Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things Making Me Happy Right Now

Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my own negativity to see some of the wonderful things in my world. Today, we combat that and say, "To hell with you, negativity!"

1. Waking up with my cat cuddled next to me (or on my hip, depending on the day). I love having a little furry friend keeping me warm at night, and it warms my heart when I wake up and she already wants to spend time with me.

2. The smile I get from my baby girl each morning. I love when I peek over the side of the pnp and she's kicking away, ready to meet the day. When she sees me, I get a big ear-to-ear grin that melts my cold black heart.

3. Pinterest. Seriously.

4. M&Ms. Why not?

5. The flowers blooming in our front yard. I love springtime, and I love watching daffodils and tulips bloom and bring a little color to our home.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anniversary

Yesterday, some friends of ours celebrated their first wedding anniversary, which means today is the first anniversary of what turned out to be the best hangover I could ever hope to have.

Favorite Baby Products

With so many family members and friends expecting--and one adoption finalized--I thought it might be fun to do a post about some of my favorite things so far. Now that Nanner is almost 5 months old, we've gotten a ton of use out of some products, and not so much use out of some others. I thought this would be a fun way to catalog some of the products we're using most often these days.

1. BundleMe by J.J. Cole


This was a lifesaver for us this past winter. We were relatively clueless about how to keep a baby warm when it's cold outside. Hell, sometimes I can't remember to put a hat on my head, so I had no idea how to keep a baby from freezing. The BundleMe is great. It's basically a sleeping bag that has elastic and velcro on it and attaches itself to your infant carseat. No blankets to fuss with! Genius! It's got a fleece liner and a soft exterior, so it's perfect for teeny babies during Midwestern winters. I'd definitely call this a must-have for new parents, especially if you'll be toting around a little one during the winter.

2. Graco Pack N' Play


At first, I wanted a bassinet. There's something so dreamlike and wonderful about a sleeping baby in a bassinet. However, they aren't necessarily the most practical because they're outgrown so quickly, and with Hannah's room upstairs we'd be toting her up and down during middle of the night diaper changes. It didn't really make sense for us. The Pack N' Play (pnp) was perfect. It's a decent size (read: takes up a chunk of our bedroom), but it has its own changing pad (bonus!) and is adjustable so for small newborns you can hoist up the mattress on the pnp and for larger babies, just lay it on the bottom of the pnp. It's also portable, so we can take it with us when we go camping or visiting Uncle Brian & Aunt Robyn. As an added bonus, it's got its own mobile, and Hannah can't get enough of it.

3. Baby Nightgowns


Not the best picture, but you get the idea. For the first 4 months of her life, this is all Hannah wore to sleep. They are delightfully cute, and for middle of the night diaper changes, they're perfect because she doesn't have to be completely undressed. Hannah has pretty much grown out of them now (she's been in six month clothes for quite a while), and since she's sleeping through the night (STTN)(knock on wood) we aren't dealing with 4:00 a.m. changes anymore. 

4. Boppy pillow


This. Was. A. Gift. From. God. (Actually, it was a gift from my cousin, but you get the idea.) On the advice of my friend LOG, I brought this to the hospital when Nanner was born. Best. Advice. Ever. As you can see from the above photo (for which I will go to parental hell), Hannah was a pretty skinny baby. But when she was nursing and falling asleep she was total dead weight. Learning to nurse a baby was difficult enough. Having the Boppy was awesome because it took a lot of the weight off of my arms so I could get her to latch on properly. Now that she's rolling and learning to sit (Oh, how she tries!) it's great for balancing her and keeping her from moving around too much. And selfishly, it's great for cuddling with when my hips start to hurt at night.

5. gDiapers


A few years ago, a friend of mine had twins. She decided late in her pregnancy that she was going to try cloth diapering both of them. Let me say it again. A friend of mine was delivering two babies AT THE SAME TIME and wanted BOTH OF THEM to wear CLOTH DIAPERS.

I thought she was nuts.

Fast forward to 2010, and suddenly we start thinking about cloth diapering and being all environmentally conscious. Had I been preggers in 2008 like my friend, I probably would have used disposable diapers ("sposies" in the cding vernacular) delightfully. "Look at me! I'm ::gasp:: THROWING AWAY my diapers! Gee, isn't it swell not having to worry about washing diapers and getting poop all over myself?" Once we were actually expecting a baby of our own, we started thinking about the impact all those diapers would have on the environment, and, flaming liberal hippy that I am, I wanted to avoid contributing to that mess as much as possible. We looked into a cloth diaper service but so few are even available now; I found ONE in the Chicago area. I still wasn't on the CD bandwagon until Graham told me about gDiapers. He had heard about them on the radio and looked into them and they were awesome. Cloth covers, disposable liners. GENIUS!! As with most cloth diapers, the up-front cost is more expensive than your average box of Pampers, but in the long run, we just have to buy liners. 

