Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Checkups and Baby Gates

Today was BGT's (belated) 9 month check up! She is up to 27 inches (30th percentile) and 18 lbs 4 oz (50th percentile)! I can't believe how fast she is growing. It was funny because my mom and I were talking after the appointment and BGT at 9 months and 11 days is the same weight my youngest sister was at her 2 year old check up :) Love my chubby bunny. She also got one teensy shot today and she was so brave. I'm pretty sure I take it worse than she does.

My mom rode with me to BGT's appointment and my dad hung out at my house while we were gone. When I got home I found him working away at installing baby gates :) love my daddy! He's so handy and he LOVES BGT! They have the cutest bond. She lights up when her Papa D is around and he pays such good attention to her. She also has started to say Papa D... Still no Mommy... I'm not bitter... Really... It's totally fine... Er... Totally fine.

I can't believe we are already at baby gates. And on top of that I can't believe that today I made BGT's appointment for her ONE YEAR OLD CHECKUP. Where is time going???

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Balancing Act

I knew being a working mama was not going to be easy. I knew that when we were considering starting a family, i knew that when we were trying to start a family, i knew this when I got pregnant, and I knew this when I was on my maternity leave. So in theory I should have been prepared. Not so much.

I completely underestimated exactly what it takes to maintain a healthy work/life balance when you have a little person waiting for you when you get off work. The long days at work feel longer. The weekends feel shorter.

While I was out on my maternity leave my partner at work left to accept another position within the company. The decision was made not to replace him so since that time it has just been me. At first it was just work as usual but lately I have felt so overwhelmed and like no matter what I do, it is an uphill battle. Last week I stayed at work until nearly 7 three nights in a row. BGT was still asleep when I would go to work and I would average about an hour a day with her. It was no fun, I'll tell you that.

Thursday after a really long day, a coworker stopped by my desk and said "don't stay too late and remember, you will have lots of jobs but you will only have your baby once." I know he and his wife have had fertility issues and it took me back to when we were right there. Since then it has been playing over and over in my mind. He is so right. We waited so long for our munchkin and it is not fair to her or me for that matter to spread my self that thin.

So now I am working on balance. I fear that it will always be a battle but I'll promise you this, I will not lose this one. She is too important to me and she's growing up way too fast.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Snow Day

I know for many people snow is a common occurrence, however in Alabama it NEVER happens. When the forecast calls for snow there is sense of immediate panic in the air and for reasons still unknown to me, grocery stores are literally emptied of bread and milk within minutes of the first forecast.

As a kid I loved it when it snowed. There was the hope that school would be cancelled and we could play in the snow all day. As an adult, regretfully I am very aware of the chaos that "snow" brings. I say "snow" because usually "snow" in Alabama means flurries and ice. Considering the fact that I handle serious injury claims for a living (many of which are caused by ice), I generally get a feeling of nostalgia mixed with dread.

This time, however, I was really excited when I heard we might see a little snow because this would mark Bennett Grace's first snow! Not to mention she might be in Kindergarten before it happens again. And it was perfect! The snow started around lunch and was actually pretty heavy by the time I decided to leave work. It was a slow but uneventful ride home and as I neared home everything turned into a winter wonderland. Even the less desirable scenery on the back way home looked so much better covered in white. Sean had taken Bennett Grace out when the first flurries started to fall, but he wanted to really venture out with her until I got home. We go BGT into her coat and headed out for pictures. Man she loved the the snow. She would crinkle her nose when the snow would blow into her face and she constantly scanned the area taking everything in. It was priceless. We got a little more snow that much of the surrounding area and it was still there in the morning and a little the following day.

All in all we had lots of fun with our mini snow day! Peace out snow. See you again in 2018.

Dear Bennett Grace (9 months)

Dear Bennett Grace,

You have seriously grown up before our eyes this month. You never cease to amaze us with a new skill, sound or word. It is almost unreal what all you can do when you set your mind to it. You are a constant source of entertainment for us and your smile is so warm.

