Thursday, August 29, 2013

6 Month Favorites

Seriously, half a year already? "they" weren't joking when they said that time flies. This month we got to try out a bunch of cool new stuff! Olivia is getting more and more fun with her curiosity and personality. Here are our 6 month favs:
Gerber/Nuk Graduates Soft Tipped Infant Spoons: now that we are well into solid foods, these are a must have. I've tried the Munchkin plastic spoons and don't like them. They are too deep and I feel like the edges are sharp. It's very difficult for Olivia to get all the food out of them. But with the Gerber spoons, she can easily get everything, and as a special treat, I give it to her when she's done eating to chew on!

Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Seahorse: Great Grandma gave this to LW and we LOVE it. when you squeeze it's belly, the light glows and it plays 5 minutes worth of classical music with some ocean-y waters mixed in. it's so adorable- Olivia loves to hold it and stare at the light. I can't tell you how many times I've gone in to her room to check on her and she's snuggling her sweet seahorse! I am convinced this is what helps her go to sleep on her own, since we usually put her in her crib when she's awake.

Avent Bottle Warmer: I don't know why it took me 5 months to get this, but I did.  This is a pretty basic warmer, and actually has more cons than I'd hoped, but it does the job. I like that it only takes about 5 minutes to take the chill off (we've never given LW warm bottles, and I'm not going to start now), but if you leave it too long it gets SCALDING. That being said, there is no timer, you have to manually shut it off with a switch in the back (easy to forget since you can't see it) and supposedly it hits a stopping point and maintains the temp. I haven't found this to be true, hence the scalding bottles. in spite of this, I still really like that I have this on hand.

Brica In-Sight Mirror: Since we are in the car a lot, this is a MUST HAVE. I like that I can keep an eye on LW, and now she's figured out how to angle herself to see me back in the reflection of the rear view mirror. No worrying now!

Munchkin Bath Letters & Numbers: I've had these since LW was born, but now that she can sit up in the tub, we've busted these out. we LOVE them. We mostly use them as chew toys because they are the right size and clean up easily. I like that they are small because I can even carry a few in my diaper bag for emergency toy duty!

Tupperware Tote-Em Pails: we received these as a gift and also just brought these out to play. Olivia particularly loves the 3 smallest pails and I've been known to put the largest, blue bucket on her head as a hat ;) I'm excited to take these to the beach one day soon!

I shudder to think what these posts will look like in the next 6 months. Please, little baby, stop growing!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


ever since I can remember, I've been terrified of losing my teeth. chipping a tooth, cracking a tooth, accidentally pulling it out, getting floss permanently stuck between two of them, you name it- if it was tooth related, I was losing sleep over it. I also read that if you have frequent dreams about losing teeth, then it meant you were hiding or lying about something. I did a thorough inventory and could find no lies to speak of- the tooth nightmares continued.

all that to say, I've  been pretty adamant about my tooth care. I had braces in elementary school, had my wisdom teeth pulled in high school, got new retainers a few years ago when my teeth started shifting, and never missed my twice yearly cleanings. but the year I was pregnant was a little tough on my teeth, in more ways than one.

First, we switched dentists and I committed the cardinal sin of not ensuring they were in our network before we went. they weren't, and that resulted in an $800 bill because the husband needed some work done. obviously, that left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended), and I didn't exactly want to rush back to that dentist. my next appointment should have been in January '13, but I was 9 months pregnant and without a dentist, and trust me, I wasn't going to find one now. So I lagged and gaggled and let it go by and finally got a new dentist this July- one year after my last appointment. It felt long to me, but after talking to an old coworker who hadn't gone in 6 years I still felt pretty good.


I don't know if I just found the most thorough dentist on the planet, if my dentist for the past 5 years was horrible, or if Little Wood stripped me of every ounce of tooth calcium she could muster, but in the last month, I've had to get FIVE (5) FILLINGS! One of them was so bad, the dentist was afraid I might need a root canal. Alas, no pain has warranted that.

