eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Frosted Toast Crunch Review & Giveaway

My kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch - it's the cereal that they request for me to buy most often. So when I was given the opportunity to review the new Frosted Toast Crunch cereal from General Mills, I was pretty sure they would like it. 

We were sent a box of Frosted Toast Crunch, a frosted pitcher, a spilt milk bowl, and a lickety spoon. The bowl and spoon were an instant hit and I had to let them know that they would have to take turns with them. The bowl makes it look like the milk is spilling, and the spoon makes it look like you are sticking out your tongue when the spoon is in your mouth.

Britain took the first turn with the bowl and spoon and he immediately fell in love with the Frosted Toast Crunch. He's eaten it every morning since! Alex also tried the cereal and while she liked it, she didn't like it as much as Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I don't eat cereal very much, but I also tried it and liked it. I thought it was great straight from the box as a snack. It has a nice sweet vanilla flavor with just a hint of cinnamon.

Jaxon also tried the cereal and he LOVED it. I was a little surprised. I've never given him anything like this, but since these squares are not quite as crispy as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I thought he would be able to eat these. He did well with them and loved being able to eat the same thing that the big kids were eating.

With 11 grams of whole grains and only 9 grams of sugar, this is a cereal that you can feel good about serving. It's also a good source of calcium and your kids will love it! 

One lucky reader will have the chance to win the same package I received!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winner of the Fuzzibunz giveaway

The winner of the Fuzzibunz giveaway is Melissa! Congratulations Melissa - I have sent you an email!

I have several more cloth diaper giveaways coming soon, so the rest of you will have more chances to win cloth in the near future!

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Nap

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas at Our House

We had a low-key Christmas this year. Our older kids were away at their other parents the week before Christmas. We got them back on Christmas afternoon. So the week leading up to Christmas lacked some of the anticipation that kids bring, since Jaxon is obviously too young to understand it all. We opened presents on the morning of the 26th. 

Jaxon loved the opening of presents. Paper is one of his favorite things, so the abundance of wrapping paper is fun for him. He was really good at opening his presents himself, though tearing up and trying to eat the paper may have been his favorite part. He also enjoyed trying to get the small accessories that came with his sister's Barbie & Monster High dolls.  

We had the kids keep their lists small this year, so we were able to get them everything they asked for. We shopped lots of sales and stood in line for Black Friday deals and so we were also able to get them several things they weren't expecting as well. I believe Britain's favorite gift is his new bike. The girls seem partial to their new video cameras - we were able to get them each a little Flip like video camera that's easy and fun for them to use! Jaxon's favorite gift is his little Fisher Price Laugh & Learn vacuum cleaner. I've never seen a child who likes the vacuum cleaner as much as Jaxon does. This one sings songs and talks, but his favorite mode is the one that makes the same whirring type sound our vacuum cleaner makes. He pushes it back and forth, back and forth, just like he's seen us do. It's completely adorable. I'll post a few pictures later. 

All in all, everyone seemed very pleased with their gifts. We spent yesterday cleaning up bits of paper and opening packages and putting batteries into things. I'm enjoying our week off from homeschooling, but have still had to spend a little time doing teacher related things like filling out progress reports and working on lesson plans for this semester. 

How was your Christmas?

Baby Brezza

I had a great review to post for you guys on my Baby Brezza baby food maker. I was just needing to take some pictures next time I made baby food to add to the post. But then yesterday, I was making some food for Jaxon and it just died after only 5 months of use! I washed it out and tried again and it started to work, but then it died again. The blade does not seem to want to turn. It sucks, because up until this point, it's been great. It steamed food perfectly and blended it to a consistency that Jaxon will eat (he is very particular about texture). I hate that it stopped working. Needless to say, I won't be posting a review to recommend the Baby Brezza to you!  

Thankfully, we bought it on Amazon, so we were able to send it back. However, for some reason, we can only get a credit, not a replacement. I think this may be due to the number of returns Amazon has had recently. When I was reading the reviews today, I noticed that the majority of the comments that said they were having problems were left within the last month.  

So...I can steam food in the microwave, but I'm going to need a new way to blend the food. I'm looking for recommendations of other baby food makers or mini food processors. Obviously, I'd love something that steams and blends the food for me, but I'm willing to just go with a good option for blending and steam the food myself. If you make homemade baby food, what do you use to make your baby's food?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm in Denial

I'm late posting Jaxon's 10 month update. I think it's because I'm in denial over the fact that he is actually 10 months. I just cannot believe how quickly he is growing. Where's the pause button? Someone hit it for me! 
I'm loving this age, even though he's into EVERYTHING. But he's also very loving and sweet and he gives lots of kisses. 

He is starting to outgrow his 12 month clothes, which is terrible. I am not happy about putting my 10 month old into size 18 months. 

