Oct 1, 2015

I've Moved!

I wanted to continue blogging, but I was looking for a different platform.  I've got a new website www.softsoledshoeshop.com.  Come check it out!  I've also opened an Etsy shop you can visit at www.softsoledshoes.etsy.com to peruse the baby and toddler shoes I'm making.  Thanks so much!

May 13, 2015

Goals and Kittens

I think I'll write a blog post about goals, soon.  I'd like to write about how they've helped me, and when they don't.  I'll probably share some of my goals.  I might write about why I disappear from this space sometimes, and how I feel about that.  I don't know that I could be called a goal-oriented person, but I do have goals and hey- goals is a funny word, isn't it?

Now isn't the time for that post.  Right now I'm teetering on the far edge of a nap time, and I'm struggling to regain my motivation and productivity.  It's not that I haven't had ANY free time this past week, it's just that I've spent what little I've had watching Big Love.  What can I say, I'm only human- and I just got a subscription to HBO Now.  Fifteen bucks a month, guys= worth it.

Anyway, NOW feels like the perfect time to dump the inordinate amount of kitten pictures I compulsively take every day.  She is adorable, after all, but I don't want my instagram account to be ONLY pictures of cats.

May 5, 2015

5 Sentences

Not too long ago, I wrote about how all of my children are different.  As I mentioned in the post, there are many perks to having four unique individuals running around your house- but there are downfalls, too.

We've had one particularly bad attitude knocking around here for months.  None of our methods for squashing it were working.  The things we'd tried before on other kids only made things worse for this one.  We tried all the positive reinforcement, praise and special attention- but nothing was enough for this kid.  It was frustrating, and beginning to feel a little hopeless.  My inner dialogue started to go something like, "Maybe we're just going to have to live with a jerk for the next several years and hope by the time they're an adult they will have grown out of it?"  My outer dialogue (to Chris) went something like, "I can't live like this for the next several years and just hope by the time they're an adult they grow out of it!"

So you know as a parent how sometimes, when your kid is having a problem, you consult with people you trust- a doctor, a teacher, maybe just a close friend- you make a plan with your partner, and you commit to trying some recommended strategy that seems designed for your child, directed toward your goals and in line with your parenting philosophy?

And then, you know how sometimes you're at the end of your rope and instead of doing any of those things you just BLURT something out and then cross your fingers it doesn't TOTALLY backfire?

I did the second one.

And it's been working, friends!

Every time something snotty, rude, or disrespectful pops out of my kid's mouth I say "5 sentences!" and they have to write 5 sentences on 'fill in the blank.'  Sometimes they're writing about why they shouldn't speak rudely to people, sometimes they're writing about why we all do chores or homework- the assignment can be easily adjusted to fit any scenario.  It completely deescalates the situation.  The worst we get is a low breathy "fine!" and a slap as the paper hits the table.  By the time they are done writing, they're not angry any more.  I'm not angry any more, because I feel like I've reacted appropriately.  And slowly but surely the attitude has started to fade.  I know for a fact this wouldn't work on all {of my} kids, but it works for this one and I LOVE it.

As a bonus, my kid gets to practice their writing skills and I get to find 'mess ups' in the art cabinet, which I think are adorable:

May 1, 2015

Out With the Old

I had a routine going that I was quite fond of.  It included exercise, healthy eating, and time to pursue creative endeavors that fill my bucket (like writing and sewing).  All of these things were worked into the schedule of non optional things like spending time with my kids, taking care of the baby, and some household chores.  The house/yard wasn't quite up to par, but hey you can't do EVERYTHING right?

Over the past two (maybe three?) weeks, it's completely disintegrated and that makes me sad.  A lot of different factors contributed to the destruction of my routine, the two most powerful being my getting sick (twice) and the baby switching up her nap schedule.  She was napping three times a day and it seems she's ready to drop that to two, but babies aren't rational so what she's tried to do over the past few weeks is NEVER SLEEP EVER AGAIN.

The madness isn't working for anyone in the house, so we came up with a new plan for a new routine and we'll spend the next week working on implementing that.  I'm looking forward to getting back to some of the activities I enjoy that I've been neglecting (and wrapping up one big project I was really hoping to have finished by the end of April but THAT'S not happening (can you believe tomorrow is May 1st?!)) When it comes to exercise/healthy eating I'm viewing this as just a hiccup that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, happy weekend all- and wish us luck getting our tiny terrorist <ahem> I mean beautiful precious angel on a new schedule.

Apr 28, 2015

Baby Gear Round Up

We're 8 months into this baby gig, and I've been thinking about what I would invest in if we ever opt for a round 2.

(We are not embarking on a round 2 ANY TIME SOON!  I loved the newborn days, I pine over how quickly babyhood is passing by, but when I hear other people with babies talking about how they want another newborn, an involuntary voice in my head shouts ALREADY?!?  To each his own- if that's you then good for you! Not for me, thanks!)

We're far enough along that I don't want to invest in any expensive items now- I feel like we can live without them just fine, and they would end up in storage in a few months anyway.  Still, it has occurred to me that if we have another baby in the future we'll already have everything we need, so it might be worth it to splurge on a few luxuries we skipped the first time around.