I walked out of my initial appointment feeling so dirty! What the heck? 5 fillings? And he needs to watch 3 more "just in case?" What was my previous dentist doing? Sight seeing? Needless to say, I was pretty pissed. These are my one set of pearly whites and they are in shambles!

The one "pro" is that my dentist is pretty suave and I get to have my teeth nursed back to health in a massage chair while I watch TV. but STILL!

Little Wood, you were totally worth it, but couldn't you have left me in a little better shape?

Friday, August 23, 2013

the plans I have for you

the other day I was catching up on my blog reading and came across a new post by a creative, young mom that I started following when I was pregnant.  most likely, I found something of hers on Pinterest and then push came to shove and there I was, reading her blog and dreaming about how my life as a mother would come to fruition. Her daughter was born exactly one year ahead of Olivia and it was exciting to read about what she was going through, knowing that I would be next.

Over the last year, I've come to love/hate reading her blog, but never really could tell why. I had to be in the right mood, and was usually a couple weeks behind. None of her posts were sad, and most are filled with creative snack foods, decorating ideas, and whimsical baby milestones. Then, the other day it hit me. I was reading a post where she was apologizing for her brief break from her blog for the day, because her daughter had a behaviorally horrible day and that she didn't want to post about it because she likes to keep things "happy and positive."

Ohhhh- there it is.

I don't like reading your blog all that much because it makes me feel like a less than perfect mother and a bedraggled woman who sometimes forgets to brush her teeth, much less have time to cut her child's morning fruit into 5 point stars. I guess the sugar coated blog is just that, a cover for just a regular 'ole mom hiding in there somewhere.

I've learned a lot about myself these past 6 months, and I know that God has gifted me to be the mother that I am- fancy fruit shapes or not. Things that would have horrified me pre-baby, don't even cross my mind (vomit, poop, boogers- you get the idea). Getting up in the middle of the night is only painful when I have a horrible sunburn and can't really sit back in the rocking chair to calm my crying child.  Spending money on diapers is much more fulfilling than that necklace I've wanted from JCrew. Nuking my coffee 4 times before I can actually drink it is just the way mornings go, so long as I can get Olivia down for the nap she desperately needs, but fights me for every time.

in spite of it all, I sometimes loathe myself for still wanting to be that mom with the perfectly coiffed hair, who makes her own baby food, has time to throw parties and entertain guests with homemade appetizers, and has time for Gymboree. I wish I could buy baby clothes only from Baby Gap and post Outfits of the Day of me and my fashionable baby, but am lucky sometimes if we both just dressed. I'm the mom who's daughter rolled off the couch last week and got sunburned at the beach. my house is often a disaster, and I've been known to suck the germs off a pacifier that fell on the ground instead of sterilizing it. I've brought my baby to a bar, kept her out too late, and have instituted more of a bed time "span" rather then bed time. am I doing this wrong?

lately i find solace in God's beautiful and reassuring words in Jeremiah 29:11:

""for I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.""

while there's nothing wrong with sharing only the beauty of the good life, you probably won't find that here. I still wonder what it is about those types of blogs that we like so much. my guess is it gives us a brief escape into a fantasy land, a desperate break from sticky fingers and wet diapers. I have to remember that an Instagram account doesn't tell the whole story. maybe one day the sugar coated mom can visit here, and know she's not alone. until then, I'm going to rest in the peace that God's going to take care of my future, and that I'm just along for the ride.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Amazon's Subscribe & Steal (your gift card) Progam: a review

anyone who knows me knows that if I could live at I would. on my former blog, I wrote too specific posts about my undying love for the online retailer here and here. well, like most things around here lately, things have changed.

since becoming a mother, I've realized the value of a dollar and how diapers and wipes and formula, and pretty much all things baby can be quite expensive. but I feared not, since I love Amazon, and more specifically their Subscribe Save program. To explain, their S&S program allows you to have subscriptions on certain items that are shipped on a monthly basis (or bi-monthly, etc.) with free shipping at a discounted rate. It's supposed to save you money, and it did when I first started using it.

