Monday, January 30, 2012

I might be a hippie, but...

I talked with a friend not too long ago about the things we do and don't do with regard to parenting.  I would definitely say that some of the things I practice are hippie-esque.  In fact, many of the things I did before I had kids might be described as in line with a hippie lifestyle.  I met my husband while following a band.  We've seen the same band, followed quite publicly by hippies, at least 60 times.  We saw 6 shows in 7 days in 3 cities during one run, which included Widespread Panic and The Dead.  That was awesome.

So it isn't a big surprise that many of the things I practice as a mother are similar in categorization.  Attachment parenting might be another way to categorize many of the things we do.

I'm definitely a natural birthing, extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, non-circumcising, non cry-it-outing, cloth diapering and gentle disciplining mama.


There are also many things that might be considered hippie-esque or in line with attachment parenting that we don't practice.  For example, we don't delay vaccines.  We don't co-sleep.  While I feed my household whole and healthy foods, I do not buy organic.  We go to McDonald's sometimes.  I work full-time outside of the home.  There are things that might be expected of someone "like me" that just aren't things that I do.

We all have our *things*.

I'm not going to go into why I do the things I do, or why I don't do the things I don't do.  They are decisions I have made for various very personal reasons.  In it's most basic description, I've done the things that feel right to me.  That make sense to me.  That my doctor and I agree on.  That my husband and I think is best for our family.  The beauty of living in the country that we do is the basic fundamental right to make the decisions we have all made for our families.

I'm talking about this for no particular reason, just as a reminder to myself and to others that no one has it all figured out.  Categorizing the things I do doesn't mean assumptions can be made about ALL of the things that I do.  Or that anyone else does for that matter.  And we don't need to take so many things in life so seriously.

Here's a clip from a show called Portlandia, that is a new favorite of mine.  I love how it exaggerates eating locally grown food, something we do try and do, especially when eating out.  I love it.

I hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What we've been up to lately.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good ol’ fashion update of what we’ve been up to. I realized today also that my mom and I haven’t talked in like, 2 or 3 weeks, which is crazy! We usually talk much more frequently than that. So she and my dad probably don’t know what we’ve been up to lately.

We signed BBZ up for private swim lessons at his school. He swims once/week with his class and his teacher is also a private swim instructor. BBZ is an extremely cautious little boy. This is good in some ways and not-so-good in other ways. He is very reluctant to try new things. His teacher describes him as a charmer who talks his way out of doing what he doesn’t want to do, especially during the group swim class. She asked me a few times about wanting to work with him one on one, and I really think she just wants to get her hands on him in a private session to gently force him to face his fears about the water. I am really, really happy about this because we do a lot of swimming activities in the summer with our friends, and I would like him to be comfortable in and around the water.

I think that some of his reluctance to try new things is just his personality, but I also think I may have been a bit too helicopter-y with him in his early years. As I have mentioned before, I am a worrier. I don’t worry about the typical things a child might do while exploring the world around him, I worry about the catastrophic things that rarely happen to kids. Some of it might be that I work in the disability field, so the reality of what can happen is in my face daily. But I also come from a long line of worriers, so some of it is in my blood.

I’m really trying to work on the language that I use and pay attention to how it affects BBZ’s willingness to explore his world. We were at the Zoo not too long ago and he was climbing on this big metal spider web looking playground equipment. I saw him going higher and I could feel my anxiety increasing. My mind began to picture him falling, but not scraping his knee or bruising his elbow, but rather him knocking out all of his teeth and/or ending up with a traumatic brain injury and permanent paralysis.

Yes I realize how irrational that is.

So as I felt my anxiety increase, I didn’t want to squash his desire to explore, so rather than saying my usual “be careful, honey” thus causing him to realize there was danger where he was and perhaps causing him to stop immediately and becoming afraid of an otherwise safe situation, I said “pay attention to what you are doing, honey. Look at where your feet are and where your hands are and plan your next step”. And that he did. He climbed higher and higher and then back down without any trouble.

The next thing I want to work on is my initial reaction to this because I really believe that my energy contributes to how comfortable or uncomfortable he is in a given situation. No, I don’t think he can read my mind, but I do think that he feeds off of my energy. I would love to genuinely feel comfortable when he is in a situation like this, so I am working on thinking in my head “he will be ok, he will be ok” rather than jumping to the thoughts of him seriously injuring himself. Baby steps.

