Thursday, May 31, 2012

An early favorite!

OK this girl sold me last night on SYTYCD... bitter sweet story, and her name is Sam... but then she danced (rather beautifully) to one of my favorite songs off Jewel's Lullaby album.  My Sam and I listen to it every night!

There was also another amazing girl from the LA auditions last night... the one who likes pole dancing.  Holy cow, she will no doubt be in the top 20! Can't remember her name, but yeah I'm already hooked this season!

Friday, May 18, 2012

4 Month Update

Sam had his 4-month well visit yesterday and our boy is doing great!  He has officially doubled his birth weight (of 7lb 10oz) with a little extra to boot!  I figured he was right around 15lb, just by jumping on our home scale with and without him.  Though it only gives you figures by the half pound, so hard to know exactly where he fell.  He weighed in at 15lb 8oz yesterday, so I was close!  And that officially graduates him out of our size 1/2 diaper stash. I knew he was about to blow out of those, so we donated what was left of our unopened stock and have been finishing off those that were opened.  But we quickly realized that diaper sizing is confusing.  I had assumed that he'd go from size 1/2 straight to 3.  You know... 1, 2, 3.  Makes sense, right? Well there's a small gap between the weight ranges for size 1/2 and size 3.  Like a pound.  But the weight range for size 3 is HUGE... and we have a ginormous supply of size 3 because it looks like he'll camp out in those for a while once he's in them.  But I failed to consider he'd actually need a size "2" for a while, which are harder to find.  I mean, the 3's look huge.  OK I'm quickly realizing this is like the most boring paragraph ever written.  Let's move on.
So yes, Sam is continuing to pack on the sweet pounds and hitting his milestones, etc. as expected for his age.  Only real thing that is somewhat "off" is his head size.  Before parenthood, I didn't even know you looked at head size, but yeah I guess that makes sense.  He is on the very, very low end of the scale when it comes to the circumference of his noggin for his age.  It is growing, so the doctor is not at all concerned.  But of course I consulted Dr. Google after our visit yesterday and read horrible things.  Hubby was not worried, but called the doctor to put my mind at ease (*sweet hubby*) and she said stop talking to Dr. Google.  Some babes have little heads and it is no cause for concern, as he is hitting and/or exceeding all of his developmental milestones.  And most importantly, it IS growing.  And it certainly doesn't look small, but I have seen other babies his age with ginormous heads - haha...  something you never really notice till you have a kid, I guess!
He is at a really fun age right now... we sit up a lot to play - with support of course, but he enjoys sitting up and looking around.  He giggles and coos and smiles like crazy.  And is really, really into his toys now - which is so fun.  He's such a cool little dude.  We are also in the clear to start solids!  So I imagine we'll start with some cereal this weekend.  We've been playing with spoons some just to see if he knows what the heck to do with them.  I would just give him a little milk "froth" on a spoon while  I was putting his bottles together and he seemed to take it fine.  We plan to video his actual first feeding with cereal - should be fun!  My face apparently lit up like I won the lottery when I had my first bite of solids.
Also speaking of food, I've definitely experienced how going back to work can take a toll on your milk supply.  Before Sam was here I kinda had an I'll-try-this-breastfeeding-thing-but-if-it-doesn't-work-that's-OK attitude. Now that he's here, I'm like THIS. IS. GOING. TO. WORK.  I'm so grateful that Sam loves the boob... he took right to it from day one.  And breastfeeding has been such a joy... it is our "special time."  We introduced a bottle early because I wanted other family members to be able to feed him, so my pump and I became tight very quickly.  And of course returning to work means bottles for daycare.  But returning to work and the stress that comes with that also can put a kink in your supply.  Before long, I was barely keeping up with him.  I remember one or two days where I didn't even pump enough to fill two of the three bottles he needed for the next day and this was stressing me OUT (which only makes matters worse).  How much I pump is also largely tied to stress and emotions - how crazy is that?  I had to dip into my frozen supply (which was minimal to begin with and now gone) just to get him by. 
So then I started asking around about formula... and meanwhile feeling absolutely defeated.  I knew that it would of course be OK to supplement some formula along with breastmilk.  But I just really didn't want to if I didn't have to.  So as a first course of action, I got very aggressive with increasing my supply.  I have the Medela Pump 'n Style (which I love) and earlier had gotten a set of larger shields to see if they worked better for me (than the standard ones the pump came with).  I realize this is totally Greek to you if you've never breastfed - I'm moving on quickly, promise.  The larger shields definitely helped, so I recently got another set so that I can pump with those exclusively.  That, combined with being a little more strategic with my pumping regimen, has made all the difference.  I'm now easily filling Sam's three bottles.  So I feel so much better about it.  And yes, I know my milk supply is not a reflection of me as a momma... but it's hard to take emotion out of it.  Just is.  I would totally add in formula if he needed it, and will if it comes to that - nothing wrong with that.  It's just my own personal will that is pushing me to keep the boy solely on the boob as long as I can.  I'm shooting for one year.  We will have to wean him whenever we go back for the next embryo transfer anyway, so just hoping to make it to the one-year mark.  (And no, we don't have a set date for the next round! Hush!)
And I must say on the breastfeeding thing... it is totally a personal decision whether you do it or not and if you do, how long you do it.  But I was telling the hub the other day, how freaking fascinating is it that we (meaning smart science people) have never been able to duplicate breastmilk?  Formula does the job, but even formula makers will tell you breast is best.  The more I read, the more I learn about the crazy "powers" of breastmilk.  Baby's got red eyes? Drop some breastmilk in there.  Chapped lips?  Rub on some breastmilk.  Mom is sick?  Keep feeding baby - the milk is his best defense - even if he gets sick, chances are he'll have the mildest case in the family.  It's pretty nuts!
Alright... off to wrap up my week so that I can enjoy the weekend with my little family! Hope you all have a great one. Our big project at home is working on the playroom downstairs for Sam (which up until now has been a pretty empty room).  It's going to be wicked cool... so I will begin posting pics on our progress!  Oh and yeah, party-planning for Sam's 1st birthday is in full force.  Yeah, the one in January.  More to come...
Oh and I think I want a minivan.  What the hell?  Go ahead and discuss that.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What a year...