He has a few new words: bubble, balloon, yum-yum. He is using yum yum a lot to indicate he wants something he likes to eat: usually animal crackers or nursing. He still says love you in response to us, and he is also mimicking thank you, though it comes out more like "da-du". It's funny to me when he says "da-du" because that's exactly how one of my little brothers used to say "Thank you" when he was learning to talk. 
His favorite things to do:

Tear apart paper. Any type. Newspaper, letters, magazines, toilet paper, tissues, wrapping paper. He's going to have a blast on Christmas morning. 

Open drawers and cabinets and empty them of their contents. 

Be outside. 

Eat. He is officially my longest nurser now. My other two had weaned by this point. Jaxon is still going strong, which is great. Being home instead of working has its advantages. I'm a terrible pumper so I think if I was back at work my milk supply would have dropped like it did with the other two. I'm happy to be home and able to nurse him as much as he wants me to. Jaxon only eats the equivalent of about 1 1/2 jars of baby food a day, but he loves to sample our food. New foods this week: salmon (liked) and mashed cauliflower (tolerated). Mango, bananas, yogurt, and avocado are still favorite foods that I can usually count on him eating well. He also loves turkey, peas, green beans, and dried beans like black and pinto, but not mashed up - he likes to eat these whole. He only has two teeth - one on the bottom and one right above it on the top. His gums have been very swollen for several weeks so I think two more will come in soon. Thankfully, he's an easy teether and doesn't whine or fuss or cry. 

I discovered the other day that he can walk behind a walker toy. Check out this adorable video - this was his very first time to play with one of these! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Win a Fuzzibunz Diaper and Eco-friendly Tattoo!

Kelly Wels, author of the amazing new book "Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering" has generously offered a giveaway to celebrate the launch of her book. If you haven't read my review of the book yet, read it here

Want to win a Fuzzibunz cloth diaper and a "I'm a hip mom and I love cloth diapers" eco-friendly tattoo?

Enter using the super easy Rafflecopter form below!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kelly Wels "Changing Diapers" Review

When we first decided to cloth diaper, I began to do research on the different types of cloth diapers. I quickly realized there was a lot of information scattered across various blogs and cloth diaper sites all over the Internet. It was overwhelming. My husband wondered why there wasn't a book written about cloth diapers that would break it all down and put all the information in one easy to find place. That's what Kelly Wels has done with her new book Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering.

Kelly Wels is a mom of 3 who is passionate about cloth diapering and has been a cloth diapering advocate for many years. She is the founder of Kelly's Closet and blogs at KellyWels.com. She is considered by most people in the cloth diaper world to be an expert, so she's the perfect person to author this book. In Changing Diapers, Kelly has taken everything you need to know about cloth diapers and put it in one place. She explains the jargon (what is fluff?), breaks down the acronyms (AIO, AI2, etc), and does it all in a format that's easy to read. There is nothing overwhelming about this book, which is as it should be.

In this book, Kelly answers the questions of why cloth diapers are such a great choice, what modern cloth diapering consists of, and then systematically explains the different types of diaper choices. She tells you what you will need for storing dirty diapers and what other accessories you might want to make diapering easier. At the back of the book is a resource section that includes website addresses for more information on diapering choices, as well as a place to keep track of your own notes regarding your cloth diaper purchases. 

She also explains how to wash your diapers and why specific washing routines are important.  She covers how to care for wool. She has special chapters that address other issues, such as traveling with cloth, cloth diapering multiples and how to handle cloth at daycare. She even put a special chapter for dads in there, which I thought was great for the mom who might want to cloth diaper but needs a little help convincing her husband.

From Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels
I loved that in the book there are quotes from real moms who are cloth diapering, as well as lots of cute pictures of babies in cloth diapers. I also like the diagrams of each type of diaper in the book. These diagrams are basic drawings that make it easy to understand the types of diapers and how to put them on a baby.  

The book is interesting and well written, and you could easily read it in a day. Even a mom who has been cloth diapering for some time can pick something up from this book. I know I learned several things while reading it. This is also the perfect gift for anyone considering cloth diapering and I think it is also a great gift for a new mom! Just package it up with a cute little diaper and you have a wonderful baby shower gift! 

Want a copy of Kelly Wels "Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering"? You can pick up a copy on her website here. Right now she's also offering free US shipping and a buy one, get one free promotion - perfect for giving! If you don't have a friend whose pregnant or who might want to cloth diaper, gift your free copy to your obstetrician office's waiting room and let some other pregnant mommies learn about cloth diapers while they wait! 

Connect with Kelly Wels on Facebook
Follow Kelly Wels on Twitter 

I received a copy of Changing Diapers to facilitate this review. Regardless, all opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Win a $100 Amazon Gift Code!

Win a $100 Amazon gift code! 

Enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below. There are a lot of Twitter accounts to follow (so lots of opportunities for extra entries) and if you follow all of them, there is a bonus at the bottom!