Here is a little of what you've been up to:

-A couple of days before Christmas you started crawling. You didn't ease into it either. It was like you flipped a switch. You were stationary one minute then zooming everywhere. You are so fast and always on the move.
-One of your favorite things to do is sit down and rotate in a circle to take everything in.
-You are so curious. You want to see and touch everything.
-You pull up on everything and you try to stand on your own but then you fall down and get right back up. You are so determined.
-Speaking of determined, you love to get into things that you are not supposed to. You hear a lot of "no ma'am" and you shake your head "no". We try not to laugh but its really cute.
-You are getting good at following commands too. I don't remember if I mentioned it before but if we say wiggle-wiggle-wiggle or bouncy-bouncy you wiggle or bounce. It is precious. You've been doing that for several months.
-You are also loving to cruise around the house pushing your walking toys. You zoom with them all over. Your little legs used to wobble but now they are quick and strong it is amazing!
-You also love to "put things where they go" it is so funny to watch you. You know where things belong and you try to put them in the right place. You do that with your toys and also with other things too like the remote control. We got you blocks that fit into a bucket and you are getting good at putting them on the lid. You are so proud of yourself :)
-You talk talk talk. You still only use a few "real words" (daddy, bye-bye, hey and thank you) but you mimic other sounds really well and so you babble non-stop. You have little conversations with yourself and your toys and it is so precious. Sadly, the mmmmm sound has not made way into your vocabulary.
-On New Year's Eve you got your first tooth! It is the bottom front right tooth. It is all the way in now and you can see it really well when you talk or smile.
-You love to pick up things especially tiny things and pass them back and forth between between your fingers.
-You love to feed yourself. You feed yourself puffs but you are really getting interested in what we are eating so we have let you have a tiny bit of pancakes which you loved. We are starting to introduce finger foods to you and we know you will love it!
-Mommy is still making your baby food. You eat three meals a day now. Oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. A fruit and veggie for lunch and 3 veggies for dinner. If you are really hungry sometimes we give you an extra fruit for dinner too. When you decide that you don't want a food you will swat at it and shake your head no. We try not to encourage you but sometimes it makes us laugh. Right now you do not love green beans or bananas.
-You are still having bottles 4 times a day with 6 ounces of breast milk.
-You have your last bottle at 8 and then go to sleep around 8:15 and sleep until around 8 in the morning. You sleep on your tummy with your hands tucked under you and your tush straight up in the air. You love to wiggle down into the corner of your crib. When you fall asleep if we are holding you, you put your hands up by your head and purse your lips. You look so smoochy.
-This month you have been staying with Daddy as he prepares to start a new job. You will go back to staying with Gigi next week when Daddy goes back to work. You have loved spending time with Daddy and he has loved spending time with you.
-On the day before you turned 9 months old, January 17th- Papa D's birthday- it snowed! You loved your first snow. We took lots of pictures!
-You also had your first Christmas this month and we took way too many pictures! You are having a ball playing with all of your new toys. You got so many presents and saw so many family members! We were so blessed to have you with us this year.
-You love reading books, especially pop up books and books that rhyme. You love when we sing songs and read books to you. Your Mimi was so impressed that your eyes as we point to the words in the books. She won't let mommy bust out the flash cards just yet :)
-You also are really into knocking things down. Mommy will stack up your toys or blocks and you knock them down and smile so proud. You are so precious angel.
-You are still true to size, wearing mostly 6-9 and 9-12 clothes. You are still in size 2 diapers. We will find out your other stats at your doctor's appointment this week. We can't wait to see how uch you have grown.

Shuggie, we can not believe that you have been on this earth almost as long as you were in Mommy's tummy. The thought that in three short months we will be celebrating your birthday is almost unreal. You are so smart and beautiful and special. Each day with you is such a blessing. We love you so much baby.