One year ago today was transfer day.  Today, we have a 4-month old.
Completely humbled and grateful today.  Thankful for amazing doctors, wonderfully supportive friends and family, and a gracious God who's bigger than all of this.  Wow, just wow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Pampering

Last one, kids! Sam's out on Fridays, so today is our last day of gifts.  And Sam's sweet teachers deserve a little pampering!

There are lots of fun ideas for a "pampering" gift, but I wanted to steer clear of bath gels and candles... I figure teachers get a ton of that stuff.  So I found these super soft neck wraps at Kohl's that you heat up in the microwave.  Regular price was $14 each, but are things ever not on sale at Kohl's?  These were 60% off, plus I had a 20% off shopping pass, so they ended up being less than $5 each.  Then I wrapped those up with a magazine and secured it with fun ribbon and a tag with a cute poem.  By far the easiest gift of the bunch!

And though Sam won't be there tomorrow, I did want to contribute a little something for Friday's theme - which is "something for the classroom." I mentioned this CD in my list of favorite baby items.  I know every dang word to every stinkin' song on this thing.  It's awesome. And I may or may not listen to it at work sometimes when I'm missing my little man.  So we got a copy for the class!

I had such fun coming up with these fun gifts and putting them together.  Not too shabby for our first run... especially on one week's notice!  You can bet your britches it's on my calendar already for next year.  And it's also got me thinking about other occasions when teacher typically get gifts... Christmas... birthdays (?)... when else?  He's in daycare year-round, so there's not really a beginning or end of year yet (as far as gift speak).  What else do I need to prepared for?  This is all new territory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Fun

This stuff is a blast, but it's wearing me out, y'all.  Phew!  Thankfully, the most labor-intensive gifts are done.  Today and tomorrow's stuff was pretty quick to throw together.  I struggled a little coming up with something for the "fun" theme for today, but finally landed on this...

It's a survival kit stashed full of little goodies to help Sam's teachers make it through the day with all the sweet rugrats. I raided the section at Walmart with all the travel size tolietries and grabbed a few other goodies like Starbucks Via packs, Tazo Herbal Tea, a Luna Bar, and a 5-Hour Energy Drink.  My friend suggested throwing earplugs in there - that would've been hilarious, but the only ones I could find were like $4 a pack. Um, no.

I think these are my favorite so far this week.  Super easy, fun to shop for, and a breeze to put together.  I already had these favor boxes on hand.  I bought a bulk pack of these years ago from Bags & Bows.  Friggin' love that site... And side note - I have exactly 25 of those boxes left and I'm saving them to use for Sam's 1st birthday party!  They'll be perfect for the kids' treat bags. 

The ribbon and labels I of course already had on hand.  I used to run a small stationery biz if you remember, so I have ridiculous amounts of this kind of stuff.  It comes in handy!

Tomorrow's theme is "pampering!"  Ahhh... God bless Kohl's for helping me with that one.  More to come!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Food

Today's theme for Sam's teacher gifts is "food." I told y'all about my BBQ rub favors last week.  That was such an easy food item to put together (and cheap), so it was a shoe-in for one of our teacher gifts.  Of course I did a much bigger portion for Sam's teachers and put the rub in mason jars (um, Paige... I owe you two mason jars). 

I love this one... as I said, cheap and easy, yet totally cute and practical.  I had some burlap yardage and cut squares to top the jars and secured those with ribbon and a gift tag I made...

The tag is a little too big for the jars, but whatever.  That drives the libra in me nuts.

AND as if that wasn't enough... I told y'all I was baking! There are a few other helpers in Sam's room at school that work part-time and I didn't want to leave them out.  So I did a batch of chocolate cream cheese cupcakes for the whole gang... 