Wordless Wednesday: Snack Time

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rumparooz G2 One Size Pocket Diaper Review

Once we decided we were going to cloth diaper, Rumparooz was one of the first brands I knew I wanted. I would like to say that I had researched and decided these were the best diapers, but it was really because of something much more superficial: I love their prints. Specifically, I love this print: Gumball.

I don't know why, but it just makes me happy! I am not alone in this, as we have often found the Gumball print to often be sold out at cloth diaper stores, and at least one cloth diaper store owner has confessed to me that it's her favorite print as well! Isn't Jaxon so sweet?
Moving on, because you came to read a review not just to see pictures of my adorable baby.

The Rumparooz G2 is a one size pocket diaper that fits from 6-35 pounds. The diaper comes with two inserts, a longer insert that snaps down, and a newborn insert. Jaxon started out as a heavy wetter, and I've never actually used my newborn inserts for any of my diapers that came with them. I skipped straight to the snap down insert to provide that extra absorbency up front where he needs it. He is not as heavy a wetter as he used to be, so we are still using the single longer insert (at 9 months and 20 lbs), but I know that should we need to add extra absorbency, we can always add the newborn insert in there as a doubler.
Jaxon at 2 weeks old (around 10 lbs)
My favorite feature of the Rumparooz diaper are the gussets. The leg and back gussets contain even the messiest of breastfed baby poops. We've never had a problem with any poop leaking from this diaper. When Jaxon was a newborn with skinny legs, these diapers fit him perfectly and we never had any leak issues, even with the messiest of breastfed baby poops. This diaper is a great one size choice for newborns.

That being said, we have had pee leaks. Jaxon likes to sleep on his stomach, and has for a while now. I find that the Rumparooz diaper doesn't fit quite as flush against his stomach as other diapers do. This, combined with the fact that he's a boy and his pee is concentrated up front, means that he often wakes up from naps with a wet tummy. For that reason, I do not use this diaper overnight. I will note that our leak issues with this diaper are confined to times when he is sleeping on his stomach. We have not had any leaks from the leg. This is still a diaper I reach for all the time. It's also one of my favorite diapers to put Jaxon in when we are away from home because it always gets lots of compliments!

The only other issue I have had with Rumparooz is that they sometimes leave marks on Jaxon's legs. He does have chubby thighs now, so all babies will not have this issue (we didn't have any problems when his thighs were skinny).

I'm not 100% sure this diaper will fit Jaxon to 35 lbs. It's smaller than our other one size diapers (see photo below). He's already at 20 lbs, and we only have one rise setting left. It's hard for me to see this fitting him until potty training, mostly because of the rise. I guess it will depend on where he gains the weight/grows, because I do know that some people are using these on their 2 year olds.

You can purchase Rumparooz for around $23.50 for solid colors or $25.50 for prints at Kelly's Closet.

I bought my own Rumparooz diapers and all opinions are my own. My affiliate links are present in this review. 

Help for the Holidays - Make Someone's Christmas Wish Come True!

My husband and I run an organization called The Hope Center that provides food and help to needy families. Every year churches and community resource centers like ours are inundated with requests for help at Christmastime. Families with limited resources often need help getting through the holiday season. In years past, the majority of requests have been for bikes, electronic gadgets, or the latest toys. This year, the requests are much simpler. We're getting calls daily from folks needing food for their cupboards, gas for their cars in order to get to work, help with a utility bill so the Christmas tree lights (and every other light in the house) don't get cut off before the holidays get here, etc... We'd like to try to help as many of these families as we can, but how many we are able to serve depends entirely upon the generosity of our friends and neighbors.

This Christmas, we are trying to help struggling families pay an overdue utility bill, fill up their gas tank, or stock their pantries with food. Can you spare $5 or $10 to help make someone's Christmas wish come true? 

Please visit www.myhopelives.com/donate for more info. THANKS SO MUCH!

Monday, December 12, 2011

For Bloggers: Twitter Blast!

Kobiso is offering a new free event for bloggers to boost their Twitter following! Twitter Blast will take place from December 15th through January 1st. The prize will be a $100 Amazon gift card! It's very easy to get involved. Click here for more information!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby Jail

I'm thinking Jaxon might need one of these for Christmas.

Maybe we'll be sweet and get him this one so he can have a little fun while he's in baby jail. Doesn't this baby look like she's having fun in her little baby jail?

I used to think these things were for lazy parents who couldn't be bothered to babyproof or watch their kids. But now Jaxon's here. And now I understand that these are also for tired parents. Jaxon is constantly into everything he can possibly get into. He is obsessed with cords of all kinds. We have outlet covers on the outlets, and we've moved everything else out of here that needs to be plugged in (or covered the plugs with furniture) and now only have one lamp in our living room. Jaxon seeks it out and unplugs it. 