Originally, any item you subscribed to you received 15% off the regular, one-time shipment price. That's how they reel you in. Somewhere along the way they changed it to a mere 5% off, UNLESS you ordered 5 (FIVE!) items in a month. THEN you got 15% off. Unless you keep an item from the old days on  your subscription list and are grandfathered in, then you get the new jipped rate of 5%. Enter Amazon Mom, a free program, so long as you are an Amazon Prime member, that gets you an additional 20% off diapers and wipes. But only diapers and wipes. Not formula, or any other baby necessary item.
It truly pains me to write such a skeptical and angry review of my beloved Amazon, but today was the last straw. I traded in a book of Dave's, for which Amazon gave us an $18 gift card. Pretty nice, eh? They put it on my account literally at 6:34AM this morning. I go in at 9:45AM, THIS MORNING, to buy something for Dave, and it was GONE. What!? Where did it go, you ask? Oh, Amazon took it upon themselves to apply it to my upcoming Subscribe and Save order TEN DAYS EARLY. Did they apply it to my entire order of 5 items? No, they took 1 item, took my gift card and applied it towards that (which was actually listed as being out of stock in the first place) without my knowledge. No big deal, I think, I will call Amazon because they are so amazing.

Except when I call, they tell me they cannot give me it back once the gift card has been applied already, even though they did it without my knowledge. Their only recourse is to tell me to cancel my items, which I won't even get to reorder, since they are out of stock. I tell them I won't do that, since it's their mistake. As a "one time courtesy" they will refund me my gift card once my items have been shipped from my order, which is who knows when, since they charged me for my order 2 weeks early.  Personally, I think this is extremely underhanded, due to the fact that they so clearly picked one item and not my entire order to begin processing. The Amazon staff person obviously had no idea there is outrage across the internet for this Amazon issue, because she told me it was a glitch. Not satisfied with her knowledge of the situation, I emailed Amazon additionally. This is the lame response:


I'm sorry for any inconvenience you have experienced.
Unfortunately, we don't have option to pay for a Subscribe & Save order without using account Gift card funds.
When shipping your Subscribe & Save orders, we always apply any Gift Card balances or eligible promotional codes already redeemed to your account before charging your credit card. I apologize for that.

You can find information about paying for Subscribe & Save orders here:

I've forwarded your message to appropriate department and I'll make sure the appropriate people in our company see your message to improve, as I know they'll want to read about your experience, so that this will not happen again in future.

It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects of shopping at Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the selection and service we provide. We take this kind of information seriously as it is valuable to us in helping us to continue to improve our program.

We look forward to seeing you again soon. 

I'm not delusional in thinking I'm going to make a difference, or that my no longer using the S&S program is going to impact Amazon. But I'm pretty disappointed that such an amazing retailer would resort to such a sneaky and obviously consumer unfriendly practice. Why would anyone want to use their birthday gift on Amazon, only to have it applied towards their monthly shipment of toilet paper if they can't use it fast enough?

All this is to say, goodbye Amazon Subscribe & Save. This being the second time this has happened, I'm done. Your minuscule savings of 5% and your ambivalence towards my hard earned gift cards are no longer my concern. Shoppers beware.

Monday, August 19, 2013

babies are gross

mom rant: babies can be so dirty! no, I'm not a horrible mom for admitting it because everyone who's had a baby knows how gross they can be. aside from the dirty diapers, my eyes have been opened to all the fluids that babies seem to expel. to borrow a quote from one of my all time favorite movies, Fools Rush In, "How can so much come out of something so small?" million dollar question.

here is a glance back at my adventures:
Double whammy, probably in the first 2 weeks we were home. My poor couch.
My poor shorts.
My poor couch again. (P.s., no one is ever going to want to sit on my couch now)
no caption needed.
my poor hair
 Ever since we've started "solid" foods, the adventure has only continued. Now I have to combat my child's constant desire to wipe her green bean-strued face on the high chair, or stick her feet in her mouth when eating applesauce.
I'm starting to see the value of an all plastic high chair.

