Five for Friday

It’s been one of those weeks… I stripped our cloth diapers not once but twice; had to spend a whole day at work (blah – it’s summer!); because I went to work and A went to daycare, she was up five times on Wednesday night because she didn’t want the bottle and reverse cycled.  But A is down for a late afternoon nap and the weekend is almost here.  Here are five things I loved about today!

  1. The Weather: It’s a beautiful seventy-six degrees with a sharp breeze.  A & I spent the morning running errands and going on a coffee date with friends and then came home for a long nap.  After the nap, we went for a beautiful outdoor walk.  Hooray for a lovely, humidity free day and a super-happy, well rested baby!

    The well-rested baby in full-on crawler mode!

    The well-rested baby in full-on crawler mode!  She also stood up in her crib yesterday.  Slow down, A!

  2. My friend Lacey just had a little girl two weeks ago, so A manned her highchair, while I baked a batch of Joy the Baker’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  You’ve got to love a good excuse to bake!

    Best. Cookies. Ever.

  3. I mentioned this above in my mini rant, but after boiling and stripping with RLR the cloth diapers once again smell good as new.  As easy as the disposables were over vacation, I’m glad to have A back in her earth friendly option!  They also give her a little more padding now that she’s starting to pull up on things.
  4. The chicks are almost ready to head outside!  I know the blog has been really chicken light these days, but our little ones are just about ready to head to the hoop house – and isn’t this Mystery Chick cute?

    These are our little ones from Murray McMurray this year... including the "mystery" rooster who has a nice pair of bell bottoms!

    These are our little ones from Murray McMurray this year… including the “mystery” rooster who has a nice pair of bell bottoms!  Can you spot him?

  5. Pizza on the grill!  I just made the crust (bread flour, beer, yeast and salt) and I’m looking forward to a nice evening meal with Jason when he gets home.

    Gratuitous Rooster in Repose Shot... What chickens do on a warm, breezy day...

    Gratuitous Rooster in Repose Shot… What chickens do on a warm, breezy day…

And a final, just to be thankful thought, I made it all the way through the first week of T25 and feel great!  Looking forward to writing Monday’s post already.

We also have a garden... which Jason pretty much takes care of.  Even I'm shocked by how much we planted and how well it is doing given the fact that I spend my days chasing A instead of weeding.

We also have a garden… which Jason pretty much takes care of. Even I’m shocked by how much we planted and how well it is doing given the fact that I spend my days chasing A instead of weeding.

Have a great weekend!

The Honest Co. Diaper Review

All along, or at least since day four, we’ve been a cloth diaper family: Thirsties covers with Cloth-eze prefolds and, for nights, GMD workhorses.  We have a solid wash routine, and they work great!  However, when we were recently traveling to Vermont, my mom asked that we bring disposables.  She has a front load washer that doesn’t work great, and, honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of traveling with cloth.  It works great for home, daycare and errands, but sometimes you just want a vacation from all the laundry.

I ordered a bundle from Honest Co. using a great coupon, and scoring a month’s worth of diapers at 40% off (about $60 total).  I found that canceling the bundle (since we really don’t need a monthly diaper delivery) was easy as can be after the twenty-six minute wait on hold.  So what did we order?  A month’s supply of size three, which A had just started wearing in six different patterns; this came with four packets of wipes, and I also ordered the Honest Co. bug spray to try.

Photo Credit: Honest Company

So how did the diapers work out?  We were so impressed!  Most importantly, they caused no rash, and A seemed very comfortable in them.  The biggest problem we had is that she’s a heavy wetter overnight (she usually nurses once or twice but doesn’t want a change) and she woke up a little damp 2/14 times, but that’s looking at nearly 12 hours in a diaper.  We’ve never had leak problems with our workhorses, but they are always VERY wet first thing in the morning.

