Friday, July 23

Diapering Update

Cynthia Rowley's new disposable Pampers for Target debut this month!

I think it is time for an update confession on my diapering. One question that my friends who follow my mommy antics often ask me is "are you still cloth diapering?"

The answer is yes and no. Allow me to explain.

It all started when Olivia started peeing through her cloth diapers in April (8 months old) at bedtime no matter how much I doubled them up. We moved to using disposables only for bedtime, so I had to buy them in larger quantity than when we just used them for travel and outings. With a larger quantity of disposables at-hand,  the nanny rejoiced! She had been trying to convince me for months how cheap disposables were at Sam's Club and now at last she had them and didn't have to deal with poopy pants every other day. haha! I would tell her I didnt't want her using them all day and she tells me "Oh, Miss Marina I just use them for her morning poo and then I put cloth on her after her first messy diaper." This was true for about a month, but keeping up with both disposables (one bin) and cloth (another bin) is Annoying. You really have to be all-in --one way or the other. So, the next thing I know, Olivia is wearing disposables all day long and a cloth with me (the cheap skate) and daddy (who never noticed we stopped using cloth during the day in the first place) but at bedtime (just 2 hours after I get home from work) we went right back into disposable for leak protection.

Soon, I rationalized using disposables on weekends to save myself from having to do a load of laundry on Sunday night of the weekend's poopy pants. The next thing you know I am buying bulk disposables on a monthly basis with tons of coupons and CCD is asking me at the store, "I thought we're using cloth diapers?" Embarrassed and defeated I would respond, "yes we are babe, but these are on sale and I have coupons, and we use them on-the-go and weekends." Basically I was lying to myself.

Today we only use cloth diapers on occasion, such as the brief period after Charm City Baby wakes up and gets her first bottle before its time to get her dressed for the day, or just playing around the house, and (most often) when we are out of disposables. They are still great and fit wonderfully!

So we have completely reversed and are back to disposables--where we started when she was a newborn. We had a good 6 month sprint of cloth diapering which undoubtedly saved us a lot of money, but exclusive use of cloth diapers is now over.

Maybe we will revisit them when its time to potty train. I will not commit this time. Instead I will just safely say, we'll see.

Thursday, July 22

First Birthday Planning...

is coming along nicely.

My plan to keep it low key, and low budget is still on course as Charm City Daddy is not involved in the planning. When I asked CCD what we should do to make the party special he suggested...petting zoo!  Then I looked up the cost of a petting zoo and realized it costs what I wanted to pay for the entire party. Cha-Ching! I don't think Olivia needs 2 ponies at her first birthday party--we need something to strive for later. Plus, she'd be happy just to see a dog (*tear, *tear). If I can barter the animal people down to small bunnies, chicks, ducks, guinea pics and baby animals only--I think I can get the price down. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Thanks to some very talented Etsy artists,  to date I've spent hardly anything on decor, custom invites, custom bag tags, custom and assorted cupcake toppers, cupcake wrappers, paper goods, and props like a cupcake stand I can reuse. Here's some of what we've got so far...

1. Tissue for Pom Poms
2. Animal Garland (2)
3. Animal Napkins
4. Animal Toppers (will be used for hors d'oeuvres)
5. Cupcake Stand
6. Cupcake Wrappers
(not pictured but purchased: custom invites, custom bag tags, and custom cupcake toppers).

Now that I see everything together, I'm thinking it needs some girlie touches.  I have to work on that with fresh flowers, and using ribbons to hang the pom poms or something.

Still to do: 
  • Brainstorm kids' games/entertainment: One down (ball pit!), many more to go.
  • Determine gift bag/favors
  • Cupcakes- make 'em? or order 'em? 
  • Determine a kid and adult-friendly menu
  • Make a photo DVD of CCB's first year to play on repeat in the living room.
  • Figure out outdoor seating situation
We are exactly 30 days away today! Ahhhh!

Baby Steps

At 11 months and 5 days old, Olivia took her first steps today! For the last few weeks she has been walking around holding onto our point finger not realizing that she can do it on her own. This weekend I watched her take 4 steps in her crib while holding her lamb blanket in both hands---she didn't even realize she was doing it. I've learned that it takes time. It is a mental level of comfort babies have to feel.

