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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Almost 2

Twenty three months. The last time I can measure C's age in months without getting strange looks from people. ::sigh:: Only one more month until he's two! Its been such a big year for him; for us all, really. The first year is certainly full of fun firsts and cry worth moments, but for C a lot of his big milestones came this year.

Here is a little 23 month update to celebrate the close of an amazing year...

Stats: 32 lbs & 34" tall

Clothing: 2T in clothes and size 7.5/8 in shoes.

New Words: Oh man, there are new ones every single day! Lately we've been hearing a lot of apple, Mickey, Oh Toodles!, what's that?!, good, school, yes/no, color, Mommy, Daddy, baby, kitty, thank you, bless you, and random body parts.

New Tricks: Saying thank you, please, and bless you in the correct contexts has been kind of blowing our mind. Though he does also say bless you when someone coughs or burps, I'll take it! Also, drinking from an open cup with about a 50% success rate, learning to climb and go down his slide alone, and doing stairs like a champ.

School/Daycare: He LOVES daycare lately and is
excited to go everyday. They've been learning about fall, pumpkins, apples, leaves, and weather. He comes home with art work almost every day and I love hanging it in the kitchen or my office.

Sleep: He's been in a twin bed for several weeks now and he loves it. Putting him to bed has been *knock on wood* quite easy lately. 

His Take on the Baby: He doesn't quite get it yet, but if you think about it, pregnancy is quite an abstract concept for a little guy. He's starting to point to my belly when we ask where the baby is, but he also sometimes points to his own belly or J's belly. Haha Maybe we're just confusing him.

Terrible Twos: They haven't quite reared their ugly head just yet, but we're waiting. He has been having a few more mini meltdowns than normal when he's told no, but we're trying to explain to him reasons why and find ways he can do/get what he wants in a constructive way. We know tantrums WILL happen, but hopefully we can't keep them to a dull roar.

And just to put the cherry on the sobbing cake, here he is a year ago today. Its funny, as time goes on, there is less of a visual gap between the months. He's definitely losing his baby look though and turning all little boy.

September 30th, 2011 -- 21lbs. 8oz., 28"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We're Saving for Disney!

Both J and I went to Disney once or twice as kids, but didn't get to go again until our honeymoon. We had a BLAST and totally drank the mouse kool-aid. We collect Disney movies, love Disney channel, and can't wait to go back to WDW!

I think he'd agree that we're most definitely a Disney family.

When thinking about C's birthday party this year, we picked a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme because he is basically obsessed with it. For those of you who follow me on Pinterest, this is probably old news. ;-) He loves his Mickey and Boopy (Goofy) stuffed animals and can name/point out all of the characters in his books. It was a clear winner for birthday theme.

That got us thinking, when are we going to take him to really meet Mickey?! We would love to go back for an anniversary and since that is conveniently partnered with C's birthday, why not go for Halloween one year? We checked prices and made a plan to save up for Disney Halloween 2013!

Yes, we do realize we'll have a 3 year old AND a 7 month old. Yes, we realize how insane that sounds, but really, it will be such ridiculous fun that we will make it work. I honestly get all teary eyed when I think of C meeting Mickey for the first time. Ah, gah...there I go again!

Since he will still be 2 when we check into the resort, he will be free his entire stay. This alone will save us hundreds of dollars. Thank you awesome Disney age policy. When we went last time, we had park hoppers and the meal plan - two things I HIGHLY recommend. Being able to go from park to park (with the free shuttles) and eat throughout the day without worrying about money made the whole experience much more laid back and enjoyable. Every day, we got a snack (bottle of water, fruit, ice cream, etc.), a quick service meal (a combo with drink and dessert from a walk up joint), and a sit down dinner (full dinner, drink, and dessert at any restaurant). You can't beat it.

For the whole shebang - room, meals, park tickets, gas, incidentals, and the inevitable souvenirs, we are budgeting $3,000. Not too bad for a week long family vacation, I think. With a year to save, we should be able to do it! I'm pumped. Next October can't come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Pizza Face Edition

No more cutting up pizza for this kid. Just hand it over!

Monday, September 24, 2012

13 Weeks

In my infinite laziness, no picture this week, but I thought I'd update anyway!

How far along? 13 weeks

Baby is the size of a... peach

Weight gain: I don't want to get on the scale and you can't make me!

Sleep/Energy: I'm getting a little bit of energy back, but by 9pm I'm still ready for bed. At least I'm sleeping through the night!

Cravings/Aversions: I've been eating a lot of pretzels and peanut butter. Yum!

General symptoms/feelings: Getting a bit of round ligament pain after standing a while, but nothing too bad.

Maternity clothes: I finally washed all of my maternity clothes and put away some too-small clothes, so I have many more options now. Hopefully, getting dressed in the morning will be less of a chore.

