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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Book Review: Changing Diapers

Mr. Handsome and I (okay, mostly me but he is pretty much on board) really want to give a go at cloth diapering this time around. I was initially drawn to this option because of the diapering difficulties we had with Baby1: he had horrible diaper rash and was a pistol to potty train. Things I’ve heard about cloth diapering seem to indicate that we can avoid both of these things, so I’m all for it.

PhotobucketConvincing Mr. Handsome brings in another bonus for using cloth: the cost savings. The statistic stated in Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering is that you can save an average of $2,000 over disposables. Well he was sold.

With that decision made, I quickly realized that we don’t know anything about cloth diapers. Well, I know that we used some prefolds with Baby1… as spit-up rags. They worked great! But I wouldn’t be able to show you how to use them as diapers. Plus, there’s so much more out there these days! There are All-In-Ones, All-In-Twos, Hybrids, Pockets, Flats, on and on and on! And how to you clean them? And with what? How do you store the dirty ones? How many should we buy?

I found answers in this book. I read it all in an evening and felt like I actually knew a few things when I finished! I even answered some co-workers’ questions about cloth later that week!

PhotobucketThe book has this great section of green-framed pages that stands out from the rest of the book. These pages contain the various types of cloth diapers. I won’t go into them here, but wow they are all so very different! They each have their own pros and cons, too. The author encourages the reader to only buy a few diapers of different types when you first get started. Find what works for your wash and your baby (they all fit differently too!) then stock up. That’s my plan at least. I’ve already got myself a pocket and a prefold cover.

There’s also a whole chapter on cloth diaper laundry, which is Mr. Handsome’s biggest trepidation about the whole thing. This explains the use of a wet bag, diaper sprayer, strategies for drying and which diaper types wash and dry the easiest. He’s less uncomfortable about this part now (although I’m sure he will not be 100% convinced until he sees the whole process in action).

Bottom line: I knew nothing about cloth before reading this book. After reading I felt confident enough to casually educate others about cloth. So the book did its job!

Next Review: The Happiest Baby on the Block

Do We Really Need a Stroller?

The stroller is typically one of the most researched and important new-baby purchases that parents make. For good reason, it is expensive and gets used a lot. Or does it get used a lot? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that we might not need a stroller. At least for the first few months, I think we can get by with a baby sling or wrap to tote our bundle around (and a car seat when we have to drive, of course).

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Look at how much use these strollers are getting!

So what are strollers good for anyway? Will we use the stroller for these purposes?

  • Walks to the park – sure, but I’d rather use a sling/wrap, especially for the first few months.
  • Walks around the neighborhood – yes, but again, baby-wearing is cool with me.
  • Shopping at the grocery store – nope, with Baby1 we put the carseat in the cart (in the big basket part). Pushing around a stroller AND a cart doesn’t work. Using just the stroller doesn’t work either because the basket is too small and awkward to reach.

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    A stroller or a shopping cart?

  • Hanging at the mall – I don’t hang at the mall (and if I went to do some serious shopping, the stroller is too big for most of the stores I’d want to go in anyway).
  • Trips to the zoo – it bothers me when big strollers take up all the exhibit room. A wrap is better here.
  • Traveling via airplane/walking the airport – simply because lugging the carseat around sucks, this is the only place I could see the stroller winning out over the wrap. But we don’t plan on traveling with Baby2 for awhile so this one doesn’t carry much weight (haha, get it?).