Today that little switch in her head just clicked and she willingly took steps towards us on her own--stepping away from the furniture. Yay! Charm City Daddy and I were so excited laughing and clapping and screaming and she reacts with the same excitement and screams. The full length mirror in our bedroom is great motivation too. She easily walked 5 feet unassisted towards her reflection. She seems to favor the right leg and gets going nearly sideways after a few paces. So cute.

The first official steps took place this morning before work but we had no camera around (as I literally came sprinting out of the shower soaking wet to Charm City Daddy's screaming and clapping). When we got home from work Charm City Daddy just grabbed his blackberry so here it is---11 seconds, dark, and fuzzy--and full of screams!

Wednesday, July 21

Car Seat Challenge

I have been looking for Olivia's post-infant, convertible car seat for oh, I don't know the last FIVE months? She is now handily over 20 pounds and as tall as ever so my deadline has arrived and I cannot make a decision.

Last month, I even pulled up curbside to Babies R Us to actually test out a seat in my car with Olivia. No go.  There was so much side impact on that thing I could hardly get her in and out AND I had to move both the front seats of my X3 forward to install it rear facing. Not good.

I am most preoccupied with the sizes of these beasts. They are HUGE. Have you seen what is on the market these days to protect kids in the car? Where are these children going and how do their mothers drive? There are cushions at every angle, and air , oh and don't forget the 100-point harness and jumbo sippy cup and snack holder. Too. much. Also can I say that I hate the faux suede?

Now since the BRU episode mentioned above we purchased a new family car (to end all family cars) BUT I don't care what you drive, space is a premium in any car. After all there should be room for other passengers  and quite possibly additional carseats that aren't enormous as well.  And hey, here's a thought. Let's make sure there is room for the driver to actually operate the vehicle in addition to that big-ass car seat.  With a large seat, extended rear facing can be problematic in certain cars and I want Olivia to remain rear facing for up to 30 lbs--at least.

Don't get me wrong I am all for safety that's why I haven't just gone out and purchased the smallest (cutest) car seat I've seen so far, the Combi Coccoro...

Mmm, I do love that Combi though. But it's $199 ($169 on sale at Target) and only holds baby up to 40lbs. I need more capacity at that price. It's got a great video that demos how 3 of these bad boys can fit in the back of a compact sedan. The city mama in me loves that--but then I think --wait that translates to three kids under 40lbs at once? Ooph! Not gonna happen.

The Britax models come highly recommended all-around, but they are even more pricey than the Combi and run rather large. But they are oh so nice...this one's my favorite but it's only available on pre-order at the moment (goes on sale August 19th)...and $309!!

So basically, I want you mama's out there to tell me what has worked for you. I am thinking long term here like I did with all of my other gear, so it needs to be great quality, unisex, and in this case small enough to allow room for other car seats, passengers. Help me. Please.

Sunday, July 18

11 Months and Counting...

Miss O -

You are so close to your first birthday and we are all looking forward to celebrating your first year. These first 11 months have been wonderful and you are more fun right now than ever. Miss Personality. At the family reunion yesterday in North Carolina you won the prize for the youngest baby present (you won by 2 months!). Your reaction was priceless. We let you chew on the card until you bit off a piece and then we had to fish it out of your big jowls.

It was also the first time you met many of your relatives on mama's side. They adored you. I even taught you how to say a few words in a southern, country way and it really pissed daddy off---but we just giggled.  You said,  "haaaaay" and this weekend you started a new phrase "Oh Wow!" sometimes accompanied with "Oh Wow, Baby!" It's so funny to hear you say it because you almost growl the "Oh Wow" and make a funny "O" face. You still won't call me mama--and I'm beginning to think you know better and are just being obstinate. You say/know "dadda" but when I point to myself and say mama you say "dadda." According to you, all food is now called "Nah-nah-nah-nah." You have 2 bottom teeth only--still waiting on those stubborn top two.

In addition to stair climbing you are even closer to walking. You only use help for your own confidence. Occasionally you stand alone and take a few steps before you realize you are unassisted.

You are a still a banana-lover. You love food and hardly turn anything way. Recently you started whining and fussing when you get to the end of your bottle! I get so excited when I think about how close you are to being OFF formula! I can see the light! It's sooo expensive.