Movement: Nothing yet. I felt C around 16 weeks, so sometime in the next month I should start feeling some tiny bubbles.

Gender: We'll find out in mid-November!

Next appointment: Monday, October 8th @ 15 weeks.

Best moment of last week: Seeing a bunch of good friends at a wedding this past weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ever have one of those days...

Where your baby suddenly looks like he's a big kid or something? Seriously, he's killing me lately with the big boy-ness.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Pregnancy Snacks

You know that stage of pregnancy when you're as hungry as a bear? You know, like weeks 6 to 40? Well, its safe to say that I'm right in there and feeling like I'm starving all. the. time. And everyone knows what happens when you are hungry and have nothing in your desk. You seek out whatever crap food you can scrounge up and its usually deliciously awful for you. I can't keep doing that or I'm going to be as big as a barn in a few months.

I've come up with a little snack attack plan for work that seems to be working thus far. This isn't a typical recipe for Tasty Thursday, but hopefully helpful none the less.

Quick grab and go snacks:

Yogurt (Simplait by Yoplait is my current favorite)
Nature Valley bars
Granola or trail mix
Wheat Thins or Triscuits with Laughing Cow spread
String cheese (I just cut up a block of mozzarella - much cheaper)
Hand fruit (apples, bananas, pears, etc.)
98% fat free popcorn

Need a little prep, but still very easy:

Muenster cheese & apple slices
Turkey and cheese roll ups
Instant oatmeal (I bring it to work in a travel coffee mug and it stays nice and warm!)
Carnation Instant Breakfast shake
Muffins (make them on the weekend and eat them all week long)
English Muffin with peanut butter

Snacks to dip:

I love dipping. I don't know what it is, but it keeps me busy and makes the snack last way longer. Gladware has these fancy containers that fulfill my need to dip snacks and I love them! You can put your dip into the little cup and the snack in the bottom. Its easy, neat, and very functional.

Some of my favorite dips are hummus, buffalo ranch dressing, peanut butter, and jam to go with crackers, pita chips, veggies, or pretzels. The cup is 1.5oz and the tub is about 2 cups so it keeps your portions in check.

I've found that the more good snacks I have in my arsenal, the less likely I am to run to the student union for junk food or wander around my kitchen aimlessly until I find the cookies. Plus, if Weight Watchers taught me anything, its that real food has a lot more bang for your calorie giving you more energy, more consistent blood sugar, and a longer full feeling.

What are your favorite things to munch on?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mom-Mobile

One of my goals for the year was to pay off both of our cars and I'm happy to report we have finally paid off the Passat that we bought back in January! Exciting, right? No car payments? Yeah....about that.

Recently, we took a weekend trip to visit family and we realized that between our stuff and C's stuff (pack and play, stroller, bag of diapers/wipes, toys, etc.) there was NO way we'd be able to really travel when #2 arrives. We'll have more kid stuff and a bigger stroller. The Passat wasn't going to cut it anymore.

Within 48 hours of pay our final payment, we were signing papers to buy a new car! Its exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. We'd been looking for crossovers and mini vans for the past few weeks and, in general, found that we would be able to get way more bang for our budget in the mini van department. Sure, crossovers are nice, but they are noticeably more expensive, features are huge buy ups, and worse on gas.

We found exactly what we were looking for at a dealership nearby and to make matters even more awesome, they were excited to take the Passat (even with a burned out headlight) for exactly what I paid for it 9 months ago!

Here she is! The Mom-mobile in all her glory. Its a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. It has lots of fun features like power doors and lift gate, stow and go seats, voice commands, and Bluetooth.

Mood lighting!
What makes me happy: There is a ton of room between the rows, so C's seat can stay rear facing without impacting the front seats. I also LOVE the stow and go seats. Even the captains chairs go into the floor! Growing up, we hauled seats in and out of my Mom's van and I never wanted to do that again.

What makes J happy: He loves the smooth ride, big windows, and general space we now have. With kids its easy to over pack because you never know what will happen and now we can.

What makes C happy: His seat sits high enough that he can easily look out the huge side windows that also roll 3/4 of the way down. He was yelling, "weeeeeee!!!" the whole way home!

What makes my car-savvy Dad happy: Its a Dodge, meaning its going to be way easier to fix than my VW and certified used, so it has an awesome bumper to bumper warranty for the next 5 years or 60K miles. Can't beat it.

Having pretty much grown up in my Mom's 1989 sky blue Astro van, I'm excited to own a van. I have the most wonderful memories of traveling with my family and can't help but wonder what adventures my little family will have traveling around together. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

12 Weeks

My first bumpdate for kid #2. Crazy, huh? Well, its been almost 2 months since we found out and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. Almost 1/3 of the way done! One of my goals for this pregnancy is to document it better. I only have like 4 bump pictures from C and the last one was at 30 weeks - a month before I delivered him. I don't even have a picture of me pregnant in the hospital! Hind sight and all that.

