Archive for May, 2011

  • A Battle of Wills

    Date: 2011.05.26 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Sarah | Response: 6

    Sarah hates artificial nipples of any kind. My last three attempts at getting her to take a pacifier literally made her gag until she barfed all over me. But we can deal with not taking a pacifier. The real problem lies with the bottle. While it would be lovely to be a stay at home mom and breastfeed forever, it’s not realistic. In a few weeks I’ll go back to work and there will be no other options. So we’ve decided to start making her take a pumped bottle at least once a day in preparation.

    Make being the key word here. Thank goodness Mark has stepped up to the challenge on this one, because I don’t have the strength of will to continue to try to get her to eat after 30 minutes of screaming.

    Our attempts go something like this:

    Sarah starts the hungry fussing. Mark heats up a bottle and sticks it in her mouth. Loud screaming, flailing and gnashing of gums ensues for about 15 minutes.

    Then Sarah plays possum. She will literally go into fake sleep for about 5 minutes to avoid taking the bottle.

    Mark laughs and says, “I’ll just be right here when you wake up.” She wakes back up, he sticks the bottle back in her mouth. She screams for another 15 minutes, then caves, latches on to the bottle and sucks it down.

    We go through this every single night. You would think she would learn that the bottle has my milk in it and she likes it after all that drama. But no, the battle of wills continues each night.

    I tell Mark that she gets her stubbornness from him, so it’s fitting that he’s the one that has to make her take it. I guess that’s what I get for marrying a Taurus and giving birth to an Aries. A bull and a ram. Lord help me.

  • Rested

    Date: 2011.05.25 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Health, Home, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 8

    Routine has been the magic word in this house for the past couple of weeks. And as a result, Sarah has started sleeping longer and longer at night. Last night we put her down at 9:30 p.m. and she didn’t wake me up until 5:00 a.m. Her first official night without waking me up at 3:00 a.m.

    My face looked just like hers in this picture when I realized that I had actually had seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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    I can’t even explain how good it feels after six weeks of not sleeping longer than four hours at a time.

    Now maybe I can use proper words and grammar in my work and blog. Maybe.

    Also, I’m just about finished with all my work until I have to go back July 5. I see lots of library visits in my future. Let the real maternity leave begin!

  • Newborn Sanity Savers

    Date: 2011.05.22 | Category: Baby, Sarah, Style | Response: 12

    Lisa over at elembee.com did a great tutorial on creating product round ups. I used to do these all the time for a publication I worked for, but I always did them in InDesign, not Photoshop. So I decided to give it a go in Photoshop. Here’s what I came up with!

    Note: No one paid me to highlight these items, nor am I sponsored by any of these companies, though OH, how I wish I were.


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    1. BOPPY PILLOW - The perfect pillow for breastfeeding and for propping baby up so she can have a look around. Plus, you can change out the slipcovers to suit your taste. The one on here is one of two that we have.

    2. GERBER ORGANIC CLOTHS - We use these for everything. They are burp cloths. They go under her when we change her. They go under her when I feed her to wipe away milk. We ordered a ton of these things so we can just toss them in the wash as soon as they get dirty.

    3. CARTER’S FOOTY PJ’S – Blankets aren’t really safe for little bitty babies, and Sarah kicks hers off anyway. Carter’s footy jammies are not only cute and cheap, but they keep her warm despite the flailing around she does at night time. p.s. If you live in Shreveport, you should go to the Carter’s outlet at the Boardwalk. All the cuteness for even cheaper.

    4. GRACO SWING – Ok, so our swing is a little wanky, it randomly stops and we have to whack it on occasion to get it going again, but it works most of the time and Sarah LOVES it. If she’s fussing, the “3″ speed and lullaby music put her into a trance.

    5. HOMEDICS SOUNDSPA LULLABY - This has literally saved my sanity. At night we put it on the “ocean” setting and it puts Sarah to sleep. Plus, it has the added bonus of cancelling out all her little chirps at night so I don’t constantly wake up. And when she gets old enough, it projects cute things on the ceiling. Warning: the heartbeat noise is sort of creepy.