What I like best about them is that there is zero plastic involved in the liner, so while Hannah wears disposable diapers at night (Mama didn't raise no fool), her bottom isn't ever red--even a little bit--after a few hours in a gDiaper. With the disposables, her butt always seems to be a little more sensitive. And, the liners biodegrade in about 150 days, give or take. That's 499 years faster than your average disposable diaper.

My one complaint is that they don't grow with your baby, so you're constantly moving to the next size up. I've started looking into hybrid diapers similar to the gDiapers that give you a little more bang for your buck. There's a lot out there....Gro Via, FuzziBuns, BumGenius....it's mind-blowing. But, for the time being, I really like our system.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hannah's Christening

On April 3rd, Hannah was officially welcomed into the church. Graham and I walk a line between uber-Catholic and secular Christianity. (Is that even a thing?) We pray together (not as often as we should/would like to), go to church on Sunday, and before we even got married, it never crossed our minds that we wouldn't raise our kids in the church. We're both Cradle Catholics, and while I still consider myself somewhat of a "recovering Catholic" (I look for the holy water font in every church I enter, Catholic or not.), it was still important to me that  she be baptised/christened/whatever you wanna call it. Regardless of what Hannah chooses in her adult life, we wanted to raise her in the church--hell, A church--so that as an adult, she can make a more educated decision about the faith life she'll end up following. 

We went to a baptismal preparation class in February and we chose April for her christening so the weather would be better and so we'd have more time to prepare. At first we had hoped to keep her christening as a small gathering of immediate family. Then, family members were invited by adults who aren't her parents ::coughmomanddadcough:: and some people thought they were invited when they weren't originally on our guest list. A few awkward phone calls later, and we said, "Hell with it," and just threw a big ol' family party. Since most of our family members are awesomely Catholic, they were glad to celebrate with us. Wanna see what happened?

Posing with her godparents, Aunt Gina & Uncle Brian

 

 Meeting Aunt Cousin Kim for the first time. (Cousin Aunt? Aunt Cousin? How does this work?)


There were never such devoted sisters...


We're so white bread.



This is why I can't go nice places.


Hokay, so at the start of the ceremony, the deacon asked the parents to take their child & walk them around to everyone in the church who was there to celebrate with them & have them get the sign of the cross marked on their forehead. No problem, right? Yeah, except we had like a gajillion people there with us. Awesome! Except we totally held up the ceremony. OOPS.

"Uncle Don, I'd like you to meet my child, Simba...."



Deacon Sal!


Surprise! Uncle Brian got to read! Had we known there'd be reading involved, we would have warned him.


Let's all take a moment & observe how Brian stands exactly like his brother.


Thanks for indulging me.

Baptismal font & smelly oils....


I thought this was so cute. They invited all the kids in the church to come to the font & help bless the water. ACK! Adorable.


Our turn! There were 3 kids being christened that day, and Hannah was the only girl, so we got to go first.


It's go time!


She was cool with this. She loves bath time.


Oily.


Getting pissed off and rejecting the white garment they tried to place on her.


Digging all the applause she got.


Her candle wouldn't light. Not a good sign.



Candles & godparents. 


Okay, see that guy up there on the left? Yeah, he's a godparent to one of the little boys that was baptised. That kid gets TWO godfathers. No one told me we could ask three people to be her godparents. Deacon Sal left out that little detail. Moving on....

Final blessing.


Look ma, no sin!


Proud grandparents.





Four generations.


We forgot to get a solo picture of her before church, so we snapped a few before we took her out of the dress she like so much (read: kept spitting up on).



I'm pretty sure there are zero pictures of the party, which kinda sucks, but it was a good time. We had fun, and I'm glad people could come out for it. It was a good day, and we got to introduce our daughter to the whole family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So this working mom thing....

I have a newfound hatred of Mondays because they are so friggin' busy. From start to finish, yesterday was hell. I had to go grocery shopping & didn't get home until after 10 p.m. Ew.

I'd seriously consider being a SAHM only because it would give me more time to do things during the day. That mountain of laundry wouldn't look so daunting if I knew I had the whole day to throw in a few loads.

It kills me leaving my baby girl each day, but I'm glad I have adult conversation to look forward to. And that smile when I come to get her each day is phenomenal. Best part of my day, hands down.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

3 months....a little late

I'm ridiculously behind on updates, but for now, check out my 4 month old's 3 month photo shoot (yeah, I know). Pic by the FAAAAAAAAAAAABulous Katie Ryan of Katie Ryan Photography. Of all my trolling around on the interwebs, she's one of my favorite discoveries. Hire her. Seriously--hire her.

http://katieryanphotography.blogspot.com/2011/04/hanna-3-months.html

P.S. It's a long, long story, but SIKAW has been a long-running word/phrase/term of endearment between me and a group of friends. Trust me when I say it's a good thing, and I'm proud that Hannah's a SIKAW in training.