Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Boston Tattoo Convention

Last weekend we drove up north for the Boston Tattoo Convention. Amy Shandick, Daniel's friend from back home, was competing in the daily competition and Daniel was her canvas. He sat for 8+ hours, which not everybody can do. Pretty crazy! While he was doing that, my friend Marisa and I checked out the other booths at the event, recharged (our bodies and our phones) at Starbucks (a few times), and explored the surrounding area a bit. It was a whole lot of fun, but we seriously need to visit Boston for more than 30 seconds sometime in the near future. Both times we've been now we've stayed less than 24 hours, which is pretty exhausting. Good thing we're from Texas where a 7-hour drive is "right next door."

Monday, September 1, 2014

35/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

This weekend we went up to New England again for the Boston Tattoo Convention. We left at midnight this time and we didn't hit any traffic, which was great. The kids were able to sleep the whole time, which also made things easier. Daniel drove the whole way AND THEN got an 8-hour tattoo, which was CRAZY.

After the convention we drove another two hours to my friend Marisa's house in Connecticut. It was built in the 1700's so it's probably the oldest house I've ever stayed the night in. Pretty neat.
Well it looks like Eva's first day of school was harder on me than it was her. Her teacher said she was cheerful and curious the whole time, and didn't cry or ask for me once. She didn't have any potty accidents, even through her nap. When I went to pick her up she told her new friends, "Look, that's my mommy!" Then she gave me a big hug (which she initiated) and told me she loves me. My heart melted. I'm so proud of my baby girl.
We were at a Starbucks at a rest stop in Jersey when this little boy gave Eva a hug. I managed to catch a picture just in time. So cute.
 This week Damo turned 4 months old! He is getting better and better at sitting up every day. The girls at the Kid's Klub says he loves playing in the exercise saucer (we don't have one at home so I wouldn't know). He's such a little charmer around them. 
Just when we thought Damo was getting better, his symptoms came back. We took him back to the ER and learned his ear infections went away, but now he has a mild case of pneumonia! :( :( :( So, so crazy to me. He's on antibiotics again and he seems to be getting better. Even through his illness he's still his cheerful self. He does need lots of extra cuddles, though. I don't mind.
And that's about it for our week. How was yours?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Currently...


Excited About: Eva starting preschool. My mom (who is a teacher) thought it would be a good idea to get her in a classroom with kids her own age so that she can socialize and learn with them. I was hesitant at first, because honestly I feel like I can teach her more things that she will be taught at her age level. Still, I took Eva for a tour at a nearby pre-school just to check things out. She stayed in her potential classroom while I spoke to the director. When I went back to the classroom to get her, she threw a huge tantrum with real tears. She didn't want to leave. I had to convince her we were leaving so that she could take a bath (which she loves), thinking she would forget about the whole experience later. But as soon as I took her out of the tub that afternoon she said, "Back to school now?" So... I decided to enroll her, just part time for now. As much as she learns at home, I think there are things she'll learn there that I can't (or simply don't) really teach her. And I'm excited for her. I dropped her off this morning for her first day and she didn't even care that I was leaving. I'll have to admit, I miss hearing her little voice all day long, but I'm excited that I can get back to blogging without feeling guilty about neglecting her. Anyway, I think she'll really love it. If she doesn't, I'll just take her out and that will be that.

Feeling Love. Lots of it. I'm so in love with my little family. I look forward to every day I have with them. It trips me out to look at baby pictures of Eva and see how far we've come. How much we've grown. It has been a little bumpy trying to adjust to a family of four, but more and more I feel like we're getting the hang of it.

Looking Forward To: The weekend. We're taking another little road trip up north for the Boston Tattoo Convention. Daniel will be getting an 8-hour piece done as part of the competition. We're driving a different route from last time (staying clear of DC, Baltimore, and NYC) so hopefully we won't get stuck in traffic for 14 hours this time. Wish us luck!

Dreading: The winter. I know I keep saying it, but I'm seriously afraid of it. I don't know how I'm going to handle the cold, the darkness, the extra 20 minutes it takes to get myself and the kids dressed and in the car. Every time I think of it, it reminds me of Game of Thrones- "Brace yourself, winter is coming." On the other hand, I'm looking forward to pumpkin patches, fall festivals, HALLOWEEN!, and actually getting to chop our own Christmas tree. Oh, and how about simply HAVING a Christmas tree? That'll be neat.

Needing: the ocean. I wish this trip to Jamaica would hurry up and get here. I don't even want to think about the last time I surfed because it's too depressing. Ugh.

Wanting: too many things. A new camera lens (still). A laptop (still). Okay maybe that isn't a lot of things, but rather two too expensive things.

Watching: The new season of Tosh.0 (yeay), as well as the season finale of Tyrant. I will miss it, but I'm excited for all the Fall shows, especially American Horror Story and Scandal.

Working On: Finishing off the process of decorating our house. It has been almost six months since we've moved in (yes!) but we still haven't quite gotten around to it. Eva's room only needs one more thing before it's complete. I tried my best to combine my style with her need for girliness. I'll share pictures of the whole thing when I'm finished, but here's the latest little addition. They're little butterfly hooks that I found on GroopDealz.


Oh and just this...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Newborn Essentials: Things we couldn't Live Without in the First Three Months


The first month of Damo's life was spent trying to figure out how to get the kid to sleep. I had the swaddle. The sucking (and he preferred the boob to the pacifier). The swaying (in my poor, tired arms). But I was missing the key element- the shhhing (I could only do it for so long before getting terrible cotton mouth.) The ceiling fan in our room wasn't cutting it. Not with a two-year-old in the house. I thought back to a time when Daniel and I were living in our very first apartment in Hawaii without air conditioning. It was right on the freeway, and jammed next to a bunch of other homes like most places in town. We could hear everything. And I mean everything. Use your imagination and you still couldn't come up with the things we heard. 

But Daniel had this amazing fan that he got before we started dating. At night, we'd turn that sucker on and it would literally (okay, not literally) create a hurricane in our tiny bedroom. We used that fan for at least 6 years after that. At one point I broke the stand off it (I break everything) but we still used it propped up on our dresser. We got rid of it before moving to Tanzania. It was time. But after never getting another one to replace it I sort of got used to sleeping without it again. 

And then one day, when Damian was about four weeks old, I was lost in the Target hole. I spotted the fan aisle and a light went on in my new-mom zombie head. I texted Daniel and asked him what kind of fan we used to have. "The Vornado" he responded. I read the text in a movie-announcer voice. I bought the biggest one they had and that night my son slept for two extra hours. 

Anyway, all of this inspired me to share with you the top ten baby items that saved my life (or at least my sanity) in the first three months. 



1. Lanolin-  My nipples were so cracked and scabbed during my first few weeks of breastfeeding that it kind of looked like chunks were falling off of it (which I'm pretty sure was just scabs, but either way...). Lanolin was sent from heaven. My sister-in-law told me she preferred the Medela brand to other brands because it was less waxy and more lotiony, so I bought it and was happy with it. I never got a chance to try any other brands because one tube was all I needed. I think I only used about half of it (in the span of about six weeks) before my nipples healed and I didn't have to use it anymore.

2. Medela Therashells Breast Shells- Did I mention I was picking chunks off my nipples? Lanolin will soothe your nipples but your nipples won't heal as quickly if they are being irritated by your bra. These little shells create a barrier between your nipple and the bra, allowing your nipples to heal. If you have nipple trouble like I did in the first few weeks, definitely try these!

3. Milk Maid Nursing Pillow- I compared the three nursing pillows I have in this post so I won't go into too much detail here. But like I said in that post, I don't know what I would do without my nursing pillows. The Milk Maid is my favorite.

4. Bravado Nursing Bra- It was really hard for me to find a nursing bra because of the whole small band/large cup size thing. I'm a 34F and most 36DD (the supposed "sister size") just don't work... except for this one. It doesn't have underwire so it can be comfortably worn all day, but it is still supportive enough for larger breasts. Plus, the little clip thingies don't come undone on their own like on some other nursing bras (or am I the only person who has this problem?). Anyway, I have both the black and nude ones and I got them at Buy Buy Baby.

5. Baby Carrier- I'm kind of obsessed with wearing babies so I have all sorts of carriers. If I were to only buy two, I would buy the Moby Wrap for the newborn days/around the house and the Ergobaby Original Collection Sea Skipper Baby Carrier for outings. The Moby isn't that much money and you can even make one on your own if you're crafty, that's why I say two. But... if I were only to buy one, I'd go with the Ergo. The main reason is that the Moby can be a pain in the ass to get on just right when you have a toddler running around the parking lot or whining to get out of the car seat. And, the Ergo you can use forever but the baby grows out the Moby relatively quickly. I really, really love the Moby for the first few weeks. I didn't even want to use my Ergo at first because I was reluctant to buy the newborn insert when I would only need it for three months, but I'm glad I broke down and bought one. The Ergo was great for our long outings around D.C. and Virginia Beach. Plus, it is much easier to nurse from the Ergo, in my opinion.

6. California Baby Calendula Cream- My son got horrible baby acne right when he turned 4 weeks old. Dena suggested California Calendula Cream. I put it on twice a day and bathed him with the California Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash, and the acne was almost completely gone in three days. It was a miracle. The cream is quite pricy but it lasts a lot longer than you think it would (my 11oz bottle lasted about three months).

Before and Three Days After using Calendula cream:

7. Zipper Swaddles- Before Damian was born I stocked up on Summer Infant velcro swaddles because Eva slept in them until she was almost six months old and they were an absolute staple. Well, the velcro swaddles didn't work out as well for Damian. Unlike Eva, he didn't like to sleep with his arms pinned to his side. He wanted them tucked up by his chest. He would almost always break out of the velcro one. Sooo... we found the zipper swaddles to be much better for him. We had two kinds, the Summer Infant Swaddle Pod and the Woombie. I actually liked the Summer Infant one better (it also happens to be much cheaper), but it only goes up to 13lbs for some reason so I eventually had to switch to the Woombie. Both are really great swaddles, though.

8. First Years Close and Secure Co-Sleeper- We love to bed share, but having a tiny, swaddled newborn right next to me all night without a barrier is a little scary. This co-sleeper was perfect for us because he could sleep right in our bed and I didn't have to worry. Also, unlike the co-sleeper we had for Eva (the Summer Infant one), my arm didn't fall asleep if I left my hand on Damian's chest for comfort.

9. Nap Nanny- This was a lifesaver for Eva and it was even moreso a lifesaver for Damian. Damian hated the swing when he was a newborn. He usually wanted to be carried, but the few times a day he would let me put him down for more than five minutes, it could only be in the Nap Nanny. The Nap Nanny keeps a baby at an incline so they can still kind of see what's going on around them, and it also helps prevent spitting-up. However, the original Nap Nanny that we have is no longer sold because parents were using it incorrectly and a few babies died as a result. There are a few Nap Nanny-like products, though, like this Day Dreamer. I'm not sure if babies like it as much with the high sides, though.

10. Vornado Fan- Remember the fan I was talking about at the intro of this post? It's all about the noise, and most fans try to be "quiet," which is not really what you're looking for when you need a strong white noise. I have looked everywhere online, even the Vornado website, for the exact fan I have but I can't find it anywhere (which is really strange since I just bought it three months ago). This is the closest one to the one I have, but mine only cost $45 at Target, not $99. The one that is currently $45 on the Target website, though, is not the same one I have. I bought a smaller version of the fan for somewhere else in my home that cost $25, but it is not nearly as loud as the $45 one. If you are really interested in the exact fan I have, I'll take a picture and post it later but right now my kids are screaming for me and I need to get off the computer!!!

What baby products saved your life (or at least your sanity) in the first three months?

Monday, August 25, 2014

34/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

Another quick-style, photo-heavy, lightly worded look into our last week. :)

This week Eva got to see what her dad does at work! She had so much fun.
This week she started the war against the pony tail- for both her and me. She refuses to wear her hair up... it has to be down. Whenever I wear my hair up (which is always), she says, "No ponytail, mommy. Pretty hair." This little girl is too much for me.
At least she loves babywearing like Mommy...
I just love hanging out with these two.
Damian is finally well again, which is a huge relief. He hasn't gone back to sleeping decent stretches at night, but I think a learning leap can be blamed for that. He seems to really be growing and discovering a lot lately, the most impressive of which is sitting. He can sit up on his own for about a minute before he gets too tired and topples over. He's getting so big. It won't be long before he's sitting for long periods and even crawling around! I can't wait. :)
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