    6. GYMBOREE BLANKETS - These are the softest, most durable, adorable blankets ever. Blankets are like burp cloths – we use them for everything. It helps to have several of these on hand in case one gets dirty.

    This was fun… the only things I couldn’t quite get to work were the fonts. Why is typesetting always so awful in Photoshop? The words look all glitchy, sigh.

  • That Time I Went to Hiroshima and Nearly Had a Heat Stroke

    Date: 2011.05.20 | Category: Friends, Health, Life, Nostalgia, Travel, Weirdness | Response: 14

    The first of my “That Time I Went To” stories. This one is from my trip to Japan with Becki in July 2008.

    Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about Japan: In the summer the heat and humidity would rival New Orleans. Even being a Southerner I struggled the entire time I was there with staying cool. And I was traveling with Becki, who is awesome and trains for marathons in that kind of heat regularly… and surrounded by Japanese people who walk around with their umbrellas and fans in their amazingly high hilled shoes and take it all in stride. I felt like an over heated American loser in my white tennis shoes, passing out on every available bench. Oh, and did I mention I have flat feet and they were spasming in pain from our 8+ mile trek through Kyoto the day before?

    But there was no way I was going to miss a day of touring through Japan, even if it meant I was permanently ruining my feet.

    When I stepped off the train in Hiroshima, I was shocked at how beautiful it was. I’m not sure what I expected, maybe signs of the devastation that leveled the city in 1945? What I saw instead were beautiful mushroom cloud shaped fountains and green trolley cars.

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    Trolley cars! That meant I didn’t have to walk! Well, not at first anyway. As we rode into the city, I was shocked to see the “A-bomb building.” This building was left as it was after the bomb hit. Surrounded by the pristine city, it didn’t even seem real… like an eerie movie prop or something.

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    We spent a good part of the day wandering through the Peace Memorial Park, looking at all the memorials to those who died. The memorials were far from gruesome though, most were decorated with colorful cloths and shaped like animals, such as cranes and turtles.

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    It was during these wanderings that we came across a Buddhist Peace Service. There were Japanese men dressed head to toe in their ceremonial garments, in the 100 degree direct sunlight, surrounding a giant bonfire. I thought I was going to pass out just standing there watching them. Obviously Japanese people are made of tougher stuff than I am.

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    At some point we managed to get back on a trolley car and found this great little hole in the wall restaurant that Becki had researched and it was amazing! The girl that worked there spoke a little English, and as I learned, the Japanese people who spoke English always wanted to try it out on us.

    I also learned that when you ask for water, it’s delivered at room temperature in a shot glass. Not convenient for long term hot weather walking. But the waitress was so sweet and we had these great sabo noodles and vegetable tempura. Then she gave us this awesome guide book (in English, hoorah!) all about Hiroshima and the surrounding areas.

    From there we took the cable car out to Miyajima, then a ferry out to the famous temple on the water.

    One of the big surprises on the island: tiny deer that walk the streets like they’re people. Also, there was the world’s largest rice spatula! I love touristy stuff like that.

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    About half way through the temple I started feeling bad again and the heat snuck up on me. The dizziness set in and poor Becki had to deal with me falling apart. She was so sweet, she went and got me some juice and bought me a fan so that I could function enough to get back. (She probably even did a few more laps through the temple to stay in shape)!

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    View from the hot temple of death.

    Then on the ferry back I started getting motion sickness and took a Dramamine. then promptly got very drowsy… and fell asleep in a packed cable car full of strangers in a foreign country without an apparent care in the world.

    I’m so smart sometimes it’s scary.

    When we finally got back to Osaka, we somehow took the wrong train and ended up at Universal Studios, Japan. When trying to get back we got off on the wrong stop again, this time in a deserted dark location. When we finally made it back to our stop, we went out the wrong exit and ended up over a block away from where we were supposed to be.

    When we finally made it back, I collapsed in my tiny room on a tatami mat.