In terms of blowouts… well, there were blowouts.  A usually only poops once or twice a week (which falls into the realm of normal for breastfed babies), and every time it escaped to some degree, but I attribute most of that to quantity, and though her Thirsties have almost always contained her poop, they are a huge, contained mess.  I must admit, tossing rather than using the diaper sprayer was a nice little treat, though our Potty Pail is officially back in action.

We found the wipes to  be thick enough to handle her messes and very sensitive on our skin.

So in short: we liked the Honest Co. diapers.  They didn’t smell like plastic, didn’t cause any rash problems, and neither A nor I had any kind of allergic reaction to them.  The velcro-like tabs worked great and were easy to reapply during the first days when Jason and I were still getting used to velcro instead of snaps.  The prints are cute, and the service (though we spent a long time on the phone on hold) was great.

After a fourteen day vacation and a few days in them at home during a cloth diaper strip, we still have 2.5 bags of diapers left.  Given that she’s on the small end of size three, we are hoping they’ll get us through the remainder of our summer, and we’ll likely purchase size four for our trip home at Christmas.

Note: We purchased our diapers.  This was not a solicited review.  We are in no way affiliated with Honest Co., but we really liked their product and think it provides a great alternative for cloth diapering, earth conscious parents when cloth isn’t as convenient.

We Eat/She Eats & Monday Motivation

I haven’t talked a lot about this here, but I’ve thrown my back out twice since having A.  And I’m not talking little pull, I’m talking trip to the physical therapist with intense therapy and take home exercises.  The last time, she suggested I sharply increase my cardio and ab work, and after month of healing and increasing my fitness level, I bought T25 and spent last week doing a week of the modified program.  As such, I’m going to call this week my first week, and I’m hoping to chronicle my progress here, along with a series I’m going to call We Eat/She Eats because introducing a tiny person to solids is so much more time consuming than I expected.

Goals for the Week:

Cut out some of the sugar.  Jason has an extremely active job.  He burns calories like a machine, so he can get away with eating a lot of things that I shouldn’t (and can’t).  As such, I do a lot of baking for him.  Baking that I sometimes sample with my morning coffee.  This week, I’m trying to cut back and focus on natural sugars: fruits & veggies, using a square or two of dark chocolate for dessert.

I’m also hoping to get back to drinking water like I was before we went on vacation (for me that’s somewhere in the range of 100 – 120 ounces a day), which I desperately need to keep hydrated while nursing A in this very warm weather.

Complete Week One of T25 using only the modifications necessary to protect my back.  So far, so good – I wrapped up day one at 5:15 a.m.

We Eat/She Eats – Week One

Disclaimer: I’m NOT a doctor or dietician.  A is still primarily breastfed, and we’re feeding her along the guidelines of our pediatrician.  She has done purees successfully but now wants finger foods, so that’s where we are — tiny bite sized bits that she scoops up with great abandon.

A few notes.  We typically eat local, hormone and antibiotic free meat (much of the chicken we raise ourselves).  Veggies at this time of year come from the grocery store, but are slowly being supplemented by our garden produce.  Beyond that, while Jason & I don’t eat a totally organic diet, we do the best we can to ensure that what Amelia eats is as safe and pesticide free as possible.

Monday:
We Eat: Pre-Baked BBQ Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce, Boiled Sweet Potatoes, & Peas
She Eats: Bits of Chicken, Mashed Sweetie Potatoes (Sweetie Potatoes are sweet potatoes pureed with breast milk and served in little chunks on her tray), & Chopped up Peas, Cheerios

Tuesday:
We Eat: Hamburgers on Sandwich Flats with Salad
She Eats: Diced Avocado with Bananas and Cheerios, leftover Chicken if there is any

Wednesday:
We Eat: Indian Chicken (Seeds of Change Sauce) with Brown Rice and Broccoli
She Eats: Chopped up Brown Rice, Bits of Chicken, Steamed Broccoli Bits,

Thursday:
We Eat: Pork Tenderloin (Grilled or Roasted, depending on weather), Roasted Potato & Braised Carrots
She Eats: Bits of Pork Tenderloin (pureed or finely shredded), Braised Carrots, Steamed Broccoli Bits (leftovers), Cheerios