With love,

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mommy Must-Haves

I've been really wanting to put together a "Mommy Must-Have" post forever and my sweet friend Amy just found out she is expecting a baby girl so we have been talking a ton about all of our favorite things. So I decided it was the perfect time to pull together a little list of my favorites from BGT's first nine months.

Graco® Pack 'n Play with Cuddle Cove™ Rocking Seat - Astoria
Graco Pack 'n Play
At the top of the list is the Graco Pack 'n Play. I can not say enough good things about it. We initially kept it in our room before we transitioned Bennett Grace to her crib and now we use for her play cage... er, I mean play yard, now that she is in to EVERYTHING. We load that thing down with toys and she plays and plays without us worrying about what she is getting in to. There are so many to choose from in tons of price points with different features to meet each individual family's needs. The version we chose included a new born napper, raised bassinet and changing table. It also has a night light and sound machine and best of all it has a vibrate setting which is basically the equivalent of Ambien for babies. Be still my beating heart. We would flip that vibrate setting on along with the nice calming nature sound and Bennett Grace would be asleep in seconds. Magical.

Next up... The Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play napper. You know that saying "So nice they named it twice?" It was so nice we bought it twice! Well, in actuality we got the first basic version as a shower gift and LOVED IT so we bought the SnuggaBunny version to keep at our house and we kept the other at my mom's house. It folds flat to store so it has been great for travel. We have taken it to Cincinnati and to the beach twice and it has been wonderful! When BGT was sick the first time she slept in it because it has a slight incline which kept her sinuses open and I felt to much better knowing that she was in the room by me. We also used the heck out of it in the summer. Our basic model has vented sides and so Bennett Grace enjoyed countless days napping in the cool shade with a nice breeze flowing through it while we hung out with family and friends by the pool. Plus she LOVES it! I'm bummed that she is starting to get too big for it :(

When BGT was little and really up to about 6 months she loved to be swaddled. At first we used blankets then she became a master of busting out of the swaddle and we discovered the magic of the SwaddleMe swaddlers. There are tons of brands that have similar products but we liked the SwaddleMe best. They are precious and easily transitioned from a full swaddle to "arms out".
star light swaddlepyara bamboo swaddles
Speaking of swaddling blankets, we loved the Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. The originals are muslin which are so light and airy but when swaddled they breathe well but also hold in just the right amount of heat. We also have the bamboo version which may very well be the softest swaddling blanket on the market. Trust me they are worth the price tag. They are perfect for swaddling or covering the carseat to keep the paparazzi at bay :)

star light burpy bibIn addition to their magical swaddling blankets, Aden + Anais make tons of great products, my favorite being their burpy bibs. They are burp cloths and a super sized bib all in one. There is a snap at the corner that wraps completely around the baby's neck. Perfect for keeping "the good outfits" clean. They are the same soft muslin as the swaddling blankets and wash up great.

We also could not get enough of converter gowns when Bennett Grace was brand spanking new. I found that they were so convenient when she was so small and I wanted her to be comfortable but not in PJs all day. They were the best of both worlds. They are a gown at night for quick diaper changes and convert to a one piece for the day time. So warm and cozy. I can picture my sweet munchkin still so tiny and new snuggled next to me in her converter gown with her baby bear house shoes.

Now let's talk feeding the munchkin. We are still breast feeding (woohoo! I never thought we would last this long and I feel quite accomplished!), however since I'm a full time working mama we switched over to nearly exclusively pumping when I went back to work. The Medela Pump In Style has been my lifeline. It allows me so much freedom especially in the early days when Bennett Grace was eating every couple of hours. The pump is stored in a tote bag and comes with a small insulated cooler bag that holds 4 six ounce bottles and a freezer pack. There is also room for all of your pump accessories. Early on a bought a cheap lingerie bag that is meant for the washing machine. It allows me to toss in all my clean pump pieces and keep them separated from everything else. It also allows them to air dry if they are still damp. It worked out great for us.