  • On Writing

    Date: 2011.05.17 | Category: Baby, Home, Life, Nostalgia, Photography, Sarah, Travel | Response: 12

    I’m in a rare moment of sleeping baby + waiting on something for work. Which means I don’t  have something I have to be doing right now… which is weird. I’m so used to juggling baby and work and general things like laundry and eating that I find having a spare moment is rare. Of course I need to clean, but I really don’t feel like it. Plus, it might wake the baby… yea, that’s it!

    In order to facilitate better sleeping for baby and us, we’ve added a sound machine that plays ocean waves (note: it also has a creepy “heartbeat” setting that reminds me of the Tell Tale Heart). The sound machine is great, but all those ocean wave noises have led me to dream about the beach every single night, which makes for some relaxing dreams and makes me reflect back on a lot of trips I’ve taken. So when I wake up at 3am, I start thinking about all those trips I’ve taken… which makes me think about this blog I read a lot called Yes and Yes… which makes me think “Hey, maybe you guys get tired of hearing about baby things all the time. Maybe I should start telling you some of my adventure stories back when I could do things like spontaneously fly to San Francisco to see David Gilmour in concert?”

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still plan on flooding you with too much baby goodness, but I think I may start writing once a week (or every two weeks depending on baby) about “That time I went to…” I think it will be fun for me and hopefully interesting for you.

    But just so we’re clear, there is still going to be lots and lots of baby photos. Like these of Sarah and her cousin Jacob in adorable matching outfits their Mimi bought them.

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  • Fit To Be Tied

    Date: 2011.05.12 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Leela Fish, Mark, Sarah, Travel | Response: 18

    New Honda Fit!

    I love my Honda Fit. It’s the first vehicle I financed and purchased all on my own. I did all the research and test driving on it ahead of time, and I even drove the four hours down to Baton Rouge to purchase it at a great price and get it in the color I wanted. It has amazing gas mileage and a tiny gas tank ensuring no fill up is higher than $30. It zips around town and has been exactly what I needed for the past 3 years.

    Until now.

    I thought it would be fine with the baby. After all, it’s four doors (and a hatch!). But turns out when you put in the rear facing car seat, you have to pull the passenger seat up almost all the way. And there is no way my 5-foot-10-inch self can fit in that seat with it all the way pulled up.

    At first I stayed in denial. After all, when Mark drove I didn’t mind sitting in the back with Sarah. But then we had to take the two dogs and Sarah with us to his parents’ house. I kid you not, we looked like a clown car. Leela literally rode in my lap, while Bonnie got top dog spot in the front seat. Add that to the road noise in the back seat and we have a small problem. Do we all fit in the Fit? Yes. But barely and not at all comfortably.

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    Bonnie is Top Dog.

    Mark suggested looking at buying a larger vehicle. I protested. I love my car AND it’s already paid for. But, as Leela continued to pummel my lap, I realized that he is probably right. I mean, imagine adding Christmas presents, or if we ever get crazy enough to do this again, a second child? There is no way. And my heart is breaking, but I think we’re going to have to bite the bullet and start looking at larger gas guzzlers.

    We’re thinking about buying a used Honda Odyssey. Any suggestions?

  • One Month

    Date: 2011.05.12 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, OMG YAY!, Photography, Sarah | Response: 18

    Well, we did it. We survived an entire month with a newborn. It had it’s very trying moments, and it’s amazing moments. Over the past month, Mark and I have learned a lot. We’ve learned how to recognize heat rash and baby acne. We’ve learned how to get some awful stains out of baby clothing. We’ve learned what I should avoid eating at all costs. We’ve learned patience. Most importantly though, we’ve learned how to soothe her and figure out what makes her happy.

    I’m also learning how much my heart can hurt over something like a widespread, undiagnosable rash and can’t even imagine how upset I’ll get when she has to get her first round of shots.

    Just these past few days we’ve noticed that she’s started focusing on faces and will sometimes follow us when we move. She’s started zoning in on the little toys that hang over her bouncy chair and making cute cooing noises. Her neck is getting so strong and she will often hold it up for long periods of time without help.

    And I have discovered that I am an amazing blog writer in my head at 3 AM while I’m feeding her. Too bad I can’t dictate that stuff. Most of it’s gone by the morning. I have a few ideas… hopefully I’ll have time to jot them down soon.