We have stairs that lead down to the girls room in the finished basement. He listens for them to come up and heads for their door in the hopes that they will forget to close it and he can dive down the stairs. He pulls our vents out of the floor. He can spot tiny toys or bits of paper across the room and he will go after them and put them in his mouth as soon as he sees them. Did you lose a pencil or a tiny Lego? Rest assured, Jaxon will find it. Today he found a dime that had fallen out of Jason's pocket. Luckily, we are always right with him so we can "rescue" him. 

This boy is busy, busy and he really keeps me on my toes. He has also convinced me that no matter how much you babyproof, a kid can find something to get into or eat or use to get hurt. There is really no substitute for parental supervision, I guess! 

But still, a baby jail might be nice every once in a while when Mommy needs a break... 

Do you have a busy baby or toddler? Do you have a "safe place" where you can put them when you need a few minutes to yourself?

Random Ramblings

I've been sick since last Friday with a sore throat/cough/cold type thing. While I have a high pain tolerance, simple colds seem to knock me out physically. I end up spending lots of time laying around trying to get better. I'm not in pain, just a little sore throat. But I'm exhausted and feeling very run down. I even stayed home from church on Sunday (that never happens) to get some extra rest. 

I've managed to stay caught up on laundry, but cleaning doesn't really happen when I'm sick. My husband is great to keep the dishes done, the kitchen counters clean, and the toys picked up. But our bathrooms and floors are pretty dirty right now. I've been sweeping (or having the kids do it) but it just doesn't substitute for vacuuming and mopping. With a crawling baby on the floor, I can't pretend my floors are clean when they're not: Jaxon's knees tell the truth. So I've been dressing him in dark clothes this week, so I don't have to see the dirt on his knees. Isn't that terrible?

But the only thing worse than Mommy being sick would be kids being sick. Aside from the girls having runny noses earlier in the week, no one else has gotten sick. I'm very grateful for that.

I'm excited for Christmas "vacation" since it means we won't have to do schoolwork for 2 weeks! I think I look forward to breaks from school as much as the kids do, if not more! Only 6 more days! 

Blogging Opportunity!

Midnight Mommy is looking for some bloggers to review & test products for  Kebbie's Diaper BagIf you have a blog and love trying new cloth diapers, click HERE for more information and to sign up!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Asleep

 This is one of those rare moments that doesn't happen often around here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We Miss You, Adaleigh

Adaleigh Elizabeth
August 11, 2005 - December 4, 2009
Missing you today, and everyday!

When Adaleigh died, her parents made the decision to donate her organs to help save other parents the agony of losing their baby. 

One of the recipients was a little girl named Katie, the same age age as Adaleigh, who is featured on the organ donation brochure found here. We've been lucky enough to meet her and she is a beautiful, sweet little girl. While nothing can take away the pain of losing Ada, seeing Katie has been a source of comfort. Katie is a bright, happy, thankful little girl, and you only have to look at her parents faces to know that while their hearts ache for our loss, they are so grateful that Adaleigh's parents made the decision to donate her organs. 

Friday, December 2, 2011


I debated on what to post today. Today is a hard day for my family. My little niece died two years ago, at the age of 4. Technically, her date of death is December 4th. But for me, December 2nd is the day things changed, the day I got that terrible phone call that told me she had been rushed to the hospital. 

Adaleigh had woken during the night screaming and pulling at her hair. She could not be consoled. By the time the paramedics arrived, it was clear that Adaleigh was having seizures. She was taken to a local hospital. When they could not stop the seizures, they did a CAT scan and discovered that she was bleeding in her brain. She was transferred to Children's Hospital, where an emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her brain was performed. But it was too late. 

When my brother told me that the doctors said the bleeding in Adaleigh's brain was caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), I remember wondering why it was Adaleigh and not me. I also have an AVM in my brainAVM's are found in less than 1% of the population, so it seemed somewhat surreal for two people in one family to be diagnosed with AVM's. I felt heartbroken for my brother, and wished I could swap places with Adaleigh. To me, it seemed unfair that my AVM was fine, while Adaleigh's had ruptured after only 4 short years. 

I will never understand why little children die.

We love you and miss you, sweet baby Adaleigh.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Need of Sleep

Jaxon started off as a fairly good sleeper. He slept when I slept, and woke to nurse on what could be considered a fairly average basis. He slept late on the days we slept late, and he took good naps. When he got a little older, his naps faded into a more irregular pattern. But it was okay, because he still did well at night. But a few months ago, his sleeping habits changed, and now we're just exhausted. 

He wakes multiple times per night. He will nurse himself back to sleep fairly quickly, but he wakes so often that it seems like he nurses all night long. While he falls back asleep easily, we sometimes do not. Our sleep is so interrupted that I sometimes get up in the morning feeling like I have only had a couple of hours of rest. This would make anyone crazy, but it seems to be especially bad for me. My body responds negatively to a lack of sleep. I have more pain and my symptoms are more pronounced when I don't get adequate rest. 