How far along? 12 weeks

Baby is the size of a... plum

Weight gain: About 5 lbs. so far.

Sleep: I can't get enough! I'm still neck deep in first trimester exhaustion and I'm over it. I can, however, still sleep comfortably on my stomach thanks to our memory foam bed topper.

Cravings/Aversions: Nothing in particular, though J would probably differ in opinion. Its not so much that I'm craving anything specific, but I'm never sure what I'm in the mood for until I see it.

General symptoms/feelings: Exhaustion and headaches are my two big ones right now. Thankfully, the nausea has mostly subsided!

Maternity clothes: Tops are still fitting alright, but pants are definitely maternity. I waited so long to make the switch with C. I know better this time. Why squeeze into uncomfortable pants held shut with a hair tie when I can wear maternity slacks that feel like pajama pants? Win!

Movement: Nothing yet. I felt C around 16 weeks, so sometime in the next month I should start feeling some tiny bubbles.

Gender: We'll find out in mid-November!

Last appointment: My last appointment was on September 10th at 11 weeks with one of the midwives at my practice. My blood pressure was right on target and the baby's heart rate was around 160. She found it right away with the doppler!

Next appointment: Monday, October 8th @ 15 weeks.

Best moment of last week: Getting to tell everyone the great news!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Consignment 101

I love consignment sales! You've heard me go on before about the awesome benefit of hitting up consignment sales - its the easiest, cheapest way to outfit your kid(s) with clothes, toys, and gear.

The next three weekends, there are sales across the area and I can't wait. This morning I stopped by one of the smaller sales this season and made out like a bandit - I was quite shocked. I was on the hunt for fall/winter clothes, wooden puzzles, shoes for C and gender neutral sleepers for the newbie. I ended up getting:

Two pairs of track pants, Dr. Seuss Converse sneakers, four long sleeve shirts, six onesies, three sleepers, one two piece outfit, a hanging closet organizer, a Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle, a Lego Duplo table with a ton of blocks, and a Little Tikes easel.....all for $56. Can't beat that! All of the clothes for C were good quality brands like Osh Kosh, Gap, and The Children's Place and the baby clothes were all Carter's.

You can find consignment sales near you by checking your local Craig's List or the Kids Consignment Sales website - a national listing of sales. There are usually fall and spring sales, so plan accordingly!

Here are some of my favorite tips for shopping consignment sales:
  1. Check what forms of payment they take before you go. Some take credit/debit, but smaller ones may only take cash. Be sure to bring enough money!
  2. Try not to bring kids with you if possible. I had to bring Charlie this morning and while he was well behaved, it was hard to tote around my loot and push his stroller all while keeping him occupied. 
  3. Bring a large bag or laundry basket. Some sales have big bags (like Ikea bags), but some do not. 
  4. Write down the sizes/seasons and items you're looking for before you go - especially if you're keeping your eye out for nieces, nephews, or friends. 
  5. Find out if you can shop early! First time or pregnant Moms, volunteers, and consignors can often per-register to shop before the general public.
  6. With few exceptions, if there are more than 3-4 of any one kind of toy on the table, chances are its an annoying or uninteresting toy that parents were happy to get rid of.
  7. Be picky about clothing brands. Don't spent $2 on a Granimals shirt from WalMart when it costs $3 new. $4 for a pair of gently worn Osh Kosh or Levi's jeans? Much more worth it. 
  8. If you find a large item you want (stroller, big Little Tykes play set, etc.) pull the tag off and bring it up to pay. You can physically pick up the item later on after you pay. 
  9. Consider what can be cleaned and what cannot. Stains in clothing are probably set, but most toys and baby gear can be thrown in the wash or wiped down to look like new. 
  10. Check for recalls. Typically, consignment sales and children's resale shops are not permitted to sell recalled items. If you have any concern about an item, however, (especially if it looks old or worn) check recalls on your smart phone or don't buy it. Its not worth the risk.
  11. Most sales have a 50% off day on the last day. I usually try to go to sales the first day and the last day to cover my bases for selection and deals.
What's the best steal you've gotten at consignment? What are your favorite consignment shopping tips? Happy shopping!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love macaroni and cheese? Even more than that, who doesn't love one pot dishes that you don't need to tend to? Hooray for crock pot meals!


2 cups of dry elbow noodles
2 cups of skim milk
12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 can of Campbell's cheese soup
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese or Swiss (something not cheddar)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
Wisk together egg, milks, and cheeses, then add dry pasta. 
Cook on low for about 3 hours keeping an eye on it and stirring once or twice for good measure. 