See, I don’t think we’d really use it all that much. The most we’d use it for is walking to the park when we take Max (which is every day) but we’d have to push it in the grass, up hills and around dog poop; that could be more trouble than it’s worth. Just to be sure, though, I examined some pros and cons:

Pros of Stroller Cons of a Wrap Pros of a Wrap Cons of a Stroller
You can put your child and stuff in it and push it around Only room for baby You can wear a back pack too to even out the weight and carry your stuff The basket is only so big (but, then again, so is the back pack)
It isn’t as hard on your back when baby gets a bit too heavy for the wrap. Baby can get heavy There are good wraps that distribute the weight pretty well. Only light when you’re pushing it (not when loading in the car, getting on the bus, etc.)
?? ?? Completely hands-free It isn’t hands-free, you’ve got to use at least one hand at all times (even when stopped – you’ve got to be safe!)
?? ?? It doesn’t take up any room! It takes up a lot of room (in the aisles, on the bus, in the trunk, stored in the house, etc.)
It’s super cute! ?? Compared to a stroller, it’s cheap ($300-500 compared to $30-50). And you can get them in all sorts of colors! It’s expensive
?? ?? Baby is right there next to you! It’s easy to soothe baby if he/she gets fussy. Baby seems so far away from you and maybe a tad isolated too

I’m biased now, but I’m thinking the pros of a wrap and the cons of a stroller are really backing up my hypothesis here.

The good thing is, we still have several months to make this decision. I know we’ll end up getting a stroller at some point, but I’d much rather spend $20-30 on a little umbrella stroller when Baby2 is big enough rather than a having huge expensive stroller at birth that we’ll barely use.

Now on to research all the baby sling and wrap possibilities!

Friday Update: Week 19

PhotobucketYikes, week 19! The days seem so long but the weeks are SO short! Where is all this time going, honestly? Sheesh we’ll be a family of four before I know it.

At 19 weeks, baby is about 6 inches long which is the height of this 24 oz. box of raisins! Mmmm, raisins. Mr. Handsome loves ’em.

What I don’t love, on the other hand, is this freaking annoying-as-all-get-out abdomen pain that I keep experiencing. It’s been going on since just before my last midwife visit, so since about week 15.

What I’m experiencing is a stabbing, sharp pain about an inch or two to the right of my belly button. It isn’t very deep, I would say no more than an inch below my skin, but it’s sharp and it hurts. Okay, it doesn’t hurt so much that I’m doubled over, immobile, crying, etc. but it is annoying and I don’t like it.

What’s also super dumb is that it comes and goes, sometimes it shows up at the same time every day (for about a week it was 4:15 on the nose), it waves in and out of more or less painful and it sticks around for sometimes an hour or two and then peaces out til the next day. WTF?

So I called the midwife a week or two ago. She asked a bunch of questions about my appendix (because I’m a rare one that has all the parts I came with, except my baby and wisdom teeth) but then determined that since I’m not in a super duper amount of pain that it probably isn’t appendicitis. (Well thank goodness because abdominal surgery right now would freak the f outta me.) She ruled out critical conditions and that was about it.

I called again after Kiddo1’s birthday party last weekend because it was getting pretty painful. We talked more about my symptoms. She believes I may be experiencing round ligament pain (however from my research on this subject I believe what I’m feeling is far too high in my abdomen to be my round ligaments). This pain is caused my ligaments and tendons in the uterus and pelvic area which are stretching out due to the growing baby.

This type of pain is completely normal, especially in second pregnancies (and third, fourth, etc). It’s also most common to feel this “stretching” in the second trimester. Finally, the pain can be triggered by lots of activity (hence its onset at the end of my work day or after activities such as a four-hour birthday party) and/or light dehydration (so time to really focus on getting more than 60 oz of water per day).

So when I feel the pain now, I’m trying to slow down a bit and take it easy, but grab the water bottle first and suck up some hydration while I lounge. Things have been a bit better the last couple days, but I’m really hoping this subsides soon. It’s just annoying and causes unnecessary worry!