We need Jaxon to sleep through the night. But I can't handle letting him cry it out (and though my husband talks big, I know he couldn't let him cry it out either). So I was Googling, looking for possible solutions and found The No Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley, and my amazing husband promptly ordered it for me. It came today (gotta love Amazon) and I'm halfway through reading it. 

One of the first things the book has you do is keep track of your baby's sleep/wake patterns. I'm not far enough along yet to tell you what the point of this is, but here's our patterns so far. It's 10:05 as I write this, and this has been Jaxon's day.

8:13   Awake for the day
12:20-1:00  nap in van as we drove to the skating rink
3:15-4:00  nap in van as we drove home from the skating rink.

Two short naps, totaling about 1 1/2 hours. That's all.  
Now for nighttime...

8:18 nursed  
8:29 asleep
9:07 awake, screaming & sitting up in bed
9:31 back asleep after nursing

So now I'm going to try to finish reading the book before he wakes up. Have you used The No Cry Sleep Solution with your baby? Did you have good results? Any tips for getting a 9 month old to sleep through the night? 

Updated---here's how the rest of our night ended up

11:17 awake
In between these two times was a cycle of nursing and falling asleep only to wake 2-3 minutes later to nurse again
12:07 asleep
For each of the next times, I noted his waking, but I don't know what time he fell back asleep, because he immediately went to nursing and once he was latched on, I was asleep again. That is the good thing about co-sleeping, I guess.
1:15 awake
3:34 awake
411 awake
441 awake
617 awake
727 awake for day

Sunday, November 27, 2011

McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL - Our Review

I love children's museums. I think they are so much fun for kids, and I must be right because my kids love to visit them as well. If you have one in your area, you should check it out. We do not have a children's museum in our area, but we do have a science museum, the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, AL, that is about an hour away from us. We are very lucky in that the McWane Center also has several features that many children's museums also have, so it is both fun and educational.

There are four levels to the McWane Center, plus an IMAX theater. Level 1 features simple machines such as pulleys and levers, as well as other physical science exhibits. There is also a bubble lab, a distortion room, an area for building and creating, and many other exhibits. There is a special area for kids under 5 called Just Mice Size that features a climbing area with slides, water and sand play areas, dress up center, pretend store with play food, reading and puzzle areas, and a special soft play area for little babies. There is also a quiet room for nursing mothers in this area.

Water play area - this was probably his favorite area!
Bubble Lab
The second level features (among other things) a simulator that produces hurricane force winds, a weather center where kids can broadcast their own reports, and a huge dinosaur exhibit, complete with a site where kids can "excavate" bones. 

Hurricane Simulator
The third level is my favorite. The exhibits here are changed out every so often. The current featured exhibit consists of several huge layouts of model trains. Jaxon surprised me by being very interested in the model trains - check out the look on his face here as he was watching them. I love that little smile :)

A recurring exhibit that my kids love is called "Itty Bitty Magic City" which features things like a supermarket for kids to shop and play cashier. The area is has lots of play food, shopping carts, a conveyor belt and pulley for moving food, a miniature golf course, and giant building materials to construct "houses" and other buildings.

I love the third level because it's very open. I can sit in the infant/toddler play area on this level (which is filled with soft foam pieces that babies and toddlers love to crawl and climb on) and still be able to see the other kids playing and running around. On this level there is also a keyboard you can walk on, a gigantic Lite Brite, and some interactive projections on the wall. 
Let a butterfly land on your shoulder! 
Catch the falling money!
We also love the lower level. This is where the aquariums are. You can pet sting rays and sharks and see all kinds of other sea life. One time when we were there, the kids were allowed to hold a shark egg! We usually spend at least 45 minutes down there petting the sharks & rays. 

Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for kids and well worth it. However, a family membership is only $90 and gives you access for a year, free parking, discounts on IMAX movies, and more. With our family size, membership paid for itself after 2 visits. There is a cafe onsite featuring a Subway, Pizza Hut, and Red Mango - you can also buy items such as hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and pasta at reasonable prices. 

Connect with the McWane Center at www.McWane.org

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The older kids are with their other parents today, so we actually had our Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. Jaxon slept the entire time (surprisingly) and the big kids enjoyed using the "real" glasses -the stemware I only let them use on special occasions. 

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nine Years Ago

My first baby.
Nine years ago today, she was 4 days old.

Calling a Truce in the Motherhood Wars

As moms, we make a lot of choices, even before our babies are officially here. Drugs or no drugs during childbirth? Hospital or home birth? Breastfeeding or formula feeding? Cloth or disposable diapers? Will I work or stay home with the baby? Cosleeping or crib? Vaccinations or no vaccinations? The list of choices is endless. 

We read, we research, we decide what is best for our kids, our families, our lives, our unique situations, our individual babies.

But no matter what you decide, it seems like there is always someone who thinks your decision is wrong...and that someone is usually another mother who made a different decision for her child.