We (or really N) are taking on the job of re-tiling our front foyer. Our tile is now a bright shade of blue, which I don’t mind, but N has disliked since we moved into our house. He has been working on breaking up the tile all week, and his parents are coming over on Saturday to lay the new tile. Well, N and his dad will lay the tile, N’s mom and I will spend the day playing with the boys. Then we have N’s work holiday party Saturday night, so N’s parents will do the babysitting thing for us. We picked out the tile last night and I can’t wait to see it all done!

N’s 35th birthday was Monday, and I bought him tickets to the Todd Snider show to celebrate. Todd generally comes to our city in January, so this is the 3rd time I’ve bought tickets for us for his birthday. It was a great show. He is such a fun performer and seems to love coming to our city.

We were sitting in the balcony waiting for the show to start (and people watching) when we saw a group of 3 grey-haired women sit down in the front balcony row. One woman had tiny little binoculars that she used to look at the stage set-up before the show. We thought this was funny because the hall where we were was quite small. We kind of giggled at them and moved on.

Next we watched a grey-haired man come in and also sit in the front row of the balcony. He had huge, and I mean HUGE binoculars hanging around his neck. Again we poked fun and him and laughed at his expense. I ran off to the bathroom and when I came back N said “you won’t believe this, those binoculars are full of whiskey”. Apparently, when I was gone, N saw him open the lens cap and pour some whiskey into his soda cup. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. We vastly underestimated that guy.

LBZ is unbelievably close to rolling over. I’m not sure when babies usually do this. I think it’s around 3 months or so and LBZ is 4 months, but I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried about his development at all. If there is anything I have learned about kids it’s that they will do things at their own pace. I may worry about them getting hurt, but developmentally I know my boys are right where they should be. Anyway, we were at N’s sister’s house celebrating his birthday and LBZ was playing on the floor. He was so close! I thought for sure he’d roll all the way onto his tummy, but not yet! It’s so fun looking forward to all that is to come!

I ordered my winning diapers yesterday and can’t wait to get them! The ones for the commenter are being mailed directly to her. I am so excited about this! I don’t really need extra diapers, so I think I will sell some of my older ones on Craig’s List and keep the new ones since LBZ has at least 2 years left in diapers. Some of the first BGs I bought are starting to lose their elastic and I know I could replace it, but since I won 6 new diapers I don’t really need to! This way someone can have some used, but still in good condition, cloth for cheap. I love cloth diapering. The new colors I bought are ones I haven’t seen in person before, so I can’t wait for them to come.

N and I contracted some kind of stomach sickness last week. It sucked. It hit me about 3 hours before it hit N and we were up all night. Luckily, it somehow missed the boys. LBZ had his doctor appointment scheduled for the next day and while I was incredibly dehydrated and still woozy from the illness, I didn’t want to cancel the appointment and use even more sick time, so I took him anyway. What other place should I go then to a doctor office after being sick anyway, right? LBZ got shots that day, so I really didn’t want to take him to school afterwards, especially since I was going to be home anyway. I hanitized (which is a cute combination of the words hand and sanitizer that BBZ invented) like crazy and hoped that he wouldn’t get it.

LBZ managed to avoid it, but his teacher wasn’t so lucky. She actually went to the hospital for it about 3 days after we had it. I hope we didn’t give it to her, but somehow it could have been in LBZ’s classroom and he managed to avoid it. Thank goodness! I’d hate to see a little baby as sick as we were.

I know I have mentioned BBZ’s love for Legos. After seeing a commercial for the new Lego Forest Police and Fire Station line, N went onto Amazon and bought the Forest Fire Truck. No, BBZ doesn’t really need more Legos especially after Christmas, but I don’t think N could help himself. Maybe Legos for N are kind of like cloth diapers for me. Hmm.

Anyway, so N ordered it online. This is a difficult concept for my 3-year-old to grasp. He could not understand why the mailman didn’t bring the fire truck THAT DAY. This was last week and with the holiday on Monday, the darn thing didn’t come until yesterday. It was pretty hard to help BBZ understand that it had to come from the warehouse to the post office there to our city then to our post office than to our house. Whew, that was a lot for a little person to process! He survived though, and now we have a Lego Forest Fire Truck to play with. He is one happy camper.

I have a lot coming up this weekend. Tonight is my La Leche League meeting, tomorrow I’m having sushi with 2 of my girlfriends, and Saturday is N’s work holiday party that I mentioned. We’re certainly staying busy!

