Friday, May 31, 2013

3 Month Favorites

this last month we were on the go go go, and many of these favorites helped us survive!

Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser: these have been a life saver! for whatever reason, LW likes to do her business when we're out and about. this dispenser holds rolls of 25, scented bags which completely banish all things poopy smelling. we even use them when we're at someone's house and it's just a wet diaper since i don't like leaving people with my child's diapers. i've also used them as trash bags in the car, and i've heard they work wonders for doggy doodoo!

Gerber Good Start Soothe Formula: i haven't tried out many types of formula, only Gerber and Enfamil Newborn, which was given to us at the hospital. I read that Gerber most mimics breast milk so started out with the Gentle. while LW wasn't extremely fussy or gassy, she did have pretty regular bouts of frustration while trying to go #2. after about a month and a half, i decided to try the Soothe version and noticed a difference right away. she NEVER has any fussiness of any kind after eating or while soiling a diaper. i feel like this version is more milky and dissolves much easier. this is a must have.

Graco Pack 'n Play: i swore my child would be in her crib as soon as possible, but here we are into month 3 and i still want her next to me! she sleeps in her pack n'play next to our bed and sleeps great. our model came with a napper/changer that flips over, but it was terribly lopsided because a p 'n p has wheels on one side and a solid leg on the other- thus one side is higher than the other. when i would lay her in the changer she would slide down the side and it just wasn't worth it. we also took our first trip this last month and this baby went right along with us. we left the "bassinet" portion at home (basically just a suspended bottom so you don't have to bend down as far) and it traveled great. i think my only qualm with it is that it's pretty heavy, and the carrying bag doesn't have a handle. you pretty much have to hoist it over your shoulder like a giant boom box. oh well.

Arm & Hammer Nursery Fresheners: I didn't want a Diaper Genie because a) i don't want giant poop bullets and b) i didn't want to have to by overpriced, special trash bags. So i got the Diaper Champ which uses regular kitchen-sized trash bags. the only bummer is it's pretty much a glorified trash can and it can get smelling BAD. so i bought some of these nursery fresheners and they do a pretty darn good job of keeping that old poop smell at bay. it's not gone, but i've found that throwing two of these in the bottom of the diaper champ  helps a ton.

City Mini Stroller: i love this stroller! i don't remember where i heard about it but i loved that it wasn't a typical looking baby stroller and had the jogging style. it's not actually a jogging stroller, which is fine by me because i hate running by myself- i can't imagine torturing my child with running, or myself by having to push her as i sweat to death. it's extremely light weight (i think only 17 pounds) and folds in half with one hand. it's meant for a child that can support their back and neck, but we bought an adapter that works with our car seat. we used that for about 2 months, but now just recline the stroller all the way and Olivia loves it. i feel bad keeping her strapped in her car seat so often, so at least she can move around this way. this is also drive-able with one hand, and very man friendly- Dave doesn't hesitate to push it!

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy: i'm discovering that LW has VERY sensitive skin and last month she started having red, rashlike patches all over her face. i could tell it didn't really bother her, but it bothered me! i didn't want her beautiful face looking so irritated. so we asked our pediatrician friend for a recommendation and started using this Aveeno lotion. her face started clearing up within 2 days! it's amazing. i use it every day now on her "troubled areas" and she hasn't had a breakout since.

and that's a wrap!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Winnowing Season

As the years have passed me by and my life has become complicated with mature, adult things such as work, bills, marriage and baby, I've grown an odd fascination for the Amish culture.  I get quite the stare when I bring up how I long to become Amish and live the simple life. True, I probably will never convert, but I will never lose my desire to live simply for God and family. Honestly, I most likely crave the willingness to be at peace with living such a life, rather than the lifestyle itself. Thus my love of Amish books was born, where I can vicariously live through the near perfect characters as they walk their way through all things Plain.

"The Winnowing Season" is the first book I've read by Cindy Woodsmall, and the second in this series. I didn't realize there was an earlier book until I started in the middle of a rather twisty tale. Had I known it was a trilogy, I would definitely have started with the first book, as this novel picks up where the previous one left off with little reflection on the story.  It was difficult for me to straighten out all of the characters, their relationship to one another, and comprehend the devastating storm which took place in the prior book which was a major driver for the second book's plot. That being said, it took me some time to become invested in the story.