Why are moms so hard on each other and so prone to attacking each other in order to "defend" their lifestyles? It seems like there are so many moms out there who can't say something like "I'm breastfeeding" without also adding something like "I can't understand why anyone would ever choose to feed their baby formula", which of course starts an all out debate/war because someone out there did choose to feed their baby formula and that comment just left them feeling attacked. It's okay to state your opinion or choice. However, I think that we should learn to do so in a way that doesn't make those who chose a different option feel attacked. 

I've seen a lot of posts lately about the recent Milwaukee cosleeping ads. We had billboards like these months ago all over Birmingham. I thought they were sad (anything about a baby dying is sad), but the message of the billboard didn't offend me, even though my baby sleeps with me. I think women who cosleep certainly have the right to discuss why the ads upset them. However, I feel like it's gone too far when they turn to attacking those who put their babies in cribs to sleep. This week, I've seen women write things on blog posts and Facebook threads like "I could never let my infant sleep all alone in a crib- that's just cruel" and "It's just not natural for a mom to give birth and then lay her baby in a bassinet, away from her." If you don't like people attacking cosleeping, please don't turn around and attack those whose babies sleep in cribs.

It makes me sad when women fight over these and other issues. I've been made to feel bad for sending my kids to daycare, for cosleeping, for not cosleeping, and more. I am my own worst critic and give myself a hard enough time over parenting issues. I think most moms are doing the best they can, making the decisions that they deem right for their children and families. Every family is not the same. Every child is not the same. What worked for you might not work for someone else. What was best for your baby might not be best for someone else's. Moms have a hard enough time as it is. We should support each other, and when necessary (such as in issues of car seat safety) look for ways to gently educate each other without being condescending and rude. 

Everyone is not going to parent the same way you do. They won't make the same choices for their baby that you do for yours, and guess what? That's okay.  

Have you ever felt attacked for a choice you made for your baby/family?   

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Strong Willed Baby - Jaxon at 9 months

Jaxon is now 9 months old. He actually was 9 months old a few days ago but I wanted to wait until I had his nine month checkup to post his official weight and height. At his doctor's appointment, he weighed 19 lbs and 8 oz and is 29 inches. He's 75th percentile for height, and 50th for weight - he's been in roughly the same percentiles since birth. 

Reading a book with Daddy while waiting at the doctor's office
He has now been outside of me for as long as he was in me. Why does time go by so very slowly while you're pregnant and so very quickly once the baby is born?

Jaxon is cruising around all of our furniture. He pulls up on everything. He is into everything. He has to be watched constantly. The bathroom doors have to stay shut because he has discovered that he can tip over the trash cans and find fun things to play with. He also discovered the toilet. Babyproofing has proved to be a challenge this time around. His three older siblings do things like remove outlet covers and forget to replace them and drop everything from beads to leaves to pencils that he later finds. I can't leave him alone in a room for more than 30 seconds. He goes with me to the bathroom, or has to be put in a pack and play or crib everytime I need to do something without him. I started using the back carry in the Ergo recently and he loved it - that has allowed me to make lunch for the older kids and do some things in the kitchen that used to be hard with him.

He has no fear. He climbs stairs very well. He thinks he can go down them as well...he certainly would try if I would let him.

But he also cries every time he gets hurt. He is not a kid who barely notices when he bumps his head. He cries with tears and a lot of drama. 

He has one tooth on the bottom and seems to be working on a second tooth on the bottom. He's been a good teether so far. He's not very fussy and it mostly just results in longer naps and restless nights for him. Thankfully, he has not yet used that tooth to bite me. He still loves breastfeeding, but he also loves eating anything else. He will put anything in his mouth, even if it's not food (he seems to have a fondness for paper). He loves yogurt melts and the Gerber Lil' Crunchies -all flavors. He also likes yogurt and frozen yogurt. As for pureed foods, he loves mango, peaches, pears with cinnamon, avocado, kiwi, and banana (but not from a jar). He loves the Happy Baby brand of pouch foods, with the spinach mango pear flavor being his favorite. He also loves pretty much anything I'm eating including grilled chicken from a Zaxby's salad, vegetable soup, pasta, or french fries.

One of my favorite parts of nursing- the little breaks he takes to smile up at me :)
He's jabbering up a storm but he only has one new word that I can think of right now. He'll say poopoo when he has a poopoo, but only after we ask him "Do you have a poopoo?". He says mama more now, though it comes out more like ma-mom and is always said in a whiny "I need you now" voice. 

He loves the swings and being outside at the park. He still likes being in the stroller, though he does not tolerate the sling as well these days. He seems to prefer the Ergo. He is much louder in church now and will probably have to start going in the nursery soon. Up until now, I've worn him in a sling every Sunday as I go about my tasks there.