I hope all is well in everyone else’s part of the world!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Videos of the boys

I have been taking videos of LBZ periodically, but I haven't posted any of them.  I'll go back and post some of the early ones one day, but for now, this is our sweet 4-month-old doing what he does best.  Blowing Raspberries!  He is so stinkin' cute!

One thing BBZ has loved to do since he was about 2 is look at various videos on youtube.  It started with fire trucks and emergency vehicles and has now become Legos and reviews of Legos.  The reviews are what he is really into.  It's really just people on TV playing with and talking about their Legos, and he loves it.  He decided to do his own review and it turned out awesome.  I love how he starts with "Hello, Lego fans".  Man, I love him!

I won, I won, I won!!!

And the winner is...... ME!!!

That's right, I won the diaper contest!  I didn't win first place, BUT, Jennifer Labit, the owner of Cotton Babies and creater of Bum Genius, Flip and Econobum thought my post about cloth diapering was:

"my favorite post (based on amazing content and one of the best pictorial guides to cloth diapering I’ve ever seen) and the mama who will be receiving 6 cloth diapers for herself, 6 cloth diapers for a commenter, and an invitation to have her content republished on the Cotton Babies blog"

Woo Hoo!!!  I worked really hard on this post and am so happy that it was as clear and as easy to follow and I'd hoped it would be.  I am so excited to have this post be a part of the Cotton Babies blog. 

Check out this post about the other winners and see how many people we reached with this contest.  The word really is spreading!

Now onto the important stuff...there's another winner among us!  I used this random gererator to choose a winner from the original 16 comments on the blog.  And the winner is...

Enter a lower limit:
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Random Number:

Carrie S!  Congrats to you, too!  Send me an email and we'll figure out how to get you your 6 BumGenius diapers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Little Brother Z is 4 Months Old!!

Dear Little Brother Z,

My, oh my, this time is flying by!  I cannot believe it is already 4 months since you were born.  It seems like you have always been with us!  Your sweet smile melts my heart :)

You and those fingers!  I love it.  I know I ay hate it one day, but for now, it allows you to sleep longer and better and looks so stinkin' sweet.

Again, all smiles!  You are still miraculously sleeping awesome, but every now and then you do wake up in the night and are so happy to see me!  You don't cry when you wake either.  You lay in your crib and coo and talk and suck those fingers until I come in and see you.  Then you charm me with those big blue eyes and smiles and you get me every time!

Your first Christmas was so much fun.  And I know from experience with your brother that they will only get better.

You absolutely love bath time!  We had to get you a different bathtub because the one your brother used sat you up too much.  You want to lay on your back, stretch your legs out and kick, kick, kick!  This is especially true when you are naked, so bath time is the perfect opportunity!

In fact, this was the first time I bathed you and your brother at the same time!  It probably wasn't the best idea for me to try this without your daddy around, because it was harder than I thought it would be!  You sure loved it, though.

You love your big brother so much!  You just light up when you see him.  He'll lean down and talk to you at your level and you just eat it all up.  You grab things with those cute chubby fingers and have just started to pat my face while you nurse.  I just love that :)

I took this picture one evening when I was making dinner.  You like to be near me in the evening, so I had you in the kitchen with me...

As soon as I took it, it reminded me of this one of BBZ.  BBZ is exactly the same age as you in this photo and wearing the same clothes!  I can't believe how alike you look in these!

You are a bit smaller than he was, though.  You weighed in at 13lbs, 9oz which is the 25th percentile.  Your doctor isn't worried though.  I can't help but worry that you're not getting enough breast milk, but you are healthy and happy and I'm sure you're developing just fine :)  You are also 25 inches long.

Oh sweet baby Lu, we are still having so much fun with you!  While I am happy that you started sleeping all night when you started daycare, I sure do miss those middle of the night times with you.  I've done this before though, so I know sleeping all night is not something that will last forever, so I guess I will enjoy it while it lasts.

I love you baby Lu and can't wait to see what is to come!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

I can't quite put my finger on it.

I have been feeling rather, well.  Hmm.  I really can't find a word for it.  Sad a little, melancholy perhaps.  Disappointed?  I just can't quite figure it out.

You see, I had some really high hopes for the new year.  I knew I had a week off work, the Christmas holiday, lots of time to sleep in or stay in my jam jams all day...I just knew I would feel great and ready to take on a new year come January 2nd.

What I got instead was quite disappointing.  I had an amazing time over vacation.  Both boys were great.  BBZ napped, LBZ laughed.  We went places and laughed and slept in and cuddled and were together as a family should be.  Rather than feeling refreshed from that, I can think of nothing but going back.