Friday:
We Eat: Homemade Veggie & Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill
She Eats: Organic Alphabet Pasta with Chicken & Sweetie Potato Puree (Freezer), Yogurt with Pear Sauce

Final Thoughts on Traveling with Tiny

After nearly 900 miles of travel in the car, a week at my parents’ home in Vermont, and one night in a hotel room, I wanted to come back to reflect on a few things we learned while traveling with A.  First and foremost, A was a rockstar when it came to travel.  She had a few rough spots (after about six hours on our initial trip to Vermont), and about twenty minutes before the end of our four hour drive to Freeport to meet Jason on Saturday, but all and all, she rode pretty comfortably.  Thank you Graco Snugride 30!

A few things that I think helped were the toys.  She had her Jellycat, whom she has had since she was two months old and a few jingle bugs.  What surprised me was that she wanted her old, familiar toys, not the new things that I’d picked up for the trip.  On the way to Vermont, we fed her at her usual intervals, and that helped until she just grew sick of the car after her second nap would have normally ended.  Going to Freeport, we were so close that we pushed it a bit to just get there in one nap since I knew it would have been way too hard to get her back into the car seat (she began to straighten her back and resist the car seat a lot more after that first long drive).

The greatest joy of the trip was that it came at exactly the time we needed to get her out of the swing and into her crib, and as long as she was in her sleep sack and rubbing her eyes, she slept like a little champ in her Pack & Play at my mom’s.  When we got home yesterday, she went down not only for a crib nap but also bed for the night without a hiccup, and I think that had a lot to do with the consistency we had to develop in Vermont because there wasn’t a swing and we were, largely, going cold turkey.  Today, I plan to disassemble her swing and store it for future use.

A, hanging out with her Go-go before bed.

A, hanging out with her Go-go before bed.

A few thoughts on successful hotel travel with tiny people:

  1. If your vacation or trip involves a lot of car travel, try to stay within walking distance of shops/restaurants/beaches.  We were lucky to secure a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, and A was so happy to just stroll around after a long ride in her car seat.  It’s settled within two blocks of the flagship LL Bean store and has a lovely park within 200 yards for crawling and lazing about in the shade.

    In the LL Bean fish tank with her dad

    In the LL Bean fish tank with her dad

  2. The close hotel room meant that after lunch and a bit of shopping, A was able to go back to the room with me and my mom and take a much needed nap before we met Jason and some friends for dinner.  This absolutely saved us.
  3. Call ahead for early check in.  I called the hotel and talked to a lovely young woman at about 8 a.m., so they knew we might be early.  She said she couldn’t promise us anything before 3 p.m., but when we arrived at 12:30, she had our room ready and the Pack & Play pre-installed.
  4. Hotel P&P’s are okay, but not always the cleanest.  We brought our own sheets, but they didn’t fit.  A also sucked on an interior tag that I hadn’t noticed (yuck!).  Next time, I’ll check first and make sure all tags are tucked safely away!  At the end of the day, the hotel P&P was fine for one night, but I would probably bring my own for an extended hotel stay.
  5. Relax!  I spent so much time worrying about how A would do.  She  was great!  Sweet, gentle, generally awesome.  Babies are a lot more flexible than we give them credit for.

    Hanging out with the LL Bean boot

    Hanging out with the LL Bean boot

This wraps up my short series on traveling with A.  If you have any questions or other tips, please feel free to comment!

Vacation Resolutions

We’ve been with my family in Vermont for about five days, basking in the quiet of my parents’ lovely home with its wide open screen porch and glorious kitchen.  It’s been years since I’ve taken this much of a vacation, and even though it’s hard to be away from Jason, I’m happy to have a few more days of quiet left before we head home and pick up our normal everyday lives.  These last few days have, however, helped me come up with a list of summer vacation resolutions for the seven weeks A and I will still have left when we get home!

