.  A Boppy 

Get yourself a Boppy or some other sort of support pillow.  Your back will thank you-and so will your puppy who fits perfectly in the middle.

12. Wubbanub Pacifier

Way early in my pregnancy, I found these adorable little pacifiers called Wubbanubs. There was a giraffe and my baby was GOING to use it. Luckily for us, she took it.  I don't know if it's because it was the first one we gave her, or if she just liked it, but we lucked out.  And when Mark saw how cute she looked with a soothie tucked between her lips and the little animal hanging out of her mouth, he promptly ordered 4 more and wrapped them for Christmas.  I love them because-we haven't lost one yet, and she is able to pull it out and find them in her crib and plug herself.  A small problem is that our blind dog sometimes mistakes them for his toys, and when he gets ahold of one, is likely to chew the soothie off.

13. Headbands

Have you ever seen a baby born with a mullet? Well mine was.  We were told she was going to have hair at our 37 week ultrasound.  Hair? Mark and I were both baldies. We had questions like: Will it be red? Will it be curly?  Will it be thick? 'Will it be a mullet?' never crossed my mind.  And so when the party in the back appeared, mommy went on to get something to bring the celebration right back up front.  Disclaimer:  You can dress the child in as much pink as you want with bows on her toes and flowers in her hair in her pink carseat-and someone relatively elderly will still tell you that you have such a handsome little boy!  (because she's wearing pants and girls don't wear pants)

14. Sophie the Giraffe

For some strange reason, this way-too-expensive version of a teether from Paris is mesmerizing for babies.  I am not sure if it's the soft material, the fact that there are tons of little nubs to put in their mouth, the squeak factor, or if the company put some sort of baby nip in it, but every baby I've seen with one LOVES it.

15. Mylicon/Grip Water

Just get some and keep it on hand. Gas is better out than in-for all of us.

16.  A Good Camera

This purchase-although very expensive-was the best thing we could have done.  Although your phone is convenient, you can't get these years back, and if you've tried to print pictures from your phone, they are never quite as good as they look on your screen. We use our Nikon camera daily and have some awesome products from it.  Clearly our subject helps.  ;P (Get some big memory cards too-it'll be hard to delete that sweet face!)

17.  Bumkin Bibs

Stains are my nemisis.  Stains on bibs are the worst.  No matter how fast you get that squash-soaked bib off of her body and soaking with a coating of stain stick on it, there always seems to be some sort of orangey reminder of meals past.  Cue the Bumkin.  This awesome bib is vinyl and adorable and wipes clean.  I just stick it in the sink and-like magic-the food is gone.  For me, this little phenom also serves as preventative medication for future stain fighting headaches-and for that I am thankful.  All hail the Bumkin.

To Be Continued


So I've been told by a few people that I should 'do a blog' and post about all the stuff that I'm always talking to them about.  I don't know if they are tired of hearing it or truly think it's stuff that I should share (or they're tired of their Facebook newsfeed being clogged up with mommyisms and pictures). Regardless, I did it.  Well, I started it. (Really-look back at January!) At some point-some very quick point-I decided my thoughts weren't worthwhile, and so I stopped.  (I'm not gonna lie-going back to work could have had something to do with it...or maybe the lack of sleep played in.) So I vowed that once summer came I would pick it back up. And would you look at that: SUMMER IS HERE!  Truth be told, I probably would have said forget it if it hadn't been for my wonderfully witty, well versed friend Kristyn posting her awesome blog updates (read about mommy boobs here)  She had me thinking, 'I got this!' Yeahhhh...we'll see. 

So right now, I'm going to enjoy my first cup of summer coffee with my daughter rolling around on the floor trying to eat carpet lint while I watch Live With Kelly-exactly how I informed my class of Kindergartners I would be spending today. Then-let the blogging begin!