On Monday morning, I drove the boys to school and on the way I said that it was time to go back to the "real world".  It's something we all say so casually, I didn't think much of how BBZ interpreted it.

On our way home Monday evening, I heard BBZ mumbling in the back seat.  The child can talk loud as can be, but he often talks very quietly in the car as though he kind of wants me to hear him but not really.  I heard him say "I don't like the real world.  The real world is not my favorite place."  That's exactly how I feel.

I don't like the real world either.  I think that's another difficult thing for me to accept.  This is our life.  I am a working mom.  I will spend the majority of my awake time away from my children.  This is the way it was with BBZ, and this is the way it will be for LBZ too, for all of us.  This is the life we have chosen.  Reality has set in.

I imagine that I will adjust and things will get better.  That I will find new energy and be ok with our decision to raise our family this way.  I know it will improve as it did with BBZ.  I guess I just hoped it would when the new year came.  But it has come and gone, and I am still here, missing my toddler asking me to put his legos together for him.  Wishing I could hold my sweet nursing baby as he begins to reach our and touch my face during nursing sessions.  Desperately wishing that I could have it all, with the reality that I cannot.

I'm reading others' blogs that seem to have it all figured out for the new year and I am insanely jealous of that refreshed, energized and excited feeling that I hoped would come.  I almost feel like this is my first week back after maternity leave.  I just read something else about the idea of a "holiday hangover" when the excitement of the holidays leaves a let-down feeling afterwards.  Maybe that's it.

I am looking forward to the weekend.  We hold a Holiday party for all of our friends each year the weekend after New Years.  This Saturday is the party and I just can't wait to see all of our friends and catch up on how every one's holidays were.  BBZ's best friends will be at our house and the new babies of 2011 will be there too.  It should be a great time.

I also hired our house cleaner back after 4 months of "cleaning" the house myself.  I always resisted paying for someone to clean the house because I felt I should be able to keep up with the housework as a wife.  Like it was my responsibility or something.  I guess it still is my responsibility, I've just decided that it's worth it to pay someone else to do it.  Since N and I keep our money basically separated, I really use my money to pay her.  I still have the feeling of independence for making that happen, even though I don't have to really do much.

Just typing that out made me excited about re-hiring her.  I had never, since I lived with my mom anyway, ever come home to a house that had been cleaned for me.  I remember the feeling the first time we hired her, and it was awesome.  The floors shined, the bathrooms sparkled, it was heavenly.

So those are a few things to look forward to this weekend.

But then I will be back at work again, for another full week.  I was pumping awesome at the beginning of the week, and it gave me such joy to stop my day and think of sweet LBZ nursing.  But it also made me feel sad that I wasn't with him.  Then on Wednesday I got so caught up in something that I forgot to pump!  I remembered before long, but I was about an hour later than usual.  My body didn't even tell me to stop and pump, which is what usually happens.  It was weird and kind of freaked me out.

I'm not worried about my milk supply.  I'm now only pumping twice a day and I could easily pump more either in the morning or even add another time during the day if needed.  I just hate that I worked right through it!

LBZ had his first ear infection in December and is working on his second.  I picked him up from school on Wednesday and his teachers said he was a bit fussy and was pulling on his ear.  He is such a happy baby, we all thought that the ear infection was back.  Turns out that he has fluid in his ears that will more than likely become an ear infection, but for now it's not.  It could still be causing him pain though.

So I took him to the doctor and decided to just keep him home all day anyway.  He was pretty fussy and clingy and apparently, needed mommy.  I needed him to.  Holding this sweet boy while he sleeps makes me so stinkin' happy.

So I know things will get better.  I'm sure I will be energized again next week.  But maybe the expectation was too high.  Maybe I'll concentrate on being energized just on Monday and go from there.  We'll see :)  The weekend is right around the corner!

Monday, January 2, 2012

December in Pictures

I can't believe how rarely I blogged in December.  I guess we have just been really busy.  It's been hard being back at work...I don't want to waste any time that I am home, so I am constantly snuggling with one of my boys.  Blogging has taken a back seat, I suppose.

I have also been falling asleep with BBZ almost every single night.  Now that LBZ has a much, much easier bedtime routine, BBZ usually gets my full attention at bedtime again.  He's so snuggly at bedtime, I guess I can't help myself!