even though my child can be quite gross at times, she's still my wee baby and I love her! I wish I could cuddle her non stop, but she's already becoming quite independent as she nears 6 months. here are some of my new favorite pictures to end this post on a nice note:)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

the times, they are a changin'

before the arrival of LW, our lives were pretty stable and well, boring in a way. Dave and I lived in the same apartment since the day we got married, i worked the same job I had since two weeks after we got married, we went to the same church since a year before marriage. are we seeing a pattern? though it was consistently stable, we found solice in our routines, our favorite restaurants, our drives home.

i probably wouldn't admit that I LOVE change, although I do like it. but after 7 years, it was TIME. so we had a baby, and that brought lots of change. and apparently, we are now addicted because in the 6 month's since she's been born, we are now moving 30 miles away, I've left my job of 8 years to work for our Church from home, and Dave's leaving his job of 2 1/2 years to start work at a firm. all while raising a baby. crazy much!? yes. but that's what happens when virtually nothing changes for 7 years.

today I got to visit our future town house that we're renting not far from my hometown where I went to high school (feels SO weird!). we are beyond excited to upgrade and move into a place that's nearly 2x as big as our apartment, and FINALLY move out of our complex that we've lived in for 8 1/2 years. We will have 3 bedrooms, a 2 car garage, full size washer and dryers, and a patio that we can BBQ on! here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:
The patio upstairs is our neighbors, not ours :)

Kitchen. I'll probably keep the red walls because I don't enjoy painting.

2 car garage!

Office/downstairs bedroom w/wood floors and a closet!

Downstairs bath, complete with standing shower!

Olivia's room

Olivia's bathroom

Master Bath! Hi yo, would you look at that huge tub!
Master Bedroom

Linen Closets


Patio. Yay, no grass to mow!
Even though this is going to be a HUGE change for us, it is much needed. we're both a little nervous about the newness of everything, but know that we are going to love living in a new place with our new family. When all is said and done, we expect a lot of visitors ;)

Friday, August 2, 2013

5 Month Favorites

this post should really be called "it took me 5 months to figure out what products suck" but i'll just go with the traditional "5 Month Favorites."  with the exception of 2 of these items i've listed, i've discovered that not all baby products are created equal. here goes:
Bright Start Lots of Links: these are the best, inexpensive toys for infants. Olivia is at a phase where she's putting EVERYTHING into her mouth, and these are easy for her to grab. they don't take up much room, aren't noisy, and can be used for everything from chaining items to her carseat, to extending the length of her toys on her activity mat.

Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun in the Amazon: since I work from home, I've been looking forward to Olivia being able to entertain herself here and there. I did a decent amount of research on whether I should get a jumper or exersaucer, and it basically came down to the exersaucer taking up less space and Olivia liking to stand a LOT. it took about 3 weeks for her to catch on, but now she LOVES this. She can go about 20 minutes before getting bored, which is pretty good for a just now 5 month old. Word to the wise: i tried her in this at the store right before she turned 4 months and she just fell face forward in the seat. this definitely is an age-sensitive toy!

Diaper Genie Elite II- product number 1 I should have put on my registry. i was trying to avoid products that required special refills to save money and time. for our diaper pail, I went with the Diaper Champ- an item that actually costs the same as the Diaper Genie, but uses regular trash bags (score!). The top opens and is supposed to block any smell from existing diapers in the pail from escaping. IT DOES NOT.  After 4 months and countless air fresheners dropped in the bottom, the smell was like death warmed over and I couldn't handle it anymore. so i went out and bought the Diaper Genie and now I know why it's a best seller. While I was at Target, I also discovered that they make their own refills through the Up & Up brand- which are way cheaper and which I will be buying!