Here's a round up of the things we've loved the most this time around:

  1. Charlie Banana cloth diapers- I know cloth diapering isn't for everybody, but we love it.  We've been using disposables for 6 weeks and counting as we battle the yeast infection that will not die! And contrary to feeling like a vacation or making the cloth seem like a wasted investment, it's making me appreciate our cloth diapers that much more and I can't WAIT until we can go back to them.  That being said, we have had some minor issues, primarily with pee leaks.  I'm thinking of going back and trying some prefolds with covers, and if they work I'll slowly trade them out as I can afford it.
  2. Simple knit hats- we had a few homemade knit hats that were sentimental and adorable, but none of them ever fit or stayed on as well as the basic store-bought knit hat.
  3. Sleep and plays- I had picked out a bunch of sweet pants and onesies- and they were really cute- but the first 3 months or so my favorite outfits were the sleep and plays.
  4. Side sleeper- Anxiety, hormones, whatever.  The point is I needed my baby as close as possible while I slept, without her actually being next to my body because I was terrified of smothering her in her sleep.  This worked great in our king bed, but I don't think it would fit in a smaller bed with 2 adults.
  5. Bob stroller- I hedged on the stroller dilemma for months.  I didn't want to waste my money, but even the cheapest strollers (aside from umbrella strollers which are just too short to use comfortably) cost around $100, and I didn't want to drop that on something that may or may not actually suit us.  I wanted a jogging stroller because I knew I needed exercise, but what if I didn't follow through and that expensive stroller sat in our garage unused, taunting me?  Well this stroller has paid for itself a thousand times over in convenience and utility, and I HAVE been jogging, for 4 months now, so take that past-me!
  6. Chico Keyfit 30 infant carseat- this carseat was a hand-me-down, but it's great.  It's touted around the internet as one of the safest, and I have no complaints as far as comfort and ease of use.
  7. Aden and Anais muslin swaddling blankets- I know I'm so cliche, but they really are delightful and adorable.  Since our baby was born in August, we used these blankets almost exclusively for the first 3 months or so.  We used them to swaddle, to shield the baby from the sun, and occasionally to clean up drool, spit up, or milk dribble.  We used heavier blankets when the weather got cold, but now that it's getting warm we often throw them in the carseat with her to give her something to cuddle, or pack one in the diaper bag to drape over the stroller if she needs to nap on the go.
  8. A swing- My in-laws bought this for her a few days after she was born.  I didn't use it much for the first month, (because let's face it, I never put her down), but for 3 or 4 months she used it daily.  We only just finally packed it away, because I was still putting her in it occasionally as a novelty to entertain her if she was feeling crabby and I really needed to eat or something.
  9. Ergo (not pictured because I forgot about it, but too good not to mention anyway)- I've used the Ergo for basketball games, school functions, family outings, around the house, and every shopping trip ever.  The baby never liked her carseat so we couldn't just put the carseat in the shopping cart.  When I'm alone I can't push a stroller and a shopping cart, and even when we're out shopping together it's easier to carry her in the Ergo than it is to push around the stroller.  When she was tiny I used a k'taan because the infant insert for the Ergo sounded way too hot for an August baby.  I liked the k'taan, but the nice thing about the Ergo is it's adjustable- so Chris can wear it, too.  The Ergo also allows us to put her on our backs, which is definitely preferable sometimes.
This list isn't comprehensive, but it includes the items we liked and used the most.  It also doesn't include any of the handmade items that we truly love, because that wouldn't be particularly useful to anybody else.  

Here's what I would splurge on next time:

  1. A video monitor- You DON'T need one of these, and I thought it was a good thing to skip to save some money.  For the first few months she rarely napped away from us.  She was always sleeping in the cradle, in the swing or on our chests, so we didn't use a monitor at all.  Once she got too 'aware' to sleep around light and noise we had to teach her to sleep in her crib.  I know that she's fine and I still don't need a video monitor, but I want one so bad!  I really wish I could see what she was up to in there.
  2. An electric breast pump- These are expensive, and since I wouldn't be going to work after the baby was born I really wasn't sure what I would need.  My mom bought me a $30 hand pump, and that worked pretty well in the beginning.  I wanted to pump so Chris could feed her, so we could occasionally leave her with a sitter, and so I could occasionally have a drink without worrying about my breastmilk.  The hand pump is small and convenient in many ways, but I don't think it's meant for daily use.  For her to take a bottle, she needed one just about every day.  Otherwise she wasn't used to it and wanted to nurse.  I just couldn't keep up with a hand pump, and it only got worse as the months went by.  I got stressed out and frustrated, I thought my milk wouldn't let down for a pump- I was getting nothing.  I finally figured out it was the pump- not me.  I don't know if it's garbage or if it just needs a new membrane or something, but it definitely doesn't work anymore as it is.  For the sake of my sanity we decided it would be smarter just to use formula in a bottle once a day for the next 4 months, rather than buying an expensive pump and pressuring me to find time during the day to use it.  Next time around though I think I'll buy an electric pump and make it more of a priority from the beginning.  She nursed so often for the first 4 or 5 months of her life that it was pretty hard on me.  I accepted it and tried to be thankful she was a good eater, and it wasn't too bad- but there were times when I really felt like I needed a break but I couldn't have one, and that's not ideal.  It didn't even occur to me at the time, but in hindsight I'm pretty confident an electric breast pump would have made a big difference.
  3. Full body pregnancy pillow- Or maybe a wedge or maybe both, I don't know!  All I know is I was terribly uncomfortable when I was pregnant, especially in the third trimester.  I was way more interested in buying baby stuff than pregnancy stuff, though, so the only special pillow I bought was a $20 body pillow from Target and it was crap.  I don't know if any of the pricier options would make a difference, but I've heard great things and I think it'd be worth the cash to try them out!

In case you were curious, the only real dud around here was the bouncy chair.  We got some use out of it, but she never really cared for it and could definitely have lived without it.