If it bakes too long, it can get dry. Its definitely a different kind of mac and cheese texture, but so delicious!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Big News!

C has some news to share with you!

 And how C really feels about the news...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Toddlers Get Taller

My tiny little guy is getting way too big! I feel like we've been in a constant pattern of moving things around to keep them out of his go go gadget toddler hands. Since moving him to a twin bed in his new room, we've been especially careful about keeping his room super toddler proofed (or at least as well as we possibly can - toddlers are crafty little people).

One thing we realized needed a look were his books and toys. We don't mind having his books and toys out and available in his room. If he gets out of bed, at least he has something to do instead of screaming for us to come get him out. It buys us a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning!

The main storage unit in his room is a 4 x 2 cube unit from Target with a few fabric drawers for blocks and toys. No worries, people - its anchored to the wall. ;-) Originally, we put all of his hardback and jacketed books in the top cubes and board books in the lower cubes within his reach. Well, now at 33 1/2", he can reach his little hands up to the top shelf and get down most of his nicer books. While he hasn't destroyed a book yet (*knocks on wood*) I didn't want to take any chances.

Hardbacks went up on the dresser and paperbacks, board books, and puzzles made their way into the cubes. 

Another reason we wanted to clear up some space on his bookshelf was to bring out some puzzles. Normally, they're stuck in one of the fabric drawers. He's recently taken a huge interest in puzzles, so we wanted to make them more visible. An extra pot lid rack makes for perfect puzzle storage!

It amazes me how big he's getting and how his preference in toys is changing. We've put away all of his baby toys and begun collecting more complicated big kid toys like puzzles, blocks, tools, cars, and musical instruments. I love reorganizing his room!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloth Diaper Revamp

We've been happily using our bumGenius cloth diaper with C for over 18 months now, but a few things have thrown a wrench in our perfect system. Between toddler pee and hard water, we are starting to get....the stinkies.

What are the stinkies, you ask? Basically, the diapers smell clean when they come out of the wash, but the second your kid pees on it, an acrid smell of ammonia and death becomes overwhelming. You'd swear it was a dirty diaper when really, its only pee. We began having the same issue with our bath towels (not because of pee, obviously) where they'd smell musty the second they got wet. Again, from the hard water build up keeping dirt and bacteria in the absorbent fabric.

After asking around and reading a ton of articles and message boards I've come up with a plan of action to fix this icky problem. First, strip the diapers really, really, really well.

The covers went into a big bucket of hot water and Dawn soap to soak. After a good soak, they'll be rinsed in the tub and run through a regular wash cycle. Dawn breaks down any residual oils and build up in the diapers just like it cleans grease and oil from dishes. This part is simple, but they're not really the problem anyway.

The microfiber inserts have their own long, complicated routine. First, I boiled the inserts in a huge stock pot on the stove. The good news is that they seemed to really fluff up and release a lot of soap and crap into the water bath. The bad news is that my kitchen kind of smells like warm pee. Oh well.

Next, I threw them all into the washer for a ton of rinses, a wash cycle, and more rinses. We've also begun adding more water to our front loading washer through the detergent drawer. Nothing is getting clean if the microfiber soaks up what little water the machine uses and spends an hour slapping around the drum! Hopefully, this helps get them less smelly! They are currently on their last rinse and then they'll go into the dryer. I'll update later how this works! If it doesn't work, I'm going to be doing a strip cycle with RLR Laundry Treatment to help breakdown whatever the hard water is leaving behind.

On the soap front, we recently switched to Rockin Green Hard Rock, which will help with mineral build up from the water, and Funk Rock, which will help keep ammonia from sticking....once we get rid of the current build up. Wish us luck! I'm sick of having so much pee smell in my life.

Another revamp to our diapers is much less gross. When we started cloth diapering, we chose velcro closures on our diapers since snaps were not yet available on bumGenius diapers. We loved the custom fit of the velcro, but after 18 months of washing and drying the velcros strips were absolutely falling apart. There was no way they were going to last through potty training, no less any further.

I researched simple fixes and even considered buying some new diapers until I heard about Convert My Diapers. Take the velcro strip and tabs off, throw them in the mail, choose your snap colors and for a few dollars a diaper, get back perfectly converted snap diapers!

We converted 15 diapers and had one snap diaper repaired. With shipping both ways, it cost us about $60 to have most of our diaper stash completely rejuvenated. It would have cost us well over $200 to replace them! The diapers came back in about a week and a half and we LOVE the results. The snaps work perfectly and the coordinating colors are so fun! As soon as I get all of our dipes out of the Dawn bath I'll post a picture. All in all, I highly recommend this service.

So, the short story is that we're still happily cloth diapering, even if it does keep us on our toes now and then. ;-)