When we tell you your diapers stink and make a stinky face (or pretend we are vomiting) you laugh hysterically. You wave hi and goodbye. You've discovered your pointer finger and place it on your lips (sometimes in your mouth) to signal "hush" when we say it or read a particular bedtime story. It's difficult to change your diapers because you are always on the move. It's always difficult to convince you to remain seated at bath time occasionally--although tonight was good.

You continue to be a stellar sleeper on the road and at home. Today, on our flight home from North Carolina, you discovered the air vents. You had everyone seated around us laughing at you. You love audiences, on planes---and even churches, but you always crash as soon as you get into your car seat. It's tough being a performer at the ripe old age of 11 months.

Love You,


Wednesday, July 14

Video Monitor Stalking

Do you stalk your baby on the video baby monitor like me?

Please tell me I am not the only mama in the world that watches her baby with delight and then grabs her iphone to capture the cute or funny moments like...

..."butt in air"

or "groggy, confusion over pacifier location"....

 the "upside down toss and turn"

the "hand-to-forehead dramatic pose"

 and the plain old, mamarazzi, stalkeresque captured cuteness.

It's been interesting to see how much Olivia moves around as she grows and takes up more and more of her bed.

One more confession: I also record mini videos...of the video monitor. Don't you judge me!

Friday, July 9

One Week Ago Today...

was the last time we saw our family dog, Buckley the black lab. I can't even talk about it. In fact, I don't. Charm City Daddy and I have avoided the subject altogether.

We routinely let him out in our backyard in the mornings and after an hour  the nanny will let him in (if he wants) for his food. Some days he prefers to stay outside for a while and lounge on the grass. He's a lab after all and loves the outdoors and swimming.

Anyway, mid-morning last Friday Charm City Daddy who happened to be working from home answered a ring at the door. It was our neighbor from across the street who tells him that she saw our dog exit the fence from our backyard and trot through our front yard and down the street. It had happened several minutes (NOT seconds) earlier. She had done nothing--didn't call out "Hey puppy!" NOTHING.

Now even with his big-as-day ID collar and microchip, he has not turned up anywhere. Being the super-friendly dog he is doesn't make us feel any better either. He is obviously in the wrong hands one way or another : 1) with a family who has stolen him 2) or with (God forbid) pit bull fighters a prevalent problem in Baltimore. 

Sad doesn't even begin to describe how we feel. Before there was me, Charm City Daddy had Buckley. In fact on our first date he told me he had a puppy that he wanted me to meet (as an attempt to lure me back to his apartment!ha!)

When I was pregnant with Charm City Baby, Buckley always waited for me to go up and down stairs first and once I completely reached the top or bottom of the stairs he would follow. When the baby arrived we never had to worry about getting him adjusted, he just waited patiently, looked at her with concern when she cried, woke up with us in the middle of the night, and kissed Olivia lovingly when she first discovered him and started crawling. He took her abuse as attention and loved every minute of it. That's what I miss the most. Olivia absolutely loves dogs because of him. Once she even tried to put his paw in her mouth.

He was a model too! A friend of ours was running for local office and needed a dog to complete their family pic. Wouldn't you know he looked happy and absolutely perfect! Little traitor. lol. We kept the flyers and laugh about his election loss. He also posed for doggie daycare ads at our vet office.

Buckley was smart and knew so many tricks and directional cues, but along with his well-behaved, friendly, disciplined demeanor also came some timidity.   The historic, but functional shutters on our home freaked him out when wind would move them. Thunder freaked him out. Wind freaked him out. The washing machine freaked him out. Our basement freaked him out. Linoleum floors freaked him out. Aggressive, small dogs often got the best of him.  If you heard a noise in the house he would jump up and his ears would perk up and you'd whisper "Buckley, go check it out" and he'd walk to paces and stop. And then you'd say  "Buckley, what was that? go check it out!" And he'd look back at you like, "me? by myself? And then he'd put his head down and pitifully lay down and avoid eye contact with you. For this and so many other reasons Charm City Daddy and I always joke that if we ever buy a big property one day we'd name it after him and call it "Punk Dog Farm."

Well, that's already more than I wanted to say, but there is something therapeutic about recalling those fond memories.

We love and miss you Buckley.  Come home soon, boy.

Thursday, July 8

This is what you call...

...a discount deviation. Thanks HomeGoods. Once again you've intercepted my plans with one of your lovely discounted items that must be purchased on impulse.

The room will now include two of these lovely hot pink mini chairs that will be met with a craft table and two benches.