Here are a few other things going on:

  • Total weight gain: 14 pounds. What. The. Hell. That’s three pounds this week alone (and five pounds in the last two weeks!). I blame this on Mr. Handsome because he brought home a whole lotta candy for Valentine’s Day and I am powerless against it.
  • Cravings: Freaking Valentine’s Day chocolate is the death of me this week. I can’t stay away!
  • Coolest symptom: Yes, there have been some definite, very light but definite, baby kicks. I’ve been teased for what, maybe a month now, by little flutters that I think, maybe, aren’t gas or other tummy rumbles but little waves of somersaults and baby tae-bo. But lately, in the evening when I’m quiet and still, I feel things. I hope they get stronger soon so I can stop going crazy with second-guessing myself!
  • Lamest symptom: Same ol’ problems as of late (lower back pain, stabbing abdomen pain/round ligament pain that comes and goes, headaches aren’t as frequent but still annoying, inconsistent but daily-ish bowel movements). These are more annoying than anything, they don’t get in the way. Honestly, I don’t really mind because at this point they’re all I’ve got to remind me that, yes, there’s a baby growing in there!
  • Exercise this week: The goal is 210 minutes per week (that’s an average of 30 minutes per day). I started a brief (5 minutes a day) arm routine to compliment all the yoga and bits of cardio I’m doing. I hope to have nice-looking arms by baby time! So total exercise this week was 215 minutes! All yoga except for arms and 30 minutes of vigorous soccer practice with Kiddo1 (soccer season is just around the corner!). I have got to get back to the elliptical but it made my back hurt so much last time I used it that I’m scared off. I must get over myself!

Now let’s check in with baby’s growth, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby’s sensory development is exploding! His or her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that your baby may be able to hear your voice now, so don’t be shy about reading aloud, talking to him or her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you. Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom – about the size of a large heirloom tomato. The arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of the body now. Your baby’s kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on his or her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on the skin to prevent it from pickling in your amniotic fluid.

My Funny Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! I love the chocolate holidays, and this one is a great one! That and Halloween, Christmas, Easter – oh Easter candy is the best! Robins Eggs are my favorite. But I digress…

Today Mr. Handsome traveled allllll the way out to my workplace via bus AND train (because we are a one-car family and I drive the car to work because the bus/train takes 90 minutes, one-way) to meet me for lunch! He works Valentine’s Eve at the restaurant (it’s easy money – too good to pass up!) so I coerced convinced invited him to come out and spend a long lunch with me.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI got Mr. Handsome some flowers (guys like to get flowers, too. Maybe not all guys, but I think deep down, yes, all guys like flowers or, at the very least, they like that you thought of them enough to get them a nice token like flowers) and he also received two very green boxes of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies which are his favorite (thanks to the co-worker who delivered them to my desk just yesterday!). Part of his cookie gift was the fact that I did not bust in to the boxes myself for a whole DAY AND A HALF. Big deal for this one, pregnant or not. They are now in the freezer waiting for him (because oh.my.goodness they are even better frozen!).

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMr. Handsome got me some flowers too! They just happened to arrive at my office while we were pulling up to the lunch restaurant. They called Mr. Handsome’s phone and it was a little awkward. He was just kind of like, aw man you ruined the surprise! It’s hard to retell the story – you just had to be there I guess… but it was cute.

So we had a nice lunch, he gave me more chocolates and a card (I’m so bad at getting cards) AND a Babies R Us gift card. Awww! He says, “We can go shopping together for some nice baby stuff.” What a softie. Hehehe.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppTonight I’m hanging with Kiddo1. We’re making some dinner and I planned to take him out for ice cream but he says, “We have ice cream here. Let’s just stay home.” Honestly that’s fine by me. I’m pooped!

Finally, later tonight, after Kiddo1 goes to bed and Mr. Handsome isn’t quite home from work just yet, I plan on scarfing down chocolates while getting my What Not to Wear fix. I thought about catching up on The Daily Show, but you know, Mr. Handsome likes that one too so I think I’ll save it for him. That’s just what love is all about!

Tie Tuesday

PhotobucketMonday

Monday was the premier of my newest pair of $10 jeans from Forever 21! I got these black ones last week in the mail (I’m an online ordering addict).

While it may be kind of crazy to get non-maternity jeans at one’s fourth month of pregnancy, a $10 steal is hard to pass up, no? Plus, I’ve had these jeans before – they are nice and stretchy. They’re bound to last for another month or so right? And they’ll come in real handy as I struggle work hard to return to my pre-pregnancy size.