Huggies Little Snugglers: when I found out I was pregnant, I had visions of using cloth diapers, but the hubs put a stop to that right away. he didn't even want to entertain the idea of hosing off a diaper, only to resuse it again. so, disposable it was! I haven't run the gauntlet of disposable diapers, but I've tried a few and have to say that Huggies are the best. When LW was a newborn, I started out in Pampers. She kept having blowouts and leaks and I just thought it was because she was so tiny and there wasn't good "suction" around her legs.  the diaper also hangs really low in the crotch and has a bit of a weird smell. Then I tried Target brand because they are much cheaper. but they feel paper thin and I wanted my baby to have a cozy bum. On the recommendation of my cousin, I tried Huggies and they are a dream. NO leaks, no weird smell, they hold a lot, and i love the wetness indicator. i get them through Amazon and save a lot of money using their Amazon Mom program. I definitely recommend.

Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack: as most of you know, LW still needs to be swaddled because she's a ninja and wakes herself up. after she outgrew her swaddle pod, we tried her in the Summer Infant size 2 swaddles. They don't get the job done. First, I had to send back the first one I got, because it had a hole in it. Second, the velcro is SO LOUD that it wakes her up whenever it's opened for diaper change. This is a selling point for them too- it's so convenient because you don't have to completely undress baby. Undressing completely would be quieter. Third, she breaks out within minutes because it can't get tight enough. Finally, the 2nd one I received started to come apart at the seam. Anyways the Halo is amazing because once LW is done with swaddling, you can still use it and just wrap the swaddle arms around her midsection.

Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes: I started out with Pamper's wipes which weren't bad, and then tried the Huggies- which disinigrated in my hands every time I pulled one out of the container. these wipes are AWESOME! they are huge, soft, and you can buy the box at Target for $14 and it lasts for a month and a half. plus, all of the packages have a plastic flip top, so you don't need to transfer them to a bulky box. plus, they make a really crinkly sound and Olivia loves to play with the bag.

Sorry this month was more about the basics, but hopefully someone can use it when they have their own wee babe! No one likes to waste a great registry gift!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

feeding baby

a few weeks ago, Olivia hit a huge milestone when she sampled her first "solid" food. since she was born i'd been excited for this time to come, but didn't want to rush her. i'm trying to enjoy every phase and stage, though i have to admit: it keeps getting better with age. maybe it's because i had a rough go of the whole feeding thing right off the bat, but i didn't particularly enjoy the newborn stage. now in the "infant" stage, i get to enjoy so many more things, and eating is one of them!

i waited until right before LW's 5 month birthday to try her out on cereal. i told myself that if she didn't like it, i would just wait another week and try again, especially since i've heard it can take a baby up to 10x to try something before they like it! whenever we eat in front of Olivia, she is VERY interested and will always lean forward to lick what i stick out for her- a carrot, cracker, etc. i never actually let her eat it, but she's always keen for a try. plus, she is eating rather large bottles and has a hard time stretching out the time in between. poor girl is probably hungry all the time!

i checked with our pediatrician on the right time, because there are so many conflicting opinions that it's ludicrous. i think some of them are just to scare wayward parents, because i really doubt feeding my child 1 extra month of food before her 6 month birthday is going to push her into obesity. come on.  also, my pediatrician said that when he came out of Med school, the opinion was 1 way, and now it's completely the opposite. so i guess i get to use the Mom card and do whatever i want!

all that to say, Olivia did pretty well with her first solid, rice cereal. here are some pics of the first go round:

Such anticipation!

Nice. She grabbed the bowl and dumped everything!

Beautiful mess
it's been almost two weeks and we've tried rice and oatmeal cereal, and also fresh bananas. so far, we've only done 1 feeding a day, and the first bite she gives me a disgusted look, which is hilarious. she's getting the hang of it, and even opens her mouth wide when she sees the spoon coming- adorable. now that she thinks she's a "pro" she's beginning to play around during meal time, which is funny and obnoxious all at the same time. i constantly have to call her name and shove the spoon towards her face. she's either sucking on the high chair tray, watching the scenery:
 or trying to grab the bowl or spoon from me:

i don't know about her, but i'm kinda over the whole cereal thing. is it really that necessary? it looks gross and she doesn't seem to care all that much. i'm sure it's pretty flavorless too. anyways, next up we're trying fruits and veggies!