His favorite things in our house are my husband's computer, the power cords to our computer, our phones, and the vacuum cleaner. He LOVES the vacuum cleaner. He will just sit and stare at it. When I vacuum he crawls around behind me following me, in awe of it. He has plenty of toys, but they seem to take a back seat to our gadgets and things. He clearly thinks he is older than he really is. Shopping for him for Christmas has been difficult. Jason and I both look at toys that are technically too old for him, and the things that are on the baby aisle seem to be "too babyish" for him. Then we have to remind ourselves that he is still a baby.

Jaxon is a very fun, smart boy who seems like he is going to be strong willed. He knows what he wants and what he likes and he will persist until he gets what he is after. 

Do you have a strong willed baby or toddler? What types of things do they do that demonstrate their strong will?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 19, 2011

All Alone

Yesterday, I did something very different: I left the house without Jaxon. Before this, I had been out twice without him. The first time, I was back within 5 minutes and he slept the entire time. The second time, he was about 7 months old. I fed him right before I left. I was gone less than an hour and he slept most of the time I was gone. To say I don't like leaving him would be an understatement. 

But I had a doctor's appointment, and he was asleep when it was time to leave. He usually wakes up from his morning nap in a great mood and then eats some baby food, so I knew he wouldn't be needing to nurse anytime soon. As long as he didn't fall over and hurt himself or get upset for some other reason, he'd be fine (when he gets upset, only mommy's milk calms him down). 

But would I?

I really didn't want to leave him. But I was seeing a new doctor and would have paperwork to fill out, plus I needed blood drawn, so I knew things would actually be easier without him. I was in a terrible mood when I was leaving. I knew it was better to leave him at home but I just didn't want to. 

I took my wallet and keys and phone from the diaper bag, since I no longer needed to take a diaper bag with me. I was looking around for something to put it all in, and that's when I realized that I don't even have a purse.

I had almost 2 hours of time to myself. I've become used to having at least 1 kid with me, and usually I have all of them. When my husband gives me "time to myself" I always take Jaxon. So I'm still talking to him or interacting with him in some way. Of course, I was at the doctor, so I wasn't really by myself, but I felt very alone. Plus I do not like going to the doctor, and I especially hate seeing new doctors. This is actually the first time I've seen a new doctor without Jason since my diagnosis. In the past he was always able to come with me while the kids were in school (this is one of the major downfalls of homeschooling for me). 

So yesterday, I had a quiet car ride that I didn't know what to do with - I kept looking into the rearview mirror to check on the baby that I hadn't even brought with me. When the nurse called me back, I stood up to walk back, then looked back thinking "I forgot something" because I wasn't carrying anything- no diaper bag, no baby. 

It was very strange being out by myself. Jaxon survived. Actually, he was perfectly fine and never even missed me. Somehow, I survived too, but I have absolutely no idea how. 

In the process of all of this, I realized that Jaxon is to an age where I can leave for short periods of time. I also realized that I had no idea where I'd want to go without him. When I think of places to go, I always think in terms of what the kids would enjoy or in terms of necessity (grocery shopping). I can't think of a single thing I want to do by myself. It made me realize that so much of who I am is tied up in being a wife and mother. 

Part of me panicked when I realized this and I thought "Oh, no, I need to find a hobby. What am I going to do when the kids are all grown up?" Then I realized that I'm a long ways away from that time and that it's probably okay to be completely wrapped up in the kids right now. 

Hopefully, I'm not the only one who doesn't know what to do when I'm all alone. When was the last time you were by yourself, without kids or husband? What did you do while you were alone? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Little Shepherd children's book review

Our kids like to read, and my oldest loves to read. They each read at least 30-40 minutes each day. Because of this, we are always looking for new books to read. I was excited when I received a copy of The Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malandrinos for review. 

The Little Shepherd is a sweet Christmas book about Obed, a very young shepherd whose father has just given him a flock of sheep to guard. But Obed's first night guarding sheep is not an ordinary night. When angels appear in the night sky, Obed's first night of shepherding turns out a little differently than what he expected and in the end, he experiences a Christmas miracle of his very own. Obed is worried about leaving his flock unattended, but they return to find the flocks unharmed, completely safe and right where they left them. 

The book is a thin paperback, but there are a lot of words on each page. Britain's first comment about the book was that there were too many words on each page. While the main character of the book, Obed, is just 5 years old, I felt like the content of the book was geared towards a slightly older audience. It seems like the content and wording is above the attention span of the average preschooler. Each page is very colorfully illustrated.

Alex, my 9 year old, read the book on her own and liked it. She seemed especially intrigued by the miracle Obed experienced. My 7 year old, Emily, also read the book and her first comment after reading the book was "I love the baby in the manger - it's so sweet!" (obviously not original to this story, lol!). But she also picked up on some of the subtleties of the story, such as when Obed wonders how his father knew where to find the baby in the manger.