This shirt is of course also from Forever (maybe I should clue the Forever people into my blog. I sound like a freaking advertisement for them already). Actually the only thing on me today (other than my undergarments) that isn’t from Forever are my shoes, which are my Rocket Dog flats.

Go figure right? Well at least I’ve found a store that works for me and is within my budget. Can’t complain there.

PhotobucketTuesday

I couldn’t remember where this dress came from (it’s a couple years old) so I went to check just now. Well it isn’t from Forever! It’s from… Love 21, which is Forever’s “contemporary” line. Sigh.

But hey, it is comfortable, pretty warm, and of all my sweaterdresses it is the only one that is “growing with me” nicely. The others are getting far too short for my taste. And HR’s.

The faux wrap of this dress has just enough actual wrap to expand out a bit. I know this dress won’t last for too much longer but at least it is working now. And that’s all I can ask for really.

I used these grey-blue tights instead of basic black to try and jazz up the whole thing a bit. They may clash a little, I’m not sure, but whatever, I tried something new. I also used my “flats to heels switch-a-roo” so that I could wear my nice black heels again. The trick is coming in quite handy!

PhotobucketWednesday

Wednesday was a really gray day here in the Pacific Northwest (shocking, right?!). Some days I think the sun is just too plain lazy to get up. So I busted out my bright yellow sweater. I was a replacement for the sun: bright and round. Ahahaha…

This sweater is a little big (why did I get the “tall” version? I am not tall.) so I belted it in order to add some shape. This sweater, surprisingly, is not from Forever. It is Old Navy, which is probably the store where the second biggest population of my clothes is from. More online shopping, what can I say?

When I was trying to take this picture my dog, Max, was trying to free his ball from under our bed. He gets so worried about his ball being just out of his reach – I call it his pacy (pacifier) because it is always in his mouth). I did get down and help him find it after I snapped the picture. He happily squished it in his mouth a few times and walked off. Good dog.

PhotobucketThursday

I’m really loving the tank-and-blazer combo lately. It’s just so easy and I don’t have to think about it! I have a lot of these stretchy tanks from Target – I think maybe four colors? I thought maybe a size medium would get me through the second trimester but I could be mistaken. They’re stretchy but they aren’t magic!

The only things in this outfit that are from Forever are the jeans (of course) and I believe the necklace is from there. It might be from Target, I can’t remember. I got it three or four years ago and it’s only recently made regular appearances outside my jewelry chest. I seem to do that with a lot of jewelry – I think I like it, I buy it, I don’t really like it but hang on to it and then in a few years I like it enough to wear it. Weird.

These are my Report flats that I got for $15 at Ross. I love these shoes. They’re simple with just a bit of interest and they go with lots of stuff!

PhotobucketFriday

I swear this tunic used to be a bit longer. I’m glad it was Friday and I didn’t have many meetings at work because I probably shouldn’t have gotten away with this one! These leggings aren’t see-through but they aren’t pants either! Oh well, now I know that this tunic is best paired with jeans! I think I might even work on detaching that tie-belt thing (it’s just in an awkward spot now with the bump) and make it work as a regular shirt. I can tuck it in to the couple pair of maternity jeans I bought that have a real, yes a real! waist. I’m really excited to see how those jeans work out.

My Doc Martins and scarf are keeping me nice and warm and comfortable – I’m all ready for the weekend now!

 

Kiddo1’s Birthday Party

This past weekend we had a birthday outing for Kiddo1’s ninth birthday. Usually we do a big party with all the kids in the class. Birthdays are a big deal to us! Up until last year we had everyone at our house and partied in the basement (concrete floors are easier to clean the cake off than carpet!). Then last year we finally broke down and invited everyone out to one of those inflatable bouncing centers. At eight, he was a getting a little old for that I guess, but his friends were all so high-energy that we needed a place where they could really go crazy.

While Kiddo1’s friends are high-energy, he really is not. He’ll run and play with them all day long if they’re doing it, but he’s not one to instigate. He’s been asking us to have a movie party for a few years now but we knew his friends couldn’t handle it.