Wednesday's theme is "fun."  Thankfully, I've already got that one assembled cuz this Momma is BEAT.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Favorite Thing

Especially since this is our first go ever at Teacher Appreciation gifts, I thought I'd show you our goodies day by day this week.  I finished up all the shopping at Wally World this past weekend, so now I'm down to just assembling everything.  Monday's theme is a "favorite thing" of the teacher's... and both of Sam's teachers love Starbucks. 

A sweet friend of mine shared an idea of giving Hershey's Hugs and Kisses with a note saying something about Sam's teachers needing lots of hugs and kisses... so I incorporated that with Starbucks.  Sure they need hugs and kisses... but I'm bettin' they need some real caffeine too. 

I'm curious to see what other mommas bring... I just have no idea what the "standard" is, but whatever.  I had fun with it and yeah, probably went a little overboard.  But I love this kind of stuff and I really DO appreciate all the ladies that love on my sweet boy everyday.

So the basics of this one... a clear glass mug ($2.50 at Walmart) filled with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses, with a $5 Starbucks card.  Tied up with cellophane and ribbon and this label...

Mmm... what's not to love?

Tomorrow's theme is "food" and yes... I will be baking.  Look out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Easy Summer Party Favor: BBQ Rub

Y'all know I like to throw a good party.  Of course, those are harder to squeeze in now with the little man around.  But last weekend we helped my parents host a couples shower for my godmother's son and his bride-to-be.  It was a relaxed, casual affair held outside with catered BBQ and checkered tablecloths.  The weather was perfect - it was such a fun night!  And of course I raised my hand excitedly to handle the favors.  Party favors are never necessary, but I LOVE to do them.  And my absolute thrill is finding something fun that looks amazing and costs mere pennies. 

So my usual rules on favors are these... (1) Never do them merely for the sake of doing them.  People don't need more crap and you don't owe them anything.  (2) Make it something consumable.  Either edible or usable in some other way.  Cheap little trinkets usually wind up in a junk drawer, the trash bin, or up Junior's nose in less than 24 hours.  So why waste your time and money on that?  (3) Keep favors in theme with the party.  And particularly if you're talking wedding favors, make it personal to the couple.
I love all aspects of party planning... I'm already in the throws of planning Sam's first birthday shindig.  Yeah, he'll be 4 mos next week.  But y'all, there is so much to do!  I only have 8 months left!  I've got the theme, color scheme, and his outfit already worked out.  Neurotic - I know.  More on that later... but yes, of all the party planning fun, favors are my absolute FAVORITE part.  So I thought I'd just share this last one I did because it's so stinkin' easy and great for all kinds of summer parties...

Homemade BBQ Rub Party Favors

There are a million good BBQ rub recipes online, but here is the one I found and used.  It has only a few ingredients, all of which are cheap or I already had on hand.  I also love the Allrecipes site because they let you play with the quantities and recalculate the ingredient needs for you.  For this particular rub, you'll need...

- 5 parts white sugar
- 5 parts brown sugar
- 2 parts salt
- 1 part black pepper
- 1 part paprika

For the favors, I did 1/3 cup servings.  The hub and I tested it out on some grilled chicken and it was (a) delicious and (b) more than enough in the packet for us to use on three large chicken breasts.  How you package them is totally up to you.  I got some small clear treat bags from Michael's (4x6 I think) for the outer wrapper, and then mini ziplock bags (3x4 maybe?) to actually hold the rub.  The outer wrappers were merely folded over and secured with ribbon (already had on hand) and sticker labels.  Back in the day I would've designed and printed my own labels.  This time I recruited Tiny Prints.  They were cheap, matched the invites, and also uber cute.  I did, however, print plain white labels for the back of the packets that shared the recipe and instructions for the rub.   I already had a bunch of different size labels on hand, so for me there was very little cost to make these 40 favors.  We had to buy a few ingredients, the main labels, and the bags - totaling about $33.  If I had made my own labels, that amount would be nearly sliced in half. 

So if nothing else, make some of this rub for yourself - it's delish!  I also plan to make another batch this weekend for a couple of teacher appreciation gifts.  Yeah, I was just clued in to the fact that next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and we are "encouraged" to bring themed gifts EACH day for Sam's teachers at daycare.  I had no prior knowledge of the world of teacher gifts... I've never been a teacher or had a kid in a class, so this is an entirely new thing for me.  I've been trading ideas with friends and searching blogs and Pinterest... and holy hell at some of the gifts these Martha McCrafty's out there do.  I actually enjoy this kind of stuff... receiving gifts is one of my love languages and I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving.  But I would've appreciated more than one week's notice to gather this shit together.  So yeah I've been in overdrive the last couple of days getting these gifts together.  More on that later... I will take pics of our daily prezzies!

Tomorrow I'm off work but Nana and Gran will be keeping Sam in the morning while I get the house ready for weekend company.  One of the hub's best buds is getting married this weekend, so we've got an exciting few days ahead.  Hope you all have fantastic weekends!  Back soon...