Rhoda Byler and the King brothers have just purchased an old orchard in Maine and are on the brink of moving and beginning a new Amish community, when Rhoda is confronted with a meeting from her local Church regarding an incident that takes place in the first novel. The outcome will determine if she is even able to move, and is the first glimpse we see at both Rhoda's and Samuel's strong-headed personalities. As expected, she is cleared to move to Maine and thus the story continues.

The novel is told from several points of view at each chapter break and covers the journeys of Rhoda and Jacob's relationship, Leah's quest for freedom outside the Amish community, Samuel's search for love and faith, and Jacob's past, which he has been running from for years. The new community will face a variety of trials at the new orchard, such as weathering the unfamiliar Maine winter climate while trying to upgrade the property, meeting mysterious neighbors and rambunctious teenagers, and attempting to deal with the frequent absences of Jacob.  All in all, I was not particularly endeared to Rhoda, the main character. I found her to be rather unlikable for much of the book, and couldn't identify with her "short fuse" on most issues. Rhoda's attitude wasn't particularly helpful along the way.

I have to say that I appreciated Woodsmall's modern approach to the Amish. Unlike other authors, Woodsmall writes in a more current time period and addresses issues that are relevant to both Englischers and Amish alike, rather than placing her story 50 years ago when technology and values weren't challenged as much as today. I also enjoyed that her characters were not perfect, praying at every corner when something went wrong. While I would love to say that is a trademark of the Amish,  he Amish are people too and struggle with their faith like any other Christian.

If you enjoy Amish fiction like I do, I would recommend this book. However, I'd read them in order, and bet you would enjoy this one even more. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Olivia Dell: 3 Months

Height/Weight: If my measurements prove correct, Olivia is nearly 24.5 inches! i could tell she was getting bigger when i see other people hold her and she looks so tall. i don't have a scale at home so i don't know how much LW weighs at the moment, but i'm guessing at least 11-12 pounds based on how heavy she's getting! she is definitely filling out, and i especially love her chunkier thighs. she's not my little string bean anymore.

Feeding: I thought Olivia was gradually weaning to more ounces last month but it really didn't happen until this month. She went from 4.5 to 5 to 6 ounces all in 1 month! she also only takes 5 bottles a day and can go 4-6 hours during the day between bottles. she's getting to be a big girl, and tries to hold her own bottle when she can.

Clothing: so sad, we are officially out of all newborn clothes, even pants. for awhile i could still get her into the NB ones, but now they are just capris. pretty much all 0-3 month clothes fit her well, except Circo which is still baggy, Gerber which is getting tight, and Carters which are sometimes too long. i can't figure out how clothing manufacturers label. Oh, and she can fit in Old Navy 3-6 month short sleeve onesies, but not the long sleeved ones- they are too big. random!

Sleep: Olivia is getting into a sleeping routine and it's glorious! On Sunday, May 19th 2013 she slept through the night! yes, i will remember that day forever. of course, I didn't sleep through the night because now i've been conditioned to wake up all the time. but still. it happened. She's only done it once since the first time, but now i know it's a real possibility for the future! she is consistent with her morning nap and has now added a decent afternoon nap that can be up to 2.5 hours! then she takes a quick 30-45 minute evening snooze and is pretty good about going to bed at 8:30. The other day we kept her up til 9:30 and she was beside herself with exhaustion. now we know!

Milestones: i consider sleeping through the night a huge milestone. she also held her head up for an extended period of time during tummy time, even though she still hates it and screams her head off the entire time. she is getting really good at holding her head up while on my shoulder, and will only go in my baby carrier facing out because she wants to see what's going on, despite the fact that she's not in complete control of her neck yet. big girl. she's also become quite the drooler, loves to talk/scream playfully, and likes to blow bubbles. i'm hoping teething is still some time away!

Firsts: Olivia still has so much to experience! This last month, she had a ton of new firsts. She had her first trip to South Coast Plaza, first trip to the movies (to see Iron Man 3, which she slept through the entire time) and her first real road trip to Solvang for a wedding. Oh, and she went to her first wedding. Of course, as mentioned before she slept through the night, went to the church nursery for the first time, and the coup de grace: her first Dodger game! (sorry for all the car seat pictures! we were on the move a lot this last month!)
First trip to the movies
First road trip

First wedding
First time in the church nursery

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Baby's First Wedding!

last weekend we attended a wedding of one of Dave's college roommate, Travers. we have known about this wedding for over a year, and it was a little exciting to think about going back when I was pregnant. i couldn't imagine what it would be like with a near 3 month old! i bought Olivia's dress back in December and it was a bit surreal to actually dress her in it when the day came.