If you are pumping then you NEED the Medela Easy Expression Hands Free Bustier. Sure, I chuckled at it several times before my friend Donora strongly encouraged me to get one. I'm so glad I listened to her. When I tell you that I have been rushed to get out the door and have pumped while feeding Bennett Grace a quick bottle with one hand and putting on my makeup on with the other, I am not exaggerating. I've been overall impressed with Medela products. The only thing I much prefer when it comes to BF that is not Medela is Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags. They hold more and are waaaay cheaper for the same quality product. No brainer.

Get a bottle warmer people. I know some say they are a luxury or unnecessary but when your baby is hungry and screaming, the difference between the two minutes it takes to warm a bottle with the warmer and the five minutes without it is worth the price of a hundred bottle warmers. I'm not going to even tell you about the time we forgot ours while on a trip to Cincinnati. It's too painful for even me to recollect. We used Dr. Brown's bottles mostly so we used the Dr.Brown's Delux Bottle Warmer.

Now that we are transitioning from bottles to sippy cups I have learned that as with bottles, not all sippys are created equal. After lots of trial and error I have found my match in the Nuk Learner Cups. They have nice big removable handles, are spill proof and have measurements on the side. (I was surprised to find that all sippys don't.) they come in lots of cute colors. (If your in the market, Walmart usually has them for the best price.)

As far as "solids" go, I have committed to making Bennett Grace's baby food. I like it because it lets me know exactly what she is eating and hopefully I can help her develop some good eating habits along the way. But let's face it, not everyone has the time and there are certainly times when I'm running late or we need to get out of the house in a flash and I don't have the time to pack something for BGT to eat. Those are the days I turn to Plum Organics. They are all organic and everything on the label you can pronounce. Yay for no added sugar or preservatives! We love the level two blends AND Boon makes an awesome Dispensing Spoon that attaches to the pouches for on the go feeding. GENIUS. Plum also makes tons of snacks, and we really like their line of Plum Organics Puffs. They were awesome for getting BGT to develop her pincher grip and they melt in seconds so I wasn't worried about her choking (even though I swear she tries to see just how many she can put in her mouth at a time). Plus they taste really good.

Trace Bath Appliques

Back to Boon for a second... Get their bath toys. BGT is obsessed with bath time and especially the toys and these keep BGT so entertained. They float, they stick to the side of the tub, they are easy to keep clean and they make great teething toys. Enough said.

Product DetailsAnother must-have for us have been Robeez socks. They are kick-proof and THE BEST SOCKS EVER. We got a set of three as a gift and they are amazing. BGT would blow a sock every two seconds before and then we put these on her and they stayed on like magic. They have a tiny band of elastic at both the bottom and the top of the ankle. We have so many sets now. The only issue is they are super hard to find. They are made by Stride Rite, however they don't sell them any longer through their website or the Robeez website. You can occasionally find them in the Stride Rite stores but call ahead because they sell out so quick if they get them in. I have also seen them on major sale at TJ Maxx and on Zulily a hand full of times. Your best bet is Amazon and Diapers.com, they by far have the best selections. 0-6 months are easier to find than 6-12 months so even if your shopping for a newborn and you see 6-12 in a pattern you like, trust me and buy them!!!

My sweet angel has super sensitive skin just like her mama, so Boudreaux's Butt Paste and Auqaphor are go-tos for us. For diaper rash or to prevent diaper rash Boudreaux's is amazing. We put it on at the first sign of redness and it is cleared up literally that day. Auqaphor is amazing too. if you follow my blog you know that BGT has roll after roll and until recently, i was not sure she even had a neck. She used to get really red and irritated skin especially between her neck and chin and with her constant drooling it was impossible to keep it dry. Then we met this woman at the pool with precious twin boys and we struck up a conversation about babies. She let us know she had the same issues when her boys were little and suggested Aquaphor. It works as water barrier to protect skin but heals at the same time. Man was she right! So thank you mystery lady from the pool, you were right it is amazing! (I feel like I'm channelling Britney Spears on X-Factor with all this AMMMMMAZING!)