  1. Exercise More – I’ve lost the baby weight, but I want to keep toning up so I can keep up with my little crawler as she starts running.  I ordered T25 two days ago, and I’m committing to the first two rounds of it as soon as we get home.  I’ll update you with how that goes.
  2. Worry Less – I spent so much time stressing about how A was going to eat and sleep on vacation.  Realization: she’s so much more resilient than I give her credit for.
  3. Live in the Moment – The best part about A is that she’s constantly focused on the now.  And that’s how I want to live our summers together – focused on what we’re doing, now how we could be doing it better or what we should be doing next week.
  4. Have Fun!  We have a few things lined up for the rest of the summer, some super-fun and some super-tedious, but I want to make sure that regardless of what the day’s plan is, we work something joyful into it.
  5. Read more!  – I read to A all the time, but I want to be sure that I’m getting some summer reading in, too, because once work picks up again, my reading time becomes much more focused on my curriculum and less on what I’d like to be enjoying.
  6. Eat Healthier – Our garden peas are almost ready, so when we get home, we’re focusing on more garden fresh, organic fruits and veggies.

What are you resolving for these next few weeks?

A Resolves to Spend More Time Poolside

A Resolves to Spend More Time Poolside

 

Traveling with Tiny: The Drive South

So we survived the eight hour drive.  Getting up at three was hard, but we were in the car by four a.m. and A slept for the first six hours, with a brief interlude for milk and snuggles while we grabbed coffee.  The hard part came after the second nap, when she woke up, needed a bit more milk and then twenty minutes later had an epic meltdown when we couldn’t just pop her out of the car seat.  I swapped to the back seat until we got to Errol NH, and then we all took a half hour rest at the LL Cote Sports Center.  She was a little fussy after that, but we were thankfully able to clock the last hour or so of driving with Mama keeping her busy in the back seat.

The PJ’s and taggy blanket were huge hits, as were the books and toys, though she really preferred her JellyCat to pretty much everything else.  So far the Honest Co. diapers are doing great, but we haven’t had the opportunity to see if they make it through one of her blowouts (fingers crossed).  We used her Ergo and Chewbeads on a trip to Burlington, and there isn’t anything on our list that I would say hasn’t been completely useful!

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A’s first experience with bubbles!

Jason has already gone home, leaving A and I with a full week to spend with my mom and stepdad.   We’re lapping up the summer luxury – Mom is an awesome cook and the Vermont house has a gorgeous screened in porch and lovely backyard kiddie pool.  We’ve gone to Burlington (while Jason was still here), had a date night at the lovely Derby Village Inn, enjoyed maple soft serve and generally just loved the time away from home and our responsibilities there.

And though I was so so worried that being away from home and her swing would mean a huge change in her napping schedule, she’s transitioned seamlessly to napping in her Pack & Play, so here’s hoping we’ve jumped that hurdle for both vacation and regular nap time at home!

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Date night!

I hope you and your family had a great weekend!  We certainly did!

Traveling with Tiny: Final Preparations

Well, most of the bags are packed, and A is snoozing happily through her morning nap, and Mama is hoping that all of the preparations that Jason and I have put in place will make for a smooth vacation for Mama, Daddy and baby.  What is allowing us to travel so light (if two suitcases, a bag of diapers and a diaper bag is light…) are a few preparations we took on the Vermont side of things.  When we initially scheduled the visit, we planned to bring along our Pack & Play, A’s high chair (the top section that snaps off the base), and a second car seat base for my mom’s car, not to mention her stroller.  But after several long chats with my mom, we decided to take another tactic.  She emailed the girls she works with (she’s a teacher), inquiring about baby loans, and she got a great response.

My theory was that any Mama with babies past infant stage, might still have basements full of baby supplies (I know we will between A’s infanthood and #2’s (hopeful!) arrival in two years.  She was able to score a borrowed Pack & Play and the same AMAZING Graco Blossom High Chair that we use at home.  This was, of course, after I’d sent her a Fischer Price mini chair, but extra seating for tiny people is always worth having!  And after visiting a great second hand shop in Newport, she was able to score a Graco activity center and a baby pool, which will give A all sorts of options for play while Mama and Daddy head out on a much needed date night.  But what I’m most excited about?  A good friend of hers gave her a great, used jogging stroller, so we can leave our much-loved but ENORMOUS stroller at home.