All in all, this is a great Christmas story for kids. It will be a wonderful addition to your Christmas library! The fresh telling from a young shepherd's point of view will hold the attention of children who may have already heard the Christmas story presented in its traditional form many times. 

You can purchase The Little Shepherd for $9.95 here.

I received a copy of The Little Shepherd for review. However, all opinions are my own (or that of my children) and were not influenced in any way

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Caterpillar Fun

We've been studying invertebrates in science and we've reached the insects section. Insects are gross, for the most part, but butterflies are nice, so we've paused to pay special attention to them. Yesterday the kids watched an Eyewitness: Butterfly & Moth DVD. I love the Eyewitness series -they have great pictures and lots of information in chunks that are easy for kids to understand and remember. 

Today, we focused on my very favorite butterfly, the one that was first a very hungry caterpillar.

I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Luckily, my kids do too.  

I saw a cute & easy caterpillar craft on Pinterest several weeks ago. I set the materials for this out for the kids. 
The caterpillars turned out very cute!
Then I decided to elaborate on it a little bit and assigned them each foods from the book to make. I let them take charge, and so we ended up with black plums when purple construction paper couldn't be found and a few of our foods don't look quite like what they are supposed to be, but they had fun. 
Once the foods were done, I punched holes in each food. Then I had the kids sequence the foods and we strung it on a piece of ribbon and hung it, along with our finished caterpillars on the wall. They loved how it looked as if the caterpillars were going to eat the food.

I thought it turned out pretty cute. B was so excited about how it turned out, he wanted his picture taken with it. Then he went off to make a butterfly & a cocoon for the display! 

Need more Very Hungry Caterpillar? Check out my Very Hungry Caterpillar obsession board on Pinterest. 

P.S. I can't explain my VHC obsession. I just like the book...it's cute, well written and beautifully illustrated. And judging from the number of repins I've had on Pinterest, I'm not the only one who is obsessed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to Get What You Want

Jaxon has a new thing. He squeals. He screams. It was cute the first time. Maybe the second time, too.

But now, I just do whatever I can to get him to stop.

He screams like this for tastes of my food, for my iPhone, for my computer.

I think he knows he can get what he wants when he does this.

He's right.

I tried to take a video of the squealing tonight and it's actually less squealing and more cuteness because he says mama for the camera. So, yeah, he got the French fry he was squealing for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Sleeping Baby

This is how Jaxon sleeps best.

In my lap.

Or in my arms.

Or in the sling, strapped to me.

Or laying next to me in bed while nursing.

I don't seem to get a lot done these days, but I do get a lot of baby love.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Messy Side of Motherhood

Let's face it - I can't cover all the messes mothers deal with in just one post. And that's not really the purpose of this post anyway. 

I read a short blog tonight entitled "The Two Reasons I Would Never Switch To Cloth Diapers". 

The blog names those two reasons as "pee" and "poop." 

I almost laughed out loud.  

I was dealing with pee and poop long before I started cloth diapering. Doesn't that just come with becoming a mom? 

I've been peed on. Diaper changes with boys are fun, aren't they? 

I've been pooped on. Ever had a toddler with a stomach virus? Disposable diapers were not made for that. They leak...and if your toddler is on your lap (as toddlers like to be when they are sick), then that diaper leaks onto your leg. 

The author goes on to state "There is no price tag on the satisfaction of permanently disposing of the memory of one’s urine and bowel movements." My first two kids (who were in disposables) had blowout diapers that went up their backs and down their legs. The clothes they were wearing when those diapers leaked had pee AND poop on them. 

And I washed them. The children AND the clothes. Should I have disposed of their clothes? I guess the author would have, but I couldn't afford new clothes every time that happened.  

When my daughter was one, she pooped in the bathtub. Each of my kids since has followed her lead and done the same thing at some point (side note: 3 week old baby poop in the tub isn't nearly as disgusting as 4 year old poop in the tub). Should I have disposed of the tub? 

All of my kids diapers have leaked pee at some point while they were sleeping (cloth and disposable). After they were potty trained, they randomly wet their beds in the middle of the night. I'm really glad I didn't throw our sheets and mattresses away each time that happened. And car seats...I can't count how many times the car seats were peed on by my first two when their diapers leaked.  

And when they are out of diapers, it doesn't stop. When I started potty training my son, it seemed like almost every surface in our home received a sprinkling. If I had disposed of the things he peed on, so that I could be rid of the "memory of one's urine and bowel movements", then, well, we wouldn't have any mattresses or floors, or walls or...well, you get the point. He took a long time to potty train, didn't always make it to the toilet in time, and he had terrible aim. Most 3 year old boys do, right? I'm sad to say his aim hasn't improved much...

But I digress. The point is, pee and poop are facts of motherhood. Like snot. Or vomit (which I personally find more disgusting than poop). But I'll deal with all of those things because in return I get smiles and giggles, kisses and hugs. I also know that one day, I won't have any more poopy diapers to change.

And that kind of makes me sad.