Well now that his friends are a little older and are able to control themselves a little better (as long as you pick the right ones, that is!), we decided we’d give a movie party a go. Also, since we got the new car, we could take five extra kids with us and actually get them all to the theater.

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So we did it! We took six third graders to the movies, followed by pizza in the mall food court and ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s (we had a Groupon!). Kiddo1 had a great time and finally got the movie party he’d always wanted.

When compared to the $250+ that a “play place” party costs, this movie option was cheaper, even to see a 3D film (Journey 2 The Mysterious Island). We went to the first showing of the day so tickets were only $9.75 each (only is a relative term I guess). Then a pizza at Sbarro was less than $20 (including a salad for Mr. Handsome and me). The ice cream was only $15 for all including the price of the Groupon. All total it was about $115. If you count the ice cream cake we got on his actual birthday we still spent less than half of what last year cost us. Even hosting the party at home isn’t as cheap when you consider all the decorations, food, cake, beer (well the parents hang out and, you know, it might as well be a party for them too).

Plus, this option was super easy for us. No need to clean the house (twice), no cake to bake, games to plan, decorations to hang, etc. No waiting on anyone to arrive or leave because we picked up and dropped off everyone ourselves (which was great because we got a few minutes to touch-base with all the parents too). No stress! Yay!

Happy birthday Kiddo1! We’re glad you had fun with your friends!

Book Review: Belly Laughs

The other day I was watching “What Not to Wear” on TLC (have you noticed yet that I’m a fan of the show?). Stacie and Clinton were making over a woman who worked as a personal assistant to and was nominated by Jenny McCarthy and some other woman who is on “Dancing with the Stars” or something (and was obviously starved for screen time. I mean, the nominator does not do the 360 and shopping with the nominee. Why they let her tag along to all that is beyond me. Jenny’s taped segments, on the contrary, were fairly low-key and all about the nominee. Much more classy, in my opinion.)

PhotobucketCoincidentally, the day after my “What Not to Wear” viewing Mr. Handsome brought “Belly Laughs” home from the library for me. Aw, isn’t he sweet?

That night I sat down to have a read, and one read was all it took. I finished this book in about four hours, including several potty breaks and a 30-minute reading session with Kiddo1 (he just started the Harry Potter series, which I’m so excited about!). The short chapters are like individual short stories which makes you feel like you’re just flying through the 161 pages.

I think we all remember “classic” Jenny McCarthy: I’m thinking of the days she was really popular, co-hosted “Singled Out” on MTV and never held back from a fart or poop joke. Jenny totally owns up to this reputation and makes it very clear in her first chapter that this book is not for the modest as she does bring up several subjects that would probably make non-pregnant women a bit uncomfortable. But honestly, to the pregnant (especially the experienced pregnant) there wasn’t a ton of overly-graphic detail. Most of it just gave me a little “ew” expression, like the story about her proctology visit (let’s just say the doctor she visited really seemed to love his job – a lot – and she didn’t go back).

I expected a marginal amount of grossness and she did not fail to deliver. However, I was also expecting a few more laughs. I like a book that can make me laugh out loud, especially if it’s about something that I can relate to. Mr. Handsome gave me a Chelsea Handler book last Christmas and I really had to be careful where I read it because she would have me close to rolling on the floor sometimes. David Sedaris has that same effect, too. Looking back on my Jenny memories, I think that I’ve just never found her to be all that funny. Our styles of humor just don’t “mesh” well. Others have found this book to be quite LOL funny – I mean, it was an NYT bestseller. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me.

One thing that I did take from this book is a reminder that everyone’s pregnancy is different. While we all experience similar “side effects,” some women’s experience can be drastically different than others. What works for some women won’t always work for you. That’s something for me to keep in mind not only with all these pregnancy books I’m reading, but also for all the strangers who will start to comment on and give advice regarding my bump/baby now that it’s become obvious that I’m expecting.

Next Month’s Book: Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels