Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baby Love

I was 20 weeks pregnant. My family was in town and we had just learned the day before that the sweet baby I was carrying was a boy. It felt so good to know what our little family would look like come November. It felt real, and I felt even more connected to him. Around this time we had also discovered that I had a shortened cervix, which put some limitations on my activity and would require me to have biweekly ultrasounds.
19 Weeks
After spending all day visiting family friends, we came back to our apartment and I started preparing dinner. That's when the cramping started. I tried to ignore it but it kept getting worse. I have this thing where I don't like for people (even my family) to see me cry or struggle in any way. It's a major flaw. So, I went into our bedroom so that I could panic and cry privately. Josh followed me in and asked what was going in. He told me to rest and that he would make dinner and we decided to call the doctor. We left a message, I pulled myself together and we went back out to join my family. 

The doctor called back and told me to head to triage immediately. By this time, about an hour had passed since the cramping had started and the worry had been building. I absolutely lost it. Like, crying so hard that I couldn't talk, or breathe, head in my hands and tears falling to the floor. It was at that moment that I realized how much I loved this baby, this tiny little person who I had never met or seen. Everyone says that you don't understand love until you have a child, and it's really true. The thought of losing him was unbearable. I don't think my parents or brothers had ever seen me like that, and I think it scared them.

Obviously, things turned out perfectly, but my pregnancy involved hospitalization, medication, lots of monitoring, and 16 weeks of some form of bedrest or activity restriction. Thinking back to that night makes me realize how thankful I am for a healthy baby and for the opportunity he has given me to love in a way that I never knew was possible. I love you, little man. You are the light of my life and I will forever be grateful to be your mom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This & That

Read this:
Increase Your Energy and Overall Wellness with Alkaline Foods from Naturally Attached. I just finished reading Crazy Sexy Diet and this is something discussed at length in the book. I really enjoyed reading a little bit more about it and liked the lists of alkaline and acidic foods. Great for reference!

Bought that:
Assets bathing suit from Target. This thing is like Spanx in bathing suit form...amazing!

Made that:

Vegan Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie from Domestic Charm. Peanut butter, almond milk, bananas, and ice! Simple and so yummy!

...and this:
Over 30 ounces of organic baby food! Sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and pears.

Watched this:
If you haven't seen this already, check it out. What an inspiration and a fantastic reminder of all that we have to be grateful for.

Monday, May 20, 2013

6 Research-Based Reasons to Reduce Your Dairy Intake: Guest Post at Clarks Condensed

I was so excited to be asked to guest post over at Clarks Condensed! Head on over to check out 6 Research-Based Reasons to Reduce Dairy Intake.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

9 Products & 3 Websites That Make Baby Care Easier

1) BioGaia Probiotics- A 2010 study (you can read more about it here) found that probiotics significantly reduce crying time in babies with colic. Another study (check it out here) found that giving a baby probiotics reduces his chances of developing eczema. I discovered them when I was doing research on how I could help solve Noah's painful gas, and let me tell you, this product has been a gem. We noticed a difference within a week and tummy troubles intensify when we run out.

2) Snuza Go- This handy little device clips onto your baby's diaper and an alarm goes off if it doesn't sense movement for 15 seconds (you can change it to 18 or 20 seconds if you prefer). This was on my maybe list when I was pregnant. It seemed like a good idea, but a little pricey. Fast-forward to the day Noah was born. I had gotten 5 hours of sleep the night before and had just delivered a baby! How much sleep did I get that night? Not a wink. I spent the entire night watching him, making sure he was still breathing. First thing in the morning, I ordered this on Amazon and it was the best $70 I've ever spent. The peace of mind is so worth it and I've been able to sleep well (as well as you can with a baby) knowing that I'll be alerted if he stops breathing.

3) Sensible Lines Milk Trays- Better than traditional storage bags because it's less expensive (you freeze milk in the tray and then transfer to a freezer-safe ziploc bag) and tray slots are one ounce each which means milk freezes faster, thaws faster, and there's less potential for waste. It's also convenient because the sticks fit easily into a bottle, so you just toss them in and thaw. That simple.

4) Baby K'Tan Carrier- Any babywearing mom can attest to the awesomeness of having your baby snuggled up next to you while still keeping your hands free. I chose the K'Tan over the super-popular Moby wrap because it doesn't involve any wrapping, which means it's quicker and easier to put on. It's two large circular pieces of fabric connected by a smaller piece of fabric and you can get the baby in it in literally 30 seconds. The disadvantage is that it's made in specific sizes, so Josh can't use the size small we have, but I think that the convenience of this cloth carrier outweighs that. I used this carrier daily until Noah was about four months old and it made life so much easier! There are also lots of ways to position your baby in this carrier, which is nice, but I don't agree with the outward facing front carry position that they recommend because it puts the spine in an unnatural arch and doesn't hold the legs in the correct position. You can read more about this in Nine Reasons Not to Carry Your Baby Facing Out from the Boba website.

5) Boba Carrier- A fantastic soft structured carrier that holds a child up to 45 pounds. It's comfortable, adjustable, has multiple pockets and a purse strap holder. It also keeps baby's knees in line with it's hips, which is important for preventing hip dysplasia (you can read more about this and check out helpful illustrations at We started using this as our primary carrier after Noah got a little heavy for the K'Tan.

6) California Baby Products- Ok, so using these products won't necessarily make your life easier, but it will give you peace of mind. I'm hyper-aware of what Noah is exposed to, so I did a great deal of research before purchasing the stuff that I slather on him every day. A lot of the products in this line have good ratings on Skin Deep, which I'll talk about in a minute, and they're reasonably priced.

7) Medela Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump- Noah is exclusively breastfed, and this pump has played a huge role in that. It's efficient and well made. It was a godsend in that first six weeks when breastfeeding was so painful and I needed a break from his not so great latch. It has also allowed me to leave Noah with Josh occasionally and to create a 40 ounce frozen stash. I also like that the has an insulated pocket that fits four storage bottles and four reusable ice blocks so that you can keep the milk cold while you're transporting it.

8) JJ Cole Carseat Cover- Noah was born in November, so we knew we needed something to keep him warm when we went out. This is made of weather-resistent nylon so it's perfect for wet weather. It keeps the heat in and is safer than similar covers that have a piece of fabric that goes under the baby. Also good for keeping germy strangers away :).

9) Munchkin White Noise Machine- Baby's sleep better with a little wooshing noise. This has six different sounds, including white noise, rain, ocean, heartbeat, and two different lullabies. It also has a night light and a projector feature if you're into that.

And three websites you've got to check out:

Baby Got Colic- I couldn't tell you for the life of me why this works, but there were many times when Noah was absolutely inconsolable and we turned this strange sounding white noise on and he instantly calmed down.

Skin Deep- I research all of the skin/beauty products I buy for Noah and for myself here. They break products down by each individual ingredient and provide a rating on how safe the product is (the lower the number, the better). It's a very objective assessment of product safety, which I love. Anyone can throw all-natural on a label. It's meaningless. This website will give you some clarity and help you make informed decisions when it comes to buying skin/bath type products for your baby.

KellyMom- Everything you could possibly want to know about breastfeeding, and it's all backed by research so you won't get some of the cooky information you see on BabyCenter boards.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reading Lately...

-Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. A book about an American journalist who becomes a parent while living in France. She realizes that, among other things, French babies sleep through the night earlier and that French children are better eaters and more well-behaved than American children. She also notices that French moms lose the baby weight more quickly and are generally happier and more relaxed. This book is her assessment of what they do differently and why it works. It definitely made me think differently about what children are capable of and how I want to raise Noah. I would never try some of the things French parents do (it's apparently normal for five-year-olds to go on a week-long trip with their classmates, no parents, just a teacher and one or two other adults to supervise), but it was still interesting to read about parenting in another culture.

-The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This book is chalked full of research on how habits are formed an how to use that information to your advantage. A few interesting things I learned:
  • 40% of our daily activities are based on habit.
  • A habit cannot be permanently eliminated unless it is replaced with a new habit.
  • All habits involve 3 things: a cue, an action, and a reward. If you can identify the cue and reward, you can use that information to help change/replace the habit (the action).
  • Case studies of people who have made huge life changes (think overweight, divorced, unemployed smoker to marathon-running, happily married, non-smoker with a stellar career) have found that the key to changing your life is setting and achieving very small, manageable goals. Accomplishing these small goals gives you a boost of confidence, which encourages you to set and achieve more small goals. Eventually, all of these little things add up to big changes.
-Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. This book covers the basics of a plant-based diet and also includes information on juicing, dry brushing, detoxing, probiotics, why the pH of the foods you eat is so important and so much more. She also shares her favorite vegan and raw food recipes. It's interesting, informative, and easy to read.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Noah's 6 Month Update

I can't believe we're half way to a year! Time has never gone more quickly and we're so in love with this little guy. Here are a few things about Noah from the last month:
He weighs about 18 pounds and is wearing 3-6 month clothes and size 3 diapers.
We started solids a week and a half ago and he's digging it. He's had peas, apples, sweet potatoes and pears.
He's been blowing lots of bubbles.

Noah loves his daddy more every day. If Josh is in the room, Noah's probably watching him intently and smiling every three cute.
Noah also loves being sung to. If he's fussy, all I have to do is burst into song and he quickly calms down(most of the time!).

He had his first experience with a dog this month and it was adorable. He was so excited!