So being in bed by say, 9pm and being awake for maybe 10 minutes before the boys wake up leaves hardly anytime to blog.  Although I did punch out a detailed cloth diapering post for a contest.  That was a must though :)

We were also able to spend a lot of time with family this month and since I usually post to keep family informed of what we are up to, I didn't feel the same need as other months.  Just another thing I love about December!
Luckily, I did remember to take lots of pictures!
Here we are at the tree lot, choosing our perfect 2010 Christmas tree.

 I can't believe how big BBZ looks in these pictures.  He's such a little man!

 The tree in it's perfect place :)

LBZ visited his daycare classroom for the first time this day while we went to the tree lot.  He did great and has been enjoying being at school.  He did watch us put the tree up though!

My parents bought us this awesome electric fireplace for our anniversary.  It's so great!  It's a space heater, so it really does heat up the big room.  The room is all windows, so it gets pretty cool on this side of the house.  Plus I love how it looks like a real fireplace!  Isaac is wearing his steal-your-face t-shirt, but if you ask him what's on his shirt he proudly says "it's my rip your face off t-shirt".  He cracks me up!

For the past few years we have done a gingerbread house with my mom.  She tends to be in town at least for a short while around the holidays, so we try to do it when she is here.

BBZ made his first menorah and was very interested in celebrating Hanukkah this year.  For those of you who don't know, BBZ and LBZ go to school at a Jewish Community Center.  Neither N or I are Jewish, but besides what our parents raised us celebrating, we are no more Christian than we are Jewish, so celebrating both seemed like the thing to do!  It has been an awesome way to talk with BBZ about what people celebrate and why and also why we celebrate different things at home than at school.  We're very multi-cultural in our home :)

Then we baked and baked and baked!  I never realized how much fun it is to bake cookies.  Even though I didn't get much help from BBZ, we still had a blast.

Here is our annual Christmas Eve photo with the Z family.  One extra member this year!

My best attempt at photographing my boys in their Christmas best.  Ah well, close enough!

I bought this chair for N for Christmas and had it hidden at his sister's house until Christmas Eve.  He was surprised!  He has been looking for a chair for a while now, and when I found this one while Christmas shopping with my mom earlier in the month, I knew it would be the perfect surprise present.  Everything else I got him was something he asked for, so I really wanted at least one surprise.

Baby's first Christmas present :)

He loved it!

Our niece J suddenly looks so grown up!  She was only 3 when N and I got together, so I have really watched her grow up.  She has really become a young lady right before our eyes.  I even bought make-up for her this year for Christmas!  Crazy.

Yes, that is a Hulk spatula.  Awesome is the only way to describe this clever gift!

It would not be a party if LBZ didn't pass out on the floor.  Never, ever, ever in the history of BBZ's life did he ever fall asleep on the floor.  Ever.  LBZ is a pro at it!  I thought about laying him in the playpen, but then I remembered that if he is tired, he just pops those fingers in his mouth and falls asleep!  It's awesome.  Seriously.

BBZ in his sweet Spiderman slippers and matching umbrella.  I see some puddle hopping in our future!

Both boys passed out on our way to the 2nd holiday celebration.  Christmas celebrating takes a lot out of ya!

Merry Christmas, Luther Blue Eyes!

BBZ barely ever sits still!  Never the less, I love this one of my 3 favorite boys in the whole world :)

Christmas morning!!  BBZ bought LBZ this onesie that says "I'm Super!" and has a cape on the back.  This combined with BBZ's Spiderman jam jams, my wonder woman ones and N's Flash underwear sure make us one super family!

BBZ and LBZ got so many wonderful things.  Our family is so generous and N did a great job finding things that BBZ would love.  The highlights were the Batman bat cave and legos.

Lots and lots of Legos!  Luckily, I really love putting Legos together.  I was even kind of sad when we were done.

I didn't get any pictures of the boys in their matching jam jams besides this one.  Aren't they cute?  We had a tradition growing up that we could open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always jammies.  My mom even bought jammies for herself and my dad!  We are definitely going to carry on this tradition at our house.  And they don't have to be Christmassy either!

Getting a photo with both boys sitting still is super hard.  Clearly.

N took this one during our vacation last week...
Who would have thought I could hold my whole world right there in my lap, with my partner there to record it.  These boys and N bring such joy to my life.  I can't really put it into words.  We had a whole week off last week and had such an amazing time.  We stayed in some days, ran errands on others.  Went to the Zoo, played Legos, read books, and just enjoyed our time together as a family.  It will be so hard to be back at work tomorrow, but I know it is time.  Hopefully the time until our next vacation will go by super fast!

Back to the grind we go, and another new year begins.