When BGT got sick the first time I was so freaked out that she had or was going to get the flu/a sinus infection/RSV/pneumonia/fill in your choice of dreaded illness. thankfully the doctor confirmed it was just a little cold, but she was so stopped up that she could barely breathe. He suggested we try saline drops. So I'm like... Uh, like contact solution? Then he politely directed me to Little Noses Saline Drops by Little Remedies. Holy moly! They worked like a charm. They can either be used like a dropper or as a spray. You know the old saying what goes up must come down? Well that's exactly what you can expect. It was a huge help.

GET A FOREHEAD THERMOMETER. Just do it. When your sweet little munchkin is sick and sleeping do you want to risk waking them up to get their temperature by sticking something in their ear or the less preferred alternative... The answer is no. NO NO NO. The forehead thermometer is quick and you just barely touch them with it. It is also helpful when they are sick and squirming from you because it is so fast. We have two kinds. I am not convinced that either is better than the other but I know they are better than the ear variety or the good old fashioned way.

Another must have for us has been the Thirty-One Insulated Tote Bag and Large Utility Tote with lid. I'm not sure it would have been helpful in the first few months but around 3 or so months when you start carting toys from place to place, for sure! We go to my parents house or my in-laws a lot and my mom keeps Bennett Grace during the week while I'm at work so we are back and forth a lot. You know when people tell you that after you have kids it feels like you have to take the whole house wherever you go? That's us. I feel like we load up the car every time we head to see the fam. Enter magical Thirty-One. I can literally fit the diaper bag and all of its contents along with all of her toys, her Insulated Tote (ie. lunchbox) and even enough stuff so that she (or we) can stay the night at my parents. This eliminates the need for 1370411 bags which I have been known in the past to bring. Hallelujah! And lest I forget to mention they are beautifully monogrammed and let's face it I'm a southern girl so Monograms are basically required for everything. The lunchbox as I call it is sooooo amazing (there I go with that word again). Now that Bennett Grace is only doing a couple of bottles a day, we have little need for a big insulated bottle bag. We have however added in a sippy cup and at least one or two bowls of baby food. If I'm sending BGT to my mom's for the day, I can fit two regular sized bottles, a sippy cup and two stacked bowls with a freezer pack all in her lunch box. Everything stays nice and cold and is all in one place. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
Fisher-Price My Little SnugaBunny Swing

I know I am leaving out a million things, (like a swing- we have the Fisher-Price SnugaBunny, we didn't thing a swing was important so we didn't get it until Bennett Grace was a month old. Maaaaaan were we wrong. It saved my sanity when BGT was little and wouldn't let me put her down) but these things really are a pretty good representation of our loves from the first 9 months.

As much as I would love to be compensated for my gushing over the above products, regretfully I was not. All opinions are my own :)


Sunday, January 13, 2013


I feel like I never have time anymore. Not time to do chores or to blog and with good reason! My munchkin is ON THE MOVE. Literally when I am not at work my time is now spent chasing her. She is so fast and in to EVERYTHING. She pulls herself up to pull things off of my coffee table and ottoman which we have now cleared. She also constantly wants to get to the fire place. And don't get me started on the dog toys. The puppies leave their toys out and if you blink she has one in her hands or inching toward her mouth. I can not even think about the germs. I guess when you are crawling around in the floor, no matter how clean it is, you certainly can't be germ free all the time.

We are working hard on no ma'am. She knows what it means and will pause and look at you and shake her head no but her short term memory and her fierce determination usually win and we end up having to pull her away from whatever it is she's not supposed to be in which usually results in one of two outcomes- meltdown of epic proportions or she pretends to play for two seconds before we are back to no ma'am again. Her favorite "no ma'am" zones are currently the area around the fireplace, the kitchen and the dog toy basket.

Houston I think it's time for baby gates.