He's laughing and smiling a lot. We've seen a lot more of his personality this month and he's getting more fun every day. He's started breathing really heavily or straightening his arms and legs and shaking when he's excited. He's also become way more interested in the world around him. He's grabbing everything!
He's also starting to have some separation anxiety, so he'll cry if he can't see one of us in the room and is wanting to be held a lot more.

He recognizes his name now.

If he's laying down, he probably looks like this:
He got an ear infection in each ear a few weeks ago and had to do a round of antibiotics to kick it. Poor sick baby.
We left him with a babysitter (thanks Aunt Steph!) for the first time this month for Josh's graduation (which started after bedtime).

He has such a hard time falling asleep, even in the most ideal conditions, so it was super adorable when he fell asleep while he was playing on his playmat.
He takes three naps a day and wakes up once a night to eat. We also transitioned him to his crib this month and he did fantastic!
We also had a visit from Austin this month
and our first Mother's Day together.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Thank you for all of the sacrifices you made to stay home with us. I didn't realize at the time how lucky I was to have a mom waiting at home for me, eager to hear about my day.
Thank you for giving me a childhood full of swimming, soccer games, trips to the park, vacations, amusement
Thank you for fighting so hard to have our move pushed backed two months so that I could compete at nationals.
Thank you for being such a fantastic grandma to Noah. The cards, the gifts, the frequent visits...we can tell you dig him.
Thank you for running around like a maniac, cooking, cleaning, and shopping when I was on bedrest to make sure that I would be taken care of when you left.
Thank you for being fun...and maybe a little crazy.
Thank you for being so involved and interested in my life, but never overstepping boundaries. Thank you for caring about all of the little details.
Thank you for dropping everything to celebrate with me. Making cheer, getting into college, graduations, birthdays, getting engaged, the wedding, Noah's birth, his've been with me through it all.
Thank you for your love and your sacrifice. I love you mom!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Advice to My Pre-Baby Self

I was given plenty of advice when I was pregnant, but there was something that nobody told me, something that I needed to hear: Believe in your ability to be the type of parent you want to be. You're absolutely capable. When I talked about wanting to read to Noah daily or give him a massage as part of our nightly routine, I heard, "You'll be far too exhausted to do those types of things". When someone asked what our birth plan was and I shared that we were planning to do it with no medication or interventions, they laughed and told me that I'd be begging for an epidural the second labor started. I'd mention wanting to make my own baby food or wanting to avoid "crying it out" and get equally negative responses."Just you wait", they would say.

Here we are, six months into motherhood. I've made plenty of mistakes, but I do the things I said I would. I'm the type of parent I planned on being before Noah arrived, and I don't think that makes me unique. If I had to give any piece of advice to an expectant mom, I'd tell her what I wanted so desperately to hear six months ago: You can be the type of parent you want to be. Believe in yourself. You're totally capable.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Graduation Party

Some pictures from a small get together we had with Josh's family to celebrate him graduating from law school:

 I was too busy chatting and wrangling Noah to get any pictures of the actual party, but I did manage to get one of Josh and Noah before hand.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cleaning Naturally

We've been doing some spring cleaning around here lately, but this time it's different because of the products we're using. Since the beginning of my pregnancy with Noah, I've been wary of many traditional cleaning products because I worry about the toxins in them and how they may affect his health. So, here are a few more natural alternatives that we've tried and liked:

Upholstery Cleaner from National Geographic
-1/4 cup white vinegar
-3/4 cups warm water
-1/2 tablespoon of Castile soap

Shake the bottle to combine ingredients. Lightly spray mixture onto soiled area and scrub using a circular motion. Then, go over the area with a clean, warm washcloth.

Carpet Deodorizer from One Good Thing by Jillee
-1/2 cup borax
-1/2 cup baking soda
-20-25 drops of essential oil (she recommends sweet orange oil, we used lavender) or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or ground cloves (not a good idea if you have light carpet)

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on carpet. Let sit for 15-20 minutes before vacuuming.

Mattress Deodorizer from One Good Thing by Jillee
-1 cup baking soda
-4-5 drops lavender essential oil

Combine ingredients, sprinkle on mattress (you can use a sifter for this), let it sit for an hour and vacuum.

Window Cleaner
Simply mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, and you know the rest.

Shower Cleaner from Bobbin at
-White vinegar, warmed
-Dishwashing soap

Combine equal parts warm vinegar and dish soap, shake to combine, and you're good to go.

Oven Cleaner ( I haven't tried this one yet but am going to in the next few days)
-1 cup baking soda
-1/4 cup washing soda

Combine baking and washing sodas and add enough water to make a paste. Use gloves to smear the mixture on over surfaces and leave it on overnight. In the morning, wipe off the soda mixture and wipe down the oven with a clean wet washcloth.

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