    Until then, enjoy these “one month” photos I snapped of her today. :)

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  • Happy Mother’s Day

    Date: 2011.05.08 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Me, Nostalgia, Sarah | Response: 14

    I have to admit, I’m excited about celebrating my first Mother’s Day. Having a baby is absolutely amazing. Sarah is my miracle baby. Carrying her for 10+ months was a sometimes trying, but amazing experience. Labor and delivery wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I had imagined, and much more emotional than I expected. And even though we are on a tough almost no sleeping schedule now, I think new moms go through this to make them love their kids even more. After all, despite the sleep deprivation, the diapers, the spit up, and the bottle and paci rejection, I only love her more each time she smiles. Now I get it. Now I know what being a mom is all about.

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    More than anything it’s made me realize all the amazing things my own mom did for me. Apparently Sarah is just like I was when I was a baby. I didn’t sleep, was colicky and had reflux. I had overly sensitive skin and wore my mother out. And as Sarah has been going through all of these things, my own mother has been right there with me, comforting my own tears right along with Sarah’s, helping us figure things out along the way. And I think that I will only come to appreciate all the things she has done for me as my own daughter grows.

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    And I know that if she did this, then I can do it. I just hope I can be the mom to Sarah that my own mom is to me.

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    Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, to my sister and to all my wonderful mommy friends out there who make it look easy!

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  • Lessons Learned

    Date: 2011.05.01 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Life List, Me, Photography, Sarah | Response: 18

    I just realized I crossed an item off my life list. Becoming a mom!

    Turns out being a parent involves a huge learning curve. I’m not sure what I expected, but it’s a constant game to try to figure out what in the heck she wants when she’s screaming her head off.

    Lessons Learned So Far:

    1. Sarah hates pacifiers.
    Any attempt to put one in her mouth produces even louder screams and dramatic gagging gestures on the part of baby girl.

    2. Sarah is not a fan of having her arms swaddled.
    She will tolerate her lower half being swaddled sometimes, but as soon as I try to get those arms in there? More screaming.

    3. Sarah does not sleep like a typical newborn.
    Actually, she’d rather be up all day with the grownups, thank you very much. I’m just relieved that I finally figured out how to get her back to sleep at night time. I save those techniques for 1am, however. I don’t want her to get too used to them.

    4. Laying on her back? That’s no fun.
    Nope, she wants to be propped up so she can see and stare at everything.

    5. Getting her back to sleep at night involves the following:
    Leaving the lights off at all cost. Light = stimulation = let’s be awake for two hours.
    Staying on the Boppy pillow after nursing.
    An iPhone app that mimics the sounds in the womb.

    6. She is happiest between 6:30  and 9:00 a.m.
    She stays awake between those two feedings and is happy as can be. We let daddy sleep during this time while we watch old episodes of Project Runway.

    7. Breastfeeding is exhausting.
    I love how people say, “All you have to do is breastfeed and the weight will come off!” Let me tell you something. If I got up and jogged once every two to three hours for 30-40 minutes at a time the weight would come off too. I equate the two things. Also, for the first time in my life I would willingly choose sleep over food. I think that may also have something to do with it.

    8. Breastfeeding also makes me drink water like I’ve been running a marathon.
    Mark got so tired of re-filling my glass with water that he drove to Walmart and bought me this oversized keg-mug to keep my water in at night. Note, it only lasts through two of her feedings.

    9. Love = Not being phased by body fluid projectiles.
    Mark has even had poop shot into his mouth. Oh yes.

    10. I am constantly amazed by how much I love this little person.
    I live for her little smiles and silly noises. My heart aches when I can’t get her to stop crying. If people have been holding her for too long, I start to get sad because I want her back. And every day I love her just a little bit more.

    *****

    Susan has chastised me for not taking more photos of Sarah. After all she’s only this little once and I have a nice camera. Getting her to sleep to get all the photos I want is part of the problem, and my own personal exhaustion another part. But last night the pieces came together and I managed to get a few good snapshots. More to come I’m sure.

    Enjoy. :)

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    *My boss has a photo like this in his office and I just had to recreate it. :)