Our final packing list looks a little like this:

  • Clothes for the Whole Family – Too Much to Think About
  • Four Packs of Honest Disposable Diapers (probably too many but we’ve never disposabled before and I don’t want to run out and have to buy more, when I already have them at home!)
  • Three Packs of Wipes
  • Baby Backpack – Toys & Books for the Car (see earlier post)
  • Mini Cooler of Healthy Snacks & Frozen Milk (for said date night) & Two Bottles
  • Books – Because maybe Mama will get some time to read while Grammy is playing with A!
  • Laptop & Other Electronic Junk (Cell phones, etc.)
  • One Very Excited Baby!

While I miss the days of traveling with an overnight bag and the dog (she’ll be staying with her Maine Grandmother), I can’t wait to introduce A to her Vermont family!

Yesterday, A spent the morning trying on dresses to meet her Great Pa in!  (Again, we are bringing too much clothing.)

Yesterday, A spent the morning trying on dresses to meet her Great Pa in! (Again, we are bringing too much clothing.)

The only question I have left is what am I forgetting?

 

Traveling with Tiny – Summer Vacation Essentials for Mama & Baby

We are getting ready to embark on our first real family vacation later this week, and since we’ve never traveled with A before (beyond my commute to work), I thought I’d do a pre-trip post with our plan, followed by a post-trip round-up of what worked, what didn’t and what failed so epically I probably won’t want to speak of it.  My family lives about eight hours away in Vermont, and we’re going to do the trip in one shot, leaving super early (around A’s last night time feed – 3:30 a.m.) and hopefully stopping for her morning feed (7 a.m.) before what usually is a 2 – 3 hour nap, which should land us somewhere an hour or two from home right around the time for a leisurely late morning breakfast.  Fingers crossed.  (Feel free to cackle at our naivete at this point).

I’ve scoured the internet for tips, suggestions and ideas, and below you’ll find what we’re hoping to be our magic mix of A products will be:

Traveling with Tiny - Summer Vacation Essentials for Mama & Baby

We’re bringing a mix of her favorite toys that don’t take up a TON of space.  This includes her beloved JellyCat (which might be the best stuffed animal ever, given its multitude of limbs and tail for sucking and chewing; her Wubba (which she has never liked to use as a paci but loves to cuddle); a brand new Taggie blanket (because she is tag-obsessed!); some of our favorite Boynton books; and the Melissa and Doug bugs my mom got her on her last visit – cute easy and super portable.
We plan to dress her in these sweet Carter’s jammies, which we got for a steal ($1.50 on sale with a great JC Penny’s $10 off anything coupon) a week ago.  They’re soft and comfortable and make for easy diaper changes.
And speaking of diapers, this is the first time A will go cloth-free since she was four days old . After a ton of research and a good coupon, we ordered a month long, size three bundle from The Honest Company.  We’re hoping to make it to Vermont, poo-splosion free, though we might still choose to cover the Honest Co. diaper with a Thirsties Wrap… just in case.  I’m hoping to do a review of our experience with Honest once she’s worn them for a full ten days.  Though, don’t worry, we’ll be back in cloth as soon as we get home!
For Mama, we’re packing the ever reliable Zipper Bag from 31 that we usually use for daycare (I’ll pack my own handbag for non-baby essentials).  I’m also bringing along the Chewbeads necklaces that Jason got Amelia and I for Valentine’s Day because now that she’s teething (she has FOUR teeth sprouting as we speak), they are a lifesaver for both nursing and entertaining her) and her Ergo pack, so we can get her in and out of her car seat easily.  Finally, we’re packing one of her favorite snacks – Plum’s Organic Puffs which are awesome when Mama and Daddy are eating in a restaurant and A needs a bit more than what we can feed her off our plates.  Puffs aren’t an everyday food, but they’re a great treat for highchair time.  Note: We don’t feed her anything in her car seat.  I realize it’s a personal choice, but we don’t want to risk choking!