not only was this LW's first wedding, but her first real road trip as well. The wedding was just outside of the quaint Danish town of Solvang here in California. It was a little over a 3 hour drive and she did amazing!
as with most events, she slept through the majority. when we got to Solvang, Dave had to drive (aka off road) the 30 minutes to the wedding rehearsal up some pretty major mountains so us girls stayed back and took a walk around town. i got myself some ridiculous Danish chocolate smorgasbord and immediately felt guilty after eating it. oh well!

then we headed to the Rehearsal Dinner, where Olivia was the talk of the town. (don't mind the creepy look in the bride and groom's eyes). i also proceeded to drop marinara sauce on my child, which i would later find out stained her outfit for good. right of passage maybe?
the next morning we ate at Paula's Pancake House, a local restaurant where i had my first Danish pancakes. delicious!

 not long after, we walked around Solvang some more and got our hands on our favorite Danish beer, Carlsberg! we somehow ended up enjoying it at a restaurant with ONLY Chinese tourists.

i asked Dave to take a picture of Olivia and i in front of the huge Solvang windmill. this is what i got:
me and Olivia, no windmill. can you guess who the photographer is in our family?

anyways, then we headed up to the farmhouse where the wedding was to be held for Dave to help set up and for some delicious Korean BBQ! the farmhouse and surrounding area was beautiful, though VERY off the beaten path.

after hanging out for a few hours, we headed back down the mountain to rest and gear up for an evening at the Solvang Brewing Company. It was probably 100 yards from our hotel so we walked over and enjoyed a decent amount of beer guilt free! i had the most AMAZING Danish sausage sampler with dipping sauces. i'm thinking about them right now and tempted to drive and get one. it's only 3 hours away!

the next day was the wedding and Olivia was a champ! She held up much better than I did, as I'm the one who fell in a hole when I got out of the car (i told you it was rustic), hurt my back, and bruised and scraped myself. but the wedding was beautiful and very "Travers and Jean."

i left my good camera in the hotel that day and was bummed because i could have taken even better pictures. however, i'm impressed with my iPhone as it is! here are just a few more shots of the farm that day:

we left just before the sun was going down because the wind was really starting to pick up and i didn't want a baby with a cold on my hands. and i was the sober one who had to drive my beemer down mountain terrain with no street lights. i'm so glad we left when we did because we made it back to civilization just as the sun disappeared! and that pretty much sums up our trip! Olivia surprises me every day with how easy-going she is and willing to go anywhere with us (not that she has a choice). she is an awesome traveler and i'm even more excited to take her with us on upcoming trips and show her the world!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

big shots, little baby

Olivia had her 2 month checkup about a week ago and had a great appointment. she is growing exponentially and is hitting all of her developmental milestones. i KNOW i was dreading it more than her, because i knew she would be getting a slew of immunizations.

i know baby's first shots can be a hot topic among moms these days: delayed versus no immunizations, etc. but i'm not a doctor and can't pretend to know what's best for my wee babe, so i take the Dr's advice and get her her shots on time. it's not that i believe everything the medical community says, but there just aren't enough studies out there to disprove the relevance and importance of immunizations to convince me otherwise. plus, i would never forgive myself if my LW contracted something she could have avoided, or her lack of being immunized caused an illness for another child. but that's just my opinion.

it may also be because there was recently a story of a girl in Orange who contracted Meningitis because she wasn't immunized. she had to have ALL FOUR OF HER LIMBS AMPUTATED. not only that, the infection got to her face and she had to be treated in the burn unit. i don't think there's any further need for convincing, at least not for me.

anyways, here she is, unaware of what's to come:

they eased her into her shots with an oral vaccine. notice the lack of interest she is displaying:

awww, so many shots for such a little baby:

her war wounds.
obviously, she had a good cry when all was said and done. the nurse was awesome and administered them SUPER fast so by the time she started crying for the first one, the other 2 were done. amazingly enough, i didn't cry! but i still felt horrible for my baby. i was expecting the ride home and the afternoon to be filled with a lethargic, cranky baby, but LW was a dream! however, later that night was another story. we went over to a friend's house for dinner and ended up having to leave early because she was so worked up. once we got home and stripped her down to her Huggies, we realized she was overheated. it had been a really hot day and of course, she already wasn't feeling herself. so i gave her a cool bath, she slept well, and was back to my wee babe the next morning! i guess those shots weren't so horrible after all ;)