This kiddo is ready for her first vacation!

This kiddo is ready for her first vacation!

What are your tiny travel essentials?

Work/Life Balance

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with balancing life and work because even on summer vacation (from teaching), my time is still so divided.  Jason and I are in the process of dismantling his father’s house and preparing it for first a yard sale and then the realtor, which has devoured our weekends when he’s not on call.  On top of that, we’re trying to use this as an opportunity to pare back on things in our own home – scouring out closets for what can be donated, sold or sent to the dump (as a last resort).  As a result, my first week of real “summer vacation” has been spent hanging out with A until nap time, during which I sprint to get as much done as possible.  We have a July 4 yard sale deadline, and I keep promising myself (perhaps foolishly) that after that things will start to calm down.

In the meantime, I’ve been going back and forth between how I should be spending my writing time – novel writing or blogging.  Is this the best space to be writing in?  I feel myself shifting more and more towards blogging about farm to table and the task of feeding a tiny human, but part of me doesn’t want to let go of the chickens and occasional garden notes.  After a shaky start (time, again), our garden is fully planted, and the peppers and tomatoes are slowly being coaxed up out of the ground by the warm June sunshine.  Our day-old chicks are now almost three week old chicks, and the laying flock is soldiering on under a less than ideal rooster (he’s a little rough and won’t bring them in at night).

What are your thoughts, dear readers?  What would you like to find here when you next return?

 

Meal Planning Sunday

I have one more week of classes before two days of faculty meetings and then… summer vacation!  In my last post, I talked briefly about a back injury that is still clinging, nearly a week later.  So I do my physical therapy stretches, and Jason does all of the in and out crib lifting of Baby A, and we wait.  Hopefully, by next week, I’ll be able to tackle the flower beds.  On top of all this, though, is the nagging reminder that 90% of this injury is the lack of core work I’ve been doing since A arrived.  I’m hoping that over the next twelve weeks, I can eat healthily and exercise my way back to an injury free self, just in time for fall classes to start.

As a new mom, it’s really important to me that I teach A to respect her body, rather than spend her time wishing she could look like someone else.  And the only way to teach her that respect is to set a good example though healthy, sustainable diet and exercise and a positive outlook.  Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when even though I’m back to my pre-baby weight, things haven’t quite settled back where they used to be.  I’m hoping to use this injury as a way of being thankful for what I have: good health, a happy, healthy baby, and plenty of time to get myself into shape over the next few weeks.  And what’s one way of holding ourselves accountable?  Meal planning.

I’ve been an avid meal planner for most of my adult life because I hate extra trips to the grocery store.  And now, with a seven month old in tow, they’re even more complicated to plan and execute.  And although takeout pizza still happens (more regularly than I’d like to admit), hopefully by owning my meal planning, I’ll be more likely to get into the kitchen and cook with the last of last year’s garden produce before this year’s garden starts ramping up.

Sunday:

Steak on the Grill/Asparagus (Fresh & Local)/Local Potatoes Roasted with Olive Oil, Herbs & Garlic

Monday:

Grilled Chicken (Mom’s Secret Recipe) with last year’s Green Beans and Wild Rice

Tuesday:

Chicken Sausage Pasta (Organic Chicken Sausage Sauteed with Summer Squash and Zucchini over Angel Hair Pasta with a bit of Parmesan and Mustard)

Wednesday:

Taco Salad Bowls (Grass Fed Beef/Homemade Seasoning/Diced Veggies over Salad Greens)

Thursday:

Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

Friday:

Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries (Grass Fed Beef with Veggie Trimmings on Sandwich Flats with Homemade Sweet Potato “Fries” Roasted in the Oven and Home-Canned Pickles)

Saturday:

Plan & Shop for Next Week

What are you planning for this week?